Is Vilanculos Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On February 15, 2024
Vilanculos, Mozambique
Safety Index:
32
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Vilanculos, Mozambique is well known for its stunning beaches and turquoise waters.

Mozambique borders the Indian Ocean, and Vilanculos is located on a bay.

You can enjoy shallow, calm waters and pristine beaches.

You’ll find a thriving town with paved roads, and plenty of accommodations, including hotels and resorts.

It’s a popular tourist destination, but is it safe to travel to Vilanculos, Mozambique?

Warnings & Dangers in Vilanculos

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: HIGH

Vilanculos, Mozambique has a high overall risk for a few reasons. The U.S. Department of State gives Mozambique a travel advisory of 2, which means you should exercise increased caution. Mozambique has a poor health infrastructure with only 3 doctors for every 100,000 people. There's also a high rate of HIV/AIDS in the country. Terrorism is a concern as well. Violent crime and robberies are very common in Mozambique, including Vilanculos.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM

There are a few reasons to be concerned about public transportation in Vilanculos, Mozambique. Vehicles and roads are often poorly maintained, which can make riding risky. Vilanculos is popular with tourists, so roads and transportation are likely safer than in many areas of the country, but it's not as safe as it is in the U.S. Overcrowding and unreliable schedules are also concerns. Theft and pickpocketing do occur. Given the crowded and confining nature of public transportation, it's a perfect place for pickpockets. If you are concerned about public transportation in the area, you can hire transportation through your hotel or a travel agency.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH

The risk of pickpocketing in Vilanculos, and Mozambique in general, is high. The main reason for this is that the population is very poor. In fact, it's rated 181 out of 189 countries in terms of poverty.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: HIGH

Mozambique is at a very high risk of natural disasters. In fact, it has the third highest risk of all countries in Africa. 25% of the population is at risk of natural disasters. In the last 35 years, Mozambique has experienced 25 floods, 14 cyclones, and 13 droughts. Since Vilanculos is on the coast, the area is at risk of flooding and cyclones. Epidemics are also a concern in the country, with 23 occurring in the last three decades. In addition to the disasters themselves, Mozambique has very little infrastructure. When a disaster does occur, relief is difficult to get. Another natural concern in Vilanculos is malaria. It's common throughout Mozambique. Africa accounts for 94% of all cases of malaria, and it can be fatal. Young children are at the highest risk. Before traveling to Vilanculos, your doctor can prescribe you anti-malaria medication to prevent malaria.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: HIGH

Vilanculos has a lower risk than some African countries, but the risk of mugging and other violent crimes is still high. Crimes range from purse snatching to armed robbery and mugging.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM

Technically, Mozambique does have a high terrorism risk. However, the area with the highest risk is Cabo Delgado. While there's still a risk of terrorism in Vilanculos, the risk in this area is considered medium rather than high. In addition to terrorist groups that carry out attacks, there's a risk of civil unrest, particularly when elections are coming up.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: HIGH

There's a high risk of scams in Vilanculos, Mozambique. This is mostly due to the poverty of the country and the limited infrastructure. You may be asked to pay bribes, and you may be overcharged for goods and services. You should also keep a close eye on your change when paying for items.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: HIGH

Vilanculos poses a high risk to women travelers due to the overall crime, health, and safety concerns. Women should be cautious in the country, and avoid traveling alone.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: MEDIUM

The tap water in developed areas like Vilanculos is generally considered safe to drink. It's a good idea to ask if the water has been chemically treated, boiled, or filtered before drinking it, however. If you are in an area where the locals don't drink from the tap, you shouldn't either. If you travel to rural areas of the country, do not drink untreated tap water. You should also use caution when getting drinks with ice. Ask if the ice has been treated properly. You can find bottled water, but it's considered a high-end item, which means it can be expensive.

Safest Places to Visit in Vilanculos

Vilanculos is relatively safe because it’s a tourist destination.

It’s best to stick to areas that tourists frequent, with resorts being a great option.

If you travel to more rural areas, you’ll need to be more cautious.

Places to Avoid in Vilanculos

You’ll want to avoid areas of Vilanculos that don’t typically get tourists.

Unpopulated areas may be risky.

It’s also important to use caution after dark and in very crowded locations.

You’ll also want to avoid some areas of Mozambique outside of Vilanculos, particularly Cabo Delgado.

