Why go shark diving in Mozambique

Have you ever considered diving with sharks in Mozambique? Many people fear sharks. Most people know that sharks are the apex predators of the deep blue ocean. Mozambique is one of the best places in the world to dive with bull sharks. But that’s not all – Whale Sharks, Stingrays, Giant Mantas, and Tiger Sharks. World-class diving with sharks in Mozambique takes aspirant tourists to explore the depths of Ponta do Ouro, Tofo, and Barra and the marine sanctuary of Bazaruto Archipelago National Park. Sure, sharks have big teeth and are ferocious carnivores. But what most people don’t know is that sharks are key species with a critical role to play in ocean health.

The apex predators of the sea, sharks are there to maintain the balance between smaller species, tiny organisms, and ocean flora. There are many reasons why you should go diving with sharks in Mozambique, but the main reason is the mere thrill of the adventure, seeing such charismatic species in its unique ecosystems. 

group of guests swimming with sharks
Did you know? Ponta Do Ouro in southern Mozambique is rated as one of the top shark diving sites in the world.

Diving with bull sharks is dangerous as these sharks do not like to be provoked and are extremely territorial. There are plenty of stories of bull sharks attacking humans off the coasts of America, in Sydney Harbor Australia, and in the river Ganges in India! Shark diving in Mozambique is a good way to give back to ocean conservation and marine scientific research. 

As the human population grows and indiscriminate fishing causes a decline in shark populations, serious consequences multiply for many species across the oceans globally.  The bull shark, for example, is a unique predator in Mozambique and along the eastern African coastline.  It’s called a euryhaline species because it is adapted to live in both salty and freshwater habitats including oceans, estuaries, mangroves, and rivers. It is large, moves easily, and is an opportunistic feeder living on bony fish, small sharks, other bull sharks, and stingrays. They also catch turtles, birds, dolphins, terrestrial mammals, crabs, and smaller ocean species.

Join the efforts in southern Mozambique, an acclaimed global hotspot for a wealth of some 147 extraordinary endemic shark and ray species.  These megafauna help plankton to proliferate when they dive between shallow and deep ocean levels. If shark numbers drop, plankton populations decrease and other species like whales are negatively impacted.

Diving in the Bazaruto Islands is a life-changing experience

The Bull Sharks at Ponta do Ouro

The best time to see the Bull Sharks at Ponta do Ouro is from about October to May, during the summer months with the best months being December and March.  This is when the Bullsharks congregate the deeper reefs. The best place to see them is at the flourishing Pinnacles Reef, voted one of the top shark diving sites in the world. Ideally located within a marine reserve, this dive site at Ponta Do Ouro offers divers close encounters with a remarkable array of shark species in a single, unbaited dive. 

Ponta boasts 19 species of sharks in its reefs and offshore waters, creating an ideal setting for both recreational divers and scientific shark researchers. Since 2009, the 3 Fathoms Bull Shark Project has been conducting groundbreaking studies here, using unique in-water sampling and acoustic tagging techniques to unravel the mysteries of these sharks. Conserving bull sharks creates a positive ripple effect for other species in the region.

A bull shark swimming in the ocean
Divers do not need to worry about scuba diving with bull sharks as they do not pose any threat to us.

The Pinnacles, rising from 50m to 29m off the ocean floor, is a marine oasis, attracting fish and numerous bull sharks in the Maputo Special Reserve area. Ponta Do Ouro offers uncrowded dive sites and clear ocean waters so seeing a variety of sharks in one dive is guaranteed – bull sharks, tiger sharks, hammerheads, black tip, and silvertip sharks. What makes Ponta Do Ouro even more enticing is the absence of baiting or chumming. Drifting in the blue, divers witness surreal sharks engaged in their natural behaviors. Cownose rays, mobulas, eagle rays, and large shoals of game fish add to the captivating experience.

At Mozambique Travel we work exclusively with Back to Basics Adventures who are the shark diving specialists in Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique. They have over 13 years of diving with sharks in the area and they will offer you the best SHARK diving experience. The shark species frequently encountered are:

Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) and Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

Oceanic Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) and Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini)

Silvertip Shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus), Spinner Shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna) and Zebra Shark (Stegostoma tigrinum)

A typical shark diving package would include accommodation with 5 shark dives and 5 reef dives. Please note all Shark Dives are un-baited, relying on the dive groups behaviour to create curiosity from the sharks with the approaching the divers.

Shark diving at Ponta Do Ouro is a seasonal activity, best in November to April, coinciding with the congregation of bull sharks on deeper reefs during the hot summer months. Bull sharks are euryhaline species that thrive in salt water, brackish water, and freshwater including the deep sea, estuaries, mangroves, and rivers. 

Threats to bull sharks in Mozambique include increased catches, habitat degradation, and pollution, making effective conservation measures crucial. In addition, frequent human-bull shark interactions in coastal areas have led to fatalities, increasing resentment and persecution in some communities. There is still not enough data on their distribution, habitat use, and population structures which impedes conservation efforts.

