Frequently Asked Questions
We do not dive past the deco limit. In fact we start our ascent at 2 minutes before we reach the decompression limit - so tell your leader when your computer reads 2 minutes. All instructors also do a very slow ascent, as we can find devil rays and cool plankton species in midwater.
Night / Wreck dives
Unfortunately we do not offer night or wreck dives. The logistics of launching/beaching boats in the dark make night diving not an option. And simply, we have no wrecks to dive!
At Tofo Scuba we have a Nitrox compressor! Yay! So we find a lot of our divers are either nitrox qualified, or end up taking the course during their stay.
Nitrox is recommended for the deep dives (18m +) sites in Tofo, as there are no sloping walls. The reef is on the sea floor only and it's blue water in between, so nitrox maximises your time on the reef.
Safety - Separation + Emergency
If you get separated from the leader (instructor) at the front of the group or the sweeper (divemaster) at the back of the group, then Tofo Scuba asks you follow the generally recommended actions. This is to look around for your fellow divers for no more than 1 minute. Look for bubbles, tanks, fins... if you don't find anyone after 60 seconds, then slowly start to make your ascent. Do NOT make a safety stop in the case of separation - you may get shifted by surface current and, as previously mentioned, we dive within deco limits, so no saftey stop is still safe in this case. The divemaster will be counting and keeping an eye on the dive group the whole time. If they find one or more divers are missing, they too will look for you for 1 minute and then surface. When at the surface inflate your Tofo Scuba supplied surface marker buoy signal for the boat to come and pick you up.
In the case of emergency, we have emergency oxygen (white tank in centre of boat), a DAN box containing the oxygen breathing apparatus too. There is also a GPS, mobile phone and radio for you to use to get in to contact with the shop (the skipper will most likely take control of this situation if you are not rescue qualified).
The nearest re-compression chamber is in Durban. It is over 1000km away, hence why we dive so safely!
Don't drink before diving. We operate a strict no drinking before diving policy.
For advanced divers, we recommend booking 2 dives per day (3rd is payable on site at the discounted rate). The double dive trip includes a 1hr30 surface interval, where we look out for whale sharks, humpback whales (June-Oct), mantas, dolphins etc. If we find whale sharks, we swim with them, and so it’s effectively an ocean safari between the dives.
We will try our best to take you to all our different sites, however, it is largely weather dependent and Instructors make the final decision on dive sites the morning of the dive.
The visibility and currents for diving are not truly seasonal – they can change in just a few hours!
Visibility and currents are changeable and unpredictable. All we can do is let you know the visibility we expect from the previous days of diving, and the current we assess properly when we are out on the boat over the dive site. Winter tends to have worse visibility (down to 5m), although it is still possible to have 15m+ to spot those noisy Humpback whales overhead!
Water temperature generally is hotter (up to 28 degrees) in December – April, and generally colder (down to 18 degrees) in June – October. Having said this, we do get thermoclines, bringing hot water in winter and cold water in summer! So generally we wear 5mm wetsuits all year around, with hoods and extra rash vest in the winter.
Tofo Scuba is fully stocked with Scuba Pro equipment. New, serviced and well maintained, we can offer you quality rental gear whether you need just a BCD or the full set.
We have 12L aluminium and 15L steel tanks, all of which are DIN and int. compatible.
Here is a full list of our gear available for rent;
BCD - Scuba Pro T-one, sizes XXS to XL
Regulator - Scuba Pro MK2, both yolk/international and DIN available
Wetsuit - 5mm full length wetsuits are suitable all year in Tofo
Fins - closed heel fins from sizes UK1 to UK13. No booties required
Weights - 1kg blocks for your integrated pockets or on a weight belt
Dive Computer - A nitrox-compatible computer to show you depth, time and temperature
Here's what we do not have for rent;
Booties - not necessary for our rental fins
Hood/Chicken vest - recommended for winter, please bring your own!
In Tofo we have an array of exciting marine life
All 5 species of turtles, 2+ species of dolphin, 2 species of manta, many stingray species (including the extremely rare smalleye stingray), many species of shark (white tip reef, grey reef, whale shark, leopard sharks and the occasional hammerhead, bull, great white and tiger).
Deep and shallow sites in Tofo offer a myriad of macro species. Frog fish, shrimp species, crabs and countless nudibranch species, means you'll be looking up for the giants and looking down for the critters.
