Ride along the Vilanculos coast and on Benguerra Island during this horseback riding holiday in Mozambique. Enjoy long stretches of untouched white sand beaches and magnificent views overlooking the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago.
Experience the unique culture of this country that gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and national peace in 1995. In 2012 Mozambique was considered one of the 50 most peaceful countries in the world, and its coastal culture has been well-developed in the 21 years of strong stability.
Horseback is one of the best ways to experience the Mozambican way of life, particularly on mounts from this well-cared for and trained herd. Every detail is given the necessary attention from your genuinely hospitable hosts, and you will experience the true relaxation and pleasure that comes with a well-planned horseback riding vacation in an exceptionally beautiful part of Africa.
The spirit of fun and adventure runs deep here in the “jewel of the Indian Ocean;” take this chance to enjoy a truly unique African horseback adventure.
You will be based at the Vila de Sonhos, a stunning seaside private lodge. It features impressive rooms, en-suite bathrooms and wide-open balconies overlooking the turquoise sea of the Bazaruto Archipelago. Ancient Baobab trees from centuries before silhouette the blue skies and garden that beholds the chatter of wild birds and monkeys. At the bottom of the garden is private access to the incredible beach below.
Meals are made by a personal chef, with a traditional English breakfast served on the terrace each morning. Mouthwatering barbecues from the poolside are a must as you look out onto golden sandbanks with colorful dhows sailing past.
There are just over 40 horses; 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 the greatest and most treasured assets and are well looked-after.
Arabians and South African Boerperds
Walk, trot, canter, gallop depending on ability
Combination of English saddles, South African McClellan’s and a selection of Australian stock saddles
1.5 hrs riding
Guests are met at Vilankulo Airport by your hosts and guides for the week. After a short transfer from the airport, you’ll be settled 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 the group 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.
The Great Lakes Ride
3 hours riding
Today you 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. Canter along bush paths through African farmlands and past the ruins of old Portuguese homesteads. The old farm roads allow for a fast pace as you continue across country. As usual, on the way home there is plenty of space for long canters on the beach. 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 mouthwatering Mozambican BBQ.
Benguerra Island Ride
3 hours riding (depending on tide)
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 colors 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, Charlotte, will chat 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.
Fishing Village Ride
2 hours riding, 1.5 hours lunch/village
Have a relaxing morning before the 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 colors 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 colorful 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 of and involvement with them in their community.
Beach and Bush Ride
3-4 hours Riding
Today’s ride is a favorite with many of the 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 you 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 you 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 your 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.
Red Dune Ride
3-4 hours riding
After breakfast you’ll be driven 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 you 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.
Swimming Ride and Canoe Trip
1 hour riding, 3.5 hours activity
The 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 the shoreline for approximately 30 minutes until you reach the 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 you 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.
Farewell morning ride
1.5 hours riding
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” with the magnificent viewpoint overlooking the Bazaruto Archipelago. A little further on through dune bush and then it’s time for home cantering along the beach. Time for one more lunch before you bid farewell to Vilankulo in preparation for your onward journey.
This itinerary is flexible and changes may occur at the guide's discretion based on unforeseen circumstances.
Trip Dates & Pricing
Dates are flexible, from 2-7 nights.
Additional Pricing Information:
Ride price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is received.
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Nearly every time we come home from an Equitours ride, we say, "That was the best ride ever." But our latest ride in Mozambique really truly was the best ever. Mandy and Patrick are not just superb horse people, they are charming and engaging people people who share their love of place... Read more