Xai Xai © Erik Cleves Kristensen
Just 124 miles (200km) north of Maputo, the small town of Xai Xai is a popular excursion for those seeking a relaxing day on the beach. Xai Xai has a scattering of shops, bars, restaurants and accommodation, but the real draw is the superb scuba diving and snorkelling on offer, with ideal conditions created by the coral reef running parallel to the main beach, and some fun dive sites, including a natural underwater tunnel, at Wenela Tidal Pool, just one mile (2km) south. The sandy white beaches with their calm waters are a fantastic place to swim, and there are fresh water lakes nearby for kayaking, paddle skiing and windsurfing. Also close by is the resort town of Bilene; the lagoon at Bilene is very popular for watersports and is an especially good destination for families travelling in the area, as the waters are safe and shallow. Visitors should anticipate attention from the locals selling crafts and trinkets in the region. For those wanting to extend their stay at Xai Xai there are some great accommodation options, including good budget accommodation for backpackers. The roads between Maputo and Xai Xai are in good condition and traversable without a 4x4 vehicle, which is a big advantage for day trippers.