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5 Days African Paradise Horse Riding Holiday in Vilanculos, Mozambique

Vila De Sonhos, Chibuene, Vilankulo, Vilankulo District, Inhambane Province, Mozambique

Adventurous Horse Riding Holiday Mozambique

Join Pat and Mandy Retzlaff on a safari that will give you a very personal and unforgettable experience. The Retzlaff family will share epic adventures with you where the legends of the rescued horses of Mozambique come to life. This riding safari will give you an unimaginable experience and before long, you will be hooked on Africa and its way of life. Here, your eyes will open to a different world as you gallop along the beaches on a sprightly grey, swim in turquoise seas, and share in the unbreakable bond between a man and a horse. Come and enjoy a venturesome holiday in the paradise of Africa!

Meet the instructors

Pat & Mandy
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  • 5 days' horse riding sessions
  • Approximate daily riding time: 2 - 4 hours
  • Riding to Benguerra Island and Red Dune on North Beach
  • Morning farewell ride and swimming with the horses
  • Exciting deserted beach and coastal bush ride
  • Hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • Fruit bowl, cool drinks, and gift pack
  • 4 nights' accommodation


4 days with instruction
Airport transfer included: Vilankulo Airport
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Vila De Sonhos

Vila de Sonhos is a stunning seaside lodge with impressive rooms, en-suite bathrooms, and wide-open balconies that overlook 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, an exclusive home and perfect setting for your African adventure.

Archipelago Resort

Archipelago Resort is at the heart of Chibuene with its charming timber chalets and stunning views of the Bazaruto Archipelago. Each villa has a large double bedroom, fully equipped kitchen, and additional bedrooms all with ensuite showers. The focal point of the resort is the spectacular swimming pool with breathtaking view of the islands and the palm-fringed beach below. As the sun goes down, you can enjoy walks along the beach, cocktails at the bar, or scrumptious seafood at the restaurant. The friendly atmosphere and African hospitality will make your stay unforgettable.

Please note that if Vila De Sonhos and Archipelago Resort are full, Lifetime Experience will look to accommodate you in similar private homes and resorts in the area. In the hotel rooms, Lifetime Experience provides a fruit bowl, gift pack, and stock the fridge with water and cool drinks.


Day 1: Introductory ride

You will be met at Vilankulo Airport (VNX) by either Pat or Mandy Retzlaff, your hosts and guides for the week. After a short transfer from the airport, Pat or Mandy will settle you into your lodging. 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 Lifetime Experience's riding school.

Once you feel comfortable, Lifetime Experience 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 ecosystems 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.

  • Time on the saddle: 2 hours

Day 2: Benguerra Island ride

An early start is imperative. From the town, a motorized dhow will whisk you through the Bazaruto National Park to Benguerra Island. A tasty packed breakfast will be 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 breathtaking ride. The varied ecosystem offers exceptional birding with large flocks of flamingo often seen.

After your ride, a mouthwatering seafood lunch prepared by the boat captain will be served on board as you island hop by sail to Margaruque. Mask, fins, and snorkels will be provided and you are encouraged to enjoy some of the world’s finest drift snorkeling along a vertical rock drop off. For those not keen on the water, you can relax or take a long walk on the beach. You will 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.

  • Time on the saddle: 3 - 4 hours depending on the tide

Day 3: Beach and bush ride

A hearty breakfast will be served at your restaurant. Today’s ride is a favorite with many of Lifetime Experience's 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 the coastal bush. After several hours in the saddle, a bush track through woodlands will lead 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 will be a chance for sundowners and a fine dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Time on the saddle: 3 - 4 hours

Day 4: Red Dune on North Beach ride

After a delicious breakfast. Lifetime Experience will drive you over to the stables, mount up, and set off on an exhilarating ride through the outskirts of town and along deserted sandy 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, you will stop at a local arts and crafts center that supports the local community. There will be plenty of time to explore and get some souvenirs for friends and family back home. You may 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.

  • Time on the saddle: 3 - 4 hours

Day 5: Farewell ride and swim

You will enjoy a relaxed breakfast before a short morning farewell ride up the coastline. The views over the bay and long stretches of the unspoiled beach will be a memory that you never forget. You will finish off your safari with Lifetime Experience's world-renowned swim. To see horses wallowing and rolling in the sea will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and truly magical experience.

You will be mesmerized by the grace, power, and movement of these magnificent animals swimming. You can bring your camera to capture the moment. After swimming, it will be 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, you will do the swim on another day.

Note: 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.


Pat Retzlaff

Mandy Retzlaff


This horse riding holiday will take place in Mozambique. Mozambique horseback riding safari is a very personal experience. The great food, personal service, and wonderful horse riding made this a very special place.


You will be served breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. During your stay at Vila De Sonhos, the meals are prepared by a personal chef with a traditional English breakfast being served on the terrace each morning. Mouthwatering barbecues from the poolside are a must as you look out onto the golden sandbanks with colorful dhows sailing past.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Exploring and shopping at a local arts and crafts center
  • Snorkeling in Magaruque Island

What's included

  • Introductory ride
  • Benguerra Island ride
  • Beach and bush ride
  • Red Dune ride
  • A short morning farewell ride up the coastline
  • Swimming with the horses in the sea
  • Motorized dhow and other transfers
  • Pick up and drop off from and to Vilankulo Airport (VNX)
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • Fruit bowl and cool drinks
  • 4 nights' accommodation
  • National park fees and Mozambique Government VAT
  • Gift pack

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Any extra excursions or activities not included in the itinerary
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Any drinks bought at a restaurant or bar
  • Any personal spending money

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Vilankulo Airport (VNX). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Lifetime Experience will pick you up from the airport.

Most major international airlines fly into Johannesburg, South Africa, and several large airlines now fly directly into Maputo, Mozambique. There are daily direct flights to Vilankulo with SA Airlink and LAM from Johannesburg or Maputo. Flights usually depart on mid to late morning and arrive in Vilankulo just after midday. Return flights from Vilankulo depart in the early afternoon. Additionally, SA Airlink now links the Kruger National Park with the horse riding of Mozambique with connecting flights coming from Nelspruit.

Airport: Vilankulo Airport Airport transfer included: Vilankulo Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

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