Mozambique is famous for endless white beaches, warm blue water and a teeming diversity of marine life. Easily accessible from South Africa, Southern Mozambique offers the intrepid traveler a right treasure trove of ocean experiences. The I AM WATER team has been working in the region for over five years, running freediving courses, teaching local kids how to snorkel and getting to know the finned residents - the bottlenose dolphins! With crystal blue, warm water (average water temperature of 25 - 28º C) this is a great place to learn freediving and to practice deeper dives, while being inspired by the daily animal encounters with the dolphins.
We chose this destination, because: Mozambique is grappling with declaring and enforcing its network of marine reserves; dolphins are ambassador nomads who cruise the waters between reserves and show us all how interconnected the oceans truly are.
If you've never had the opportunity to swim with WILD DOLPHINS, this is a must do! These bottlenose dolphins are semi-resident to the Southern Mozambique area and as the handful of operators in the region follow strict codes of conduct with regards to responsible eco-tourism, this is a great place to meet these playful curious creatures.
The CORAL REEFS scattered along the coastline are known for the diversity of brightly coloured fish and still pristine coral formations.
Juvenile GREEN TURTLES are a common sight on our reef explorations, slowly cruising along the bottom or circling a freediver out of curiosity. Gentle and beautiful, these shelled friends are always a pleasure to observe in their natural habitat.
The I AM WATER Team will pick you up from your Durban accommodation in the morning for the exciting road north to Mozambique. Passing through the local Zulu villages, game reserves with giraffes and zebra, a couple of coffee stops and four hours later we will arrive at the small border post between South Africa and Mozambique. After transferring to a rugged 4x4 safari vehicle we will travel the sandy roads over the sand dunes and through coastal forests to our nearby beachfront villa. Enjoy a welcome cocktail on the deck, drink in the view and settle into your comfortable rooms before enjoying the culinary talents of our private chef and her welcome meal.
Our first ocean day will start with a morning superfood smoothie, followed by a yoga session built around preparing your body and mind for freediving. After a short theoretical introduction and safety discussion, we board our 4x4 for the short drive to the dolphin dive centre. Here you will get a short briefing on how to interact with wild dolphins and how the boat launches work. Our ocean days always start with a freediving training session on the rope, working on equalisation, breath hold and general water comfort after this we will start our marine safari looking for dolphins. After the ocean time we will return to the villa for a hearty brunch.
Afternoons are perfect for long walks on the beach, relaxing next to the pool or napping in a hammock. At sunset we reconvene on the deck for evening yoga followed by dinner, a short continuation of the theory of freediving and an early night.
This day, and subsequent ocean days, start just before sunrise with a wake-up call for coffee, tea and smoothies before heading to the beach for an early launch. Just as the sun rises over the Indian Ocean we head out for another rope session before we cruise the coastline looking for playful animals. Mantas, dolphins and whale sharks are all possibilities along this remarkably pristine stretch of coastline, and we keep our eyes open for fins, wings, flukes or shadows. After a morning at sea we head home for brunch, free time and yoga. Again followed by a delicious dinner and local South African wines.
Midway through the week we take a resting day to enjoy the beach, take a walk to a local market for some souvenirs and local flavour or simply lie by the pool and enjoy the sunshine. In the late morning we will coach you in a classic breath-hold session in the swimming pool, working on mental strength, relaxation and the physiology of freediving. This day we will also offer two yoga sessions, a vinyasa flow in the morning and a yin yoga in the evening, balancing a bit of movement with some restorative time on the mat, preparing for two more days at sea.
On day three of our training, our new freedivers get to really explore the sensation of being in deep water, while relaxing completely into the meditative state unique to being underwater on one breath. Having gotten to know the resident dolphin pods, we once again enjoy their inquisite playfulness and curiosity. The afternoon will be your time to relax, then yoga, dinner and an informative talk by a local marine biologist about the unique biodiversity of the Southern Mozambican marine reserves.
