Working holiday in Mozambique

With its pristine white beaches and turquoise waters, Mozambique is an incredible destination for a riding adventure in Africa. This working holiday will give you the chance to volunteer with one of the country’s best safari outfitters, Pat and Mandy Retzlaff. You will become part of their family and work with a selection of remarkable horses - the majority of them were rescued from Zimbabwean farms. Each day is different, both in the saddle and at the stables, with activities including light yard work, guiding trails, or hosting guests.
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Working holidays
15+ days
From £1,220



- Learn from Pat and Mandy Retzlaff, who are not only extremely skilled with horses, but also incredible people with a rich history.
- Volunteer with horses in the idyllic scenery of Vilanculos, staying in comfortable accommodation
- Stays are flexible, starting with 2 weeks but most volunteers stay for 4+ weeks
- This is perfect for gap-year students but also for older riders who want a break from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives.
  • Day 1 1 : HOME - VILANCULOS

    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.

    Flights are not included but we can help with this on request. Please note that most flights from Europe or the US are overnight flights - make sure to arrive on the correct day!
  • Day 2 2-14 : MOZAMBIQUE HORSE SAFARI - Flexible riding hours

    Casa de Cavalo
    Mozambique Horse Safari is a family run, hands on project dealing with guests and horses on a daily basis. Your participation is all about real world experiences with lots of horse riding, looking after clients & having fun. It is up to you to take advantage of the opportunities presented, the more you get involved the better your experience will be. The volunteer work is not physical as there’s already a team in place of full-time experienced grooms. There is no fixed itinerary, your daily activities will vary depending on our riding schedule and will usually be discussed over breakfast or the night before.

    Listed below is the kind of day you might expect.
    • Working with Pat & Mandy on safari rides providing excellent company and helping out where ever you can to ensure a fantastic ride. This may require you to lead canters from the front, hold horses when having a break or stay behind with slower riders.
    • Assisting Pat & Mandy with day rides. This entails greeting guests, getting them prepared for their ride and taking payment once finished. On the ride a high level of professionalism is required to manage guests and horses in the appropriate manner depending on circumstances.
    • Training the horses. You will be spending a lot of time in the saddle with ample opportunity to work in conjunction with Pat on training the horses.
    • Setting up the table and helping prepare breakfast, lunch & dinner for our safari clients. It is therefore important that you have a warm demeanour and can assess and balance the needs of guests. It means offering drinks, making small talk and having good manners.
    • Other tasks may include lending a hand with riding lessons, soap making, going to town with Mandy to stock up with provisions or conversational English at IMAP School.

  • Day 3 15 : VILANCULOS - HOME

    You will be transferred to Vilanculos airport in time for your flight home.

Dates & prices

Price details

- International flights to Vilanculos are not included but can be booked for you on request.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin room during the ride.

- Dates are flexible and you can arrive/depart on any day and stay for as long as you like with discounts for longer stays.
Two Weeks (14 nights): listed price
Three Weeks (21 nights):US $ 2,350 / £1685 / €1940 per person
Four Weeks (28 nights): US $ 2,950 / £2115 / €2435 per person
Extra Week After: US $ 600 / £430 / €495 per person

To guarantee your own room/tent there is a single supplement of $250.00 / £180 / €210 per week, if available.

- Transfers to/from Vilanculos airport are included.

- Rider weight limit: 85 kilos, 187 lbs, 13.3 st. This is a strict limit.

- You must be aged 19 or over to join this volunteering opportunity.
Please Note
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.

Price includes

Support Team

English-speaking and local staff

Inland transports

Airport transfers


Shared room at the volunteers house


Full board during your volunteering programme

Price doesn't include


Beverage and personal extra, bar bills and alcoholic drinks


Single supplement if available and desired


International flights
Visa fees


Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation



Extra activities
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    30/10/2021 13/11/2021 £1,220 €1,437 $1,671 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    06/11/2021 20/11/2021 £1,220 €1,437 $1,671 Guaranteed departure Book now
    13/11/2021 27/11/2021 £1,220 €1,437 $1,671 Guaranteed departure Book now
    20/11/2021 04/12/2021 £1,220 €1,437 $1,671 Guaranteed departure Book now
    27/11/2021 11/12/2021 £1,220 €1,437 $1,671 Guaranteed departure Book now
    04/12/2021 18/12/2021 £1,220 €1,437 $1,671 Guaranteed departure Book now

Equestrian info


The horses are responsive, alert, tough and fit. The herd comprises of Thoroughbreds, Arabs and the South African Boerperds. Many of them were rescued from Zimbabwe by your hosts and guides, and are the subject of a book - One Hundred and Four Horses. There are currently a total of 39 horses, including a small herd of prize-winning SA Boerperds acquired in 2018. The local team keep 6 geldings on Benguerra Island. All are schooled to a very high level and react easily and lightly to the aids. Your hosts Pat and Mandy attach utmost importance to their health and well-being.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

There is no specific required level of experience, but you must love horses and be keen to learn.

