Travel to Vilanculos


Vilankulo (or Vilanculos) is a coastal town in Mozambique, lying in the Vilanculos District of Inhambane Province. Vilankulo 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.

This large coastal town on Mozambique’s mainland is becoming increasingly popular with travelers, not only because it’s the main gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, but also because there are beautiful beaches, a lively night life and excellent lodges and hotels which offer good value.

There are some excellent restaurants in town, ranging from cheerful Bohemian-style cafés to superb eating houses with finely carved furniture and a rich Moorish feel, offering great seafood at very reasonable prices.


Due to its prime location on the East African coast, Mozambique became a significant trading post for gold, ivory and later slaves between the 16th and 19th centuries. Civil war followed the end of Portuguese rule in 1975, but since 1992 the Mozambican government has set about transforming the country into a modern economy. Now a stable democracy, Mozambique remains little explored and the country’s spectacular natural treasures are one of the world’s best-kept secrets.


Mozambique’s major ethnic groups encompass numerous subgroups with diverse languages, dialects, cultures, and histories. Many are linked to similar ethnic groups living in neighboring countries. The north-central provinces of Zambezia and Nampula are the most populous, with about 45% of the population. The estimated 4 million Makhuwa are the dominant group in the northern part of the country. The Sena and Ndau are prominent in the Zambezi valley, and the Tsonga and Shangaan dominate in southern Mozambique.
Despite the influence of Islamic coastal traders and European colonizers, the people of Mozambique have largely retained an indigenous culture based on small-scale agriculture. Mozambique’s most highly developed art forms are wood sculpture, for which the Makonde in northern Mozambique are particularly renowned, and dance. The middle and upper classes continue to be heavily influenced by the Portuguese colonial and linguistic heritage.

During the colonial era, Christian missionaries were active in Mozambique, and many foreign clergy remain in the country. According to the national census, about 40% of the population is Christian, at least 20% is Muslim, and the remainder adheres to traditional beliefs.


The official language of Mozambique is Portuguese, though many people in the tourism industry speak English.  Outside the urban areas, each region has its own Mozambican language.


The first people to inhabit Mozambique were the Bushmen. Between 200 a 300 AD, the Bantu, a group with different ethnic strains but with similar characteristics, migrated from the Great Lake to the North and pushed the local people into the poorer areas in the South. Towards the end of the VI century, the Swahili-Arabs established trading posts to trade for gold, copper and iron.

The Portuguese reached Mozambique in the 15th century.  From 1502 up until the middle of the 18th century Portuguese interests in Mozambique were controlled by the Portuguese India administration.  Right from the outset, the Portuguese built “feitorias”, or trading posts.  The division of Africa between the European powers, determined in the Berlin Conference of 1884/1885, obliged the Portuguese to maintain permanent occupation of the territories assigned to them.

Just as had happened with the other Portuguese colonies, Mozambique also rose up against Portuguese colonial rule. On the 25 September 1964, armed fighting broke out led by FRELIMO - The Mozambique Liberation Front - This party was a joint force of three movements that had organized themselves in exile.

The first leader of the movement was Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane and after his death on the 3rd of February 1969, Samora Moises Machel assumed leadership to become the first President of the Republic of Mozambique on the 25th of June 1975. In 1977, civil war broke out, between FRELIMO and RENAMO (National Resistance Party of Mozambique) and lasted for 15 years, until 1992, when a peace accord was finally signed by both parties.

Mozambique today is a democratic country holding its own elections as foreseen in the Constitution.The last elections ran smoothly in December 2004. Armando Emílio Guebuza, the Frelimo leader was elected President.

Travel Guide


The official currency is the Metical (MT), however US Dollars and South African Rand are more widely used for tourism. If you use Dollars or Rand in the markets or local shops, please ask about the exchange rate to be extended to you before you pay.


Mozambique has a subtropical climate. The dry season lasts from April to December, with temperatures between 77°F and 90°F. The rainy season lasts from January to March, with temperatures between 86°F to 90°F.
The beaches on both the Bazaruto and Quirimbas archipelagos can be breezy during the winter months of June to August.

Health Requirements

All travelers entering Mozambique, having previously visited a country where yellow fever is present, must present a valid certification of vaccination against yellow fever.  We recommend all travelers be vaccinated to avoid complications at the border.  Any passenger who cannot present such a certificate at the port of entry will be vaccinated at a cost of $50 US dollars or the equivalent in metical.  Additionally, all travelers entering Mozambique must carry their yellow vaccination book.  Please speak to your local travel clinic about any other vaccinations based on your personal health profile.

Visa Requirements

A passport with at least 6 months validity from your return date, three blank visa pages, and a visa are required for entry to Mozambique. Although a limited number of single-entry 30-day visas on arrival are issued at the airport at a cost of 50USD in cash, to avoid being denied entry if visas on arrival are not available, Africa Answers highly recommends all travelers obtain their visa in advance. Call the Embassy of Mozambique on (202) 293-7146 between the hours of 3-5 p.m. for visa application information.

Tipping & Porterage

Tipping is always appreciated. Africa Answers recommends a tip of around US$3 per guest per day which should be placed in the communal tipping box at your resort to be divided among all the staff. Porters usually receive about US$1 per bag.

Credit Cards

Major hotels and some banks accept credit cards, for a fee. Visa and MasterCard are accepted more widely than American Express.

Electrical Appliances

Mozambique uses 220v/240v at AC 50Hz. Wall sockets are round 3 pin. It is important to bring a 3 pin round and square adapter, as these are not available in Mozambique. For detailed information, images and links to purchase adaptors, please consult


You should only drink bottled water.


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