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Blue Tomato

Stormrider Guide to surfing Inhambane Province

Mozambique, AFRICA


Mozambique surf at Tofinho, Garth Robinson

Summary

+ Fast, hollow waves - Frequent onshores
+ Warm water - Lack of spot density
+ No crowds - Inconsistent
+ Cheap and friendly - Malaria, TB and AIDS

Surf explorers are finding plenty of waves along the 2,500km of MozambiqueÕs coastline, most of which receives ample, seasonal swell and almost no crowds. Famous breaks like Ponta DÕOuro, a fabulous right point nestled up against the South African border, or Ilha de Inhaca, an island right near the capital, Maputo, both suffer from inconsistency and isolation. For the travelling surfer after quality and consistency, the best area to focus on is probably Inhambane province, a 6hr drive north from Maputo.

When to Go

Mozambique’s swell exposure is not ideal and it tends to be only the heart of the S-SE swell that makes it to shore. The best season is April to September when there are two or three solid swells a month, producing waves between 3-8ft. The rest of the year is likely to be flat on the points and small, mushy and onshore on the beaches. Cyclone generated heavy E-NE swells will produce either perfect lefts or widespread destruction. Tidal variations increase further up the Mozambique Channel and can have a big affect on the shallow reefs.

Surf Spots

There is some potential exposed beachbreak around Quissico, but getting over the lagoon is tricky. Praia de Závora is a growing dive spot and has S-SW wind protection behind the jutting reef/point. Easy peaks over sand and outcrops of coral reef. Also check Guinjata Bay further north where there’s a resort in front of a righthand point and protected peaks in the lee of the headland. Inhambane boasts a hospital, supermarkets and banks, but head to Tofo to stay on a long peninsula, sandwiched between the waves and a sheltered, mangrove hemmed lagoon with traditional wooden dhows ferrying people and goods to and from Inhambane’s little port. On the swell-exposed side, there are a series of beaches and coves with plenty of consistent waves around Tofo. In the southern corner of Back Beach is Backdoor, a super-shallow, right tube that slams onto almost dry reef. Back Beach itself offers a reasonably hollow righthand beachbreak in S swells, but shuts down a lot over some nasty shallow patches of coral. In a NE-E swell, the left at the north end gathers up the most swell in the area. It’s a short and hollow ride more suitable for bodyboarders with a freefall drop over a barely submerged razor sharp reef. The main attraction is Tofinho point, a high quality right that attracts plenty of swell. The take-off can be quite critical with a ledgy drop over a very shallow and sharp reef. After this initial section the wave peels quickly along the sandy edge of the reef and offers good tube sections. Further up the beach, Dragons conjures fun rights at the rocky outcrop and beach peaks stretch away to the north. Praia Tofo is generally a soft right point and weak inside beachbreak remaining small and fun, suitable for beginners or longboarders. Dino’s Left needs an easterly swell combined with rare berg wind conditions to produce Indo-style lefts. The stunning Barra Beach is a long swathe of palm-backed white sand with good quality accommodation hidden behind the trees. The wave here is often little more than a closeout but sometimes it throws up a quality sandspit righthander at higher tides. It faces north so it is either nicely offshore or blown out trash in a NE sea breeze. There’s a similar set-up but higher quality ride at Ponta Pomene, 100km north, or the more adventurous might travel 200km to check out the potential of the Bazaruto Archipelago.

Statistics

J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell NE -S E -SE SE -S SE -S SE -S NE -S
swell size (ft) 1-2 2-3 3 3-4 2 1-2
consistency (%) 30 50 60 70 60 20
dominant wind SE -S SE -S SE -S SE -S E -SE NE -SE
average force F3-F4 F3-F4 F4 F4 F4-F5 F4
consistency (%) 78 70 38 42 69 75
water temp (C) 25 25 23 21 22 24
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts springsuit springsuit springsuit boardshorts

Travel Information

Weather
The rainy season coincides with the hot months between Nov and March. Winter lasts from July to September but the coast remains hot and sticky year-round and even on winter mornings, a shorty will suffice.

Lodging and Food
Ticket to Ride offer fully guided 4x4 adventures (fr $950/wk). Turtle Cove is owned by a surfer & has a yoga centre. Many surfers stay at Fatima’s Nest (Tofo) and Fatima’s Place (Maputo). Bamboozi Beach Lodge (fr $10) - the owner Des is an avid surfer. Seafood is the big thing all along the coast. General living costs are similar to South Africa. Expect $5-8 for a meal.

Nature and Culture
The diving around Tofo is superb - whale sharks, manta rays and dolphins are common year-round. The decaying old town of Inhambane is one of the highlights of Mozambique. Check out the markets and nightlife of Maputo.

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