This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Xai-Xai.
Xai-Xai is a large town on the N1 north-south highway, about halfway between Maputo and the tourist draw of Tofo. It makes an interesting place to break what would be an otherwise tiring, all day journey between the two, particularly by public transport. Xai-Xai town has all the amenities you’d expect from a large town; banks, internet cafes, supermarkets, but it’s Xai-Xai Beach, 10kms east of the town that is the place to see. Buses and minibuses (chapas) run all day up until around 9pm from town and take you to within 50m of the beach.
The wide, sweeping beach is where locals come to swim and relax, so has a very different feel to the international tourism of Tofo or Vilanculos further north. There is a reef running parallel to the beach just off shore which protects the beach from the waves leaving a stretch of water that is calm and safe to swim in at high tide. Low tide exposes the reef and hundreds of tidal pools. Whales can often be seen cavorting in the water beyond the reef and there are a couple of restaurant/bars right by the beach with a grandstand view. The beach can be very busy during the weekends, but is almost deserted come nightfall so, if you’re staying the night, it’s very peaceful. The only downside is that the shore is lined with concrete buildings sitting derelict which is a bit of an eyesore.
As far as hostels in Xai-Xai are concerned, there options just a minute's walk from the beach minibus stop and sitting right by the beach. There are not many beds available, so it might be worth booking ahead.
A couple of kilometres further north are the bigger resorts lining a very quiet stretch of sand. From the dirt road leading there, you’ll see small trails snaking up the thickly vegetated dunes which make great self-guided nature trails. We saw many birds, butterflies, huge dragonflies and even some monkeys and there’s the great view of the shoreline and ocean from the top. When you’re at the top, you’ll also see the reason for these little trails. Locals have small market gardens sitting in the protected bowl just over the ridge.
A very worthwhile stop-over with a more Mozambican vibe to what you’ll get further north and cheap hostel accommodation is available, as mentioned above, right by the beach and there are many other options offering self-catering chalets to full-blown resorts, if hostel accommodation is not for you.
Written by local enthusiast for Xai-Xai hostelsLondonroadMa