Vilanculos - Area Information
Vilanculos, Vilankulo, Mozambique
Vilankulo (or Vilanculos)
is a coastal town in Mozambique, lying in the Vilanculos District of Inhambane
is named after local tribal chief Gamala Vilankulo Mukoke, and some of the "bairros" (suburbs) are named after his sons. During colonial times the name was changed to Vilanculos since the Portuguese do not use the letter K much, and commonly use the 'ssh' sound of the S. At independence the name was changed back to Vilankulo – with a K and no S. Today the district is called Vilanculos and the town Vilankulo, and many residents have Vilankulo as their last name.
Vilankulo has been growing extensively over the last decade, and has been the recipient of considerable inward investment into its tourism infrastructure. The gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago is the town of Vilankulo.
Dhow's travel between the town and the Bazaruto Archipelago
. The town itself is only about 5km long filled with all the amenities needed to make your visit comfortable yet local. The airport is based on the outside of the town with flights arriving and departing on a daily basis.
Vilankulo has an array of options when it comes bars (barracas), restaurants and accommodation, if local is more your flavor work your way from The Market in the center of town towards the main beaches of Vilankulo. If you prefer something a little more exclusive there is a wide variety of exquisite lodges which can accommodate you.
Many would argue that you haven't really experienced Mozambique until you've stayed in Vilanculos, cut off from the chaos of life, and woken to watch the sun rise over its calm crystal clear waters or spent the day soaking up the sun.
The town, with friendly people and a lively atmosphere, offers the perfect base from which to explore the picturesque Bazaruto Archipelago and the Bazaruto National Park. The marine reserve includes five islands – Santa Carolina (also known as Paradise Island), Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque and Bangue.
The Archipelago offers some of the world's best snorkeling, diving and big game fishing. The islands are pristine in their natural beauty and diverse ecologies. The coral reefs are profuse with a diversity of tropical fish and turtles, and are amongst the most pristine in the Western Indian Ocean. Dolphins are seen year round and whales are seasonal visitors to the Archipelago. The park is also home to the last viable population of dugong on the east African coast.
There is an abundance of bird species, including the crab plover and olive bee-eater that tunnels its nest into the sand dunes. Large flocks of migrant waders visit the fertile mud flats from September to April, and the nomadic Greater Flamingo arrive around mid-October.
Getting There - BY AIR From South Africa. TTA (t/a pelican air Johannesburg) and LAM offer schedules flights from Johannesburg and Maputo daily into Vilanculos. It is possible to charter a small aircraft that can fly direct from Johannesburg to Vilanculos.
BY ROAD From South Africa - The road from Komatipoort border to Vilanculos is tarred and you do not need a 4x4. Look out for potholes and roadworks. Follow the main toll road from Komatipoort to Maputo. Just before getting into Maputo, you turn left onto the National road EN1 to the North (Xai-Xai, Inhambane, Vilanculos, Beira). Vilanculos is ±700km from Maputo. Approximately 250Km's North of Maxixe you will see a turn-off to the right to Vilanculos. Vilanculos is approximately 18Kms from the turn off.
SUMMER: October - March
WINTER: April - September
April to September:
Cool warm and dry, a little rain is received in these months (less than 50mm a month for Maputo) and daytime temperatures on the coast range around 20° - 29° C, while in the interior temperatures are generally cooler (around 5° C lower). You can expect around 8 hours of sunshine a day. The further north you travel you can expect these figures to increase. This is the best time to visit Mozambique.
December to March:
Hot, sticky and rainy with storms usually in the afternoons, preceded by humid build-ups in the mornings. Rainfall of well over 200mm a month can be received. Temperatures generally range from 27° - 31° C while again it's less humid and cooler in the interior.
Best months to visit:
The cooler dry months, April to September, have excellent weather. November to December is normally best for birding activities. Remember summers are humid to very humid (tropical) in the north. When travelling in Mozambique what to pack in your suitcase can be quite confusing, below are the basics. Generally, casual comfortable clothing is suitable throughout the year.
What to Bring - Most practical items to pack are:
* Light cotton tops and cotton trousers/shorts in summer, light shoes, hat/ cap a must.
* Long-sleeved blouses/shirts for boat cruises, which will protect you from the sun.
* Safari trousers, jeans or casual pants for evenings and cooler days. A fleece or sweater is
required for those cool winter evening and mornings.
* Swimwear, snorkel, mask, fins ( most resorts have these for hire - if you have you own you are
more than welcome to bring them).
* Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen (a tanning lotion and a high factor sunscreen for your
face, neck, feet and hands).
* Sandals, to protect ones feet from the coral.
* Comfortable walking shoes.
* Camera film, extra memory cards and batteries, these are difficult to find in
Mozambique and should they be available they will be expensive.