Mozambique Paradise

Coast Mozambique: (IT-MZRT01)

Coast Mozambique
Come and share in the epic adventures of the Retzlaff family where the legends of the rescued horses come to life.  Open your eyes to a different world, where you will gallop the beaches on a sprightly grey, swim in turquoise seas and share in the unbreakable bond between man and horse. Riding in Mozambique is an incredible experience and before long you will be hooked on Africa and our way of life.

Joining the Retzlaff’s on a safari is a very personal experience. Pat or Mandy will lead each ride; plenty of time is spent together with guests on horseback or over dinner sharing stories, experiences, and our way of life. The great food, personal service and wonderful horse riding made this a very special place. Come and join us on a custom-made horse safari along the Vilankulos coast and on Benguerra Island in Mozambique - the world's premier beach horse riding holiday. This area is world renowned for its superb variety of white sand beaches, alluring golden sunsets and tall palm trees. The beach stretches for tens of kilometers allowing riders plenty of opportunities for exhilarating canters and long trots. The views from the cliffs overlooking the Bazaruto Archipelago are extraordinary and will create a memory you will never forget. Enjoy long stretches of untouched coast and magnificent views and for the spirit of fun and adventure inside of you, come and saddle up and enjoy a truly unique African adventure.

The riding will be in two exceptional area: the Beaches of Vilankulo and the Island of Benguerra, the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago. Vilankulo is world renowned for its superb variety of white sand beaches, alluring golden sunsets and tall palm trees. The beach stretches for tens of kilometres allowing riders plenty of opportunities for exhilarating canters and long trots. The views from the cliffs overlooking the Bazaruto Archipelago are truly extraordinary. Benguerra Island broke away from the mainland thousands of years ago. The island is approximately 55 square kilometers and lies 14 kilometres offshore. It is famous for its unspoiled white beaches and remarkable dive sites. Benguerra Island comprises forest, savannah, freshwater lakes and a wetland ecosystems that sustains a diverse population of fauna and flora. Fresh water crocodiles and flocks of flamingos can be found in the three lakes. The island, which is home to approximately 140 bird species, was declared a National Park in 1971.

Overnights are at a luxurious private lodge with personal chef, incredible facilities and extraordinary views over the Bazaruto Archipelago.  Bring your camera and capture the freedom of unspoiled beaches, serene solitude, and stunning scenery best experienced on horseback. Our team will ensure that you have the time of your life in our African paradise!


This is a stationary ride, so all nights are spent in the same location.

Sea Horse Beach House is a charming seaside home set in a large garden on the beach with exquisite views overlooking the Bazaruto Archipelago. The house has recently been rebuilt in 2022 with swimming pool, cobbled fire-pit, patio, driveway, WIFI and all the latest amenities added.

Our luxury beach house is fully serviced, sleeping up to 6 people with 3 spacious bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It has a fully equipped kitchen with large dining island and a comfortable lounge with all the modern conveniences of a beach home. It is tastefully decorated with handcrafted furniture, kilim rugs and local art & photography. The terraced lawns run towards the beach with swimming pool, al fresco dining area and fire pit. At the bottom of the garden is an ancient Baobab tree and private access to the incredible beach below.

* If Sea Horse Beach House is full, we will look to accommodate our guest in similar private homes and resorts in the area.

Room Occupancy

The solo rider supplement is only required if you will be riding on your preferred dates without any other horse riders in your group.

All meals are included, all local drinks (soft drinks, spirits, beers and house wines).
Mozambique has a rich culinary heritage, with its strong Portuguese influence specialties revolve around fresh seafood, coconut curries and its world famous peri-peri chicken. Mix that in with our English heritage and love of braaiing (barbequing) and you get an idea of what to expect on this holiday.
In the morning, depending on the guest’s preference, its fresh seasonal fruits, cereal or oats, a choice of eggs, bacon or tomatoes with fresh Portuguese rolls or toast. For lunch & evening dinner expect meals prepared by a personal chef, or to eat out at top seafood restaurants or barbeque poolside.
We cater for vegetarians and love having them on safari, there is a wide variety of fresh vegetables and tropical fruits that we can source locally. We do have limitations when it comes to vegan and gluten free diets as we are remotely situated, so it’s important to share dietary information as soon as possible so we have the necessary time to prepare.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to vegetarians. We cannot cater to vegans or gluten-free.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Pace & Riding Experience
The coastal area in Vilankulo is renowned for its long stretches of untouched white sand beaches. This allows for long canters, but the pace of the ride depends largely on the experience of the riders. We accept all levels of riders -  but all riders must be able to mount and dismount without assistance and ride for several hours comfortably. Please estimate your abilities wisely!

