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Inhaca Island: Mozambiaque’s Good Escape

Instantly throughout the bay from Maputo, Mozambique is a small island with a subsistent inhabitants of 6,000 folks on a small 56km² landmass, and it’s the prime vacation spot to flee from the remainder of the world.

Picture: Carla Geyser

Inhaca has been touted as a primary vacationer vacation spot for a while now. However the persevering with socio-economic strife and political instability within the north have hindered the potential of this island from coming to fruition. It’s nonetheless secure for travellers to go to southern Mozambique although, which incorporates locations like Maputo, Inhambane, Ponto d’Ouro and fortuitously, Inhaca.

A Diver’s Paradise

The island is a marine reserve with a big selection of snorkelling and diving websites. Snorkelling on the reefs normally requires a ship to get to which will be simply organized with an area fisherman for an affordable charge. Probably the most accessible reef to swim out to is Coral Gardens, about 1km south from the jetty and 500m out, that may be reached from the shore for many who are sturdy sufficient swimmers. The reef is shallow, about 6m deep throughout excessive tide.

One other common reef is Santa Maria (also called Ponte Torres) on the southern facet of the island. Getting there’s a 45-minute boat experience from the jetty, identified for its ‘drift’ dives or snorkelling, the place a rocky ledge has a steep drop to about 20m. The rocky outcrops and caves harbour a range of marine life, a complete of 327 completely different reef fishes have been recognized round Inhaca.

A comparatively unknown and fewer explored reef is Baixa Danea. It’s thought-about a world-class diving web site situated off the northern level of the island.  It provides a bounty of marine and coral life amongst the stays of an outdated steam cargo ship. This ship is believed to be the M/Hai Hing sunk by a German U-boat in November 1942. One can swim between the boilers and look into the engine room whereas exploring the remainder of the 2km reef. The reef contains many overhangs, caves and gulleys with a depth of 5m till 35m on its northwesterly drop-off. Hammerhead sharks are common guests in addition to blacktip reef sharks and nurse sharks. Loggerhead and leatherback turtles additionally reside at this reef, which is a deal with for anybody fortunate sufficient to dive there.

The Village

The island has a small market and some eating places, all centrally situated. The market has a variety of contemporary produce and the eating places serve up scrumptious seafood caught across the island. There are solely three eating places within the village, Luca’s Restaurant, Restaurante Tropical and Erca Bar, Restaurant.

They’re all centrally situated close to the market serving up the ocean’s bounty for good worth, and phrase on the road is that the island’s prawns are a number of the finest. The island additionally boasts three bakeries and the bakery subsequent to the village, with its wood-fired oven, is famend for its distinctive style.

Entry to one of many Eating places on Inhaca. Picture: Meraj Chhaya.


Realizing that there’s sufficient diving and eating to be executed on the island, there’s additionally time for a relaxed island-style life. The seashores are spectacular and the east facet of the island is protected in Maputo bay means there aren’t any sturdy currents, which means one can take a dip within the picturesque heat waters.

Within the northern bay of the island, there’s a mangrove forest that may be walked to or kayaked round. These Mangroves play an vital position in stopping soil erosion and offering a secure habitat for the crustacean species. One also can make a journey to the opposite facet of the island to see the lighthouse and discover the extra abandoned seashores on the island’s east coast.

The Mangroves of Inhaca Island.

To study extra concerning the atmosphere of the island, the marine biology museum, Museum Biologica, is an fascinating place to go to about 2km south of the principle village. The museum is a part of the Inhaca Marine Biology Analysis Station that additionally includes laboratories, a herbarium, analysis rooms, a library and lodging services to host researchers.

A show on the marine biology museum. Picture: Valentina Buj

The museum has been researching for the reason that Nineteen Twenties, and lots of researchers from South Africa and Portugal for discipline journeys within the Nineteen Fifties and 60s. In 2016, the institute acquired a analysis vessel together with trendy gear for its capability rebuilding program. It’s not a contemporary museum however has an attractive show of molluscs, fish, birds, crops and reptiles collected on the island. It homes a full skeleton of the critically endangered Dugong.

The Dugong is critically endangered and a small inhabitants happens at Inhaca. Picture: Julien Willem

Getting There

The morning ferry to Inhaca makes for spectacular surroundings.

Mozambique continues to be permitting travellers, supplied they current a adverse covid check taken inside three calendar days of arrival. Attending to Inhaca includes taking a ferry from Maputo, at Katembe pier. The ferry units off at 7:30 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and at 11 am on Fridays. It leaves Inhaca on every of lately at 3 pm.

The ticket prices 280mtn (R62) every means, however bear in mind to spare an additional 30mtn (R7) to pay for the small boats on the Inhaca facet that take you from the ferry to the shore because the ferry can’t dock on the pier. You must wade your solution to the shore from the boats to the shore from about knee-high, so do gown appropriately.

Do word, that there’s an island conservation tax of 200mtn (R400) once you arrive.

The outdated authorities ferry being disembarked onto the smaller boats to the seashore.

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