All along the beaches around Vilanculos you will see plenty of plam trees. If you are not feeling energetic enough to climb one of these trees and obtain a free coconut, there are always several eager local lads who will climb the tree, retrieve a cocont and prepare it for you to eat! This will cost you 2,000 Meticais though! (around US10 cents)
Vilanculos is set in one of the most picturesque areas in Mozambique, with spectacular views of pristine beaches and the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean.
The warm Indian Ocean offers safe bathing all year round. The wide open, squeaky clean beaches offered Anne and I endless hours of strolling pleasure.
It is from Vilanculos that you will set out on your dhow safari to the Bazaruto Archipelago. If you plan to visit one destination in Mozambique this string of islands should be it. The main ones are Santa Carolina, Bazaruto, Benguerra and Magaruque. They offer a quintessential tropical holiday with isolated palm and casuarinas tree shaded beaches, rich tropical reefs and clear warm water .
It is a very pleasent experince to sail around the islands just taking in all the peace and quiet and the stunning scenery. Other tourists are few and far between, however you may run into another dhow tucked away in a secluded part of this magnificent destination.
TIP....Take a towel to cover yourself with to protect yourself from the sun. Also take a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.
Vilanculos is a sleepy little town that only recently returned on the vacation map of many visitors. Development North of Maputo is not as fast; hence you will find few tarred roads and generally a more rural environment.
The largest island in the group is Bazaruto island, filled with fresh water lakes inhabited by crocodiles and many species of birds. The island itself is home to some 125 different species of birds.
Bazaruto offers a multitude of delights for the avid fisherman, for both big game and surf fishing. The Bazaruto Lodge's continuing interest in conservation, tag and release is encouraged. There are numerous opportunities for bird watching and viewing wildlife from the fresh water lakes to the sand dunes, or to the grasslands and swamps, viewing possibilities abound.
It is possible to hire a boat from Vilanculos to the Bazaruto islands. You can stay on the islands which has very little trees for shade, but has an amazing coral reef with many varieties of coral, fish, and even a species of manatee. The dowl ride is quite nice too. I got up at sunrise and got a really great photo. There are four main islands and some smalls ones you can visit. The one I visited was closests to the village of Vilanculo called Benguerra Island.
Take your sun glasses, plenty of sunblock and water. You should also pack a lunch with you. There is very little on the island so take what you need for the day.
There is an entrance fee to the islands since it is a National Park. The fee is $4 US and is collected uppon arrival. There are those who work and live on the islands, subsitance farming and fishing and the fee apparantly goes to schools and other facilities for them.
The snorkel gear should be provided.
You leave a sunup and will get back in the late afternoon. It's an all day afair.
Most of the people here are here to play with their waterboats, quadbikes etc. You can relax on the beach, take a stroll into town or use Vilanculos as a base to visit the Bazaruto islands.(see my section of those for more info)
The daytrip i took was sold bya italian lady going arround the resorts, 2000 mtc. going to Magaruque island, lunch included. You can walk arround the island, on the southside there where some Flamingos and snorkeling was quite good. We where lucky and a Dugong (seacow) came very close to the boat. There is also a quite nice looking hotel on the island, there are ferry boats going from Vilanculos leaving from close to the hotel Dana.
You also can go diving, usualy near Benguerra island, but when i was there because of strong winds very low visibilety so i didn´t go, 4500 mtc. for 2 dives.