So we caught a coaster (small bus) up to Tofo. We had to get up real early as the buses leaves Junta (Bus junction) between 5am and 6am. We got to the junction, which was absolute chaos, but our taxi driver helped us find the right bus. Again after a small disagreement over price we were on our way. The buses have two seats on the right side and 1 seat on the left side of aisle and in the middle there are smaller collapsible seats. The only two seats available was the smaller seat and one seat right over the rear wheel, which meant no leg room at all. It took us about 7 hours to get to Tofo, but it felt a lot longer...
Tofo is a small beach village with a beautiful beach, great snorkling possibilities, and absolute awesome diving. We checked in with Fatimas Backpackers, where we got a bungalow for 600 metacais. The bungalow was nothing more than 4 poles, covered with bamboo and a thatched roof. The floor was just the sand, and we had to wipe off the bed every night for sand. Very cosy though you would not want to be there if it was windy or rainy.
At Fatimas we met four nice medical students (Jit, John, Rob, Andy) from Leeds, who had been working for 2 months in Cape Town and was in Tofo as a last holiday before returning home to Leeds. We hung out with them a bit, which was a lot of fun.
After a couple of nights we all moved out from Fatimas to Turtle Cove on the next beach called Tofinho. It was still within walking distance of Tofo, and it was a lot nicer accommodation. We had a really nice chalet with a nice bathroom with hot water. Turtle Cove is a surf and yoga lounge and they have yoga classes every day, which Cecilie went to on most of the days. The yoga instructor was a girl called Candice, who was very sweet and helpful. They also had the best food in the whole of town at a very reasonable price. We also met a guy called Barnaby, who was doing his divemaster course in Tofo. It turned out that he lives just a stones throw away from us in Clapham Old Town. We met so many nice people in Tofo, and all joined together for dining or just hanging out on the beach.
We naturally went diving on the many reefs just a few miles of the coast. We went to a reef called Manta Reef to see the giant Manta Ray, but unfortunately we did not see any on our first attempt. We did see a lot of other fish including Lion fish, Potato groupers, Honeycomb Moray eels, Surgeon fish, Moorish Idols, Butterfly fish, Scorpion fish, Stone fish, and many many more ... Everything is oversized in Tofo from a diving perspective. It was like all the fish was on steroids.
The sea around Tofo can be quite rough and Cecilie unfortunately got very seasick on the first trip out. However she did get a second dive in at the end of our Tofo stay, where she did get to see these giant Manta Rays. We almost landed straight on a couple going down from the boat. On this dive we also saw another type of stingray, which is the biggest ray in the world and was formerly believed extinct. Tofo is the only place is has been seen alive. It was very big. Very cool! After getting back on the boat a massive Humpback whale came along side us (15 meters away), and a few minutes after its calf surfaces. This was a rare treat. We had seen them in the distance most of the days but never this close to shore and then suddenly right next to our boat. It was really beautiful and you could easily see its big blow-hole, which of course generated a lot of spray. However suddenly it aimed straight for us with its calf and dived lifting its huge tail over the water and us. Our captain got us out of its way immediately flooring the two Yamahas engines on our little rib. We were so excited. WOW! On the way back we snorkeled again with Whale Sharks (10m long) on the way back. Best dive we have ever had. We even saw a turtle at the surface just before diving in.
Christian did a few more dives in between, and got to see more Mantas, a Frog fish, a school of Devil rays, and a million other fish. Christian also had a Marlin circling him during his ascent. He had a 10 minute safety stop instead of 3 minutes, just so he could see more of the marlin.
We also went to Barra Festival, which is held annually on the beach of the next village called Barra. We went with Barnaby and Denis (a new member of the gang from Dublin). This was really fun. It is a local festival with Mozambiquen bands and around 5000 locals. They had bands playing from sunset to sunrise, which meant we were home around 5am the next morning.
We had originally planned to go further up the coast to Vilanculos, but Tofo was just incredibly nice. Good accommodation, superb food, very nice people, great diving - why leave? A few days before we were supposed to head back to Maputo, we met two really nice people from Zimbabwe. Amy and Paul had come to Mozambique from Zimbabwe for a 2 week holiday. For our last dinner in Tofo, we all went to Dino Beach Bar. After interrogating Paul and Amy about life in Zimbabwe and the current situation, they suggested that we should come and see for our selves. They had a car (little red - a red city golf) and we could come with them back to Zimbabwe. It would also involve a 2 night stop in Vilankulos on the way. After about 7 seconds of deliberation we accepted. We had even bought the bus ticket from Maputo back to Jo'burg and a flight from Jo'burg to Livingstone - but all that went out the window. We were going to Zimbabwe!
This also meant we had an extra day in Tofo, which was actually quite nice. We used that to get some more money and look at our timetable for the next few weeks. We had to be in Livingstone on the 5th of November, we meant we luckely had plenty of time. Amy packed "Little Red" to absolute perfection (limit) and Cecilie and Christian had about half of the backseat to share. This was more than enough, and once everything was ready, we pointed "Little Red" towards the next stop Vilankulos.
We had previously met a South African in Johannesburg Airport, who told us that if we were going to Mozambique that we should go to Tofo. He was a keen scuba diver, and had been there on numerous occasions diving on the famous Manta Reef.