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Inhambane is one of the oldest settlements on the east coast of Mozambique, having been a trading post for about a thousand years and being one of Vasco da Gama's favourite spots in Africa. With churches, mosques, and a Hindu temple, it shows an ecumenical side typical of this coast, and the colonial era buildings display styles including Art Deco and Streamline Moderne. Its low-key charm tends to be overlooked by its role as a transit town for visitors to Tofo but it's worth a day or two of anyone's pottering.
There are direct flights a few times a week from Maputo on LAM Mozambican Airlines. These flights run either nonstop or operate via Vilanculos, which is much farther north and is quite a circuitous routing.
LAM also operates nonstop flights from Johannesburg to Inhambane four times weekly. The flights leave JNB in the morning and return in the afternoon, making connections to and from European flights relatively short.
When entering Maputo on the toll road from Swaziland or South Africa, take the EN1 highway north. The off ramp is signposted Xai Xai. The road is relatively good up to Xai-Xai (215 kilometres north), but then deteriorates rapidly: potholes. Drive slowly, unless you are one of those people who believe that potholes are best tackled at speed, in order to "soar over" them. The bad road is only as far as Chidenguele, some 64 kilometres north of Xai Xai. From here on, the road is in good condition having been recently rebuilt. There are still two deviations as of 28th November, 2006. The first is about 15 kilometres before Inharrime and the second is as you enter Inharrime, which is 108 km north of Chidenguela. The deviation takes you through the back roads of the town, bringing you back to the main road just before the petrol station, which has both leaded and unleaded fuel. From here, it is a further 65 km to Lindela where the road forks. The right fork takes you to Inhambane a further 37 kilometres.
Chapas (minibuses) between Vilanculos and Maxixe (pronounced Masheesh) leave from Vilanculos up to about midday. The journey takes about 5 hours, because a portion of the road (between Nhachengue and Massinga) is in poor condition. It's also four people to a row so is not a comfortable ride. Once you see the jetty at Maxixe, ask to be dropped off. Minibuses from Inhambane to Maputo take about 8.5 hours.
The main ferry to from Maxixe to Inhambane runs every 1-1.5 hours, taking 20-25 minutes. You'll be asked to leave any luggage outside the passenger compartment. It will then be dumped on the jetty at Inhambane from where you can retrieve it. If the ferry isn't there, you'll be approached by dhow captains offering you a ride. They also charge M10 and take the same time as the ferry.
You can buy fish and seafood from the local people next to the main road or on the beaches, but be careful when buying items that needs to be weighed with a scale; some of the local people trick tourists by jamming their scales so that the item (fish) weighs more than the actual weight. In the end, the tourist is tricked in paying more. The advice is to take your own scale when buying food items.
Pachica is a good place with a variety of people to meet and greet. The Bar has a decent amount of stock with good variety, and Saturday is pizza day (some of the best pizza Moz has to offer). You are normally also lucky enough to meet a few people who are happy to share a few travel stories, and a beer.
Many people stay at one of the many resorts located on the beach. These are lovely and inexpensive by world standards; however, they are culturally isolating. 95% of the guests will be white visitors largely from South Africa and Europe.
|Guiquindo Lodge||Mozambique Lodge Guinjata||Hotel||-|
|MozamBeat Hotel||Praia de Tofinho||HOTEL||-|
|Bonito Bay||Morrungulo Beach Massinga||GUESTHOUSE||-|
Internet is widely available in Maputo, with many internet cafes and all major hotels having internet access. Outside Maputo internet coverage is sporadic and mostly available in places frequented by tourists. Local Telecommunication de Mozambique (TDM) offices almost always have internet although speed and availability can be problematic.
See also International Telephone Calls
Mozambique's international telephone code is 258.
mCel is the state-owned provider, and as of yet the government has only licensed one other company, the South-African owned Vodacom Mozambique. Apparently a third is arriving shortly. GPRS (data and internet) are available on mCel, with 3G in Maputo and other main cities. Vodacom have 3G in many towns and GPRS Edge elsewhere. The APN is internet. Check your phone manual for setting instructions. The mCel service is not entirely reliable, especially outside Maputo. Vodacom is generally very good. While it is OK to buy credit from the hundreds of vendors roaming the streets wearing mCel or Vodacom shirts you should never buy SIM cards / starter packs, in many cases they sell them at hugely inflated prices and often they will be from one of the many recalled batches that no longer work. Any mobile phone store can sell you a working starter pack for around 50Mts.
Correios de Moçambique offers postal services in the country, but they are slow and unreliable at times. For parcels you should definately contact companies like FedEx, DHL, UPS or TNT, as they offer far better services.
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Inhambane searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Inhambane and areas nearby.
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