Coming from the south on the EN1, reaching the town of Lindela, you will come across a paved crossroads, rare in Mozambique as most of the secondary roads are in fact dirt road.
Here it’s different, this secondary road leads to Inhambane, the capital of region as well as its historic center. Overlooking the bay of the same name, the favourable position contributed to the rapid development of the city, the flourishing port became the main trading centre of Mozambique for textiles and ivory and in the eighteenth century slave trade.
Walking along the road connecting Lindela to Inhambane, after about 35 km, an expanse of mini stands and kiosks on both sides of the road drive you in town. The road turns into a long sea that runs along the whole bay, during low tide hours, curved female figures on the sand, gather amejoas, the tasty Mozambican clams.
The wide avenues lined with colonial buildings of Portuguese architecture are witness to the ancient splendour of Inhambane, different ethnicities and cultures have been mixing for centuries, creating an exotic charm that still preserves the city today. What is most striking is the dullness that surrounds this beautiful and decadent city, which in spite of its political and administrative significance does not suffer from the chaos and the ferment induced by the Mozambique bureaucracy.
What keeps this kind of “non-contamination” is the presence beyond the bay of the city of Maxixe, just 4 km away to the other side of the bay. The two towns are connected to each other by a dense service of small ferries that, for a few Meticais, move uninterruptedly from one side to the other with a swarm of people with their loads of various merchandise.
A number of public administration offices have been transferred to Maxixe, they have been small supermarkets, shops, restaurants and dining venues, which absorb most of the day every day city traffic.
Inhambane placid and sleepy moves at the pace of the tides, now lives mainly fishing and reflection, of the crumbs of tourism in transit for the Praia of Tofo and Ponta Barra.
by Nunzio De Nigris