Essaouira riding holiday in Morocco - Far and Ride
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Essaouira, Morocco





Reviews



The holiday was amazing, probably the best way to experience Morocco. All the horses are so well behaved and beautiful. An amazing country with so much to see, stunning views and it is clear that our hosts love the horses. Food was fantastic and tasty, especially for veggies! I'm a camping rookie, so wasn't sure what to expect, was a little unprepared, but it was fun! Riad was lovely. My horse (Simba) was fantastic and very well suited. Horses well looked after and tack adequate. (Favourite memory?) The extremely fast gallop across the beach - Berber stallions can shift it! All the donkeys! Learning about the culture as you travelled through surprisingly varied landscapes.

Emma S. (September 2018)
The holiday was fantastic! It was the perfect combination of mountains and adventure, followed by a gorgeous treat of sunny beaches to finish - heaven! I loved all of the holiday but particularly camping on a hillside overlooking the beach, the exhilarating gallops along lush sandy beaches and the moment where, after an adventurous day through rocky mountains, we turned the corner to find a luscious green haven of a reservoir.

Maria L.
It was superb! Incredible, strong and forward-going horses that never hesitated. To make it short: we are again very very happy!!

Kim S.
Great horses, amazing scenery, good company and lots of mint tea. It was wonderful.

Ana K
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Barb Arabian stallions

Nature of horses:

Sure-footed, gentle, individual. All are stallions but well handled and well mannered. Some are suitable for nervous riders.

Height of horses:

15 - 16 hh

Weight limit:

90kg / 14 stone

Tack type:

English or Icelandic saddles with English bridles. Bits are either snaffles, Pelhams or Spanish, depending on the horse.

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride Description

Essaouira is a coastal town about two-thirds of the way down Morocco on the Atlantic ocean. Powerful trade winds and currents ensure that Essaouira remains an important fishing port and has also made the town very popular amongst kite surfers and wind surfers. The area is also important in argan oil production, and the sight of goats climbing the argan trees is unique to the region.

Our horse-riding trails take you inland and away from the coast, into the mountains and Berber villages which are scattered along the hillsides and through the valleys. The circular route returns you to the coast so that you can experience the wide sandy beaches and cliff tops for yourself.

Riding local Berber stallions, which are not castrated in line with local tradition, you will discover agricultural fields, forests of argan trees, sand dunes and the thrill of galloping down the beach.

Your hosts are French Moroccan and consider their horses to be members of their family. They aim to introduce you to the culture of their country as well as their horses and will provide authentic Moroccan meals freshly prepared by their chef.

These trails are camping based and you spend each night in a different location. You can choose to camp as the locals do, sharing one large 4m x 4m tent, or to take a smaller tent and sleep within your own space.

Trails can be scheduled to suit for groups or you can choose to join a trail which already has people booked onto it.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Whilst on the trails you will be camping. The camps have a shower with hot water and a chemical toilet. There is a kitchen tent for the cook and larger tent for dining in. Tents suitable for 1-2 persons are provided along with mattresses but you will need to bring your own sleeping bags.

Camp moves location each night so you experience different locations along the trail.

Meals are prepared by the cook who aims to show you the culture and local food of the area. Fresh traditional Moroccan food is prepared daily.

Vegetarians and some special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.

Breakfast is usually coffee/tea with breads and jams.
Lunch will include various salads with fish or meat skewers.
Dinner will begin with soup and include tagines or special Moroccan dishes with couscous. There is often fruit to finish.
Snacks of mixed nuts and chocolates are also on offer.

Water is provided but you will need to bring with you any other drinks you would like - either buy them locally or duty-free. PLEASE NOTE: Alcohol cannot be supplied for you and drinking in public spaces is not officially allowed and can lead to arrest.

 

Activities

Our itinerary is purely for riders, but there is plenty to do in Morocco for any non-riding friends or partners that wish to join you. Our partners can help you arrange camel riding day trips as well as quad biking days or even hiking tours of a few days.

 

Further Details

Languages: French, English, Arabic

Health requirements: General good health and fitness.

Age limit: Children of 12 years and older provided they are good riders and used to riding horses - there are no ponies. Under 18's must wear helmets.

Tuition: No

Included: Airport transfers, riding, meals on the trail, water.

Not included: Flights, insurance, sleeping bag, meals before/after the trail, drinks other than water

 

Travel Information

The nearest airport is Essaouira but it is not always easy to find flights there. Transfers from and to Marrakech (2 hours 45 mins) or Agadir (3 hours 30 mins) are very affordable and give a lot of flight options.

