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The last Brindle Bass…

The last Brindle Bass – will go something like this…

If only life were that simple. Do this. Don’t do that…

For most of us, living within the law comes easily enough. But what happens when our livelihood – and an honest one at that –  handed down over generations – a noble and admirable occupation – gets made illegal? Due to the depletion of the very resource your living depends upon? And you never depleted it or exploited it at all, in the first place?

There is a really skinny old little guy who breezes through the Tofo Mercado every so often. I first met him on the dunes on the Tofo Point – just next to the rocks on the north facing dune. He was shivering to his little old bones trying to warm up in the scant winter sun, from his hours long, and fishless dive. As puny as this guy is, he swims on his own for these solitary hours, and hours. As I got to know him better over some years, I started recognising him out at sea. Miles out at sea. Always a smile – and hardly ever a fish. Despite the sheer physical and emotional effort. Most spearos know what I am talking about, when I say – emotional.

Since the tourism scene exploded like a bomb on certain East African havens, there has been a huge increase in the demand for protein, in those areas. Meat. This is what happens all over the world, all of the time. As the tourist dollar gets spent, the dinner bell rings far and wide – attracting many, many migrant labourers, and gold chasers. All hungry.

Our guy used to shoot as many fish as he and his family could eat. Every day. But not anymore. Now the fish are few and far in between. They have been eaten.


As a tourism mushroom blows up over a newly found East African treasure – first the close by reefs are plundered. Completely stripped of their fishy dignity. Then the destruction extends. By fin or by boat – but steadily, and like the wave from an atom bomb – it spreads and kills. Reef after reef. Shoal after shoal. Mile after mile. Ony the far reaches are not attained – 30 kms or so away.

So our hapless full time spearfisherman, who for years has been plying these Tofo waters for subsistence and survival, is faced with an interesting quandry, with which to fill his head as he swims the blue currents, all alone.
Does he shoot as much as he can, when he can, braving the odd shark or current, and returning with enough to eat, and sell the rest? Making some profit. Pay his kids school fees?
Or does he maintain the subsistence way and just keep on keeping on. Well I am sure our guy would choose the latter, if but one thing. Where are all the fish? They have just simply been eradicated. So he survives on pelagics mainly, and their seasonal visits. And nowadays, he shoots what he can…

Lottery vs Starving

So this is what our guy is thinking, as he forces himself on, diving to 20 metres and more, up and down, feeling dizzy, cold and very alone. Where have all the fish gone?

Then all of a sudden, a huge brindle bass swims along the side of the ledge he is plying. It’s big enough to swallow our guy whole – but it doesn’t see him above and away. It’s one of the last. A pure marine monster of the depths. A survivor. Fifty years old. A national treasure. He most likely came in from deeper waters, or a neighbouring reef up or down the coast. A hundred years old – probably had a name – like “Clive” or something. Either way, he was here now, and our guy had not seen a fish like this for a very long time. He was doing the maths in his head. How much did it weigh? At 150 Mets a kilo for prime grouper like this, even more to the Chinese buyers…that is a lot of money swimming just under the ledge.

And so our guy takes a few deep breaths. He swims away at a tangent and down, skinny legs pumping, hands checking and rechecking his gun. It’s a 1.4 m Rob Allen that I gave him a while back and is in good nick. And so is he. He is built for this shit. As small as he is. He is honestly barely 5 feet tall. He bails over the reef adjacent and around from where he saw the huge fish. And starts to edge around towards where his finely honed gut feel tells him to be. He knows this reef, and this fish doesn’t. It’s just moved in here a while to look around. Our guy edges closer, slow metres, slow seconds. He has been down a half minute now but feels nothing from his depth hardened lungs. Closer. Yes, closer.

The fish has made it’s way around the reef and, big enough to eat the man waiting for it, warily patrols toward him. Around a boulder. They practically swim into each other! The huge fish reacts. With a sound like a sonic boom, he pounds the viscosity around him and goes into a massive 180…as our lone spearo pulls the trigger. The spear enters exactly right for him and not for the fish. Under the pectoral, but angling upwards – right through the old warrior’s heart. It almost dies instantly. But groupers don’t.
After a struggle, our guy subdues and ropes the dying vagabond. And with a feeling of euphoria, at the huge financial feat he has achieved, starts to drag his huge prize, home. It’s a long swim, but he makes it eventually.

He hits the beach and 8 guys help him drag the fish to the market. Like a funeral procession. It’s a protected species but those rules are never enforced here. The new lifeguards here in Tofo, in full battle garb – shoes, longs, collars and berets are right there, admiring the fish as it finally dies.

So who do we blame the demise of the brindle bass on? NOT on my underprivileged spearo friend! No ways.

You can blame it on the development of unchecked tourism in this area.


Read: another example of government incompetence and greed

This is not our guy from the story, but it is the Brindle Bass featured in this story…shot yesterday (2014) – way off Tofo Beach (c) All rights reserved

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Duarte Jnr at 7 yrs old release his first Mozambique Marlin

Mozambique Marlin by-7-year-old-Duarte-Rato-Jnr

Duarte Jnr at 7 yrs old release his first Mozambique Marlin

Duarte Jnr at 7 yrs old release his first Mozambique Marlin: just please don’t ask if it’s black or a blue?!

Congratulations go out to young Duarte Rato Jnr, who, all on his own, and on his spinning outfit, caught and released his first Mozambique Marlin!

At age 7!

If a marlin can live to about 30. And a human say, 75. Then that marlin and Duarte Jnr would be about the same age! Cool stuff Duarte Jnr, I’ll start changing all the search terms to you instead of your Dad!

Yip, the team took advantage fo a super-flat and calm day, to get out there and drag a bait or two around the inshore reefs and banks. And unbelievably, Duarte Jnr hooked up and fought the feisty little guy to the boat for a good few pics and a great release.

It’s been great watching these two kids growing up. Duarte Jnr has a little brother, Dario, who was just so amped about Duarte Jnr’s fish and was super-stoked to pose along with Duarte’s third kid, this one adopted – the ever-enthusiastic newbie angler – Diogo Martins (45 yrs young)! Otherwise knows as Diablo!

Anyway, it’s a helluva team that present during the lockdown and other recreational times – or when customers are just simply not in existence!

