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Travel and diving in Mozambique and South Africa


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Travel Story, diving in Mozambique and Big 5 Safari, to see the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo in the Kruger National Park in South Africa



Cool group which is going to diving in Tofo - Mozambique to manta rays, dolphins, humpback whales and whale sharks


divers mozambique tofo



Where is Tofo in Mozambique and the Kruger Park in South Africa?


map mozambique south africa


Info about Tofo in Mozambique:


Mozambique is located in the south-east of Africa. South Africa borders with Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. The acreage amounts about 800,000 km2. That's approximately 26 times the size of Belgium. The coastline is 2650km long. The Indian Ocean flows beyond and is also called the Strait of Mozambique. On the other side of the strait you'll find Madagascar.

Mozambique consists of lowland, a large plateau and some mountain ranges such as the Gorongosa, Malkonde and Lembobo mountains. The highest point is the Binga with its 2436m. The coast in the north consists mainly of cliffs and vast mangrove swamps. The coasts in the south are moreover dunes and lagoons.

From the east to the west run the Zambezi and the Limpopo, 2 large rivers. On the border with Tanzania runs the Ruvuma river. The largest lake is the Cahora Bassa that has transformed into a reservoir with a hydroelectric power station.

We're not exaggerating: Tofo is a little piece of paradise. Obviously, we're aware that Mozambique is an extremely poor country with low literacy and high HIV-infection rates, still recovering from a devastating civil war. In that respect, Tofo is a bit of a bubble: English is widely understood if not spoken, you feel genuinely safe even in the dark, and there is a generally careless atmosphere. Several European visitors we met, stayed in Tofo significantly longer than planned. And rightly so...

Large resorts and concrete high-rise are conspicuously absent, thank heavens. Most lodgings are small-scale and don't disrupt the environment. Tofo Mar is the only 'true' hotel, with light and stylishly minimalist rooms. We can fully recommend it, just like the sprawl of little restaurants in the streets off the beach. Most of them are wooden huts with a palm-leaf roof and a kitchen consisting of little moren than a grill and some straw to light the fire. During (frequent) power cuts, candles are put on the table and when we go through one place's supply of rum or gin, there's more to be had from the next place. Forget about the long menu's, though: just ask for today's catch and be blown away - like we were. Deliciously marinated beef on a hot rock or 3 large, perfectly seasoned lobsters with 3 cocktails for 14 euros per person... incredible but true.

You fly to Tofo in 3 steps: from Europe to Johannesburg in South Africa, then to Maputo's, the capital in Mozambique, and finally to Inhambane. The airport consists of a building the size of a village school where you can get your luggage from the tarmac, an experience in itself. From Inhambane it is still a half hour drive. Paying is best done in the local Metical, which is best removed from the ATM at Maputo airport. There is no ATM in Tofo. The tap water is obviously not drinkable.


Info about South Africa:


South Africa has an acreage of 1.219.912 km2. South Africa abut, from west to east, to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. Lesotho is an enclave within the Republic of South Africa. South Africa has a coastline of approximately 2800 km. On the west you'll find the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean on the east side.

South Africa currently has 9 provinces with each their own capital: Cape Town in West Cape, Kimberley in North Cape, Bisho in Eastern Cape, Pietermaritzburg in KwaZoeloe-Natal, Bloemfontein in Free State, Mafikeng in North West, Johannesburg in Gauteng, Nelspruit in Mpumalanga and Pieter Burg in Limpopo.

The landscape of South Africa consists of highland inland of the country. Along the coastline are rugged hills and narrow coastal plains. In the east you'll find the Dragons Mountains, the Njesuthi (3408 m) and the Mafadi (3450 m) as the highest points. These as well are the highest points of the Republic of South Africa.

The natural resources of South Africa are: gold, diamonds, platinum, tin, chromium, copper, manganese, iron ore, nickel, antimony, coal, natural gas, phosphates, uranium, vanadium and salt.

The major tourist attractions in South Africa are: the Kruger National Park, Cape Town because of the Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope and Robben Island, the Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl, Johannesburg and Witwatersrand, the Garden Route, the sandy beaches of the Indian Ocean in Durban, the mountains, the Blyderivierspoort Dragons and Sun City with the Pilanesberg National Park.

South Africa has a very rich fauna and we often talk of the Big Five. This name refers to the most dangerous animals to hunt down, these are the elephant, the lion, the buffalo, the leopard and the rhinoceros. Except for the Big Five there are, of course, other large animals. These include two types wild beasts, impalas, giraffes, zebras, mottled hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, various types of antelopes, etc. Some species are endemic (Not found anywhere else in the world.), e.g. the Reverine rabbit threatened with extinction, which can only be found in Karoo region.

In terms of flora, South Africa has more than 20,000 different types of plants. This is 10% of all known plant species on earth.

The most famous and largest wildlife park of South Africa is the Kruger Park. Other large and well-known wildlife parks are the Karoo Park, the Agulhaspark, the Augrabiespark, Rietvlei Nature Reserve and nature reserve Mpofu.

South Africa has major problems because of the AIDS epidemic and the high degree of crime that they can't seem to get under control. The trade in narcotic drugs as well, causes can increase in the amount of trouble.


Information about diving in Tofo in Mozambique with the diving school Diversity Scuba:


We dive with Diversity Scuba, but all Tofo dive centers basically follow the same schedule. Early in the morning, a first group leaves for two dives to the deeper, more remote reefs, with two tanks for every diver. Around noon, another boat is launched for a single dive on the shallower reefs closer to the shore. In between these, a third RIB goes on a so-called Ocean Safari, PADI-speak for a snorkelling trip. In theory, you could do a third, shallow dive after the morning double dive, but we never manage this. Because of the relatively long boat rides (up to 45 minutes to the most remote reefs) and the physical exercise involved, two dives a day should really be enough. Even for divers, the snorkelling-only Ocean Safari is perfect for the 24 hours of no-fly time before heading back home.

