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dolphin retreats

Truessence offers facilitated holistic tours within Mozambique from the Kosi Bay border to swim with the amazing dolphins of Ponta D’Ouro. Wild, free and on their terms. We work closely with the facility in Ponta D’Ouro and enjoy a close professional relationship enabling us to provide you with a life changing experience.

The dolphins swim with us because they want to, not because they have been trained or fed to do so. They are free and wild as it should be. There are no gimmicks here, you are in their domain and if they choose to, you could be close up with one of the most intelligent beings you’ll ever meet.

It is my greatest joy to experience the absolute delight of the people who have come away with us when they encounter dolphins for the first time. They are touched so deeply by the experience and it moves them in ways that are indescribable.

It is my honour and privilege to be able to offer you the chance to see and swim with wild dolphins, on their terms, in an enchanting environment. We offer holistic healing practices, such as meditations and the awesome Dolphin Breathing Technique inspired by the dolphins. We also educate and inspire people to look after our precious environment and the ocean so we can all enjoy the gifts she yields for years to come.

Come along and join us, you may even find that part of your essence is dolphin too.

Dolphin-front-approach
Upcoming Retreats

There are no upcoming retreats right now, please check back later. Alternatively you can book a private retreat – Contact Us for details

We book our dates out of season to ensure a quiet relaxed stay.

Please see the Terms and Conditions section for booking details.

Click on the tabs below for more information on our dolphin retreats

Retreat Itinerary

This is what we typically have lined up just for you …

Day 1

Self drive to the Kosi Bay border. We’ll collect you at the border at 11am and transport you to our accommodation for the week in a luxury home in Malongane. You’ll be fitted with snorkeling gear and enjoy a snorkeling course with a professional instructor. A decadent dinner will be served at the house.

Day 2

Bright and early we’ll go out on the big blue* to find the dolphins. Brunch is served after the launch. Michelle will take you through an opening blessing ceremony and meditation. A talk will occur in the afternoon. Dinner is served at the house.

Day 3

Join us for an early launch* to swim with the magical dolphins. Brunch is served at the house. Join Michelle for guided meditations and a lesson on breathing the dolphin way. In the afternoon, Michelle will do a presentation. This will be followed a delicious dinner.

Day 4

Another glorious morning to go find* our dolphin friends which is followed by a delicious brunch served at the house. Join Michelle for guided meditation and presentations. Dinner is served at the house.

Day 5

Join us for an early morning launch* to swim with the majestic dolphins. Brunch is served at the house. Join Michelle for a beach walk and clean up. In the afternoon a final meditation will be held. Our final dinner will be enjoyed in the house overlooking the view.

Day 6

Optional launch* to swim with the dolphins for your account. Our final brunch is served at the house over looking the bay. Make your way home after a retreat that will live in your memories for all time

* launches are weather permitting.
Please note that tours are subject to a minimum of 6 and maximum of 8 people.

What to Bring

This is a guideline for you and is not obligatory.

Clothing: 

  • Shorts, t-shirts, sarongs, summer dresses
  • Sandals and closed toe shoes for evening
  • Long sleeved shirts and pants for evening
  • Jacket, jersey or windbreaker in case it gets chilly. It’s advised to bring a blanket or pashmina if you get especially cold at night.
  • Windbreaker, anorak or dry mac for the boat if it is windy. This is essential if you feel the cold, and please leave your fashion gear at home as it will get wet and salty. Bring something old and warm to snuggle into after an invigorating swim.
  • Swimming costume and towel
  • LADIES – There is no graceful way to get into the boat, so please bring along some broadshorts, long shorts, or lycra leggings to wear to preserve your dignity, and ensure your swimming costume fits well.

Other items:

  • Hat, sunglasses and sun block
  • Beach umbrella/gazebo if you want shade on the beach
  • Toiletries
  • Slops for the showers
  • Insect and mosquito repellent
  • Motion sickness tablets if you need them. Contact your GP.
  • Torch – remember the batteries
  • Camera, charger, spare battery and memory cards
  • Bottled water and juices / soft drinks. Tea, coffee, milk and sugar.
  • Sweets, fruit, biscuits and snacks for yourself. Only brunch and dinner is catered for.
  • Black bags for your luggage. When traveling from the border to the camp your luggage will be in an open trailer. If it is raining please place your luggage in the bags to keep your clothing dry.