All of these particular species are here the whole year.
Whale sharks don’t have a season – they are seen every month of the year. They fluctuate in numbers depending on the amount of plankton in the water, which is continually changing with the currents and when they are all eaten by the whale sharks! You are most likely to see whale sharks on the water surface, and so either in between ‘double dive’ trips during the surface interval, or if you would like a dedicated tour, we offer the ‘ocean safari’, a 2-hour snorkelling trip where we try our luck with finding a whale shark or two.
Whale sharks are by no means guaranteed - it's purely down to luck if you're in the right place at the right time.
Humpback whales are the only species with a definite season in Tofo; June to November they are here, although peak months are certainly August and September. We don’t swim with Humpback whales, as they come up to Mozambican waters to give birth and breed – and so tend to be very dynamic. This does, however, create incredible encounters that we can enjoy from the boat, either during a surface interval of a ‘double dive’ trip or during the 2-hour ‘ocean safari’ trip. You can even just sit at our restaurant, ’23 Degrees South’, and watch them in the bay outside the shop!
Mantas on dives, whale sharks on the surface
We see manta rays equally across all of our deep (20m+) dive sites, and generally it’s on around 15% of dives we will see one. We have at least 2 cleaning stations on each deep site, where we hang out for a bit to see if there’s anything big coming through to clean.
Whale sharks we hardly ever see whilst diving. We see them feeding on the surface, hanging just a metre or so underwater. We are always on the lookout for whale sharks on the way to and from southern dives sites, and we run daily ocean safari trips, a snorkelling trip, dedicated to looking for whale sharks and everything else we see on the surface (dolphins, turtles etc). When we see them, we swim with them.
There are a couple of different ways to get to Tofo from either Johannesburg or Maputo.
Either you may catch a connecting flight, Maputo to Inhambane, with LAM airline.
We can then arrange a taxi to pick you up from Inhambane to Tofo for 1700 mets.
Alternatively you can stay the night in Maputo and catch the Fatima's bus,
from Fatima's Nest Backpackers Hostel in Maputo, at 5am.
Flying is significantly more comfortable, but many times more expensive.
Either way, count on arriving in Tofo the day after you arrive in Maputo at around 3pm.
Travellers with citizenship of an SADC country do not need a visa (Botswana, Cape Verde, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe) to travel for leisure.
From other countries you will need a visa that can be obtained at your home countries' Mozambican embassy, at the airport or at the border. You will need proof of return ticket and/or accommodation confirmation.
Tofo Scuba can provide you with a letter.
If you want to stay in Mozambique more than 30 days, you need to apply in advance.
90 day single entry tourist VISAs are ideal for a long holiday or for the DM internship, as they can be renewed twice at the immigration centre in nearby Maxixe.
Please check the latest information on the Mozambican embassy website.
Ocean Safari’s are a 2 hour snorkelling trip, out on the boat, zig-zagging along our southern coastline looking out for anything we can find! All year round we see sporadic, but consistent sightings of whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins and even turtles breaching the surface! Humpbacks are also around from June to September. The meet time for Ocean Safari is 1030 every day.
A Divemaster will be accompanying you out on the boat to give you information on the wildlife and advise on swimming behaviour and when is best to enter the water with the animals.
Is there WiFi?
Yes, we have free WiFi at the shop and restaurant.
What plug sockets do you use?
SA 3 prong and European 2 prong are most common.
Is Tofo / Mozambique safe?
Yes! As with anywhere in the world, of course you must be vigilant and do not leave valuables unattended.
Tofo is incredibly safe, though. Everyone you walk past on the way to the shop in the morning will greet you with a 'Bom Dia!' and all the kids will pester you for a high five.
How much is a beer and pizza?
As a reference for the price of a meal, beer is between 80-120mets for a big 2M (pronounced 'dosh em') and a pizza is between 350-1000mets, depending on toppings and which restaurant you choose.
What Insurance do I need?
We recommend that you sign up to DAN insurance for your home region, and inform them you are ravelling to Mozambique. You will then be covered by DAN Southern Africa, who are amazing. Anything from DCS advice in Nelspruit medi-centre to an emergency air evacuation... just get DAN!
What Malaria medication should I take?
Although it's different for each individual, we don't recommend diving whilst taking Mefloquine or Lariam. Refer to the DAN website for more information on malaria medication and it's effect on diving.