Travel Guide to Vilanculos

This updated travel guide to Vilanculos in Mozambique contains all the important information that you need to plan your dream holiday.  If you are wondering how to travel to Vilanculos on the edge of the spectacular Bazaruto Archipelago, then keep on reading. We tell you how to get there, what to do and where to stay, and we share our best hotel deals and packages for upmarket beach resorts. 

Welcome to the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago. Vilanculos is one of those vibrant tourist hotspots that every traveller to Mozambique should add to their bucket list number one position. Find it perfectly located between miles of pearly white beaches, a port with an airport and a wide range of accommodations in hotels, beach resorts, rustic cabins, luxury villas and self-catering houses too. 

Mozambique Travel customises special Vilanculos honeymoon packages full of treats for the lucky couple, great rates for families in capacious family villas and suites, or affordable tours for solo travellers who want to meet others in a luxury hotel setting. 

Vilanculos is a popular destination loved for its dazzling ocean views, renowned kite surfing schools, scuba diving adventures to the Bazaruto Archipelago, peaceful stand-up paddle boarding sessions and snorkelling in clear blue depths. Thankfully this trending Mozambican holiday destination has also retained its sense of timelessness, and you can still take pleasure in viewing local fishermen in traditional dhows traversing the coastline as they have done for centuries. Stroll along the tranquil and tropical beaches and you will discover quaint traditional villages fringed with coconut palms and cashew nut trees.

Flawless views across the bay to the Bazaruto Islands entice visitors to combine a Vilanculos beach break with an island-hopping adventure to Benguerra, Bazaruto and Magaruque islands. Lavish villa accommodation takes your breath away in settings made for royalty – palm-roofed private villas on white beaches with private plunge pools and large sunny decks, huge infinity swimming pools and five-star restaurants, pampering spa treatments, gyms and horse riding into the huge dunes and wetlands where crocs lie sunbathing.

Accommodation in Vilanculos

For something completely decadent, check into the captivating Villa Santorini, a true reflection of stark white and blue Greek architecture harbouring lavish amenities against a lush green backdrop of Vilanculos indigenous trees. If you love luxury, you will love the elevated deck, five private villas centralised around a lounge and dining area and many nooks and crannies in which to chill. Pop into the serene Spa na Colina for pampering treatments under the trees and revel in thrilling island-hopping boat safaris, adrenaline-pumping deep-sea fishing trip and dreamy dhow sailing at sunset!

Mozambique travel can offer you a diverse range of ideal beach accommodation in Vilanculos to suit your special budget, needs and tastes -camping, backpacking and self-catering, to off-the-grid eco-lodges, entertaining family resorts and luxurious hotels. For the ultimate spoil in an eco-conscious boutique hotel head for the picturesque Bahia Mar with its stylish choice of deluxe garden, beach suites, sea view or private suites to choose from. Feel welcomed in the state-of-the-art wellness centre and gym where you can select personalised retreats for mind and body wellness.

What to do in Vilanculos

  • Dive and snorkel the Bazaruto Archipelago – explore Mozambique’s only official marine reserve, declared a national park in 1971 for untouched coral reefs and thousands of colourful tropical fish, docile whale sharks, giant lobsters, charismatic humpback whales, turtles, and dolphins.
  • Climb the dunes on Magaruque Island – visit the third largest island in the Archipelago, and climb the main huge dune for unforgettable views of the bay. 
  • Ride horses on the beach – beginners and experienced riders will love the outing on a pristine beach and swim in the ocean with your horse.
  • Sunset Dhow Safari – sip cocktails or Mozambican beers on a traditional fishing boat with cloth sails as the sun sinks crimson into the horizon. Bliss.
  • Kite Surfing – kite surfing paradise with many kite surfing schools dotted along the shores so set off into the winds or have a few lessons. 
  • Deep sea fishing – fish for big game fish on fishing boats far out to sea around the reefs in the Bazaruto Archipelago – baitfish attract an astonishing diversity of migrating pelagic fish, all year round. 
  • Picnic on the beach and whale watching – pack fresh tropical fruits, cashews, Portuguese bread and fish for a private picnic on long white beaches. Watch visiting humpback whales breach and tail break while you munch.
  • Window shop at the local market – wander around the vibey local market and meet the Mozambican culture at its best. Buy fresh produce or a colourful capolana cloth.

Getting to Vilanculos

Flights from Johannesburg and Maputo land daily at Vilanculos airport. Remember tourist visas are available to all nationalities on arrival. 

Flight schedules to Vilanculos Mozambique 2023:

Air Mozambique (LAM)

Fare: R3100 pp return
Approx Taxes: R5700pp

Johannesburg to Vilanculos Direct: TM332

Day of the week Depart Johannesburg Arrive Vilanculos
Monday 11h20 13h15
Friday 11h20 13h15
Sunday 11h20 13h15

Vilanculos to Johannesburg Direct: TM333

Day of the week Depart Vilanculos Arrive Johannesburg
Monday 14h15 16h10
Friday 14h15 16h10
Sunday 14h15 16h10

Johannesburg to Vilanculos via Maputo: TM312

Day of the week Depart Johannesburg Arrive Vilanculos
Monday 08h50 13h30
Wednesday 08h50 13h30
Thursday 08h50 13h30
Friday 08h50 13h30
Sunday 08h50 13h30

Vilanculos to Johannesburg via Maputo: TM315

Day of the week Depart Vilanculos Arrive Johannesburg
Monday 14h00 18h45
Wednesday 14h00 18h45
Thursday 14h00 18h45
Friday 14h00 18h45
Sunday 14h00 18h45


Fare: R3800 pp return
Approx Taxes: R5700pp

Johannesburg to Vilanculos Direct: 4Z260

Day of the week Depart Johannesburg Arrive Vilanculos
Monday 11h35 13h05
Tuesday 11h35 13h05
Wednesday 11h35 13h05
Thursday 11h35 13h05
Friday 11h35 13h05
Saturday 11h35 13h05
Sunday 11h35 13h05

Vilanculos to Johannesburg Direct: 4Z263 / 4Z261

Day of the week Depart Vilanculos Arrive Johannesburg
Monday 13h30 / 13h45 15h15 / 15h30
Tuesday 13h45 15h30
Wednesday 13h30 / 13h45 15h15 / 15h30
Thursday 13h45 15h30
Friday 13h30 / 13h45 15h15 / 15h30
Saturday 13h45 15h30
Sunday 13h45 15h30

Self-drive: Travel by road on good tar surfaces from South Africa’s Komatipoort border. Your self-drive adventure turns left towards Vilankulo onto the N1 just before reaching Maputo on the EN4.  Vilanculos is some 730 km from Maputo so it’s a long drive if you are coming from South Africa (1350km). It’s a good idea to overnight in Bilene or Xai Xai to break up the drive and we have some great overnight options available

Contact one of our consultants to organise your Vilankulos holiday package today. And of course, we book flights and transfers.