That said…Mozambique’s absolute and outright victory at the Covid Competition might see people heading up to Bazaruto, correctly, as a safe-haven.

Just got to wonder when those borders are gonna be opened up?!

Get in touch if you like heading up thataway for a real escape sometime when it’s possible again. Sean on or WhatsApp +27793269671.

See you there!

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Casting lesson #1: look behind you before you throw

Our casting clown in full glory

Casting lesson #1: look behind you before you throw

Casting is integral to your fishing experience. And. It’s sometimes tricky dangerous. Take it seriously.

Early 2018. The Bazaruto Archipelago. Mozambique…

There is a saying…”All the gear, no idea!?”.

And so it was. I was. Cursed with one of these. He was a sponsored angler from Spain. Sponsored by some useless profit-driven corporate fishing brand (yes, another one can you believe it), a really dodgy brand that produced really dodgy copies of Penn Internationals. Terrible drags. Sound like tractors. Not uniform in character between identical rigs. And clothes made of spandex and lycra.

So this is my guy. A sun-sensitive European full of ugly tattoos and weird tan lines. Dressed in a clown suit. And knows nothing about big game fishing.

Our casting clown in full glory
Our casting clown in full glory


And yet, now here he is and he has all this sponsored gear. But he doesn’t even know what a bimini twist is?! His reels are filled with rope strength braid removing all the usefulness of a large capacity spool. His outfits are all completely unbalanced. And with no knowledge of leaders or knots required to hunt big game fish in these wild waters, huge swivels clang about on every rig.

Now. Do you know? That it is legal for recreational fishers, to sell their fish, in Spain?! So when I asked about these completely unbalanced and incorrectly rigged outfits, he replied, “We’re fishing for money, to cover the petrol cost of the boat?!”.

He goes on to say that they target small bluefin tuna miles and miles off the Spanish coast, trolling, and this costs a fortune, so they sell their fish to cover costs? And it’s allowed?!

Even in South Africa it is not legally allowed for any recreational fishers to sell their catch. This right is reserved for previously disadvantaged communities and those with relevant licenses and permits in our third world. Not for first world greedies. Sponsored greedies at that.

And so…

I’m stuck with this absolute clown show. He wraps himself up like a warring desert mercenary, cakes the rest of his sickly pale skin with petrol derived suncream, and starts to fester. His attitude is so bad. I really don’t think he enjoys himself doing anything. When he casts wrong (most times), he cusses. When he loses a fish, he goes mental, trying to blame my skipper and crew. He has cameras set up all over the boat. To capture his follies? I mean really.

And then on this particular day out with the Spaniard, something happened…

Some background to the day first…

My favourite casting rig

I had just recently received a new outfit from one of my sponsors – the Fishing Pro Shop. A 9ft two-piece. With a perfectly balanced little coffee grinder filled with 20lb casting braid. I had my favourite Mydo SS Spoon running on a metre of fluorocarbon, and now trying to ignore my guest, and in my favourite waters, I was finally in the zone!

Unfortunately, I had this utter idiot with me.

We were skirting a sandbank out of Benguerra Island. I call this one the “Bait bank”. I had my new casting rig out and was just loving the braid flying through the guides so smoothly. Not an air-knot in sight. A beautiful scenario. Sometimes a cast emptied half my spool?! But I had a good 200m and was very confident in my brand new equipment and brand new tied knots and leaders (check the figure-of-eight leader system from Mydo, right here).

Bang! Right at the boat, the couta came charging in. Full attack mode!

But the little guy missed my erratic retrieve. But it’s this retrieve that I count on to excite the water I’m fishing in. And excited this little couta was, since, as I placed my spoon in the same place on the drop-off. This time he grabbed my spoon and held on tight. Very tight!

What a strike! What an experience! It’s really like a long bass outfit I’m casting with. But it’s got guts. I chose this rod very carefully. Designed exactly for fishing these shallows. King and Queen Mackerel. Snapper. Kingfish.

The sleek little fish tore off on its first run. The tiny single hook was holding just fine. I backed off the drag allowing the fish to go. At the same time reducing all that fresh new line drag from all that speed pulling the braid through the water. We were too shallow for sharks here – this fact I was counting on. I got some line back just in time for the angry little couta to make a second dash for the horizon. The super-clean water behind Benguerra Island that we were fishing allowed us all a first-row seat into the underwater action playing out.

Characteristically, the couta came quickly after its second run. And it wasn’t a total of ten minutes before my trophy light tackle catch was on the deck. Man was I stoked! I mean I love catching marlin and things. But. A fish like this, on such a light rig…is special. Well, especially to me anyway.

Look before you cast!

As I admired my dinner for that evening…there is nothing much like a freshly caught couta in the skillet…I heard the gut-wrenching sound of my idiot clients pole, smashing right through the middle of my delicately poised 9 footer, in the rod holder.


He simply destroyed my rig. In half.

I never looked up. I just told the skipper to take us home.

The idiot never apologised. Nor did he offer to replace my rig.

But ok. I still had my fish. And this story to tell. Which I enjoyed thoroughly and hope the foolchild from Spain reads this too.


Enjoy a little collection of pics taken on and around Benguerra Island during the season of 2018…

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Mozamboogy! And the adventure of getting there! This festival rocked through the end of August ending on the most beautiful Spring Day of 2019.


We lumbered around the circle just outside of Hluhluwe. Came out the other side to find another procession of vehicles. Then another. And another. All stopped on the side of the road. Police had cordoned the exodus off, right on our journey to our first Mozamboogy.

Gave it a try, stating our SASRIA riot insurance would get us through. Nada. Then all of a sudden, around the same circle comes an FJ sported by the dude who owns Kosi Bay Lodge. He has clients also jammed and so sought out a route through. And we were invited to follow him around the riots. So now our procession was real impressive. Thirty or so cars and bakkies and trucks now took up position behind us and the FJ and off into the dust of Africa we went. And got through.


The border was reasonably quiet because of the riots hemming them off, but in an instant, it became very busy with all the new arrivals, and the queue rolled out for miles behind us. But the operation was slick and we only heard of a few people who could not make it across for that first night.


