The town of Xai Xai, 200km from Maputo is the capital of Gaza Province and is situated on the banks of the Limpopo river. The Limpopo River flows to the south of the town in a wide, fertile plain where predominantly rice is cultivated.
It is bustling town with markets, shops, restaurants, bars, petrol stations banks and a post office.
There is a good road from Maputo (EN 1) to Xai-Xai which connects with the roads from the Namaacha and Ressano Garcia borders. It is also possible to travel to Xai-Xai by charter flight from Maputo.
There are a number of fresh water lakes within half an hours drive where kayaking, paddle skiing and windsurfing can be enjoyed and bird watching enthusiasts might get some sightings.
Wenela Tidal Pool, two kilometres south, is a fascinating natural treasure having a natural tunnel and blow hole linking the pool to the sea.
Xai Xai beach has been a popular tourist destination since the heyday of Mozambican tourism. A reef running parallel to the shore offers good snorkeling.
Xai Xai beach
The massive reef running parallel to the beach provides natural protection against the strong waves at high tide and forms several small pools at low tide. At low tide, the reefs are invaded by women and children gathering shellfish, which they sell to appreciative tourists.
Praia do Xai Xai is approximately 12km from the main town and has a long sweeping beach with safe swimming.
This beach is similar to that at Xai-Xai in having a protective reef. It is found about 8 km north of Xai-Xai where there is an old, ruined hotel. There are plans to restore this building to its former glory.
There is a diversion to Bilene on the EN 1, approximately 145 km north of Maputo in the small town of Macia. After 30 km of tarmac road, you will find the small tourist resort of Bilene on the banks of an enormous 27 km-long lagoon, containing transparent and slightly salted water and bordered by fine white sand.
You can reach the sea by crossing its deep, waters in a boat.