Inhambane - Madagascar

The town of Inhambane lies on Inhambane Bay in southern Mozambique about 290 miles (470 km) northeast of Maputo. Two protective sandy headlands protect the harbour and form a sandbank. This is sleepy historic town known for its rusting colonial architecture including the 170 year old Cathedral of our Lady of Conception The city is now home to a museum and a market and has good beaches nearby at Tofo and Barra. You can reach the town of Maxixe across the bay by boat. Inhambane is one of the oldest settlements on the East Coast of Mozambique. Dhows traded here as early as the 11th century. Vasco da Gama called here in the late 15th century and named it Terra de Boa Gente or 'Land of the Gentle People'. The Portuguese established a permanent trading post in 1534 and the town became the first Jesuit mission to East Africa in 1560. The port became an ivory and slave trading centre in the eighteenth century. It was destroyed in 1834 but grew rapidly in the second half of the century as part of Portuguese East Africa.