Horses, Dhows and Ocean, Vilankulo”

A straw hat, always in fashion, Vilankulo, Mozambique

A straw hat, always in fashion, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Heading north along the N1, the road curved inland to a dryer environment. Pretty soon, palm trees were replaced by southern Africa’s most intriguing tree, the Baobab tree.

The magic Baobab tree, Vilankulo, Mozambique

The magic Baobab tree, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Good memories came up again from my visit to Madagascar. Pink Floyd was cranking through my stereo when I got pulled over for speeding. Clearly, I wasn’t paying attention, but this maze of signs isn’t easy to follow. The police officer was extremely friendly, chatting whilst filling out paperwork.

Baobab tree sun shadow, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Baobab tree sun shadow, Vilankulo, Mozambique

I took the opportunity for a few photos of Baobab trees. So cool. 

‘Dona Soraya’ reception and restaurant, Vilankulo, Mozambique

‘Dona Soraya’ reception and restaurant, Vilankulo, Mozambique

I was camping at ‘Dona Soraya’ resort/campground, around 10 km’s further south of Vilankulo city.

Palmy overview, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Palmy overview, Vilankulo, Mozambique

A little bit elevated from the beach, one gets a good view over the bay towards the nearby islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago. Soraya herself was the first professional black ballet dancer some years back. Swiss partner Peter helped to build this tranquil accommodation with usual African difficulties.

Baobab sunrise, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Baobab sunrise, Vilankulo, Mozambique

I got up for sunrise next morning, another glorious day.

Early morning glory, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Early morning glory, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Calm waters over clear waters and deserted beaches.

Tranquil beach, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Tranquil beach, Vilankulo, Mozambique

A few locals walked the low waters.

Baobab and palms, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Baobab and palms, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Baobab trees lined up with palm trees along the shore, what a place!

Baobab and palms, Black and white, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Baobab and palms, Black and white, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Simply stunning. Next door neighbours Mandy and Patrick have a horse farm, offering outings on horseback to and along the beach.

Painted picture, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Painted picture, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Who wouldn’t want to do that? Riding along a remote beach, passing dhows and palm trees, overlooking clear waters to distant islands? Peter took me over to the stables and introduced me to staff.

Hungry Horse, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Hungry Horse, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Some horses were tied on running lines to exercise and feed on hay.

The last straw, Vilankulo, Mozambique

The last straw, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Some healthy and pretty horses, as far as I can tell.

Black and white horse, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Black and white horse, Vilankulo, Mozambique

One stallion was quite interested in a newly arrived mare. If he could, he would have whistled.

Excited Stallion, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Excited Stallion, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Mandy and Patrick used to have this horse farm in Zimbabwe. Things changed quickly after Mugabe’s military regime took over. Their farm was one of the first farms to be violently attacked. They escaped in hairy conditions, taking 140 horses with them over the border to Mozambique. A published book (140 horses) about the whole expedition explains all circumstances and situations. Quite a scary thought. Things can change quickly here in Africa.

Ready to ride, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Ready to ride, Vilankulo, Mozambique

An English couple on honeymoon booked a ride on the beach side, and I was able to trot along on a white stallion called Texas.

Ernaldo and Texas, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Ernaldo and Texas, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Ernaldo was our handling guide, as I hadn’t been on a horse for 40 Years.

Horse shadows, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Horse shadows, Vilankulo, Mozambique

He also carried my OM-D to keep it safe, just in case things go ‘giddy up’. Yeeehhaa.

Zoe enjoying the beach, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Zoe enjoying the beach, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Zoe from California was looking after the English couple,

Horse and rider reflections, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Horse and rider reflections, Vilankulo, Mozambique

whilst Svenja from Norway was my guide.  Taking photos on a horse sure isn’t easy.

Serenity beach, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Serenity beach, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Movement and turning in to the right angle and exact position was challenging. Weather conditions weren’t great either as it was too sunny in the west and dark and grey clouds were looming southeast.

Black and white riding on the beach, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Black and white riding on the beach, Vilankulo, Mozambique

I fell behind quickly as I was quite busy taking photos of, and with my young Norwegian guide. Dhows, beach, and horses!

Tropical adventure, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Tropical adventure, Vilankulo, Mozambique

What a combination.

Guess who?, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Guess who?, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Svenja took a few shots of me as well.

Zoe trotting along, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Zoe trotting along, Vilankulo, Mozambique

We had a couple of gallops, or in my case trotting sessions along the beach. Wearing crocs might not have been the best option. But it sure was fun. We rode up inland through the thick bush for a while, before returning back to the beach.

Riding through the ocean, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Riding through the ocean, Vilankulo, Mozambique

These horses really like water, don’t mind the salt.  A great outing with lots of laughter and chatting.

Kids riding school, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Kids riding school, Vilankulo, Mozambique

The really outstanding thing about this horse farm is, that they teach young kids on horses.

Hands out, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Hands out, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Riding without a saddle, instructing Mandy gave the kids several tasks. Boxing, diving, hip swings,

Flat out, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Flat out, Vilankulo, Mozambique

laying on the horse, touching the backside or

Riding backwards, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Riding backward, Vilankulo, Mozambique

riding backward. Really nice to watch the smile on most kids,

Not quiete sure? Vilankulo, Mozambique

Not quite sure? Vilankulo, Mozambique

some were a bit uncertain.

http://www.mozambiquehorsesafari.com

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