Mozambique, located in Western Africa, is a little known scuba diving haven. Clear waters, stunning reefs, and a vast amount of sea life make it a popular holiday destination for scuba divers of all levels.
The main draws here are the manta rays and whale sharks that can be seen year round.
There are also several other shark species that can be found along with humpback whales during certain months. Without a doubt, Mozambique is a must-dive destination for any scuba addict.
NOTE: The locations on this list are indeed the best in the country, but are not ranked from 1-7. The list is random. Number 7 might be just as good as number 1. You decide.
And as usual, as I make my way around this amazing country, I am Instagraming and Tweeting my adventures daily!
Where to dive in Mozambique
Tofo is located in the Inhambane Province of Mozambique. Its a small beach town with sand roads, gorgeous beaches, a laid back vibe during the day and party atmosphere at night.
It’s been described as some as the next Goa, and is definitely a popular spot for anyone visiting Africa’s east coast.
While the beaches here are stunning, those looking to scuba dive in Mozambique will be thrilled to know that the underwater world is even more spectacular.
Plenty of reefs and a variety of marine life including whale sharks, humpback whales, manta rays, reef sharks, and more make Tofo a must for anyone interested in scuba diving Mozambique.
Best dive sites around Tofo
Amazon: One of the best places scuba diving in Tofo to see sharks; whitetip reef sharks, leopard sharks, and nurse sharks are frequently seen sleeping on the sandy bottom or in the caves. If you are lucky, you may also see hammerheads or tiger sharks (during the winter). Other species include mantas, barracuda,devil rays, butterfly fish, angel fish, and banner fish to name a few. Amazon can be a challenging dive site and therefore is only suitable for divers with their advanced certification or higher.
Marble Arch: A donut shaped reef with several caves, some interesting swim throughs, and overhangs make this dive site a great place to spot lobster, moray eels, stingrays, snappers, big eyes, and more.
Giant’s Castle: One of the best spots to see manta rays and the rare smalleye stingray, the smallest stingray in the world. The ridge, which runs 25-30m deep, acts as a sort of highway for the rays and has several cleaning stations. In the winter months, don’t forget to look out into the blue as you ascend, you may see a humpback whale!
Sherwood Forest: Large tree corals are the inspiration behind the name of this dive site. Butterfly fish, angel fish, potato groupers, morays, cleaner shrimp, and loggerhead turtles can all be found here. There is also a manta cleaning station on the top of the reef.
Salon: A relaxing dive with several outcrops rising from the many bottom, Salon is named after the many cleaner shrimp that call this dive site home. Peek into the nooks, crannies, and caves, but don’t forget to look up to see schools of fusiliers above the reef.
Praia de Rocha: A favourite for scuba diving in Tofo as it is on of the area’s most unique dive sites, Praia de Rocha is a favourite among photographers. Bright hard and soft corals cover boulders where you can find plenty of nuidbranchs, including the Spanish Dancer. The site is very close to the rocky point of shore, so can only be accessed during certain conditions.
Clownfish: Named for all the clownfish that can be found on the reef, this dive site is a great spot for open water divers. Plenty of reef fish, nudibranchs, and the occasional octopus also make it a popular spot for underwater photographers.
Reggies: Pinnacles, overhangs, and channels make the topography of this Tofo dive site a favourite among divers. Watch for massive potato groupers, mantas, grey and white tip reef sharks. The site also has a couple of resident favourites including a leopard shark usually found sleeping in front of a cave, and a camera-loving loggerhead turtle.
Mike’s Cupboard: A shallow dive with a sandy reef. Octopus, pipefish, leaf fish, crocodile fish, crocodile fish, and plenty of reef fish call this dive site home.
Hogwarts: A great spot for scuba diving in Tofo. Lots of manta rays as there are plenty of cleaning stations. Drop down by the pinnacle and follow the wall where you see sleeping loggerhead turtles and plenty of great macro life including frogfish, leaf fish, and nudibranchs.
Chamber of Secrets: A horseshoe shaped dive site with large walls that include caves and swim throughs. Look for turtles, lobster shrimp, and baby reef sharks as this dive site acts as a nursery. Pay attention on top of the reef, if you are lucky you might see a whale shark.
