Before we came to Mozambique, we tried to make an itinerary that we could follow for our 3 weeks in this country. Mozambique is actually a very big country (it is just as long as the east-coast of the USA). The first stop was Maputo, and we decided to go all the way up to Vilanculos. In Vilanculos we wanted to spend the most time, as we heard that this is a beautiful place with lots of history.
Vilanculos is actually a smaller town among the coastline, it has very laid-back vibes and there aren’t so many tourists yet. Sadly though, because this place has everything for the perfect vacation for either families, couples or even backpackers. The fact that there aren’t so many tourists is due to the civil war that only ended in 1992. After the war, the country had to build everything up from scratch. Slowly the tourist industry is growing, and more and more people are discovering the raw beauty of Mozambique.
In Vilanculos you will notice some Arabic and Portuguese influences. In the 8th century, the Arabic traders arrived in Mozambique. The Arabic’s started to build their trading posts among the coastline of the country, and soon after there were mixed marriages with the Bantu’s (natives) and Arabics. This was the start of the Swahili language and culture in Mozambique.
Years later in 1498, the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, arrived in Mozambique while he was on his way to India. Vasco was the first man who called this country Mozambique, and he brought many Portuguese to the country. Mainly, because this was one of the biggest trading post from Portugal. The Portuguese were expanding, and started to take over the mainland as well. Of course, this didn’t happen peacefully. There was a war between the Arabics, Portuguese, and the natives. Eventually, the Portuguese “won”, and ruled the country until 1970. In this period, the natives were put under much pressure and the living conditions were very bad. This led to many protests and anti-colonial groups who tried to get their freedom back. Soon after, the war of independence started from 1964 until 1975, and Mozambique finally became independent. Not a very long period has passed, and another war started. This time it was a civil war that lasted until 1992. Luckily for the Mozambicans, tourists, and basically everybody, there is peace in the country now and hopefully it will stay like this.
Another reason why we wanted to visit Vilanculos, was because of the Bazaruto Archipelago. This archipelago consists out of 6 small bounty-island with the most beautiful sand banks. The pearly white beaches are greeted by the clear blue waters. Some of the smaller island have sand dunes, you can climb them, and enjoy a breath-taking view. It won’t be an easy climb, as the weather is usually quite hot and the reflection of the white sands doesn’t help in cooling down. But trust us, the view is definitely worth it.
The first four nights, we stayed at Casa Chibububo Lodge. We drove in our 2-wheeldrive through the village and ended up at a sort of hill. When we looked down, we could already see the beautiful lodge. It feels like a true oasis when arriving. We started to drive down the hill, which was a bit scary at the beginning as the road was quite steep, but our small Kia Picanto made it and we were welcomed by the amazingly sweet Karen (the manager). Karen showed us around, where to find the restaurant, swimming pool, and of course our lodge. The moment we arrived we felt at home immediately. The guys helped us with our bags and placed it in our lodge, while Karen took us to the bar area and arranged a local R&R welcoming drink for us. We had never tried an R&R (which is Raspberry and Rum), but we liked it very much!
Casa Chibububo offers two types of lodges: an 8-sleeper and a 22-sleeper. When renting a lodge, you will get the full lodge for yourself, so you don’t need to share anything with a stranger! We slept in the 8-sleeper and we had the most beautiful view ever. From the bedroom, we looked straight into the ocean. In our second vlog about our travels in Mozambique, we will guide you through the rooms. You can check the vlog here!
The sun started to set, and we started to get a little hungry. We decided to eat in the restaurant of Chibububo, and oh my!!! The food was amazing! We had never had such big prawns, with such a great taste! As many know, food plays an important part in our life. So when the food is this good, you can you imagine how happy we were.
The next day we had planned a day-trip to Magaruque island (one of the islands that belongs to the Bazaruto Archipelago). We went there by a Dhow (sailingboat) of Chibububo, and the chef went with us! So that made us even more excited because they told we were going to have a seafood lunch at the beach. After 1,5 hour sailing, we arrived at the island. We decided to first have a walk on the island and climb one of the sand dunes to enjoy the most beautiful view ever. After the walk, we were exhausted so we had a refreshing swim, while the chef was already grilling the delicious prawns.
After some time, the lunch was served and we were again so overwhelmed by the combination of spices, flavours and smells of the food… Besides the prawns, the chef also made king fish, which was really good too. It was the first time we tried King fish, and we absolutely loved it! Lunch time was over and it was time to snorkel in the clear blue waters.
Then suddenly, the weather changed and we got to experience a tropical storm! When it rains, it pours, they said.. and that’s definitely true! We sheltered under the tent and waited until at least the thunder went away, then we decided to sail back to the mainland.
The next day, the chef prepared really the most delicious food we have ever tried. No jokes. This meal was even better than perfection. We thought that his delicious prawns could not be surpassed, until we tried this… He made a seafood platter with crayfish, prawns, tuna, rice, fresh fries, and salad. We had a sneak peak in the kitchen, and we tried to take notes of his recipe because we have to try this once ourselves! When you are going to Vilanculos, please make sure to stay at Casa Chibububo and try this seafood platter yourself, you will be blown away!
What we loved so much about Casa Chibububo is that the staff really takes care of you. They check regularly if everything is fine and they will help you when you need something. Everybody knows exactly what to do in Vilanculos so that is also very helpful when you want to go into town. The lodges are so beautiful and spacious as well. This makes it so much easier to travel with for example families or with friends, everybody will have a place to sleep in the same lodge without stepping on each other’s toes. The location of the lodge is amazing too, you are really just in between the palm trees and the beach! What more can you wish for?
After 4 nights it was time to leave to our next destination in Vilanculos, which we will tell you all about in our following article. We will definitely miss everybody from Chibububo, and come back for sure!