MOST POPULAR DESTINATIONS

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

BOOK HOLIDAYS

We GUARANTEE you won't find the same horse riding holiday at a lower price through any other source... and if you do, we promise to refund the difference!

from £2,260 or €2,500

Horse Riding Holidays Mozambique – Retzlaff Safari

PRICES & DATES top

Retzlaff Safari: Prices & Dates 2019

SPECIAL: 15% discount during 14 January – 31 March 2019. Please ask.

This ride is suitable for all levels of riders. Non riders can also join.

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

Open all year round

7 Nights – £3,390/€3,760/$4,300

  • Non rider rate – £2,260/€2,500/$2,870

4 Nights – £2,260/€2,500/$2,870

  • Non rider rate – £1,350/€1,500/$1,720

No single supplements (you can have your own room if you wish)

Discounts also available for children under 15 years of age travelling with at least one adult – please enquire.

Includes

  • All riding, meals, all local drinks (soft drinks, spirits, beers and house wines), transfers, airport pick up and drop off, motorised dhow trip to Benguerra Island, laundry, massage/yoga sessions, national park fees and Mozambique Government VAT. In the hotel room, a complementary fruit bowl and gift pack are provided, as well as the fridge being stocked with water and cool drinks.

Excludes

  • Flights, personal travel insurance, visas, any personal spending money and any extra excursions or activities not included in the itinerary.

Getting There
An international flight to Johannesburg. Followed by an internal African flight to Vilanculos.

Transfer
Your hosts will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodations, a short drive.

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.

The stunning town of Vilankulo is world renowned for its variety of white sand beaches, alluring golden sunsets and tall palm trees. The beaches stretch for tens of kilometres allowing riders plenty of opportunities for exhilarating canters and long trots. There are extraordinary views over the Bazaruto Archipelago, red sand dunes to explore and a fascinating fishing village where the local chief will welcome you in the traditional style. Vilankulo also has many interesting markets and there remains a visible Portuguese influence in the restaurants and culture, a result of its past inclusion in the Portuguese Empire.

As well as all this, visitors have the opportunity to travel to Benguerra Island which was declared a National Park in 1971. Guests can ride on different horses also owned by the hosts, travelling through forests and savannahs, around freshwater lakes and past wetland eco-systems. The island is home to around 140 species of bird and fresh water crocodiles and flamingos can be found in the three lakes. The island is also known for its remarkable dive sites.

After a wonderful day’s riding there is nothing better than returning somewhere lovely to relax, to enjoy an exotic cocktail and to eat a delicious meal before watching the sunset from the beach. Accommodation for these holidays is in a lodge located on the beach and it features eighteen chalets and an excellent restaurant and bar. This is the finishing touch to these breathtaking holidays, a little slice of paradise for the horse loving traveller.

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

Accommodation

Accommodation is usually at Vila de Sonhos on the outskirts of Vilankulo.

Vila de Sonhos has impressive rooms with en-suite bathrooms and wide open balconies overlooking the turquoise sea. There is private access to the beach through the gardens and a swimming pool. All guests have their own room within the villa and you are not expected to share with a stranger. Each villa has it’s own chef so breakfast will be served on the verandah.

It is within easy walking distance of the stables and just a short ride from the town centre.

If this resort is full then you will be accommodated in similar resorts in the area.

The lodge restaurant serves delicious food and there is also the chance for some real culinary treats during the rides – Peri-Peri chicken, Matapa (a traditional Mozambican dish made from cassava leaves, nuts and coconut milk), seafood lunches and a refreshing coconut drink. You will also be shown how to eat fresh crab and can of course enjoy the exotic cocktails from the bar in the evenings.

Optional very special upgrade – 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. It’s in the realm of “super special”. Just ask us for a quote.

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 sent International Showjumper ‘Cian O’Connor’ to Benguerra Lodge a few years ago 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.

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: Introduction Day (2 hours riding)

You will be met at Vilankulo Airport by Pat or Mandy, your hosts and guides for the week, and after a short transfer you will settle in to your accommodation at Archipelago Resort. In the afternoon you will meet the horses and riding staff and will be presented with horses to try in the riding school. Once you have been matched to a suitable horse, you will enjoy an introductory beach ride giving you a chance to become familiar with the horses and tack. This is a slower, relaxing ride which incorporates the different eco-systems of the archipelago - wide open beaches, cliff top views, untouched dune bush and the mangrove shoreline. In the evening you will be served a fresh seafood dinner under the stars and overlooking the sea.

Day 2: The Great Lakes (4 hours)

The ride today is inland, following trails which wind between African villages and past the natural fresh water lakes. The birdlife here is wonderful and riders have a good chance of seeing eagles, herons, harriers, rollers, pelicans and kingfishers. You will canter along the bush paths, crossing farmlands and passing by the old ruins of Portuguese homesteads. The riding route brings you onto the beach for the final stretch and you will ride by Chibuene, a key trading post dating back as far as the 7th century. This was used to connect the southern African interior and the Indian Ocean. The ancient dune is now covered in Baobab trees planted centuries ago for their vitamin rich fruit, creme of tartar. Tonight you can relax with a quiet drink by a bonfire and watch as the stars light up the African sky. Dinner will be a mouthwatering Mozambican BBQ.

