- Turquoise lagoons, white sands and fishing dhows
- Fresh seafood and delicious local meals
- Go swimming with your horse and canter down beaches and through sand dunes
- Numerous non-riding activities also possible (may be extra cost): scuba diving, snorkelling, sea kayaking, fishing, dugout canoe.
Day 1 1 : EUROPE - JOHANNESBURGDepart from Europe on an overnight flight to Johannesburg. These flights are not included but we can book them for you on request.
If booking your own flight then you need to depart London at c. 19:00 so that you arrive in Johannesburg at c. 07:00 in time for your flight to Vilanculos which will depart Johannesburg at around c. 11 to 11:30 am. Arrival in Vilanculos is on Day 2.
Day 2 2 : JOHANNESBURG - VILANCULOS - 2 hours ridingVila de SonhosOn arrival at Johannesburg airport you will need to connect onto your onward flight to Vilanculos. Again we can book this flight for you on request.
You are met on arrival at Vilankulos airport by either Pat or Mandy Retzlaff, your hosts and guides for the week. After a short transfer from the airport, you will be settled into your accommodation for the week. Later in the afternoon you will have an opportunity to meet the horses and staff at the stables. You will be presented with a number of horses to try at the riding school. Once you feel comfortable, you will head out onto the beach for a slow and relaxing ride, allowing you to become familiar with your horse and the equipment. This ride incorporates all the wonderful eco-systems in the archipelago; wide open beaches, incredible cliff top views, pristine dune bush and mangrove shoreline. In the evening a fresh seafood dinner will be served under the stars overlooking the sea.
IMPORTANT: the following itinerary is just an example - the actual itinerary is flexible and will depend on your preferences.
Day 3 3 : VILANCULOS - 4 hours ridingVila de SonhosToday you ride inland on trails skirting African villages and vast natural freshwater lakes. The birdlife is fantastic and there is a good chance of seeing eagles, herons, harriers, rollers, pelicans and kingfishers. There should be opportunities to canter along bush paths through African farmlands and past the ruins of old Portuguese homesteads. Back on the beach for the final stretch, you will pass Chibuene - a key trading post from as far back as the 7th century that connected the southern African interior and the Indian Ocean. This ancient dune is covered in baobabs planted centuries before for their vitamin rich fruit - creme of tartar. In the evening, enjoy a quiet drink and watch the stars light up an African sky as you sit around a bonfire for a mouthwatering Mozambican BBQ.
Day 4 4 : VILANCULOS - 1-2 hours ridingVila de SonhosAn early morning ride follows the beach northwards passing through the outskirts of town into a wide open bay, home to a myriad of colorful dhows. The ride continues through the bay, cantering along the beach and watching local fisherman make their way home. The ride ends with a delicious buffet breakfast at Casa Rex. After breakfast, you are met by a local guide who will accompany you through the bustling and vibrant city market. The colourful displays and cacophony of noise give you an insight into the lives of the local people. Later make your way back to your resort where you can siesta through the afternoon heat or relax at the pool. Alternatively you could enjoy a free day scuba diving, kiteboarding or deep sea fishing at an additional cost. A delicious lunch and dinner will be provided at your resort.
Day 5 5 : BENGUERRA ISLAND - 3-4 hours ridingVila de SonhosDepending on tide times an early start from your hotel sees you on a motorized dhow to whisk you through the Bazaruto National Park to Benguerra Island. A packed breakfast is served on board while you take in the sea views and look for dolphins, turtles and rays. There are horses living on Benguerra Island and the landscape of massive sand dunes, freshwater lakes and white sandy beaches makes for a breathtaking ride. The varied eco system offers exceptional birding with large flocks of flamingo often seen. After your ride, a mouth-watering seafood lunch prepared by the boat captain will be served on board as you island hop by sail to Margaruque. Mask, fins and snorkels are provided and you are encouraged to enjoy some of the world’s finest drift snorkelling along a vertical rock drop off. Return to Vilanculos as the sun sets over the ocean for dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 6 6 : FISHING VILLAGE - 4 hours ridingVila de SonhosAfter a relaxing breakfast and morning swim the ride begins at 11.30 am. Todays ride takes you through coconut plantations and along the beach to Enrique's Fishing Village. The local chief entertains you in true Mozambican style, setting up a table with traditional food. Start off with a refreshing coconut drink before being shown how to eat fresh crab and taste Matapa, a traditional Mozambique dish made from cassava leaves, nuts and coconut milk. After lunch you continue riding through the village and head onto the "Fingerprint of God"; a magnificent viewpoint overlooking the archipelago. A wonderful day’s ride experiencing traditional African culture. In the evening you are driven into town to have dinner at one of the many restaurants.
