Sharing the quiet with ocean giants and colourful marine life in Mozambique on the next stop on our Africa tour.
A small, sandy village on the southern coast of Mozambique, Tofo is a slice of utopia. Tucked away like a gem in a large jewellery box, the village envelopes you in a bubble of relaxation and adventure. We arrived with plans to spend 4 days laying on the beach. We stayed 10 days, each day pushing out our departure date!
The tiny township sits on the edge of a long beach stretching out to the horizon. Friendly locals greet you in beautiful Portuguese with Ola and Bom Dia (Good morning) as you browse the colourful craft markets, small food shacks, fish huts and fresh produce stalls. The best way to get around is jumping on the back of a local’s truck.
Amongst the long, lazy days in the sun, Tofo offers world class adventure in the Indian Ocean off Africa. A black shadow haunted our boat in the turquoise water. The dark mass moved slowly, cruising at a leisurely pace. “Whale shark, get ready, get ready,” the driver of the boat yelled. A sea of nerves washed over me as I slid into the water.
A black figure moved towards me. A beautiful 6 metre gentle giant of the ocean gracefully swam in the current. His tail slowly yet powerfully swayed from side to side. His size and gentle nature was mesmerizing. In the quietness I glided next to a beautiful whale shark. His eyes were small - no bigger than a golf ball, which looked odd for his large size. Looking back up at the surface, the world was a distortion of colours.
I was addicted; I craved more. My experience with the whale shark left a thirst to go deeper, to delve into the underwater world. I signed up for the Scuba Diver Padi Course at Diversity and learnt how to dive. Tofo is known as a world class diving destination. There are many reefs to choose from with different depths for every skill level. Being a beginner, I had a maximum depth of 12 metres.
Once geared up, the countdown began to hold my regulator (mouth piece), mask and weight belt and fall backwards off the boat and into the water. Slowly descending, the quiet surrounded me once again. Reaching the ocean floor, a large ghost white jellyfish pulsed in the current. The emptiness of the vast ocean surrounded me.
We finned our way to the coral city. The reef looked like a busy metropolis in a coral kingdom. Parrot fish, clown fish, torpedo rays, lobster and numerous other rainbow-coloured fish swam about in schools towards another part of their underwater empire. The incredible visibility let us see 20 metres in the distance. Looking up, the surface was a distant memory. I didn’t want to ascend. This was freedom; nothing felt lighter or quieter than being deep underwater.
The incredible cheeky smiles of the locals, the abundant marine life, the glassy surf, the new-found skill of scuba diving, my friend the whale shark and the humpback whales have trapped me in the Tofo spell. I will be back to utopia!
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