Inhassoro Beach – fishing, coral reefs and sandy beaches

In southern Mozambique, there is a quiet fishing port called Inhassoro, with a long sandy beach, seaside cabanas, and fresh seafood. Not far from Vilankulos and the Bazaruto Archipelago, Inhassoro is a quiet getaway for travellers in this part of the country.

Inhassoro, a photogenic paradise

Skeletal fishing boat shells were marooned on the sand, desiccating under the sun on the Mozambican coast, the paint faded, and wood splintering.

I took photos of them as they lay, serene and beautiful. The coast of Mozambique was a gorgeous aqua blue, the beach was perfect. Completely unexpected for a country associated in recent years with war. 

An old wooden boat covered in weeds on an african beach
Weeds reclaiming an abandoned boat
An old wooden boat upside down on inhassoro beach
A half buried boat on the shoreline

What to do in Inhassoro Beach

This is the place to visit in Mozambqiue if you want a quiet, relaxing stay at a beachside cabana. There are several options scattered up and down the long, sandy beach, many of which have swimming pools, and of course, the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

The town runs along simple dirt road, with some shops to visit, but there isn’t much to do in the town itself.

Fishing safaris in Inhassoro

Fishing safaris are a very popular activity at Inhassoro, and most hotels can arrange day trips out to deeper waters to catch big game. Marlin, sailfish, mackerel, wahoo and kingfish are just some of the impressive fish in the area, depending on the season.

The Bazaruto Archipelago

The major attraction in the area is the Bazaruto Archipelago, a protected marine park. Endangered dugongs live in this area, as well as whale sharks, manta rays, and hundreds of species of birds.

The five sandy islands are popular day trips from the neighbouring town of Vilankulos, with boat tours allowing visitors to go snorkelling, whale watching, and even stay overnight.

Hotels and camping

We set up camp at Inhassoro Camping Beach Lodge. The campsite was deserted, and our two tiny green tents were the only sign on life on this lovely beachside field.

With our car parked, and our camp site set up, we wandered around. A tiny grass-roofed shack was built near the water, but besides being perhaps a nice wedding photo location, it didn’t seem to have much purpose.

Nearby, an open-air, two-storey wooden shack rested by the water, where we poured glasses of gin and tonics. We played some music, and some friendly locals came to join us as well.

a jumping marlin on a beach lodge signpost in inhassoro
A jumping Marlin on a Beach Lodge sign

The campsite was just an attachment to the Beach Lodge itself, which offered bungalows with ocean views. There is plenty of choice for comfortable accomodation in Inhassoro, especially considering its quiet nature.

Buying fresh seafood, directly from the fishermen

Further down the beach we came across a group of fisherman, their catch of the day (which they intended to sell to nearby hotel kitchens) lined up on the sand.

Drawing of a man buying a red fish from a fisherman on inhassoro beach
Jeff shows off the fish he negotiated for

There was an impressive array of squids, crabs, and all kinds of huge fish of different sizes and colours, and we wanted to buy one for our dinner that night. We sat on the sand and negotiated with the Mozambican fisherman. Without a word of Portuguese between us, we drew numbers in the sand for the amount of Metical we wanted to pay.

After agreeing on a number, we had bought two fish, which the fisherman scaled and gutted on the beach. The fisherman’s son ran down to the water and washed it clean of sand and scales in the lapping waves.

Fish barbeque

Wrapped in plastic bags, the son and his friend carried the fish back to the camp for us. We tipped the kids for the effort (If there’s one thing we learned in Africa, it’s that people love putting in the extra miles for a tip). With fish in our car fridge, and a pile of tiny bread rolls bought from a local baker, we had dinner ready to go.

A man holds the carapace of a small sea creature on inhassoro beach
Wessel inspects a strange sea creature

Later that night, we braai’ed the fish over a campfire, cooked to perfection, despite a few crunchy grains of sand in the meal. Wessel had mentioned earlier that he didn’t like the idea of the fish washed in the sea, for hygiene reasons.

Until he said that, it hadn’t really occurred to me that the fish might not be as clean as I hoped.  

I woke up at midnight feeling sick, but nothing came. It might have just been psychological. I still think the fish was fine. I sat in the Mozambique night alone for a long while, looked at the sea, and thanked my lucky stars I was here in Africa.

Inhassoro beach with a small wooden boat
An old wooden boat on Inhassoro beach