Airport: Essaouira

Alternative Airport: Marrakech

 

Programmes


Knights of Essaouira (7 Nights)



A circular trail through argan forests, gorges, valleys and fields, taking you down to the beach and along the Atlantic coast. Pass through berber villages, experience the local rural way of life and camp in remote but beautiful spots. 

Day One:

Arrive in Essaouira and transfer to your riad to overnight. Depending on the time of your arrival you may be able to explore the town a little. Have dinner with your guide and fellow riders (to own account).

Day Two:

After breakfast, transfer c. 15mins to Diabat where you meet your horses. Set off riding along a river (Ksob oued) surrounded by abundant vegetation. Pass through the village of El Ghazoua and enter the largest forest of argan trees in the area, which extends from Essaouira to Agadir. Stop for a picnic lunch on the banks of a river under the shade of the argan trees. In the afternoon, continue riding through forest, going up and down some hills in the direction of Ida Ou Gourd where you may see some traditional berber houses and fields. After a brisk canter along the paths you reach your first camp near the ruins of an old sugar factory constructed from mud and straw. Dinner and overnight in camp.

Day Three:

Set off riding through a small village and follow broad paths bordered by argan trees and fields. At certain times of year you may see donkeys or oxen ploughing the fields. Upon reaching a charming valley you will ascend a path up a small mountain where you stop for lunch with beautiful views of the valley. In the afternoon, cross a mountainous area and a splendid plateau covered in pasture and cultivated fields, heading towards Neknafa. Ride along Zerrar dam and lake before reaching your camp at Aintizeril.

Day Four:

An early start as this is the longest day on horseback. Start by climbing a mountain and passing through a river bed and 'marabout' - small berber village located on top of a mountain. There are lots of opportunities for canters along the paths bordered by fields, before returning to walk to descend the mountain. A final canter will take you to a village where there is water for the horses to drink whilst you have lunch. In the afternoon you ride through gorges, canyons and fields towards Argana where camp is set up - here you can visit a female argan oil cooperative and learn about how the oil is produced. 

Day Five:

Ride past a small Berber village and then cross a plateau between two small hills alongside the coast. In the middle of the valley you will find a spring where you stop for lunch. Another afternoon of riding along paths bordering fields, until late in the day, you get your first incredible view of the sea. Arrive at a small village of fishermen (Ifthane) and ride along the beach, taking the horses to splash in the water. After a good gallop along the beach, ride up onto the cliffs where camp is located. 

Day Six:

Ride through fields and coastal villages in the direction of Sidi Embark where you stop for lunch - there is the possibility to swim here, either in the waterfalls or the sea. After lunch there is another fantastic gallop along the deserted beach and through the sad dunes. Pass through another fishing village to reach camp in the early afternoon, which is located on one of the beaches near Sidi Kaouki. In good weather it may be possible to swim the horses (May-September). 

Day Seven:

After breakfast in front of the sea, ride towards Diabat along the beaches. Pass the small lighthouse at Cap Sim and leave the beaches behind to cross the dunes and enter a forest of eucalyptus and mimosa. In the late afternoon you will arrive back in Diabat, passing the ruins of the Sultan's palace before you reach the stables. Say goodbye to your horses and camp team before transferring back to Essaouira and your riad to overnight.

Day Eight:

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight home.  



Accommodation: Two nights in a riad in Essaouira and five nights camping.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: You should be a capable rider, comfortable in all paces and fit for some long hours in the saddle.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding
Departure dates: 2019: 29 September - 6 October, 13 - 20 October - these are confirmed dates that single travellers can join.

2020: dates available on request for 2 or more riders, provided that there is availability.
 
Pricing: 2019 and 2020:

Prices for 2 or more people travelling together from the airport:

£684 per person with Marrakech transfers, based on twin/double rooms in riad
£701 per person with Agadir transfers, based on twin/double rooms in riad
£645 per person with Essaouira transfers, based on twin/double rooms in riad
£30 single supplement to have a single room for the 2 nights in riad

Prices for single traveller taking private transfers from the airport and having a single room for 2 nights in riad:

£744 per person with Marrakech transfers
£762 per person with Agadir transfers
£684 per person with Essaouira transfers

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.



The Loop of Argana (4 Nights)



A mini trail which is big on adventure but low on cost! The programme includes three days riding with two nights camping and a night in a guesthouse either side (making a four night trip in total). There are chances to canter on the beach and to visit the women's cooperative of argan oil. Half of the riding is inland and half is along the Atlantic Coast so you can experience different landscapes in a short space of time.

Day 1: Arrival to Marrakesh (Marrakech) or Agadir and transfer to your riad in Essaouira for your overnight stay (2h45 and 3h30, respectively). Enjoy dinner (not included) with your fellow riders and discuss the trail ahead. Night in riad. 

