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Mozambique - Retzlaff Safari & Benguerra Lodge
'One Hundred & Four Horses' - The Story Awaits

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from £1,850 or €2,400

Horse Riding Holidays Mozambique – Retzlaff Safari

The Retzlaff Safari has been personally vetted by Zara and Jill (as have all our Horse Riding Holidays Mozambique). We do this to ensure that the quality of the horse riding, accommodation, food and scenery combine to provide only the best Horse Riding Holidays in Mozambique for our clients.

Don’t forget our Horse Riding Holidays GUARANTEE. You won’t find any of our Horse Riding Holidays in Mozambique at a lower price through any other source… and if you do we will refund the difference.

DATES & PRICES top

Retzlaff Safari

PRICES 2017

This ride is suitable for all levels of riders.

Rates are quoted per person sharing based on 2 or more people booking.

This is a flexible ride where you can chose any packages below on a date of your choice.

African Paradise 4 Nights – £2,050/€2,400/$2,500

  • Single supplement – £500/€600/$625
  • Non rider rate – £1,330/€1,600/$1,625

African Paradise 7 Nights – £3,100/€3,600/$3,750

  • Single supplement – £500/€600/$625
  • Non rider rate – £2,050/€2,205/$2,500

Coastal Wonderland 4 Nights – £1,850/€2,400/$2,250

  • Single supplement – £300/€360/$375
  • Non rider rate – £1,225/€1,450/$1,500

Includes

  • Retzlaff Safari – All riding, accommodation, meals, boats, non alcoholic drinks & transfers.
  • Benguerra Lodge – All riding, accommodation, meals, teas & coffee, cocktail & massage on arrival, dhow boat rides & dinner on the beach.

Excludes

  • Retzlaff – Flights, tips,alcoholic drinks, bar bills (including soft drinks) & extra excursions or activities.
  • Benguerra Lodge – Flights, transfers, drinks/alcohol & activities that include diving, snorkeling, spa treatments & fishing.

Getting There
An international flight to Johannesburg. Followed by an internal African flight with ‘Federal Air’ to Vilanculos.

Transfer
At Vilanculos, guests who choose to travel on to Benguerra Lodge can choose to transfer to the island, either by helicopter, plane or boat.

Note: Rates are subject to daily exchange rate fluctuations, please refer to our Terms & Conditions for full details.

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

SUMMARY OF THE TRIP top

The Retzlaff Safari

If you have read the wonderful story ‘One Hundred & Four Horses’ by Mandy Retzlaff about the incredible journey her family and their horses take from war torn Zimbabwe to a new life in Mozambique, you might be thrilled to know you can visit their home as a guest and ride one of their very lucky horses.

The Reztlaff Safari is the ultimate beach riding adventure where each day you will ride over different areas of coastline and experience the joys of cantering along the beach, riding up and down huge sand dunes and swimming with your horse in crystal clear waters after a long, hot day in the saddle.

On a Retzlaff Safari you’ll also have the pleasure of riding and socialising with the remarkable Retzlaff family, they like nothing more than to share the pleasure of their new home and recount the stories of the journey that took them to this exact spot.

About the book

“A letter is handed to you. In broken English, it tells you that you must now vacate your farm; that this is no longer your home, for it now belongs to the crowd on your doorstep. Then the drums begin to beat.”

As the land invasions gather pace, the Retzlaffs begin an epic journey across Zimbabwe, facing eviction after eviction, trying to save the group of animals with whom they feel a deep and enduring bond – the horses. Each with a different personality and story, it is not just the family who rescue the horses, but the horses who rescue the family. Grey, the silver gelding: the leader. Brutus, the untamed colt. Princess, the temperamental mare.

One Hundred and Four Horses is the story of an idyllic existence that falls apart at the seams, and a story of incredible bonds – a love of the land, the strength of a family, and of the connection between man and the most majestic of animals, the horse.

Retzlaff Safari – Benguerra Lodge

The Retzlaffs accommodation along the coastline of Vilanculos is beautiful, but if you are looking for an upgrade for perhaps your honeymoon or special anniversary with a non riding partner you may want to upgrade to Benguerra Lodge, which sits on it’s own island a stones throw away from Vilanculos.

