Vilankulo: Gateway to the Enchanting Bazaruto Archipelago


The relatively small town of Vilankulo (Vilanculos) has the largest accumulation of tourist facilities and services among the many coastal towns in the Inhambane province.

Vilankulo was named after a local tribal chief, Gamala Vilankulo Mukoke (some of its suburbs are named after his children), and was called Vilanculos during the colonial period. Soon after independence, the name was changed to Vilankulo, with the district retaining the name Vilanculos.

Along Rua da Marginal, Vilankulo
Dawn on Vilankulo beach…
Jetty near the famous Hotel Dona Ara
The first church building in Vilankulo
Mercado Central, Vilankulo
Vilankulo Airport

Measuring just about 5km long which can be explored in some two to three hours, Vilankulo is one of the favorite and perhaps the number one tourist destination in Mozambique because it is the gateway to the enchanting Bazaruto Archipelago on the Indian Ocean.


The unique eco-system of the Bazaruto Archipelago sustains diverse fauna and flora. Known for their unspoilt beauty and diverse ecologies, the idyllic islands have pristine coral reefs which are home to more than 2000 fish species as well as whales and dolphins.

Needless to say, the diving and snorkelling in the Bazaruto Marine National Park is superb and sought after by many travellers. Mozambique visitors who would just like to get away from it all will find Bazaruto just the place to relax, sip cocktails and indulge in a delicious seafood beach dinner or perhaps sail away on a dhow for a castaway picnic!

From Vilankulo beach, you can see the Bazaruto Archipelago...
Atop one of the huge sand dunes on the archipelago
Snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean
Perfect for beach bumming and sun bathing…

There are actually 6 islands within the Bazaruto Archipelago which lie just off the mainland between Vilanculos and Inhassoro. The largest island is Bazaruto, then Benguerra, Margaruque, Santa Carolina (Paradise Island), Banque and Pansy Shell Island.

Bazaruto Archipelago has a warm, tropical climate with less rainfall than further south. The rainy season (from November to May) can get very uncomfortable because of the high humidity.

The rest of the year can be warm but mostly pleasant. The humidity goes down, as does the rainfall, allowing you to make the most of all the outdoor activities and watersports.

Visitors exploring the islands will find huge dunes, forest and savannah, inland lakes and wetlands. These Mozambique islands have endless stunning and deserted white beaches, swaying palms and shallow turquoise waters.

The Bazaruto Archipelago is just perfect for peace, solitude and time to watch the magnificent sunsets.


*Additional info from Siyabona Africa.

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