The coasts of the Indian Ocean, the Footprint of God, the Red Dune, and the local culture make a perfect combination to create a unique experience in Africa for every good rider.
On the southeast coast of Africa lies the charming Republic of Mozambique. Given its lengthened shape, it limits with six African countries on south, north, and west (Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, and South Africa). Still, the extraordinary feature is that, on the east, its 2,500-kilometer coast borders with the Indian Ocean. It is an authentic, remote, and, therefore, natural destination, that, due to its scarce tourism, becomes the perfect place to embark on a private and personal adventure.
Our proposal focuses mainly on discovering the virgin beaches and most fantastic corners that its islands hide. Its lands provide a luxurious retreat that can put our animal drive for adventure and our desire to relax together. Following your will find what you will be able to experience in our horseback rides through Mozambique.
A good place to have a first visual impact of Mozambique is Vilankulo, a coastal city at the east of the country. On its coast, vast lands of white sand, golden sunsets, and slender palm trees await us. Its wide beaches stretch along dozens of kilometers, providing a perfect opportunity to gallop happily and go on long trots with our horses. Towards the north of Vilankulo, we will find the exuberant Govulo River, a waterway dotted with innumerable water lilies in which we will navigate by canoe.
Additionally, this city is the gateway to the spectacular Bazaruto National Park, a marine park which aim is to protect the aquatic ecosystem of the archipelago in which such park is located. In fact, the main attraction of this country can be located precisely in the Archipelago from Bazaruto. Composed of the islands of Bazaruto, Santa Carolina, Bangue, Shell, Benguerra and Magaruque, this place configures a unique Caribbean paradise. The exclusivity of its islands makes it a purely natural and solitary environment. In fact, given that lodges throughout its lands are scare and not very luxurious, apart from being limited in capacity and very costly, allow us to have a more intimate and relaxed experience [to find more about accommodation, please see Types of Accommodation during a Horseback Safari.
One of the most fascinating coasts is found in the Benguerra Island. Declared a National Park in 1971, this is the second biggest island of the archipelago. While we sail towards it, we will get the chance to take in the paradise we are about to arrive to. We will navigate on fishing dhows, traditional vessels with weather vanes that let themselves be carried away by the mood of the sea and enjoy the different landscapes that open before our eyes. Above us, the blue and clear sky. Towards the horizon, on the one side, the vast coastline, on the other side, the pristine beaches. Below us, the best landscape: marine animals in all their splendour, interacting and swimming through the coral reefs that decorate these turquoise waters in which beams of light penetrate, reaching the bottoms of the sea.
The Magaruque Island offers another coast worth visiting. Here, we will be able to have a plentiful and traditional lunch, and then go for a walk along its extensive and uninhabited portions of silky land. The only obstacles we will encounter will be a rock, a mat made of snails, or a rope that secures a nearby fishing boat. As for everything else, we are alone in the immensity of this paradise that surrounds us with its warm breeze.
Now, if we go deep into the landscapes that surround the coasts, we will reach unequalled places, one of them being the incredible Red Dune in the Benguerra Island. With twenty meters high and covered with thin layers of reddish sand, this dune prevails over the delicacy of silver sandbanks and the celestial blanket that does not dare to cover them thoroughly. We should say this: horseback riding over the dunes is an experience some riders are crazy about, such as the horseback safari on the Namib Desert. The highest point of the Red Dune is an ideal site to contemplate the insular panorama around us. Who are we, simple mortal, to feel omnipotent and eternal from up there? No wonder this viewpoint is called the “Footprint of God”.
As described before, the Mozambique’s appeal lies on its coasts and idyllic islands. Still, even if the colours and texture of its beaches are enough reason to be mesmerized, its waters and sands are not all it has to offer.
Inland, there are trails that surround rural African villages and bush roads that pass through farmland, sustainable farms, and especially sumptuous coconut plantations. In particular, Benguerra Island has forests, savannahs, lakes, and wetland ecosystems that support a great diversity in both fauna and flora. Of course, we cannot forget the rare Red Dune (which you will not be able to forget once you have been there). There are also areas where we will find those ancient baobabs which tall crowns rise as clouds in the endless blue skies, and whose visual impact makes them appealing and interesting for people all over the world. If you are one of those people, the best Botswana Horseback Safari also awaits you, The Ancient Botswana.
In contrast, as we approach the shore, the glimmer of its colours can dazzle us. There, we will find beaches of white sand all around us, which soft appearance can be compared with flour. They are decorated by coastal scrub, palm trees, mangrove areas and, under water, thriving coral reefs. All these guarded and enhanced by the translucent turquoise tones from the Indian Ocean.
As regards the fauna, the Bazaruro archipelago houses a diverse population of land and water creatures. Wildlife on the island includes monkeys, small antelope suni, crocodiles, and an excellent variety of birds such as the rown-headed parrot, the African hoopoe, the green pigeon, the pelican, the eagle and some bee-eating species. On the other hand, there are aquatic birds that visit the lakes inside the islands, among which we can mention flamingoes. The pink tone of these flocks stand out in the sky due to their elegance amid the mild colours of the landscapes. Without a doubt, an amazing spectacle.
In turn, the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean that bathe the coasts of Mozambique houses dolphins, turtles, and manta rays, away from the shore, humpback whales roam, various species of sharks and more than 2,000 species of fish nibble in the vibrant coral gardens. Additionally, this region is home to the largest population of the nearly extinct dugong, a huge manatee-like marine animal.
You enjoy the landscapes but you learn from culture. That is why every destination in Africa entails a complete journey, one that integrates both aspects. Mozambique, like many others, is a relatively new country as far as its independence is concerned. This country in particular used to be a Portuguese colony, therefore, its customs, constructions and gastronomy are soaked by a Portuguese influence.
All along Vilankulo’s beaches, in the region of Managlise, we can visit and get to meet a fascinating town of fishers. There, we can submerge ourselves into their routine for a little while, sharing their traditional dishes among laughter and dances. The simplicity of its inhabitants will teach us that we do not need much to live well and be happy. Without urban centres or big markets, this community lives from fishing, a job that is done both during day and night.
Riding your horse along the coasts of Mozambique is an experience for the senses. It is about seeing, but mostly feeling. Feeling the warm wind caressing your cheeks, listening to the sounds of the waves breaking on the shores we skirt and enjoying the rhythm the pace of our horses make while they take us not only to new places but to new states of fullness.
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