Day 7 7 : BUSH AND BEACH - 5 hours ridingVila de SonhosAfter a hearty breakfast served at your hotel, set out on your ride following the old coastal main road running parallel to the beach before meandering up and wading across a small river estuary. Along the route you pass through small rural villages where young children will come to wave at the horses. As the local population thins out there are long safe canters through coastal bush. After several hours in the saddle, a bush track through woodlands leads you down on to the beach with amazing views over the bay. The long, deserted, sandy beaches offer a chance to experience dream-like canters on your way back to the stables. After a long day in the saddle, there is a chance for sundowners and a fine dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 8 8 : RED DUNES - 4 hours ridingVila de SonhosAfter another delicious breakfast you will be driven over to the stables to mount up and set off on an exhilarating ride through the outskirts of town and along deserted sand beaches to the Red Dunes on North Beach. There are ample opportunities for controlled canters on the wide open beaches before climbing the giant red coastal dunes. The panoramic views of the white sandbars and turquoise seas below are spectacular and one of the special highlights of this holiday. Lunch will be served at a gorgeous beachside restaurant overflowing with seafood specialties. After lunch you will stop at an arts and crafts centre that supports the local community. Relax by the pool in the late afternoon or take a stroll on the beach. Dinner will be served in tranquil settings as you savour and toast your final night.
Day 9 9 : VILANCULOS - JOHANNESBURG - 2 hours ridingAfter a relaxed breakfast take a short morning farewell ride up the coastline. The views over the bay and long stretches of unspoilt beach will be a memory that you never forget. You finish off your safari with the world renowned swim - to see horses wallowing and rolling in the sea is a once in a lifetime opportunity and truly magical experience. Time for one more lunch before you bid farewell to Vilanculos in preparation for your onward journey. Please note that if the tide is out on your final morning, you will do the swim on another day.
You will be transferred to Vilanculos airport in time for your flight to Johannesburg and connecting flight back home.
Day 10 10 : EUROPEArrival back in Europe.
Dates & prices
- The groups are composed of a minimum of 2 riders and a maximum of 8 riders.
- It is possible to guarantee the ride from one rider, with the payment of a single supplement of $575/£440/€490 (2020-2021), waived once more riders join. All guests have a private bedroom with their own en-suite bathroom unless they request to share. The single supplement is ONLY required if you will be riding on your preferred dates without any other horse riders in your group.
- The itinerary is flexible and you can do as much or as little riding as you like. Dates are flexible and you can arrive/depart on any day - the above dates are only a suggestion.
- Group discounts are available for 2+ guests booking together. In 2020/2021: If 2 riders in the group, one rider gets 10% discount, if 3 riders in the group; one gets 35% discount, if 4 – 6 riders in the group; one gets 75% discount, if 7 – 10 riders in the group; one person goes free
- This ride works perfectly as an extension to other rides in Southern Africa - shorter stays are possible.
- Non-riders are welcome.
- Weight Limit: 90 kg, 198.5 lbs. or 14.2 stone. Heavier riders please contact us.
SPECIAL CHILDREN DISCOUNT
Child/Children with Two Full Paying Adults - 40% discount for child/children 15 years old & below on the full price when booking with 2 full-paying adults. Maximum 3 children.
Child with One Full Paying Adult - 25% discount for child/children 15 years old & below on the full price when booking with one full-paying adults. Maximum 3 children.
Please note this discount cannot be applied together with another discount.
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.
All local drinks (soft drinks, spirits, beers and house wines)
Price doesn't include
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Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
Weight Limit: 90 kg, 198.5 lbs. or 14.2 stone. Heavier riders please contact us.
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
Each villa has a fully equipped kitchen and own personal chef, a comfortable lounge and dining room with all the modern conveniences. A pool is available and you will also enjoy private access to the beach.
Breakfast: fresh fruit, ceral or oats, eggs, bacon or tomatoes, Portuguese rolls or toasts.
Lunch and dinner are freshly cooked by your personal chef.
Vegetarians can be catered for with advance notice. There are limitations when it comes to vegan and gluten free diets as the safari is quite remote with limited access to special products.
- Wet season: from November to March, with hot temperatures (25-30°+ during the day). This is the hotter, wetter season, when brief but vigorous downpours before the sun starts shining again. It seldom rains enough to spoil the riding fun though.
Guide and local team
"One Hundred and Four Horses": The book "One Hundred and Four Horses" tells the story of Pat and Mandy Retzlaff and how they fled war-torn Zimbabwe with the horses they refused to leave behind. Eventually they reached Mozambique and set up home on the beautiful sandy beaches around Vilanculos. Some of the horses they rescued are still available for you to ride on our riding holidays in Mozambique.
- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable. You also have the option of buying protective shells to go under your hats (Ranch & Rider, Lexington Safety Products) or western hat helmets (Troxel).
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and dust
- Fleece, jumper or jacket - the evenings can be cold
- Waterproof jacket - the rains can be difficult to foresee in the wet season. and it's better to be prepared. Layering is key to cope with the fluctuations in temperature between day and night
- Casual clothes for the evening
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Shorts for lazy lunchtimes
- Bathing suit
- Casual clothes for the evening
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps as long chaps/long boots can get very hot.
- Sandals, flip-flops or trainers for moving around at night.
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding/
- Thermals are a good option for sleeping in in the colder months, or a t-shirt and shorts for warmer nights
Other useful items
- Water bottle (1.5 litre or two x 1 litre)
- Hand sanitiser
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Mask and tuba
In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag.
