Tofo Beach Top Spot For Whale Shark Swimming

tofo scuba diving

If you’re looking at Mozambique holiday packages and want to be as adventurous as you possible can while away, then you absolutely must head to Tofo Beach, some 400km outside the capital of Maputo.

Here, you’ll find one of the biggest concentrations of whale sharks in the entire country and trust us when we say that there’s really nothing quite as exhilarating as strapping on your flippers, snorkel and mask, and freediving in the beautiful ocean alongside the majestic beasts.

If you’re determined to see them and will be sorely disappointed if you miss out on the chance, make sure you book your Mozambique flights to arrive between October and March, which is when you’re most likely to get a sighting of pods of whales.

There are several dive centres that can take you out on a snorkelling trip, including Diversity Scuba and TofoScuba. Of course, you’re likely to see all sorts of other marine life as well as whale sharks, from manta rays and dolphins to turtles. If you book to arrive between June and November, you might also be very much in luck and see the humpback migration, which would be amazing and certainly worth heading to the region for. Keep your cameras at the ready!

If you’ve never swum in open waters before and are a little nervous, there’s no need to worry. Dive centres like TofoScuba offer day training in scuba diving and other courses as well so you can put your mind at ease with expert tuition before you go.

Self Drive Mozambique – 10 Good Tips for a Safe Journey

self drive mozambique

Criss-crossing the dynamic landscapes of Mozambique takes some guts. Things change around every corner on a self-drive holiday through this awe-inspiring African destination. From untouched bushveld in game reserves to endless white beaches and violet oceans, Mozambique entices visitors to sample her treasures. If you self-drive, you can soak it all up in your own time.

The Perks of Driving Your Own Car Across Mozambique:

  • You get to explore corners of the country other travellers would never know existed.
  • You get to take things at your own pace – this is your custom made, tailor made holiday in paradise where you call the shots and decide when and where to eat and drink or sleep.
  • You meet people from all walks of life, locals and visitors – in border queues, country pubs, beach cafes and maybe a cultural show or live music gig
  • You pick your choice of accommodation ranging from camping and self-catering to friendly guest houses and villas to private chalets, five star hotels and pristine island lodges.
Not only is Mozambique famous for her islands, her beaches, her intact wilderness areas and her fantastic water sports, but so too is she valued for her awesome holiday accommodation in every town and province you may experience, planned or not.
Book ahead and drive there, along the 3000km shoreline or via the main artery roads leading to Maputo. If you self-drive from Johannesburg and want to head to Maputo, incorporate a few days in Kruger National Park – or start in the north of Mozambique when you take off from Malawi, Lilongwe.

 

Take Heed of These Tips:

  • Always stay within the speed limits and respect the rules of the road. This is a busy country where bicycles, donkeys, carts, taxis, huge trucks and buses use the road at the same time. Even on the main EN1 highway, you must look out for goats and sheep, cattle and vendors at the sides of the road. When you approach a small town, slow down to 80kph, then 60kph as you enter the town. Traffic police will usually be waiting for people like you who don’t like to slow down. If you hit a speed trap, expect to pay a minimum fine of Mtn 1 000 but remember not to pay any bribes, even when you are in the wrong. Pay the due fine and ask for an official receipt.
  • Do not use your cellphone while driving.
  • Do not drive on the beaches. This is illegal and results in the wanton destruction of turtle nests and has been known to cause changes in dolphin behaviour. Crabs, snails and other tiny creatures come out onto the beaches at night too.
  • Do not go off the main roads as many roads are unpassable. There may even be remnants of land mines since the civil war a few years ago.
  • Take your passport that is still valid for 6 months after your return date and make sure it has at least 2 blank pages before you set off. Make sure your driver’s license is real and up to date. South Africans do not need a Visa.
  • Ensure that you have third party vehicle insurance so arrange this before your trip to save time and money. Make sure your insurance does cover Mozambique. Read the fine print.
  • Make certified colour copies of all your legal, ID and travel documents and hide them in a separate place to your original documents. Laminate the copies to protect them.
  • You can take some things into the country with you but make sure you keep the slips from when you purchased them: alcohol (1 litre spirits or 2.25l of wine but NO beer); tobacco (200 Cigarettes or 100 Cigarillos or 50 Cigars); Perfumes (50ml of perfume or 250ml of Eau de Toilette; Pharmaceutical products (prescribed by a registered medical practitioner).
  • When loading or repairing your vehicle, or involved in an accident, by the side of the road, you are expected to wear reflective vests by law. You also need to carry 2 red triangles for break downs or accidents.
  • It is best to visit the country between May and October for the best weather and to avoid the heat and the South African school holidays. Travel out of season to escape the crowds.
  • It helps if you are a bit of a car mechanic as you may need to sort your car out in the middle of nowhere. Take along enough spares to get you to the nearest garage if need be: tyres, jacks, fan belt, fuses, etc.