Table Top: A reef covered wall with several pinnacles, you will have the opportunity to see mantas, potato groupers, kingfish, trevally, goldies, triggerfish and more. Allow for a long safety stop as, if you are lucky, a school of devil rays may come swim around you. Please note, this site is only accessible during mild currents.
Manta Reef: For anyone scuba diving in Tofo, Manta Reef is a must. It’s a world-class dive site that attracts plenty of fish including mantas. There are three cleaning stations here making it the perfect opportunity to see the curious mantas which will often come right up to divers. mantas are the highlight, but there is so much to see here. Keep your eyes open; if you are lucky you might see a whale shark.
How to get to Tofo
The closest airport to Tofo is Inhambane, which offers direct flights from Johannesburg, Maputo, and Vilanculos. Too airport is then 30km from Inhambane.
You can hire a private car, drive yourself, or take a bus to Inhambane town where you will then have to their take a chapa (mini bus), taxi, or, if you are lucky, a regular bus onwards to Tofo.
Drivers should know that Tofo’s streets are sand, so if you are renting a vehicle make sure to get a 4WD or SUV.
2. The Bazaruto Archipelago
Off the coast of Vilanculous is the Bazaruto Archipelago, a protected area with crystal clear waters, fantastic visibility, and an incredible array of marine life.
It’s been nicknamed as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ and is a a great area to explore for those interesting in scuba diving in Mozambique.
Best dive sites around The Bazaruto Archipelago
Baluba Reef: A relaxing dive for all levels over a large reef with some sandy patches. Expect to see rays, turtles, and common reef fish.
Potholes: A series of potholes and tunnels, home to a variety of marine life.Potholes is only suitable for advanced divers and is only accessible at low tide.
Linene Reef: Gorgeous coral formations that look almost like fairytale castles. Potato groupers are regulars on this dive site.
Fossil Reef: An interesting dive site where lion fish and groupers can be found hiding among the fossilized trees.
Brindle Bass Ridge: a large reef with a ‘toilet bowl’ lined with brightly coloured corals. Reef sharks, brindle bass, snappers, angel fish, and red lips are common here.
Manta Ray Reef: A flat coral reef home to turtles, clownfish, and lots of schooling fish. During the summer months you can also see mantas and whale sharks.
Greek Temple: A relaxed dive with opportunity to look for smaller species in the nooks and crannies of the rocks. Suitable for all levels.
Rainbow Runner Reef: Large sandstone boulders covered in coral and big coral trees.Tuna, barracuda, kingfish, and spotted eagle rays are common here. Due to the current, this site best suited for advanced divers.
Turtle Ridge: Popular for underwater photographers and beginners. As you probably guessed, it’s a great spot for turtles.
Two Mile Reef: A flat topped barrier reef with hard and soft corals and plenty go pelagic fish. Different areas are appropriate for different dive levels.
Five Mile Reef: Similar to two mile reef, good for both open water and advance divers.
Nine Mile Reef: Great for advanced divers with with deep experience: angel fish, reef sharks, and turtles.
Twelve Mile Reef: Only suitable for advanced divers with drift experience. Large caves and overhangs provide an interesting topography. Watch for hammerheads and silvertip sharks.
How to get to the Bazaruto Archipelago
To get to the Bazaruto Islands, you’ll want to come in via Vilanculos. Regular direct flights are available from Johannesburg and Maputo, and there are a few flights each week from Inhambane as well.
If you are staying on a dive resort on one of the islands, they will likely offer to pick you up from the airport. If you are not, it is possible to do diving day trips to the Bazaruto Archipelago from Vilanculos town.
3. Nacala Bay
Located in northern Mozambique, Nacala Bay is known as having the deepest natural port in Africa. It’s also a great dive area with dive sites appropriate for divers of all levels.
Plenty of coral, fish, and warm waters year round make it a popular destination for those interested in scuba diving Mozambique.
Best dive sites around Nacala Bay
Stables: The fresh water outlet on this dive site makes it a huge attraction for all kinds of marine life. Expect to see plenty of crocodile fish, lionfish, and seahorses. Due to the strong current, Stables is for advanced divers only.
