Diving here is rewarding, and it's possible year-round. The best months are April to September and the worst are December and January, although conditions can vary markedly within these periods. The main sites are well offshore around the Bazaruto Archipelago (about a 45-minute boat ride away).
Several outfits offer day or overnight dhow safaris around the Bazaruto Archipelago. Besides the recommended Sailaway, Marimba Secret Gardens also organises good day trips to Bazaruto (from US$60 per person) as well as to lovely Santa Carolina Island (from US$70 per person) – all including park fees, lunch and snorkelling equipment. There is officially no camping on the islands in the park; operators running overnight tours camp along the mainland coast.
There are also many independent dhow operators in Vilankulo. If you go with a freelancer, remember that while some are reliable, others may quote tempting prices, and then ask you to ‘renegotiate’ things once you’re well away from shore. Check with the tourist information office or with your hotel for recommendations and don’t pay until you’re safely back on land. For non-motorised dhows, allow plenty of extra time to account for wind and water conditions; it can take two to three hours (sometimes longer) under sail from Vilankulo to Magaruque, and much longer to the other islands. For motorised dhows, plan on about five hours' return travel time between Vilankulo and Bazaruto.
It's possible to ride along a beautiful, white-sand beach, and wade in turquoise waters off Vilankulo, all on the back of a horse.
Vilankulo's smooth, flat sand, waist-deep water and favourable winds from August or September to December make it a wonderful place for kite surfing.