Day 2: Meeting at 9.30 am at the riad and transfer to the stables (15 min). First contact with the staff and horses in Diabat. You will first ride along a river or oued to reach the village of El Ghazoua that you will cross. Then you will travel through the Moroccan countryside travelling on small paths and crossing argan tree forests on your way. Lunch is prepared by the team cook and served in a field. After some rest, you will get back in the saddle and take the direction of Argana where your first camp is located. You will cross several traditional Berber villages and take a visit of a women's cooperative of argan oil, tasting the local products (oil, honey and amlou). You will spend the night under the oldest and largest argan tree of the area. Night in tent. 

Day 3: Through the countryside, you will continue the trail across small Berber villages, valleys and fields. The ground is full of beauftiful colours in this area. You will have lunch near a place called "The Source" where the horses can drink. The afternoon will show you other Berber villages but the ground is now changing and bcomes more sandy as you have taken the direction of the ocean and cascades of Sidi Embark. The view of the sea beyween the dunes is magnificent. You will then arrive on the beach and enjoy galloping! The views are a mix cliffs and beaches and you will finally arrive in late afternoon at the camp located in Sidi Kaouki. Night in tent. 

Day 4: After a generous breakfast taken in front of the ocean, you will get back in the saddle and ride along the beach towards Essaouira. In the second part of Sidi Kaouki, you will see the Marabout. You will then cross huge sand dunes that are unique to the region, enjoying at the same time some gallops. You will cross a small fishing village and then take the direction of a small Berber village on a cliff facing the Atlantic. After a picnic in a small creek where you can swim, you will go towards the lighthouse of Cap Sim. Then you will take a small sandy path and go down the dunes. You will have the feeling that you are in the desert but the sea is just behind them. You will see some very small fishing villages on the beach side. After some gallops on the beach, you will enter into the forest of eucalyptus and mimosas located between the beach and Diabat and see the ruins of the former palace of the Sultan. Arrival at the stables in late afternoon. Transfer to Essaouira and night in the riad. Dinner not included. 

Day 5: Meeting at the riad and transfer to Marrakesh (Marrakech) (2h45) or Agadir airport (3h30). 

Alternative days 2 and 3 for beginners:

Day 2: Meeting at 9.30 am at the riad and transfer to the stables (15 min). First contact with the staff and horses in Diabat. You will first ride along a river or oued to reach the village of El Ghazoua that you will cross. Then you will travel through the Moroccan countryside passing on small paths and crossing argan tree forests on your way. Lunch is prepared by the team cook and served in a field. After some rest, you will get back in the saddle and take the direction of the small village of Sidi Kaouki. To do so, you will cross several small Berber villages and forests. You will arrive in Sidi Kaouki by the upper side which dominates the sea and the long beach. Arrival at the camp in late afternoon. After a good snack and some mint tea, you may enjoy the beach. Your evening meal will be served in a traditional tent and prepared by the cook. Night in camp.

Day 3: After a breakfast with view on the beach, you will begin the trail. You will go along beautiful desert beaches and huge sand dunes. You will cross a small very picturesque fishing village. You will take the direction of the natural cascades of Sidi Embark where you will eat lunch. The cascades flow directly into the sea. After lunch (2h break and time for swimming), you will go back to Sidi Kaouki by the beaches or by the fields and small villages along the beaches. Arrival at the camp based in Sidi Kaouki in mid afternoon. You will have some time to swim before the dinner. Night in tent. 



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Trail can be suited to all levels but we will only match you with guests of a similar ability.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 3 days.
Departure dates: 2019 and 2020: dates available on request for 2 or more riders, provided that there is availability.
 
Pricing: 2019 and 2020:

£366 per person, including shared transfers from Marrakech and based on twin/double room.

£400 per person, including single transfers from Marrekech and with a single room.




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.



The Loop of Ifthane (5 Nights)



A four day (five night) programme offering highly diverse routes - a discovery of the hinterland and traditional Berber villages as well as riding along the Atlantic Coast, exploring its cliffs, dunes, cascades and long beaches. Highlights include seeing the sunset in Ifthane, visiting the women's cooperative of argan oil and cantering on the beach. An exciting mini break!

Day 1: Arrival to Marrakesh (Marrakech) or Agadir and transfer to your riad in Essaouira for your overnight stay (2h45 and 3h30, respectively). Enjoy dinner (not included) with your fellow riders and discuss the trail ahead. Night in riad.