Bustling. The new bridge and road have this place cooking now. If you rock in from Jhb, there is so need to turn left up to Tofo or Vnx anymore. Punters can just turn right rather and in less than an hour, you are in the delightful Ponto. The gateway to Molongane. And the Elephant Reserve. And so much more Mozambique. So from Jhb to the border, might be 5 or 6 hours. Plus an hour south. Wow!


This always a favourite place for me. The tropical forest could just keep me there forever. Milkwoods. Ancient. One of the mornings a dewy air rolled in off the ocean. The forest went misty and mysterious. The animals were loving it, as were we.
Our campsite was delightful with electricity and close to amenities. The staff were friendly and funny and everything about the toilets and showers worked great. Clean was the word. Nothing ran out. The water was hot most times. The power stayed on!


Is a collection of fun and eccentric party people who hail from all corners to celebrate.
The organisers have done a great job. Again and again. The resort is so perfectly suited to the application. Punters went out diving and on ocean safaris. Others were kiteboarding and surfing. Fishing even. The beach. The beautiful empty pure beach. Was filled with pretty people each day.
The venue sucked up the 1000 plus guests easily enough, with space for more next year. And so next year. There is always a rumour around that another big new development might make a problem for Mozamboogy, but in this place, the last thing you bet on, is a rumour. And so next year, Ponto Molongane will definitely be hosting the Mozamboogy another time.


Trance: wow this music can get heavy but with no lack of takers, this dance floor thumped the entire time.
Beach Bar: DJ Tushi stole the show. He performed! And luckily kept the standard very high in the face of a few more mellow performances by some others. I observed, that if a DJ does not look up at his audience, and make at least some eye contact, the dance floor empties rapidly. Especially if the music is changed too far from current stuff that everyone was digging already. And so many exoduses up and down the beach bar stairs could be observed.

And a little Ponto Molangane market gallery…


Mozamboogy run a really decent online show – with website and facey pages. The facey group dedicated to the festival was real enertaining too! Like a running commentary! But either way, it was easy to book and pay online, even choose from the many options available for things-to-do in Ponto Molongane, and find out all you need to know.

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Sailfish in Madagascar and other stories by

Sailfish in Madagascar and other stories by

Captain Duarte Rato has a lot to tell us about the Sailfish in Madagascar. He got 105 releases in 10 days! His full report will be coming soon but in the meantime…

Back in Bazaruto waters the fishing has been really good for the usually slower winter months. Here is a video made recently by the boys at Big Blue, highlighting the sailfishing and the annual Sailfish Competition held each year.

Duarte has compiled his latest report and it is available right here…

The Sailfish in Madagascar are really prolific but luckily we also have a good run or two in Southern African waters. April is a good month, and then May through June. Then again in November and December, in Mozambique waters. This also applies to South African sailfish although you really could be surprised by jumping saily anytime really.

Catching Sailfish

We use the MYDO #1 Baitswimmer to make a really versatile and effective sailfish trace. We put a few metres of 300lb nylon trace through rigged on the Mydo. You might have to work the holes open a bit with a bait needle to get the heavy diameter line through. Just tie a uni knot. Then we have wire droppers to the hooks, making sure the back hook sits right in the tail. Use an elastic band to help keep it in place. Also use an elastic band to hold the bait onto the pin and baitswimmer for high speed trolling. You can fit any skirt over the #1 head. Or a duster. Even a small kona will look and swim super.

Then these are dropped from the inside rigger lines and kept real close like a few metres behind the motors. The baits skip wonderfully with a snake-like swimming action. Then when you get a strike and the boat slows, these baits drop in and become swimbaits. Multiple strikes!

Read all about the MYDO Baitswimmer range and it’s adaptability to many fishing situations – right here –

And all about the #1 Baitswimmer which is on a special price promotion in our online shop right now…if you have any hassles with the shopping cart system, please let me know on

Great for Sailfish

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FishBazaruto take top tagging honours for 2018

Tagging marlin with

FishBazaruto take top tagging honours for 2018

Fishing aboard Vamizi through the 2018 marlin fishing season, Captain Duarte Rato of has won the distinction of tagging the most marlin for the African Billfish Foundation. Alongside Tarka from Kenya, and, then also got the biggest tagged black marlin for the second straight year!

Duarte has just recently compiled his latest fishing report on, and it is jam-packed with news and photographs.

The table of contents reads something like this:

  • 42 kg GT off the shore
  • 1040 lb Blue Marlin
  • ABF tagging results
  • Big Blue Sailfish Competition
  • Guinjata Species Comp

And a selection of photographs from the report…

You can follow the link below to read the full report…

Another great report from Captain Duarte Rato of

The season up at Bazaruto is about to fire up. The Sardine crew will be operating there after the Sardine Run in the Transkei. In August we will be heading northeast and will be operating in Tofo, Pomene and Vilanculos and all else in between. We are booked for September (Botswana) but back up to the marlin waters there the first week of October and will stay right through the season. And into 2020!

So get in touch if you would like us to arrange your perfect fishing, surfing or diving trip. You can browse some of our packages at the following link, but we can make up your itinerary as and how you want it.

We can fetch you at the closest airport and leave the rest to us. We have places to stay or camp. We have boats up and down the coast. And a network of great guides and skippers. Each are experts in their waters and target species/activities.

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Fishing Mozambique: Durban to Maputo to Inhaca Island waters in no time flat

Fishing Mozambique: The easiest way to distinguish between the two is that the Blue Marlin can fold it's pectoral fins right up against the marlins body, much like a yellowfin tuna, while the Black's pectorals always stick out...(c) Duarte Rato

Fishing Mozambique: Durban to Maputo to Inhaca Island waters in no time flat

Fishing Mozambique: The new bridge over Maputo Bay is spectacular. And features all sorts of claims like being the biggest suspension bridge in the entire southern hemisphere?! But the biggest thing for us, is that from Durban, you are straight into Mozambique and into Maputo, avoiding the old Swaziland route completely.

The border at Kosi Bay is small and reasonably not busy. The tar road connects from the South African tar to the new Maputo side road now too. 2WD all the way (not to Ponto yet though). It’s another spectacular feat as the road takes you through a game park and animals are all over – just like travelling in Botswana.

