Borders: Manica to the north, Maputo to the south, South Africa to the west, Inhambane and the Indian Ocean to the east.
Changane, a sub group of Tsonga are the most representative ethnic group.
Population Density: 16 inhabitants/sq.km
Main products: cashew, cotton, rice and maize.
This province has been considered for long time the granary of the country.
224Kms away from Maputo is Xai Xai city, the capital of Gaza Province, and 10 km away from town is Xai-Xai beach, and so you should go to the market and buy what you need if you are camping. It has become a bit commercialized because of the easy access, but still nice to visit. It's got a strong current at high tide but its really nice to swim at low tide along the reef or just walk southwards where the small pools are. There is a hotel and a campsite and some houses for renting. Ask for Mr. Carvalho at the Hotel Halley.
The Banhine National Park, situated between the Limpopo and Changane River, is protected due to its rich variety of wildlife. The only way to get there is by 4x4 or by enjoying a tour.
Xai-Xai city has:
Other options are these ones, but they are not backpackers.
Hotel Kaya Kahina on Samora Machel Av. in front the Municipal Gardens phone: 022 22391 on the 1st floor. On top of the Restaurant Bar Ponto Final, one of the best options to eat in town. Open till late, close on Sundays. Phone: 022 22237
They have Suites, Doubles, Twin Rooms: with toilet/shower, Single rooms, communal toilets/shower
Breakfast. If you have children with you, they can sleep with you for no extra charge.
Roundhouse is another place to eat, on the main road just before turning into the beach.
Some useful services:
Gaza Hospital: Bairro 9 Tavene.
The Health Post is close to the post office and the police station. Closed on Sundays.
Post office: at the entrance to the beach.
Police: one in town, on Samora Machel Av. and other at the entrance to the beach.
Oliveiras Bus on Samora Machel Av.
Bank Austral, on Samora Machel 2217
BCM, Samora Machel Av. 1256
BIM, Samora Machel Av.
In case your car breaks down, look out Mr. Paixão/Paixão Oficina (Garage) on Samora Machel Ave near the old market, or Mr. Baixia which you can get hold of him by asking in the Restaurants or Hotels.
Golfinho Azul Restaurant has a campsite now, where backpackers are welcome. Their prices are OK. They have bungalows and camping, few facilities. Just ask at the restaurant at the beachfront for more info.
Hotel Halley: phone: 022. 35014
Double (double bed with sea view)
Double (without a view)
(Prices include breakfast)
Xai Xai: phone: 022. 35022
Campismo Bungalows for 2
Bungalows for 4
The road next to the campsite going north is the right place if you are looking for a nice walk, it will take you to Chonguene beach where the remains of a once magnificent hotel which has been abandoned since the war.
Now, also is the new Xai-Xai Beach Hotel, very pricey, but nice to see how it was built. Taking a walk right down the marginal road (front beach) you will find a few restaurants, the most famous is the Restaurante Golfinho Azul that offers simple plates of seafood, chicken or meat for reasonable prices.
On your way to Xai-Xai, get off the bus at Macia, and take another bus or just hitch to get to Bilene with its beautiful blue lagoon. The azure Indian Ocean is right at the other side of the lagoon, where you can get by boat or 4x4 on a long drive around, to enjoy the fresh fruit of the Casuarinas trees, after playing on the waves body surfing and windsurfing. They have a few campsites:
Praia do Sol: the only kind of a Backpacker place in this area. Prices are more affordable.
Parque das Flores: Camping,Bungalows
Campo das Palmeiras: Camping, Bungalows.
Lagoa Azul: Houses fully equipped.
Motel Bilene: Houses with 2 rooms (sleeps 4) fully equipped. And rooms for 2
Complexo Capital do Bilene: Rooms for 2.
Just about 50Km before Xai-Xai city at Chicumbane village you will see the signs to Zongoene Lodge, an expensive place, built on the edge of the Limpopo River at the estuary where it flows to the Indian Ocean. It's built with local materials and really well done. The surroundings are just amazing; there is the Indigenous Forest to see with tropical pond mahogany forest with large Cicadas and lots of bird life, the Monte Belo Light House dating from 1910 with is magnificent view stretching from the mouth of the river to the flood plains. The golden sand dunes, all of this you can experience without having to pay much. The only thing you need is a tent, and just take the chapa at Chicumbane Village to the Marine Office which is at the mouth of the River, you will have to walk about 3/4km, probably can get a lift from the Lodge people. Have a local help you while your there, it would be wise, as they can get you water, fire wood, fish, and some other goods from the village near by, and all of this for very small amount of money agreed before. Just go for long walks around. The locals are very friendly and will be very happy to help you.
Going up North, the main road is inland, so you don't really get to see the coastline if you are driving, cycling or even walking there. Sometimes you do need a 4x4. You can get to these beautiful places that are like paradise wherever you are most of the time on your own. Take your time and enjoy places like Chidenguela with its beautiful lagoons and amazing 30km of unspoiled beaches, with very good snorkelling and fishing. Now with a lodge Paraiso de Chidenguela, just 3km down the dirt road after the village, they are just before the lake on the left. Normal cars can make it. The beach is just 2km away from there. 4 beds self-catering Bungalow, with communal kitchen, or just enjoy the meals at the restaurant-bar. Activities such as water skiing, snakes rides and parasailing are done on the lake, where Nhambavale Lake Resort is located, with bungalows, breakfast and camping.
Chidenguela it's also very famous for its amazing snorkelling, surf and rock fishing. Fly fishing also very good. Out of season, they do allow people to camp and the prices go down.
Pomene beach just a few kms away from Xai Xai, also offers accommodation. This beach was always known has a prime spot for snorkelling, rock fishing and deep-sea fishing. Another unexploited place to visit.
The Pomene Lodge offers camping facilities and bungalows at affordable prices