- 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 : JOHANNESBURG - VILANCULOS - 2 hours ridingVila de SonhosAfter your flight from Johannesburg to Vilanculos (not included but are happy to advise you on the best options) you are met at Vilanculos Airport by either Pat or Mandy Retzlaff, your hosts and guides. After a short transfer from the airport, you are settled into your accommodation. 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 in 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 equipment. 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 2 2 : BUSH AND BEACH RIDE - 3 hours ridingVila de SonhosAfter a hearty breakfast served at your hotel, head out on horseback along a route which follows 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 down onto 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 3 3 : RED DUNES - 3-4 hours ridingVila de SonhosAfter a delicious breakfast you are driven over to the stables before mounting up and setting off on an exhilarating ride through the outskirts of town and along deserted sandy 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.
Day 4 4 : BENGUERRA ISLAND - 3 hours ridingVila de SonhosDepending on tides you may have an early start from your hotel on a motorized dhow which whisks 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 the island and a breakthtaking ride awaits through the massive sand dunes, freshwater lakes and white sandy beaches. The varied eco system offers exceptional birding with large flocks of flamingo often seen. After your ride, a 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 to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 5 5 : VILANCULOS - JOHANNESBURG - 2 hours ridingAfter a relaxed breakfast, there is time for 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.
You will be transferred to Vilanculos airport in time for your flight back to Johannesburg.
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 ride, with the payment of a single supplement of $575/£440.
- 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.
- 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.
- Group discounts are available for 2+ guests booking together. In 2020: 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.
Drinks including sodas, local wine and beers.
Price doesn't include
International flights to Vilanculos
Tips to the local team
March - April 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 10/04/2020 14/04/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 17/04/2020 21/04/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 24/04/2020 28/04/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now
May - June 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 01/05/2020 05/05/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 08/05/2020 12/05/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 15/05/2020 19/05/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 22/05/2020 26/05/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 29/05/2020 02/06/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 05/06/2020 09/06/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 12/06/2020 16/06/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 19/06/2020 23/06/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 26/06/2020 30/06/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now
July - August 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 03/07/2020 07/07/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 10/07/2020 14/07/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 17/07/2020 21/07/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 24/07/2020 28/07/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 31/07/2020 04/08/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 07/08/2020 11/08/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 14/08/2020 18/08/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 21/08/2020 25/08/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 28/08/2020 01/09/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now
September - October 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 04/09/2020 08/09/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 11/09/2020 15/09/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 18/09/2020 22/09/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 25/09/2020 29/09/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 02/10/2020 06/10/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 09/10/2020 13/10/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 16/10/2020 20/10/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 23/10/2020 27/10/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 30/10/2020 03/11/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now
November - December 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 06/11/2020 10/11/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 13/11/2020 17/11/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 20/11/2020 24/11/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 27/11/2020 01/12/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 04/12/2020 08/12/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 11/12/2020 15/12/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now 18/12/2020 22/12/2020 £2,195 Guaranteed departure Book now
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
Weight Limit: 90 kg, 198.5 lbs. or 14.2 stone
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 seldoms 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 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 the camp
- 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
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided and you should pack it into two bags if it weighs more than 15kg so it's easier for the team to transport between camps
- Take a second, smaller bag to pack things you may need during the day such as a book or suncream then you can easily access it during the long lunch break
- 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!
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
- Micropur or similar water purification tablets
- 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?
On this riding holiday in Mozambique, your hosts will be Pat and Mandy Retzlaff.
Before establishing Mozambique Horse Safari in 2006, Pat and Mandy spent 25 years farming in Zimbabwe, bringing up their family in the beautiful rural setting of Crofton Farm. In 2001, their lives were turned upside down as their farm got invaded by Mugabe's war veteran's association members, reclaiming the land to their own. Pat, Mandy and their was forced to flee, leaving behind everything they owned... Except for their horses.
Fleeing from farm to farm, trying to stay one step ahead of the war vets, they collected a string of 104 horses that other families trusted to their care. Exiles in a country they loved and never thought they'd have to leave, Pat and Mandy finally had no choice but to make a new home in Mozambique, near Vilanculos.
On this horseback holiday, you can meet these modern day heroes and even some of the remaining horses, some of them still living on Benguerra Island.