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Scuba Diving in Mozambique

Driving in one of the main streets in Maputo,Mozambique.
CREDIT | Text by Mirella Wognum. Images by Nicolene Olckers

Start planning your next dive trip! Today you will learn about diving in Mozambique.

PART 1: OVERVIEW OF SCUBA DIVING IN MOZAMBIQUE

Diving in Mozambique is nothing short of spectacular and can easily be named as one of the largest marine life capitals of the world. Whales and whale sharks are common here, migrating through the Mozambique Channel, as are dolphins, manta rays, reef sharks and turtles. Besides all this action, the reefs of Mozambique are in excellent condition and are home to a wide range of small and large marine life.
Local fishing boat lie on the beach at Legogo - Oysterbay, near Inhambane.
Tucked away in the most Southern point of Mozambique, only 10km from the border of South Africa, Ponta do Ouro is small village with beautiful beaches, green dune forests and a laid-back atmosphere. The high biodiversity in this area and the unspoiled coral reefs make diving in Ponta do Ouro a great addition to any vacation in Mozambique. To travel to Ponta do Ouro, divers need to cross the South African border at Kosi Bay and no longer only accessible by a 4-wheel drive,. Travelers can now also do  comfortable drive from Maputo.

Some of the most thrilling Mozambique dive sites are located at the Inhambane peninsula. Aptly named ‘land of the good people’ Inhambane makes for a friendly and laid back dive destination. Tofo is a small beach town with sandy roads, wide beaches and exceptional diving. Famous for its manta rays and whale sharks, diving in Tofo is full of surprises. And situated smack in the middle of the humpback whale migration route, these magical creatures can often be seen from the shore between the months of June and October. Inhambane airport has direct connections to Maputo and different South African airports. Transfers can be arranged by road from Maputo, Swaziland and South Africa.
A few Dive centres in Tofo and Barra
The largely unexplored Quirimbas Archipelago in northern Mozambique consists of 27 untouched islands with rich cultural and historical value. Surrounded by coral reefs and littered with mangroves, these protected islands are feeding and nesting grounds for many species like turtles, dugongs, dolphins, sharks and whales. The gateway to the Quirimbas archipelago is Pemba International Airport, with connections to Maputo, Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam.

In the southern Mozambique diving destinations, like Ponta do Ouro and Tofo beach, water temperatures range between 23 degrees Celsius around August, to 28 degrees around February - a 5 or 3 mm wetsuit is recommended. In the Quirimbas Archipelago, however, water temperatures hardly even drop below 26 degrees Celsius. Dive centers operate all throughout the year, as every season has something different and special to see.
A Manta ray cruising in blue water
PART 2: DIVE SITES, MARINE LIFE & ENVIRONMENT IN MOZAMBIQUE

Dive sites in Ponta do Ouro are versatile and offer great opportunities for both beginner and advanced divers. The sandy patches in between the shallow reefs are ideal for training dives. Checkers is a dive for all levels. With depths of between 15 and 18 meters, this site has a nice variety of coral and fish, including potato bass, batfish and frogfish. The more advanced dive ‘Pinnacle’ is a dramatic site in the middle of game-fish territory. Lucky divers will spot barracuda, kingfish, mackerel, manta rays, and sharks like the bull shark and hammerhead shark.