Bonito Reef: Coral gardens leading to sandy spots and some rocky outcrops. Plenty of reef fish along with leaf fish, ribbon fish, and anglers.
The Point: Sloping coral reef with large drop offs. Look for stingrays, sea turtles, and groupers.
The Wall: Coral covered slope which leads to a wall with a swim through.
Nemos: An easy shore dive for all levels. Gorgeous coral garden with lots of reef fish.
Nacala Drop Off: A possible spot to see to see sun fish, suitable for divers of all levels.
Relanzapo: Two ledges running parallel to the shoreline. Strong currents mean it’s best for advanced divers. Great visibility, look for wahoo, giant tuna, and king mackeral.
How to get to Nacala Bay
Nacala has a small local airport about 10km from the city. If possible, this is the easiest way to reach Nacala Bay. There is a larger airport which offers more flight services, Nampula Airport, which is nearly 200km away.
Shallow reefs, a variety of marine life, and dive sites for divers of all levels make Pemba a popular spot for scuba diving in Mozambique. It’s also the gateway to another incredible dive area, Quirimbas National Park.
Most of the dive sites here are best suited for advanced divers, especially those with deep diving experience.
Best Dive Sites Near Pemba
The Gap: A reef along the continental shelf with a deep drop off. Plenty of big game fish however, due to the depths, is best for advanced divers with deep diving experience.
River Mouth: Large boulders and a coral reef. Napolean wrasse, rays, and reef sharks can be found here.
Playground: A shallow wall with overhangs and crevices to explore. Can only be dived during certain conditions.
Pyro Banks: A shallow reef with plenty of fish and corals.
Willy’s Reef: A flat reef with a tall ridge and a sandy bottom. Reef sharks, rays, and black Marlin hang around this dive site.
Penguin Shoal: A whip coral forest with big banks of coral. Lots of the usual reef fish here.
Baobab Rocks: Plenty of crocodile fish, some reef sharks, and rays and turtles can be found hiding among the boulders on this sandy slope.
How to Get to Pemba
Pemba has a large airport with service from Nairobi, Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam, and Dzaoudi along with some domestic routes from Maputo, Beira, and Nampula.
Note that checked luggage has a reputation of arriving late here.
5. Quirimbas National Park
Quitimbas National Park is paradise for beach lovers. Warm sun, white sand beaches, and clear waters famous for gorgeous coral gardens and a variety of marine life.
It’s a great place to see humpback whales (usually June to December) or just enjoy the natural beauty of some of the country’s best dive sites.
A definite must for those coming to experience scuba diving in Mozambique.
Best dive sites around Quirimbas National Park
Zala Bank: A giant sandbank covered in beautiful corals and lots of reef fish. Lots of large drop offs so look down, you may see some reef sharks.
Rolas Island: Colourful coral gardens and reef fish make this a popular spot for underwater photographers. Look for nudibranchs, pipe fish, and crocodile fish.
Ibo Island: Ibo Island has several dive sites with overhangs, slopes, and reefs. Lots of reef fish, schooling fish, and perhaps some reef sharks.
Quilalea Island: Beautiful reefs, tons of fish, and crystal clear waters make this a must dive site for this scuba diving Quirimbas National Park. It’s a great site for night dives and humpback whales in season.
Matemo Island: There are several dives around this island, including a wreck. All sites have vibrant corals and lots of marine life.
Vamiza Island: Healthy, colourful reefs and drastic drop offs make up a variety of dive sites here. An absolute must is Neptune’s Arm; a famous coral garden with a dramatic dropoff.
Medjumbe Island: Another spot for healthy coral reefs. A great spot for humpback whales during season.
Cliffs of Insanity: Suited for advanced divers, lots of overhangs and plenty of barracuda.
Laura’s Leap: Also suited for advanced divers and above. A vertical wall with plenty of overhangs to explore.
How to get to Quirimbas National Park
The closest airport to Quirimbas National Park is Pemba, on the mainland. If you are staying on one of the island resorts you will need to arrange a chartered flight to take you.