We sent International Showjumper ‘Cian O’Connor’ on a Retzlaff Safari and he described his horse riding holiday in Mozambique as ‘an idyllic getaway, with it’s white sands and turquoise waters’. This is a truly relaxing and chilled out lodge, offering barefoot luxury on the small island of Benguerra, just off the coast of Mozambique. Enjoy long, lazy days chilling out at your private pool, or ride fit, well bred horses into the sea for a magical swim after a long, fast gallop across the beach.

We think visiting Benguerra Lodge is either a great way to spend your honeymoon, or finish off an exciting riding safari holiday in Africa, with some chill out time on the beach.

The Retzlaff Safari lodge itself has a main house, which provides guests with the restaurant, bar and communal areas, and spread out along the beach, is the accommodation, 13 private chalets, all built on raised wooden platforms, with private verandahs, looking out onto the sea.

Days are spent riding along the vast white beaches of Benguerra or through the mahogany woods of this 55 sq mile island, highlights including swimming with the horses in the clear blue sea.

And lets just say you’re there on your honeymoon, and the riding isn’t exactly your other halves cup of tea, well the lodge has plenty of other activities that both of you can enjoy – a fully equipped dive school, snorkelling, Dhow boat rides, big game fishing, salt water fly fishing and bird watching.

THE RIDING top

Horses – A mix of Thoroughbreds, Arabs & South African Boerperds. Very well cared for by the Retzlaff family, and schooled to a good level so that they give guests a good responsive ride on the Retzlaff Safari.

Level of Riding & Pace – Beginner to Advanced.

Tack – A combination of English, McLellan & Australian stock saddles, mostly snaffle bridles. Horses are trained in both English & Western riding.

Weight Restriction – 15 stone / 209 lbs / 95kg.

Group Size – Maximum 6.

ACCOMMODATION top

Retzlaff Safari

The lodge on the Retzlaff Safari is located above the beach and consists of eighteen chalets with stunning views of the ocean. Each chalet has a large double bedroom with en suite bathroom with a shower. There is an additional twin bedroom and a small loft bedroom. These rooms share downstairs bathroom with a shower.

The restaurant at the Retzlaff Safari lodge serves delicious food and the focal point is the spectacular swimming pool, offering breathtaking view of the islands and the palm fringed beach below. As the sun goes down you can enjoy walks along the beach and cocktails at the bar.

Retzlaff Safari – Benguerra Lodge

One of the best ‘barefoot’ luxury beach lodges in Africa, includes private ‘Casitas’ & ‘Cabanas’, and even a private villa, with it’s own pool and chef. All have their own verandahs that open out to the beach, and some also have their own plunge pools.

The food here is gorgeous, and guests can expect really fresh seafood, crab, crayfish and large prawns for dinner. Breakfasts & lunches are buffet style, with the emphasis on freshness.

We have travelled the world testing a huge variety of horse riding holidays to make sure we offer you, our client, the best horse riding holiday experience possible.

Our horse riding holidays are thoroughly researched – we consider all the elements that go towards making our horse riding holidays collection the best in the world. We check the quality of the horses, if they are fit for the job, well produced and looked after. We make sure the riding terrain is good going, the countryside is interesting and, for example, on Classic Dressage horse riding holidays, the arenas are in good condition. We make sure the accommodation, whether it’s a five star hotel, a farmhouse or camping, is clean and comfortable, and offers a great night’s sleep. The food is all important too – we take the time to make sure we tell you if it’s cordon bleu, home cooked, or regional and locally sourced – above all it has to be delicious, plentiful and nourishing. Last but not least, we choose the horse riding holidays that have the best hosts, who are friendly, warm and welcoming.

It’s only when all these elements come together that we add a horse riding holiday into our hand-picked collection of horse riding holidays.

Horse Riding Holidays at the Retzlaff Safari are part of the Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Mozambique collection.