Mantas and whale sharks in Tofo can be seen year round. Even though whale sharks can be sighted at several dive sites, the best way to swim with whale sharks is by an ocean safari snorkeling trip. These majestic giants may seem to swim pretty relaxed, but in reality, they go very fast, which is hard to keep up with in scuba gear. Tofo dive site Manta Reef has several cleaning stations, and ranks as one of the top places in the world to encounter manta rays. Pinnacles and caves make up the topography of this site, which besides manta rays attracts an array of marine life like loggerhead turtles and giant moray eels. Mike’s Cupboard is a protected in-shore reef and is great for a beginner dive in Tofo. Consisting of a series of potholes with caves, ledges, and lots of nooks and crannies, this site covered in soft coral and home to an interesting selection of marine life, including crocodile fish, trumpet fish, and lionfish.
From left-Right: A Resting juvenile Lionfish; A pink and purple Paperfish striking a pose; A Hawkfish guarding his overnight sspot.
Diving in the Quirimbas Archipelago is largely untouched and unexplored. These tropical waters with beaches and mangroves are popular nesting sites for turtles, dugongs, sharks and rays. The shallower sites and coral bommies, like Rolas Rainbow, are home to colorful residential reef fish, like angelfish, sweetlips and pufferfish. Deeper dive sites and walls, like Rush Hour, offer divers a chance to see game fish, like the Barracuda, king fish, and snapper.

PART 3: DIVE SHOPS, AIRPORTS & LOGISTICS OF DIVING IN MOZAMBIQUE

Devocean diving is a 5-star PADI IDC resort in Ponta do Ouro. This team of experienced dive professionals organizes dive training and fun dives to the best of Ponta Do Ouro’s 20+ dive sites. The resort offers a choice to stay in the ‘dive camp’ deluxe-tented accommodation, or in one of the self-catering chalets.

Tofo Scuba is Tofo’s longest running dive operator and a PADI Gold Palm IDC center. With quality equipment and facilities, a professional staff and excellent customer service, Tofo Scuba makes diving in Tofo safe and fun. After the dive, Tofo scuba divers can hang around and enjoy a meal and some drinks in their bar with stellar views of the ocean.
Peri-Peri Divers staff
Divers looking for a more personalized experience will find Peri Peri Divers a good choice for diving in Tofo beach. With over 15 years of experience, the owners of this smaller dive center started Peri Peri with the intention of offering a personal and positive dive experience in smaller groups. Recently they paired up with the Marine Mega Fauna Association to organize eco tours under guidance of marine scientist, where divers can learn and get hands-on experience in conservation of marine life like manta rays and whale sharks.

Guludo Beach lodge, in the Quirimbas Archipelago, has won multiple sustainable tourism awards. Integrating philanthropy into a tourism business, this excellent resort with ecological design principles cares for the communities and natural heritage around the area without compromising the quality of the guest experience. As a fully certified PADI dive center they organize dive training and daily trips the best dive sites in the Quirimbas.

For the ultimate tropical island experience with pearly white beaches and swaying palm trees, staying in the palm-thatched chalets of Matemo island is as good as it gets. Combining barefoot luxury and exquisite diving in the Quirimbas Archipelago, Matemo has daily dive trips and offers PADI dive training for both the experienced and novice diver.

Written by Mirella Wognum
WHY DO DIVERS JOIN DAN?

DAN members have a passion for the water, a quest for knowledge and love of community. They love being part of something bigger. You can join nearly 500,000 divers worldwide and experience valuable benefits to make you a safer, smarter diver.

Divers Alert Network (DAN) is the world’s most recognised and respected dive safety organisation comprised of dive professionals and medical experts dedicated to supporting divers. Through research, medical services, educational programs and global response initiatives

For over 20-years, DAN has created an extensive network capable of providing divers around the world with vital services. Everyday divers rely upon DAN for dive safety information and health guidance. They know that in event of emergency, we’ll be there for them - no matter where adventure takes them.

For over 20-years DAN has been helping divers and we will continue to cultivate a culture of dive safety! Join DAN today and be part of the largest dive safety community.

THREE REASONS WHY PEOPLE JOIN DAN?

CALL & ASSIST

Most divers realise that diving is an adventure sport that may result in injuries as such they want the peace of mind that, in case of a diving emergency, there is a 24-hour hotline to call with membership benefits for the medical services they will need.