The elephant reserve is well stocked with elephant. Some are known to be in a bad mood from wartime still and many encounters have been reported. So, keep your distance if you bump into one or two.

You can either turn right at this point, which will take you meandering through ancient Africa in your strictly 4WD vehicle, to the mythical Santa Maria. Another contender for best of Mozambique, Santa Maria offers it all, even surfing if you have a boat to get to the breaks with.

BUT. It’s the fishing at this time of the year that is most exciting. Blue marlin just love the deep water out behind Inhaca Island. And it’s not far at all, if you launch from Inhaca or Santa Maria. Striped marlin and black marlin also frequent the attractive underwater features out there, sailfish too, but it’s the big Blue’s that we are after in February and March each year.

Captain Duarte Rato is down there right now, preparing for the action.

The following video is kind of what started it all. This one being of a 1000lb Blue, Mozambique’s possible first, and definitely Inhaca’s first grander blue. It was caught by Duarte and crew (angler Carl Jankowitz), way back in 2015, after Duarte insisted they would find a big blue in those waters. Which he certainly did! Unfortunately the fish tail wrapped itself and the crew were unable to revive her enough for a good release.

You can get in touch with Duarte via his highly entertaining and informative website –, where Duarte keeps a log of each and every trip he does.

If Duarte is busy, drop us a line…we have some very nice boats lined up and ready to go. We also can arrange accommodation on Inhaca Island or at Santa Maria.

There is a helluva lot to do between Inhaca Island and Santa Maria. Spinning from the beach is excellent. You can chuck a bait right from the beach bars. Snorkelling is world class. Fun for everyone everyday!

Pop me an email on or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671, anytime, and we can work something out. With self-drive Durban to Maputo, now being an option, in 2wd, and a few hours lopped off the journey, one of the main barriers to fishing Mozambique has been well and truly conquered, for Durbanites!

You can see more options by The Sardine at out Trips and Travel section.

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Fishing Tip: Drinking heaps of water WILL save your life

Drink lots of water! It could save your life!

Fishing Tip: Drinking heaps of water WILL save your life

We all know how good it feels to be drinking loads of water each day. It purifies the mind. Lubricates your body. Gives life.

And then here’s a story…

Drink water!

Avid angler from Maputo Jolito, and his girlfriend were working down on the Komati River in Maputo a few years back. Jolito had a sand mining business and was operating machines and trucks down on the banks. It’s a lovely river. Flanked by vast natural plantations of the ever-important mangrove forests. All three colours. Producing the most oxygen of all trees. And containing and bolstering against flood waters, when they come.

Jolito was working away, sitting on the verandah of his little office. It was a raised platform that Jolito could use to watch over his operations. He drank a lot of water out there in the heat. Bottled water. The 1.25 litre size we all drink. And he never threw one empty bottle away, ever. He had quite a pile in his office always.

The weather had been otherwise down at the coast that day, but upriver, inland, in the catchment area, there had been a tropical downpour. A deluge. And all this water was now reaching the bottleneck of the lower Komati estuary system. The bottleneck was reinforced by the staunch roots of the mangroves. Built to withstand any water, fight the floods, and to preserve the banks.

Jolito heard the water first. A distant roar. He had been watching the river rising all day, but nothing could prepare him for what the roar turned out to be. It came around the corner like a broken wave. A huge rapid in reverse. He screamed warning at his TLB operator right out on the sandbank. He shouted to the truck drivers to get out of there, thinking that up on his perch, he and his girlfriend would be safe.

Adrenalin kicks in!

Then amazingly quickly – the maelstrom-like wave of floodwater hit. Jolito thought his platform would hold, but as the flood raged up towards him, the platform started to list. It was not a mangrove tree and had scanty foundations. When it got to 15 degrees, Jolito’s brain kicked and screamed with adrenalin. Something he had seen on a Behr Grihl survival show! He grabbed his girlfriend, and started forcing the empty but closed water bottles into her clothes. And then his. Down their jeans. Into their zipped up jackets until they looked like Michelin man impersonators.

Jolito turned to watch his TLB and operator get swept away by the torrent, neither to be seen again, ever. The trucks just escaped, floodwater swirling at their wheels.

As the platform and it’s dainty little super structure toppled, Jolito and his brave girl jumped. Into the raging river. Where no-one wants to be, ever. Raging flood water. African style!

But the bottles saved them both. Saved their lives. With all credit to Behr Grihls, the lucky couple made the bank five kilometres down towards the sea. And almost where they would have been swept out for good!

And so…

Drink more water.

Never throw plastic bottles away.

They could save your life.

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If you would like to visit the Maputo area, and fish, surf or dive with us, get in touch on We have many cool options for you. And we would not advise that you try Maputo on your own, if you don’t have any experience in that mad town.


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Underwater Observatory in Mozambique by Calum Murie

Underwater Africa Ocean Observatory

Underwater Observatory in Mozambique by Calum Murie

Calum Murie, when he’s not out catching and tagging huge sharks for science, can be found deploying underwater observatory style camera rigs, all over Mozambique.

Calum and his band of volunteers at Underwater Africa designed this simple but effective underwater observatory camera rig – with bait and all!

The Morey Eels love being on camera, and literally dominate the entire show, whenever Calum and crew deploy their rigs. Up in Bazaruto and Benguerra Island two huge Moreys spent literally hours trying to figure out how to get at the free bait.

Without revealing too much, you can look forward to literally hundreds of fish and other marine animals in this particularly well edited clip. Soundtrack too!

The underwater observatory work that Calum is doing up here, is the first of it’s type here in Mozambique.

You can look forward to more of Calum and crew’s phenomenal work as they perfect the art of deploying an underwater observatory in Inhambane waters. His work is constantly being refined and the cameras can now stay down longer and film more. Having developed a crew that understands the value of the results and how important it is to deploy perfectly every time, is what is producing these results.

You can learn more about Underwater Africa and their research work going on in Praia do Tofo, where they are based. Their shark tagging program has been a great success. The Sardine crew have been assisting and getting right involved. Sonar tagging Zambezi sharks, and Copper Sharks, the data is being used to formulate a plan to reduce shark and human encounters up and down this coast. The spate of shark attacks that occurred up the Inhambane Estuary towards Morrumbuene is what kicked off the project. Listening stations are deployed along the entire East Coast of Southern Africa, and record when a tagged sharks swims past.