Day 3: Casa Rex Breakfast Ride and Market Tour (1.5 hours riding)

An early morning ride is scheduled for today and you will follow the beach northwards, passing through the outskirts of town into a wide open bay, home to a myriad of colourful dhows. The ride continues on through the bay and you will canter along the beach, observing as the local fishermen make their way home. The morning ride ends with a delicious buffet breakfast at Casa Rex, Vilankulo's most exclusive resort. After breakfast you will meet a local guide to explore the bustling and vibrant city market - the colourful displays and clamour of noise gives guests an insight into the lives of the local community. Once your tour of the market is over then you will head back to your resort where you can siesta through the peak heat of the day or can simply relax by the pool.

If you prefer then this day can be a free day to enjoy world renowned activities in Vilankulo such as scuba diving, snorkelling, dhow safari, whale watching, kayaking and deep sea fishing (activities at an additional cost). Lunch and dinner will be provided in the resort.

Day 4: Benguerra Island Rides (3 - 4 hours riding, depending on tide)

Today requires an early start - from town you will travel by motorised dhow across the Bazaruto National Park to Benguerra Island where a wonderful day awaits you. A packed breakfast is served on board whilst you admire the sea views and keep watch for dolphins, turtles and rays. Benguerra Island is comprised of massive sand dunes, freshwater lakes and beautiful white sand beaches, all of which combine to create a breathtaking riding area. With a varied eco-system the island is home to an exceptional variety of birdlife and riders often see large flocks of flamingo. After the ride there is a mouth-watering seafood lunch prepared by the boat captain and then you will be guided by sail to Margaruque. Mask, fins and snorkel are provided and you are encouraged to take part in some of the world's finest drift snorkelling along a vertical rock drop off. For those not keen on the water you can simply relax and take a long walk on the impressive beach. The return to Vilankulo is a chance to admire sun set over the ocean before you return to land and eat dinner at a lovely restaurant. This unique day cannot be captured in pictures or by words, it is simply magical.

Day 5: Enrique's Fishing Village Ride (2 hours riding & 2 hours lunch/village)

This morning you can take your time, eating a relaxed breakfast and maybe enjoying a morning swim before the ride starts at 11.30am. This beautiful ride takes you through coconut plantations along the beach to Enrique's Fishing Village. Here you will be entertained by the local chief in true Mozambican style, sitting at the table to sample some traditional foods. You will start with a refreshing coconut drink and are then shown how to eat fresh crab and taste Matapa, a traditional dish made from cassava leaves, nuts and coconut milk. After this wonderful lunch you will continue your ride through the village and towards the 'Fingerprint of God', an incredible viewpoint overlooking the archipelago. This day ride is a superb way to experience traditional African culture. In the evening you will be driven into town for dinner at one of the many restaurants.

Day 6: Bush and Beach Ride (4 - 5 hours riding)

A hearty breakfast will be served at the restaurant before you saddle up for today's ride, a favourite with many guests. The route runs along the old coastal main road which runs parallel to the beach before heading up and wading across a small river estuary. During the route you will pass through small rural villages where children often come to wave at the horses. As the population thins out there are long, safe canters through the coastal bush. After several hours riding you will follow a bush track through the woodlands which heads down to the beach. There are amazing views over the bay and the long, empty beaches offer the opportunity for dreamy canters along the coastline as you head back to the stables. After a long day in the saddle it's time for sundowners and a fine dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 7: Red Dune Ride, North Beach (4 hours riding)

After a delicious breakfast you will be driven over to the stables and will mount up for an exhilarating ride through the outskirts of town and along the deserted beaches to the Red Dunes on North Beach. There are plenty of chances for controlled canters on the beaches before you climb the giant coastal dunes... the incredible panoramic views of the white sandbars and turquoise seas below are a special highlight of this holiday and not easily forgotten. Lunch is services at a beachside restaurant overflowing with seafood specialities. After lunch you will stop at a local arts and crafts centre which supports the local community - there is plenty of time to look around and pick up some souvenirs for friends and family back home. In the late afternoon you can relax by the pool or perhaps take a walk on the beach. Dinner tonight will be served in tranquil settings as the groups toasts to your last night.

Day 8: Farewell Ride & Swim

After a final relaxed breakfast you can take a short morning farewell ride up the coastline. The views over the bay and the long stretches of unspoilt beach will be a memory to last a lifetime. Your safari will be finished off with their world renowned swim - to see horses wallowing and rolling in the sea is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a magical experience. Riders are often completely mesmerised by the grace, power and movement of the animals in the water - don't forget your camera! Time for one final lunch before bidding farewell to new friends and preparing for departure.

If the tide is due to be out on your final morning then the swim will take place on another day.

NB. Please note this itinerary may change depending on the tides and weather conditions in the Bazaruto Archipelago. The ride order might be changed.

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

DESTINATION MAP top

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.

CHECK AVAILABILITY top

Please use the message box below to provide additional and any other relevant information like your riding experience and for how many people.

Also, if the above Holiday describes few different options for your Horse Riding Holiday in the area - please add a note on which choice you are referring to. Thank you.


Current Weather Around Mozambuque
21°
broken clouds
humidity: 58%
wind: 3m/s SE
H 22 • L 21
31°
Mon
24°
Tue
24°
Wed
23°
Thu
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

Mozambique Holidays Testimonials

Roz Hughes on Retzlaff Safari, Mozambique

I have been lucky enough to have been on many riding holidays around the world but none quite as memorable as staying with Retzlaff Horse Safaris. I don't often say this as there are so many new places to visit but I will return.

Roz Hughes from UK