Mozambique on a whole makes my heart flutter, but Vilanculos makes it fly.
I think one of the reasons is because driving up through Moz from Joburg is quite a drive and although it is a pretty drive, nothing can prepare you for what you arrive to in Vilanculos. The sea looks as if colours of turquoise and deep blue have been stacked on top of each other. Literally. After seeing veld, villages and bush for about 850km you couldn’t imagine a better sight. The only thing in your life at that point that would make it better is an ice cold 2M.
Apart from the awesome nightlife (local bars and pubs), restaurants and beautiful scenery, you are surrounded by the islands of Benguerra, Bazaruto and Margaruque. Margaruque is a popular tourist spot and is a beautiful island with excellent snorkeling. You can even (if you have the energy) walk around the island and see the flamingos on the south side. Be warned the sand does get very hot so take your slops with you. You are able to get to the island through a number of local dhow companies. We used Dolphin dhows and had a great lunch of Barracuda and Portuguese-style rice. Yum! The reef near the island is awesome for snorkeling and once the tide goes out all you have to do is drift up and down the reef letting the current take you. I saw a Parrotfish the size of half my body and of course all the normal little guys.
On the food side, most of the restaurants have tasty delicious grub, but I can recommend Zombie Cucumber for delicious pizza. For a sunset drink Vilanculos has many spots that will satisfy your thirst and your eyes. You must go to, Aguia Negra, Casa Rex, The Casbah by Casa Cabana Beach, Archipelago Resort and Beach lodge for an ice cold 2M, and Smugglers for a fun night out and to meet the locals.
If you are driving up I’d recommend bringing most of your food with you. There is a local supermarket that has most things you would need but it can be pricey. Bring your own wine too. Beer (2M and Laurentina) is widely available there.
If you could imagine Vilanculos were a song this would be it:
These are some of the spots I’d reccomend staying if you are in a group on an average budget (about R500 pppn):
If that hasn’t wet your appetite, have a look at some of the pictures from my last trip there.