Ask a Question

Check Availability

Ouarzazate

Overview

Ouarzazate is also known as the 'door to the desert'. Located in the south-central part of Morocco, the town is the last big settlement that leads to the famous Sahara Desert - the largest hot desert in the world and the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. It stretches from the At…

Highlights

  • Discover the famous route of 1000 Kasbahs
  • Camp in remote locations & discover the Berber culture
  • Ride well-loved and willing Arab-Barb stallions
  • Encounter Berber nomads and their herds in the desert
  • Enjoy the lunar-like landscapes of the rock desert!

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 8 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 85kg / 187 lbs / 13 st 5 lbs

Description

Ouarzazate is also known as the 'door to the desert'. Located in the south-central part of Morocco, the town is the last big settlement that leads to the famous Sahara Desert - the largest hot desert in the world and the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. It stretches from the Atlas mountains in north Africa to the Sahel in the south and has a combined surface area of 3,600,000 square miles - a size comparable to China or the USA. To the south of Ouarzazate lies only sand, but that desert holds a multitude of landscapes and terrains, from open plateaus to high dunes and the oasis-filled Draa Valley.

On this ride, you will follow part of one of the most famous routes of Morocco - the route of 1000 Kasbahs.

A Kasbah originates from the Arabic for the “central part of a city” or, more colloquially, a “fortress”. The kasbahs functioned as places to host wealthy families and as meeting points along busy trade routes. This region of southern Morocco is home to over a thousand of these ancient kasbahs - hence the name of the route today. The kasbahs are in varying states of conservation, some located in the plains and others built on higher places offering clear views across the plains below. They can be very different in certain regards, but commonly have a rectangular layout with 4 defensive towers and a single entrance access, as well as several upper floors for different uses. However, this basic layout still forms an infinite series of variations.

Riding local Berber stallions, which are not castrated in line with local tradition, you will discover this circular trail through palm groves, visit villages dug into the mountains and follow 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.

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 in a smaller tent, sleeping within your own space.

Horses & Riding

Tack

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

Horses

The horses are all Berber Arabian stallions. They are good-natured, responsive and calm to ride. The horses used on this ride will be transported from their home stables in Essaouira where they spend most of the year.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Route of 1000 Kasbahs is a trail ride

Ages

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.

Health

General good health and fitness.

Weight

85kg / 187 lbs / 13 st 5 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

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 bread 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.

Accommodation

The first and last nights of the trail will be spent in hotels or riads in Skoura (first night) and Marrakech (final night). Whilst on the trails you will be camping.

The camps are simple yet comfortable with a hot water shower tent and a chemical toilet. There is a kitchen tent for the cook and a larger tent for dining too. The sleeping tents are dome style, suitable for 1-2 persons, and are provided along with think foam mattresses. You will need to bring your own sleeping bags.

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

Itineraries

Route of 1000 Kasbahs Tented accommodation.

Other Activities

The itineraries have been designed 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.

Travel

Guests are asked to arrive in Marrakech or Ouarzazate before 12 noon on the morning of day 1 of this trail.

One set-time group transfer will be organised for arrival day and those who are not able to arrive in the morning are asked to arrive the night before and stay at a hotel. A driver will then come to meet you at your hotel in either city. You will then be transferred together to Skoura where you will spend the first night.

On the last night of the trail, all guests will be transferred to Marrakech together, where accommodation is organised at a hotel in the city. There is no transfer service offered to the airport the following morning, but this can easily be organised for you by the reception staff at the hotel (extra costs paid locally).

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

You should arrive at Marrakech airport in the morning. Those who are not able to arrive early should plan to arrive the night before. This will allow time for a set-time group transfer to the Palm Grove of Skoura (c. 5 hours drive, lunch is not included). A later transfer would not be possible on this day. Dinner and overnight in Skoura with the team.

Day 2 - Oasis of Tamassinte

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast this morning, you will set off across the palm grove of Skoura where you will encounter magnificent palm trees, in the distance, you will see 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 3 - Atagragra

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

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 4 - N'Aij

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

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 follow 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 5 - El Mansour Eddhabi

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

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 (fortified villages) and the oasis, all dominated by the silhouette of the Atlas Mountains. The Oued Dades feeds the lake and the dam of El Mansour Eddhabi. This then allows the irrigation of the valley of Draa. As you ride around the lake you will find your camp spot for the night.

Day 6 - Sidi Flah

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

As you leave the camp you will follow the Dades river to the village of Afra where you will stop for lunch and a chance to visit 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 7 - Marrakech

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

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 8 - Departure

Riding: No riding.

Breakfast in the hotel before departing for the airport. (Transfers not included this day)

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

You should be a capable rider, comfortable in all paces and riding in open countryside, over a variety of different terrains.

Minimum group size 3
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

Feb. 17, 2024 - Feb. 24, 2024

Feb. 24, 2024 - March 2, 2024  (Confirmed date for others to join (single travellers welcome))

Pricing

2024
Rider; Sharing
£920 $1145 €1075
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared rooms/tents, 6 days riding, meals on the trail, drinking water, and group transfers from Marrakech or Ouarzazate on arrival day.

Extras

2024 - Single Supplement £69 $85 €80
Paid to Far and Ride
Single rooms are only possible in hotels/riads on the first and last nights of the tour.
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.