We have around 40 horses; the majority being rescued from Zimbabwean farms at the height of political violence and each horse has their own incredible story. We have taken on several other very special horses and recently acquired a herd of 11 young prize winning South African Boerperds. On Benguerra Island we have 6 geldings, the rest of our horses are based on the mainland in Vilankulo.
Breeds include registered South African Boerperds and a combination of crosses with a strong mix of Arab. All riding horses are schooled to a very high level, are calm and react easily and lightly to the aids. Their care and well-being takes precedence ensuring that they are responsive, alert, tough and fit. They are our greatest and most treasured assets and we take extremely good care of them.

For saddlery, we use a combination of Wintecs GP’s with interchangeable gullets, Australian stock and McClellan saddles. Our bridles are uncomplicated with single reins, and for the most part, we use single jointed & French link snaffle bits.

Weight Limit
We have a weight limit of 90 kilograms. Our limit is not strictly enforced, as there are other circumstances to consider i.e. height, athleticism, experience and size/type of horses we can provide.
If you are heavier (within reason) we might be able to arrange for you to ride but will need to know in advance.

When you are joining a horse-riding holiday in Mozambique, it is essential that you have adequate travel and health insurance, which covers you for horse riding. You will be asked to supply the details of your insurance before the start of your horse-riding holiday! Many insurance companies routinely exclude horse riding and charge an excess to cover this. Please check any policy with the issuers! Hidden Trails can provide you with the proper insurance coverage (via a third party insurance).
A good medical insurance policy, with an emergency air evacuation facility, is mandatory.


Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Please note that this is a rough itinerary, and the daily schedule is determined by the guide with the best interests of the group and horses in mind. Weather conditions and especially the changing tides in Vilankulo control the timing of the rides and in which order they are to be run during the week.

Day 1: Introductory Ride
Guests are met at Vilankulo Airport by either Pat or Mandy Retzlaff, your hosts and guides for the week. After a short transfer from the airport, we will settle you into your lodging for the week.
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 our riding school. Once you feel comfortable, we will head out onto the beach for a slow and relaxing ride, allowing you to become familiar with horse and equipment. The ride incorporates all the wonderful eco-systems in the archipelago; open sandy 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.
Riding: 1.5 hours
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Vilankulo

Day 2: The Great Lake Ride
Today we will ride inland on single 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. We will canter along bush paths through African farmlands, rural schools and past the ruins of old Portuguese homesteads. The old farm roads allow for a fast pace as we continue across country. As usual, on the way home, there is plenty of space for long canters on the beach.  
Riding: 3 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Vilankulo

Day 3: Benguerra Island Ride
In the morning a motorized dhow will whisk you through the Bazaruto National Park to the world famous Benguerra Island. As you meander across the calm waters you will look out onto pods of dolphin’s breaching and old fishing dhows from a time gone by. Approaching the island, you see the shapes and colours of horses under palm trees on a pristine white sandy beach being readied for your arrival. 
You are soon saddled up, the horses are eager underfoot with ears pushed forward, you settle into your saddle and take in the magnificence of the vast Indian Ocean. Your guide chats you through the flora and fauna, her passion unbridled. As you move inland you pass through local villages, towards high golden sand dunes and fresh water lakes with flocks of flamingos. The ride continues at a relaxed pace along sandy tracks onto a long beach past waving fisherman. Just before reaching the stables, you slip off the saddle and wallow into the sea bareback.
If the tide allows you will be able to spend some time snorkeling on Magaruque Island where a simple & delicious seafood lunch is served ashore under a shady tree.  Return to the mainland as the sun is setting for dinners and drinks.
Riding: 3 hours (depending on tide)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Vilankulo