Let's be clear: Tofo in Mozambique isn't the easiest diving destination. The visibility displays between 12 and 18 meters - This is fine for those used to diving in the Oosterschelde but a lot less for those who are used to other Tropical Destinations. The current is quite force, and the swell is felt to a depth of 10 meters. The most beautiful, more remote reefs have a depth of around 32 meters and their least deep point goes down to around 20 meters. And because the nearest caisson is in Durban (indeed, a neighbouring country of South Africa, 1000 kilometres away!) decompression diving is absolutely not allowed. A Nitrox certification is a must to go for such a dignified dive with a duration of 50 minutes. Our Diving School offers Nitrox dives for a negligible extra price, and manages this responsibly: we are reminded to analyse the oxygen content of each bottle ourselves.

But, who likes a strong current and much plankton? Indeed, the big fish, and that's what we're here for. Tofo in Mozambique is, obviously, not immune to the overfishing of the Indian Ocean, and so there aren't as many mantas, sharks and whale sharks like 30 years ago anymore. But they are there, and have shown themselves from their best side. Of the roughly 15 different dive sites (deep and shallow) in the bay of Tofo in Mozambique we have visited 6. The northern side, provides you with bigger chance of spotting sharks and whales and on the southern side are more whale sharks and mantas to find.

We can wholeheartedly recommend Diversity Scuba. Proceedings are relaxed but professional, you get a decent briefing before heading out to sea, and the crew prioritises responsible diving. For example, the crew does not allow us to jump in the water when whales get temptingly close to the boat: mothers and calves need to be left alone. We always had two instructors and a trainee divemaster on board, which meant we could stay down while people on air or less experienced divers had to surface. Diversity's base seems to be Tofo's central hub, and you feel that if its walls could talk, they would tell some interesting stories. Their rooftop bar is ideal for a shady and breezy burger or sandwich after diving. All Tofo dive centres seem to charge similar prices.


Photos from Diversity Scuba diving school in Tofo in Mozambique


diving school diversity scuba tofo mozambique

Pictures - photos from Diversity Scuba diving school in Tofo in Mozambique



Travel Story diving in Mozambique Tofo and safari in the Kruger National Park in South Africa


In the diving environment, Mozambique isn't immediately known as 'the place to be', but if you know that both whale sharks, mantas, dolphins, sharks and in certain months humpback whales are found, this certainly is a destination that we want to see for ourselves.


Sunday 24 September 2017:

From Schiphol Airport to Johannesburg in South Africa


Since early Sunday morning trains to Schiphol Airport are out of the question, we leave at 5.30am by car to Amsterdam. Just after 7.00am we arrive at Park & Fly - Total Care Car Park, where we have reserved an indoor parking spot for our car (105 EUR for 14 days). After the necessary administration, we immediately hop on the transfer bus that delivers us after a 15-minute drive at the entrance of the airport.

After we've handed in our suitcases at the check-in counter and gone through the strict security control, there's still plenty of time left for a decent breakfast. Afterwards we wait patiently until we can start boarding for the 10.5-hour flight to Johannesburg in South Africa. Fortunately, we fly with KLM, who features sufficient leg space, an excellent entertainment program and a perfect catering service, (includes free drinks, such as wine and spirits).

Just after 21.00pm we land in Johannesburg, where we're picked up by the staff of the Linga Longa Guest House, which is a 15-minute drive away from the airport. The rooms and beds are rather on the small side, but provide all the comfort. There is also a grilling in front of each door to ensure extra security against intrusion. The owner told us how we could close the gate, but had unfortunately forgotten to tell us how to open it afterwards. It took a while before we could rescue ourselves from of this difficult construction!

The good thing of flying to South Africa is that the time difference with Belgium is very small, to not existing, this way we're spared of the usual jetlag. Nevertheless, long flights such as, are very tiring, and therefore we crawl into our beds soon after arrival in Linga Longa Guest House.


Monday 25 September 2017:

From Johannesburg in South Africa to Tofo


Today as well we get up early, as our shuttle back to the airport leaves at 6.30am. The small, wobbly double bed has played a trick on us last night, which results in a not totally fresh awakening. After a refreshing shower, we are ready for the second part of our journey. Fortunately, they start early here and can already enjoy a tasty breakfast in our guest house, so we don't have to leave on an empty stomach.

At the airport of Johannesburg in South Africa, we end up in a somewhat bizarre Kafka-situation. After we hand over our suitcases and the steward has put them through. She asks us to weigh our hand luggage. We're carrying more than the allowed 7 kg per person and are told we have to leave part of it behind or put it in our larger suitcases, which is, obviously impossible as they've disappeared from the luggage belt already. A debate precedes and after five minutes one of her colleagues comes over and says, bone-dry that the weight of our hand luggage isn't a problem, and we can easily bring it on the plane. Moral of the story: arguing a little and raising your voice always help to win a discussion!

At 8.40am promptly we take off at the airport LAM in Mozambique toward the capital Maputo, where we after an hour already set foot ashore. Originally, we had booked a direct flight from Johannesburg in South Africa to our final destination Inhambane in Mozambique, but for the sake of one or another dark reason the airline rescheduled the flight throughout and now needs to make a stopover at Maputo in Mozambique. This way we're traveling for over six hours, which we consider a serious let-down.

To enter Mozambique, you need a visa which you can buy at the airport on the spot. The lady who sits at the visa office, is the epitome of a frustrated officer. With a despondent expression on her face, she throws the completion documents in our direction. When we tell her we wish to pay cash (35 EUR, US$40 or 2000 Metical) she exhales a deep sigh and slowly strolls away from us, without saying anything. After waiting for a long time, she finally returns with a little briefcase that contains the change. 'It's been such a very tiring day!' Luckily for her, there's only a little group of tourists waiting for such a visa today, because if this was a full plane, the lady in question would probably obtain a burn-out. Hilarious moment!

