Mention Mozambique and most scuba divers immediately think megafauna. Whale sharks and manta rays prowl the plankton rich water year round and humpback whales pass by on their way through the Mozambique Channel from the Antarctic. Mozambique, located on Africa’s southeast coast, has more than 2000 kilometres/1250 miles of coastline bathed by the southerly flowing Aghulhas Current. To the north, the Quirimbas Archipelago is home to the recently designated Primeiras and Segundas Marine Protected Area (MPA). The largest MPA on the African continent, it protects rich coral reefs and mangrove forests and is an important nursery for myriad reef fish and five of the ocean’s seven marine turtles among other notable denizens. To the south, the Maputo Protection Area spans the coast from Ponta de Ouro to the Maputo River providing a haven for nesting marine turtles and conserving the offshore reef ecosystems. Off Praia do Tofo, Inhambane, whale shark alley (a plankton rich current fed corridor) attracts whale sharks all year round. Sightings are almost guaranteed. This alone will put Mozambique on many scuba divers’ bucket lists.
- Doodles, Ponta do Ouro – This is a long, interesting reef, with small drop-offs and sand patches. Schools of juvenile reef fish, shrimp, snappers, boxfish and turtles call the colorful hard and soft corals home. You often share the reef with friendly potato bass, which can reach a length of 2 metres/6.5 feet and can weigh as much as 110 kilograms/240 pounds. Game fish and dolphin are sometimes also sighted.
- Pinnacles, Ponta do Ouro – This deep reef is known for Zambezi and hammerhead shark sightings. Big potato bass patrol the waters and formations of rays floating past are not uncommon. Thick coral formations hide eels and reef fish, and various game fish species are almost always in attendance, prowling the frequently strong current on the lookout for their next meal.
- The Gap, Pemba – This spectacular wall dive is located on the edge of the continental shelf on a drop-off of that plunges to 80-120 metres/260-390 feet. It’s a prolific feeding ground for big game fish. The dive starts at around 10 metres/33 feet and features dramatic structures adorned with large gorgonian fans at about 37 metres/120 feet. Sunfish and devil ray encounters are a real possibility here.
- Edge of Reason, Medjumbe Island – According to the charts, this drop-off goes straight down to more than 850 metres/2750 feet – obviously well past recreational scuba depths. Overhangs and caverns at 20-30 metres/70-100 feet harbor species such as humphead wrasse, groupers, reef sharks, snappers and unicorn fish. The dive site gets its name from the sensations that flood you as the wall plummets to the deep blue.
- Kingfisher Reef, Inhambane – There are many dives sites on this reef off Praia de Jangamo. The reefs offer a huge diversity of marine life, including lots of tropical fish species and numerous giant manta rays visiting cleaning stations.
- Manta Reef, Tofo – This is the area’s showcase dive site, famous for a couple of manta cleaning stations. It’s a gentle drift dive that begins with a descent into 26 metres/85 feet of water in the middle of a small amphitheater teeming with life. The first cleaning station is reached in a shallower sandy area at 21 metres/70 feet. Here, mantas circle overhead to be cleaned by goldies, cleaner wrasse and butterflyfish. In good visibility it’s possible to watch upwards of ten mantas circling overhead.
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Visibility – From 10 metres/33 feet and up, affected by tide and current. Plankton rich currents, which are great for abundant marine life, sometimes come with a visibility price.
Water Temperature – Slightly cooler in winter and warmer in summer, water temperatures ranges from 22-28°C/72-82°F
Weather – This tropical climate has sunny days and fresh evenings all year round. The dry season runs from April to late December and the summer season goes from late December to March. Summer season is hotter with higher humidity and occasional short intense showers, usually at night. Daytime temperatures vary from 22-32°C/72-90°F.
Featured Creatures – Whale sharks, manta rays, dugong (though it is rare to encounter them while diving), sea turtles, variety of reef fish and macro fauna.
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.
Language – Portuguese is the official language. Swahili, Makhuwa and Sena are also spoken. English is common in tourist areas.
Currency – Mozambican Metical. South African Rand, US Dollar and Euros are accepted. Credit cards are accepted in some places.
Major Airports – Maputo International is the main hub for international flights. Beira, Pemba, Vilankulu and Inhambane Airports also receive international flights.
Electricity and Internet – 220-240 volts, 50 Hz. Internet is available in cities and in most tourist areas – hotels and cafes.
Topside Attractions – Take a hike to a waterfall through a tea plantation. Take in the architecture in Maputo, the capital city. Make time for an African wildlife safari or simply relax on the beach between dives.