When Vasco da Gama rounded Africa in the late 1400s he pulled into the beautiful protected bay of Inhambane to replenish stocks and to explore. He took an immediate liking to the place and its people and named it Terra de Boa Gente or ‘Land of the Gentle People’. It took another 40 years before the Portuguese established a trading post and settlement and sadly the friendly people of Inhambane were rewarded by lives of slavery. Thousands were removed through this inhumane practice, which continued well into the last century.
Inhambane, which is one of the oldest settlements on the East Coast, was an important port. Although large ships seldom call here any longer, it still has the largest fleet of working dhows in the country. In the old quarter of town is the 170 year old Cathedral of our Lady of Conception where a rusted (and somewhat perilous) ladder leads to the top of the spire, offering grand views of town and harbour.
Also worth a visit is the old governor’s house on the waterfront, the fascinating railway station (it has a workshop filled with old stream trains and memorabilia and men clanking away on old machinery) and the mercado which sells a colourful array of spices, prawns, fishes, vegetables and cashew nuts. You can also take a dhow trip across the harbour to Maxixe.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Inhambane, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Africa