Ultimately, proving that Zambezi (and the other usual suspects) sharks are not wanderers, that they stay on their pieces of reef and ocean, is what can lead to measures, to curb the attacks.

If you are interested in this kind of activity and you have some time on your hands, please get in touch. We need help tagging these sharks up here, it’s not easy work, and it can be dangerous too.

Accommodation is rustic luxury and we have many boats to choose from for when we go out tagging sharks.

The Sardine is also facilitating tag and release programs for gamefish. Billfish included. But mainly targeting high value data fish that are in jeopardy and nobody has any data on them. You can see more of The Sardine’s adventure options by clicking here.

Get in touch with Sean on or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671, anytime.

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Here is a little baby marlin being released in the beginning of last year’s (2018) season…off Benguerra Island, with Jason Morkel on the rod, and Sean Lange on the trace.

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Bazaruto October Fishing Report by FishBazaruto

Big Fish: Bazaruto October Fishing Report by Captain Duarte Rato

Bazaruto October Fishing Report by FishBazaruto:

For October, we have Captain Duarte Rato of FishBazaruto with a marlin packed gallery featuring his marlin taming exploits recently fishing up off Vilanculos and the Bazaruto Archipelago.

Read the full story here…

by Captain Duarte Rato

It has NOT been an easy season up in Baz. The winds have been wreaking havoc with our charters. Luckily for the GTs and the inshore spots! This is the best thing about Bazaruto and surrounding waters – there is so much variety and so many different genres of fishing to enjoy! From the marlin out the back, to the gamefish in the channels between the islands and then all the very many inshore spots – you can fish in any reasonably bad weather for sure.

The gallery…

FishBazaruto still have a few slots left for 2019. You can get in touch with Captain Duarte Rato by popping on over to his website at

We have many other options too that you can choose from to make up your dream fishing holiday. From budget all the way on up to FishBaz. And from Inhaca to Pemba. South Africa too. Get in touch if you would like us to tailor make a trip just for you and your family or friends. We don’t focus only on marlin and Bazaruto at The Sardine. We also do estuary and fly fishing experiences. Spearfishing. Light tackle boat. Spin fishing. Rock and Surf. All up and down the Southern African seaboard. Contact Sean on Or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671 anytime really!

You can also check through the menu item Trips and Travel above or follow this link:

And easily keep up with the news and our seasonal offerings by staying on top of The Sardine News’ various channels…YouTubeInstagramFacebookTwitter.

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Sonar tagging Zambezi Sharks with Calum Murie

Although Zambezi Sharks are on the top of our hit list, these blacktips are also featured.

Sonar tagging Zambezi Sharks: Calum Murie could have been anything. But he chose to spend his life chasing huge sharks around with sonar tag in hand, ready to abuse the first full grown Zambezi Shark he sees. In the name of science, research and conservation, Calum’s motivation for this career path runs deep and his commitment is exemplary.

And so it was that Calum enlisted the crew and facilities at the BCSS (Bazaruto for Scientific Studies) this September, to get some more tags installed in some Zambezi Sharks and other suspects. The tags are monitored by sonar listening stations set out up and down the coast between Pemba and Cape Town. So if one of Calum’s tagged sharks goes on leave and heads off for a holiday, Calum is gonna know about it.

This behavioural study of horizontal movement is aimed at supplying decision makers with the correct information regards shark activity along our coastline. Sadly, there have been over ten shark attacks in the Inhambane Estuary just down the coast from the BCSS. It’s the poor crab ladies who are getting taken the most. They are sitting ducks working in a metre of cloudy water at best.

And so Calum is fiercely chasing Zambezi’s, the prime suspect as usual. Although bronze whalers are also on our shark tagging list for being a suspicious character. Calum is also after Tiger Sharks, but we have not been successful at this as of yet. Hopefully we can find a small one somewhere!

You can actually get involved in our shark tagging exploits if you like. The success of the project that Calum is running, has opened up more funding for his studies. More listening stations are being deployed in association with the BCSS and Dr. Mario Lebrato. And we now have another batch of tags to deploy. At over $1000 per tag, we have got responsibilities!

The BCSS was built in order to facilitate research and conservation. So if you are aligned with these objectives, get in touch to join the team for a week or two. Rates are very reasonable. And you get to stay with us out here on the edge of the whole world!

Get in touch on to make arrangements.

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Fishing Benguerra: 2 Black marlin, one brown – on same live bait in same minute!

Fishing Benguerra

Fishing Benguerra: 2 Black marlin, one brown – on same live bait in same minute!

We had been catching and tagging Zambezi sharks. And recording humpback whale and calf conversations. For three weeks straight. In all kinds of seas and conditions. And so it was absolutely great to be out to tag marlin again. The core BCSS crew were aboard. Captain Bento and crew Pedro and Mario. Dr. Mario Lebrato. And me. We are all fishing mad and this heaven-sent day was just what we all needed to unwind and blow off some steam.

I wanted a marlin for Dr. Mario but when we got down to business, the sharks had eaten our entire box of 22/0 circle hooks. And we were left with our sailfish sized models. But there have been loads of small fish about, and sailfish. So when that beautiful little very unlucky skipjack found itself on the deck. I rigged it up with the small circle and let it go.It took a while to find a frigate bird way up on top, circling with promise. The bird was way above a flock of terns enjoying the action down below. And as we sneaked up on the bait ball, with action all around us, I got a solid strike. Then the fish picked up the bait and headed off with purpose. When the lines and smoke got cleared, I looked down to see the heavy shark purposed braid already melted off towards the half way mark. I pushed the lever forward and felt that almighty power as a huge black marlin took to the skies. Her bill was soooo thick. By now the reel was down to a third and it was with some relief that we all saw her throw the bait, still kicking, way through the air. We would never have turned that boat in time to give chase. But we were out for a laugh and we have been seeing so many marlin that we really, just had a laugh about it.

Then. The bait righted itself and there it was, kicking away merrily. Slowly I brought the bait back towards the boat, when bang, another strike. I was hoping it was not the same fish! And it wasn’t. A fish half the size of the first one greyhounded around us. A spritely male that also regurgetated the bait. Completely intact and still kicking determinedly we watched the unlucky skipjack fly through the again. Hitting the water with a splash we heard over the water from 30m away!

