Atlas Mountains riding holiday in Morocco - Far and Ride
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Atlas Mountains, Morocco





Horses



Type of horses:

Barb and Barb-Arabs

Nature of horses:

Ideally adapted to the terrain with small feet but big hearts, docile but forward going

Height of horses:

14.2 - 15.2 hh

Weight limit:

90kg / 14 stone

Tack type:

English style endurance/trail saddles. Saddle bags are provided. You must be able to saddle your own horse.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

The Atlas mountains are some of the largest mountain ranges in Africa and the only one in North Africa. They rise to over 4000m and extend for 700km in length and 300-400m in width. In places they are steep and difficult to access except on horseback. These trails traverse several routes and allow you to discover the beauty and character of this country.

These rides operate through the spring/summer months when the cooler mountain altitudes make riding pleasant, and riding in the desert further south is impossible (see our Sahara rides for winter options).

From mid April - mid May, the Valley of the Roses is filled with the beautiful wild rose whose scent fills the air and is popular the world over for perfumes.

In late May and September, journey to the Siroua Massif, wedged between the High Atlas and Anti Atlas, where beautiful green lawns alternate with dark volcanic rocks - here Saffron crops bring wealth to the region.

In early June, the Middle Atlas calls, with it's cedar forests and mountain lakes.

Late June, July and August take you into the High Atlas and the foot of Mt Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa at 4167m. These are the most alpine landscapes in Morocco with highlands and forgotten valleys to discover.

On all these rides you are mounted on Barb or Barb Arabian horses, the majority of which are stallions. They have big hearts and small feet - perfectly adapted to the terrain and always willing to canter across open spaces. Most of the canters are single file but on some routes its possible to ride a little freer towards the end of the week where the terrain allow. You must be willing and able to groom, saddle and bridle your own horse. On some of the trails it is also necessary to dismount and lead your horse across tricky sections.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

These are predominantly camping trails, although the first and last nights are always in 3* hotels.

On the trail you share two man tents which have mattresses included. There are usually dining tents too, as well as smaller tents for washing and toilets. You need to bring your own sleeping bag.

You are expected to help set up camp, such as erecting and then packing away your tent.

A cook travels with you and is responsible for preparing all the meals whilst camping. Your lunch is generally cold, whilst dinner is always hot. Meals will be traditional Moroccan cuisine which is hearty and delicious.

Filtered water is provided but we recommend taking your own drinking bottle to avoid single-use plastic bottles. You can also take water purifying tablets and drink from the many streams you pass.

Additional drinks are payable locally.

 

Activities

These are riding trails and not suitable for non-riders.

 

Further Details

Languages: French, English

Health requirements: General good health and fitness. Some of the rides are at altitude, so you should be prepared for that.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, riding, meals whilst camping, some airport transfers

Not included: Flights, some airport transfers, drinks, some meals (on first and last nights), tips

 

Travel Information

Some of the rides use Marrakech airport and others use Ouarzazate or Fez - please check the individual itineraries.

Transfers from the closest airport are included, but if you arrive into a different airport then you have to pay for a private transfer to the start of the ride. Transfers between Marrakech and Ouazarzate are 140 Euro each way for the vehicle, split between however many people share it.

Airport: Marrakech

Alternative Airport: Ouarzazate

 

Programmes


Valley of the Roses



Ride from the palm groves of Skoura across the high plateaus of the southern foothills of the Atlas mountains to reach the Valley of the Roses. This trail ride takes you through some of the most beautiful, unknown and unusual landscapes in southern Morocco.

Day One: Arrival

You'll be transferred from the airport to your hotel in Ouarzazate. Dinner is included in your hotel in the evening but the day is free for you to explore the town.

Day Two: Ouarzazate - Skoura - Aghbalou

An early transfer from your hotel to Skoura, a journey of c. 45mins (or 4.5 hours if you arrived into Marrakech instead). Upon arrival you'll meet your guides and horses before setting out to start your trail. Cross the palm plantations of Skoura and head across the desert plateaus of Ait Said Ummansour to reach your camp at the foot of the Atlas mountains.

Riding c. 4 hours

Day Three: Aghbalou - Aguerd

Ride across the plateaus of Tamassent to reach Toundout, the last big village before the Atlas. There's superb views of the valleys full of almond trees. In the afternoon there are plenty of canters across a plateau to the beautiful village of Tiflit, then ride through gorges to reach your camp near the village of Aguerd.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Four: Aguerd - Taoujgalt

Climb along the wadi Nait Tounert, passing many villages with their terraced crops. In the early afternoon you cross another plateau and a pass to reach the valley of Azaghar-N-Aiguer. Follow a narrow path to your camp which is at 1900m.

