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Dive Review of Tofo Scuba/Hotel Tofo Mar in
Africa/Tofo, Mozambique

Tofo Scuba/Hotel Tofo Mar, Apr, 2007,

by David Shem-tov, NA, United Kingdom ( 1 report). Report 3299.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Cocos, Malpelo, Galapagos, Red Sea, Carribbean, French Polynesia, Truk, Palau, Red Sea...
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny,windy,cloudy,dry Seas calm,choppy,surge,currents
Water Temp 24 to 26 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10 to 20 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Stay with group.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Very bumpy boat trips for your housings. Forget about rinse tanks, or even clean water - and not just on the boat!

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Last year I met a couple on the Ocean Rover liveaboard who could not stop raving about their experiences in Mozambique, and Tofo in particular. They spoke of countless whale sharks and mantas. I came with very high expectations.
The whale sharks were there. Plenty of them. But we only encountered them on the snorkelling excursions. In one two-hour trip we had six in-water encounters with at least three different specimens. Many other trips conducted during our stay were similarly successful. No inwater encounters. Marcus Trerup (muckes@freesurf.ch), an independent Swiss 'scuba concierge' who works with local operators, and who introduced himself to us at the airport as we departed, suggested that the local operators avoid sites where this might happen because they are concerned that they may have a problem controlling inexperienced clients. Marcus said that clients who are prepared to pay for exclusive boat charters and can persuade the dive centres of their proficiency may be able to persuade them otherwise...
Visibility was very poor. 3m-6m (10ft-20ft) was the norm. We did arrive at equinox. According to Marcus, visibility is better outside of full moon and no moon (about 2 weeks in the month.) What can be seen are relatively uninteresting topography (5-9ft coral reefs above a sandy floor) but teeming with life: from harlequin shrimps, nudis and leaf-fish to spectacularly huge morays, sea snakes, and massive potato cods. We saw mantas on a couple of dives and snorkelled with one after a dive. The soft and hard corals are mostly healthy, but if you are looking for colourful gardens, go to Raja Ampat.
Diving is South African style. Hard-bottomed ribs launched through the surf from the beach (clients are expected to turn the boat towards the ocean, push it into the surf, and then jump in.) Trips are an uncomfortable 10-60mins in open boats through choppy waters.
The two main dive centres operating in Tofo are Tofo Scuba (www.tofoscuba.co.za) and Diversity (www.diversityscuba.com). We dove with Diversity on the first day and then switched to Tofo Scuba. Diversity is managed by Mark, an Englishman and has recently been acquired by a Portuguese man who is apparently largely absent. I found the staff there somewhat unfriendly and was put off by Mark's insistence that my companion, an Open Water diver, would not be permitted to dive the more interesting deep reefs even if he completed a Padi 'Deep Diver' specialty unless he signed for the full AOW course.
John and Nikki, who run Tofo Scuba, were more accommodating. They keep a happier crew of young enthusiastic, mostly South African trainee Dive Masters. Carlos, one of the first Mozambican native dive masters is a great critter-spotter. Their crew will also load and unload the dive kit into the boat, something that Diversity insisted on their clients helping with. Unlike Diversity, their centre is right on the beach with a pleasant deck where one can enjoy great breakfast and lunches including superb, freshly baked muffins.
John will blend Nitrox. The extra bottom time that buys after most other divers ascended, was well worth it.
Unfortunately fresh water and electricity are very intermittent in Tofo, and don't count on everyone having generators. The air conditioner in our room, one of 3 units in the whole village, was largely ornamental. Tofo is mainly a backpacker resort. It also attracts lots of Teutonic divers looking for an alternative to pricy Maldives and the crowded Red Sea. US based visitors are advised to use a South African agent to help with logistics. Flights to Inhambane are tricky to book. I strongly recommend www.mozambiquetravelservice.com.
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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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