Tofo with its infinite sands, windowless wicker bungalows, perfectly spaced surf-waves and amazing market eateries serving up plates of enormous buttery prawns would have put Tofo in my top five travel spots even without the whale sharks.
Having de-rusted our diving skills with the extremely patient staff in Tofo Scuba's pool we joined a boat and headed off into the Indian Ocean.
First we noticed a whale tail - then five, twenty, too many to count, the most our dive leader had ever seen.
Without scuba gear we leapt into the water and spent the next hour swimming with the pod and their hangers-on - a couple of enormous but exceptionally graceful manta rays. Coming face to face with alien whale shark grimaces, swimming between their enormous bodies and sensing their utter ambivalence towards us was a euphoric and uniquely calming experience.
It doesn’t get much more idyllic than this; white sand, blue sea, great diving, no street lights, shops or traffic for miles around... And Fatima’s Nest is the place to stay in Tofo. Set right on the edge of the beach are dorm or private cabins – turn 180° from your door and you’re in the sand.
There’s also a lively bar which has live music, cheap breakfasts (banana pancakes?!), fresh buffet dinners (freshly caught fish is a favourite) and local rum – what more could you need in paradise?
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