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Dive Review of MozDivers/Zavora Lodge in
Africa/Zavora (Mozambique)

MozDivers/Zavora Lodge, Jun, 2013,

by Karl Wirth, MN, US ( 2 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 7140.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Lions and Mantas and Whales, Oh My!

Imagine a place with nothing but miles of remote beaches, the continual sounds of roaring surf, and amazing diving. If you dive with MozDivers at Zavora Lodge, you will have all of this and more. But it may not come easy. Our drive from the airport in Johannesburg (South Africa) to Zavora was over roads that ranged from well-paved highways to poorly maintained dirt roads. You can easily choose a route, as we did, that allows a self-drive safari through Kruger and Limpopo National Parks, hence the Lions in the title. Special paperwork from the car rental company is needed at border crossings, but this can be easily obtained with prior permission and a modest fee from the rental agencies. The final seventeen kilometers to the lodge are over an unpaved “sand road,” so a 4WD vehicle is advised. It is also possible to fly into a nearby regional airport, but flights are infrequent and expensive. The dive operation/lodge can also arrange for airport pickup. The very knowledgeable and professional folks at Reef Divers in Pretoria helped us plan the trip and made all of the logistical arrangements. This was our third dive trip to the region, and Reef Divers helped make each of these trips a huge success.

MozDivers operates out of Zavora Lodge, and everything that we experienced indicates that these two operations have a close-working relationship. Situated on the top of high dunes above the beach, the lodge has a rustic feel to it, in the best sense of the word. The rooms are clean, but simply decorated with ceiling fans and mosquito nets. The lodge staff are very friendly and hard-working, and went out of their way to accommodate our needs and dive schedules. With fresh seafood always available (e.g., shrimp curry, calamari baskets, grilled cuda), mealtimes were a high point during each of our ten days at the lodge. There are a few other lodges available in the area, but if you are diving, it makes the most sense to stay at Zavora Lodge.

Diving at Zavora is conducted from 8-9 meter rigid inflatable boats. Launched from the beach, a natural rock ledge that juts out into the ocean below the lodge provides for safe and easy launches; here we experienced the easiest launches of any of the other sites that we have visited in South Africa and Mozambique. The boat and dive equipment are exceptionally well maintained, especially given the remoteness of this region of the coast. The captain and crew were very experienced, safe and attentive. During our stay in June 2013, water temperatures ranged from 67-71 F (19-22 C), and visibility ranged from 3-65 feet (5-20 meters). The same conditions that make the plankton-rich waters of the Mozambican coast ideal for large large pelagics can also result in variable and reduced visibility. Currents were generally not a problem, but bottom surge was quite noticeable during a few shallow dives. At Zavora there are about 18 dive sites distributed over two different areas, one close to shore (10 minutes by boat), and another that is about 10 kms from the shore (about 20-30 mins by boat). Even though mid-June is not generally considered the best time seeing for large pelagic life in this region, we saw whales and a variety of rays, including the famous giant mantas, nearly every day. The deep dive sites (90-130 feet, or 27-40 m) consist of rock ledges and plateaus that host a rich and diverse marine life. Perhaps most impressive is the density of fish life, including large groupers and schools of trevally; I haven’t seen such abundant schools of large fish in any of our other dive destinations. The shallow dive sites (<60 feet, or 20 m) are easily accessed by short boat ride from the lodge and offer a variety of interesting dive environments. Among the many underwater highlights of the trip were the several opportunities that we had to quietly hover at cleaning stations observing the truly impressive giant (15-20 foot wingspan) mantas. Divers with macro photography interests will find no shortage of interesting subjects, including frogfish and a wide variety of nudibranchs. The Rio Sainas, a 115 foot long (35 m) fishing vessel, is the newest wreck (March 2013) in the region and is easily accessible to divers with advanced certification (105 feet depth; 32 m). It is already rich with encrusting marine life and provides a haven for large schools of juvenile fish and a few large brindle bass.

Jon Wright, the owner and operator of MozDivers, is very friendly and knowledgeable. In addition to leading many of the dives, he also offers standard dive courses, as well as more specialized tech dive training. Jon is very committed to the environment and has a close relationship with the Association of Coastal Conservation of Mozambique (ACCM) and the Zavora Marine Lab. During our stay we not only got to hear about the many ongoing research projects in the region, we also got to learn from the marine lab staff, both above and below the water, while on a number of dives. We were also impressed with Jon’s deep commitment to training and developing his Mozambican staff.

In summary, diving at Zavora is extremely rewarding and well worth the adventure. You likely won’t find the easy, warm-water diving or visibility familiar to those who dive in the Caribbean or Indonesia, but you will find a friendly and well-managed dive operation, comfortable and relaxing accommodations on a pristine coast, and unparalleled diving with a rich and abundant marine life.
Websites MozDivers   Zavora Lodge

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Cozumel, Curacao, Dominica, Fiji, Galapagos, Hawaii, Israel, Philippines, Roatan, South Africa, Sulawesi, Tanzania, Turks and Caicos, Virgin Islands
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas surge
Water Temp 67-71°F / 19-22°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 9-65 Ft/ 3-20 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Being a remote destination, bottom depths and times were closely monitored and strictly enforced for our safety.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Padded bins are available for underwater cameras. These are loaded in the dive shop, and transported to the boat on a covered trailer towed by a tractor. Being open inflatable boats, there are no specialized camera spaces, but that is expected. The crew is mindful of camera gear and helps divers with water entry and exit. Special dunk-tanks for cameras are available in the shop.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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