- Small penknife
In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat
- Sunscreen and lip balm - must be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Rehydration sachets (dioralyte or similar)
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Ear plugs, particularly if you are a light sleeper
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
Visa & Health
Please note that a minimum of three blank pages is required for your visa.
All visitors (except citizens of Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, & Zambia) need a visa.
In summer 2017, Mozambique introduced the possibility for tourists to buy visas at border posts. However, border visas should be considered an exception, not standard practice; they’re intended for visitors originating in countries where there is no Mozambican diplomatic mission to issue visas. If you’re travelling from a country where there is Mozambican diplomatic or consular representation (such as the UK), you should continue to apply for a visa before travelling. If you intend to ask for a border visa on arrival, you should be ready to explain clearly why you didn’t get a visa before travelling.
When applying for a visa, you must supply a copy of your return tickets or a copy of your flight confirmation, your hotel booking confirmation and one recent bank statement.
Single-entry visa: up to one month, renewable to a maximum of 90 days, provided you apply for an extension before the visa expires.
Multiple-entry visa: up to 90 days for tourism multiple-entry visas and up to 180 days for business multiple-entry visas. Those wishing to travel to return to Mozambique after visiting Kruger National Park in South Africa should apply for a multiple-entry visa.
Mozambique High Commission in the UK
Telephone: (020) 7383 3800. Opening times: Mon-Fri 0930-1300 and 1400-1700.
Allow three days for visa processing. Visas can also be issued within 24 hours (express service) or within 90 minutes (same-day express service) for an additional fee.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION RE: TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN
From 1st June 2015, South Africa have introduced tough rulings for anyone travelling with children, including passengers transitting South Africa to another destination.
- Two parents travelling with children will need to show the childs Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC)
- One parent travelling with a child will need to show the UBC plus either: a Parental Consent Affidavit (PAC) from the parent not travelling OR a letter of special circumstance.
- Widowed parents will need to show the UBC and a death certificate for the deceased parent
- Children travelling with family friends will need a UBC, PCA, copies of the parents passports and contact details for the parents.
For more information click here: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/621-updated-advisory-new-requirements-for-children-travelling-through-south-african-ports-of-entry
Contact South African Immigration for what is required for other circumstances.
Addresses of consulates
- Paris Ambassade du Mozambique
82, rue Laugier
Tél. : 01.47.64.91.32
- Ambassade de France au Mozambique
Avenida Julius Nyerere
Tél. : +258 (21) 48 46 00
- Mozambique High Commission
21 Fitzroy Square
W1T 6EL London
Tél. : +44 020 7383 3800
The usual recommendations for vaccination are for Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP). Also both Hepatitis A and Typhoid are often recommended.
If you are staying longer than 3 months or have a particular risk you might consider a rabies vaccination. Vaccination against Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.
Malaria is prevalent in the country. Don't underestimate this tropical disease and take precautions. Buy repellent (preferably with 50% DEET), and sleep under a net.
Budget and money
Note: The new Metical replaced the old Metical (MZM) on 1 July 2006. 1 MZN = 1,000 MZM. The old notes ceased being legal tender on 31 December 2006.
Credit cards are increasingly accepted in Maputo, but not generally beyond the capital.
Travellers cheques are not commonly accepted, and where accepted are slow to process and often attract high rates of commission.
Please note that the metical is a restricted currency, so try to use up your meticais before you leave the country.
Telephone and jetlag
Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators. Coverage is expanding to all main cities in most provinces, but may be patchy in rural areas.
There are Internet cafes in most cities.
Mozambique is GMT +2 hours
Did you know?
Did you know?
For more information, please contact us.
The Guvuro River canoe trip is unquestionably on of the best activities in Vilankulo, with an ideal combination of unspoilt riverine and incredible birdlife. Join Jonathan Retzlaff, an experienced and qualified guide with a great sense of fun and adventure.
SCUBA DIVING & SNORKELING
The waters around the Bazaruto Archipelago are one of the largest marine conservation areas in the Indian Ocean. The archipelago's coral reefs and clear waters offer some of the best diving in the world, dive sites are uncrowded and marine life is varied and abundant. With sites at a depth of 12 to 30m and visibility up to 40m you will discover protected reefs teeming with dolphin, hump back whales, whale sharks, sharks, manta and spotted eagle rays, green and turtles. The endangered dugong, of which only a very small number still exist, swim in the shallow crystal clear waters that are also home to abundant starfish, soft and hard corals, anemones, seahorses and a dazzling array of beautiful tropical fish.
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. The islands consist of huge 100m sand dunes, freshwater lakes, mangrove swamps and sandy beaches. You are likely to spot whales, dolphins, turtles and the only viable dugong population remaining in this part of the world. So bring your camera, and capture the freedom of unspoilt beach's, solitude, and stunning scenery on a traditional sailing dhow, locally built by hand in the age old method and comfortably furnished is the idyllic way to watch the sun setting over the sea.
Vilanculos is renowned for its excellent game fishing.
During the windy season you can kiteboard and windsurf in Vilanculos; the conditions are perfects due to the shallow water and flat waves.