There are also a bunch of fun and interesting things to do in Mozambique that you can’t do anywhere else, especially in a destination as cheap and uncrowded as Tofo.
1. Go scuba diving
Tofo is home to many famous scuba diving spots known for sightings of big sea creatures. Whales, dolphins, whale sharks, and manta rays are all known to frequent the warm, nutrient-rich waters of Mozambique.
You’re also unlikely to have to battle with other divers for the best sites. There are only a couple of diving outfits in Tofo, such as Tofo Scuba, which charges around $30 USD per tank. This means that if you spot a whale shark under the water, there won’t be hundreds of other tourists jumping in the water with you like in the Maldives and the Philippines.
2. Find hidden enclaves
Tofo is the only beach destination I have ever visited where tourism actually appeared to be on the decline. Usually, I visit a beach and then find it’s completely ruined when I return a few years later, overrun with tourists. Mozambique is different for a few reasons, namely the difficulty of traveling there and the lack of general information available about it.
That means that the people who you do meet there are usually really interesting travelers. They might be Peace Corps volunteers on their summer break, people from Australia or the States who work in agriculture, South Africans, or other travelers who were already in Africa and got there by word of mouth. The beaches are still beautiful, the sand is still clean, and the locals aren’t jaded yet. To me, that’s the perfect kind of place.
3. Make local friends
Mozambicans are friendly. Those who can speak English are almost always interested in hanging out with foreigners, and sometimes you can enjoy a heartwarming experience as a result.
Pictured above are Orlando and Nate. Nate is an American guy who decided to invite Orlando on his trip through Mozambique after learning that Orlando had never left his village. The relationship between the two was mutually beneficial, as Nate got to have a more local travel experience and Orlando finally got to see his own country.
When I heard about it, this kind of thing didn’t surprise me, because locals were showing me around Mozambique all the time, as well as taking me to late-night dance parties and art galleries.
4. Take a boat trip to the offshore islands
Boat trips are a fun and cheap way to fill an afternoon in Mozambique. In Tofo, you can usually organize one with a local or through your hostel with a group of friends for around $30 USD per person. It’s as easy as just asking the question: chances are good that someone will know someone who has a boat and can take you. It’s the way Tofo works.
The boats are simple, with sideways sails and rudders made out of old wood. It won’t be fancy, but it will be beautiful. Bring your own beer, sit back, and enjoy.
5. Ride a quad bike through the sand dunes
When you rent a quad bike in Tofo, you can take it through some of the small villages (and by small, I mean 5-10 grass huts) in the sand dunes behind the beach. Kids run out and either wave or decide to be little rascals and try to grab onto the back of the quad bike as you ride by.
You can find all kinds of little enclaves and beaches that aren’t accessible directly from the beach in Tofo itself, or you can finally give yourself a ride to the ATM, which is otherwise a 30-minute walk away.
6. Relax all darn day
Truth be told, most days in Tofo I just relaxed all darn day in a hammock, in a pool, in the ocean, or on the beach. It isn’t expensive, with a beer running just under $2 USD, a plate of seafood anywhere from $6 USD for barracuda or prawns to $12 USD for a whole lobster, and a private bungalow on the beach around $15 USD.
It’s the perfect place to just lounge for weeks and listen to music with friends in between dips in the ocean and sunset walks — without feeling guilty for spending a fortune.
7. Hitch a boleia
A common way of getting around Mozambique is to hitchhike, called a boleia in Portuguese. Tofo isn’t big, but if you want to get to the ATM, which is a bit of a walk, a ride is much quicker and more fun, too!
I took a few boleias that were somehow just as relaxing as laying on the beach — I sat in the back of a pickup truck and watched as we passed little villages with grass huts and hundreds of trees heavy with mango fruit. Some boleias are even boats.
They’re easy to get. You just have to make sure you’re at a logical intersection in order to get a ride. Ask around before you give it a try, so as to get some intel from the locals.