Please Ask About

  • ‘Cian O’Connor’ also chose to visit Ants Collection on his holiday with Zara’s Planet – Ants is a luxury riding safari lodge in South Africa, and we think this is a fantastic combination riding holiday – safari & beach riding at it’s most luxurious.
  • Riding safaris with big game in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya & Zambia – a perfect add on to his chilled out beach adventure.

SAMPLE ITINERARY top

About the Retzlaff Safari

DAY 1 - INTRODUCTORY RIDE (2 hours riding)

Our 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. 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; 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.

DAY 2 - THE GREAT LAKE RIDES & CANOE (3 hours riding, lunch, canoe trip)

Today we will ride inland on single trails skirting African villages and vast natural fresh water 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 inland towards the Govuro River. A revitalizing picnic lunch with ice-cold refreshments awaits us on a grassy riverbank; the horses will be fed and watered before being led home and leaving us to enjoy a guided tour along the river. We will paddle along the picture-perfect Govuro River soaking up the lush river vegetation, looking out for native fish and listening to the magical calls of birdlife. In the evening you will enjoy a quiet drink and watch the stars light up an African sky as you sit around a bonfire. Dinner will be a mouth-watering Mozambican BBQ.

DAY 3 - CASA REX BREAKFAST RIDE & MARKET TOUR (1.5 hours riding)

An early morning ride that follows the beach northwards passing through the outskirts of town into a wide open bay, home to myriad of colourful dhows. The ride continues through the bay cantering along the beach, watching local fisherman make their way home. The ride ends with a delicious buffet breakfast at Casa Rex – Vilankulo’s most exclusive resort. After breakfast, we will meet our local guide who will accompany us through the bustling and vibrant city market. The colourful displays and cacophony of noise will give you an insight into the lives of the local people. We will make our way back to your resort where you can siesta through the midday heat or relax at the pool. Alternatively guests can 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 4 - BENGUERRA ISLAND RIDE (3 hours riding depending on tide)

An early start is imperative - from town a motorized dhow will whisk you through the Bazaruto National Park to Benguerra Island. A tasty packed breakfast is served on board while you take in the sea views and look for dolphins, turtles and rays. The island consists of massive sand dunes, freshwater lakes and white sandy beaches which make for a breath-taking 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. For those not keen on the water, you can relax or take a long walk on the beach. Return to Vilankulo as the sun sets over the ocean to enjoy dinner at a lovely restaurant. This unique experience cannot be captured in pictures or described in words, it is magical.

DAY 5 - FISHING VILLAGE RIDE (2 hours riding & 2 hours lunch/village)

Have a relaxing breakfast and morning swim before our ride begins at 11.30 am. This wonderful ride takes us through coconut plantations along the beach to Enrique's Fishing Village. The local chief, entertains us in true Mozambican style; setting up a table for us with traditional food. We start off with a refreshing coconut drink and are shown how to eat fresh crab and taste Matapa, a traditional Mozambique dish made from cassava leaves, nuts and coconut milk. After lunch we continue our ride 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 we will drive into town and have dinner at one of the many restaurants.

DAY 6 - BEACH & BUSH RIDE (3 to 4 hours riding)

A hearty breakfast will be served at your restaurant - today’s ride is a favourite 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.

DAY 7 - RED DUNE RIDE, NORTH BEACH (3 to 4 hours riding)

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 specialities. 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 savour and toast your last night.

DAY 8 - FAREWELL RIDE & SWIM

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast, before a short morning farewell ride up the coastline. The views over the bay and long stretches of unspoiled beach will be a memory that you never forget. We finish off your safari with our world renowned swim - to see horses wallowing and rolling in the sea is a once in a lifetime opportunity and truly magical experience. Riders are mesmerized by the grace, power and movement of these magnificent animals swimming. Bring your camera to capture the moment. Time for one more lunch before you bid farewell to Vilankulo in preparation for your onward journey. Please note that if the tide is out on your final morning, we will do the swim on another day.

Retzlaff Safari – Benguerra Lodge

Guests have the choice to ride as much or as little as they like. Guests are able to ride out anywhere across the island, which comprises of deserted beaches, woodlands, savannahs, and fresh water lakes.

