Xai Xai is situated on the banks of the Limpopo River in the Limpopo Valley, known as the "Bread basket" of Mozambique as much rice and cereal crops are grown here. It is located around 200km north from Maputo and the capital city of Gaza Province. Xai-Xai developed in the early 1900s, under Portuguese rule, as a companion port to Lourenço Marques (currently Maputo), though its economic significance was never on par with Mozambique's largest city. Before independence from Portugal in 1975, Xai-Xai was known as João Belo, in the Overseas Province of Mozambique. João Belo grew and developed under Portuguese rule as a port, agricultural and industrial centre (rice and cashew were produced and transformed), a provider of services, including a district hospital and banking, and an administrative centre. Tourism was also important with beaches and hotels. In 1970, the city had 63,949 inhabitants.
After independence from Portugal, It was hit hard by 2000 floods of the Limpopo, with some buildings 3 m under water. However, shortly after the waters receded the town was opened for business again.
Xai-Xai is a bustling town with markets, shops, restaurants, bars, petrol stations banks, and a post office. A few blocks from the central market, there is an open-air furniture factory, located underneath several cashew trees. The beach of Praia do Xai-Xai, approximately 12 km from Xai-Xai, has been a popular tourist attraction since Mozambican tourism, originally under Portuguese administration, was first developed before 1975. A coral reef running parallel to the shore offers good snorkeling and protects the beach from strong waves. In addition, the Wenela Tidal Pool, 2 km south of the town, includes a natural tunnel and blow hole that links the pool to the Indian Ocean.
1. The campsite of Praia do Xai Xai is situated on the beach and there is lots of shade for campers to make them comfortable.
2. Xai Xai Beach Resort is situated on the beach at Xai Xai and is set back against the dunes
3. Zongoene Lodge is situated at the mouth of the Limpopo River approximately 225km north of Maputo and approximately 8km by sea from Praia de Xai Xai.
4. Zona Braza is 280 kilometres north of Maputo
5. Montego Camp is a new camping site 3km upcoast from Xai-Xai Beach (Praia do Xai-Xai).
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