Back in Xai-Xai

Back in Xai-Xai

Being back in Xai-Xai is always a treat. The backpackers here is right on the beach. It’s a scintillating view out the front, over the waves. It’s quiet most times. There is very little to distract you from chilling out on the beach a few days and nights in this cool spot.

And it’s halfway between Maputo and Inhambane. Perfect stopover to break the journey.

Straight out front is the huge Xai-Xai bathing tidal pool. A completely natural swimming enclosure, that operates with the tides. At high tide, it’s deep and with strong currents. And the low tide is epic for swimmers and frolickers. Just be sure to get your tides right (first mention).

The view from the verandah at the backpackers in Xai-Xai
The view from the verandah at the backpackers in Xai-Xai

If you cruise the sand road beach boulevard north, you pass a range of lodges, restaurants and hotel-like operations. The Xai Xai beach north is another surprise of empty beach after empty beach. And is really burgeoning with development as the country opens up even more. Just watch out for those currents! (2nd Warning).

The rock and surf fishing here has been enjoyed by local and visiting anglers alike, for a very long time. Big GT’s (Giant Trevally, aka Kingfish, aka Caranx Ignoblis) are caught and released here. As are the elusive and cunning snapper species like the Red Snapper, and the Speckled Snapper. These fish are also released by sport anglers and are just so hard to catch, so they seem to survive ok, in this area! The ocean is actually quite wild here with that fierce rock shelf standing up to the mighty Indian Ocean. And a 4m tide range making for some very confused and angry waters swirling with super-strong currents. (Another warning).

Yet another empty beach on the Xai-Xai strip
Yet another empty beach on the Xai-Xai strip

Then, as you weave along the casuarina and milkwood lined ocean road, it finally opens up into the deserted Chongoene Hotel and it’s ghosts. When 24/24 came along (the expulsion of non-cooperative foreign nationals), a bunch of wild ones stayed behind at the hotel, and after a week of partying, were summarily shot!?

4x4 Necessary to get past the old deserted hotel at Chongoene
4×4 Necessary to get past the old deserted hotel at Chongoene

Fuller story read right here…

BUt wow! What an alarmingly interesting piece of coastline is that little drive from Xai Xai to Chongoene Beach and the deserted hotel. Did we mention that the road is strictly 4WD, especially the last section up past the hotel and back onto the more gentle road back to the EN1 tar section? Well it is, strictly 4WD.

And did we mention the strong currents?

Join The Sardine Team as we work and around Southern Africa. We have been taking on volunteers to assist with the myriad of duties and challenges Africa presents. We are in Vilanculos the next few weeks, working with a whale research team from Tel a Aviv University. Along with facilitating research and remote operations for the marine and bush – conservation and research realms – we can also help you put your dream holiday together, – anywhere in and around Southern Africa.

We will be operating in the Inhambane Province of Mozambique until the end of cyclone season next year. Tag and release fishing with ORI. We are looking for the tagging types – bring your own tackle, we got the tags and the boats.

Get in touch with Sean on or +27 79 326 9671. Check out our current projects and offerings on

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