Mozambique Horse Safaris riding holiday in Mozambique - Far and Ride
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Mozambique Horse Safaris, Mozambique


• Idyllic Adventure



An excellent holiday in every way; the accommodation far exceeded my expectations and the food was very good. We enjoyed canters on the beach and I was very happy with my horse.

Malcolm T. (November 2014)
Wonderful! Knowledgeable attentive hosts, excellent horses, fabulous scenery, superb accommodation, delicious food. Variety of things to do other than ride if you wanted to, very flexible.

Frances H.


Type of horses:

Thoroughbred Crosses, Arabs, South African Boerperds and bush ponies.

Nature of horses:

Well schooled, responsive and fit.

Height of horses:

14.2 - 16hh

Weight limit:


Tack type:

Australian Stock and McClellan saddles are used. If English saddles are preferred by the guests then these can also be provided.


Travel Advice

Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.

Ride Description

This beautiful destination in Mozambique offers what is arguably the best beach riding in the world. Their day rides run along the stunning Vilanculos coast and on Benguerra Island, part of the Bazaruto Archipelago. Your hosts here, Pat and Mandy Retzlaff, specialise in custom-made riding holidays which introduce visitors to the beaches, magnificent cliff top views and the turquoise seas of this Mozambican paradise. The horses, a combination of Thoroughbreds, Arabs and South African Boerperds, are their greatest and most treasured assets and are well taken care of. A number of the horses were rescued from war-torn Zimbabwe and your hosts are happy to talk to you about their epic journey.

The stunning town of Vilankulo is world renowned for its variety of white sand beaches, alluring golden sunsets and tall palm trees. The beaches stretch for tens of kilometres allowing riders plenty of opportunities for exhilarating canters and long trots. There are extraordinary views over the Bazaruto Archipelago, red sand dunes to explore and a fascinating fishing village where the local chief will welcome you in the traditional style. Vilankulo also has many interesting markets and there remains a visible Portuguese influence in the restaurants and culture, a result of its past inclusion in the Portuguese Empire.

As well as all this, visitors have the opportunity to travel to Benguerra Island which was declared a National Park in 1971. Guests can ride on different horses also owned by the hosts, travelling through forests and savannahs, around freshwater lakes and past wetland eco-systems. The island is home to around 140 species of bird and fresh water crocodiles and flamingos can be found in the three lakes. The island is also known for its remarkable dive sites.

After a wonderful day's riding there is nothing better than returning somewhere lovely to relax, to enjoy an exotic cocktail and to eat a delicious meal before watching the sunset from the beach. Accommodation for these holidays is in a lodge located on the beach and it features eighteen chalets and an excellent restaurant and bar. This is the finishing touch to these breathtaking holidays, a little slice of paradise for the horse loving traveller.

This ride is not only a glorious holiday in it's own right, but a fabulous extension to another riding holiday. After the adrenaline of a safari in Botswana or South Africa, or a trail ride in Namibia, what better way to relax than on these glorious beaches, with stunning riding as well as a more laid-back holiday feel.

READ ABOUT IT!: In 2013 the owner of Mozambique Horse Safaris, Mandy Retzlaff, published her book 'One Hundred and Four Horses'. It tells the true story of how Mandy and Pat moved to Mozambique, rescuing horses from the Zimbabwe land invasions as they went. An incredibly moving story and a great read for horse lovers! Available to purchase online. We recommend reading before you travel so you will recognise some of the horse characters when you get there.

See Programmes.


Food & Accommodation

Accommodation is usually at Vila de Sonhos on the outskirts of Vilankulo.

Vila de Sonhos has impressive rooms with en-suite bathrooms and wide open balconies overlooking the turquoise sea. There is private access to the beach through the gardens and a swimming pool. All guests have their own room within the villa and you are not expected to share with a stranger. Each villa has it's own chef so breakfast will be served on the verandah.

It is within easy walking distance of the stables and just a short ride from the town centre.

If this resort is full then you will be accommodated in similar resorts in the area.

The lodge restaurant serves delicious food and there is also the chance for some real culinary treats during the rides - Peri-Peri chicken, Matapa (a traditional Mozambican dish made from cassava leaves, nuts and coconut milk), seafood lunches and a refreshing coconut drink. You will also be shown how to eat fresh crab and can of course enjoy the exotic cocktails from the bar in the evenings.



Horse Riding on Bazaruto Island:

As an optional activity (at an extra cost), guests have the chance to ride on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Bazaruto Island is the largest island in the archipelago and has white sand beaches, large sand dunes and freshwater lakes surrounded by the translucent blue of the Indian Ocean.

Scuba Diving and Snorkelling:

The waters around the Bazaruto Archipelago are one of the largest marine conservation areas in the Indian Ocean. The coral reefs and clear waters offer some of the best diving in the world. With sites at a depth of 12m to 30m and visibility up to 40m, you will discover protected reefs teeming with dolphin, humpback whales, whale sharks, sharks, manta and spotted eagle rays and turtles. The endangered dugong, of which only a very small number still exist, swim in the shallow crystal waters that are also home to abundant starfish, soft and hard corals, anemones, seahorses and a dazzling array of beautiful tropical fish.