The Best Way to Self-Drive in Mozambique is the Chilled Way

Be polite to all and sundry, especially the police. Be organised – take a good guide book and maps or GPS, taking time to explore off the beaten track. See the deserted beaches where no one else goes, camp here a while and imprint the golden sunrises on your mind forever. Sip cold Mozambique beers at local taverns and surf a wave at Tofo. Ride horses in Inhambane, dance the night away in Maputo. Take a boat to Inhaca for the day and spend a weekend tasting the decadent delights at an island lodge in the Bazaruto Archipelago.

 

Check out our self-drive packages here and choose the right accommodation for your exciting self-drive Mozambique road adventure today.

10 Beach Holidays for Every Kind of Traveller

Mozambique Beaches

1. For the Conservationist – Vamizi Island

Vamizi Island is big on conservation and the preservation of the marine and island wildlife. Fly to the Quirimbas Archipelago and learn more how the community monitors turtle populations and manages the surrounding marine sanctuary. This could be the most meaningful Mozambique island holiday you have ever experienced. Vamizi is ideally situated in specific sea currents which contain huge reserves of minute plankton, a major food source for most species living within this complex coral reef system. Divers should look out for huge groups of Giant Potato Cod, Grey Reef Sharks, Snapper, Batfish, Turtles, Barracuda and more. Dive sites such as Neptune’s Arm, Fraggle Rock and Skunk Alley suit both beginners and experienced divers.

2. For the Camping Expert – Ibo Island Dhow Safaris 

Ibo Island dhow safaris It is all about snorkelling off deserted white sandbanks into clear blue seas then camping overnight on secluded Quirimbas beaches eating fresh seafood on the fire. Yes, Ibo Island Lodge is the only Mozambique island holiday resort offering fully tailor made Mozambique Dhow Safaris into the Quirimbas Archipelago. Look out for indigenous fishermen drying their sardines on the sands,  whales frolicking in the lake-like ocean and turtles digging out a sandy nest.

You will be under the eye of an expert professional guide and local crew who will erect tents, arrange the food in an elegant picnic and ensure you are left alone in a discreet manner. Go for the standard recommended minimum itinerary of four nights island hopping by dhow or kayak and three nights at Ibo Island Lodge – but you are free to tailor make your perfect adventure and include some diving and snorkelling too.

3. For the Party Animals – Maputo 

If you are looking for a trendy place for a weekend break, fly into the capital city of Mozambique, Maputo. All travellers love its diverse accommodation, cosmopolitan vibes and stunning setting of harbour and beaches. The architecture is a wonderful blend of Arab, French, Oriental, Portuguese and African, as well as fashionable Art Deco. Meet people gathering to eat great food in diverse restaurants, and to unwind in great nightclubs after long working days. Maputo is a place of music, dancing and great seafood. People are friendly and most places are safe. From exclusive hotels and restaurants to the more lowly, local and very real eating places, this is the place to be for fun and great tastes.

4. For Lovers of Sailing and Water Sports – Bazaruto Archipelago 

Benguerra Island floats in the Bazaruto Archipelago like a diamond in the sun. Go and see for yourself an authentic Mozambique lifestyle with plenty of luxury thrown in. You can relax in your private villa at the edge of the sea or get out and scuba dive, walk, snorkel or enjoy ocean safaris to see dolphins and whales. The island is part of the Marine National Park which makes it a diver’s dream destination -offshore coral reefs, inshore sea grass beds, large stocks of pelagic fish and long stretches of pristine sandy beaches. Dolphins come regularly to the beach and whales migrate seasonally past these shores.

Go snorkelling to see underwater sights that take your breath away. Helicopter flips to overnight dhow safaris and ocean safaris to dive with the dolphins. The best way to get around between islands is by motorised boat or traditional sailing dhow – and island hopping safaris are now a popular way to get to see more than one island in this splendid Bazaruto Archipelago.

