North of the Limpopo River

Xai-Xai, Chidenguela & more beaches, Southern Mozambique

Barrier lakes edge much of this section of the coast providing for bathing, swimming and watersports in a safer environment than that or the open sea, although the ocean beaches are close by for those who prefer the sound of the breaking waves. Some of these lakes are salt water estuaries which may be cut off from the ocean by sandbars, these lagoons usually have beautiful white sandy beaches ideal for sunbathing. Some of the lakes such as many of those at Chidenguele near Xai-Xai are fresh water. The lagoons lining the EN1 road through Quissico make for a particularly picturesque journey.


Xai-Xai is situated on the Limpopo/Incomati River basin over 200km north of Maputo and is of most importance as a supply centre and crossing point over the Limpopo river which divides the southernmost section of Mozambique from the more central areas, the impressive Limpopo River Bridge was built in 1964.

Xai-Xai itself is an administrative centre and apart from re-supplying has little to offer tourists, more attractive is Xai-Xai beach (Praia de Xai-Xai) situated some 10km away. Since the construction of the protective dyke against flooding the beaches at Xai-Xai have started to attract a number of tourists, but a good 4x4 vehicle is needed to access the best accommodation along a sandy track north running east from the village at Xai-Xai beach. The beaches at nearby Chongoene and Zongoene are generally more popular with holiday makers.

Most supplies are available in Xai-Xai including deisel & petrol, however it has been known for Xai-Xai to run out of Unleaded petrol in extremely busy holiday periods. The local markets sell fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables.


Chidenguele village is situated on the EN1 north of Xai-Xai, a sandy road leads from the village to Chidenguele beach, about 5km from the main raod. This road takes you to the edge of lake Nhambavale which is a freshwater lake over 20km long and ideal for watersports. Accommodation is available both by the lakeside and on the ocean side although a 4x4 vehicle is reccomended to for most lodges in the area. There are walking trails in the area and a numer of freshwater lakes in the area which are good for birding. Other attractions in the area include Boa Paz Lighthouse down a sandy 4x4 track which passes two smaller freshwater lakes, and the old Cathedral situated south of the village just off the main EN1 road, accessible by a sealed road.

There are no restaurants apart from those at the lodges and only basic food supplies area available including fresh bread and a limited supply of fruit and vegetables in Chidenguele market. If you're heading to Nhambavale Lodge call in at the local shack en-route for a cool drink, fresh bread and very basic food supplies may also be available here. The nearest reliable fuel supply is at Xai-Xai.

Things to do in the area include:

  • Watersports on lake Nhambavale
  • Saltwater & Freshwater Fishing (bring own equipment)
  • Diving & Snorkelling(bring own equipment)
  • Birding
  • Hiking
  • Day visit to Xai-Xai
  • Look around Chidenguela Cathedral
  • Climb Bao Paz Lighthouse


Quissico is most famous for its traditional dancing & music. The Timbila ta Venácio orchestra (timbila being a type of mirimba or xylophone) based just north of Quissico has acheived international acclaim and each year the annual and spectacular timbila festival, usually held at the end of June, attracts regular visitors including the ambassadors from China, Germany and Sweden.

The beautiful lagoon at Quissico runs parallel to the Ocean and is fed by the Inharime river around 40km north of Quissico and stretches for a further 30km south where it flows into the sea at Chissibuca. A high primary dune protects Quissico from the elements of the ocean which has a strong undercurrent along this section of coast. There are reefs offshore which are accessible by boat at low tide for snorkelling & diving, the famous Inhambane Manta Reef stretches past Quissico and is as yet unexplored. During the winter months of May to October Humpback & Southern Right Whales might be seen breaching, lob tailing and spy hopping offshore, Bottlenose Dolphins and Bryde's Whales may be seen year round. The long white beaches are pristine, generally used only by those staying at Praia Mar e Sol and the surrounding area is good for birding.

Super petrol & Deisel are available in Quissico, Unleaded Petrol users need to go to Xai-Xai or Inhambane. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are available from the marketin Quissico, there bakery for bread and basic food supplies are available at the local shop including mineral water, local & South African beers.

Things to do in Qussico (at the time of writing there are no charters available so you will need to bring all your own boating and sporting equipment, however chraters are planned for the near futire so email us for up to date information):

  • Birding
  • Whale & Dolphing watching
  • Diving & snorkelling (recommended for advanced only)
  • Water sports on the lagoon
  • Fishing on the lagoon or in the virgin ocean fishing waters