Tofo is a friendly and laid back village on a long, clean beach, around the Inhambane estuary with islands and wildlife.
At 5 am, I, Jake and the 8 Brazilians (Luis, Marina, Lucas, Adriana, João, Juliana, Leonardo and Andressa), left Maputo to Tofo on a micro bus for 900 meticais (~12.9 euros). This transport, organized by the hostel Fatima’s Backpackers, is the only one straight to Tofo Beach. The other access options are: Expensive flight to Inhambane airport or long and confusing bus ride to Maxixe + ferry to Inhambane + bus or chapa (van) to Tofo, for less than the Fatima’s bus.
It was difficult to sleep satisfactorily along the course of several hours, since the seats did not recline and we were stopped at about 10 police barriers!
Upon arriving in Tofo early in the afternoon, the destruction caused by Cyclone Dineo two days ago was very noticeable: shattered dwellings, fallen trees and poles, electricity, water and the internet slowly getting back.
The bus leaves us right at the door of Fatima’s Nest – from the same hostel management in Maputo.
With no electricity, I had to eat a dish that did not rely on it, which turned out to be an octopus salad (250 meticais). Then I had some beers with nice Rastafarian guys who paid for it.
The lodging faces the sea, on a long and flat beach, with water of pleasant temperature and some waves. Definitely not crowded, but safe.
It was in this sand that I ran a few miles in the evening. Upon returning it was dark, so I managed to see and pick up some bio-luminescent plankton in the water line.
Since almost everything was closed, we dined at a restaurant called Ulombe, which I do not recommend. Our orders took over an hour to get ready, they did not come as requested, and they even made confusion at the time of payment.
We stayed in 2 collective dorms at Fatima’s Nest. They do not have air conditioning, but at night it is not necessary. The most important are the bed nets for protection against mosquito-borne diseases, especially malaria, which is present throughout Mozambique. If you plan on staying a reasonable time in the country at summer, prophylaxis is recommended; watch out for indiscriminate use, since the pills have unpleasant side effects.
For 3200 meticais each, our group of 10 plus the Portuguese Rodrigo and the Greek Eliza, we did a whole day trip with food included to the estuary of Inhambane Bay, organized in Fatima’s Nest. First stop was at the gas station, where is located the only ATM in the village, from BCI bank.
We rode on a pickup truck to Barra Beach, where we took a dhow boat down the shallow estuary to an island.
It’s called the Ilha dos Porcos (Isle of Pigs). There lives a semi-isolated community. Under scorching sun we did a “city tour” around the island, learning about their customs. The poor children kept dancing and singing in exchange for a few coins.
One thing that caught my eye was the island’s school wall. It is well known that in Mozambique and in the surrounding countries there is a persecution of the albinos for believing that potions which use parts of their bodies can transmit magical powers. An barbarism outside, but unfortunately it is not unusual there.
After walking a bit more among the animals that give the island its name, one of the best parts of the tour came: a seafood banquet (mussels, shrimp, fish, crab), including matapa (made with cassava), rice and salad.
We dropped into the water at some point in the estuary for a bit of snorkeling; a shame I did not take my GoPro on this trip. Little reefs hid lobsters, morays, crabs and some fishes.
We sailed slowly for a little longer, ending it in the company of birds, like the lesser crested tern (Thalasseus bengalensis).
The dinner was with pizzas in the lodging. Then we went on foot to the center of the village to enjoy some music in one of the few open places, among locals and gringos.
While the Brazilians continued north to Vilanculos, I stayed one more day to try to observe the giant whale sharks. Apparently Tofo is one of the best places in the world for this purpose.
I got a discount for 2700 meticais, against the normal 3200 to do the so-called ocean safari at the operator Liquid Dive Adventures. The entrance into the sea with the boat was thrilling. We saw many terns and some turtles, but unfortunately no whale shark. They probably ran away with the storms.
The tour across Tofinho Beach also includes a bit of snorkeling at a random spot, where I saw fishes, corals and a very interesting comb jelly.
I spent the rest of the day enjoying the beach. At night I met again by chance the Brazilian Rafael who was in the restaurant Casa de Comer with Juliana and Gabriel O Pensador. The place is kind of expensive, but one of the few working at that night.
Duly relaxed, I returned to Maputo at 4 o’clock in the morning the next day with the same means of transportation.