Visiting the establishment situated 40km north of Xai-Xai will leave you relaxed and well rested. The new “ring” road, which bypasses Maputo, makes it much easier to get to Xai-Xai and further north on the EN1.
“We moved to Mozambique in 2005 and started developing the lodge. Staying out here had its challenges and getting everything in place to move here has taken a long time.
“Jaco arrived in March that year to have most of the basic services in place before I arrived with the kids,” says Elna.
The resort has changed over the years since they have been here. The first chalets, or rooms, were built in typical Mozambique reed style, but Jaco has upgraded these now to brick and concrete. All the rooms and houses have a sea view from their porch and a cosy braai area.
Sitting on your chalet porch watching for whales and dolphins passing by, is an easy activity. The accommodation varies from double rooms to houses that can sleep a group of up to 12 people. All of the units are self-catering and you have the convenience of shopping in Xai-Xai during your stay. The nearby villages of Chizavane and Chidenguele offer rustic sightseeing and basic markets.
The Zona Braza beach stretches for miles and you have the rare opportunity to have this spectacular paradise all to yourself. It is protected by a rocky reef and the shallow tidal pools are ideal for snorkelling and safe swimming.
“The most amazing thing about it (this beach) is that there are a few days in December that one can sit with a case of beer and watch the sun rise in the east. Then watch the sun set into the sea again, while sipping a cocktail in the afternoon,”
The resort has a fully licensed restaurant that serves Portuguese cuisine with a Mozambican twist. For those who prefer sand-free swimming, Zona Braza recently added a third deck and pool area which has luxurious loungers with colourful cushions and umbrellas. You can order refreshing drinks either from upstairs at the restaurant or from the downstairs Beach Bar.
The lodge includes a pool room, curio shop, DStv and amazingly fast Wi-Fi. But then with the incredible view and an endless beach, who would want to spend the day on their phone? The resort also offers conference facilities.
“Another amazing attraction is the lake area, inland of the lodge. It is teeming with abundant birdlife and is a birder’s paradise,” says Jaco.
“Zona Braza is unpretentious and fabulous. The staff and owners are very friendly, welcoming and will make you feel right at home. The villas are stylish, clean, comfortable and well equipped,” says Jenni Semmens from Mbombela.
Things to see and do
While staying at the lodge will provide you with all the comforts such as good food and drink, you might want to get out into the rural areas and experience the local fare.
Take a drive to Xai-Xai Beach for a change of scenery.
A few restaurants line the road that will lead back to Chongoene. It is advised that you do this if you have a 4×4, as the track can get very sandy. Go early in the day to avoid the hot summer weather and afternoon wind. At Chongoene there is the abandoned Chongoene Hotel.
The empty building faces the onslaught of the wind and Indian Ocean.
The beach has washed up to its sloped barrier walls yet the massive pool still has its blue painted trim.
At Chidenguele you can head out to the lighthouse for the day.
The Bao Paz Lighthouse sits on a massive sand dune and you can get a 360° view of the surrounding area. If you plan on walking out to the site be sure to take along enough to drink. It can get hot and trudging through thick sand is thirsty work.