Vilanculos is a popular holiday destination on the coast of Mozambique. Attractions include scuba diving, game fishing (in particular for black marlin), sailing, and horse riding. In particular, the town is the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, the country's only marine reserve, which sits just off the coast.
Dhow safaris to the Bazaruto Archipelago can be organised by various companies in the town, and are a leisurely way to visit one or more of the islands. Make sure you choose a tour that has the maximum amount of snorkelling/scuba diving, as they are the most interesting activities in the archipelago - if you're lucky, you might see whale sharks, manta rays, and dugongs. Note that Bangue Island has no shade whatsoever, so if your tour goes there then ensure you have appropriate quantities of sunscreen and protective clothing. There are (expensive) hotels on a few of the islands.
The TCO (Transportes Carlos Oliveira) bus from Beira to Vilanculos runs at least once per week, leaving at 4:00am from the TCO terminal, taking about 7 hours. It drops you off at an intersection, from where you need to catch a chapa to Vilanculos itself. The chapa takes 25 minutes.
Chapas (minibuses) between Vilanculos and Maxixe (pronounced Masheesh) cost M175, with maybe a little extra for luggage. The journey takes about 5 hours, because a portion of the road (between Nhachengue and Massinga) is in poor condition. If you are heading to Inhambane then ask to be dropped off once you see the jetty at Maxixe - you can then catch a boat across the bay.
Some of the "roads" on the fringes of the town are essentially bare sand, so a 4WD might be helpful.
Vilanculos is quite spread out, which can make walking quite time-consuming. Take care especially after dark, as the town seems to have more than its fair share of muggings.
Because the town is quite spread out, you should book your accommodation in advance if you will be arriving on a chapa with much luggage - that way, you may be able to get a lift from wherever you're dropped off in the town.
|Hotel Pescador||Beach Road||HOTEL||-|
|Marimba Secret Gardens||Marimba Secret Gardens Macunhe||HOSTEL||-|
|Casa Babi||Rua do Palacio Odyssea Dive||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Chibububo Lodge||Bairo do Airporto||GUESTHOUSE||-|
Internet is widely available in Maputo, with many internet cafes and all major hotels having internet access. Outside Maputo internet coverage is sporadic and mostly available in places frequented by tourists. Local Telecommunication de Mozambique (TDM) offices almost always have internet although speed and availability can be problematic.
See also International Telephone Calls
Mozambique's international telephone code is 258.
mCel is the state-owned provider, and as of yet the government has only licensed one other company, the South-African owned Vodacom Mozambique. Apparently a third is arriving shortly. GPRS (data and internet) are available on mCel, with 3G in Maputo and other main cities. Vodacom have 3G in many towns and GPRS Edge elsewhere. The APN is internet. Check your phone manual for setting instructions. The mCel service is not entirely reliable, especially outside Maputo. Vodacom is generally very good. While it is OK to buy credit from the hundreds of vendors roaming the streets wearing mCel or Vodacom shirts you should never buy SIM cards / starter packs, in many cases they sell them at hugely inflated prices and often they will be from one of the many recalled batches that no longer work. Any mobile phone store can sell you a working starter pack for around 50Mts.
Correios de Moçambique offers postal services in the country, but they are slow and unreliable at times. For parcels you should definately contact companies like FedEx, DHL, UPS or TNT, as they offer far better services.
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