December 23, 2016 I found myself hunched over my journal under the dim lighting of my hostel dorm room in Tofo, Mozambique. My pen scratched across the page describing the journey from Baton Rouge to my current location. First the flight to Washington, to meet up with N and spend the night with my cousin. The next day we took our first flight (13 hours) and then a 5 hour flight before a 2 hour wait at the airport trying to get a visa. Upon leaving the airport we met up with M who was in the middle of his peace corp service. After a quick hostel stay, the following morning we all filed out of the hotel to catch a 9 hour chapa (small super packed bus) to Tofu.
Tofo is a smallish coastal town in southeastern Mozambique, and is the go to stop for vacationing peace corp members. The three of us choose to spend half of our time here with dreams of diving, swimming with whale sharks and dolphins, and playing beach volleyball- it didn’t disappoint.
The trip to Tofo , anywhere between 5-9 hours, was long and arduous, but vale la pena (worth the pain). Tofu was beautiful. The hostel, Pariangos, was one of the first when you in the town. Clean and relatively cheap, I was happy to spend the whole time there. Be warned, however, the walls are made of reed and any noise made in your room can be heard from the other rooms and likewise. On one particular evening we got a front row seat to a confrontation between two guests: one complaining about the noise of the other. The best part being the confrontation was much louder and continued much longer than anything the dude had done.
Most of our days in Tofo focused in and around the beach and water. We spent the first day playing in the water and exploring the small town. It was funny to watch how the three of us traveled together. Ironically N and I both thought that it was going to be a challenge getting along when in fact he turned out to be one of the best travel partners I’ve ever had. We quickly learned that both M and I do not handle being hungry very well and had to make some necessary adjustments when it came to eating on time.
The next day we went on a “sea safari” which turned out to be amazing. Ever since I was little and I used to read the national geographic in my grandparents bathroom I’ve always wanted to swim with whale sharks. I’ve always been in awe of their size and beauty. In Tofo, I was able to realize this fantasy and jump in the water with the ocean’s gentle giants– SO AMAZING. I was also able to go diving which in my opinion wasn’t very great.
We were incredibly forunate to meet and spend a decent amount of time with M’s peace corp friends. I really enjoyed seeing this part of his life and how many great people surrounded him. We played cards, M cooked some traditional and delicious Moz food, and laughed until our stomachs cramped and our eyes leaked.
Towards the end of our time in Tofo was Christmas and even though we were miles away from home we wanted to do something nice. So we walked a couple of miles down the road until we found a nice restaurant the hostel owner had recommended. However upon our arrival we were told you needed reservations. For a few anxious minutes we thought we had made the trek here for no reason when the gracious works told us they had enough food to make us and extra table. N, who in his own words “had a real job”, was amazing and bought the whole Christmas meal for the three of us.
Our bellies full and are heart brimming of love only 15+ years of friendship can bring we started making our way back on the beach only to stumble into one of M’s friends and her family. They invited us into their rented cabin where we enjoyed yet more amazing food and some really fun card games. My Christmas spent in Tofo is easily one of my favorites thus far.
The following day we hit the road back to Maputo before renting a car and deciding to do our own safari which I’ll talk about next week.