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Travel Guide Africa Mozambique Vilanculos



Natural bath

Natural bath

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Vilanculos (or Vilankulo or other variants) 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.



Sights and Activities

  • 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.



Getting There

By Bus

The TCO (Transportes Carlos Oliveira) bus from Beira to Vilanculos runs at least once per week, leaving at 4:00am from the TCO terminal, costing M800 (Aug 2009), and 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 and costs M15 (Aug 2009).
Chapas (minibuses) between Vilanculos and Maxixe (pronounced Masheesh) cost M175 (Sep 2009), 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.



Getting Around

By Car

Some of the "roads" on the fringes of the town are essentially bare sand, so a 4WD might be helpful.

By Foot

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 PescadorBeach RoadHOTEL-
Marimba Secret GardensMarimba Secret Gardens MacunheHOSTEL-
Casa BabiRua do Palacio Odyssea DiveGUESTHOUSE-
Chibububo LodgeBairo do AirportoGUESTHOUSE-


  • Baobab Beach is a decent option about 15 minutes' walk south of the town centre (be careful walking this at night). The bar has excellent music, slightly less good food. There is a scuba company here too.



Keep Connected


There's Internet at Complex Muha for M100 per hour (Aug 2009) - also at Dolphin Dhow (see Accommodation) for the same price.


See also International Telephone Calls


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