In 2019 I had the incredible opportunity to work with horses in Mozambique, where I was riding for a horse safari company in Vilanculos. I had the opportunity to train and keep the horses fit in a stunning nature reserve, while staying in magical accommodation right on the remote beach off the coast of Vilanculos in wild Mozambique. Keep reading to learn all about an incredible horse safari company called Mozambique Horse Safaris.
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Riding horses in the Vilanculos area of Mozambique is every horse, beach and wildlife lover’s paradise. On these horse riding holidays you can canter along the beach, swim with horses, enjoy the stunning forests and even ride horses on the famous Benguerra Island. For now, let me tell you about my experience, before letting you know where you can book this incredible horse riding holiday yourself.
Riding here truly makes you aware of how authentic, wild and almost completely untouched the nature of Mozambique is. I had an incredible time exploring the wilds of the place where I was training horses. We often had to take knives with us to cut our way through the closed off bushes as we looked for new paths to explore and hopefully someday lead our guests through. I fell in love with the incredible horses I rode here as we cantered over the beaches together, through the bush and local villages, spotted wildlife in the plains between the forests, and rode through dunes during sunset. We tasted coconuts that we cut out of the trees, and swam in the crystal clear waters that we lived so close to. A horse riding holiday in Mozambique had been my dream for a few years and getting to work here (albeit for a very short time) was a dream come true and I hope to return as soon as possible, but to another trail riding company! Unfortunately the horse riding safari business I used to work for is currently inactive in Mozambique. There is an absolutely incredible alternative though, a family-run safari company that takes fabulous care of all their rescue horses and they are the ultimate leader of horse riding safaris in Mozambique by far.
We tasted coconuts that we cut out of the trees, and swam in the crystal clear waters that we lived so close to.
This inspiring company is run by the equally inspiring Mandy and Pat Retzlaff. They are very well known in the horse community of Africa and worldwide among any lover of the continent and horses. I highly recommend you read Mandy’s book One Hundred & Four Horses, in which she speaks of the hardships and challenges they had to face on their rescue mission from Zimbabwe. Some of you might already know Zimbabwe’s history, but if you don’t I highly recommend reading about it. Zimbabwe has always been a country in which its people faced great difficulties, and in 2001, Robert Mugabe wreaked even more havoc upon its people. The horror that Mandy and her family have had to endure is indescribable for anyone that hasn’t lived through it, and only she can truly express what it felt like. I very highly recommend you read her book. Over time, they took in vast amounts of horses from people that were fleeing Zimbabwe. They eventually were forced to make the choice of moving them to Mozambique. After an insane two full years of getting the horses across the border to Mozambique, they finally succeeded. Only to face more hardships. The horses struggled with their health in the new, humid climate, and with an epidemic of ringworm that spread through the entire herd. Mandy and Pat had lost a great deal of money, the horses had to start earning their keep as soon as their health recovered…
After an insane two full years of getting the horses across the border to Mozambique, they finally succeeded.
Mandy started offering riding lessons and trail rides with the incredible rescue horses. Initially for local Mozambiquans, which was an incredible initiative to provide a program for the handicapped population that was so severely injured during Mozambique’s war. Now, they also offer horse riding holidays in Vilanculos, working holidays, photoshoot and short trail lines along the beautiful coast of this authentic piece of Africa. Their horse riding safaris are truly one of a kind and I cannot wait to finally visit Vilanculos again and visit the inspiring Mandy and Pat for the first time. You can find all the info you need about their volunteer program here.
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