When I felt the bait still kicking again this time, I just handed the rod to Dr. Mario. Who promptly hooked a hammerhead of about 120kgs, that Mario broke the rod on, and we had to handline up. Easy job with that heavy braid.

It was super to encounter that first real big fish. She was so thick and fat. Compared to the rat that took the skipjack the second time. The reel wasn’t big enough either, even with that power braid, we would never have stood a chance. So in the end, the hook matched the tackle just fine. And it’s great that the fish got away scot-free.

Everyone else around us is also getting marlin every day. It’s an incredible scene. You can keep up by staying on top of The Sardine News’ various channels…YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

You can also check out Captain Duarte Rato and his marlin taming antics on their website and social networks too. Duarte really has raised the bar and produces excellent results by global standards as he consistently releases marlin after marlin, species after species, up here in the waters around Benguerra Island and surrounds.

If you would like to join us fishing like this, The Sardine has many options on offer. From super budget camping and small boats. To luxury lodges and sportfishers. To live aboard mothership with 24ft gamefisher and a huge range.

You might also be interested in the goings on at the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies. It’s exciting times as scientists and researchers have begun utilising the facility.

Get in touch on or try the menu item Trips and Travel above.

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First marlin for Jason Morkel

Jason Morkel first black marlin

First marlin for Jason Morkel

First marlin for Jason Morkel: Small marlin are just the best. Especially the baby blacks that frequent the waters of Bazaruto, at around this time of the year.

The small fish, under 50kgs sometimes, perform so nicely, getting more air proportionally than their parents do. Really spirited.

And they release really cool too. Like this young marlin (video below) hooked on a daisy chain meant for bait. Luckily the 50lb line gave Jason the power to dominate right from the beginning. At at the end, we got a clean release without even having to touch the fish. He even gave us a farewell leap of thanks!

The marlin season here in the Bazaruto Archipelago has well started, but the beasterly easterly is making things difficuilt. Blowing literally every day. You can notice how rough the sea was this day – in the video. But marlin like the rough seas, they certainly seem more active when the wind is pumping.

This day we also got to see one of our live baits get devoured in an instant. By a huge blackfin shark. So quick! The BCSS (Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies) and Dr. Mario Lebrato, supplied GoFish cameras that we have been using successfully and it really opens things up for us. We also have a big bull dorado attacking a plastic. A Cobia (Prodigal Son) chasing and close-up inspecting and even testing. And a hundred little yellowfin tuna chasing us around. We glean so much information from this technology, and it is helping us increase strike and hookup rate phenomenally. You can see that video and read that article right here.

And if you would like to join us fishing up here in these waters, we have many options for you. From 5 star to camping, we can get you out here. Check out some of our options right here.

And a new offering on the go right now, is the mothership Catsanova and her daughter Reflection. The liveaboard Catsanova can sleep 8 or more. And has a few cool options regards range and catering. She is powered by outboards and can get you to all the real interesting places. Like Pomene in the south, and to Nova Mambone in the north. These places hold treasure. Reflection is a purpose built gamefishing machine skippered by local pro Dean Taylor. You can see him in action in this post. Click here for more.

And in between us and them, are the really big fish.

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More predator fish attack behaviour with the BCSS

A Bull Dorado comes storming up the white water behind and slammed this little rubber lure. Letting go at the last minute.

More predator fish attack behaviour with the BCSS

Fish behaviour studies at the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies: The accompanying video features four species of fish and their different reactions to some of our trolled baits up here in Vilankulos waters.

Some days the water got real blue lately, but many other days have been plagued by a bit of green in the water. However, we have worked out distances from camera to fish nicely – the last clip in the sequence shows a huge blackfin shark come screaming on our marlin bait, chomping the wax thread that help the tuna to the circle hook, as they do.

The first clip, is that of a real nice sized bull dorado having a go at a paddle tail. Spectacular as the fish uses it’s prolific sail in the attack sequence. One of our best shots ever (thanks to Dr. Mario Lebrato for going to all the effort to get these clips).

Then a real interesting one comes on, revealing a noisy, ugly white hard plastic noisy lure, that just outright fails to convince the spritely little Cobia that came up from out of the depths to have a look. A very close look. Centimetres behind the clanging lure. And then, unbelievably, he gives it a nudge. When it doesn’t react like a real fish, the Cobia tries again until he convinces himself that it’s not worth it. And peels away unimpressed.

Then we were going slow for some reason, and a whole shoal of cute little yellowfin tuna come into the scene. The camera was upside down at this slow speed so the video can look a little confusing.

Enjoy the fish behaviour action…

The BCSS, on Benguerra Island, has been real busy hosting a group of whale behaviour scientists right now. More about that to follow…

BUT, Captain Duarte Rato officially started his season this week, and he will certainly be doing his homework and tagging and posting for us. His latest report can be seen here ->, and is a real good one again featuring shoals of yellowfin, some wahoo, and two sailfish. All in days work for Duarte and crew once again on the good boat Vamizi. Who I saw moored at Vilankulos the other day – looking beyond spectacular in preparation for the season.

Now if only this East wind would stop!

GOFISH Cam available online right here!

GoFish cameras available at this link
GoFish cameras available at this link…


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It’s totally wild down there as GoFish blows it up!

Gofish Cam

It’s totally wild down there as GoFish blows it up!

Gofish Cameras. Totally wild.

When we first reviewed a bunch of underwater recordings shot with GoFish trolling cameras – of fish attack behaviour, that we made out off of the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies recently – some crazy sounds came booming from out of the studio.

More and more gasps and exclamations, hoots and howls from the reviewer – until he crescendoed with an almighty bellow, “COME AND SEE THIS!”

Bull shark on a Mydo trace
Bull shark on a Mydo trace

Myself and Callum Roberts (visiting shark scientist and the reason for us targeting Zambezi Sharks as he completes some serious scientific research work at the BCSS) bounded into his office, only to be exposed to the most eye-widening imagery ever seen by either of us. Mainly Zambezis – the particular troublesome species we have been targeting for spatial monitoring and movement tagging.