Most Important: 

  • Cash
  • Passport and Visa if required (Non-SA passport holders)
  • Malaria precautions. Contact your GP.
Important Bits
  • Your passport is your responsibility.
  • Please make sure it is valid for 6 months and has two unstamped pages available.
  • Detailed directions to the border are on this site. Please allow between 8-9 hours for your journey due to occasional roadworks.
  • There are toll roads along the route, so please carry cash or a travel card with you. Budget on approximately R100 for tolls.
  • Visas are required for non South African passport holders. Please contact the Mozambican consulate for assistance. Visas cannot be obtained at the border.
  • There is a safe shade cloth covered parking area to leave your vehicle at the border. This parking area is under 24 hour police watch. The cost for parking is R30 per vehicle per night. You pay the watchman when you leave.
  • If you wish to drive yourself to the house from the border a 4×4 vehicle is required. This at your own risk. Please note that you 
will need a certified copy of your vehicles registration papers, 
a certified copy of a letter from your insurance company giving 
you permission to take the vehicle out of the country and R160
for the border tax.
  • Please note: Your luggage will be transferred from the border to the town in an open trailer. Please bring along some black bags to place your luggage in, in the event of rain, to ensure your belongings remain dry and undamaged. Alcohol carries an import tax (a list will be provided on request).
  • In the event of bad weather and we cannot launch the boat, we will try to reschedule. Launches missed are not refundable.
  • You do not need travelers cheques or Mozambican currency – Meticais. South African Rands are the only currency accepted.
  • There are only a few credit card facilities in Ponta D’Ouro at some of the restaurants. Cheques are not accepted.
  • Fins, mask and snorkel are supplied. Please take care of them. You are welcome to bring your own gear if you prefer.
  • Swimsuits are required on the boat. You can wear a 2mm wetsuit, lycra suit, shorts, t-shirt, anorak or dry mac for extra warmth and protection if you require. Weight belts are not allowed on the boat.
  • Ladies please note that there is no graceful way to get onto the boat, so in order to preserve your diginity, wear a well fitting costume and long broadshorts or leggings.
  • There are a few shops, cafes and curio stalls in the small village, so bring extra money if you wish to explore.
  • Diving can be arranged for you, if you wish, when you get to the camp. Simply let us know and we’ll arrange it for you.
  • International roaming does apply beyond the border. If you wish to stay in contact please ensure you have roaming setup on your phone. Turn off your cellular data roaming as it can be very pricey and there is little to no signal in Ponta Malongane. There is wifi available at reception within the eco-estate for a fee, which you can arrange with them when you arrive at the house.
  • Ponta Malongane does fall within the malaria belt. It is recommended that you take the necessary precautions to avoid being bitten. Bring along Peaceful Sleep and coils to burn. Cover your arms and legs in the early evening, as this is when the mosquitos are most active. Mosquito nets are supplied in the rooms.
 You can take prophylatics such as Daramal and Paludrine, 
Doxycycline or herbal and homeopathic preparations. Please 
speak to your doctor or homeopath for assistance. This is merely a recommendation, you are responsible for your own mosquito preventative measures and medication.
Rates & Accommodation

The rates for our next magical experience are…

Cost per adult sharing : R9 350.00

Cost per single supplement : R10 350.00

Cost per child under 12 years old : R8 850.00

 

Accommodation: 

  • Luxury 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom beach house in Ponta Malongane.
  • Lounge, dining area, pool, pagoda, boma and deck.
  • The house is fully serviced and is situated within an eco-estate.
  • 4 of the 5 bedrooms are en-suite.
  • Single and king beds available

 

Included in your retreat is:

  • Facilitation by Michelle and Arnie of Ocean’s Essence.
  • Border transfers in a 4×4 to and from the Kosi Bay border, plus daily transfers to the boat launch area.
  • 5 nights in a single or double room sharing, with en-suite bathroom and bath towels supplied.
  • Full use of the house and swimming pool. The house is serviced daily.
  • 5x three course dinners and 5x two course brunches. Vegetarians and special diets are catered for.
  • 4 boat launches and facilitated swims with the wild dolphins – launches are weather permitting.
  • Snorkeling workshop and in-water swim facilitation with an experienced professional.
  • Use of a set of fins, mask and snorkel fitted for your comfort, for the duration of the retreat.
  • Pre-Launch briefing, which includes boat safety, marine life, responsible dolphin interactions and code of conduct.
  • Holistic learning and experiential modalities with Michelle
  • Educational and interesting presentations by Michelle from Ocean’s Essence and Leah from The Dolphin Centre
  • Unlimited tea or coffee in the beach house.

