INFO ABOUT DIVING IN TOFO
Mozambique's east coast, with some 2,500 kilometres of largely unexplored coastline, offers underwater wilderness teeming with life. With its endless pristine beaches, Mozambique is an underwater oasis of East Africa, and Praia do Tofo is its capital, and for years has been gaining momentum in the diving world as a prime destination for megafauna viewing.
Praia do Tofo's coastline is very undeveloped and unspoilt, and its waters offer wonderful biodiversity mainly due to the Agulhas current, allowing for some of the most spectacular diving in the world with sightings of Whale Sharks, Sharks of various species and Rays including Giant Mantas up to 7m in wingspan, Dolphins, various species of Turtles, and the majestic Humpback Whales that visit our waters between the months of June to November during their annual migration. This diversity of the great ones of the sea together with the variety of soft and hard corals that cover the local reefs have made this destination the jewel of the Indian Ocean.
While many of the best dive destinations suffer from dive sites full with boats and divers, with the resulting consequences on their reefs, Tofo retains its natural charm, allowing for the daily rediscovery of its beauty.
The southern coast of Mozambique, and in particular the province of Inhambane where Tofo is located, is home to one of the most important feeding grounds for Whale Sharks and Manta Rays in the world.
The highest sightings of the highly sought-after Whale Sharks are recorded in this area. Since 2005, more than 600 different individuals have been identified in these waters, some of them also sighted in South Africa and northern Tanzania, but studies show that these individuals return year after year to these food-rich waters. In 2021, the species finally received full legislative protection in Mozambique.
This area is also considered one of the centres of abundance of manta rays, the largest of the devil ray species (the genus Mobula). Over the last 20 years, the largest populations of giant and reef manta rays in Africa have been documented and identified. Both species aggregate in the south of the country, with the highest sightings recorded along the coast of Inhambane province.
This coast also provides important breeding, feeding and cleaning areas for devil rays (Mobula kuhlii), another endangered relative.
After many years of work, especially by the Marine Megafauna Foundation, in January 2021, the government has protected the manta and devil rays in Mozambique.
Tofo's seabed is made up of huge rocky bars that break the sandy bottom and rise to several metres, some of them colonised by gigantic coral structures that shelter countless marine species and attract a great diversity of pelagics.
DAY OUT DIVING
Timing is everything, so our day starts early to optimize sightings. After breakfast at the accommodation, we meet at the diving center where we review and prepare the equipment, we attend the briefing and after a short 2-minute walk to the beach, where the boat awaits us with all the material stowed, our adventure begins.
All the dives in Tofo involve entries from the coast with the zodiacs, with which the excitement is guaranteed from early morning. After a stimulating launch through the surf, the dive sites are 5 minutes away, the closest ones, and those furthest 35 minutes away.
The exciting first minutes ensure that we are all wide awake and attentive in search of whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins and turtles that can be seen any day of the year, and the much desired Humpback Whales that frequent our waters between the months of June to November.
Normally we plan for two dives in the morning with a surface interval of 1h30´, but when conditions do not allow it, we return to land between dives.
At the end of the second dive we return to the dive center where we usually arrive after noon, the perfect time to sit down for lunch. Those who wish can take a third dive in the afternoon on the shallow coastal reefs.
We have located the various dive sites through GPS. Once above the point, we prepare for the entry, and during this time we calculate what the boat has moved and in what direction, which gives us information about the type of current that we can find. We always plan the dives to go with the current.
We never anchor the zodiac, so we always drift. The descent is in the middle of the blue, and the reference is the buoy and the guide's reel. The depths do not exceed 35 meters in depth, and many of them rise up to 25 meters, with which most of the diving will be at depth and a maximum bottom time of 45-50 minutes.
During the surface intervals and the round trips to the dive sites, depending on the weather conditions and the state of the sea, we cruise in search of the marine megafauna. If luck is with us, which is usually very common, and in the case of Humpback Whales, the encounter is guaranteed during the months of July and August, and after having evaluated the behavior of the animal, we enter the water using only the mask, snorkel and fins. Gearing up with the scuba equipment and a tank is not usual in these cases.
Did you know that an ocean safari is the best
way to spot some species?
