One of the first areas colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Inhambane, 220 mi/355 km northeast of Maputo, was once an important trading center. Today, however, it is little more than a sleepy, yet delightful, provincial coastal town.

Old buildings and cobblestoned streets provide faded colonial charm, as does the lovely 18th-century Catholic Church, but most travelers only stay a few hours before heading to the beautiful beaches of Tofo (Praia do Tofo) 14 mi/22 km east of town, and Barra (Praia do Barra), 12 mi/20 km north of town. Tofo has somewhat of a party atmosphere, but is also renowned for some of the best scuba diving along the entire Mozambique coast.

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