Tofo Beach is in the Jangamo District of Inhambane Province, Mozambique. It has been described as "the next Goa", and while this may be pushing it a bit, Tofo has definitely become a traveller's focus on the Eastern coast of Africa. The reasons are not hard to discern: beautiful stretches of beach, a friendly laid-back vibe, a small but pumping nightlife, great diving and snorkeling and a few good restaurants.
By car, follow the paved road from Inhambane through some 30 km of pretty scenery to get to Tofo Beach. The road is generally in good condition with tarmac up until Tofo. The roads within Tofo are sand.
You can organise a private car to and from Tofo through your accommodation in Tofo.
Tofo is about 6 hrs drive north of Maputo. If coming from the north, Tofo is a 4 hr drive from Vilanculos.
Most buses will leave you in Inhambane - from there take a chapa (minibus taxi, 20 MTn (New Metical)), more for large baggage, or a private taxi (about 50-100 MTn). If you are lucky there is a big bus leaving to Tofo as well (10 MT).
Buses run from the Maputo junta (the bus station) leaving between 5AM-8AM, straight to Inhambane which take 5-9 hrs, if it doesn't break down. As of 2009 the cost is 270 MTn each plus 50 per bag. Don't get scammed by the "porters" trying to help you with your bag and saying the luggage is 250 MTn each. Buy your baggage ticket directly from the guy with the receipt.
Both Fatima's and Base Backpackers in Maputo offer direct shuttle services from Maputo to Tofo at 800 MT each (no extra charge for bag), if you are traveling alone then this will save you money compared to taking a taxi to junta and the standard fare. Book your ticket at the backpackers the day before. The Fatima but leaves at 5 AM from out the front of Fatimas before it goes to Maputo Junta where it waits until the bus fills up with locals which could take a couple of hours. The Bus stops for a toilet and snack break at Limpopo in a petrol station. The bus will arrive in Tofo at around 2 or 3 PM. You will generally find a hand full of tourists on this bus. The bus is a medium size bus with reasonably comfortable seats and windows that can be opened.
From the airport
Inhambane Airport (IATA: INH) is operational M-F from 7AM-5PM, Sat from 8AM-5PM, and opened by (prior) request on Sundays. Customs and Immigration can be organised on arrivals. Only cash (rand or mets) is accepted for the visa fee (82 USD).
Direct flights are available to Inhambane from Johannesburg, Maputo and Vilanculos.
Inhambane airport is about 30 km from Tofo. If you exit the airport down the access road the route to Tofo is on your left, thumb a ride or catch a chappa.
Tofo is very small and you'll likely walk everywhere with the longest walk likely to be only 15 minutes. Having a car would be helpful, but not necessary. The road conditions can be average (sandy) and a 4WD or SUV would be beneficial but there is usually another route if a section of the road is impassable with 2WD.
Diving and Snorkeling
Tofo and surrounds have some truly excellent diving, with nice reefs and excellent large marine life. Whale sharks and Humpback Whales in season, reef sharks and much more. Don't miss Manta Reef, home of three cleaning stations where the critters really throng. Most of the better dive sites are at around 25-30 m, requiring deep-dive certification (which you can get through one of the dive shops if you don't have it already). Visibility is usually pretty good at around 20 m. Brace yourself for the unique landing upon return from diving - the shops here all gun it and beach the inflatable speed boats at full speed.
- Liquid Adventures, Bamboozi Beach Lodge Praia Do, ☎ +258 845 363636 ([email protected]), . Full PADI Dive and Watersports Centre with a pool on-site. Dive courses for beginners through to assistant instructor. 10th dive is free. Daily ocean safaris - snorkelling trips with whalesharks, dolphins and sometimes manta rays. Surfing and bodyboard rentals with lessons from a Mozambiquan surf champ. Island Kayak trips - day trip to Ila Do Inhambane. Dive and stay packages available at on-sight lodge, Bamboozi Beach Lodge. Pick ups/drop offs in town and at the airport. (,S23 50 500) edit
- Diversity Scuba, ☎ +258 23 29002 ([email protected]), . 5 star IDC Centre, friendly and professional staff. Single dives start at R310, excluding equipment and get cheaper with more, 10th dive is free. Courses from begginer to instructor. A PADI open water course available. Prodessional videos are available. Discounts available for using your own equipment. Specialises in small groups and customer service, onsite pool, Equipment shop, video department, rooftop snack bar. edit
- Tofo Scuba, ☎ +258 293 29030 ([email protected]), . Professional outfit based at Casa Barry Lodge. Single dives start at R370 and get cheaper as you do more. A 4-dive PADI open water course is R3100. Discounts available for using your own equipment. This is the busiest shop in Tofo and handles many divers per day. edit
- Peri-Peri Divers, Albatroz Lodge (overlooking Tofo Beach, walk from the market towards Casa Barry and beachfront signs will direct you), ☎ +258 82 550 5661, +258 29 356 038, . A relaxed, very friendly and professional operation with over 15 years of local diving experience. Trips cater for all ages and experience levels, including whaleshark ocean safaris, beginner to advanced dives at over 20 sites, PADI training courses and dive packages in association with neighbouring Albatroz Lodge, stay and dive packages also with Mozambeat Motel, allowing you 20% off of your dives/courses. A key sponsor of the Manta and whaleshark research centre in tofo. Scientists on the boats most trips. Trip videos as well as scuba video courses are available. edit
- Dive Tours to Tofo, . Fly in from Johannesburg to Tofo on a "fly stay and dive package" with accommodation at Casa Barry Lodge. edit
- Surfing Tofinio is a good surf spot, and Tofo beach is good for beginners, you can hire boards at "the waterworks" right next to Diversity Scuba.