Day 4: Fishing Village Ride
Have a relaxing morning before our lunchtime ride to a local fishing village. From the stables, we guide you down to the beach at a gentle walk. The tide is out and the blue and white colours shimmer into the distance.
Past the rocks, the beach opens up and under your guide's instruction you will canter towards mangrove trees in the distance and up a red bank to the "Finger Print of God". The panoramic views look out over the Bazaruto Archipelago.
You will see colourful dhows glide along the channels and fisherwoman hunting crab in shallow sands. You continue through winding coconut plantations along a beach path to the Managlise Fishing Village.
You hear the distinct chatter of laughing children and are soon greeted by a horde of smiles. Once sat in simple thatch shelter, newly harvested coconuts are cracked open, the refreshing juice is rich reward after a long ride. Then a traditional lunch is served, fresh crab from the beach, grilled fish from the mornings catch and Matapa; a Mozambican dish made from cassava leaves, nuts and coconut milk.
After your meal the children come out to sing local songs and dance, their smiles and energy make the occasion feel very special. Once goodbyes are completed the horses are saddled up and you start the return home.
The Fishing Village Ride is completely authentic, rich in cultural experience and brings much appreciated business to a locality well off the beaten track. It also means that locals who once feared the horses, have a better understanding and involvement with them in their community.
Riding: 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Vilankulo

Day 5: Beach & Bush Ride
A hearty breakfast will be served at your restaurant – today’s ride is a favorite with many of our guests. The route will take you along the old coastal main road running parallel to the beach before meandering up and wading across a small river estuary. Along the route we will 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 us down on to the beach with amazing views over the bay. The long, deserted, safe, sandy beaches offer a chance to experience romantic dream-like canters on our 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.
Riding: 3-4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Vilankulo

Day 6: Red Dune Ride, North Beach
After a delicious breakfast we will drive you over to the stables, 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 we will stop at a local arts and crafts centre that supports the local community – there will be plenty of time to explore and get some souvenirs for friends and family back home. Relax by the pool in the late afternoon or take a stroll on the beach. Dinner will be served in tranquil settings as we savor and toast your last night.
Riding: 3-4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Vilankulo

Day 7: Ocean Ride & Canoe trip
Our ocean ride is something you will never forget. To start this extraordinary ride, you mount your horse bareback on the beach before wading chest deep into the blue turquoise seas on an amazing ocean walk that takes you along our shoreline for approximately 30 minutes until we reach our safe swimming spot.
Once dismounted, you will lead a new horse into the shallows. There is a sense of excitement as they thrash the water, then lay down to wallow and roll. Once the horses have settled, you will again mount bareback and this time wade out to the deeper water, the majority of time your horse will be attached to a long lead rope for safety. As you get into the deeper sea you will feel the exploding surge and strength as the horse propels forward. It is an experience that cannot be described, each horse is different and it is truly something not to miss.
In the late afternoon we will travel out to the Govuro River by vehicle where you will paddle/be paddled along a picture-perfect waterway. Soak up the lush river riverine, look out for native fish and listen to the magical calls of birdlife. As evening falls ducks will return inland to roost and there is a good chance that you will see fireflies lighting up the evening sky. 
Riding: 1 hour
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Vilankulo

Day 8: Farewell Ride
A morning farewell ride that follows the beach southwards passing through lines of mangroves and swaying palms. The ride allows for long canters up towards the “Fingerprint of God”; a magnificent viewpoint overlooking the Bazaruto Archipelago. A little further on through dune bush and then it’s time for home cantering along the beach.
After you have packed and had lunch we will transfer you to the airport and say goodbye.
Riding: 1-2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

We do not have a specific non-rider program, but due to the variety of activities in the area, it can easily be arranged - please inquire! Some of the non-riding activities include canoeing river trips, scuba diving & snorkeling, dhow trips to the Bazaruto Archipelago, game fishing and kiteboarding.

Rates and Dates for Mozambique Paradise

Rates include:

Accommodation, All meals with local drinks (soft drinks, spirits, beers, house wines), Activities as described in itinerary, Transfers, National park fees & Mozambique Government Tax, Laundry

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    20248 day trip$4500
    • Non-rider, dbl, pp$2000
      Solo rider supplement$575
  • B
    20247 day trip$4000
    • Non-rider, dbl, pp$1785
      Solo rider supplement$575
  • C
    20246 day trip$3500
    • Non-rider, dbl, pp$1570
      Solo rider supplement$575
  • D
    20245 day trip$3000
    • Non-rider, dbl, pp$1350
      Solo rider supplement$575
  • E
    20244 day trip$2400
    • Non-rider, dbl, pp$1135
      Solo rider supplement$460
  • F
    20243 day trip$1920
    • Non-rider, dbl, pp$915
      Solo rider supplement$345