5. For those who are exhausted – Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa 

For a very laid back, chilled Mozambique hotel, look for the Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort on Bazaruto Island. Book a chic island style room and enjoy swish island style cuisine – far from predictable, your holiday in the Bazaruto Archipelago will be so remarkable that you will never want to leave this paradise!

Think hammocks swinging in the breeze, cocktails served around the lovely pool area and a deep tissue massage at the spa while the ocean view dominates your vision. All of this enriched by the genuine smiles of the staff, the genuine dedication to good service that is Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort and Spa.

The beach is pristine – leave only your footprints as you stroll daily along white sands, picking up shells and forgetting what happened yesterday. Tons of fresh air and sunlight spark that appetite so be ready to indulge in pancakes for breakfast, fresh salads for lunch from the hotel’s own garden, and seafood to die for in the starry evenings.

6. For Bird Lovers – Ibo Island Lodge 

Ibo Island is not just any island – it is a floristic wonderland where all kinds of birds come to play, breed and feed. The headquarters of the Quirimbas National Park, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, find the isle in front of one of Africa’s largest mangrove forests. So, whether you are a dedicated ornithologist or an amateur bird-watcher, you will marvel at the wealth of beautiful, and often rare, birds in Mozambique.

Explore the wooded areas on Ibo and get there when the tides are coming in or going out. The lush, low-lying ocean mangrove forests are a special adventure for ardent bird-watchers. Settle in quietly at sunset when hundreds of birds fly in to roost – what an impressive sight! More than 700 different bird species, 10 of these being threatened, have made their home on Ibo. Goliath Herons, Fish Eagles, Egrets, Flamingo’s and Pelicans are all regular visitors and the tropical gardens at the lodge support a large range of Sunbirds, Wood peckers and the beautiful lilac breasted Roller. Trained guides teach you about every little Ibo flitter and flutter.

7. For Culture – Ilha de Mozambique 

Your holiday on Ilha de Mozambique, an historical island and famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, guarantees unforgettable experiences. Discover numerous relics of its ancient past. Book an awesome accommodation special package and spend your holiday exploring ancient ruins, taking a traditional dhow cruise out to sea and watching local people go about their daily business.

Ilha de Mozambique is famous for its Stone Town and Fort São Sebastião, a reminder of an interesting past. Originally the capital of Mozambique, for 400 years, before the Portuguese decided to make their capital Lourenco Marques (now called Maputo) this island is a unique blend of cultural times gone by and breath-taking beauty. Book a few days at the unique Hotel Escondidinho, a renovated 19th century house – once a trading house where slaves were housed.

Or the house of Terraco das Quitandas which is more than 300 years old, located in the heart of the island’s Stone Town. This gracious old colonial building dates back to a rich past of Portuguese, African and Arab influences. It was once home to many different merchants and traders, followed by Portuguese rulers and oozes with history and authenticity.

8. For Furious Fitness Freaks – Tofo 

From scuba diving and surfing, snorkelling and deep sea fishing, Tofo offers perfect outdoor activity for those who love moving. Horse riding, bird watching, quad biking and dhow cruises are also fantastic fun on beaches and sand tracks around the region.

Explore some 15 pristine dive sites which are part of a renowned coral reef, one being Manta Reef. Come between October and February and catch a gigantic Black Marlin trophy. Catch a ride with big game fishermen to see how they do it. You may see Humpback whales breaching while out at sea and can also try your hand at sea and lagoon kayaking, kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing / bodyboarding, parasailing and jet-skiing. Afterwards, book your dhow cruise to Inhambane and see Tofo from a different angle completely.

9. For the romantic – Massinga Beach Lodge 

Mozambique is the quintessential honeymoon hideaway, surrounded by aquamarine waters, beautiful beaches, tropical forests and fresh water lakes.  For here you will find luxury island resorts and hotel accommodation, sunny skies, moonlit walks and candlelit dinners on a beach stretching for miles. At Massinga Beach Lodge couples are treated like royalty and respond well to five-star service, the huge lobsters grilled to perfection, the secluded beaches. Stay for longer in an Ocean View Villa complete with phenomenal views, beautiful decor, crisp white linen on comfy beds, rain showers and free standing baths. The private deck and plunge pool promote relaxation and romance.