Excluded in your retreat is:

  • Transport and toll road fees to the border and back home.
  • The trip is self drive and takes approximately 8/9 hours from Johannesburg and 5/6 hours from Durban.
  • If you are a non-South African passport holder you require a visa. Please contact the consulate in your area for assistance. Visas cannot be purchased at the border.
  • Car park in secure lock up at R30 a day. Contact us for details and information should you wish to bring your vehicle across the border.
  • Drinks – please bring your own bottled water, soft drinks, juices, alcohol, fancy mixes as well as any tea/coffee and milk that you prefer.
  • Snacks that you may need. Two meals are provided daily, so if you feel that you will still be hungry please bring along fruit and any snacks required. A few small restaurants are available in the small town of you wish to eat out.
  • Snorkels, masks and fins are supplied, but should you lose them you’ll be expected to pay a replacement fee.
  • Beach towels, please bring your own.
  • Personal items, toiletries, medications, reading material and spending money (Cash is King in Mozambique). Please note that where we are going there are no supermarkets, banks, pharmacies etc, you need to bring what you may need.
  • Additional transport to the launch area and boat launches to find and swim with the dolphins at R490 per person, per launch over and above those included in the retreat.
  • There is no Wi-Fi in the house and international roaming rates do apply. If you want to stay in touch please ensure your phones are active for roaming and be aware that the call fees are quite high.
Directions

From Johannesburg

Distance one way is approximately 660kms based on your starting point. Due to roadworks please give yourself 8-9 hours for the journey, or split it over two days for comfort.

  • Follow the N3 Durban highway towards Springs.
  • At the split follow the N17 Springs tollroad. The road can be misty, so be careful.
  • Continue on the N17 past Carnival City. Go through the Carnival City Toll Plaza. Follow the SECUNDA signs. Just stay on the N17 and pass the Standerton and Leandra off ramps.
  • 67kms after Carnival City you’ll come to the Leandra toll plaza. 
Follow the N17 signs, please be careful here as the road can be foggy.
  • 40kms on you’ll come to the TRICHARDT Toll Plaza. Continue on the N17.
  • Follow the N17 signs until you reach BETHAL.
  • Once you reach BETHAL, drive through the town. Follow the ERMELO signs at all times. Go straight. There is a clean Total Garage with decent toilets (R1 for use) along this route. Just continue straight along this road and follow the ERMELO signs.
  • You have now traveled 176kms. It is 60kms to ERMELO.
Follow the ERMELO signs.
  • You’ll go through the ERMELO toll plaza.
  • Once you reach ERMELO, go straight through the town, 
over 5 robots. At the stone building, which is a FIRST NATIONAL BANK on Kerk Street, turn right. Keep going straight along that road. There is a Barcelos Pitstop all night station along this road for refueling, clean toilets and coffee. At the third set of robots, at the Engen garage, take the slip road to the left. There is a Wimpy and Ocean Basket in this centre. There is a McDonalds on the right if you prefer to stop here.
  • Continue along this road to PIET RETIEF.

It is approximately 102kms to PIET RETIEF.
  • Once you reach PIET RETIEF, you are half way. There is a decent Sasol Garage just before the town that has a shop, toilets and a Spur. If you prefer, inside the town there is an Engen 1 stop Garage, shop, toilets and Wimpy.
Travel straight through the town of PIET RETIEF.
Follow the signs to PONGOLA.

It is approximately 90kms to PONGOLA.
  • Once you reach PONGOLA, go straight through the town. This will be the last chance for a toilet stop or food before Manguzi. The Engen shop, Wimpy and toilets are quite clean and the food is good. There is also a decent KFC and Shell garage on this route. On the right hand side you’ll pass a Caltex with a Steers and Fishaways. You are now on the road to JOZINI.
  • You will pass a sign saying Golela Border Post, just keep on straight.
Approximately 55kms outside of PONGOLA you will see a sign to JOZINI.
Take the turn off to the left and travel to JOZINI. 
Be careful here as the turn is very sharp.
It’s approximately 30kms to the town.
  • Once you arrive in JOZINI, drive through the busy town, be careful 
of pedestrians. After the KFC, you’ll see a BP garage in the Spar Centre on your right which has toilets which require R1 for use. They are quite reasonable. 

You will see that the road splits in two. Take the split to the LEFT towards the dam, and NOT right towards Kosi Bay. Travel along the dam wall and then onwards for approximately 35kms until you get to a T-junction.

Please drive carefully as people, chickens, goats and cows frequently cross and walk along this road. This road is often pocked with potholes, so be extra careful. At the T-junction turn right. You are now on the road to MANGUZI. This road is often potholed and there are usually some roadworks along this route. 