Day 2: Meeting at 9.30 am at the riad and transfer to the stables (15 min). First contact with the staff and horses in Diabat. You will first ride along a river or oued to reach the village of El Ghazoua that you will cross. Then you will travel through the Moroccan countryside travelling on small paths and crossing argan tree forests on your way. Lunch is prepared by the team cook and served in a field. After some rest, you will get back in the saddle and take the direction of Argana where your first camp is located. You will cross several traditional Berber villages and take a visit of a women's cooperative of argan oil, tasting the local products (oil, honey and amlou). You will spend the night under the oldest and largest argan tree of the area. Night in tent.

Day 3: Through the countryside, you will continue the trail across small Berber villages, valleys and fields. The ground is full of beauftiful colours in this area. You will have lunch near a place called "The Source" where the horses can drink. After lunch you will ride on small paths surrounded by fields and crops. In the late afternoon you will appreciate an extraordinary panorama with an incredible view of the sea. You will arrive at the small fishing village of Ifthane and after a gallop on the beach (a small deserted creek), you will up up onto the cliffs which dominate the coastline and find your camp for the night.

Day 4: This morning you will cross fields and small villages which are located all along the sea or, if it's not too windy, you may ride up on the cliffs for the fabulous views. You will take the direction of the cascades of Sidi Embark where you will stop for lunch. These cascades flow directly into the sea. After lunch (which includes a 2 hour break and time for swimming!) you will ride towards Sidi Kaouki along the beaches and cliffs, enjoying some gallops. You will arrive at the camp based in Sidi Kaouki in mid-afternoon. You will have some time to swim before dinner. Overnight in camp.

Day 5: After a generous breakfast taken in front of the ocean, you will get back in the saddle and ride along the beach towards Essaouira. In the second part of Sidi Kaouki, you will see the Marabout. You will then cross huge sand dunes that are unique to the region, enjoying at the same time some gallops. You will cross a small fishing village and then take the direction of a small Berber village on a cliff facing the Atlantic. After a picnic in a small creek where you can swim, you will go towards the lighthouse of Cap Sim. Then you will take a small sandy path and go down the dunes. You will have the feeling that you are in the desert but the sea is just behind them. You will see some very small fishing villages on the beach side. After some gallops on the beach, you will enter into the forest of eucalyptus and mimosas located between the beach and Diabat and see the ruins of the former palace of the Sultan. Arrival at the stables in late afternoon. Transfer to Essaouira and night in the riad. Dinner not included.

Day 6: Meeting at the riad and transfer to Marrakesh (Marrakech) (2h45) or Agadir airport (3h30).



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Intermediate to experienced riders - you should be happy at walk, trot and canter and fit to ride long hours.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 4 days.
Departure dates: 2019 and 2020: dates available on request for 2 or more riders, provided that there is availability.
 
Pricing: 2019 and 2020:

£482 per person, including shared transfers from Marrakech and based on twin/double room.

£542 per person, including single transfers from Marrekech and with a single room.


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.



The Path of 1000 Kasbahs (7 Nights)



A circular trail through palm groves, visiting villages dug into the mountains and following the river with camping next to a lake. Pass through Berber & Arab villages, experience the local rural way of life and camp in remote but beautiful spots. 

Day One:

Arrival at Marrakech airport and transfer to the Palm Grove of Skoura (5 hours, lunch is not included). Dinner and overnight in Skoura in the Kasbah Ait Abbou with the team.

Day Two:

After breakfast you will set off across the palm grove of Skoura where you will encounter magnificent palm trees, in the distance you will see the the snow-capped mountains and the contrast of landscapes is quite extraordinary. You will picnic at Ait Said before reaching your bivouac in the heart of the oasis of Tamassinte.

Day Three:

You will set off towards the Atlas Mountains seeing a variety of landscapes. You will stop off for your lunch at Tamsoulte in the valley of almond trees which flower at the end of February to the beginning of March with their amazing scent. You will follow the paths where villages have been dug into the mountains before you reach your bivouac in Atagragra.

Day Four:

As you set off to meet the nomads and their camps, full of children, sheep and goats, you ride up to your picnic point at Assagnmou which peaks at 1600m. After lunch you will followed the rugged mountain paths down toward the small fortified village of N'Aij, near Ghassat at 1450m where you will find your bivouac & camp for the evening.

Day Five:

As you leave your camp you set off to cross the magnificent valley of Assif Izerki inhabited by nomads and filled with picturesque villages before stopping for lunch at Taferghouste. After lunch you ride up the path to the oued Dades which is lined by ksour and the oasis and dominated by the silhouette of the Atlas Mountains. The oued Dades feeds the lake of restraint and the dam Mansour ed Dhabi. This then allows the irrigation of the valley of Draa. As you ride round the lake you will find your bivouac for the night.

