This small, semi-tropical island lies across the bay, just 37kms from the Mozambican capital of Maputo at the entrance to Delagoa Bay, and is easily accessible by boat or ferry. Inhaca Island has a wealth of breathtaking beaches, coral reefs, and some of the best SCUBA diving and big-game fishing in the world.
The island also features large areas of unspoiled evergreen forest and bush land. Large areas of its land and shores have been protected as natural reserve since 1976, providing a unique and pristine environment, which can be enjoyed by taking one of the excellent two- to three-day hiking trails that are available for the avid walker.
All told, Inhaca has some 100 km of coastline, much of it having some of the best coral reefs in the Mozambique Channel. Snorkeling conditions in the inshore bay areas are excellent for novices and, while visibility may not be as good as it is on the offshore reefs, marine life is plentiful.
The diving Inhaca has on offer is world class. The fish life is virtually untouched and the reefs are unspoiled. The best time to dive here is when the water level is at its highest; you can then catch the tide on its ebb and drift a kilometre or more along the reef. Spearfishing is permitted on the offshore reefs, but is prohibited in the immediate vicinity of Inhaca.
A fascinating experience for scuba divers is exploring the many shipwrecks in the area. Shark diving is also possible. Staghorn and plate coral, moray eel, potato bass, large school of barracuda and kingfish are in abundance. Dolphins, whale sharks and manta rays are not uncommon during the summer months. The maximum diving depth is 30m with an average depth of approximately 18m. The average water temperature is 22-27 C and water visibility is between 10 - 30m.
Deep-sea fishermen will find themselves well catered for on Inhaca. There are several large ocean-going boats with experienced crews, and all the necessary fishing equipment is provided. Catches in the vicinity of Inhaca are often outstanding, with the island holding the several world records for various game fish and shark. Game fish in the area include marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado, kingfish and barracuda.
Other watersport facilities, which are provided include, water-skiing, para-sailing, wind surfing, kayaking, hobby cat sailing and sunset cruises. The staff is always on hand to offer professional advice and to assist where possible.
Situated just to the northwest of Inhaca Island is another smaller island called Portuguese Island. You can amble across the narrow strait when the tide is low, snorkel in the enclosed lagoon, or be even more adventurous and venture out further towards the reef with flippers, snorkel and mask. However, only do so when the water is clear, since there are sharks in the deeper waters of both these islands.
Other excursions available on the island which can be booked after arrival included mountain bicycles rental, light house trips, visit to the Marine Biological Centre and boat trips to the Portuguese Island.
Accommodation on the island can be found in the Inhaca Island Lodge. This beautiful 4 star beach hotel is situated on the western side of Inhaca Island a mere 37 km from the Maputo international airport. Accommodation consists of 40 chalets situated amongst coconut palms in a tropical setting. With a large swimming pool for those tropical afternoons, the hotel also caters for children.
The island is easily accessible from Maputo by a daily scheduled boat service, or a short flight.
photo copyright: Rani Resorts