Since our suitcases will not automatically be loaded into the next plane, we pick up our suitcases in Maputo in Mozambique and re-check-in. A little doubtful we approach the steward, waiting for the verdict about our hand luggage, but they don't even ask. We can walk through with our whole kit and caboodle! Also, the security check isn't very impressing, because our bottles of drinking water get through the control without any problem.

Because the domestic airport of Maputo in Mozambique doesn't have many shops, we kill our transfer time with a drink in the only bar/eatery available here.

At 12.30pm we take off toward the northerly Vilanculos in Mozambique (an approximately 1 hour flight), where we drop off some passengers and pick back up a few as well. Finally, we take off again and reach our final destination; Inhambane in Mozambique, after 30 minutes. This airport is so small that they don't even feature a conveyor belt. The suitcases are simply delivered on the terrace of the bar, where all the taxi drivers and local tour operators meet their guests.

Around 15.00pm we are picked up by a representative of 'Travel 2 Mozambique'. On the way, we pass tiny cottages which are made of cane or corrugated iron. Finally, we also stop at a shop to buy some water and cash out the local currency (METICAL).


Photos of the transport from South Africa to Tofo in Mozambique


transport tofo mozambique

Pictures - photos of the transport from South Africa to Tofo in Mozambique



After a 30-minute drive, we finally arrive in the coastal village of Tofo in Mozambique, where we are dropped off at Diversity Scuba. Here we get the necessary information on the operation of the diving school and find out where we can leave our dive equipment. Finally, the usual administration gets handled off, so that we can start our new diving adventure tomorrow.

Then we literally walk for one minute only to Tofo Mar, the only hotel of the region where we'll stay for 7 nights (there're also some guest houses). We booked a deluxe room with terrace and sea view; a bonus that we certainly didn't want to spare ourselves as the humpback whales pass near here.

The room and bathroom are very spacious, furnished with a modern kit out and equipped with all comfort. It even includes a king-size bed. Yet, there are some limps to score. For example; (although this isn't really necessary), the TV doesn't work and the safe is broken. Next to that, the edge of the bath tilts slightly to the wrong side, which results in large pools in the bathroom when you take a shower. Some of these disadvantages we just take as it comes, because the view from the room on the golden beach and deep blue ocean is breathtakingly beautiful!


Photos of Hotel Tofo Mar


hotel tofo mar mozambique

Pictures - photos of the hotel Tofo Mar



We unpack our luggage to subsequently go to explore the little town and start looking for a nice restaurant. Tofo is very small and consists of only a few sandy roads, but fortunately there are a couple of nice eateries with mostly fresh-fish dishes and pizzas. Wishfully we pick a place and, thankfully, our taste buds aren't disappointed. To celebrate this successful start of our holiday, we cheer with a solid glass of booze. The amount we pay at the end of the evening, is not even 1000 Metical (ca 13 EUR) and for that money we had a very nice meal and three cocktails. What a bargain!

As we're getting up early tomorrow morning, we don't make it too late and crawl in bed fairly early. Already we dream of mantas, humpback whales and sharks!


Tuesday 26 September 2017:

Enjoying the humpback whales at breakfast and our first 2 dives with Diversity Scuba


At 7.30am, we're expected at Diversity Scuba for our first dives, so we go for breakfast at 6.45am already. Surprisingly, we get an extensive buffet consisting of rolls, toast, cheese, ham, cereal, fresh fruit and various egg dishes with bacon and sausages. From the breakfast room, we also see some Humpback whales in the distance. Some animals are even jumping and that, of course lures the obligatory euphoria. Breakfast with a view!


Photos of the humpbacks seen from breakfast in the Indian Ocean in Tofo in Mozambique


dive school diversity scuba tofo mozambique

Pictures - photos of the humpbacks seen from breakfast in the Indian Ocean in Tofo in Mozambique



Diving on Oasis and Galleria


OASIS: Like most Tofo reefs, Oasis consists of a rock formation rising from the sandy seabed, in this case a series of interconnected pinnacles. We had a pretty strong current here, but our efforts were immediately rewarded by a grey reef shark and a comparatively big white tip swimming by. We encountered a beautiful marbled torpedo ray and a school of kingfish. During the safety stop, 3 devil rays kept circling around us. Beautiful! Maximum depth 26 meters.

GALLERIA: This site is located right in front of the bay and is often used as 'plan B' when currents on the open ocean reefs are too strong. Therefore, chances are you will be visiting Galleria several times during a week's diving. This is no punishment whatsoever, because marine life seems to love this long, massive wall that indeed resembles a gallery. Here, we first spot the green, christmas tree-like coral formations typical for this region. In 3 dives, we see a massive, 4 meters wide stingray, a grey reef shark, devil rays, a marble ray, a number of massive but friendly potato groupers and large reef fish. The only drawback: with a maximum depth of 33 meters and a flat top at 21 meters, dives here are relatively short.

Since we had a late entry after our second dive, there isn't enough time to take part in the last (shallow) dive from 13.30pm. A pity, but we don't let this influence our mood too much, because now we can enjoy an extra-long lunch at Upstairs Café, located just above the diving school. The sandwiches and homemade cakes here, are definitely recommended.

Then we go back to hotel Tofo Mar, where we opt for some chilling and gazing. We take a seat on the comfortable matrasses on the terrace and from there have a view over the ocean. Relax! Every now and then we're approached by locals wanting to sell their fresh coconut juice, homemade bead bracelets, cashew nuts and sarongs. Thankfully they're not too pushy and don't insist too much.

When we start looking for a nice local restaurant around 18.00pm tonight, it's already dark and a fresh breeze is surely tangible. A light jumper, during this season is certainly not a luxury. Our eye catches an Italian kitchen, where we decide on a tasty pizza. Just when we start eating, the electricity in the village malfunctions and we straight away are provided with a candle on the table. This turns out to be a normal phenomenon in Mozambique and so we continue the evening with our 'candlelight dinner'. Up to four times the electricity is rebooted, to immediately fall out again. When we go back to the hotel Tofo Mar, there still isn't any electricity. Fortunately, both our hotel, Tofo Mar and the Diversity Scuba diving school owns an emergency generator.