On our last day we will travel further north than before to an exquisite coral reef shallow enough to enjoy on freedive. We regularly see green turtles, moray eels, clown fish and a myriad other reef fishes at this pristine hard coral playground. On the way home we once again use our new found freediving skills to enjoy the dolphins and whoever else of our ocean friends we bump into along the way. After a last yoga session, we take a short walk through the coastal forest to a local sunset-bar to enjoy an aperitif before our farewell dinner at the villa.
After one last brunch together, the team will escort you back to the border to the airport or your hotel... or the next part of your adventure. Leaving nothing but footprints, taking nothing but memories.
Please note: All of our days follow a rhythm conducive to optimal freediving, yoga and relaxation experiences. However, we will have a weather dependent schedule as the wind and swell will be decisive for which of our dives we do every day as your safety and wellbeing is our top priority.
Moreover all our actions are guided by the highest standards of responsible marine megafauna interaction. The animals’ wellbeing is our top priority at any time. Should we or our expert guides get the impression that our presence (in and out of water) stresses or disturbs the animal, we will distance ourselves instantly even if this might limit our interaction with the animal(s).
Freediving is an age-old practice of exploring the ocean on one breath. With its roots in subsistence living off the sea, freediving has become a competitive sport with disciplines, competitions and records and moreover, one of the biggest expanding water-sports in the world.
In contrast to scuba, freediving is the most natural way of being underwater, enabling you to get much closer to the animals – particularly the bigger ones – while having the least ecosystem impact. Furthermore, it is more athletic than scuba and allows you to move faster and more freely (in all directions). Learning from a good instructor, the art of freediving is simple and is a tool to explore your body’s (aquatic) ability, the physiology of the human body underwater with the impressive mammalian dive response we share with whales, dolphins and seals.
At I AM WATER Ocean Travel, we teach a conservative slow progression approach where you will explore your limitations and capabilities under the expert eye of top certified freediving instructors. Each day will start or end with a yoga session to prepare your lungs and body for deep breaths and time underwater, learning to control your breathing and to slow your heart-rate. You will be offered breath-hold training on land, in water as well as deep diving sessions along a rope to prepare you for meeting the animals. As world-class freedivers we will inspire you to explore your own depths!
At the end of your vacation, we will have covered all the theory and training needed for the Pure Apnea Level 1 Freediving Certification. If you are interested in becoming certified and have met all practical requirements during training, we conclude with an exam on the last night.
Joining us on one of our Signature Trips does not require more than a general interest in the ocean and its creatures, basic swimming abilities and good health. It is open to all ages and fitness levels (medical questionnaires will be required).
For further information please check our Freediving FAQ's.
Once you arrive at this villa, you will never want to leave again. Elegantly blending into the dune landscape and coastal forests, this home has been built with attention to detail and a love of beautiful furniture, unique ocean elements and open-plan spaces perfect for a beach holiday. The villa has three different room types to cater to your individual needs: Ocean View Suite, Forest View Suite and the Forest View Bedroom, which are all equipped with mosquito nets and fans. The cool sea breeze, elevated position and overhead fans ensures that air conditioning is not needed and along with unlimited clean filtered water, the villa adheres to our standards of eco-friendly homes. Afternoon yoga is done on the large deck at sunset while the many open spaces allow for social or personal time.
Our wonderful private chef will specially prepare a menu of high quality nutrient rich food, delicious and nourishing with a focus on innovative vegetarian meals. Not only is this in line with our planet friendly ethos, but also ideal for freediving training.
24 - 30 January 2018
11 - 17 February 2018
10 - 17 March 2018*
19 - 26 March 2018*
All trips max 8 people / Incl. all freediving, local transport, accommodation, food & drinks / Excl. flights to Durban
*These trips are sold exclusively through our partner Steppes Travel, please see their website for prices & additional inclusions.