Riding c. 5.5 hours

Day Five: Taoujgalt - Agouti

Ride through the valley of Assif El Qati which is renowned for its magnificent Ksours with traditional Berber architecture. The views are stunning, with green gardens against the red walls of the cliffs and the troglodyte houses of Khot. Camp near Agouti.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Six: Agouti - Boutaghrar

Today you follow the valley of El Qati which still contains many well preserved traditional Berber villages. Wild roses are abundant at this time of year and the soft pink flowers contrast against the green of the cultured fields and the ochre of the rocks. This region is world renowned and the essences from the roses are sent all over the world to be included in the composition of many perfumes. (The Rose Festival is always held during the first week of May.) Camp near the village of Boutaghrar.

Riding c. 6.5 hours

Day Seven: Boutaghrar - Timstiquite - Ouarzazate

Final morning in camp before riding out past the cool waters of M'goun wadi and descending the Valley of Roses by following small mule tracks to the village of Timstiquite. Here you have lunch and leave your horses before transferring back to Ouarzazate (or Marrakech).  Dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Riding c. 2.5 hours

Day Eight: Departure

You are transferred to the airport for your flight home.



Accommodation: First and last nights: 3* hotel in Ouarzazate with double or triple rooms.
On trail: Two-man tents whilst camping, with a dining tent and a washing/toilet tent. You'll need to bring a sleeping bag.
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be a capable rider who can canter in balance in a group with light hands. There are good trots and canters every day. Canters are often in single file particularly at the start of the week.
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding
Departure dates: 2021: 25 April-2 May, 2-9 May, 9-16 May
 
Pricing: 2021:

684 per person sharing

Small group supplement (to confirm for two riders): 331 per person

Single supplement (refunded if sharer found): 91

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Middle Atlas Trail



Ride through the Middle Atlas, where tourists rarely venture, to discover the unusual charm and attractions such as cedar forests and bare plateaus amongst cereal crops and beautiful mountain lakes.

Day One: Arrival

Transfer from Fez airport to your hotel which is just a short distance from the medina. Day free to explore the city - all meals are to your own account today.

Day Two: Fez - Knehifra - Boumzil

Transfer from Fez to Khenifra, crossing an agricultural region and stopping briefly in Ifrane. On arrival you have lunch and then meet the horses. Your afternoon ride takes you through cultivated hills to reach your camp near the hamlet of Boumzil. This hamlet has electricity and internet, but no running water, despite the Middle Atlas being nicknamed the 'water tower' of Morocco!

Riding c. 3.5 hours

Day Three: Boumzil - Ajdir

A long day of riding today as you cross a series of agricultural valleys before approaching the forest of century-old cedars. Stop for lunch at the edge of the enchanting lake Tiguelmamine where the clear waters will tempt you for a dip! In the afternoon continue riding across agricultural areas where sheep, cows, donkeys and mules are scattered before climbing steeply up the mountain through forests of holm oaks and junipers. Upon reaching the plateau of Ajdir there are large, flat grassy areas which invite some final canters to reach camp.

Riding c. 7 hours

Day Four: Ajdir - Ait Atmane

Spend the morning riding through majestic cedar forests - some are up to 600 years old and stand 70m high - but unfortunately some have been damaged by the Berbers who used to light fires at their base to harvest honey. After a couple of hours you reach lake Aguelmame Azigza to be greeted by a colony of monkeys who will pose for photos and try to steal your lunch!

Your longer afternoon ride is mainly spent in the agricultural bowl where the locals are busily maintaining and cultivating their small plots by hand as they are too steep for machinery. Your camp is located alongside a river near the Hamlet of Ait Atmane.

Riding c. 5-6 hours

Day Five: Ait Atmane - Ounane Plateau

Follow a broad little stone track through a beautiful cedar forest with pleasant clearings to reach the lake of Aguelmame Wiwane. A leisurely lunch break here as the afternoon is shorter and across mainly flat highlands bordered by sheepfolds where many exciting canters can be taken! You'll pass countless black headed sheep and poultry around lake N'Ifaghrioune before reaching the plateau of Ounane and your camp. There is a small pond here where the herds come to drink and it's another perfect spot for canters!

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Six: Ounane Plateau - Azaghar

Continue riding across the Ounane plateau before starting the long descent into a forest of holm oaks along a wide track where you may spot vultures. After c. 3 hours you reach a beautiful valley where water flows everywhere and stop for lunch beside a river near the village of Zaouit Ifrane. In the afternoon you ride through a pleasant forest onto another high plateau where great canters lead to camp which is set on the edge of the forest with green grass evocative of a cultured lawn!

Riding c. 5.5 hours

Day Seven: Azaghar - Fez

For your final ride you head along the crest of the long plateau of Azaghar, across vast grasslands full of sheep. Eventually you reach the large lake of Aguelmame Afenourir where you have your final lunch stop and say farewell to the horses. This lake at 1800m is part of the Ifrane national park and is an important stopover for migratory birds. 

