We have done several articles on scuba diving around Europe recently, so I thought I’d go off at a tangent today and take you somewhere a lot further away, but somewhere absolutely glorious and completely unspoiled. It also has seriously fantastic diving…
… Mozambique, Mocambique or, simply, Moz.
Most dives in Mozambique are run to South African standards which means, generally, PADI dive centres catering for all levels of experience including the beginner. If you are a true lover of this extreme sport you will be glad to know that Mozambique is an ideal location for obtaining your open water or advanced diving qualification license.
“I learned to dive here and many of the people I dived with were very experienced and they all agreed that it was the best diving they had ever seen. Better than the Red Sea, better than Australia… the best”, says one contented visitor, and thanks to 2flyndive for this vid. of diving in the Inhambane/Tofu area, surprisingly not as clear as the sea can be but still abounding with marine life.
“Tons of tropical fish, honeycomb eels, parrot fish, turtles, and beautiful coral. I also saw two Humpback Whales up close at this site. There is a great swim through here too.” says Tiffany from the USA, about Paradise Island or Santa Carolina as it is also known – a particular favourite of ours. It is part of the Bazaruto Archipelago, a proclaimed marine national park.
There are numerous sites for diving in Moz. and most of them can guarantee crystal clear and uncrowded waters. It is a very special place. Prices on the whole are great – small change compared to the rest of the world. Friendly people, seriously addictive way of life!
The Bazaruto Archipelago is one area we know well and there are dive sites everywhere – in fact the marine life is so prolific that you can just walk into the sea off the beach and spend many contented hours snorkeling or scuba diving. But 2 Mile Reef is a favourite spot for scuba diving. It is neither 2 miles long nor 2 miles away from Vilanculos on the mainland, but it is the name that has been given to the reef lying outside Benguerra Island and Bazaruto.
The site is actually a long barrier reef that breaks the water at low tide and can be dived at various depths down to around 20 meters. Due to its length there are numerous dive locations offering a variety of different environments, including swim through walls and coral outcrops. There is a great chance of seeing one of the 5 species of turtle that live in the area along with a friendly reef shark, an inquisitive dolphin or a skulking nurse shark. There is a wide abundance of reef fish and big Game fish and Devil Rays regularly swim in from the deep. If you’re very lucky you might even see an elusive Dugong.
The lure of Mozambique are the unspoilt crisp squeaky-white beaches, the warm azure sea, and the vast proliferation of marine life from Nemo to manta rays, from seahorses to whale sharks and dugongs. There is an immense variety of hard and soft corals which provide a diverse and productive ecosystem. Marine life includes many brightly coloured tropical fish, sea anenomes, starfish, crustacians, triggerfish, wrass, Moorish Idols, Parrot, Angel and Butterfly fish and many species of gamefish, sharks and rays – and that’s only a few of the hundreds you will see.
Five of the world’s eight turtle species are found along the Inhambane coast and around the Bazaruto Archipelago. Green turtles are the most common here with leatherbacks and hawksbill being spotted occasionally. They are still relatively common here although their numbers are threatened worldwide.
“Lots of small stuff and big stuff. Nudis, so many, leaffish, Potato grouper, turtles, jacks, shrimps. Everything but sharks……..for them do Pinnacles, but no guarantees,” says Edwin from the Netherlands in 2008.
And he is right. Diving at Pinnacles in 2008, Melinda had this to add: “Pinnacle at 35 m with Shark on every dive; Bull, Tiger, silver tip, Hammerheads, Manta, devil rays.” as did Richard in 2009 “Hammerheads and tons of mantas. 40 m viz and 28 deg C water temperature.”
If this is the sort of excitement you seek, then you can find Pinnacle at Ponta do Ouro in southern Mozambique just 10 kms from the South African border. It is a brilliant deep reef dive at 28 – 40 metres and is renowned for its sharks, and “Bass City”. where “Bert”, a huge Potato Bass, has made his home. It’s about 20 – 30 minutes out from Ponta do Ouro and is a difficult dive to find, so don’t waste time trying to find it on your own. The beauty of this dive, apart from the adrenaline kick of swimming with sharks, is that it is very very uncrowded.
And if you’re wondering what else you can do in Mozambique, get an eyeful of this video from pipasforjaz.
If you’ve got some time on your hands you could do both a dive and a safari tour of Mozambique… now THAT’S something to think about isn’t it! And quite apart from that, check out the wind in the first video – at Tofu… great kite surfing area too.
p.s: I’ve only mentioned a handful of places to scuba dive – the whole coast is a gem… and it’s a very long coast.
And another postscript… most of these beautiful photos come from Odyssea Dive in Mozambique. If you’re looking for someone to organise the perfect diving holiday for you, please contact them directly at: www.odysseadive.com