Trip The Equestrian Light Fantastic on The Beaches of Mozambique
Africa, a continent rich in hidden gems, counts among them the intrepid Retzlaff family and their Mozambique Horse Safaris. If you like long walks on the beach under swaying palm trees by a sapphire sea…but really prefer to ride…this holiday is for you. Offering rides ranging from just a few hours walk to days spent travelling on horseback at speed on the sweeping beaches of Vilanculos by the Indian Ocean, Mozambique Horse Safaris tailor the ride to their guest, whether beginner or advanced equestrian. Long gallops on wide beaches, stunning views from the cliffs overlooking Bazaruto Archipelago, swim rides, and safaris on the old coastal road discovering a past influenced by Portuguese settlers - every ride leaves you with a different experience to remember.
The best of holidays can feel like a dream or as if you have inadvertently come to play a part in a wonderful movie, and when you ride with Pat and Mandy Retzlaff of Mozambique Horse Safaris, you get a full dose of both. After all, you are interacting with both the human and equine characters so vividly described in Mandy’s autobiography, 104 Horses, the extraordinary story of their harrowing journey from Zimbabwean farmers to exiles of political unrest.
Only, unlike most political refugees, they fled with not only their children but a herd of hundreds of horses, seeking a new future that would accommodate them all.
This they found on the beaches of Mozambique, and when you go to mount up, you may well find yourself astride a horse made famous by 104 Horses. Perhaps you’ll be riding Texas, a sturdy little grey gelding rescued from a lion farm by the Retzlaffs, now a sure footed and willing partner on fast rides. Or maybe you’ll be treated to a gentle promenade
on the beach by Lady, these days an elderly, dignified mare but once an orphaned foal, while always a favorite of Mandy’s. Whoever you’re riding you can rest assured there is a story to be told, and Pat and Mandy are happy to tell it while introducing you to the herd of horses that have shaped their lives.
In between rides, and for non-riding guests, the beach and nearby mangroves and inland delta offer more adventures. A walk along the ocean reveals impromptu fish markets when the stunning dhows come in from a day of fishing.
Jonathan Retzlaff aka Jay, youngest son of Pat and Mandy, offers morning and sunset canoe trips in the nearby Govuro wetlands, a serene and educational experience as Jonathan shares his passion for the flora and fauna of the delta. Perhaps a day of sailing could interest, and a brightly painted dhow awaits your pleasure. Or maybe it’s just a day at the pool at the exquisitely appointed Sonhos Lodge, where the guests of Mozambique Horse Safaris rest, recuperate, and refresh between rides.
While Mozambique Horse Safaris welcome four riding guests at a time, the manicured grounds of Sonhos Lodge boast three sumptuously appointed villas accommodating up to eight people each.
Fully stocked and equipped, the state of the art kitchens invite guests to feel right at home, while a chef is never far off and the Retzlaff’s are quick to arrange one delicious meal after another at exotic locations. The expansive verandas beckon with a fresh breeze off the ocean and spectacular views. And at the end of a full day, relax with a fine glass of wine as the picturesque dhows sail by in the late evening light, and the African night begins to sing its singular song.
Enter the world of Pat and Mandy Retzlaff of Mozambique Horse Safaris and you’ll step into an as yet unfolding story of lives lived with passion and courage, heart and profound perseverance. Arrive as a guest and leave as a friend, or perhaps, decide to make a bold move of your own and return as a participant in their volunteer program.
Come alone or with friends, for a day or a week, and be assured a stand alone experience along one of the most beautiful coastlines in Africa. You’ll be in extraordinary company, both two legged and four, as you ride the sandy beaches of Mozambique among the characters of a book called simply - 104 Horses.