Published: February 12th 2009February 12th 2009
It was great to leave Maputo in a car that worked again, I was spo happy that on the way out of town I made the mistake of smiling at a policewoman in the back of a truck which pulled up next to us. Lesson number 3 of African travel - never smile at the police! We were summarily pulled over and the conversation covered the following points:
• Driving without shoes is illegal in Mozambique - I pointed out that I had sandals.
• Where is my license - always hand over the £5 international driving permit in case of request for money to give it back.
• Where is my triangle - in the back
• Fire extinguisher - also here in the back.
• Are you carrying petrol on the roof - no (I was carrying diesel so technically true).
After several other small items all of which we had failed to identify any reason for a spot fine got bored and we were on our way. I still smiled and waved.
Xai-Xai (pronounced shy-shy) is a pretty boring town stretching out along the main road but about 10km down a side road is Xai-Xai beach and a
run down campsite. The sea is cut off by a line of black rocks which run offshore, the result is a beautiful shallow calm stretch which is flanked by a white beach and coconut palms. The campsite might be run down but it had a great bar and served ice cold Laurentina.
As for Tofo, well what can you say white sand beaches, warm blue sea and lots of relaxed beach bars. We learnt to dive which was a very strange experience, after initially being totally afraid to put your head under water I was blown away by the feeling of being underwater. The visibility wasn’t great but the corals, fish and rays we saw in our 4 open water dives were completely amazing. One things for sure I’ll definitely be diving again.
The highlight for me though was snorkelling in the open sea with whale sharks, picture this diving off a small boat into the murky water and seeing an absolute monster emerge heading right for you. Whale sharks are seriously endangered with only a few thousand worldwide. For some reason around 300 live in Tofo’s waters all year, these are juveniles up to about 10 meters (the big
ones get up to 30m!). They are incredibly beautiful and so serene when you swim above them, it was a absolute privilege to be able to see them in their natural environment. Attached is a picture so you can see what I mean. I was lucky enough to see a manta ray as well and had it all to myself as Sandra was busy tending to her jellyfish stings (so no its not all fun snorkelling!). Some nice photos of travel on African roads are attached - especially enjoyable were the cows crossing the Limpopo
There are more photos below