While Xai-Xai is a little out of favour with international tourists due to the all singing and dancing Tofo further north, this town half way between Maputo and Tofo has its own distinctive Mozambican ambience. Adventurous backpackers or those wanting to break the 8-9 hour bus trip between the two, will find Bamboo Beach Backpackers providing good, cheap lodging right by the beach. Buses and minibuses run throughout the day from Xai-Xai town on the highway to the beach 10kms away and stop just a sign-posted three minute walk away from Bamboo Beach.
This tiny place functions as a bar/restaurant during the day as the beach is very popular with locals. But come evening it’s deserted, giving a peaceful sleep in one of the rooms at the back. There is a 7-bed dorm with aircon, plus two triple rooms (one with a/c) and a double room. Prices are pretty much the same as its Tofo and Vilanculos counterparts, so very good value. The mattresses are thick and comfy in the dorm and the a/c keeps everything cool. There is a wardrobe and plenty of space, but could do with a small table or two for luggage and maybe a splash of colour.
The sitting room – decorated with large flags – has a sofa, wicker chairs and DSTV. There is also a common kitchen for guests’ use with a kettle, microwave and two gas rings. Ask the kitchen for any pots and pans or utensils you need. There are three hot water showers and two toilets that all rooms share and are kept clean. There is no WiFi here though.
The bar/restaurant is open from around 9am till the last customer has gone; any time between 7pm and 9pm. So alert the staff if you want to eat either early or late. This is a great, slightly scruffy little place that gives backpackers what they need for very little money. It is a very different, more local experience to the beaches further north.
Right by the beach
Decor a bit bland
Beds from 500 MTC
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