The three provinces of Gaza, Inhambane, and Maputo make up southern Mozambique, although it’s the 621-mile (1000km) coastline between Beira and Maputo that makes this region a vacation favorite with neighboring countries. Consequently, it's more developed than farther north. The Bazaruto Archipelago, a group of islands 12 miles (20km) offshore from the mainland between Inhassoro and Vilankulo (the area is known as Vilanculos), is very popular. Although the town of Inhambane is the oldest settlement along this part of the coast—settled by Arab traders in the 14th century and recognized as an official Portuguese town in 1753—it is the cheerful, busy little fishing town of Vilankulo that is the hub for tourism and the jumping off point for trips to Bazaruto, which is rated among the world’s best for diving and snorkeling because of its pristine coral reefs. You’ll find all sorts of lodgings here from friendly B&Bs and backpackers’ resorts to upmarket lodges and hotels. Farther south, is the seaside resort of Praia do Xai-Xai (pronounced shy-shy) renowned for its watersports and game fishing.
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