Nearby Towns (within 250km)
Located on the shores of the Indian Ocean, in inhambane province is one of the most popular destinations in Mozambique, Vilanculos. The town was originally named Vilankulo after chief Vilankulo, and some of the "bairros" (suburbs) are named after his sons. Vilanculos has become a popular vacation destination and serves as the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, a group of islands and Mozambique's underwater national park.
The archipelago's diverse coral reefs and clear waters offer some of the best diving opportunities in the world. Though extremely popular the dive sites along the archipelago are not crowded, and boast vast species of both hard and soft corals and marine life. The depths of the dive sites vary from between twelve and thirty meters and visibility extends up to forty meters allowing divers to discover numerous protected reefs frequented by large numbers of dolphin, hump back whales, whale sharks, reef sharks, manta rays, spotted eagle rays and various species of sea turtles. Snorkelling along the Bazaruto Archipelago is also popular.
The Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary consists of a large bay, an estuarine lagoon, tidal sand flats, sea grass beds, freshwater lakes, complex mangrove swamps and reed swamps. The sanctuary also features coral and rocky reefs frequented by an impressive total of more than four hundred species of fish, as well as pristine sandy beaches and forested dunes.
Bird and nature enthuisiasts will find delight in the two hundred and seventy five recorded species found within the sanctuary, not to mention several rare reptiles. This unbelievably breathtaking sanctuary forms the southernmost portion of the magnificent Bazaruto Archipelago. The town is also situated close to the Banhine and Zinave National Parks, which are home some of Southern Africa's best wildlife.
Vilanculos offers hotel accomodations and restaurants in a third world style. Electricity and water supply prove to irregular from time to time, and are available during only certain times of the day. The night life is very much alive and well offering varied options in music, food and drink through out the night at any of the local discos. Vilanculos was once a popular hangout spot for the rich and famous, and was also a favourite destination for many movie stars but unfortunately lost its appeal between 1975 and 1993 due to the civil war which was fought in Mozambique. The Portuguese influence of the town has left a noted mark on the region's cuisine, with a lot of Portuguese food being served at the restaurants. Fresh sea food is a must try when visiting the town, and good food can be enjoyed at Smugglers, Vilanculos Beach Lodge, Zombie Cucumber, Varanda Restaurant and Baobab Beach.
Other attractions in Vilanculos include a great local market selling fresh produce and almost every kind of fish imaginable. There are horse safaris and various popular day rides along the Vilanculos coast, where visitors can enjoy long stretches of untouched beaches and amazing coastal views. Visitors can experience a number of tours of the Bazaruto Archipelago on traditional sailing dhows taking them to the islands of Benguerra, Bazaruto, Magaruque and Santa Carolina. Some of the tour operators offer both day and overnight dhow safaris into the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, which include all meals, tented accommodation, entry fees into the park, snorkelling equipment and refreshments all of which add up to an unforgettable experience well worth every cent.
The area provides almost unparalleled opportunities for fishing, and is currently ranked as the best Black Marlin catching destination in the Eastern Indian Ocean. The season runs from early October through to the end of January each year. The Marlin make their way into the shallow waters around the islands and can often be found feeding around the shoals of various species of tuna that frequent these waters.