There are a up to about 15 significant dive sites in the general Tofo area and they can be sorted into two main groups.
Offshore sites, which involve boat journeys of between 30 to 60 minutes, and the inshore ones that are 10 to 15 minutes away from shore.
The offshore sites are normally dived in pairs in the morning when the weather is calmer, while the inshore sites used for training type dives and a third dive in the afternoon for those divers wanting more than two dives.
The offshore sites such as Gallaria, Krakatoa and Oasis all have their own special things to see but most divers go to Tofo to see manta rays and Manta Reef is the signature dive for these encounters.
The inshore reefs such as Salon and Croc Rock are pleasant dives that are well worth doing, but pale a little in comparison to Manta Reef and the other offshore sites!
My three favorite sites at Tofo are Amazon and the Oasis to the north-east of Tofo and the legendary Manta Reef!
Diving Mozambique: Tofo Dive Sites – Manta Reef
This is the mother of all the sites in Tofo – simply quite spectacular! Manta Reef has a tremendous overall diversity of marine life in addition its three cleaning stations, where up to 20+ manta rays at a time have been seen to gather while the resident reef fish remove parasites and dead skin.
The cleaning stations are on the top of the reef, while the dedicated observation areas are on the nearby walls below the reef top so that the mantas are not disturbed.
The reef has north and south walls with adjacent pinnacles of rocks creating gullies at depths of 24m to 28m.
The top of the reef is quite flat with beautiful soft corals, while the walls provide shelter for large schools of yellow snapper, barracuda, bigeyes, fusiliers, hundreds of bright blue, red-tooth trigger fish, tiny goldies and fairy basslets – to name just a few…
Large potato and other groupers inhabit overhangs and small caverns, along with large trumpet fish, green turtles and schools of sweetlips.
The list of marine life to be seen goes on and on, with the cracks and crevices of the reef home to scorpion fish, morays (giant, honeycomb, geometric, yellow-edge and white mouth…), crocodile fish, Spanish dancers and a whole array of nudibranches and cowries.
Because of the sheer diversity of the marine life on Manta Reef a standardized route has been established that allows divers to visit the key locations on the reef and witness first-hand its tremendous vibrancy, but by following a one way route the impact of a large number of visitors is greatly reduced.
I found that this worked well on the occasions I dived Manta Reef when other dive boats were also there as we all had a great experience, but the potential mayhem of a large number of marauding divers upsetting this superbly but delicately balanced ecosystem was significantly minimized.
Manta Reef Image Gallery
Diving Mozambique: Tofo Dive Sites – Amazon
Amazon Reef is the farthest site dived regularly from Tofo and involves a long boat ride of almost 60 minutes, so it can only be dived when the weather is good as there is nowhere to really shelter on the way…
But its a really great site and well worth the journey time to get there.
The site is a horseshoe shaped reef that is reminiscent of an amphitheater with a maximum depth of 28m on the sandy/rocky bottom inside the horseshoe, while the reef top depth varies between 22m and 24m.
Amazon is an excellent site for spotting white tip reef sharks and leopard sharks, along with large loggerhead turtles.
Schooling barracuda circle above and large table-sized fantail rays are often seen around the borders of the reef along with devil rays and the occasional giant manta.
There is a stunning array of beautiful reef fish in large numbers plus blue-fin travelly and yellow-fin tuna pelagics.
All together it’s a really great site!
Amazon Reef Image Gallery
Diving Mozambique: Tofo Dive Sites – The Oasis
The Oasis is another excellent reef to the north-east of Tofo and close to Amazon, so the two are often dived together on one trip, providing the potential for a really tremendous day of diving!
The site is a stunning reef at around 24m with numerous overhangs and shallow caverns with a variety of excellent hard and soft corals.
There are two main cleaning stations here that attract manta rays and it is often possible to see leopard sharks resting on the sandy bottom.
It is also quite common to see white tip, black tip and silver tip reef sharks at the Oasis all of which adds to the excitement of the site!.
Other large rays such as devil rays, blotched fantail rays and Jenkins whiprays are also quite common and large giant and honeycomb morays eels can be found in the reef crevices.
Shoals of bigeyes, yellow snapper and goldies frequent the reef and sometimes schools of barracuda drift over the reef
Close inspection of the soft corals will reveal spiny lobster, egg cowries, Spanish dancers and large scorpion fish.
Altogether a really great site!
The Oasis Image Gallery
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