Located about 40 kilometres off the coast of Maputo, visitors to Mozambique will discover yet another of Mozambique’s breathtaking wonders – Inhaca Island.
Among Inhaca’s many qualities its rich history of legends and myths travel far and wide.
Locals love telling the story of a man called Nhaca. He was apparently an unconscious shipwreck survivor who arrived on the island on a wooden raft. When he regained consciousness, he found the island to be deserted and crossed the Santa Maria Channel to reach Machangulo. After marrying, he returned to the island and settled on it. Locals also believe that the Marula tree enables communication between people and their ancestors.
Inhaca Island is easily accessed by ferry (a 2.5/3 hour trip) or a mere 20 minute flight from Maputo and apart from its scenic appeal, the island is also famed for its – snorkelling opportunities.
Inhaca is best described as an eye-catching holiday destination for all in search of a relaxed tropical island destination.
Large areas of the island and shores have been protected as a natural reserve since 1976, providing a unique and pristine environment which is ideal for the egg laying and reproduction of sea tortoises and the mangroves along the coastline are the northern-most forest of its kind found in Eastern Africa.
While Inhaca is pretty much a year-round destination with its warm climate, April to November normally provides for the best weather conditions as it is not as hot and humid as during the peak summer months.
Mostly Inhaca is famed for its diving and snorkelling opportunities, including:
The reef at Santa Maria is between three to 10 metres deep, presenting beautiful coloured tropical fish and corals.
Visitors should however note that Santa Maria is reserved for advanced and experienced divers. A strong current is present at some spots along the reef which subsides further along.
Divers to Santa Maria can look forward to a wall with big rocks covered in hard corals and a sandy bottom sloping down beyond 20m. Schools of reef fish, turtles, eagle rays and sand sharks have all been spotted in the area and the corals are called home by moonies and kingfish.
Ideal for beginners and resort training courses, Hotel Reef provides for a flat diving spot and an area rich in small tropical reef fish.
The reef has more hard coral than soft and is home to various sea stars and big shell slugs. The best time to dive this particular reef is between the tides
Another great spot for beginners, the reef is almost 400 metres long and consists of colourful soft and hard corals and plenty of tropical reef fish.
Divers will have the opportunity see spot surgeons, damsels, triggers, goldies, puffers, banner fish and playful parrotfish. Octopus and lobsters can be found hiding in crevices along the wall and green turtles are often seen gliding through the waters.
Reserved for more experienced divers, due to it being far out to sea and a double tank dive.
Divers can look forward to seeing manta rays, sharks, dolphins and turtles.
Also of interest are the remains of two sunken ships called the “Boiler” and the “Wreck.” Very little is known about them and that makes the sites even more interesting to explore.
Inhaca Island has a lot to offer visitors ranging from boat trips to the nearby Portuguese Island to excursions to the Marine Biology Museum or the Inhaca Lighthouse. There is also a small village to provide some local colour or souvenir hunting.
Visitors can also opt to rent a bicycle and cycle along the avenues with a magnificent backdrop of the Indian Ocean. Game fishing is another favoured activity. Evenings are met with spectacular sunsets with a sundowner on a dhow cruise.