Summiting The Red Dune

14 Sep, 2015

Imagine cantering a beautiful horse down an endless beach peppered with colourful wooden boats, flocks of herons, occasional waving fisherfolk, two haughty camels and absolutely nothing else. Our guide, Pat Retzlaff indicated a boat and a peninsula almost too far away for my myopic sight to focus upon, “canter until there or beyond or until you are tired.” It is this sense of freedom that makes Mozambique Horse Safaris a unique experience. Gorgeous horses in superb condition that are perfectly schooled, at once ready to go but easy to stop. You can canter alone or in groups or slow to an amble and drink in the view, the choices are all yours. And you will want to gulp and sigh and hydrate your senses with the dreamy unspoilt beauty. Shades of shallow waters, cloudless skies and pearlised sand allow a play on colour that is way beyond the Pantone book of possibility. From time to time, we regroup for a section of this beach adventure and eventually that looming Red Dune comes into clear focus. After a quick discussion as to what to expect – the pathway to ascend the dune is narrow at first, the horses will canter to conserve energy, head off one by one – and suddenly our horses are sand ploughing through deep, powder sand the colour of saffron. That amazing feeling where all six hundred kilograms of horseflesh is working at full power yet you move as if in slow motion. In a few exhilarating minutes you have summited the mighty Red Dune of Vilanculo Bay. Now is the time to dismount, give your (barely puffing) mount a rest and bounce around the top of the dune in an adrenalin-high delivered complements of this remarkable ride and the astounding vistas. Those crazy shades of blue are now offset by the reds of the sand and the dizzying height allows even more far-reaching panoramas. The dune descent is taken slowly and so easily that I felt as if my horse had balance wheels like one of those beginner’s bicycles. By now the tide had changed creating puddles to splash through at a steady canter. The group went along at varying paces allowing time to chat or move at quicker gaits. An afternoon wind showed up and our end point was alive with colourful kite surfers shooting the breeze. After nearly four hours, our expedition to the Dune was over too quickly and it was time for lunch for both horses and humans. Hugs and thanks were given to our new equine friends who had their ears pricked in anticipation of tasty nosebags of treats. Very soon we were nose down in the trough too. Gulping 2M, the delicious local beer, quaffing vino verde and being treated to a seafood spread. These cowboys and girls had cantered up a hunger that was well satisfied by the team at Samara Beach Restaurant.
Top tips:
Book through www.mozambiquehorsesafari.com who can arrange everything from accommodation to transfers.
Read Mandy Retzlaff’s book “104 Horses”. At Mozambique Horse Safaris, you will meet the horse and human heroes of this incredible story.
The Red Dune Ride is just one of many possible rides. Even if you have never ridden, book a beginners beach ride for an experience of a lifetime.
Samara Restaurant on the beach serves an array of delectable and super-fresh seafood at outstanding value.
Don’t miss this unique equine experience.

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