The bull shark was so named thanks to its stocky shape, broad snout, and unpredictable behavior. They are known for their aggressiveness, especially in brackish and freshwater systems, but their numbers continue to decline as shark-culling near beaches continues. 

Swimming with Whale Sharks and Giant Mantas

Experience the opportunity to dive or snorkel with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean along the Mozambique coastline. This is your opportunity to marvel at such majestic creatures and see how curious they are towards people too.

Swimming with whale sharks is an unforgettable Mozambique holiday highlight

Whale Sharks are an endangered species and the largest living fish globally, often reaching lengths of more than 14 m. Remarkably, divers do not require permits to swim with these gentle giants as they exhibit peaceful natures and are considered harmless. It’s sad therefore that humans are their only apparent predators, a threat exacerbated by increasing hunting practices. 

A whale shark in the ocean waters of Mozambique
To dive with Whale Sharks in their natural habitat is a breath-taking and very rewarding experience.

Manta Rays are also classified as fish and rank among the largest species in this category. The largest known Manta Ray spans over 7.6 m in width, weighing about 2,300 kg! Unlike their Stingray relatives, Mantas lack a stinging barb. Despite their large mouths lined with numerous sharp teeth, Mantas don’t use these teeth for eating but rather an efficient filter-feeding system.

The best diving with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays in Mozambique is during the summer months in Praia do Tofo and the Bazaruto Archipelago. Swim with these fish in Tofo from September to February, while in the Bazaruto Archipelago, they gather between October and April. Remember that February is prone to cyclones. It is crucial to adhere to responsible practices and strict interaction guidelines.

Ethical Marine Mammal Tourism is essential!

Other Shark Diving Locations in Mozambique

There are several other shark diving locations in Mozambique and while great whites are not commonly sighted due to warmer waters, the country is home to spinner sharks, leopard sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, and gentle whale sharks. Notable locations for shark diving include the Bazaruto Archipelago, Ponta do Ouro and Tofo Beach.

guest diving with a Manta Ray in Mozambique
Many scuba divers, snorkelers and freedivers travel to remote destinations just to see the manta rays, or as they are sometimes called “sea birds”, in the wild.

The Ponto do Ouro area stands out for bull shark sightings, especially between October and March. North of Ponto do Ouro, the unexplored reefs around Ponta Malongane offer exciting dives while Ponta Mamoli is less developed and secluded, providing exclusive reef diving experiences. Inhaca Island, near Maputo, accessible by boat or air, offers great reef diving opportunities.

Stay at the exclusive White Pearl Resorts, Ponta Mamoli!

Metundo Canyon and Lazarus Banks for Fishing and Diving

The Metundo Canyon, situated in the northern part of the Quirimbas Archipelago, offers remarkable fishing and diving experiences. The canyon, approximately 5 nautical miles wide, features an impressive drop-off, known as ‘Neptune’s Arm.’ This world-class dive site, accessible from the 5-star resort island of Vamizi, showcases reefs reminiscent of the Red Sea’s earlier, undeveloped years. Grey Reef Sharks aggregate at Neptune from August to December.

Some fishing and diving operators feature exciting week-long live-aboard trips to the Metundo Canyon originating from Pemba, Mozambique. These trips include stops at St. Lazarus Bank, Medjumbe Island, and other selected islands. The Metundo Canyon offers rewarding dives for advanced divers. The Vamizi Island dive center provides PADI dive courses, snorkelling, sport fishing, ethical spearfishing (free diving), and free diving trips.

Diver with shoul of fish
Diving in Mozambique is nothing short of spectacular and can easily be named as one of the largest marine life capitals of the world.

Vamizi Island, surrounded by a coralline lagoon and fringing reef, is a marine sanctuary with a no-take zone. Diving around Vamizi can occur through island stays or live-aboard yacht trips originating from Pemba, Mozambique. Trips may include stops at the Metundo Canyon, St. Lazarus Bank, Medjumbe Island, and other selected islands.

St. Lazarus Banks, an underwater atoll 80 km off the coast of Pemba, provides exceptional fishing grounds. The area covers around 20 square km, featuring depths ranging from 10 m to hundreds of meters. Fishing enthusiasts can target various game fish species, including GT’s, Tuna, Sailfish, Dog Tooth, Marlin, Wahoo, and Dorados.

deep sea fishing in Mozambique
Size does matter! And that is why Bazaruto in Mozambique is well known! Here record size fish are being caught regularly.

Diving with sharks in Mozambique is just one of the thrilling holiday activities on offer, including swimming with dolphins and whale sharks, close encounters with manta rays and exclusive deep-sea fishing excursions! Mozambique is one of the best places in the world to dive with bull sharks. But that’s not all – Whale Sharks, Stingrays, Giant Mantas, and Tiger Sharks. 

Mozambique Travel customizes your world-class diving package deal in Ponta do Ouro, Tofo, Pemba, the Bazaruto Islands, and the Quirimbas Archipelago!