Photos village Tofo in Mozambique


duikschool diversity scuba tofo mozambique

Pictures - photos village Tofo in Mozambique



Wednesday 27 September 2017:

Diving on Kingfisher, Mata Reef and breakfast with the humpback whales


From now all days are very similar. We start the day with a solid breakfast, while enjoying the passing humpback whales. In the morning, we make two deep dives, then then go for a hearty lunch at Upstairs Cafe. Where after, we relax on the terrace of our hotel.

KINGFISHER: A big hit. This reef consists of 2 flat rocks with several ledges that serve as cleaning stations for mantas. And indeed, we see 3 massive mantas slowly circling around during their 'maintenance', mouths open wide to gorge on the equally massive plankton. We also detect a beautifully camouflaged frogfish and a huge school of jacks. Maximum depth 27 meters.

MANTA REEF: A relatively easy dive, going down to 25 meters. An intricate network of swim-throughs, overhangs and alleys, offer shelter from the current. As the reef's name suggests, we see...no mantas, but huge schools of barracudas, batfish, several kinds of snappers and fusilliers. A turtle hides under a ledge, and we spot some large scorpion- and crocodile fish. The route back from Manta Reef to Tofo Bay is locally known as Whale Shark Alley, and it more than lives up to its name. Three whale sharks ranging from 12 to 14 meters make for one of the absolute highlights of this trip. We're told to keep a certain distance in order not to disturb them, but the sharks clearly didn't read that e-mail. It's just incredible to see them glide past while completely ignoring us. 'Glide' may be an understatement: we need to swim our fins off to keep up with the barely moving giants for just a short distance. I need to pinch myself when a manta suddenly pops up between me and the third whale shark...National Geographic Live continues on the boat, when we watch one of the whale sharks gorge on plankton with its open mouts half out of the water.


Photos diving on Kingfisher and Manta reef


diving kingfisher manta rif

Pictures - photos diving on the dive site Kingfisher and Manta reef



For dinner, we decide to explore the other side of the village of Tofo. We walk a short distance along the beach and pass Zanzi Restaurant, where we opt for a delicious fish sate. Absolutely divine! The owner asks us to also write a review for Tripadvisor. Even in remote places like these, they care about such matters!


Thursday 28 September 2017:

Diving on Galleria


We start the day with a thick layer of clouds, and even see some rain drizzling down. For the local population, this is reason enough to grab their thick sweaters and jackets. Hilarious! Luckily the sun wins and slowly peeps through the clouds again. Soon we can enjoy the nice temperatures.

We dive on Galleria twice due to the heavy Indian Ocean and current (See above description).


Photos diving on Galleria


dive site galleria

Pictures - photos diving on the dive site Galleria



After the lunch, we decide to make a solid walk along the beach to the nearby village of Tofinho in Mozambique. The coastal strip seems endlessly long and you can probably walk here for hours. We hardly see any people on this beautiful smooth golden coloured beach, which gives us a paradise-like feeling. After an hour of hiking and watching the rolling waves, we return to Tofo, where we opt for a pre-dinner drink at Casa Barry. From the elevated terrace, we have a beautiful view over the bay and even see some whales in the distance. When we ask for the bill, this place turns out to be the most expensive restaurant of the village, but fortunately the beautiful views you get for free.


Photos of a solid walk along the beach from Tofo to the nearby village of Tofinho in Mozambique


strand tofo tofinho mozambique

Pictures - photos of a solid walk along the beach from Tofo to the nearby village of Tofinho in Mozambique



We end the day at Branco's, where we enjoy a delicious pizza and a hot stone meat dish that we're meant to bake ourselves on the hot stone. Delicious, but don't be surprised if your clothes smell a little 'smothered' afterwards.


Friday 29 September 2017:

Diving on Reggies and Manta Reef


REGGIES: The dive crew is fond of this site, a rocky plateau in a lunar-like landscape with a maximum depth of 30 meters. But we seem to have run out of luck, because apart from the 'usual' reef fis hand a peacock mantis shrimp, there is not much to see. Big game doesn't take advance booking.

Diving on Manta Reef (See above description).


Photos diving on the dive sites Reggies and Manta Reef


dive site reggies manta reef

Pictures - Photos diving on the dive sites Reggies and Manta Reef



After diving we don't return to Tofo until 15.30pm, and so the lunch is skipped. Instead we soothe our growling stomach with a piece of freshly baked apple cake. Subsequently we fully cede on the aperitif hour and slide our feet under the table at Mojo's around 18.00pm. Here you'll find, among a lot of other dishes, barracuda, tuna, gambas, seafood and lobster on the menu. We go 'all the way' and order garlic bread and a crawfish. Instead of only one, everyone gets three or four crawfish on his plate. And that for only 650 Metical, not even 10 EUR! Delightful and such a bargain. Here we'll definitely return!


Saturday 30 September 2017:

Diving on Amazon and Galleria


Today is our last diving day already. A pity, because there are many beautiful dive sites and we would happily stay for another week of diving.

AMAZON: A horseshoe-shaped dent in a rock formation, with harbouring overhangs on its entire edge. We reach 25 meters. This is the most beautiful reef we see in Tofo. Apart from turtles, we see a striking amount of mating nudibranches and leaf fish. As far as the coral's health is concerned, this reef seems to be in better shape than most. The cracks in the rock should be a perfect hiding place for zebra sharks, but we didn't manage to find any.

Diving on Galleria due to heavy Indian Ocean and current (See above description).


