Vilankulo, Mozambique

For Christmas 2012, my Dad and I decided to road trip through Mozambique. Our first destination was Vilankulo, a 14 hour drive from the South African border crossing of Komatipoort, and the coastal town gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago.

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Vilankulo was the highlight of our 10 day Mozambique road trip. Compared to other towns it was less touristy, the weather was perfect with bright sunny days and cool breezes, and the locals were super friendly. A day trip out to Bazaruto Island and Benguerra Island is a must. With crystal turquoise water, soft white sand, and miles of sand dunes, beach and coral to explore, it is a spectacular trip. The snorkelling at 2 mile reef is ok. But, having grown up in the Whitsundays, I am a little hard to please when it comes to snorkelling spots now days. They have to be pretty amazing (full of schools of fish, turtles, large coral reef shelves and an abundance of marine life hiding in amongst the coral) to impress me.

Top of the sand dunes Bazaruto Island

Top of the sand dunes Bazaruto Island

Baobab Beach Backpackers is a little run down, but what it lacks in presentation, it makes up for in personality and atmosphere. Christmas Day the kitchen put on a roast dinner and our Mozam family gathered to feast on the usual Christmas delights, minus the usual family fun-filled squabbles or stress of presents. For Dinner later on, members of my new-found international family, bartered for some fresh calamari and reef fish, for a Christmas night Braai. So regardless of being thousands of kilometres from home, we still stuffed out selves silly for the day.

Christmas Dinner Braai preparation

Christmas Dinner Braai preparation

Located 3-4 houses up the road from the entrance to the Backpackers is a dress makers. For around $10 USD you can have a custom-made dress, top, skirt whipped up in a matter of hours. Head down to the market in town where there is a decent selection of cheap local fabric to choose from, before heading back out to the dress makers to get measured for your outfit. While making alterations to my finalised dress we were invited to join in with the families Christmas celebrations.

Christmas celebrations with the dress makers family

Christmas celebrations with the dress makers family

The friendliness of the people in Vilankulo is what made this place so special. No where else in Mozambique were we able to interact and hang out with the locals in such a relaxed way. In Vilankulo it wasn’t all about trying to make a buck off the tourists, instead trying to overcome language barriers to learn a little about each other’s way of life and enjoy a few laughs, while relaxing in tropical paradise.

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