africa Culture Fish Mozambique Tourism Travel Weekend

Weekend: Dancing with Mantas

We leave Tofo around 3 PM, after a wonderful Cryfish and Serra lunch, like the tip of a magical experience of Ocean Safari, looking for whale sharks. We found him!

We gently jump in to the water and we swam with him for about 50 minutes, 16 meters of elegance, a “marine bus” that moves gently into the ocean. Sometimes we follow him and sometimes he follow us, we did not understand who between him and us was the observer, the curious, the observed.

Next stop Praia di Zavora, 135 km south, one of the best diving spots in the world for Manta Ray. We sleep at the beach front chalet on Lagoa Poelela, the silent lagoon surrounded by coconut palms, 2,5 km far from the ocean.

On our 4WD, we ride the last Kilometres on a split of sand well beaten and reach the lake. We remain silent, abducted by the quietness of the place and by an incredible sunset that has painting of red everything. We have a delicious garropa grelhada (grouper) dinner under a starry sky.

We wake up at the crack of dawn, the birds begin to pitch their morning concert with catatonic and redundant sounds like a sacred litany.

Breakfast and off to Zavora, at 10 am there are ready for diving. We abandon the bureaucratic formalities, each preparing its own equipment, we wear the wetsuit and listen to the briefing.

We get on the raft and depart, first diving on White Sand Reef. During the trip we meet a huge quantity of humpback whale and a turtle. We need 20 minutes to reach the reef, we test check and dive. Another big turtle wait for us at 10 meters were we collect all the divers, just a check to be sure that all of us reach safe the send and it run away.

Around the reef lobster, a Spanish dancer and a big octopus, after 50’ it’s time to come up, we do the safety stop at 5 mt, I turned around and a huge Manta Ray appears in front of me dancing like a ghost, transforming a somewhat boring waiting time into a lifelong memory.

Elated back into the boat, we move to Red Sand reef, the humpback whales sail with us a few meters from the raft, they dive a splash all the time.

We are read for the new dive, the script is the same, check, dive and meeting at the bottom, another title is eating quite, now we follow it. We start to look around, Lion fish, lobster and a guitar shark are the prelude and Manta Rays started to show. Follow one another, some alone, some with their mate, slowly surrounding us. It’s like they are all meeting to check out this strange animals wearing black suits and a yellow cylinder on their back. At the end we count 10 of them, sound track of this dive, whale song surround.

Exiting the dive in one word: Unforgettable

by Nunzio De Nigris


Torino native Nunzio De Nigris felt in love with Africa in the early 1990’s when traveling around the region on photographic expeditions. In 2009 while driving down from South Africa to North of Mozambique, he first visited the “Poelela” Lagoon in Inharrime, in southern Mozambique on the shores of country coastal lakes. He invested in what was them a small project under construction which later became known as the “Lagoa Poelela Resort”, an unpretentious boutique hotel catering for discerning travellers looking to explore the beauty  and wildness of Mozambique. Nunzio often design bespoke experiences according to each of his guests.

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