Return to Fez by vehicle, taking a route through cedar forests. Your dinner in the city is to your own account.

Riding c. 3.5 hours

Day Eight: Departure

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.



Accommodation: First and last night: 3* hotel in Fez
On trail: camping in two man tents
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be a capable rider who is confident in all paces in open spaces, with a light seat and hands. Open spaces invite faster paces!
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding
Departure dates: 2021: 6-13 June, 13-20 June, 20-27 June,25 July-1 Aug, 1-8 August, 22-29 August, 29 Aug-5 September.
 
Pricing: 2021:

901 per person sharing

Small group supplement to confirm for two riders: 296 per person

Supplement for single room and tent: 109

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



High Atlas Trail



Immerse yourself in the heart of Berber culture on this trail which crosses high passes with splendid views of the High Atlas, including Mt Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. Cross green valleys, the arid Kik plateau and ride on steep mountain paths past beautiful adobe villages which cling to the mountainside.

Day One: Arrival

You'll be transferred from Marrakech to the foothills of the Atlas mountains, a journey of c. 30 minutes. Here you'll stay at the eco-lodge Terres d'Amanar where the horses are based. There are great views of the mountains, and at night you can view the twinkling lights of Marrakech in the distance. Dinner as a group.

Day Two: Tahanaout - Asflala

After breakfast you head down to the stables and meet the team and horses. After a short ride in the arena to check that everyone is happy, you set off in a westerly direction towards the foothills of the Kik plateau. There are some beautiful tracks which invite you to increase the pace. Follow the red crests to your camp which is near the Beduoin village of Catulte

Riding c. 4.5 hours

Day Three: Asflala - Tinzerte

After your first camp breakfast you set off along a narrow path to approach the Kik plateau, which is a limestone outcrop dominated by the chain of High Atlas peaks, some of which reach more than 4000m in height. You'll have extraordinary views of Mt Toubkal to the south and the valleys which descend from it, including Amezmiz and Takerkoust lake. Villages cling to the mountainsides and follow the lines of the valleys, blending into the landscape. Picnic lunch after the pass of Tizi N'ousaud and then follow a trail through a forest of Aleppo pines, juniper trees and holm oaks. Camp near the village of Tinzerte in the middle of the forest (1300m altitude).

Riding c. 5.5 hours

Day Four: Tinzerte - Tiziane

Today you ride through the Tassa Ouirgane, a basin of rich water within the Atlas. There are beautiful olive groves and crops which benefit from this ideal climate with sun, water and freshness created by the altitude. Continue through the Wadi Azaden, one of the most picturesque valleys of the Toubkal massif - this region is home to some of the most beautiful Berber villages. Picnic at the edge of the Wadi at Azerfssane and then ride along the Azzadne valley along mountain paths to reach the Berber village of Tiziane where you overnight in a cottage.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Five: Tiziane - Tachdirt

Start the day by ascending the Tizi N'Oudide pass at 2100m and then drop down to the village of Matate in the valley of Ghighaya. Picnic at the edge of the wadi at Aguerssiwal, and then after lunch cross the saddle of the Aguerssiwal Pass at 1500m. Ride through the valley of Imnane and enjoy the high mountain atmosphere. Your camp is at the base of the Toubkal massif at Tacheddirt, the highest Berber village in the Atlas mountains at 2350m. The mountain of Aksoual dominates your camp at 3912m.

Riding c. 6 hours

Day Six: Tachdirt - Ifghane

Today you ride over the highest pass of the trail. Slip between the walls of Angour (3614m) and Oukamaiden (3262m) to cross the Tizi n'Addi pass at 2910m. You will have to help your horse over some sections but will be rewarded with splendid panoramic views of all the High Atlas and Toubkal (4167m) - the roof of Morocco! As if by miracle there is a wide and beautiful path which invites you to open your horses paces to reach the agdals (pastures) of Oukamaiden which are grazed during the summer months only. Picnic on these pastures before climbing to Tizi N'Oukaimeden pass (2682m) to access the west side and then descend on a beautiful track overlooking the plain of Haouz to reach your camp near Ifghane.

Riding c. 5.5 hours

Day Seven: Ifghane - Tahanaout

Continue descending to the lower valleys and into Asni, the capital of the region. Saturday is the day of the souk and you will meet many mules and donkeys! Follow a path through a forest of junipers and oaks to reach your picnic spot in the shade of the Aleppo pines at the foot of Jebel Choucht. After lunch there are some fabulous tracks to canter and gallop along before finally returning to the stables at Terres d'Amanar. 

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Eight: Departure

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport.