Photos diving on the dive sites Amazon and Galleria


dive site amazon galleria

Pictures - photos diving on the dive sites Amazon and Galleria



After this last diving day, we resume our daily routine: lunch at Upstairs Cafe, subsequently relax at the hotel Tofo Mar, have an aperitif and finally, enjoy a delicious meal. Because we were well surprised with the delicious dinner at Mojo's, we go here again today. There is only one portion of crawfish available; the others opt for a barracuda fillet. Now as well, we get a large piece of fish on our plates and everything tastes delicious.


Sunday 01 October 2017:

Ocean Safari with Diversity Scuba for whale sharks, mantas, humpback whales and dolphins


Since we're not diving today, we can afford to sleep in a little longer. However, the daylight peeps inexorably through the curtains, so we're up and going reasonably early.

At 10.30am we're expected at Diversity Scuba for an Ocean Safari (45 EUR), a snorkelling tour in which we search for whale sharks, mantas, humpback whales and dolphins. The expectations are high!

First, we go through a briefing on what we should do during our snorkelling trip with these large marine animals, but more importantly, what not. The golden rule of the three T's always applies: no touching, teasing or taking!

Then we walk with our group of 14 persons in the direction of beach, where the speed boat awaits. First, we throw in all our snorkelling equipment and then must drag the boat into the water, through the ground swell. Even getting in the boat isn't easy, because the boat constantly hits us beeches back.

Once we have passed the first and most difficult waves, we make plenty of pace and soon are sailing toward Tofinho in Mozambique, which is known as 'whale shark alley'. Pretty soon, we watch a humpback whale with its young. Unfortunately, snorkelling with these whales is never allowed, but we can watch and admire the animals from a reasonably close distance. Shortly after that, we pass a manta ray, but it disappeares so quickly that we have no chance to jump into the water. A pity!

The boat then makes a continuous zigzag movement off the coast, as this is the way we have the most chance to spot whale sharks. To our great joy, a group of dolphins passes and for the first time today, we can enter the water. However, this is only of short duration, because the animals dive under water and swim away quickly. Fortunately, everyone (despite the limited view) can see the dolphins. When we're all back on board, we continue our zigzag trip.

Ten minutes later we meet a second group of dolphins and get to deal with the same scenario. It's however, done very quickly, because despite the fact that the skipper really does his best to find a whale shark, we don't come across them. We've been on the boat, soaked for a while now, and many of our fellow passengers are pretty cold. Bringing a swim suit is certainly not a luxury! It's also advisable to take a pill against seasickness, as the sea can be quite turbulent.

After two long hours at sea, in vain for whale sharks, we sail back to the paradise bay of Tofo in Mozambique. Our guide asks us to put away all snorkelling equipment in the central bucket and to firmly hold on to the ropes on the edges and hook our feet securely. The speedboat now opens all engines and races on an extreme speed toward to the beach. Like a knife, we cut through the ground swell to violently land at the beach. Wow, that was a bit inordinate!

Of course, we're disappointed that we haven't seen any whale sharks and only been snorkelling two times, but we also realize that there never is a 100% warranty. Such a pity, pity, pity!

After lunch, we go back to the hotel where awaits a less fun task. We must pack our luggage, as we're leaving the beautiful, magical diving paradise tomorrow.

To end our day and our holiday with good food, a drink and a nice atmosphere, we go to the Monkey Bar. And, because the electricity again has failed, we dine by candlelight. Very cozy!


Monday 02 October 2017:

Of Tofo in Mozambique to Johannesburg in South Africa


After breakfast, we throw the remaining material in our suitcase and on the terrace of Tofo Mar under a radiant sun enjoy the ultimate panorama for a last time. It's truly amazing and with pain in our hearts we leave the miraculous Tofo in Mozambique around 13.00pm. Philipp, the (German) local contact person of 'Travel 2 Mozambique' even comes to greet us personally and asks if everything has been satisfactory. Of course, we promise him to advertise his travel organization at home. The service was more than excellent!

After half an hour of driving, we arrive at the 'airport' of Inhambane in Mozambique, an old building which size cannot even compete with a typical villa from Brasschaat. Fortunately, our driver guides us inside, as the vast majority of the staff doesn't even speak one letter of English. Further, the security scanners don't work, and we have to open our suitcases manually so that they can be searched. Fortunately, we have put our dirty laundry neatly underneath somewhere at the bottom of the suitcase!

Then we take a seat at the open-air terrace and enjoy these lovely temperatures with one last refreshing drink.

Since all passengers have arrived well in advance, we leave half an hour earlier than scheduled. We have never experienced such a thing, but it gives us a little more transit time in the capital Maputo Mozambique, where we arrive after a short hour of flying. Here we spend our last Metical on a tasty Amarula, a South African liqueur that tastes similar to Baileys.

At 17.30pm sharp we fly back to Johannesburg in South Africa in an hour's time, where we land during a storm. What a difference to the beautiful weather in Mozambique! We must, of course, first, before going through the immigration procedures grab our luggage from the belt. Then we take out the necessary South African rand (ZAR) and make way to the rental cars, where we have reserved a budget Toyota Corola (EUR 206 for 6 days) in advance.

All the administration is running smoothly and in no time, we take seat behind the steering wheel of our silver-grey rental car. Driving on the left in South Africa takes time to get used to, but fortunately the GPS points us in the right direction and around 20.00pm we drive on the car park of guesthouse Linga Longa. We're warmly welcomed by the hostess who half an hour later serves us a simple but tasty evening meal.

Once we are back in the room and have settled a little more, our eyes feel heavy and we crawl in bed early.


Tuesday 03 October 2017:

Guesthouse Linga Longa to the Kruger National Park


After a limited but tasty breakfast, we leave guesthouse Linga Longa, we do some basic shopping in the local supermarket and about 9.30am make way to the Kruger National Park; a journey that will take approximately 4.5 hours.

