To get to Vilanculos is a bit of a mission, especially if you miss the early morning buses, but still totally doable! The lady at reception told us it wasn’t possible until 4am the next morning. We weren’t taking no for an answer.
The most efficient way to get to Vilanculos, Tofo, or even Maputo is to take a chapa from Chomoio to Inchope (1hr, 80 mets) in time to catch the Intercape bus, which departs daily at 6:35am. The Intercape will cost over 1000 mets and is best to buy your ticket ahead of time.
Since we missed the Intercape, we took a chapa to Inchope, then walked towards Maputo (follow the sign) to either find a chapa or hitchhike. Half hour later, we were crammed in a chapa that was headed for Maputo. Be prepared for a long and bumpy ride. The roads are not in the greatest condition, filled with potholes. There are plenty of police checks along the way, which slowed down the journey. We all had to show ID and passports at a certain checkpoint, so keep that in mid as well. It took about 7 hours to get to Pambarra, which gave us plenty of time to make friends with locals on the bus. It was a highly entertaining ride!
To get to Vilanculos, ask the driver to drop you off at the Pambarra junction. From here, walk about 100 meters to another chapa (20 mets) that will take you to Vilanculos. It’s about a 10 min walk into town. Since it was already dark when we got there, we paid a local to drive us to Baobob Backpackers.
FYI: To get to Tofo, get off at Maxixe, take the ferry to Inhambane, and then another chapa.