We divide Southern Mozambique into three discrete parts: Maputo, lodges relatively close to Maputo and Barra & Tofu in Inhambane province. All can be accessed in a different way. We cover quite a bit of Mozambique on this page. So it’s useful to remember that the travelling distances in Mozambique are long and quite slow.
Maputo, the once-elegant capital of Mozambique, remains in some disrepair in the aftermath of the war. However there are still echoes of the colonial grandeur of ‘Lourenço Marques’. The city is well worth a visit for its very Latin joie de vivre. This is reminiscent more of Cuba or Brazil than Africa. The appeal of Maputo is now more to the senses than aesthetics; with cafés serving spicy piri piri dishes, local music and bustling markets.
Maputo is surprisingly prettily situated on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. So it’s quite easy to have a sea view even if your hotel is not right on the ocean. For Maputo hotels we recommend the Polana Serena Hotel in the heart of the old city if you are into colonial grandeur. Or the Holiday Inn Maputo for its great beach location. Most Maputo hotels can organise some guided excursions or you can explore the broad acacia-lined avenues or street markets.
Why not stay in Maputo for a night and then add some beach time? You can take a boat transfer across the bay to the lovely Machangulo Beach Lodge for a few nights.
Travel to Maputo & How to combine it with the Kruger
Maputo is only about an hour’s easy drive from the nearest border with South Africa. (This is really the only good stretch of tar road in Mozambique.) So for the more adventurous, it’s relatively easy to combine a self drive to Maputo with a safari in the Kruger National Park or one of its southern private safari lodges. We can also organize road transfers from selected lodges or Kruger Airport.
Beach Resorts ‘near’ to Maputo
Some attractive Mozambique beach resorts have opened such as White Pearl Resorts in the far south and Machangulo Beach Lodge. There are also some simple beach lodges in Bilene approx 2 hours north as well. But if you want to head north we recommend staying a night in Maputo and then driving on to Barra or Tofu.
Barra & Tofu in Southern Mozambique
The Inhambane province is one of the most picturesque areas of southern Mozambique. There are pristine beaches for snorkelling, and diving in the warm Indian Ocean. It lies between Maputo in the south and Vilanculos in the centre of Mozambique.
The small resort town of Tofo and the fishing village of Barra are particularly good choices for scuba diving and snorkeling with a choice of reefs. Here encounters with the beautiful Manta rays are almost guaranteed. In winter time you may also hear the haunting song of the humpback whales when they come into the coast to breed, an awesome sighting on a snorkelling or diving trip.
There are a few options in Barra – the more relaxed and vibey, or the more boutique Barra Beach Lodge. Tofo also has some eco lodges as well as the revamped Tofu Hotel.
A Note on travelling to Barra in Mozambique
Most of our guests fly into Inhambane from Johannesburg and then transfer to their Southern Mozambique beach resort. It is possible to drive up the coast of Mozambique from Maputo but it is a LONG way. Realistically we think that this is the furthest north you can drive in relative comfort!
You can combine a few days on the beach at Barra or Tofu with exploring the colonial city of Maputo or perhaps driving through the Mozambique Peace Park to the heart of the Kruger National Park. To make the driving more relaxing we recommend that you spend a night or two en route either in Maputo or Bilene. We also recommend a 4×4.