- Snorkelling is a must... swimming with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world is incredibly special. Although their mouths are over a meter wide and their bodies 8 m long they are harmless. if you're lucky you may also get to swim with wild dolphins. Swimming with whales is prohibited, although when you realize how big they are you'll be happy to see them from the boat. Inquire with the dive shops about trips.
Full day island trips can be organised through your accommodations or through one of the local guys selling them on the beach. They can include a trip on a Dhow with a local fisherman to an island (Pansy or Pig Island) for lunch and snorkelling.
Tofo Life Tours, ☎ +258 8466 48525. Cultural tours to a local village where you get your hands dirty and make the local dish Matapa from scratch. You will do a number of activities whilst the meal cooks, such as making reed matts, before sitting down at the end to share the meal with the local family. They can be contacted on whatsapp and the price are 1,500 MT/person for four or more people or 2,000 MT/person for 2 to 4 people. They will pick you up from the market and the guides speak good English. They can be contacted by WhatsApp 1,500 MT/person. edit
Currency in Tofo Beach is the Mozambican (new) metical (MTn), or officially (MZN)
- Mozambican art, right in front of the beach.
- Chillis deli, at the petrol station outside Tofo (on the main road towards Tofo, just after Barbalaas), ☎ +258 8 4244 2609, . 09:00-17:00. Fresh bread and cakes daily, cold meats, sausages and cheeses. Wide stock of imported speciality foods. Deli sandwiches and ready-made meals. edit
- Local Market. If you are self-catering buying fresh prawns and crayfish is simple - local fishermen will pass by most cottages every morning. A fair price is 250 MTn/kg for prawns and 250 MTn/kg for crayfish. Beware of broken scales over-reading, it is a good idea to test them with a known weight like a 1 kg bottle of water. The small food stores at the back of the local market behind the fresh produce is also a great place to eat the local dish's like Matapa (50 MT).
- Casa Barry Beach Lodge. Restaurant with a great wooden deck, overlooking the whole of Tofo Beach. The biggest restaurant in Tofo, right on the beach, great food and fully stocked bar with lots of different selections, local and imported drinks best wine selection in town. Home to the Underwater Africa Foundation and Underwater Africa marine volunteer program, onsite marine science center, which give marine talks on different evenings a must if you are diving in the area. great beachfront accommodation with out of season specials. Open 7 days a week from 7am till late. Self Catering Chalets and garden rooms with bathrooms, Right on the beach in Tofo Bay, no 4x4 required.
- Dino's Bar and Restaurant. midway between Fatima's Nest and Bamboozi Backpackers. A beach party spot with a roofed-off open-air bar. They do some decent food including good pizza. Bonfires on the beach at night. Closed Wednesdays. use malaria spays and creams at night.
- Black and White, (in a shed at the market). It is also a restaurant / bar on the way out of town towards Mozambeat. Offers local food and drinks for local prices. Will prepare fish purchased at the market for a small charge. Beer here is half the price of most restaurants.
- Bread Shack, (next to Fatimas Place). Small dishes with home made bread.
- Casa de Comer. Seafood dishes as well as good international cuisine. Cosy, romantic with good service. lots of Mozzies.
- The water works. A surf shop that also serves excellent breakfast and lunch, you can also trade books and DVDs there.
- Bamboozi Can be a little bit pricey but has quality food and a great all-you-can-eat seafood buffet on Friday evenings as well as Wednesday night Pizza Buffet. It has an awesome view of the bay. The seafood pasta is good value and is insanely tasty.
- Babalaza, (from Tofo follow the road back to Inhambane until you reach the T-junction, the restaurant is on your left). Good restaurant if you have your own transport.
- Turtle Cove, (a 10 min walk on the road from Tofo to Inhambane). The food is prepared one meal at a time, so if you order as part of a group you'll probably all get your food at different times. It's excellent food, though, so worth it. They also have a nicely stocked bar. Open air dining room/bar area. Go early and enjoy a beer and the sunset sitting in the hammock or oversized couches.very slow service and lots of big Mosquitoes at night.
- Tofo Tofo restaurant, Tofo beach (next to police station), ☎ +258 82 7427270. Authentic local place, serves many different traditional dishes with curries and seafood available in a great atmosphere. Also has well supplied shop. Be prepared to wait (a hour plus) if they are busy. Kitchen sometimes very slow 2 hours, check it out with the waiter before you order. edit
- EmpireFood Tofo. (behind the market) Small traditional restaurant with regional dishes, home-baked bread, vegetarian and other tasty specialities. Here you can eat bunny chow + donuts! A cosy place to be with friends, just 2 min away from the beach! Closed since 2013. edit
- Bottled water is widely available in Tofo, there is a clean source of local drinking water.
