7 minutes reading time Mozambique
It has been a couple of years since the word ‘travel’ took on a whole new meaning. I am here to tell you that travel is back on! There may be a few extra things to think about, but when your destination is paradise, it is most certainly worth it.
By road, Tofo, Mozambique is roughly three hundred miles more or less Northwards along the coast from Maputo. If you don’t prefer the long-haul, a one-hour flight by airplane plus a thirty-minute drive to Tofo Beach will get you there.
In January of 2022, my husband and I decided to make the bold decision to pack up our house and go on a grand adventure to Mozambique for a month. Tofo was the obvious choice for us since my husband is a surfer and Tofo is renowned for a wave at an area nearby, called Tofinho. We had no idea just how incredible this little-known area is. So, in February we made the long drive from our previous home in South Africa, to stay for the month. (Spoiler; We ended up staying two).
Upon arrival, Tofo may fool you into thinking it is a simple rural town. Upon further inspection, however, one will find that it is filled with a vibrant culture, idyllic natural beauty, a plethora of establishments whether for food, housing, or entertainment and an overall silence, that brings peace that cannot be bought.
Tofo is a stunning secret, which has recently started being developed as a popular holiday spot for tourists. With palm trees swaying in the wind, untouched squeaky-sand beaches, and a brilliant turquoise-blue sea, boasting the warmer temperatures of the Indian ocean, it’s difficult to find a reason not to visit. You may be thinking “this sounds unreal.” Well, I can tell you, while sitting on my porch enjoying an uninterrupted view of the sunset over the water, it is real.
From a simple bed for a night, to luxury accommodation with a private pool per unit- Tofo offers an array of options for accommodation. For a more natural feel, there are beautiful wooden, thatched bungalows, or even camping. There is something for everyone. Novelly, the place where I am staying (Barra Dica) is located on a peninsula that turns into an island during the spring high tide! With the beach on one side and a massive salt-water estuary on the other, we enjoy a two-minute walk to the beach where we can watch the sunrise over the ocean in the morning, and still, have a full view of the sunset over the estuary every evening. One important thing to note, however, is that when choosing a self-catering resort, like the one I am in, groceries can only be bought from the local market, or one of only a few stores nearby.
A key thing to remember when booking accommodation, is to check that the room comes with a mosquito net around the bed. Like most of Mozambique, Tofo is a malaria area. So, it is recommended that suitable anti-malarial medication be purchased for the duration of the trip. I have not had much trouble with mosquitoes; however, I would advise buying some Tabard insect repellent at the local grocery store and covering up at dusk to ward off the mosquitos and any other insects that leave pesky itchy bites.
Activities in Tofo
There are so many outdoor activities to do, that having been here for a whole month already, I have not yet been able to conquer them all!
There are several great surfing spots in Tofo. Most notable is the world-class ‘Tofinho,’ a wave that regularly attracts surfers from around the globe to surf up against the unique cliff face. While this wave is suitable for more experienced surfers, there are still plenty of surf spots suitable for surfers of all levels. This includes Tofo Main Beach, where anyone from brand-new beginners, long-board riders, and even seasoned surfers can enjoy a fun surf.
Tofo is home to manta rays, whale sharks, dolphins, and even humpback whales who migrate to Tofo from June to October. The diversity of the reefs is something to behold. To experience the feeling of being underwater, all sounds muffled except the crackling of the reef, and to see the neon colors glowing on the fish as they swim by unaware, the sun trickling down from above creating shafts of light dancing lightly across the coral… It is worth learning to scuba dive if you are staying in Tofo for 3 days or more. There are five dive charters in Tofo, and five times the number of reefs to explore. Once certified you are internationally recognized as an open water diver and can dive anywhere in the world!
If scuba is not for you, then there is always snorkeling- which can be done alone or can be done with a guide, through one of the dive charters. Swimming with whale sharks is quite a common thing in the area. You don’t have to do a course to go snorkeling, and with fewer barriers between you and getting straight into the ocean, it may be the more attractive option.
Other ocean-based activities to do in the area include jet-skiing, going on boat rides to the surrounding islands where one gets given the local experience, rod fishing or spearfishing (If you’ve bought a permit), and spending hours swimming, reading, and tanning on the beaches equipped with lifeguards and an overall safe environment.
The locals in Mozambique are hard-working people showing much ingenuity. They sell all sorts of wonderful crafts, clothes, art, food, beaded jewelry, wooden sculptures, and mementos. A must-try is the local bread, called Pao, which comes in the form of rolls. They can be found all along the roadside pretty much all around Tofo. There is a man or woman for anything you might need while on holiday. Friendly as can be, the locals will give you many reasons why their products are better than their neighbors and can be quite insistent at times. So, remember to learn “No, thanks” which is “Nao Obrigada” if you’re a female or “Nao Obrigado” if you’re a male, in Portuguese.
Speaking of learning the local language- it is remarkably easy to get around without much trouble as an English speaker in Mozambique. Most people speak at least a small amount of English, and if not, can usually direct you to someone who can help you. I would-however recommend at least learning the common greetings, as the Mozambicans value the effort tremendously.
An assorted bunch of restaurants treats the residents and tourists of Tofo with some of the best and some of the most well-priced seafood in the world. You could get a quick meal after a dive at your dive charters restaurant, or a gourmet meal at one of the more high-end restaurants, or even just a bag of nuts as a snack, from your local “guy”, whom you met earlier in the day trying to sell you a pair of shorts, a sim card, or a whole fish straight from the ocean.
Spending time in Tofo and the surrounding areas truly is a freeing experience. Whilst WIFI and internet are available, you can also just enjoy being away from the fast-paced life of the city. The locals live off the land. The fruits you eat come from a tree just outside your resort, or down the road. It is a place where you can get in touch with nature, yet still have all the comforts you desire. It is a place where you can practice all those creative passions that get stifled in the stressful unbalanced work-life at home, or if you are more scientifically inclined, it is a place where you can study the natural phenomena happening all around you.
If you ever want to go to a place where you feel like you have room to breathe and just enjoy life, Tofo is the place to go.