Accommodation: First and last night in a comfortable eco-lodge.
One night in a mountain cottage, but the rest of the nights are camping in tents. Camp has a central dining tent and a washing tent / toilet tent but you'll need a sleeping bag.
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be a capable rider who has full mastery of all paces with a light hand. You should also not be prone to dizziness or vertigo, or have a fear of heights.
Type of ride: Mobile trail ride
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding
Departure dates: 2020: 21-28 June, 5-12 July, 12-19 July, 19-26 July, 23-30 August, 30 August-6 September

2021: 27 June-4 July, 4-11 July, 25 July-1 August, 1-8 August, 22-29 August, 29 Aug-5 Sept, 5-12 September, 12-19 September.
 
Pricing: 2020:

Low season (21-28 June): 684 per person sharing
Mid season (5 July-6 Sept): 742 per person sharing

Small group supplement (to confirm for two riders): 327 per person

Single supplement (refunded if a sharer found): 91

2021:

Low season (27 June-11 July): 684 per person sharing
Mid season (25 July-19 Sept): 742 per person sharing

Small group supplement (to confirm for two riders): 327 per person

Single supplement (refunded if a sharer found): 91

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Siroua Massif



Ride through the massif of Siroua, an ancient volcanic massif wedged between the High Atlas and Anti Atlas, with an average altitude of 2500m (the summit of Siroua reaching 3400m). The landscapes are varied with beautiful green oases amongst the dark volcanic rocks and many villages dotted through the valleys where saffron crops proliferate.

Day One: Arrival

You'll be transferred from the airport to your hotel situated in the Gueliz district of Marrakech. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the area and dinner is to your own account this evening.

Day Two: Marrakech - Tamllakoute

At 8am you'll be collected from your hotel and transferred by road to Air Marssid in the massif of Siroua, a journey of c. 4 hours. On arrival at Oued Anzal you'll meet your guide and have lunch before being introduced to your horse. Your first afternoon ride takes you around the edges of Wadi Anzal until reaching the village of Tamllakoute where you set up your first camp.

Riding c. 2.5 hours

Day Three: Tamllakoute - Amezri

Follow a narrow track past the small village of Tinzaline and on into the mountains to the remote village of Tizgzawine. After a picnic lunch you continue towards the reliefs of Merzoug before reaching the plateau of Amezri with fabulous views of the mountains all around.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Four: Amezri - Talat n'Mdist

Todays ride takes you to the peaks of Siroua, crossing the village of Ait Tigga and overlooking the beautiful valley of Ait Semgane and its saffron crop terraces. Climb a small pass to enjoy the view of many Berber villages through the valley and stop for lunch at the top of Tisswatine. In the afternoon you continue to the high pass of Tizi n'Anzommer at 2732m where the panorama extends over the massif. Descend on a shepherds path to reach your camp at the bottom of Mdist valley.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Five: Talat n'Mdist - Azazougzane

Your trail continues along a track which crosses a mountainous desert landscape but is rich in medicinal plants. The Siroua is well-travelled by Berbers who collect these plants to sell in the souks all over Morocco! Follow a beautiful path to a wadi with a lovely view of the Ighighi Gorge and after treating your horses to some water you head to Jebel Tazoulte for lunch. After lunch head along a track up into the sheep pastures of Azazougzane where you find your campsite.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Six: Azazougzane - Anmid

Ride through the sheepfolds on these green meadows amidst an exceptional rocky setting. Picnic amongst these pastures and the ride up to Tizi n'Ait Qalla for panoramic views of the large village of Anmid. Your camp is at the bottom of the village.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Seven: Anmid - Amassine - Marrakech

Your final camp breakfast and then head out in the direction of Agrilaoune. Head up a large track overlooking Berber villages hanging on the steep mountainsides. You end your trail with a last gallop before reaching the minibus for the transfer back to Marrakech (c. 4 hrs). Spend the night in the same hotel as at the start - dinner is to your own account tonight.

Riding c. 2.5 hours

Day Eight: Departure

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport.



Accommodation: Hotels for the first and last night in Marrakech but camping on all trail nights.
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You should be a capable rider who is confident in all paces in open spaces and has a light hand. You must be riding fit.
Type of ride: Mobile trail ride
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 riding days
Departure dates: 2020: 20-27 September, 27 Sept-4 October, 4-11 October.

2021: 16-23 May, 23-30 May, 30 May-6 June, 19-26 September, 26 Sept-3 Oct, 3-10 October, 10-17 October.
 
Pricing: 2020:

Low season (24-31 May): 684 per person sharing
Mid season (10-23 May, 20 Sep-11 Oct): 742 per person sharing

Small group supplement (for confirm for two people): 342 per person

Single supplement (refunded if a sharer found): 91

2021:

684 per person sharing

Small group supplement (for confirm for two people): 342 per person

Single supplement (refunded if a sharer found): 91

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.