COST SAVING

DAN membership is not expensive by most standards. Diving medical advice is offered free of charge and is available 24/7/365. Membership benefits are secondary to any primary medical insurance and include diving medical and travel related cover that are also extremely affordable and very competitive. DAN members also have access to discounts on safety and educational materials.

CULTURE OF CARE

Many divers like being part of an organisation that is so obviously committed towards their safety. Apart from being available as a diving emergency and diving-medical-information line, DAN is always actively campaigning for safety, initiating and supporting safety initiatives, and finding practical ways to make diving safer and more enjoyable.

DAN is a very personal organisation. Callers quickly learn that DAN is not an “institution”; it is a living and vibrant organisation. In many ways, DAN members feel that they are becoming part of a “family” who look out for one another “divers helping divers” as we always like to say.

So, many divers just seem to like the idea of being part of something worthwhile and they are willing to give up some of their discretionary income to be a part of it.

That being said, it is also common knowledge that DAN offers top-rated services and has an exceptional network of experienced diving medical professionals. One call to the DAN hotline and divers find themselves talking to a professional diving doctor who “speaks their language”. This is truly something special. With access to so many likeminded people, DAN is able to arrange evacuation by land, sea or sky if required and help injured divers gain access to specialised medical treatment facilities such as recompression chambers.

In a nutshell! DAN members help support a 24-hour hotline. This hotline offers access to specialists trained in diving medicine and is freely available to members with a diving-related query. The DAN hotline can be called 24/7/365 by a member worldwide in the event of a dive emergency. DAN membership subscription contributes towards the 24-hour emergency and information line. The emergency and diving-medical-information line is freely available to DAN members. So members can call for medical advice on any topic to do with diving or ask to be referred to a health professional knowledgeable in diving medicine.

SO WHY JOIN DAN?

When you support DAN, you support the organisation’s ongoing efforts to reduce dive injuries and improve first response and medical treatment. One hundred percent of DAN’s profits are reinvested in research, medical services and programs that make diving safer for all divers. As a diver, you need DAN and DAN needs you.

DAN offers comprehensive plans that provide protection and peace-of-mind in the event of a dive accident for far less than the cost of an unplanned event.

DAN’s dive accident cover plans are recognised worldwide providing secondary coverage of up to R800,000 and paying 100% of eligible expenses.

DAN DIVE COVER VS. MEDICAL INSURANCE

It is true that some medical insurance include cover for diving injuries. However, divers who have tried to go this route soon discover that it is not easy to work with a medical insurance when trying to organise an emergency evacuation for a diving injury. That is simply not the time to discover that your medical insurance is not able to assist you in getting the most appropriate treatment or advice. Their convenient 0800 toll-free number doesn’t work in Zanzibar and even in South Africa, working your way through a multi-prompt menu from a cell phone is not what you need in a crisis. Also, getting documented authorisations takes time and nearly all private emergency service providers now insist on a written Guarantee of Payment (GOP) before responding. That is not surprising given that most aeromedical evacuations in Africa come in at R200 000 or more and even evacuations by ambulance approach R20 000 plus when advanced life support services are involved. Evacuations are costly. Recompression, on the other hand, is not that expensive in Africa. In the rest of the World, it may set you back about R100 000, but in South Africa the cost is usually under R20 000 unless multiple treatments are needed. However, if evacuation and hospitalisation are called for, the costs can be very high.

As a DAN member, all these concerns disappear. One number and you have all the help and cover you need for a diving emergency. The travel and medical benefits are an added bonus, but don’t tear up your medical insurance card just yet. So, should a diver have a medical insurance or be a DAN member? A diver should have both!

WHAT DO YOU RECEIVE WHEN YOU JOIN DAN?


  • Medical Dive Accident - Up to R800,000
  • Cover Evacuation - Real Expenses
  • Assistance International Non-Diving - Up to R800,000
  • Cover Personal Liability - Up to R2,000,000
  • Depth Limit - 40 meters
  • Cover for freedivers & spearfishermen

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