Example – Cian O’Connors Diary of his visit to Ants Collection, South Africa & Benguerra Lodge, Mozambique

The food is typically African and involves a lot of fresh meat, fish and vegetables.

The first day, because there is only a two hour time difference, we went on an afternoon safari as soon as we arrived, but on the second we relaxed with massages on our private deck and a leisurely lunch by the pool.

There’s a wonderful backup team at Ant’s Hill that get everything ready for your safari. They say your business is only as good as your staff, and the Babers can be very happy indeed with the level of service politeness and dedication shown by all their staff members.

The horses are fit and reliable, and you get equipped with comfortable McClellan saddles, based upon the famous US cavalry saddle which was designed for many long hours of riding, and which are made here locally.

There is a uniqueness to going on a safari on horseback that travelling in a Land Rover can never give you. Here you are at one with the wildlife, with nothing separating you from the huge variety of game that trots or canters alongside you, or sometimes just regards you with a baleful eye from the bush – you are never sure if they see you as being one of them, or whether they might want to eat you!

Seriously, though, we came across very little actual danger and with experienced guides leading our party Ruth and I felt very comfortable.

They have horses to suit all levels, but the one they gave me was very fresh – I think they were hoping I would take a tumble, but I didn’t give them the satisfaction!

So what did we see? It was more like what we didn’t see – Cape buffalo, white rhino, Livingstone eland, waterbuck, greater kudu, impala, nyala, bushbuck, red hartebeest, Burchell’s zebra, blue wildebeest, gemsbuck, sable antelope, warthog, leopard, brown hyena, bushpig, steenbuck, mountain rhebuck, duiker, klipspringer, caracal, jackal, porcupine, honey badger, aardvark, and a host of smaller cats and animals. There are also over 300 bird species in the area.

If you’re a family group and some members don’t ride, there are plenty of alternative activities, such as jeep safaris, and safaris on foot.

But both Ruth and I agreed that there is a magic in going on horseback, especially when the crew go ahead and prepare a camp where when you arrive you can watch as the sun goes down and enjoy a ‘sundowner’ drink before being taken back to the lodge in a 4X4.

The horses are put out at night into the game reserve, so that the other animals get used to them and are not frightened when they appear the next day with riders on their backs.

After the wonderful few days at Ant’s Hill, the second leg of our Zara’s Planet holiday took us by air to an island off the coast of Mozambique called Benguerra, where we stayed at the luxurious Benguerra Lodge, and, as promised in the brochure, it is ‘barefoot luxury’ all the way.

This was a very different type of holiday to the safari, insofar as it was pure peace and relaxation. It consisted of the main lodge where the bars and restaurants were, and several casitas (small bungalows) with their own pool and deck right on the beach.

The weather was beautiful, and the water warm. And for me, it was just about lying out in the sun and getting away from the real world for a few days. Ruth was a bit more adventurous and went diving one afternoon, and saw stingray and octopus but though she was looking for whale sharks, none turned up that day.

The hotel also provides horses so that the guests can have a tour of the island. Benguerra has just 260 families, which works out at 1960 people including children, who live just behind the lodges in pretty rudimentary dwellings, although all seemed very happy and pleased to see us.

The main occupations by the locals are fishing and employment in one of the three lodges on the island. Tourism in the lodges also helps with things like funding the small primary school which offers basic schooling for 360 children .

Benguerra Lodge is an idyllic getaway with its white sands and turquoise waters – you can forget about the hustle and bustle back home, and with no TV or radio in the rooms at either of the places where we stayed you actually get to know your other half very well, and rather quickly!

We were thrilled to host Cian on not just one but 2 of our holidays. Thanks Cian for the wonderful write up!
~ Jill & Zara, Zara’s Planet.

Signed - Zara Stassin& Jill Dolan

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Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holidays collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.

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Mozambique Holidays Testimonials

Cian on Benguerra Lodge, Mozambique

Benguerra Lodge is true barefoot luxury, an idyllic getaway with its white sands and turquoise waters, where we were able to chill out and relax, dive, swim with the horses - just perfect!

Cian O’Connor, Ireland International Showjumper & Olympic Bronze Medallist