Snorkel with Humpback Whales?
june to november
Snorkel & Swim with Whale Sharks?
all year long!
Diving brings us into direct contact with fascinating sea creatures, but many others are even more enjoyable while snorkelling. The waters of Tofo give us the opportunity to swim with whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, sea turtles and, if the timing is right, we can also enjoy the spectacle of humpback whales, one of the most acrobatic species, which we find every winter together with their calves after they have given birth.
The ocean safari is an excursion suitable for anyone who can swim, although there is always the option to stay dry without entering the water for those who prefer. The trip usually lasts approximately 2 hours and includes all necessary equipment.
Sightings are not guaranteed but the chances are high. Especially of whale sharks, as we are in an area with one of the highest populations in the world, and at any time throughout the year you can see individuals from 5 metres to 12 metres in length. On the other hand, there are two species of dolphin that frequent our waters, the bottlenose dolphin, sometimes seen in huge groups approaching, and the Humpback Dolphin, a rather more skittish species.
Do you like macro life? We have a spot full of fascinating creatures.
Although the reefs in the Tofo area are also teeming with macro life, and you can stand at a cleaning station watching the mantas as various species of shrimps, nudibranchs and leaf fish are spotted right there, we have located a magical and almost secret spot where we find some of the rarest and most fascinating creatures in the seas.
Just 2 or 3 metres below the surface, we can explore it by apnea or scuba diving, the choice is yours!
Seahorses, harlequin shrimps, hairy frogfish, some of the strangest nudibranchs you'll ever see, pipefish, rhinopias...
WEATHER & SEA CONDITIONS
We can find perfect diving conditions in Tofo on any day of the year. Visibility and currents are less dependent on seasonal weather patterns and more affected by the prevailing tides and winds of the day. On average, Tofo offers 15 metres of visibility, ranging up to 30-40 metres in its best conditions, or in its worst down to only 5 metres.
The water temperature ranges from 17°C to 21°C in winter (June - November) and 27°C to 30°C in summer (December - May).
We recommend sea sickness tablets for those who are prone to seasickness.
Mozambique Experience is associated with one of Tofo's dive centres located in the best existing area, with excellent modern facilities fully equipped with swimming pool, changing rooms with hot showers, classrooms where courses are offered, cafeteria - restaurant and unbeatable views.
We have two 8 metre semi-rigid zodiacs, both with a capacity of up to 16 divers each, although we prefer to keep groups smaller and usually go with a maximum of 8 divers per boat.
Each boat is equipped with 2 Yamaha 90hp 4 stroke engines, emergency oxygen, first aid kit, life jackets, contact radio and emergency plan.
For those who feel the cold on longer dives or during the winter months, we recommend wetsuits of at least 5mm, or even semi-dry 7mm. During the summer, when the water temperature usually stays between 27°C and 28°C a 3mm is usually sufficient.
For those who prefer to rent, Scubapro and Mares 5mm wetsuits are available, as well as a selection of closed fins and masks.
Diving cylinders are in steel and/or aluminium with capacities of 12 lt. For those wishing 15 lt. steel cylinders we recommend that you contact us before you travel to reserve them.
Due to the profile of the dives, we always recommend diving with enriched air nitrox to increase safety and bottom times. The nitrox available is 32% and up to 40% for those certified.
For those who are not yet certified and prefer to do it here with us, it can be arranged with Robert and Lacin.
Do you know what we can see in Tofo?
Whale Shark, Giant Manta Ray, Reef Manta Ray, Leopard Shark, Giant Guitarfish, Whitetip Reef Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Humpback Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Leatherback Turtle, Green Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Muaritius Sccorpionfish, Potato Grouper, Honeycomb Moray Eel (Leopard Moray)...., humpback whale.
Recommended things to bring:
Diving equipment: BCD, regulator, fins, booties, mask and snorkel, wet or dry suit (contact us for more information), gloves, surface marker buoy, flashlight, computer. Possibility of renting material.
Diving qualifications (including Nitrox)
Waterproof jacket and / or windbreaker for boat outings
Waterproof bag (camera and other dry material)
Camera and housings with chargers, memory cards and extra kits needed.