Massinga Beach Lodge

Enjoy special meals served to you on your deck – or enjoy the elevated restaurant and bar. Cuisine at Massinga includes fresh seafood and other delicious dishes. A real hit with honeymooners are the private beach picnics – choose a secluded spot, sip a glass of bubbly and enjoy a swim in the warm Indian Ocean.

10. For Anglers and Scuba Divers – Machangulo Beach Lodge 

High tide at Machangulo is a wild time of natural energies and surging waters. Fishermen love the deep channels here and all kinds of fishing are on offer. Guided offshore and channel fishing will teach anglers new tricks while rock and surf fishing is up to you although you can request a guide. This is great fly fishing territory and the lodge can assist with tackle and setting up. Fishing, like some of the other activities, is dependent on the weather and tides. Machangulo Beach Lodge uses two modern and safe powerboats designed for diving and fishing.

Diving is very rewarding at this lodge, the estuary and sea coming in to create a unique setting. Within the marine reserves lie some excellent visuals of protected marine species that create that ideal and sublime diving experience. The lodge offers courses for novice divers and some wonderful shipwreck sites for those in the know. The PADI instructor is one of the first Mozambicans to ever attain his Instructor Level with PADI!

We have mentioned 10 different beach holidays for all kinds of travellers. Mozambique has it all. We could go on until we reach 100 so allow this sample to whet your appetite to travel into Mozambique for your next holiday.

Contact Us to book your Mozambique holiday now

7 Things to do while in Mozambique

Dhow Cruise Ilha De Mozambique

Mozambique is in the news again because it is the IN tourist destination this summer. There is so much to do in sunny Mozambique and we are going to whittle this down to only 7 MUST do’s. There are world class beaches, fancy hotels and island villas, top end water sport activities, scuba diving, whale watching and spa treatments. The list goes on and on. Try these 7 things to do for starters:

1. Visit Maputo and stay in the awesome Hotel Avenida 

Maputo has been the capital of Mozambique for nearly 120 years. Once known as Lourenço Marques, it is also the biggest city in Mozambique and home to the country’s most important natural harbour. Only 90 km from the border of South Africa, this was initially known as Delagoa Bay, discovered by Vasco da Gama in 1498.

You can visit the port or take a walk to the picturesque beaches from there – where you can surf the strong waves and meet smiling locals selling fresh cashew nuts. When you set off on foot to explore Maputo, you will find many others doing the same – residents, visitors, business people, tourists and children.

Make your base the plush Hotel Avenida which offers the highest standards for tired businessmen and families rearing to go. Work out in the high-tech Health Club and Spa, do laps in the outdoor swimming pool, then sip great South African wines in the wonderful bar. Discover this regal Mozambique hotel only five minutes away from the glorious Botanical Gardens, colonial city hall, museum of natural history and Maputo Cathedral. Enjoy ballroom and honeymoon facilities, a hair salon and sauna plus state of the art business facilities including free high speed Wi-Fi, modern audio-visual equipment and computer station.

2. Picnic on Inhaca Island 

Launching from Maputo Bay, boats take tourists to one of the last biodiversity hot spots in Africa. Few people live here on a peaceful isle where rare and wonderful plants and animals still exist. Take time to wander around, visiting the museum and snorkelling the bays to see incredible ocean creatures. This is the kind of destination people dream about – space, silence, wild nature and somewhere beautiful to stay. At low tide, you can walk to nearby Portuguese Island for a swim but time it when the cruise ships are not there.

3. Deep Sea Diving in Tofo

Launching from Maputo Bay, boats take tourists to one of the last biodiversity hot spots in Africa. Few people live here on a peaceful isle where rare and wonderful plants and animals still exist. Take time to wander around, visiting the museum and snorkelling the bays to see incredible ocean creatures. This is the kind of destination people dream about – space, silence, wild nature and somewhere beautiful to stay. At low tide, you can walk to nearby Portuguese Island for a swim but time it when the cruise ships are not there.

4. Ocean safaris 

If you want to get out and see marine wildlife in comfort and without getting wet, choose an ocean safari. These boat rides are offered by many luxury hotels and lodges and often go out at sunset where cocktails and cold beers are served as you watch the sun sink into the sea.  You may be lucky enough to see dolphins surfing the swells and the ocean is so clear in Mozambique that you will also be able to view Manta rays, Whale sharks and if you are in the Bazaruto Archipelago, the rare Dugong grazing sea grasses far below you. Most Mozambican boats are simple wooden vessels called dhows and their local sailors have many stories to tell.

