Tofo Beach

Trip Start Aug 09, 2005
Trip End Aug 09, 2006

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Flag of Mozambique  ,
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

We traveled from Nkhata Bay overnight to Blantyre where we sorted out an entry visa into Mozambique, and so early the next morning we left Malawi and crossed over into Mozambique at a little town called Zobuč. From there we hopped on another bus which brought us as far as a town called Tete, which was a dump of a place and we had a hard time finding a half way decent place to stay for the night. Our sights were firmly set on getting to southern Mozambique as quick as possible so that we could get some beach days into the last few weeks of our trip. But rushing to places in Africa just doesn't work.... there are no fixed bus schedules so who knows how long you'll have to wait and even when one does pass there's no guarantee that you'll be able to get on it or that it will leave again within the next 2-3 hours! So given this we should have realized that our plan was too ambitious, that Mozambique is a big country, and so the likelihood of getting to our destination in the time we had allocated and by the mode of transport of preference were pretty slim!

Let us explain.... after finding a place to lay down our weary heads for a few hours in Tete, we woke early at 4:00AM to catch a series of buses that would transport us to Tofo. We arrived in a small town called Chimoio after 10:00AM and while there bought some food reserves to last the rest of the day, then we hopped on another minibus that dropped us off at a junction where we could catch a bus to yet another town where we'd spend the night. And so we sat at the Junction from about 12:00 noon waiting for the bus, which was due between 1-2:00PM, but as 3 o'clock rolled around and our spirits were dwindling a yell from across the street caught our attention. A guy in a pickup truck was waving at us and after hearing where we were headed to he offered us a lift in the back of his pickup truck ... for a fee of course. After a brief discussion (in which we did not consider all the Pro's and Cons of riding in the back of a pickup truck for over SEVEN hours) we decided that we would take this guy up on his offer as it would bring us nearer our final destination and would be better than sitting by the side of the road for a bus that was never going to arrive. So we squeezed ourselves into the truck between the other passengers ... he already had 2 other guys, a woman and a 3-year-old kid camped out there with all their belongings! Yes it was cramped, yes it got to be uncomfortable, but for the first couple of hours it was an enjoyable ride, the sun shining down on you, the beautiful scenery, the light breeze, even the bumpy earth road didn't faze us too much ... but it was a whole other story once the sun went down, and it was pitch black, and the road deteriorated further, and that light breeze turned into a freezing cold wind that froze you to your core. It was the coldest we'd ever been ... and the crazy pickup truck driver stopped only once the whole SEVEN hours, and as it was before sundown we didn't think to put on extra clothing! But we survived and we were dropped off at a town called Vilankulo where we spent a fitful night's sleep having nightmares about freezing to death on the back of pickup trucks!!

The next morning after a hearty breakfast we were ready to hit the road again, gluttons for punishment ...Yes ... but the sandy beaches of Tofo and the azure waters of the Indian Oceans were calling to us. So we hopped on another minibus ... but this time for the first time ever (and we've been traveling in mini buses for almost 3 months at this stage) we got to ride in style and comfort, up front with the driver where no one was piled in on top of us. We couldn't believe our luck and after the previous night’s travel we were delighted. It was another 6 hours from Vilankulo to the town of Maxixe, from there we took a boat across the bay to Inhambane, and from there we jumped on the final mini bus that would bring us to Tofo ... the sun was setting as made our way to the hostel and we slept soundly in our bamboo hut drifting off to sleep to the sound of waves breaking lightly on the shore.

Over the course of the next week we did the most fantastic dives in the Indian Ocean, diving at many different locations we saw all kinds, shapes, sizes and colours of fish and other sea creatures, and magnificent coral reefs. It was a completely different experience for us, as although diving in Lake Malawi was beautiful, the variety and colours of life in the sea far exceeded anything we'd seen in the lake. The most incredible and memorable dive in Tofo was at Manta Reef where we dove down to 30 metres to an area known as the cleaning station where beautiful, huge, Manta Rays of between 6 to 10 metres congregate. They are amazing creatures to watch as they move gracefully through the waters flapping their wings, propelling themselves forward with what seems like minimal effort, we dove down and hovered around them for about ten minutes just metres away from them. It was spectacular.

When we weren't diving we were chilling on the beach and swimming. The weather was beautiful, not too hot, just about 80 degrees. There was nothing else to do in Tofo, it's a dusty one street little village but we enjoyed it. At the end of the week though we could really feel the weight of the realization that our trip was coming to its close and the reality for us was that our year had flown by. So with saddened hearts we left Tofo at 5:00AM one morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed ... huh we wish ... we were hung over like hell and had only gotten 3 hours sleep!! But we were depressed as we crawled onto our last minibus journey of our round the world trip and headed for the Capital city of Maputo from where we would travel on to the very last leg of the trip ... South Africa.
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