Tofo, a Mozambique village of warm sea, white sands, coconuts, periperi cashews and fresh fish, also smiling relaxed people. Tofo is known for it curved beach, and is protected by the Ponta da Barra peninsula.
Would you say no to an invitation to spend a week in a cottage on the beach? My storyteller friend Lenore Zietsman and her husband Johan have “owned” a cottage on the beach in Tofo, Mozambique for over 10 years. Actually, they lease the land strictly speaking, they own the improvements to the house – law is complicated in Mozambique, based on Napoleonic law.
Last Tuesday, I flew to Maputo, then in a smaller plane to Inhambane. Lenore met me at the small but competent airport, and after my first taste of Mozambique beer.
we drove the 15 km to Tofo to their cottage on the beach. It was love at first sight for me. From the stoep there is a fabulous view of the beach, which is endlessly fascinating. Lenore says she suffers from “stoepsititis” when she comes to Tofo – and its catchy…
There are always local people stopping by to sell their wares. From freshly caught fish – Johan bought Baracuda, peri peri cashews, home roasted by this old man. They made great gifts to take home. Also delicious over salads, or in curry…
Lots of vendors selling coconuts. But JK lives who looks after Lenore and Johan’s property, knocked down coconuts from their very own trees for us.
A “panga” chops the flesh away and inside is this delicious sweet coconut water. Coconut milk is made by mooshing the flesh with the water, so its thicker. Mozambique coconuts have soft flesh. The flesh is scooped out and eaten.
Whats to do in Tofo? Its got great Diving Schools, where people come from all over the world to in hopes of seeing Manta Rays, Humpback whales, Whale sharks and of course Dolphins around the reefs off shore.
Swimming in warm water… the waves are quite the best. At high tide, its fun to be tossed up high, or dive under, and at low tide float mindlessly staring up at a vast blue dome. Many people surf, boogey board or snorkel. Early morning swims are great, in fact swimming at all times in the warm water is great.
We did a Dhow Tour of the lagoon area north of Tofo. Dhows have been used for transport along the coast for hundreds of years, and go back to about 600 AD, when local fishermen and traders sailed the coastline in these wooden single sail boats.
Dhows are now used by the locals for fishing but are a great attraction to take tourists around the lagoon – Our skipper and guide taking refreshments onto the dhow for us . Fanta -( i havent had a Fanta since I was a teenager), bananas, coconut bread all tasted superb on the water to the sound of gently lapping waves against the hull.
We sailed to a reef where we snorkeled. The reef was teeming with brightly coloured fish, starfish and sea life. And then to Pansy Island – just a sandy island with not a sign of greenery – but walking through the sand, pansy shells everywhere….
Tofo is a village teeming with restaurants – the best pizza which was a surprise to me. The restaurant also served what they called hot rock food – a hot rock with food sizzling on it while it cooked in front of one…
We watched the end of the rugby match one evening at the “local pub” – I preferred to gaze over the moon lit sea…
On another evening we sampled the local food at a simple restaurant with plastic table cloth, and candle for decoration. We brought our own wine, and I ate the best crayfish I have ever tasted – for about R90!!!
You are spoilt for choice with restaurants, French, Italian, local , but its hard to beat home made fish on a braai!
The village which is about 500 metres from the beach cottages, sells just about all that you need – from veggies… to lots of local carved craft. Next holiday I’m travelling by car so I can bring some of the beautiful wooden boxes and bowls home. Tofo is magical, and a special place in Africa. Thank you Lenore for sharing your incredibly special cottage… it was a wonderful holiday!