It’s best to fly into Vilanculos to avoid more dangerous areas.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Vilanculos

  1. Avoid Displays of Wealth. Vilaculos is a poor area with nearly half of the population living below the poverty line. This makes crime, particularly theft, a big concern. If you are seen with expensive items, it can make you a target for thieves. It may also be considered rude to openly display your wealth when so many people in the area are poor. It’s a great idea to avoid displaying any valuable items unnecessarily. This includes jewelry, handbags, cell phones, and cash.
  2. Keep Your Doors Locked. Criminals in Mozambique will sometimes snatch items, or even people, from vehicles. Even when your vehicle is moving, you should keep the doors locked and the windows up. This keeps you from being a potential target of this type of attack. This also applies to your accommodation. Keep the door of your hotel room or resort locked at all times. Resorts are generally safe, but there have been at least two attacks at tourist resorts. If your doors are locked, a criminal will likely move on to the next target.
  3. Guard Your Valuables. It’s best to leave your valuables at home. Of course, there are items that you won’t want to do without, including your cell phone and sentimental jewelry like wedding rings. You’ll want to keep a close eye on any personal belongings you have, including your wallet, purse, and cell phone. Do not leave any items unattended. You should have everything on your person at all times. Place your wallet in your front pocket, and use a cross-body bag or a backpack to reduce the chances of petty theft.
  4. Keep Private Information Private but Accessible. When you are in Vilanculos, you’ll need your visa or passport at all times. Get a photocopy of all your identification just in case you lose your documents, but you’ll need to carry the original copy. Never give or show these documents to anyone who isn’t an official. If you have doubts, ask for their proof of identification before showing your information. Scammers will sometimes pretend to be officials so they can steal your passport or personal information.
  5. Don’t Go Out After Dark. If you are staying at a resort or hotel, it’s best to stay there after dark. Vilanculos becomes more dangerous as the sun goes down, as most areas do. If you are a woman or traveling alone, this is very important. Even if you are a part of a group, be cautious if you go out at night.
  6. Avoid Remote or Sparsely Populated Areas. One of the wonderful things about traveling to Mozambique is its uncrowded beaches. However, it’s better to avoid any areas that are very remote or have very few people. Generally, crime is more likely when there are few, or even no, witnesses.
  7. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings. You don’t need to be on edge, but you do need to keep an eye on what’s going on around you. If you see anything suspicious, leave the area. It’s also important to trust your instincts. If something feels off, it probably is.
  8. Have a Plan for Transportation. You have a few options for getting around. You can take public transport, which does have some risks. However, it’s the cheapest option for getting around. You can also hire a private car. You can do this through any reputable hotel or resort. The final option is to rent a vehicle. This gives you the freedom to explore without relying on anyone else.
  9. Food and Water Safety. Water in Vilanculos is usually safe to drink, particularly at a hotel or resort. However, use caution when you are out and about and thirsty. You should also be careful with the food you eat. Be sure that anything you eat has been properly cooked.
  10. Enroll in STEP. STEP stands for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. The program connects you with the local U.S. Embassy. You’ll receive alerts about any security risks or natural disasters, and it makes it easier for U.S. authorities to contact or locate you in an emergency.

So... How Safe Is Vilanculos Really?

Many residents and tourists claim that Vilanculos is a safe place to visit.

It’s certainly safer than many other countries in Africa, and even some areas of Mozambique.

However, the high poverty rate, natural disaster risk, and high crime rate mean that you should be cautious when visiting.

Since the U.S. Department of State calls for increased caution in Mozambique but doesn’t recommend avoiding visiting, the risk shouldn’t stop you from making the journey.

How Does Vilanculos Compare?

CitySafety Index
Vilanculos32
Maputo32
Bazaruto Archipelago62
Quirimbas Archipelago68
Pemba29
Inhambane45
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

You'll need a visa when visiting Vilanculos unless you are a resident of another African nation. You can get a visa before you leave, or when you arrive at the border. However, prices for visas can vary at the border.

Currency

Currency

The currency in Vilanculos is the Mozambique Metical. The Metical can only be used inside Mozambique and can't be exchanged for U.S. currency. Many places in Vilanculos will accept U.S. dollars and the South African Rand as well. Some places accept credit and debit cards, and traveler's checks can be converted into the Metical.

Weather

Weather

Vilanculos has a tropical climate that is warm or hot year-round. Winter occurs from May through October. It's drier and cooler this time of year. The rainy season begins in December and ends in April.

Airports

Airports

You can fly into the Vilankulo Airport from Johannesburg or Maputo. The airport doesn't have international flights, so you'll need a connecting flight from one of the larger airports.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

You'll need travel insurance before you travel to Vilanculos, particularly health insurance. Given the poor medical system, if you have a health crisis, you may need to be transported out of the country, which can be very expensive.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Vilanculos Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 28° C
Feb 28° C
Mar 27° C
Apr 25° C
May 22° C
Jun 21° C
Jul 20° C
Aug 21° C
Sep 23° C
Oct 25° C
Nov 26° C
Dec 27° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
313130292726252627282930
Low
°C
242423201716151619212223
High
°F
888886848179777981828486
Low
°F
757573686361596166707273

Mozambique - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Bazaruto Archipelago62
Inhambane45
Maputo32
Pemba29
Quirimbas Archipelago68
Vilanculos32

Where to Next?

Share Your Experience

Share
Facebook Pinterest