- You can buy your own beer from the shops on the road to Inhambane if you want to save a little money. When buying beer try to get cans rather than bottles, most bars and taverns will ask you not to take bottles away or you can pay a deposit on it. These deposits are hard to get back as vendors seldom have money to pay you or just aren't willing and will coax you into accepting a trade.
- Going to taverns on the outskirts of town on Sunday afternoons are worthwhile to get away from the more popular tourist spots. You'll find friendly locals willing to share a drink and a few laughs.
- Local rums and gins are inexpensive but you'll need some courage. Tipo Tinto is a good local rum!
- Fatima's Nest (Fatima's Nest backpackers). Every night party place, where you can enjoy different kinds of drinking games with the staff. edit
- Dino's Bar and Restaurant. Although probably the least authentic this is one of the more popular spots to go for a decent meal or drinks. edit
- Fatima's Nest, (Located between Dino's Bar and the market area a 10 min walk on the road from Tofo to Inhambane.), ([email protected]), . The inimitable Fatima, building upon the success of Fatima's Place in Maputo, has opened a backpackers' in Tofo. There are bungalows, permanent tents, and a campsite. Shower facilities are available. Pool table, beachfront location and every day activities organized by the staff. The staff often laying on local music, dance and even beach theatre, and the bar is pumping well into the night on many an occasion. There's a safe to store your valuables, and Internet available for 2MTn per minute. Dorms 400 MTn/person, Chalets 500 MTn/person, camping 350 MTn/person. edit
- Bamboozi Backpackers, ☎ +258 2932 9040, Bookings (Jill) +27 83 6791165 (South Africa) ([email protected]). A quieter, relaxed, much nicer spot further up the beach with better food, run by South Africans with Liquid Adventures PADI dive center on site. All you can eat pizza buffet every Wednesday night for about 250 MTn, good value for money. Restaurant/bar high on a sand dune overlooking a quiet, pristine beach. This place is charming and if you are ready to splurge a little, the sea view chalets are worth the extra money. Dorms, huts, chalets and even a honeymoon suite R90-600/night. edit
- Turtle Cove is also quieter than Fatima's. It's a 10 min walk from town away from the beach on the way to Inhambane. They have a selection of separate chalets and dorms. The dorms have walls and screens, but still use the provided mosquito netting as the walls are pretty porous. That keeps things cool at night, though. The food is quite good, although the kitchen is run by just a couple of people so it takes a while to get your meal and if you order in even a small group you're likely to get your food at different times. The showers are in a block, uncovered but with reed walls that can't be seen through. They don't have shower heads but do have hot water! Dorms and chalets are 240 MTn (about US$10) per person per night.
- Mozambeat ☎ +258 84 5000383, [email protected], . Just next to Turtle Cove. 7 huts (fans, some with A/C), pre-pitched tents, rooms with ensuite and dorms, with a refreshing pool with a bar inside. Chilled and funky music played through out the day. Movie nights and other happenings every week. A cool bar that also serves food the whole day. 300 - 1400 MTn.
- Casa Azul ☎ + 258 82 8215921, [email protected]. [A beautiful little pension with an absolutely amazing tree house, although the other rooms are nice too. Relaxed family-style. 400-900 MTn.
- Hotel Marinhos. ☎+258 82 2329015, [email protected]. A large hotel, right on the beach with great views. 940,000-2,785,000 MTn.
- Casa Barry Lodge. ☎ +27 82 8085523 (South Africa Office) or (Mozambique) +25829300729, , . A full range from single sleeper garden rooms with bathrooms attached to 4 and 6 sleeper self catering chalets and cabanas, This lodge is right on the beach in Tofo Bay and also has a large Restaurant and Deck,provides free WiFi to all guests staying at the lodge and restaurant guests, also has dive facilities and is home to the Underwater Africa Foundation and Underwater Africa marine Volunteer program, who give talks on different days of the week. 24 hr security on site and beach. Full generator back up in case of power failures. all rooms fitted with fans and Mosquito nets one each bed.
- Mango Beach ☎ +258 82 9434660, [email protected], . A variety of options from cheap huts to luxury houses. R150-850/person.
Tofinho is at the far southern end of Tofo Beach, about a 30 min walk.
- Casa John☎ +27 82 4517498 (South Africa), [email protected], . Has 4 luxury houses, sleeping 6-8 people each. R800-1400.
Tofo is a paradisaical locale, but the recent influx of tourists has brought problems that the local police are ill-equipped to deal with. Bag-nabbing is rife, so be sure that there is always someone to watch over your valuables on the beach. The beach walk between Fatima's, Dino's and Bamboozi is entirely unlit, and women should not walk it alone or in the company of strangers at night. There have been... incidents.
Jellyfish can also be a real nuisance in some seasons - a long sleeve shirt can be a good option for swimming. Watch where you step.
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