Fortunately, they're not acclimated to the traffic we know in Belgium and we can drive there quickly and easily. Halfway we decide to stretch our legs in the well-kept Alzu Petrol station with annex shopping centre. To our surprise, they have a sort of private zoo where we get to admire rhinos, water buffalo, ostriches, warthogs and various anti-walk. A little fun for free!

Subsequently, we continue our route, and when we take the exit to Nelspruit, we're stopped by the police. Our heart skips a bit, because it's known that corrupt South African agents unreasonably fines ignorant tourists. In accordance to the officers, we hadn't used out indicators to show where we're going, but in our opinion, we didn't even have to use them here, so we start an argument. The officer tells us, that such a mistake would normally cost 750 ZAR. When we say that we don't mind going to the police station with him to pay the fine, he'll let us go with a warning. Nice try, but many (less mouthy) tourists would have easily paid this fine. A tip: never pay an officer directly, but tell them you'd like to go to the police station. Perhaps you'd still get fined, but the amount will be significantly lower.

Around 14.00pm we arrive at the southern Malelane Gate of Kruger National Park in South Africa. If you want to stay in the park, you're best off booking online in advance via www.sanparks.org. This (state)organization who manages all public rest camps. The pretty tired, but well maintained bungalows usually have 2 to 3 single beds, a functional bathroom and a kitchen where you can cook or 'braai'. Of course, you can also choose to stay in one of the private luxury reserves, but those costs are significantly higher. At the entrance off the Kruger National Park we need to complete and submit the necessary identification papers before we may enter the park. From now on, the real adventure can begin!


Photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 01


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 01



We reach the Berg en Dal Rest Camp a little before for 16.00pm, where we opt for the express check in, pay the entrance fee for the entire period (304 ZAR per day per person), drop off our luggage in the room and immediately go the park to watch as many animals as possible before nightfall.

Also, now we come across many impalas, grazing kudus and some of the elephants. In addition, we also see a lonely giraffe that wanders around and only has one horn left on its head. Furthermore, we see some beautiful coloured birds and continue watching our beloved warthogs, but then it takes a long time before we finally have the animal in our eye sight. At some point, we see a whole caravan of cars and safari jeeps on the edge of the road. There must be something to see here! We search the whole area with our telephoto lens, but can't find the animal. Fortunately, one of the tourist points us to the correct direction. Somewhere on a shrub there two lions are taking a nap. Bingo!


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 02



Since it's getting dark early now and the gates of the camps close at 18.00pm, we have to hurry back to Berg en Dal. However, just before the entrance we encounter a trio of rhinos, which we of course also extensively have to capture on the sensitive plate. Three animals of the Big Five (elephant, lion and rhino) on our first day, is definitely not a bad start, 'score'!

At night, there is little to do in the rest camps. So, we go for dinner at a local restaurant (price-quality is amazing) and crawl into bed early, because tomorrow we must get up before dawn for a new safari adventure!


Wednesday 04 October 2017:

The Kruger National Park


Back home, when we need to get up early in the morning to go to work, we hardly can come out of bed, but here we jump up with a smile on our face at 6.00am to spot as many animals as possible in the Kruger National Park.

We start the day with a few warthogs and a group of water buffalos. We also get to see some giraffes, a multitude of impalas and, of course, the elephants. It's noteworthy that at this time of the year, a lot of young animals (especially cute little elephants) can be admired.


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 03



We've been on the road for a while and begin to despair that we'll not see any rhinos today, but in the end, we succeed to spot a mother rhino with its baby next to the road. Very cute!

At the less hectic moments, when there isn't any big game around, we try taking photos of birds of prey, funny hornbills and brightly coloured smaller birds. We also go off road on to a gravel road that leads to a water basin, but most of these basins run dry this time of the year. Here as well, are unfortunately few animals.

Around noon we take a short break at the picnic area Afsaal, where you can buy the necessary drinks, snacks and sweets. When leaving the car park, next to the road, we see a lonely gnu/wildebeest and five water buffalos. How impressive the horns of these animals are! Then we see a rhino and a group of zebras. Great, because these we hadn't spotted yet.

We leave the main road to Skukuza rest camp in Kruger National Park and decide to test our luck on a gravel road (S112 and S21) that runs eastward. Initially, this road is a big disappointment, as we don't see much else, except for some impalas and birds. But, then suddenly, a male lion crosses the road. We didn't see it coming and almost ran it over. That was quite a shock, but the lion doesn't seem to be very impressed and quietly continues its way. Our heart leaps.

After that we come across a group of elephants on the same gravel road. The group includes a little one, which means we should keep our distance. We get the opportunity to take some nice photos of this elephant family, but soon a car from the opposite direction tries to approach the group at a very short distance. The matriarch immediately reacts furiously and starts growling and flapping her ears. She doesn't insist on a direct attack, but the message is clear: here animals are the boss!

A moment later we pass a slightly larger group of elephants at a water pool again. As it's hot today, with temperatures above 30°C, the elephants seek quenching and like to cool down by spraying themselves with water. A little baby elephant tries to copy the example of its mother. A very beautiful image, that yields in the necessary footage. This gravel road, definitely has resulted in some highlights of the day!


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 04



Afterwards we get back on a paved main road (H4-1) and decide to take a turn to the Lower Sabie Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park. This turns out to be a great choice because we get into a real jam of cars, competing for the best place to get to see a sleeping Leopard in the distance. We patiently wait for our turn, but just at the time when we can see the animal, it disappears behind the bushes. Damn, we only get a glimpse of the leopard, and taking a picture was unfortunately not possible, but in the end it does mean, we spotted the Big Five today!

Ten minutes later we get into a similar scenario, this time we line up for two sleeping lions. All cars are parked pell-mell, which barres the road in width completely and results in none being able to move. Everything is very hectic, but now we get to see the animals and take the obligatory photos.


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 05



Before we reach the Lower Sabie rest camp, we pass a handful of baboons along the road, one of which (probably the alpha male) boldly hops on a passing car for a ride. We also spot some hippos and crocodiles in a small lake.

