After work Friday we drove the 220km to Xai-Xai – the provincial capital of Gaza province, the next province north of Maputo. We headed down to the beach resort and found chalets at the camping ground for rent. A very reasonable 850MTn (£17) for a chalet, room and bathroom. Basic but comfortable. There is very little else there apart from ruins of previous hotels and accommodation. It looks like the resort was a busy place before the war. There were a few people camping but we basically had the place to ourselves. We had several 2Ms at the beach bar with more staff than guests. We then sat at looked at the amazing night sky, with virtually no lights the sky was ablaze. Beautiful. The Magellenic clouds the best I’ve ever seen hanging over the dark ocean.

This morning we rose to look at the ocean, there is a ‘reef’ just off the shore and the power of the waves was immense. Definitely not for swimming in, it was just awesome standing and watching. We were the only people on the beach as far as the eye could see in either direction. Pure solitude with just the crashing ocean for company. Amazing.

We drove back to Xai-Xai to explore but we needn’t have bothered as there is absolutely nothing there to distract the casual visitor. We saw the Limpopo river, we drove across the Limpopo River. It did have a prison that looked like a toy castle which was quite amusing. The town was very badly hit by the floods in 2000 and was under 3m of water and the road to Maputo was washed away but apart from the new causeway across the valley there is no other visible reminders. So we drove back to Maputo. There is an amazing straight section of road soon after Xai-Xai that is dead straight for at least 20km and it stretches off into the distance into mirages.

A good trip, if tiring. Xai-Xai was a disappointing town to visit, the beach would be perfect for a getaway though.

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John Talbot

The main protagonist behind this nonsense. The website title is inspired by the lyrics of the B-side to Lily the Pink by The Scaffold. "The buttons of your mind were difficult to find and my fingers far too clumsy."