6. Pomene and Morrugulo
A quiet area in Mozambique with beautiful beaches and some great dive sites. It’s a popular area among travellers coming to scuba dive in Mozambique because mantas can be found on every dive site .
It should be noted that these two areas are about 40km apart, however they share the same dive sites.
Best Dive Sites Near Pomene and Morrugulo
Rappies Playstation: Caves, and swimthroughs make this a fun site to explore. It also has a busy cleaning station, making it a great spot to see mantas.
Big Surprise: Also known as Zambezi Reef. A rocky outcrop with very little current. Plenty of sharks in the area.
Zambia Shoal: Plenty of game fish including sail fish, wahoo, and marlin.
Trojans Gauntlet: A horse-head shaped pinnacle with plenty of mantas.
Pinnacle Reef: Large black yellow corals and plenty of hawkfish
Pension: a large reef with scorpion fish, devil rays, and eagle rays.
Robs Ridge: A ridge running along the coast. Gentle drift dive suitable for divers of all levels. Look for moray eels and skates.
Sleepy Hallow: Look for the resting bull shark by the cave.
Baixo Sylvia Reef: A fossilized stone bed with lots of reef fish.
King Deep: A dramatic topography with drop offs and shelves. Look for hammerheads.
Jake’s Crack: Suitable for advanced divers and up. Lots of reef sharks.
How to get to Pomene and Morrugulo
Both Pomene and Morrugulo are a bit off the beaten trail in more tranquil area; a good three hours away from the main roads.
Inhambane (see Tofo), about 100km away, is probably the closest airport offering the easiest access.
7.Ponta do Ouro
Located in the far south of Mozambique, Ponta do Ouro is just north of the South African border.
Beaches, lots of dolphins, and fantastic dive sites make it a hit for travellers scuba diving Mozambique.
The Best Dive Sites Near Ponta do Ouro
Atlantis: A 300m long reef with depths ranging from 38m to 47m. Given the depths, this site is only suitable for advanced divers with deep dive experience. Drop offs, coral, sandy bottoms, and rocks make an interesting topography. Currents can be quite strong.
Steve’s Ledge: Plenty of anemones with anemone fish and anemone crabs. Rock cod, groupers, trumpet fish, angel fish, and other common reef fish can be spotted here.
Steps: A thin sandstone reed with lots of corals. Ribbon rays, devil rays, cave bass, green job fish, and more are common here.
Doodles: A sandstone reef covered in sponges and hard and soft coral. Game fish, moray eels, mantis shrimp, potato bass, and rays are common.
Checkers: A huge variety of fish from rays to frogfish, to batfish and fusiliers. You may even get lucky and see a rare pineapple fish.
Creche: Named because of all the juvenile fish that can be found here.
Three Sisters: Named because of the three pinnacles. Lots of interesting species including ghost pipefish, frog fish, and razor fish.
Anchor: A pretty reef with lots of nooks and crannies. Trigger fish, fusiliers, goldies, porcupine fish, and scorpion fish can be found here.
Kev’s Ledge: A wall dive where you can see napping turtles, juvenile fish sheltered by overhangs, and some interesting macro life.
Wayne’s World: A great place for frog fish and the possibility of mantas. Keep an eye out for marbled electric eel…just make sure not to aggravate them as they can give off a 200 volt discharge.
Pinnacles: Only suitable for advanced divers, but an awesome place to see hammerheads, bull sharks, dusky sharks, and tiger sharks. While it’s a good place to see them, it’s not always a guarantee.
How to get to Ponta do Ouro
The closest airport if Maputo, about 120km away. The easiest way to get to Ponta do Ouro is to drive, however the roads are sandy so make sure you have 4WD.
Best times of the year to scuba dive in Mozambique
Sciba diving Mozambique is possible year round, however there are a few things to consider. While mantas and whale sharks can be seen year round, humpback whales only occur during the months of June to December, with the best chances being July and August.
Divers will also want to note that January to March is hurricane season, so if possible it is recommended to travel outside of these times.
Water temperatures are typically warm and rarely drop beneath 23 degrees Celsius.