My wife and I spent 4 enjoyable, relaxing and memorable nights here which perfectly rounded off our 3 week trip. When looking at spending time in the town of Vilanculos I was determined to go slightly off the beaten tourist path in search of a more immersive and authentic slice of East African beach life. Therefore I decided to forego the opportunity of staying at one of the more conventional resort type hotels located on North Beach and instead opted to rent Villa Cool which is a self catering beachfront property located within a local barrio on the less touristic South Beach side of town.
For my wife and I personally speaking, this in retrospect turned out to be a wonderful decision. Upon arrival we were met by the most gorgeous beachfront vista one can imagine with the shifting sands and tidal pools highlighting all the different shades and hues as the white sands intertwined with the crystal clear Indian Ocean.
This picture postcard image had a dash of colour added via the presence of the various moored local fishing dhows that were studded along the shoreline. The visual picture painted however only tells one side of the story. In reality the whole initial impression made was an overwhelming sensory overload but in the best possible way.
The sounds of kids playing, women singing, fisherman tending to their boats or hauling in their catch was only drowned out by the noise of donkeys baying, cockerels crowing and local teenagers blasting out Reggie and rap music from their improvised boom boxes. My wife and I looked aghast at each other before both breaking into toothy grins & fits of laughter… although it might not be for everyone; this was exactly what we had been hoping for.
If you can fall in love with a place at first sight then that’s what happened with us that afternoon. This glowing impression of the place was emphasized still further by our initial interaction with Nelson, the onsite manager of the property. We had been under the impression the villa was self catering. (Which to a degree it is)
However it is really more of a home that comes complete with your own personal project manager aka Nelson. He is in charge of running the adjacent kite surfing school but he made it very clear from the beginning that when guests are staying at the Villa then they are his priority above all else. He took pride in being there, holding down a responsible job within the community and excelled in facilitating the enjoyment of our stay by any means necessary
We found Nelson to be a charming, responsible, professional and personable young man who is not only a credit to himself but a valuable and important asset to the Villa Cool/VilanCool set up. During our stay he assisted us in such ways as accompanying us to the market to barter for food/drink supplies, arranged numerous taxis/tuk-tuk, dinner reservations, served us cold drinks ad hoc on the beach, gave us a SUP lesson, took us to paradise dunes for a sunset dhow cruise in celebration of our 10 year wedding anniversary… I could go on... Nothing was too much trouble for him or indeed for any of his accompanying staff members.
I mean even when I commented that my bad back was bothering me due to us having to lie out directly on the sand, he disappeared then reappeared armed with a mattress for me to lay down on. Simply put the man is a star.
The accommodation itself is also wonderful. It stands as a split level, thatched roofed, rustic but comfortable villa. The downstairs area is self contained and houses a kitchen, bathroom and sitting area opening out onto a lovely covered deck fronting the beach.
Upstairs, accessed via 2 flights of wooden stairs, lies your en suite bedroom which is spacious, airy and wonderfully romantic. I have travelled extensively over the years but I struggle to remember enjoying a better view than the one which presents to you from your bed here at Villa Cool as it looks out to the beach, to the ocean and to the distant paradise islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago.
This view only becomes more impressive if you step out of the room, onto the upper deck where you can sit in the shade and relax with a good book and cool, perfectly mixed G&T or catch an afternoon siesta by lying in the all enveloping and super comfortable hammock.
All in all we both had an absolutely wonderful time here and for any travelers who are more inclined to shun the often sterile resort hotel offerings in favour of going slightly ‘off piste’ in search of a more authentic and engaging experience; one where you can immerse yourself more fully into the local way of living and culture then I can only highly recommend this property… We’ll be back!
We had a fantastic and relaxing experience at Villa Cool. The location is ideal - situated right on a beautiful beach with stunning views. The hosts and assistance were responsive and friendly - we felt at home. We were a group of 3 USA backpackers in our late 20s/early 30s.
A stunning villa right on the coast with breathtaking views of the archipelago.
After thinking we are going on a self catering holiday we were pleasantly surprised to have brilliant 24/7 service. Nelson was incredible helping us navigate around markets and shops in Vilanculos and daily finding us the freshest fish for a reasonable price.
Nelson, Antonio and Zachariah helped us to prepare and barbeque these local delicacies. Also they would cook you anything you desired along with keeping the villa clean every day.
Villa Cool has a great location as you get privacy but you are not completely secluded. That part of Vilanculos is not touristy and you get a great feel of the local lifestyle and culture.
We had a fantastic day with Edmundo on Sunset Dhow Safari. Jeff organised a trip out to see the beautiful Bazaruto Archipelago. We snorkeled amongst tropical fish in the coral reefs in the Bazuruto National Park and stopped on Bazaruto Island where Sunset Dhow safari prepared a delicious lunch of fresh seafood. I would strongly recommend this trip! This excursion cost 3500 MZN pp.
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