5. Holiday in the Bazaruto Archipelago 

These idyllic islands off the Mozambique main coastline offer a wide range of beach holiday activities where holidays centre around sea and sun and sand. Time to escape real life and do something completely different – get active or relax on an island in Mozambique when you try kite surfing, wind surfing, kayaking, snorkelling, deep sea diving and fishing. Relax in various therapeutic spas and wellness centres, gyms, libraries and stunning swimming pool decks. Discover a unique rustic-chic atmosphere where everything is built in natural Mozambique style yet features luxurious facilities.

 

6. Dhow Cruise in the Quirimbas Archipealgo

Pretend to be an adventurer of yesteryear who searched the waters for land, having never set foot in these parts ever before. Look out for traditional fishermen still catching fish from their Dhows as they have been doing for centuries. Ibo Island Lodge (LINK) island hopping dhow safaris involve camping in tents on a desert island somewhere, elegant picnic lunches under shade and chats around the fire all night while professional guides and local crews leave you in peace.

Evening fires and lanterns create soft lights and food is grilled to perfection – smell those Mozambican spices as the lobster cooks! Choose the scheduled dhow safari that suits you or tailor make your own safari in discussion with Ibo Island Lodge staff. The best package is the standard recommended minimum itinerary of 4 nights’ island hopping by dhow (with kayaks and dive equipment on board) and 3 nights at Ibo Island Lodge.

Quirimbas Archipelago Dhow Safaris Ibo Island

7. A Cultural holiday on Mozambique Island 

Book a wonderful Mozambique holiday package to this tiny island, only three kilometres long and 500 metres wide. Walk across the bridge connecting the island to the mainland and mingle with the approximately 16 000 people living mostly in thriving Macuti Town. Stone Town, on the northern half of the island is worth a visit due to its significant architectural and cultural landmarks. Choose hotel or lodge accommodation then walk all over this island but bike riding is increasingly popular – bike hire stands are on offer at some hotels.

Visitors to Ilha de Mozambique can book a bike tour to see every historical site with stops at restaurants and bars, beaches and shops. Diving holidays reveal wonderful sites underwater and visitors can start at the dive centre at the north of the island. Boat trips out to see nearby islands of Goa and Sete Paus or Sena Island are amazing and swimming at the Pontao (pier) is fantastic with surprisingly good snorkelling including a sunken barge.

Contact Us to book your Mozambique holiday now

Travel Guide – Your Questions Answered to Tofo

Baia Sonambula

Tofo is a picturesque village close to Inhambane, known for its fantastic surfing, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. There are great pubs and restaurants where you can while away the time sipping local beer, sampling grilled prawns and crayfish – and just chilling.

It is worth taking a visit to Inhambane for a dhow cruise around the harbour and a walk through the historical architecture, meeting friendly local people. Tofo is very popular with South African divers who come in their droves during school holidays to see the dolphins, Whale sharks and Manta rays. Tofo beach is ideal for swimming and most accommodation is on the beach while Tofino Beach is smaller and most accommodation is raised on the dunes – a great fly fishing beach.

Getting to Tofo:

The nearest town to Tofo is Inhambane and the Inhambane airport is 24 kilometres away. LAM flights land here regularly from Maputo and Johannesburg. You can also self-drive all the way from Johannesburg on tar roads but some lodges will need a 4×4 to get in. Tofo itself can be accessed on tar and gravel roads. Get the bus from Inhambane to Tofo if you are stuck. Contact one of our expert consultants to assist you with your travel plans.

What to do in Tofo:

You can chat to people back home on the slow internet connection; you can visit the local market and find fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and seafood straight from the local boats. Accommodation is mostly self-catering, plus the resident hotel of course and some guest houses. There are three dive schools (activity centres) in Tofo that cater for beginner to expert divers.

Take a walk to Tofino beach, not even one kilometre away and explore its rocky headland where you can surf and fish for kingfish for hours.
You can make use of the banks in Inhambane, the post office, and the internet cafe. Use your Visa card to get cash at the ATM.

What to bring:

Passport, visa, insect repellent, malaria medication, hats, sun creams, swimming costumes, light cool clothing, cash and visa cards.

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