Then it's the right time to turn around and go straight back to Skukuza rest camp in the Kruger National Park. On the road, we pass some elephants, giraffes and impalas, but unfortunately have no more time to stop.

Around 17.15pm we arrive at our berth. We ask if it's still possible to make a booking for the night safari, but unfortunately, it's already fully booked. Instead we enjoy our basic bungalow with views of the river and eat at the chic restaurant. For two main meals and four glasses of red wine we pay 528 ZAR (ca 33 EUR). Good food doesn't always have to be expensive!

As valve of the day, we even spot a cute bush baby (a lori-like primate) in a local shop, which has managed to open a bread packaging, and sneakily consumes it in a corner. In the meantime, he appears a bit unnerved by all the tourist who quickly take their smartphone to capture this unique scene.


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 06



Thursday 05 October 2017:

The Kruger National Park


Today we're up early because we want to spot as many wildlife as possible in the Kruger National Park. Before we leave, we sit outside on the terrace in front of our bungalow for about 15 minutes, hoping to see some animals approaching the river for a drink. Unluckily, there's nothing more interesting other than a few birds.

The final destination of today is the Satara rest camp in the Kruger National Park, but as we drive, we come across information signs saying that there have been leopards and lions spotted on the main road to Lower Sabie, so we decide to first drive back to the south.

Pretty soon after our departure from Skukuza rest camp in the Kruger National Park, we encounter a large white-tailed eagle, who from a prominent branch willingly poses in front of our lens. Just below in the river, we see a hippo squeaking above the water. That's a good start!

Not long after, the following 'classics' pass the revue: giraffes, elephants, vervet-monkeys, kudus and baboons. Again, we're well spoiled with all the various animals.


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 07



At one point, we spot a long line of cars in the distance. This is the reason of the detour, because only a few trees further along the way, there is a leopard sleeping high up in a tree. Waiting lasts endlessly, as the cars a parked criss-cross along the road. This all to get a glimpse of this magical beast. After our patience and nerves have been severely tested, it's finally our turn to see the animal from the spot. Fortunately, we have strong telephoto lenses and we can create unique photos of the lazing leopard. After a few minutes of pure ecstasy, the leopard decides it's been enough and disappears in a fraction of a second in the dense foliage. We have been fortunate to be able to admire this scene, but the waiting queue of cars behind us, will undoubtedly have sworn very loudly!

After a few minutes driving, we again get stuck in a traffic jam. This time it's a lion that is completely hidden under some undergrowth. Chapeau for those who spotted the beast, because it's almost invisible. Then we see a young lion on a rock on the water and also here get the chance to take some unique photos.

Before we reach the Lower Sabie rest camp in the Kruger National Park, we see a few elephants looking for refreshment and a huge group of over 100 water buffalos on the other side of the river. Very impressive!


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 08



After a short break at the rest camp we continue our trip along the H10 back in a northerly direction. At the crossing of the Sabie River we see a group of water buffalos, which is enjoying its feast of tender grass. Afterwards we hardly watch any wild for a while and only spot a lonely giraffe, some elephants and a group of baboons.

But then luck is on our side again. Somewhere between the Nkumbe view point and Tshokwane, next to the road a leopard enjoys the porcupine it caught only a few minutes ago. What a coincidence! Fortunately, there are not too many cars on the road and we can take the best location to observe this unique event from up close. We hear the bones of the porcupine crack and even see its blood on the fur of the leopard. Goosebumps! We continue watching and taking photos for at least half an hour, but then it's time to continue our way, because otherwise we'll literally end up in front of a closed gate at Satara rest camp in the Kruger National Park.


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 09



Subsequently, it rains surprises, because in addition to some gnus/wildebeests, a giraffe, kudus, impalas and a troop of baboons we also spot a hyena taking a bath in a nearby lake and soon after another hyena with its two cubs laying next to the road. Incredible, because hyenas are rather shy animals, which normally makes it harder to find them.

Just before we reach Satara rest camp in the Kruger National Park, we see a group of gnus/wildebeests along the way. Unfortunately, we don't have any more time to photograph them because the gates of the camp close at 18.00pm. At 17.50 we drive on to the Sarara Rest Camp. Phew that was close, but more than worth the stress. Today we didn't see a rhino and therefore didn't make it to the Big Five, but the feasting leopard and the two hyenas made up for it!


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 10



Today we spend the night in a basic bungalow with three single beds, a simple bathroom and outdoor kitchen. Nothing fancy, but decent and practical.

When we enter the 'restaurant', our mood turns a little disappointed, because the restaurant looks more like a picnic beach with an overhanging sail. The menu is quite limited, and they have no red wine. A real let-down.


Friday 06 October 2017:

The Kruger National Park


Last night, there was a heavy storm with the accompanying rain above Kruger National Park. The nature and the animals will certainly have been happy because the green was pretty dry, but we aren't quite as enthusiastic about the fresh 16°C this morning. We're shivering!

Today we follow the usual routine: (very) early rise, stock up on the necessary groceries at the local shop to beat hunger and thirst and hop in the car to spot animals in the Kruger National Park.

Just after the departure from Satara Restcamp, we get some elephants in front of our lens and two large giraffe groups of up to 15 to 17 copies. A good start of the day. Then we also watch some gnus/wildebeest, kudu, waterbuck and, of course, impalas. The grazers are clearly over the moon, now all green is washed by the fierce rain and tastes a little more tender!


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 11



As the distance to our new accommodation in Olifants rest camp, along a paved road, isn't even two hours away, we decide to take a detour via the H6 and S100. According to multiple sources of information, these gravel roads provide a good chance on game viewing. Unfortunately the first part of the route (H6) has little to offer and we're mainly taking photographs of colourful birds, two hasty ostriches and a lonely gnu/wild beast.