Dhow Trips:

Experience the wonder of a traditional sailing dhow gliding through the Bazaruto Archipelago. The islands of Benguerra, Bazaruto, Magaruque and Santa Carolina are complete with azure waters, sandy beaches, palm trees and pristine coral reefs.

Portuguese Lessons:

For those who choose to volunteer at this destination on one of the schemes, the hosts can arrange intensive one-to-one Portuguese lessons.


Vilankulo is renowned for its excellent game fishing.


During the windy season you can kiteboard and windsurf in Vilankulo, the conditions are perfect due to the shallow water and flat waves.

Canoeing: paddle with a guide down the Govuro river to discover the unspoilt riverine and incredible birdlife.


Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: Fit & Healthy

Age limit: None within reason

Tuition: Tuition is available at their riding school for an additional cost or through an arranged tuition programme.

Included: Vilankulo airport pick up and drop off, horse riding, accommodation, meals, motorised dhow, transfers, concession fees and Mozambique Government VAT. In the hotel room you will be provided with a fruit bowl, gift pack and water and cool drinks in the fridge. For 2019 all local drinks are included (soft drinks, house wine, spirits and beers).

Not included: Flights, personal travel insurance, visas, alcoholic drinks and drinks bought from the restaurant or bar (included for 2019), personal spending money and any extra excursions or activities.


Travel Information

Visitors from Europe will usually find that the most affordable flights are from Paris or Lisbon into Maputo. From here you can take a direct flight from Maputo to Vilanculos where your hosts can meet you. Alternatively, guests can take a luxury bus which runs between Johannesburg, Maputo and Vilanculos twice a week and you can be picked up from the bus drop off point in Vilanculos.

There are also regular flights into Vilanculos from Johannesburg, particularly useful if you are adding this ride as an extension to your riding safari in South Africa/Botswana/Namibia. There are also less frequent flights from Nelspruit (Kruger Park) to Vilankulo with SA Airlink.

The included airport pick ups are from and to Vilankulo.

Airport: Maputo International (Lourenço Marques)

Alternative Airport: Vilankulo Airport



Idyllic Adventure

This is a heavenly eight day itinerary which combines some of the world's best beach riding with trips through sand dunes, a fishing village and the beautiful scenery. Accommodation is in a beach resort which serves delicious food and exotic cocktails, the horses are beautifully schooled and loved and the riding is simply spectacular. This is a little trip into paradise where you can learn how to eat fresh crab, can ride on a tropical island and can swim with your horse in the turquoise waters. There are also activities besides horse riding to enjoy.

This itinerary can also be offered as a shortened 4 night itinerary, but still including the trip to Benguerra Island.

Day 1: Introduction Day (2 hours riding)

You will be met at Vilankulo Airport by Pat or Mandy, your hosts and guides for the week, and after a short transfer you will settle in to your accommodation at Archipelago Resort. In the afternoon you will meet the horses and riding staff and will be presented with horses to try in the riding school. Once you have been matched to a suitable horse, you will enjoy an introductory beach ride giving you a chance to become familiar with the horses and tack. This is a slower, relaxing ride which incorporates the different eco-systems of the archipelago - wide open beaches, cliff top views, untouched dune bush and the mangrove shoreline. In the evening you will be served a fresh seafood dinner under the stars and overlooking the sea. 

Day 2: The Great Lakes (4 hours)

The ride today is inland, following trails which wind between African villages and past the natural fresh water lakes. The birdlife here is wonderful and riders have a good chance of seeing eagles, herons, harriers, rollers, pelicans and kingfishers. You will canter along the bush paths, crossing farmlands and passing by the old ruins of Portuguese homesteads. The riding route brings you onto the beach for the final stretch and you will ride by Chibuene, a key trading post dating back as far as the 7th century. This was used to connect the southern African interior and the Indian Ocean. The ancient dune is now covered in Baobab trees planted centuries ago for their vitamin rich fruit, creme of tartar. Tonight you can relax with a quiet drink by a bonfire and watch as the stars light up the African sky. Dinner will be a mouthwatering Mozambican BBQ. 

Day 3: Casa Rex Breakfast Ride and Market Tour (1.5 hours riding)

An early morning ride is scheduled for today and you will follow the beach northwards, passing through the outskirts of town into a wide open bay, home to a myriad of colourful dhows. The ride continues on through the bay and you will canter along the beach, observing as the local fishermen make their way home. The morning ride ends with a delicious buffet breakfast at Casa Rex, Vilankulo's most exclusive resort. After breakfast you will meet a local guide to explore the bustling and vibrant city market - the colourful displays and clamour of noise gives guests an insight into the lives of the local community. Once your tour of the market is over then you will head back to your resort where you can siesta through the peak heat of the day or can simply relax by the pool. 

If you prefer then this day can be a free day to enjoy world renowned activities in Vilankulo such as scuba diving, snorkelling, dhow safari, whale watching, kayaking and deep sea fishing (activities at an additional cost). Lunch and dinner will be provided in the resort. 

