If any African holiday destinations ever made your heart flutter, I bet Mozambique will make it fly. The country’s line of beautiful beaches, resort towns and friendly people are unrivaled on the continent. It you want to see a chunk of the amazing Mozambique in a few days, here is an itinerary for a self-drive into the heart of this country.

Day 1: Drive into Maputo from Johannesburg

Inhambane Jetty area (2)

It’s your first day into Mozambique and an opportunity to dive into the pleasurable experience belied in this southern Africa paradise. Quite frequently, people drive in from Johannesburg and you can do the same. For a good start, leave Jo’burg early and head straight towards the N4 highway to Maputo. The journey is about 600 kilometres. You will enter Mozambique via Komatipoort and you need only continue the journey along the N4 highway to get to Maputo. It’s a long journey and you may wish to break it with stopovers, just do it as it suits you.

Maputo is the magical capital of Mozambique with a nice blend of African and European influences. Here, you will get some of the best that the country offers including nice hotels and delicious dishes. Feel free to indulge yourself by digging into the city’s delicious cuisine and vibrant nightlight before setting out to the next destination.

Day 2-3: Maputo to Inhambane


Today, you’ll drive along the N1, towards Marracuene. Marracuene is the first town on this route outside Maputo but that is not your destination. You are driving to Inhambane, continue your journey on the N1 towards Xai-Xai. Xai-Xai is a thriving commercial centre with a bejewelled beach just outside town. Well, your journey is still some 240 kilometres away so keep going.

So far, you’ve passed through a number of cities, some with quality attractions others essentially commercial, but Inhambane is different. It is easily missed because it shares its name with the name of the province. Inhambane’s status as the provincial capital means it has all that it needs to make it attractive and charming. From pristine beaches by the sparkling waters of the India Ocean, hotels, service stations, restaurant, banks, public telephones, cinemas, shops, market, to an immigration office, you can trust Inhambane for all you need for a comfortable stay. If you lodge in the right hotel, you may have the opportunity to enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling, quad biking, ocean safari, catamaran yacht, charter boat fishing, Dhow trips and horse riding.

Day 4 – 6: Inhambane – Vilankulo

Maputo's Tunduru Garden

Maputo’s Tunduru Garden by James and Alex BonTempo

Today’s journey takes you to the gateway of Southern Mozambique Tourism, i.e. Vilankulo. For the veld, villages and bush you’ve seen so far, Vilankulo offers a respite. The town is a popular tourists’ destination with beautiful beaches, nice hotels, vibrant nightlight, excellent cuisine and a perfect base for a day trip to the beautiful Islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago.


The popular activities in Vilankulo include hiking the unspoilt nature trail of the town, dhow safari, deep-sea fishing, diving, snorkelling, yachting, sailing, wind surfing, sea kayaking among others. There are also miles of untouched and pristine beaches along the coast where you can go for horse riding or simply take a long walk. Whichever catches your fantasy, don’t hesitate to enjoy yourself to the fullest. 

Day 7: Return home

Vilankulo-Airport-(1) (1)

So far you have driven through Mozambique, had seen some of its attractions, and savoured its best. There is no doubt that you would have enjoyed your trip, especially the longer stay at Vilankulo. Today, you’ll return home. There is an international airport in Vilankulo and you can return home from there; that’s if you have arranged to return the car to Johannesburg. If, on the other hand, you intend to drive back, then use the route you used on your way here. It is easy, you can however stop by at the cities that you missed earlier; remember we mentioned Xia-Xia and Marracuene, there is also Nelspruit, a popular stopover point for tourists traveling to Kruger National Park. They are all on your route back to Johannesbourg and you can add more flavour to your trip by visiting them.


Feature Image Credits

N4 Route entering the city of Nelspruit, South Africa by Wernermeiringvdm

Michael Alvin

Michael Alvin

Creative Writer
Michael Alvin is a lawyer and a UNESCO certified journalist. At Afro Tourism, he blends creativity with his training in telling moving stories about his personal experience on his various trips across Africa.
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin

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