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The growing, coastal town of Vilanculos (now Vilankulo) is located in the Vilanculos District of Mozambique's Imhambane province, a third of the way up the country's 2600km coastline. In addition to being a gateway to the five islands which form the Bazaruto Archipelago, Vilanculos is a place of charming people, colourful markets and vibrant cafés and bars.
Exotic, sun-baked beaches stretch on forever, the pristine landscape a superb horse-riding destination's "swimming" the horses is a memorable experience for riders of all levels. Turquoise oceans mirror heated azure skies and flow over a rugged shoreline. A gentle, eco-canoe trail through crystal waters and water lilies invites an appreciation of the aquatic animals and bird life which animate the region. Inland leads through coconut plantations and typical rural fishing villages, where signs of development are starting to make themselves visible.
Mozambique is a sun destination, with a colourful history and a laid-back beach holiday vibe. Explored by da Gama from 1498, and colonised by the Portuguese thereafter, its heritage includes Arab slavers, a productive trade in gold, ivory and commodities and a devastating civil war before it became a democracy and a member of the commonwealth. The capital city is Maputo.
With charming Mozambican authenticity, friendly people, colourful markets, cafés and bars, a host of activities and a choice of accommodation types Vilanculos has a lot to offer. Its ideally suited to those who are seeking fun and an element of adventure.
Vilanculos can be visited at any time, as the clear skies, warm temperatures and sunny days create the perfect tropical weather all year round. Between November and February, temperatures soar into the 30s while the nights remain cool. If you don’t mind a few showers and humidity, visit during the rainy season, between December and February.
If you’d prefer to stay dry and laze on the golden beaches, go between June and September. If you’re after some fascinating diving, winter is the optimal time, between May and September, but note you may experience cold fronts come in from South Africa at this time of year.
Vilanculos is one of our favorite areas, with a very laid-back vibe and lots of great accommodation options it’s a solid choice for any Mozambique itinerary or beach add-on. There is direct flights from Johannesburg and from this area you are at the gateway to the beautiful Bazaruto Archipelago perhaps combining a stay on the mainland with a few nights on the islands.
Perhaps book your nights at the gorgeous Santorini, bringing the beautiful Greek architecture to life on the beaches of Mozambique this unique property. Styled like a small Greek village you will enjoy the uninterrupted views of the ocean and the cool, spacious interiors. Definitely book on to the Dhow experience whilst here, sailing in these traditional boats really slows down the pace of life. Join the shared cruise or book it exclusively for the perfect romantic sundowner.