Diving in Tofo, Mozambique

Diving in Mozambique?! Well how does one come to go diving in Mozambique? In the usual dive magazines and in most internet forums you don't see and hear much about Mozambique. If you want to see big creatures underwater, Mexico, Commodo, Tonga or the Philippines are usually recommended. But rarely is Mozambique mentioned at this point.

But first in order: During our time in South Africa in 2017, we wanted to take the chance to visit one more neighboring country. From Namibia in the west over Zimbabwe to Mozambique in the east there was a lot to choose from and each of these destinations has its merits and we would have loved to visit all of them. But as Travelin Wetsuits, of course, the sea and its secrets were again at the top of the priolist. So I quickly opened the map and there the long drawn coast of Mozambique at the warm Indian Ocean smiles at me. The first thought, why the great diving areas of South Africa should stop at the border, is not unjustified. So first of all we ask Google for "Diving Mozambique". When I click on Google Images, my eyes get bigger and bigger… One whale shark and manta ray image after the other pops up… Now I am hooked and find relatively quickly the name of the place: Tofo Beach! This diving location in Mozambique seems to be very popular with backpackers and has some really cool accommodations to offer. After some research on how to get there, we decided to go to Tofo.

With whom we have dived in Tofo… and would do it again and again

Before we left, we of course also inquired about the available diving schools, whereby we finally decided for the "PeriPeriDivers". I can no longer say exactly why. But to us the Internet appearance seemed most sympathetic and as we locally found out that our accommodation had a co-operation with you and we could save thereby 20%, the thing was us finally fixed. The Peri Peri Divers have their base on a hill above Tofo from where you have a great view over the sea. At the time of our visit in 2017, Peri Peri Divers had just started to completely rebuild their base and the result seems to have turned out really great, judging by the current pictures. Peri Peri Divers offer classic speedboat diving trips as well as "oceansafaris" that are also suitable for snorkelers. With these tours one drives with the speedboat on the sea out around after Mantas, choice sharks or also humpback whales to look out and these by its own mask to observe to be able. On a positive note, there is no hunt for the animals and there is a detailed briefing on the code of conduct for all new guests. It was very important to keep a minimum distance to the animals, so that for example the whale sharks were not surrounded from all sides. This is the best way to observe the animals; how they move freely in their natural habitat without being constricted.

Spectacular dive sites in Tofo

The real adventure is reserved for the divers and freedivers who can enjoy the daily boat rides with the speedboat that is launched from the beach. Tofo Beach offers a variety of dive sites off its coast, but with a few exceptions they are not suitable for absolute beginners, as most of the dives take place at 30m and deeper. The dive sites are mostly bigger and smaller reef structures, which are spread all over the coast and partly also far out at sea. At the reefs there were partly also strong currents, which let you fly over the seabed, which is even more fun when you are accompanied again and again by big, site-loyal potato groupers. The strong currents are also the reason why manta rays and whale sharks congregate off Tofo, as these currents transport nutrient-rich water to this relatively short coastal strip. Right on our first diving day we could have a look at the profiteers of this abundance of food. During our surface interval, the skipper spotted two large whale sharks feeding on a huge cloud of plankton. Immediately we all took the chance to get into the water with these fascinating animals, which was an indescribable feeling for all of us. When then also still another large Manta came the day was finally perfect.

Of course diving also offers great experiences. Besides the already mentioned trusting groupers, we could see mobulas, tunas, leopard sharks, whitetip reef sharks, turtles and even the very rare small eye stingray on our dives. Regarding the potential sightings in Tofo, it has to be said that these are partly seasonal. At other times it is very likely to see hammerhead sharks and larger groups of deep sea sharks. The biggest spectacle of the season (May-August) are certainly the numerous humpback whales, which make their winter quarters off the African coast and give birth to their calves. At the same time, the bulls vie for the attention of the cows, which led to magical musical accompaniment on each of our dives and to artistic circus acts above water.

And then we witnessed something… you can't put it into words

The most unbelievable experience, and one of our best dives ever, we do not want to withhold from you of course. On our second to last day we had planned a normal double dive. On arrival at the base it turned out that Steve, one of the owners, exceptionally wanted to drive the boat himself today. Until today we have the assumption, as if he had already suspected something at that time. Anyway, as usual we started from the beach and at first everything seemed as usual. When we left the bay we could already see in the distance that something was different than usual. The water surface seemed a bit more tingly than usual and there were always small fish jumping out of the water. As we got closer, we saw a big black shadow under the surface – a huge manta ray. And then another and another. When we looked into the water it was quickly clear what was going on here. The water in a large radius around our boat had turned slightly red. The current must have brought a huge swarm of krill to the coast overnight, which must have eventually attracted all the manta rays. Without further ado it was decided to do the first dive here, in buddy teams with one buoy each on the surface. So Irma and I could do the spectacle in twos. In a hurry the whole diving gear was put on and when we were finally in the water and on ca. 10m into the bottom of the krill cloud we could see at least 5 big manta rays doing loops and filling their bellies. On this day we could see a white manta ray for the first time, which we found very beautiful. In addition, a large group of small mobulas kept passing by, which seemed tiny between the big manta rays. The absolute highlight was an even bigger shadow behind me; the shadow of a gigantic whale shark. The dive could not have been better. We thought… and were wrong! A short time later two humpback whales joined the party and started to feed as well, which is very unusual as they are actually starving at this time of the day.

So what is our conclusion about diving in Tofo? It was simply overwhelming and we just couldn't believe that this place is so unknown among many divers. We were definitely not the last time there. So as soon as our son is old enough to experience the place, we will come again.