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Mozambique - Retzlaff Beach & Culture Adventure
'One Hundred & Four Horses' - The Story Awaits

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Horse Riding Holidays Mozambique – Retzlaff Safari

 

PRICES & DATES top

Retzlaff Safari: Prices & Dates 2024

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

GBP, £ EUR, € USD, $
Choose your currency

  • 7 Nights$4,439
    • GBP: 3,565
    • EUR: 4,169
  • 5 Nights$3,449
    • GBP: 2,770
    • EUR: 3,239
  • 3 Nights$2,366
    • GBP: 1,900
    • EUR: 2,222

No single supplements but if solo rider booked supplement of $598

  • GBP: 480
  • EUR: 562
for 7 nights and $479
  • GBP: 385
  • EUR: 450
for 5 nights.

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

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

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 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.

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 a luxury beach house which is fully serviced, sleeping up to 6 people with 3 spacious bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

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 – Around 40 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 – 14 stone / 199 lbs / 90 kg. If you are slightly heavier and an experienced rider, we can look to make a plan but will need to know in advance.

Group Size – Maximum 10

ACCOMMODATION top

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.

The 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, you will be accommodated in similar private homes and resorts in the area.

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 a holiday with Mozambique Horse Safari.

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.

Vegetarians are well catered for, there is a wide variety of fresh vegetables and tropical fruits that are sourced locally. There are limitations when it comes to vegan and gluten free diets as they are remotely situated, so it’s important to share dietary information as soon as possible so they have the necessary time to prepare.

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

Please note that the itinerary is a rough guide 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 rides and in which order they are to be made during the week.

Day 1
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 offered a number of horses to try in our riding school and 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.

Day 2
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 across country. As usual on the way home there is plenty of space for long canters on the beach.

Day 3
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.

Day 4
Have a relaxing morning before our lunchtime ride to a local fishing village. From the stables Mandy guides the group 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 Mandy’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.

Day 5
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 you will follow a bush track through dense woodlands that leads us down on to the beach with amazing views over the bay. The long, deserted, safe, sandy beaches offer a chance to experience 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 6
After breakfast we will drive you over to the stables. Your group is soon saddled up, once down on the beach your horse’s ears pick up as she takes in the sounds of chatting fisherman in passing dhows. You gaze out onto a wide-open expanse with turquoise seas and settle in next to Pat, together you canter along the never-ending beach.

The ride takes you on past Vilankulo town back onto the beach, then in the distance across the bay, glimmering red, towering above the shoreline is the resplendent Red Dune. As you reach the base your horse takes the lead, you can feel her exploding strength underfoot surging forward as she ascents to the summit in a powerful canter, her stamina and will far beyond the ordinary. The views are difficult to describe, your breath taken away by the blues seas and silver sandbanks stretching into the distance. Obligatory pictures, dune jumps and you move on back down, cantering on across the beach for a fresh seafood lunch.

After lunch we will stop at a local arts and crafts center that supports the 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

Day 7
Our swimming ride and ocean walk is world famous and 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.

Day 8
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.

Cian O’Connor (Irish Medal Winning Olympic Showjumper)
Diary of his visit to Ants Collection, South Africa &  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.

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