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Beaches in Mozambique

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Beaches in Mozambique

Until the fighting put Mozambique out of bounds, the country's superb beaches were well-known holiday playgrounds. Following the peace, visitors are once again flocking to the country, so encouraging the building of more resort properties and lodges. The country is politically stable having had two peaceful elections, and with a strong opposition party. Re-development is taken as a priority after so many years of war. Tourism is an important part of this growth sector. Mozambique is blessed with what might just be the longest stretch of coral-fringed beaches in the world, scuba divers, snorkellers and nature lovers can spend monthly excursions exploring the coastal resorts and camp sites without becoming bored. Historical sites , dating back to the daring days when voyagers risked being swallowed by a gigantic sea monster or sailing off the edge of the world, are found throughout the country. Mozambique's beaches are the best-kept secret in Africa. The 2,500 kms coastline is fringed with perfect, deserted expanses of pristine sand, fringed with coconut palms on one side and an azure sea on the other. Consequently, camping is only permitted in demarcated and authorised areas so as not to spoil the beaches for everyone's enjoyment.


Gaza province

The province of Gaza borders both Zimbabwe and South Africa, and inland is one of Mozambique's most remote and inaccessible regions. Along its 150 km coastline are excellent beaches at Xai-Xai and Bilene, and in the centre of the province is the Banhine National Park. There is very little reason for tourists to visit the interior of Gaza transport is minimal and there is little to see. Hanhine is entirely without tourist facilities.

Zavora

Zavora beach is as beautiful and unspoilt as any in Mozambique . While South Africans flock her for the game fishing, it is also an excellent place for snorkelling, with low-tide rock pools and some nice reefs. The sea is wide and calm with a coral reef which forms a sheltered lagoon at low tide, so it's a good place for families with children. The Zavora Lodge, a South Africa-owned campsite with cabins, and restaurant and bar set in a beautiful position high over the beach. Call cabins in advance, via Mozambique Connections in Johannesburg (P.O Box 3781, Kempton Park 1620; tel 011-394 8727 or 011-4554046/7). To get to Zavora take the maxixe bus from Xai-Xai, and get out at Inharrime. Beira's best beaches are found between the Cube Nautico and the lighthouse. Six Miles is a resort situated about 10 km from the city centre. It consists of an artificial lagoon with islands, where visitors can swim or hire pedal boats.

Nampula Province

Praia de Chocas, on the mainland near the Mozambique Island , is a very popular beach. Praia de Farnao Veloso is located near Nacala, 80 km north of the island.

Cabo Delgado Province

Walk along Wimbe to reach the lighthouse and nearby Praia do Carol beach. Mcufi and Mocimboa da Praia beaches are also recommended. The palm- lined beach of Praia do Wimbo is noted for its white sand and clear blue waters.

Niasa Province

Lake Niassa (also known as Lake Malawi) borders this province, with its sandy beaches. The best known, are Praia de Metangula and Praia de Cobue.

Maputo Province

In the bay about 34 km from Maputo is the lovely Inhaca island, which is accessible by both boat and aircraft. Tours are organised to various parts of the island such as Ponta de Santa Maria or to Portuguese Island. The golden sands of Ponta do Ouro beach are best reached from South Africa, although the 117 kms journey from Maputo can be made in a 4x4 vehicle. Some 5-kms north from here is the beautiful beach of Ponta Malongane, with its white sands and blue-green sea.

Bilene

Bilene is a resort (full name: Praia do Bilene), about 100 km north of Maputo, with a good beach and long lagoon separated from the ocean by spits and islands. It's 40km off the main road; the junction is at Macina, from where pick-ups run throughout the day to/from Bilene. At the north end of the beach is Campismo Palmieras –a clean, very popular shady campground. Bilene (175 km north of Maputo) lies on the shores of a 27-km long lagoon of clear, brackish water and fine, white sand. The sea can be reached by crossing the lagoon by boat. Other famous beaches in the province are Zongoene at the mouth of the Limpopo River, Chidenguele and Chizavane.

