Diving, snorkeling, fishing, yoga, surfing and much more!
Diving and snorkelling
With warm, clear waters and an abundance of sea life that inhabit the coral reefs, the Inhambane coastal area is a diver’s paradise. There are a great variety of diving reefs, including the well-known Manta Reef.
Many people visit Tofo for its snorkelling and scuba diving activities. There are several diving schools that specialise in showing you the best of the ocean. The turquoise waters hold a vast number of game- and tropical fish species, as well as a variety of beautiful corals and rare marine creatures, including dugongs, whale sharks and turtles.
Conditions compare favourably with those of the Caribbean or Great Barrier Reef, but are far less crowded and not nearly as commercialised.
Water temperatures range from 24°C (in mid-winter) to 31°C. Visibility is generally between 5 and 35 meters, with 15 meters being the year-round average. Gin-clear conditions occur frequently, both along the coast and around the islands.
The Mozambique coastline is renowned for its offshore game fishing, and Tofo is at the heart of the action. The pristine, blue waters abound with king mackerel (barracuda), dorado, wahoo, various species of kingfish, bonito and yellow-fin tuna. The sailfish season peaks from June to August. Boats can be launched or chartered from Tofo beach. If it is marlin you are after, then summer is definitely the best time to visit this piece of paradise. Catch and release of all fish that will not form part of the evening meal is encouraged, as is protection of all other natural resources and the environment.
Angling from the shore can also be most productive. Small kingfish, that range between 2 to 3 kg, can be found from the rocks off Tofinho, particularly towards high tide and at deep water spots.
Adrie Prinsloo, from Glassfit in Witbank, holds the Tofinho record of 48kg for a Kingfish caught off the rocks at Tofinho. Kingfish, stump nose and pompano are taken from the sandy beaches between Tofo and Tofinho. Salt water fly fishing is becoming increasingly popular, particularly off the sandbars at Tofo point.
A permit, obtainable at the Maritime office in Inhambane, or at some lodges, is required for launching boats. A spear fishing license must be obtained from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism in Maputo. Fish may not be sold for commercial purposes and there are limits to what bona fide fishermen and spear fishermen can take out of the country: 6kg, but not more than 4kg of a particular species
The Inhambane coastline is a world-class surfing destination, with an ideal mix of warm water, consistent swells and sandy headlands. There are a wide variety of surfing spots in the vicinity of Tofo, working in a range of wind and swell conditions. The sand point at Tofo’s beach point is ideal for beginners and long-boarders.
That being said, it is the waves around the corner at Tofinho that draw the serious surfers. Tofinho beach, less than a kilometre south from Tofo, is a popular surfing spot! The waves are ideal for surfing and it is situated on a more exposed and rocky headland.
A shallow reef ledge skirts the sandstone headland. At low tide advanced surfers, who can handle the steep take-off, can experience the ride of a lifetime. Tofinho, less than a kilometre south of Tofo, is situated on a more exposed and rocky headland. It is known for its stiff currents and a shallow rock shelf that make it a place for advanced riders only.
Inhambane Province, with its great variety of habitats, is home to over 500 species of birds. The area around the Inhambane Bay, particularly the various mud flats and the extensive mangrove swamps, is a bird-watcher’s paradise. There is a resident population of approximately 250 greater flamingos. On the outgoing tide, you will see whimbrels, turnstones and many other waders work the mud flats. The mangroves near Barra are home to egrets, purple-banded sunbirds and mangrove kingfishers. The stretches of dune forest that remain along the coast harbour the lilac-breasted roller, Burchell’s coucal-, grey- and olive sunbirds. Ospreys, fish eagles, olive bee-eaters, narina trojans, flamingos and numerous seabirds and waders are a common sight. A highlight for avid bird-watchers is a sighting of the crab plover, a visitor from September to April.
An array of value-for-money curios are sold at various roadside stalls, general dealers and markets in Inhambane, Tofo and its surrounding areas. Colourful cloths, named capulanas, are very popular. Even though it is usually worn around women’s waists, it has many other uses and are very popular amongst tourists. Other popular items include grass mats, batik prints, wood carvings, baskets, traditional ceramics, sculptures and items carved from semi-precious stones. Be sure to always test ebony wood carvings by smelling for shoe polish or dye, or by rubbing with a damp finger.
Make sure you don’t miss the vast array of ceramic pots for sale along the road, just outside Inhambane on the N1.
Furthermore, lnhambane’s bustling central market is the place to be if you are looking for curios, fresh fruit and vegetables, bread rolls and sea food. Fresh catches arrive throughout the day. Crabs and shellfish are sold alive.
Important: If you buy fish, make sure you check for freshness — a fresh fish has shiny eyes, red gills and smells of the sea. Some products are from South Africa, others are produced locally.
Last but not least, don’t forget to buy fresh cashew nuts! It is a favourite amongst visitors. Prices are reasonable, so bargaining should not be necessary.
Tofinho is also the site of the Frelimo Monument to Fallen Heroes, near to where unfortunate victims of the colonial period were thrown into a sea cave to be drowned by the rising tide. A spectacular blow hole near the tip of the point can give a raw display of power, when there is a large swell running.
Dhow trips are an added adventure, although you should always allow for the impact of tides and winds on your timetable. Parasailing, windsurfing, paddle-skiing, kayaking and quad biking is also available in and around Tofo, as are escorted excursions into the towns and rural settlements.