On the S100 is clearly more life to the world with a waterbuck, a rare tortoise, a herd of gnus/wild beasts and zebras who willingly pose for our lens. But the highlight of the day are again three lions. One female passes by our car on a few meters through the dense scrub, another lion sleeps in the nearby vicinity and on the opposite side of the road we watch a large male who keeps an eye out. Again, an euphoric moment!


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 12



Afterwards we continue our way on the asphalted H1-4 of Satara to Olifants rest camp, but except for some kudus, wild beasts/gnus and giraffes, there are few animals to spot on this 60 km long road. Even the elephants, which normally dominate this region, do not show.


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 13



It is only 16.45pm when we drive on to Olifants rest camp in the Kruger National Park, but we're tired of the last few days and after checking-in to our room, have no more energy to drive back into the camp in the hope to spot some more animals.

Instead we decide to dine at an early stage, but don't even get let in to the restaurant. 'They haven't had electricity for a while now and can therefore not prepare any food'. Probably absolute bullshit, because this 'state kitchen' closes at 18.00pm and we suspect that they no longer feel like serving 'late' customers. We are therefore dependent on the independent restaurant that offers approximately the same limited menu as that of yesterday. However, we have no alternative and choose again for a mixed grill. Fortunately, they do serve red wine, which you can only obtain by the bottle. We absolutely don't see this as a problem! We enjoy our last supper under the South African sky with a unique view on the underlying valley and river.


Saturday 07 October 2017:

From the Kruger National Park to Johannesburg in South Africa


According to our GPS, we have an at least seven-hour drive from the Kruger National Park back to the airport of Johannesburg in South Africa in the crosshairs. Of course, we need to count on some obligatory stops, so we make sure of a good night's rest and leave the Olifants rest camp of the Kruger National Park at 8.30am.

It's a cloudy day and it even drizzles a bit. Apparently, the weather gods in South Africa want to prepare us for the autumn weather in Belgium with only 18°C.

After we've left the camp an drive toward Phalaborwa gate, we see quite a few birds of prey and a lonely elephant, but the desolate landscape houses few animals. We had higher expectations of the number of elephants in this region. A pity! We are happy to see two vervet-monkeys on the river and spot some elegant stilt birds (African nimmerzat).

But on the way to the H1-5 we once again, see a big line of cars and have luck on our side. Thanks to the directives of the other tourists we can fairly quickly spot a cheetah, which is sleeping at the foot of a tree. The animal is probably resting after a nightly roof party because high in the tree hangs a complete impala. What an impressive image!


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 14



When we continue our journey to the exit of Kruger National Park, there's a large eaten skeleton in the middle of the road, which looks like the head of a buffalo or other horn animal. The rest of the body is nowhere to be found. So apparently, there are lions in the vicinity, because just they'd able to kill such a large prey.

On the H9 we pass a small lake where we see certainly eight hippos. Unfortunately, they did not want to come out of the water completely and we only see their ears and a piece of their snout. At the edge of the water we also spot a great white-tailed paddling eagle.

Again, we stumble upon several cars parked along the side, which seems like they have something in their eyesight. In the high yellow savannah grass, we see an adult male lion quietly taking his afternoon nap. Fantastic ending of our last day.

We conclude this successful morning with some elephants, kudus and of course the obligatory impalas. Tired but very satisfied we leave the magical Kruger National Park in South Africa through the Phalaborwa gate with dreary, rainy weather.

Instead of the fastest, but also a long way back through the car trade, we opt for the shorter and more panoramic route through the mountains, which according to the GPS will just take a few minutes more. This way, we can take some good pictures and the drive will be less boring. In the meantime, the sun is slowly coming through and the blue sky and white clouds beautifully contrast with the raw greenish mountain slopes.


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Pictures - photos of the Kruger National Park in south Africa 15



We follow the R36 southward through Ohrigstad, Lydenburg and the cosy Dullstroom to finally get onto the N4 highway in Belfast. From here we need to drive 200 km to Johannesburg. We opt for a short stopover at the Alzu gas station to satisfy our growling stomachs and have one last look at the mini-zoo. Because in addition to ostriches and an unknown antelope kind, they also have rhinos and water buffalos. With this bit of extra help, we scored a Big Five again today. A fantastic end to our holiday in South Africa!

When we're back at the car, it starts to rain violently and the temperature drops to 13°C. With our shorts, T-shirts and sandals, we're clearly underdressed! Just before we reach the airport of Johannesburg, we end up in a traffic jam due to a traffic accident. We imagine ourselves back in Belgium! When we pass the site of the accident, it turns out to have run into the protective wall of a bridge. The truck is completely destroyed and the pieces will be towed away. Cruel accident!

After a ride of about 10 hours we reach the airport of Johannesburg around 18.20pm, and deliver the car at Budget/Avis directly. Since our direct KLM flight to Amsterdam doesn't leave until 23.15pm, we have enough time to change, enjoy some good food and stock up on a couple of bottles of Amarula.

During the night flight of nearly 11 hours we obviously try to sleep as much as possible. The free alcoholic drinks are a practical help! The next day we land in Amsterdam at 10.35am and after getting the luggage we call Total Care Parking to pick us up with the van. Then a two-hour drive to Antwerp awaits. It's been a long trip already, but it's always worth the effort!


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Useful information about Mozambique and South Africa:



Medical information about Mozambique and South Africa


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Hyperbaric Chamber and emergency contacts in South Africa:


Mozambique have no Hyperbaric Chamber. For the Hyperbaric Chamber you must go to Berea Mayville in Durban in South Africa

Recompression Chamber in Berea Mayville Durban, South Africa:



Emergency Numbers Mozambique:




Emergency Numbers in South Africa:




The climate in Mozambique:




Average ocean temperature in Tofo Mozambique


ocean temperature tofo mozambique



The climate in South Africa:


South Africa knows 4 different climate zones, which are very different from each other.


The time difference in Mozambique and South Africa vs. Belgium




Language use in Mozambique:




Languages use in South Africa:




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