Ilha

Ilha's beaches are not suitable for swimming, due to the fact that they are used as a toilet by most of the population. There is a diving and boat club linked to the Pousada Hotel. Ask at Reliquaries for Carlos Dias (Kaku), who will arrange motor boat and dhow, trips to the beaches at Goa Island, IIha de Cobras or Chocas Mar on the mainland

Macaneta

This is the closest beach to Maputo, 37 kms north on the ENI. It's easily reachable for a day trip. Expresso Tours (tel 01-431662/4), the Polana or Cardoso Hotels organise trips out there. The beach is attractive but the sea isn't particularly good for swimming or snorkelling. You can camp at Complexo Turistico Macaneta, or stay at the incomati River Camp (reservations Maputo on 01-425322), a smart barefoot lodge built from local materials. Accommodation per person per nigh is full board or self-catering. You can also camp at Jay's beach Lodge for reservations call Jay on 082-30143).There are couples of restraints and barssuch as the Complexo Turistico.

Boane/Barragem Dos Pequenos Libombos

The dam at Boane, 55 km from Maputo on the Ressano Garcia/Komatiport road, makes a good day-trip. You can swim in the lake and the dam (Barragem dod Pequenos Libombos) is an arresting sight. Accommodation is available at a Palhota (tel 01-775006), self-catering bungalows. There is a restaurant and bar pool, volleyball and disco. Expresso Tours (01-431 662/4) run day trips or you could pick up a Johannesburg bus and ask to be set down at Boane.

Zalala

Easy to get to from Quelimane and one of the only really accessible beaches in Zambesia, Zalala is almost completely undeveloped. It lies 27 kms from centre, through a vast coconut plantation. To get there, take Ave Julius Nyerere north out of town. At the beach there is a cafe and bar , and cabins at Complexo Turistico. Camping facilities are also available. Get to this beached by dhow from Morrumbane, 30 kms up the coast from Inhambane. There is a camp there called Funky monkey which supports local sustainable development. They also organise boat trips and take tourist out on manatee (dugong) searches .A wonderful beach of endless white sands, Praia de Zalala is reached from Quelimane about 45 kms of tarred road. Dense and leafy casuarina trees line the beach. Praia de Pebane is another white sand beach north of Quelimane.

Pomene

Pomene is described as the definitive paradise beach. Whale sharks have been sighted here spending a few days. see the one of these vast and supposedly harmless beasts breaking the surface of the water . If you have your own transport, take the unsignpoted right hand road about 25 kms out of massinga, and then take another right turn about 25 km after that. Otherwise, ask at Nhachengue or Massinga (a better bet) if there is any transport going that way.

Xai-Xai and Praia do Xai-Xai

Three hour up the coast from Maputo on the excellent ENI, the capital of Gaza province is an unremarkable, dusty but thriving little town with an excellent campsite and good beach nearby. If you're not planning to stay, Xai-Xai (pronounced shy-shy) is also a very good stop –off point with petrol. The massive reef running parallel to the beaches of Praia do Xai-Xai (approximately 230 km north from Maputo) provides natural protection against strong waves at high tide and forms several small pools at low tide, when women and children take the opportunity to gather shellfish to sell to tourists.

Tofu and Barra Beaches

The long, beautiful beaches of Tofu and the Barrawere two of the most popular resorts before the civil war. Tofu is more accessible and more developed, with hotel and holiday cottages, several with fishing operations. Barra is harder to reach but quieter, with an even better setting: clean sand dunes with surf on one side and mangroves and palm groves on the other. There are several projects currently under construction here. From Inhambane there's a tar road for 20km all the way to Tofu. After 15km a sand road to splits off left to Barra. For driving, a 4WD is recommended, or you can leave your car at Bar Babalaza and arrange a transfer.

Last Updated on Tuesday 24th November 2009

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