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Vilanculos, Mozambique - The backpacker destination

By Josh Hill

Posted: 23rd April 2015 15:03

Residing 720km north of Maputo is one of southern Africa’s up and coming backpacker destinations. Over the past ten years, Vilanculos has invested a great deal into developing its tourism infrastructure and now the word has spread, travellers are flocking in their numbers to sample a taste of the laid back Mozambican lifestyle.  Vilankulo Town is a place where watches come to die; visitors can be found liberating their wrists and abandoning all of the time related worries that are synonymous with the western world because this is a town that doesn’t abide by a schedule. Vilanculos is a place where it’s acceptable to slow down, drift through the days and effectively achieve nothing. 

We understand however, for people coming from big cities it can be hard to switch from a constant activity to a state of total inertia, which is why it’s lucky that Vilanculos is full of attractions to keep the tourists busy. Anyone who is heading to Vilanculos will undoubtedly be planning to tour the Bazaruto Archipelago. Consisting of five idyllic islands, this area, which has now been appointed a national park, is one of the most beautiful spots in the entire continent. Most people choose to set out on a Dhow Safari to explore the islands; these tours are cheaper than staying on the islands and often include meals and snorkelling opportunities. The coral reefs and clear waters offer some of the best diving in the world and are brimming with interesting marine life. As well as observing dolphins, sharks and whales, some divers will even be lucky enough to witness the endangered dugong; a large marine mammal, similar to a manatee, which resides in this area of the Western Indian ocean.  

For those who care to remain on dry land, the town’s bar and restaurant scene is flourishing, meaning there will be no shortage of opportunities for guests to grab a drink or a bowl of traditional Mozambican matapa; a local dish prepared with young cassava leaves, garlic and either crab or shrimp. After dinner, if you aren’t ready to return to your dorm or take to one of Vilanculos many delightful beaches, then trawl through the daily fisherman’s market or the Mukoke market and immerse yourself in the vibrant, local culture.  

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