It is approximately 75kms to MANGUZI.
At the traffic circle go straight towards KwaNgwanase / Farazela border post on the R22.
  • Once you get to MANGUZI, be careful as there are speed bumps 
on the road. Travel straight through the town of MANGUZI. If you need to stop there is a Total Garage with a shop and Steers for a takeaway. The loos here are very clean, but there is a R2 coin fee to use them.
You will see a sign saying Farazela Border Post, that is where you are heading. This is the KOSI BAY border.

Continue straight along this road for approximately 30kms.
  • 60 metres before the border, you will see a carpark on your left. 
That is where you will leave your car under cover during your stay.
Travel to the border, drop off your belongings, there are security guards 
to keep an eye on them, turn around and travel back to the carpark. 
Park you car undercover for the fee of R30 a day.
You can arrange this with the watchman.
  • Walk to the border, make sure you have a pen and your passports.

Go to the brick building on the left first to be stamped out of South Africa.
Then go across the fence to the Mozambican side. Have your passport stamped.
The 4 x 4 will be waiting to transport you the town. The driver will have your names.
  • If you are running late, please contact:
Michelle on 082 458 1302 

If we have to return to the border to collect you 
due to lateness you will be charged R260 extra for the journey. Have a safe and pleasant journey.

On your return journey, back track as you came through along the N17. Please chat to us if you need detailed directions. 

Continue on your way home.

Directions from Durban on request.

Terms & Conditions

Booking an international holiday requires advanced planning and bookings. Please ensure you communicate your intention to book your holiday with us well in advance so we can ensure you of a relaxed stay and booking process.

Accommodation is limited so please don’t delay in booking.


Your name on our list is NOT a guaranteed booking!

STEP 1


Send us your completed booking form and a 50% non-refundable deposit to secure your place.

 STEP 2


One month before the tour starts, the balance of your tour fee is required.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Your 50% deposit is not refundable.
If you cancel your booking within 2 months of the tour, 90% is refundable. If you cancel your booking within 1 month of the tour only 50% is refundable. If you cancel your booking less than 1 month before the tour you will not be refunded.
  • Please consider carefully before cancelling as your actions may jeopardize the entire tour.
  • Please ensure you have a valid passport and visa (for non SA residents).
  • If you need assistance to get the visa, please contact us and we will gladly help you.
  • Please note that these tours will only run if we have confirmed bookings for six people minimum. The house can accommodate up to 8 people and 2 children.

Please contact us for a booking form.

Testimonials

“A life changing experience”
Mozz

 

“A most amazing, enriching experience. I believe we all left a piece of ourselves in Ponta, if only to ensure our return, while at the same time we took something away with us. Michelle and Arnie made us feel so special. Thanks for that guys, it is a gift you have, treasure it!
”
Marthie, Koos and Sven Van Der Merwe

 

“The experience of encountering wild dolphins and beautiful whale sharks up so close was utterly transformative. We were completely inspired. The trip was a tonic for my tired soul and I felt restored to youthful vitality and a deep sense of spiritual connectedness. The trip was wonderfully co-ordinated by Michelle and the team and we all felt very cared for, safe and looked after. The food was also quite divine. This one is really up there…”
Ingrid Hurwitz

“The trip far exceeded my wildest dreams. To be able to hold my fiancée’s hand as we swam with the dolphins will remain with me forever. Thanks to the entire team for a great experience.”
David Batzofin

 

“A big thank you to Michelle, Arnie and all the staff for the memorable days spent with you all. Thanks too for all the “little extras” that took so much thought, time and care; and made the stay something special. The work you are all doing there is so worthwhile and I’ll definitely be telling my friends to put your trip on their “reach for a break” agendas!”
Les Ambler

 

After wading through 5 excruciatingly long workaholic months I finally arrived at the page in my diary where I could escape from the humdrum and embark on my personal jounery with the dolphins – the majestic and learned creatures of the ocean. Each day – whether on land or in the sea – was a powerful and emotive experience overflowing with what will be unforgettable memories – in my heart, mind and soul. With Michelle and her truly wonderful and attentive soul partner Arnie, spearheading the trip, your experience will be stretched beyond your wildest imagination! The only warning is, you won’t ever be the same again!”
Nicky Carter

 

“By the time I left, I knew that something in my life had changed irrevocably. I haven’t quite figured out exactly what has changed but I do know that I will never be able to do my life in quite the same way as I did before I arrived. I left with my heart wide open, filled with love and gratitude. Thank you!”
Norma

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