But also King Mackerel – reckless and lethal as they were hunting in packs – they operate together. Amazing to see. Even the big ones. And when your livebait starts to panic like it would after a few minutes in these waters, make no mistake your bait is being stalked and charged from all angles. What was amazing is that they turn away so often. It’s about one in ten charges – that the ‘couta actually hits the bait. The pack seems to goad one of them into eventually taking on strike duty. And they all hang around and share the spoils after the striker gets the bait off the trace! Which happened surprisingly often.

The Zambezi’s were the same, as in there was never only one of them. Up to six at a time were recorded happily sitting barely two metres below the propellers, easily keeping pace with us as we dragged a dredge and a bunch of lures around behind us, at quite some speed. Obviously, as we had a strike, it was barely a few seconds and a shark would climb on.

The Cobia acted the same. And often swam with the sharks. In amongst them. Huge fish.

As did the Talang Queenfish we were lucky enough to film off of Paradise Island. We scored an unlucky flying fish that flew onto the boat. About 5 inches long. The trace we had was too heavy for starters, but a bunch of queenfish came in and inspected, mock charged, turning away every time. A custom trace with light nylon would have gotten that strike. But we did get one on spoon, which may show a relationship between strike rate and live baits in the water.

A beautiful Talang Queenfish from the waters near Paradise .Island. Released
A beautiful Talang Queenfish from the waters near Paradise .Island. Released

Yellowfin Tuna, at these initial stages of fish behaviour analyses, have been the most wary and sensible. The bonito and skipjack footage that we recorded in our wake following us – unbelievable. Like an over-stocked aquarium, there were fish everywhere, and going in all directions!

This particular application of video technology to our favorite past time of fishing has potential to completely shift the way we see and treat the ocean and it’s fish. It was far more of a thrill seeing what had happened as recorded and reviewed through the day than actually catching and fighting the fish.

The following video was compiled to study the king mackerel as they come in hot and fast onto the target. You will see that they definitely come in from the flank or rear, and that they go for the tail first. In this clip, one couta actually removes the tail completely with a lightning-fast strike. And then another of the three featuring king mackerel comes in and takes the bait right off the trace. But he hooks himself. And then, in a flash, he just shakes the trace free. All we could see from the boat, was a few dips on the rod tip. The fish never even took drag, since they were coming in for the strike in the general direction of the boat ie towards us! And for sure the camera was always deployed on a real stiff big gun. Tackle just too much for them. We lost quite a few cameras in the end. Sharks and other beeeeg fish we will never know about.

But basically, without the GoFish camera, we would have experienced none of the thrilling wildlife action going on barely a few metres behind the boat. It really has made an effect on us as we now are using this information to make new sfyle traces. But more about that in another article.

All the imagery we attained on our last three weeks of shooting underwater with GoFish cams, has been processed into data and video and is studies. Some of which you can see online at the following links:

From BCSS and WildBlue Expeditions:

You can study predator fish attack behaviour yourself by viewing these files, or by getting ahold of your own GoFish camera or two, at the following link:

GOFISH Cam available online right here!

GoFish cameras available at this link
GoFish cameras available at this link…


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We run a YouTube channel that features a bunch of GoFish camera footage and action. Right here!

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Announcing the BCSS (Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies)


Announcing the BCSS (Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies)

Announcing the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies: The Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies was opened by Governor Dani Chapo of Inhambane Province in Mozambique, in December 2017.

Enjoy the following video clip…shot on site, in the Bazaruto Archipelago. By Dr. Mario Lebrato and his team.

The multi-faceted installation is a facility designed to facilitate all kinds of scientific studies and projects, including, but not limited to;

  • underwater observatory
  • sonic tagging of sharks
  • coral, water and plankton sampling and analysis
  • recycling of beach plastic
  • social improvement programs including swimming and ocean survival
  • gps mapping of sea life
  • PADI diving

Paying volunteers are invited to join in with these projects and the many more coming up. There are daily and weekly packages available on the newly launched BCSS website.

Check it all out here…

Prices are very reasonable from 75$/person/day including all (excluding some leisure items), and
include first-class cooking and catering by local Chef Fernando. Three meals a day are served.
Warm and cold drinks too. Don’t think it twice, this is a life-time experience.

Accommodation is in the real deal safari tents, or in single and double sharing rooms. The facility is built right on a beautiful beach and bay, on the north side of Benguerra Island. Views are over the channel to Bazaruto Island. A thousand shades of blue.

Volunteer activities will take up half your day, the other half you can swim, snorkel, hike, game view, fish…anything you please. There is a surcharge for activities involving boats or vehicles.

If you wanted to get on over to the very edge of the world, this is one very cool way of doing it. The prices are a fraction of what it would cost to stay on the highly exclusive Benguerra Island. And you get to do something and learn some cool things about how we can all help conserve the environment that we live in.

Activities appeal to all ages really, but it’s the get-up and go type of volunteer we are looking for!

Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies Website

The BCSS website has recently been launched. Take a look at the following link:


Use the website to get in touch. Volunteer programmes and activities can be viewed on the website.

You can also follow the BCSS on Facebook at:

Post by The Sardine News

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BCSS Underwater Observatory Project: predator kill behavior

BCSS, WildBlue Expeditions, and MYDO fishing are collaborating on fish attack behaviour studies.

BCSS Underwater Observatory Project: predator kill behavior

BCSS Underwater Obervatory Project: The first ‘croc couta comes in for a real close look but turns away right the last second. There are two of the +-20kg class fish circling the live bait with piqued interest. In a flash the hapless bonito has its tail sliced off. Blood streams out. Another fish circles and bang! The couta comes from in from below and chomps into the bait. Vas! But somehow he misses the hooks and another guy comes in and finishes off.

This action is all part of the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies’ (BCSS) Dr. Mario Lebrato’s long-term ocean observatory project. One of only a handful worldwide, Dr. Lebrato is set to deploy a multifaceted underwater monitoring system. Cameras, sensors and a myriad of other sampling equipment will be installed all over the Bazaruto Archipelago. For long-term data recording and analysis.