Day 4: Benguerra Island Rides (3 - 4 hours riding, depending on tide)

Today requires an early start - from town you will travel by motorised dhow across the Bazaruto National Park to Benguerra Island where a wonderful day awaits you. A packed breakfast is served on board whilst you admire the sea views and keep watch for dolphins, turtles and rays. Benguerra Island is comprised of massive sand dunes, freshwater lakes and beautiful white sand beaches, all of which combine to create a breathtaking riding area. With a varied eco-system the island is home to an exceptional variety of birdlife and riders often see large flocks of flamingo. After the ride there is a mouth-watering seafood lunch prepared by the boat captain and then you will be guided by sail to Margaruque. Mask, fins and snorkel are provided and you are encouraged to take part in some of the world's finest drift snorkelling along a vertical rock drop off. For those not keen on the water you can simply relax and take a long walk on the impressive beach. The return to Vilankulo is a chance to admire sun set over the ocean before you return to land and eat dinner at a lovely restaurant. This unique day cannot be captured in pictures or by words, it is simply magical.

Day 5: Enrique's Fishing Village Ride (2 hours riding & 2 hours lunch/village)

This morning you can take your time, eating a relaxed breakfast and maybe enjoying a morning swim before the ride starts at 11.30am. This beautiful ride takes you through coconut plantations along the beach to Enrique's Fishing Village. Here you will be entertained by the local chief in true Mozambican style, sitting at the table to sample some traditional foods. You will start with a refreshing coconut drink and are then shown how to eat fresh crab and taste Matapa, a traditional dish made from cassava leaves, nuts and coconut milk. After this wonderful lunch you will continue your ride through the village and towards the 'Fingerprint of God', an incredible viewpoint overlooking the archipelago. This day ride is a superb way to experience traditional African culture. In the evening you will be driven into town for dinner at one of the many restaurants. 

Day 6: Bush and Beach Ride (4 - 5 hours riding)

A hearty breakfast will be served at the restaurant before you saddle up for today's ride, a favourite with many guests. The route runs along the old coastal main road which runs parallel to the beach before heading up and wading across a small river estuary. During the route you will pass through small rural villages where children often come to wave at the horses. As the population thins out there are long, safe canters through the coastal bush. After several hours riding you will follow a bush track through the woodlands which heads down to the beach. There are amazing views over the bay and the long, empty beaches offer the opportunity for dreamy canters along the coastline as you head back to the stables. After a long day in the saddle it's time for sundowners and a fine dinner at a local restaurant. 

Day 7: Red Dune Ride, North Beach (4 hours riding)

After a delicious breakfast you will be driven over to the stables and will mount up for an exhilarating ride through the outskirts of town and along the deserted beaches to the Red Dunes on North Beach. There are plenty of chances for controlled canters on the beaches before you climb the giant coastal dunes... the incredible panoramic views of the white sandbars and turquoise seas below are a special highlight of this holiday and not easily forgotten. Lunch is services at a beachside restaurant overflowing with seafood specialities. After lunch you will stop at a local arts and crafts centre which supports the local community - there is plenty of time to look around and pick up some souvenirs for friends and family back home. In the late afternoon you can relax by the pool or perhaps take a walk on the beach. Dinner tonight will be served in tranquil settings as the groups toasts to your last night. 

Day 8: Farewell Ride & Swim

After a final relaxed breakfast you can take a short morning farewell ride up the coastline. The views over the bay and the long stretches of unspoilt beach will be a memory to last a lifetime. Your safari will be finished off with their world renowned swim - to see horses wallowing and rolling in the sea is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a magical experience. Riders are often completely mesmerised by the grace, power and movement of the animals in the water - don't forget your camera! Time for one final lunch before bidding farewell to new friends and preparing for departure. 

If the tide is due to be out on your final morning then the swim will take place on another day. 

NB. Please note this itinerary may change depending on the tides and weather conditions in the Bazaruto Archipelago. The ride order might be changed. 

Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: All levels can be catered for.
Type of ride: Based
Total riding time: 2-6 hours per day
Departure dates: All year round - arrive any day.
Pricing: 2021:
8 days/7 nights: 3116 per person.
Sole rider supplement: 416
Accompanying non-rider: please enquire

5 days/4 nights: 2078 per person.
Sole rider supplement: 416
Accompanying non-rider: please enquire

Different length stays are possible - please enquire.

Discounts also available for children under 15 years of age travelling with at least one adult - please enquire.

Group discounts also available - please enquire.

Price Includes: Horse riding, accommodation, meals, all local drinks (soft drinks, spirits, beers and house wines), transfers, airport pick up and drop off, motorised dhow trip to Benguerra Island, laundry, one massage, national park fees and Mozambique Government VAT. In the hotel room, a complementary fruit bowl and gift pack are provided, as well as the fridge being stocked with water and cool drinks.

Not included: Flights, personal travel insurance, visas, any personal spending money and any extra excursions or activities not included in the itinerary.

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.