Day Six:

As you leave the camp you will follow the Dades to the village of Afra where you will stop for lunch with the magnificent Casbahs nearby. In the afternoon, you will head towards the Sarho mountains and your camp for the night will be on the plateau of Maouste, in front of the village of Sidi Flah. The village consists of two Arab hamlets and a Berber hamlet.

Day Seven:

On your last day riding you head along the small paths that take you back to the palm groves of Skoura where you will have lunch in the casbah Ait Abbou. You will then depart towards Marrakech in the early afternoon with free time to discover/visit Marrakech in the evening, sampling the local foods (dinner is not included) and then spending your final night in a riad.

Day Eight:

Breakfast in the hotel before departing for the airport.



Accommodation: Two nights in a riad in Skoura (first and last) and five nights camping.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: You should be a capable rider, comfortable in all paces and fit for some long hours in the saddle.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding
Departure dates: 2019: 24 November - 1 December
2020: 14 - 21 March
 
Pricing: 2019 and 2020: £843 per person based on shared accommodations and transfers from and to Marrakech.

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.



Riding and Yoga Retreat (7 Nights)



Riding and yoga retreat, combing two passions in one trip. A highly diversified trek combining a discovery of the hinterland and small traditional Berber villages and a ride along the Atlantic coast with cliffs, dunes, cascades and long beaches.

Day One:

Arrival to Marrakesh (Marrakech) or Agadir and transfer to your riad in Essaouira for your overnight stay (2h45 and 3h30, respectively). Enjoy dinner (not included) with your fellow riders. Night in riad.

Days Two and Three:

Morning yoga session for an hour and a half on the terrace of the riad with a 3 hour ride in the afternoon. Both nights staying in the riad with breakfast (lunch and dinner not included).

Day Four:

Breakfast at the riad before heading to the stables. You will first ride along a river or oued to reach the village of El Ghazoua that you will cross. Then you will travel through the Moroccan countryside passing on small paths and crossing argan tree forests on your way. Lunch is prepared by their cook and served in a field. After some rest, you will go back in the saddle and take the direction Argana where your first camp is located. You will cross several traditional Berber villages. Visit of a women's cooperative of argan oil and tasting of local products (oil, honey and amlou). An evening yoga session and then you will spend the night under the oldest and largest argan tree of the area sleeping in tent.

Day Five:

In the morning, you will cross a small Berber village then a plateau located between small hills, along the coast. After going down in the middle of a small valley, you will join “the source” where you will lunch with the team. After lunch, you will ride on small paths surrounded by fields and cultivations. In the late afternoon, you will appreciate an extraordinary panorama with amazing view of the sea. You will arrive at the small fishing village of Ifthane. After a gallop on the beach (small deserted creek), you will go up on the cliff dominating the sea where your camp is based. An evening yoga session on the cliff.

Day Six:

In the morning you will cross fields and small villages, located all along the sea, or ride along cliffs dominating the sea if the day is not too windy. You will take the direction of the cascades of Sidi Embark where you will stop for lunch. The cascades flow directly into the sea. After lunch (2h break and time for swimming), you will take the direction of Sidi Kaouki by the beaches and cliffs and enjoy some gallops. Arrival at the camp based in Sidi Kaouki in mid afternoon. You will have some time to swim before the dinner and the evening yoga session. Night in tent.

Day Seven:

After a generous breakfast taken in front of the ocean, you will go back in the saddle and ride along the beach towards Essaouira. In the second part of Sidi Kaouki, you will see the Marabout. You will then cross huge sand dunes that are unique to the region, enjoying at the same time some gallops. You will cross a small fishing village and then take the direction of a small Berber village on a cliff facing the Atlantic. After a picnic in a small creek where you can swim, you will go towards the lighthouse of Cap Sim. Then you will take a small sandy path and go down the dunes. You will have the feeling to be in the desert but the sea is just behind them. You will see some very small fishing villages on the beach side. After some gallops on the beach, you will enter in the forest of eucalyptus and mimosas located between the beach and Diabat and see the ruins of the former palace of the Sultan. Arrival at the stables in late afternoon. Transfer to Essaouira and night in the riad. Dinner not included.

Day Eight:

Transfer Back to Marrakesh (Marrakech) or Agadir (2h45 and 3h30, respectively).



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Intermediate to experienced rider, happy at all paces in open countryside.
Type of ride: Yoga and Trail Retreat
Total riding time: 8 days
Departure dates: 2020: 1st - 8th March
 
Pricing: 2020:

£714 per person, including shared transfers from & to Marrakech and based on twin/double room.


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.