Diving Inhambane

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Inhambane, Mozambique

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Country: Mozambique  Area: Mozambique

Water Temp: 20 - 28°C (68 - 82°F)

Visibility: 5 - 30m (16 - 98 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 38m (16 - 125 ft)

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Inhambane is the capital city of Inhambane Province in southern Mozambique. It is a small laid back town, and a source of great Mozambican pride. It is a very popular destination for those who love nature, adventure, architecture and beachside relaxation.

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Inhambane is the central launching point for a number of small beach towns on the Inhambane Peninusula. Seeped in colonial history and architecture, this town attracts a wide variety of visitors from Mozambique, South Africa and the international community.While especially serious divers typically base themselves in the smaller and sleepier beach towns of Tofo and Tofinho, Inhambane offers up the services and amenities that these small villages lack.

Diving from Inhambane carries visitors to many of the sites visited by Tofo dive operators. Divers are attracted to the region for the variety of macro, pelagic life and vibrant corals.

Diving with Manta, Credit

Manta Reef, one of the most famous dive sites in Southern Africa, is just a 20-minute boat ride away with numerous Manta Ray cleaning stations and an abundance of reef fish. Dives at Manta Reef are guaranteed to delight as you have an excellent chance of seeing these beautiful, majestic creatures. 

From June until October we also have the Humpback Whales migrating along our coastline.  Daily sightings of these beautiful animals breaching and playing in our bay are common.


Inhambane has a generally warm and sunny climate, which facilitates year round diving. The rainy months span from January to March, though temperatures stay very warm throughout this period. February and August are notoriously windy months, creating more extreme diving conditions.

The summer months of November to April are the rainiest months which occasionally bring violent storms but they have the highest water temperature of 28C. The winter months of May to October are a lot cooler but still pleasant with a lower water temperature of 23C. Visibility in this area varies by the day and is influenced by a combination of plankton, currents, winds and tides.

Potato Bass & Glass fish, Credit

Marine Conservation

Most of the marine conservation initiatives are based out of the smaller beach towns and resorts that surround Inhambane. The largest initiatives occur out of Tofo, and generally revolve around protection of the region’s famous species: giant manta rays, whale sharks and humpback whales. Scientists are currently conducting significant research in the area as well.

The Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna (FPMM) was created in 2009 to research, protect and conserve the large populations of marine megafauna found along the Mozambique coast. One of the founders is Andrea Marshall, who is famous for discovering a new Giant Manta Species.

Sunset, Credit

Other Year round Marine life

Schooling fish, barracudas, tuna, snappers, groupers, sweetlips, paper fish, scorpion fish, nudibranchs, frogfish, pipefish, angelfish, butterfly fish, triggerfish, damselfish, variety of moray eels, small eyed stingray and plenty more. 

Information & photos kindly provided byJeff’s Pro Dive Centre

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Shore Diving

There is no shore diving from Inhambane.

Boat Diving

Reefs off Inhambane cater to all levels of divers, and are accessible only by boat. These waters are home to some of the largest concentrations of giant manta rays worldwide, which are often a focal point of any dive.

Diving Inhambane, Credit

Manta Reef is the most famous diving site in the region, and is accessed by a 20-minute boat ride from town. Here, you will find three Manta Ray cleaning stations, large schools of fish, and impressive potato groupers. Sea turtles also frequent the area from time to time. Whale Sharks are another highlight off Inhambane. These waters are also home to one of the world’s largest concentration of the species, who reside year year round.

Aside from the megafauna life, other highlights include swim-throughs, Paperfish sightings, cleaner shrimps, a vibrant nudibranch population and plenty of moray eels. There are a handful of drift dives slightly further afield.

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How to Get There

There is an airport just outside Inhambane, which is serviced frequently by the Mozambican airline, LAM. Their website can often be very hard to find online, so you can try http://booking.sita.aero/asp/asp/lam for bookings.

Most major bus companies travel directly from Johannesburg and Nelspruit to either Maputo, Inhambane or Maxixe.  From Maputo you can find a connecting bus to Inhambane, and from Maxixe you can make use of the ferry to reach Inhambane. Inhambane is located approximately 500km north of Maputo.

A street to the marketplace, Inhambane, Credit

Transport in and around Inhambane is relatively easy as local “chapas” and taxis can be found anywhere.

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Where to Eat & Drink

There is a small variety of restaurants located in Inhambane, which serve reasonably priced Mozambican and International dishes.

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A few favourites include:

Jeff’s Restaurant offers a wide variety of local and westernised cuisine.  They also have a big screen to that you can enjoy major sporting events.  Weddings and functions can also be catered for on request.       

   ▪Casa do Capitão, serves seafoods and grilled meats.

   ▪Verdinho’s serves gourmet salads and burgers, pizzas and continental dishes.

  ▪Á Maçaroca a Swiss-Mozambican place has a selection of grilled fish, meat and more.

The nightlife in the town of Inhambane is fairly subdued. Pachica is one of the more popular locations, though most visitors travel to Tofo for a better party. Tofo also has a greater selection in restaurants, nearly all of which cater to international tastes.

If staying in a lodge outside Inhambane, you can expect to eat the majority of meals on the property itself, or perhaps at a neighboring lodge if you are not too isolated.

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Other Activities

Within the town of Inhambane itself, the most popular activity for visitors is wandering the town in search of colonial architecture. A number of buildings provide insight into the history of European rule in Mozambique, and are fairly well preserved today. While there are no especially huge monuments or museums, the town itself is pleasant enough to walk through. Village tours can also be arranged from town.

Church building, Inhambane, Credit

Otherwise, most activiites revolve around the ocean. Ocean safaris and snorkeling trips are always popular with non-divers, and whale watching during humpback season (June – October) is always incredible. It is worth noting that snorkeling trips occasionally swim alongside giant manta rays and whale sharks.

 If you travel towards Tofinho, be sure to check out a vibrant surfing scene, which attracts surfers worldwide. Body boarding and kite boarding are also increasingly popular here.

There is no beach immediately off Inhambane, but again if you venture outside town to a surrounding resort there will be plenty of beautiful shores to laze on.

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You need a 4 x 4 or 2 x 4 with difflock to negotiate the last few kilometres to most resorts in the area, so please enquire about safe parking options if your vehicle is not suitable. 

Beware of the traffic police when driving here in Mozambique as police tend to issue unfair fines or “bribes” to their favour.  Make sure that you obtain the Mozambican traffic rules, regulations and law when booking your accommodation and your trip should be hassle free.

Ladies collecting shells, Credit

Always bring with you a mosquito repellant and definitely consider taking anti-malarials. This region has among the highest incidences of malaria in the country.

 There are no hyperbaric chambers in all of Mozambique. The nearest chambers are located in South Africa, in either Johannesburg, Pretoria or Durban.

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Rating 8/10


Inhambane12 Aug 2013 - 26 Aug 2013

Humpbacks, Giant Manta Rays, Turtles, Lionfish

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