Rider weight limit: 85 kilos, 187 lbs, 13.3 st. This is a strict limit.


All four paces can be experienced, depending on ability. There is lots of walking through deep sand and on narrow tracks, but there are opportunities for canters and gallops along the beaches as well as the chance to swim with your horse.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be expected to contribute to all sorts of riding and light yard chores. Please look at the itinerary to see what is requested of you as a volunteer in Mozambique.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

The role of a horse volunteer at Mozambique Horse Safari is to assist with the riding, care and preparation of the horses and guests. This should be a great experience for all involved and it is important that you are aware of your hosts’ expectations.
- Responsibility: all volunteers must act in a responsible manner at all times and listen to instructions.
- Interest: a love of horses is a must, whatever your riding skills may be.
- Consideration: all volunteers are expected to treat everyone and everything they come into contact with consideration and respect. This applies to all people including the local community.
- Drugs and alcohol. Although sundowners and drinks after work are absolutely fine, your hosts will not accept regular drunkenness and operate a zero tolerance policy on drug use.
- Punctuality: When dealing with the welfare of animals there are certain tasks that must be done at certain times. Failure to do this not only holds up staff and other volunteers but has a knock on effect throughout the day.
- Team spirit: This program is a small family run operation and can only work with co-operation between all those involved. We are a team and we expect volunteers to be a part of that for both their benefit and ours. On a final note this is Africa, patience and a good sense of humour is vital.
Before booking, you will be requested to fill out a simple form to ensure you are a good match for the programme. Please contact us and we will be happy to supply this and discuss your requirements.
These requirements are in place to ensure the safety and comfort of everyone involved. In the unlikely event that a volunteer decides to flout these requirements they will be asked to leave the project. Mozambique Horse Safari and Equus Journeys reserve the right to terminate any volunteer’s trip who they believe is detrimental to the project.

Equestrian equipment

English saddles, but also McClellan and Australian stock saddles.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Travel info


Volunteers stay at Casa de Cavalo. Located in a lovely garden adjacent to the paddocks and stables, rooms are simple and secure with comfortable beds and installed mosquito nets. Accommodation is clean, comfortable and secure with swimming pool, bar and restaurant.
The accommodation is within easy walking distance from the stables and the tourist coastal town of Vilanculos is a 15-min drive – where you can find internet cafes, supermarkets, and plenty of bars and restaurants.

Laundry service is available and you will be provided with a local sim card.

WiFi is not available.


Meals are hearty & wholesome, and traditionally English especially breakfast. There is always plenty to eat and drink and at times you might have dinner or lunch out with clients. Lunch or dinner might be spaghetti bolognaise, stir fry, peri peri chicken or fresh sea fish all served with paõ (Portuguese white bread rolls baked in wood-fired ovens in villages), refreshments and salad.


- Dry season: from April to mid-October, temperatures between 15° and 25°. This is the cooler, drier season: short and t-shirt weather! You may need a jacket in the mornings and evenings.
- 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

Pat and Many have fled their home in Zimbabwe, saving their horses from land invasions. They are experiences guides and horsemen and have build themselves an excellent reputation as hosts. They are passionate about their horses and look after them extremely well. Pat and Mandy will lead each ride, and always spend time with their guests sharing stories and experiences with them.

"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.



Packing list

- 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

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and dust
- T-shirts
- 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
- 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/


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

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

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - must be high factor - please bring enough for the duration of your programme as it is hard to buy locally
- Insect repellent (available locally but more expensive)
- 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

Our Recommendations
- 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


A passport valid for a minimum of six months beyond the intended date of departure from Mozambique is required by all nationals of Australia, Canada, USA, the UK and Other EU countries.
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.

Visa note:
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.
Time required
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.

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:

Contact South African Immigration for what is required for other circumstances.

Addresses of consulates

  • Paris Ambassade du Mozambique
    82, rue Laugier
    75017 Paris
    Tél. :
    Fax :
  • Ambassade de France au Mozambique
    Avenida Julius Nyerere
    BP 4781
    2361 Maputo
    Tél. : +258 (21) 48 46 00
    Fax :
  • Mozambique High Commission
    21 Fitzroy Square
    W1T 6EL London
    Tél. : +44 020 7383 3800
    Fax :


There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Mozambique except that you need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Mozambique) where that disease is widely prevalent (such as Zambia). Also, a cholera stamp is required when entering the country overland.
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.


It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.


220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. South African-style three-pin (round) plugs are used in the capital and most tourist areas.

Budget and money

Mozambique Metical (MZN; symbol MT) = 100 centavos. Notes are in denominations of MT1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20. Coins are in denominations of MT10, 5, 2 and 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 centavos.
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

The dialling code for Mozambique is +258.
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