Luckily, part of these underwater observations includes predator fish kill behavior. Trolling tow cams on marlin dredges and teasers, and right in front of live baits, is opening a huge new three dimensional perspective of a mostly viewed in 2D wake and prop wash. What goes on down there is gob-smacking. So many fish come in interested, but then shy away at the last minute, and move on. In fact, the plentiful and ever-present Zambezi shark is far more careful than the aggressive king mackerel. Tuna seem to be the most suspicious so far. Cobia are also wily characters. Talang queenfish get super excited about a live bait, but will not touch it! Then it grabs a lure! Amazing revelations about fish learning and behaviour.

Wait ’til you see the Zambies following the boat!!!

The hours and hours of material recorded will go back to Europe for careful analysis and processing into data.

Watch this space!

For more action from deep down off Bazaruto and surrounding waters, by BCSS, WildBlue Expeditions and MYDO Fishing, stay tuned!

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1000lb Blue Marlin off Inhaca Island

Inhaca Island-1000lb-Blue-M

1000lb Blue Marlin off Inhaca Island

1000lb Blue Marlin off Inhaca Island: Mozambiques first reported Blue Marlin weighing over a thousand pounds was taken recently. Captain Duarte Rato of FishBazaruto has been offering marlin fishing experiences, down off Inhaca Island, for the month of March of each year. This is the time the big blues make an appearance in good numbers in these wild waters.

Carl Jankowitz, who got a grander black last year too, off Bazaruto, was in the hotseat. But his years of experience in the chair and fishing with Duarte paid off, and his second grander came to the boat. Unfortunately, after 2 hours, the fish was tail wrapped, couldn’t move, and died on the disappointed crew. Who tag and release all billfish normally.

Also featuring in the video, is the hectic launch at Santa Maria. Between Inhaca Island and Santa Maria, it gets wild. Known as Hell’s Gate, this place is really mean in any swell, and is to be feared by most! But the excellent boat handling by the Captain of the good ship FourPlay, hops the crew through safely and out into the ocean.

Duarte tags and releases hundreds of billfish. He works with international partners who collate the data and formulate billfish management strategies worldwide. His tagging and DNA sampling that he does, is invaluable to these decision and policy makers.

April sees Duarte and the FishBazaruto crew back on Bazaruto Island, where he has an appointment or two with the seasonal striped marlin and sailfish, that will be runninng through those crazy waters any time now. Black marlin are still encountered in April, but mainly they are quite small. In fact, very small. Saltwater fly fishers absolute dream, as these baby blacks take to the skies with far more energy and speed than their parents. They are aggressive and take anything you throw at them. Such performances!

So whatever is on your menu? Billfish of all species and sizes. Seasonal appearances mean you can literally target the bill you are after, be it a sail, a stripe, a black or a blue. And in between an endless ruccous of ratchets screaming as the myriad of gamefish try compete with the bills for attention.

If this is your game, get in touch with Duarte via, where you can see the many options available, as we tailor make your ultimate fishing experience.

More on here.

More fishing experiences and options here.


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Looking for a Holiday Home in Tofo?

Casa Frenzy - your Holiday Home in Tofo

Looking for a Holiday Home in Tofo?

Are you looking for a Holiday Home in Tofo? Check out Casa Frenzy…

Casa Frenzy is a super cool and big enough house for diving and surfing families – who want to take a relaxing break in a Holiday Home in Tofo

Ideally situated on the shoreline only a few clicks north of the marvelous Praia do Tofo beach and partying town. Casa Frenzy is set snugly into the indigenous vegetation directly behind the primary beach dune. It’s a 100 meter walk and you are in the warm clear Indian Ocean. Swimming or snorkeling your time away.

Then you might be prepared to hit the deep blue, and jump with the whale sharks, mantas, and dolphins that Tofo has become internationally known for. The reefs and ocean life in Tofo are rich and fascinating. There are heaps of reefs and dive spots between far Barra in the north, and Manta Reef, in the south. In between these two extremes, must be 20 named scuba spots.

Enjoy this cool video by ArtSurfer, shot by Renske Massing, with underwater companion Zito, a little while ago – in December 2017.

More about the enthralling town of Tofo…

  • Loads of dive centres to choose from
  • snorkelling or scuba
  • surf lessons for beginners and advanced
  • Island trips and dhow travels
  • Beachcombing
  • sport angling
  • vehicle and boat rental
  • Inhambane City visits
  • nightlife
  • local and international cuisine
  • fresh seafood daily
  • fresh foods grown right in Tofo
  • Coconuts and cashews
  • Tipo Tinto Rum and 2M cerveja

There are really so many things for everybody to do in and around the Praia do Tofo area. The Inhambane Bay allures with it’s enchanted islands and purple blue channels. Complete peace and quiet and accessible to everybody in the family or tour group. The swimming and snorkeling at Barra is terrific and you may even become a close acquaintance with a little seahorse or two.

So click on over to our newly updated Casa Frenzy page and connect through the easy as form…

Or catch us on Facebook at

Post prepared by The Sardine News.

“Holiday Home in Tofo”

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Açorda de Camarão at ZanziBeach in Tofo

Açorda de Camarão at ZanziBeach in Tofo

Tofo Beach, Inhambane, Southern Mozambique: Well it’s always great to be invited to ZanziBeach right on Tofo Beach. Especially on days when master creative in the kitchen and restaurant owner Rui, is working on a new dish.

Açorda de Camarão

Well prawns are prawns are prawns. Or are they?

Well the prawns that Rui and the team in the Zanzi kitchen produced this day were certainly different.

Without divulging the secret recipe to all…the healthy serving of prawns is served in a delicious stock infused prawn sauce. And comes with a raw egg right smack bang in the middle of it. Which cooks into the hot meal as it is stirred right in.

Rich and filling. Tasty and colourful.

Zanzi serves a handsome bowl for 400 Mets. Or does a three-person serving for 1000 Mets.

The beer is always cold down at Zanzi. And all the really good wines we get around here, are available. Some great Portuguese imported flavours. And the ever tasty South African styles. The smoothies and cocktail variations thereof will keep you refreshed and full of bounce.

The views of Tofo Beach right from your table are the best in town. And the Tofo Mercado is a short walk away. It’s a great spot to take your family, when on holiday, and treat them to some real Portuguese table fare.

Ala ZanziBeach in Tofo!

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Accommodation offers in Tofo and surrounds…