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The Red Roads to Zavora

Updated: May 10, 2021


While doing your research and learning about your upcoming destination, you might come across some beaches that might be worth a visit. Some of the mentioned beaches are going to be smaller than others and the sooner you know, the better! Some places are stunning but if you wouldn’t know better you might book your stay for a week and get bored after a day and a half. That would obviously only happen if you organize yourself according to the internet. In this post, we’re going to go into detail of Zavora Beach.


If you happen to like what you read and what you see, we can always include this in your Experience and get the most of your life-time journey.

118 km from Tofo, Zavora is only about an hour and a half away, with a 4x4 car you come across long and gorgeous red roads that seem endless, not in a bad way at all. You end up stopping a few times only to capture the beauty on your camera. Or you come across some locals that are happily willing to pose for one of your photographs!


Zavora is often referred to as “Ponta” or “Baia” de Zavora, meaning “Point” or “Beach” of Zavora, however, the origins of the name are unknown. But there is a possibility of it originating from a person, as the word is used as a surname.

The local people can speak Portuguese, Shangaan and Gitonga, but the official local language is Chopi, or Bantu language. English is spoken between businesses and accommodations.


Apart from the few lighthouses left along the coast, Zavora is also known for it’s beautiful coral reefs, and many divers or snorkelers meet here to explore for themselves.


Our friends from the Marine Action Research, a scientific discovery and education platform working in the Marine Lab, are doing a very good job on keeping track on one of my personal favorite animals: the majestic Manta Ray. Where do they come from, where are they going and is it the same ones we see?


Because it seems like such a destinations for Manta Rays, there are many researchers, marine biologists and volunteers doing projects to find out more on their behaviors.

But of course, MAR doesn't only research Mantas but also Humpback Whales, Nudibranchs, Seahorses, Sharks and Artificial Reefs.


Check out their website and if you’re interested and share the passions, apply! Going back to our adventure and what really took as to Zavora.. As beautiful and diverse Tofo Beach is, you sometimes just need to get out and even if it’s just a drive down the beach. And Zavora being so close and having great diving opportunities, we woke up early, early morning, and left half tired and half excited. On our arrival we quickly set up our equipment and went out on a double tank dive. AWESOME!


What I didn’t tell you until now, is that Zavora offers Wreck Diving! How great is that. The most famous wreck lying on those sands is definitely the Dutch liner Klipfontein MV, a World War II troop ship, build in 1939.


Mango season. Mango's everywhere!

Allegedly, the liner was on its way from Lourenco Marques to northern Mozambique, Beira. On January 8th in 1953, around 11:18 GMT she struck an unknown object, near Inhambane (now we know, where exactly). The struck must have caused an explosion in the oil tank and the liner sank 3 hours later at 14:22 GMT. All 234 passengers were taken by six lifeboats and safely aboard on the ocean liner Bloemfontein Castle at 15:45 GMT.

Although rumors say that the “object” was a submerged reef, however, the navigational equipment on board doesn’t make it seem like a reef could’ve been it. The region was known to have a few sunken ships from the war, that might have caused the incident.

There is not much more information on the ship, although I did find a file that seemed interesting, including pictures, but unfortunately my dutch is non existent. All in all, very interesting and tempting to dive on a ship with such a history.


But we didn’t do that wreck….. To dive the Klipfontein we would’ve needed better conditions and better experienced divers. So we did the “Rio Sainas Wreck” and I only realized while doing my research, how special that ship became on her last days.

The Rio Sainas was once your typical fishing vessel until it became now a beloved home to fish and an easy to reach dive wreck for tourists and residents.



A beautiful view of a rare Leatherback Turtle!

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