Rates Note:

* no single supplement, and solo rider is waived if there are other guests on the same date

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

* no single supplement, and solo rider is waived if there are other guests on the same date

Transfer and Other Charges:

2024 Transfer from Vilankulo airport is included $0
2024 Extra night (non-riding) $300

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
A 2024 01/01 - 12/31 8d / 7n 8 day trip 2 /6 Reserve
B 2024 01/01 - 12/31 7d / 6n 7 day trip 2 /6 Reserve
C 2024 01/01 - 12/31 6d / 5n 6 day trip 2 /6 Reserve
D 2024 01/01 - 12/31 5d / 4n 5 day trip 2 /6 Reserve
E 2024 01/01 - 12/31 4d / 3n 4 day trip 2 /6 Reserve
F 2024 01/01 - 12/31 3d / 2n 3 day trip 2 /6 Reserve

Dates Note: Available any time of the year - no minimum number of riders.

Rates do not include:

Personal travel insurance (mandatory), Gratuities & Any extra excursions or activities not included in the itinerary

Other Info
Meeting: Vilankulo
Airport: Vilankulo Airport (VNX)
Transfer: Vilankulo

                                            Vilankulos area














Average High Temperature (°F)













Average Low Temperature (°F)













Average High Temperature (°C)













Average Low Temperature (°C)













Source: NOAA

April to November is the cooler, dryer winter season with temperature at times reaching over 30°C by day. It is short and t-shirt weather and what most people from around the world would call an amazing summer. In the evening and early morning you may need a jacket, and during the night a light duvet is required. The winter weather in Mozambique cannot be compared to South Africa which is very much colder.

December to March is the hotter and wetter summer season. With Mozambique's lying in the rain shadow of Madagascar it has a relatively low annual rainfall, and a great deal of protection from the tropical storms and the occasional cyclone which head towards it during this period. When it does rain it is usually very brief but with vigorous downpours after which the sun comes out again. The beauty of Vilankulo & the Bazaruto Archipelago during summer is that it seldom rains enough to spoil the riding and there is usually a cool breeze on the beach.

What To Bring:
Mozambique is a third world country with sandy roads and very limited shops.  So please bring your sun screen, tampons, headache tablets etc. along as these items are sometimes hard to obtain here.  Please bring your own riding hat if you can, just in case our selection is not to your satisfaction.  If you are happy to part with your riding hat when you leave, we will buy it from you.

Mozambique is a malaria area so please take your prophylactics.  Make sure your mosquito net is tucked in under your mattress.  Spray your room when you go out. The lodges regularly spray for mosquitoes. Please bring mosquito repellant for night time as we often are sitting outside.

Benguerra Island: We take a boat out to the beautiful Benguerra Island.  Make sure you bring your swimming costume as we include a snorkeling trip. If you have your own goggles, please bring them with you as sometimes the leased goggles may leak.  Don't worry about flippers, the boat provides all sizes.  You can get wet on the boat but we put your riding clothes, towels and cameras in a dry box.  The Boat is equipped with life jackets.  There are no magazines or newspapers, so if you want to relax with a book, make sure you bring some with you.  You can donate these when you leave to Imap school or the book club at the coffee shop.

Fishing Village Ride: We go out to the community. It is nice to bring sweets for the children or stationery.  We interact with Imap school as well. So if you feel like giving up 30 minutes of your time to talk English to the students they will be delighted.

We ask our clients to bring treats for the horses as it is very difficult to get any treats for horses in Mozambique.  So feel free to bring horse treats along ... our horses will be very happy! :-)

- Shirts and shorts - please bear in mind the climate.
- Trousers or jodhpurs that are comfortable to ride in.
- Sarong
- Swimming suits
- Snorkeling equipment (mask, fins, & snorkel)
- Waterproof camera
- Torch/flashlight
- Long-sleeved t-shirts to avoid sunburns and mosquitoes
- Thick socks
- Hat & sun protection
- Sunglasses on string
- Horse Riding Hat

- Boots suitable for riding and walking.
- Sandals / Flip flops / Crocs

- Two pin travel adapter

- All prescription medicines for the duration of your trip
- Mosquito repellent 30% deet minimum, it is available here but more expensive than at home.
- Anti malaria for the duration of your trip
- High factor sun cream. Enough for the duration as its hard to come by here