Like a string of jewels, Mozambique’s coastal lakes stretch for 500km (311 miles) from Ponta do Ouro in the south as far north as Inharrime. Many lagoons and estuaries, like Piti, Quissico and Poelela, have been cut off from the sea by some of the world’s tallest forested sand dunes. Others, such as the estuaries formed by the Tembe, Maputo and Umbelúzi rivers as well as stunning Lake (lagoa) Uembje at Bilene, are open to the sea, providing protected spawning grounds for the area’s fish species.
Whether seeking solitude on the shores of a lake, casting for game fish at the ‘Cape of Currents’ close to Závora Lodge, paddling a canoe up the Incomáti River estuary, exploring the superb coral reefs from Ponta do Ouro, Praia do Tofo or Morrungulo, or taking a self-drive safari in the Maputo Elephant Reserve, this strip of tropical coastline promises surprises from the crest of every dune and around the next headland along each idyllic beach.
This is Da Gama’s Terra da Boa Gente (Land of Good People) – a reputation still deserved today, nearly 500 years after the Portuguese explorer anchored off Inharrime and was showered with gifts by the locals.
The proximity to Maputo International Airport (from where light aircraft may be chartered) and the wide range of accommodation on offer make the Lagoon Coast an ideal starting point for a Mozambican adventure. Base yourself at one of the charming and ideally located resorts and lodges described in this chapter and from there explore the variety and haunting beauty of the lakes and lagoons and their flora and fauna.
Within a 30km (18-mile) radius of Inhambane town lie at least a dozen destinations well worth a visit. From legendary Linga Linga Peninsula (no facilities) at the entrance to Baia de Inhambane (where dugongs are sometimes spotted), Tofo beach (accessible in normal car) where Diversity Scuba offer a chance to explore the undersea world and the serene sands of Ponta da Barra to the prolific marine life of Paindane’s beautiful Lighthouse Reef, and Guinjata Bay’s comprehensive facilities, visitors can expect a cultural, culinary and historical feast.