Sahara Desert Trails riding holiday in Morocco - Far and Ride
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Sahara Desert Trails, Morocco




Programmes


• Horses, Dunes and Nomads

• Desert Cavalcade

 

Horses



Type of horses:

Barb Arabs and Barbs - mainly stallions

Nature of horses:

Forward going and lively, but polite. Perfectly adapted to the terrain with small feet but big hearts.

Height of horses:

14.2 - 15.2 hh

Weight limit:

90kg / 14 stone

Tack type:

English style Trail saddles are used along with practical saddle bags for your small items (camera etc). You are expected to tack and untack your own horse.

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride Description

The Sahara desert is 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. The area you ride through is in the south-central part of Morocco and you depart from the town of Ouarzazate, also known as the 'door to the desert'. To the south of Ouarzazate lies only desert, but that desert holds a multitude of landscapes and terrains, from open plateaus to high dunes and the oasis filled Draa Valley.

These rides are for experienced riders who can appreciate the thrill of riding a forward going Arab or Barb Arabian across the wide open desert. There are many canters and gallops on offer, whichever itinerary you choose.

Rides do not run in the summer months as it is too hot. Oct/Nov and Feb-Apr temperatures are generally warm and pleasant (c. 20-35C), whilst Nov-Mar is cooler (12-25C). In mid winter the mornings and evenings can be cold but temperatures are warm during the day.

For those who wish for a remote camping ride, the Desert Cavalcade takes you through the oasis filled Draa Valley, camping each night amongst the dunes or palm groves. If you prefer a comfortable hostel and shower each night, then the Horses, Dunes and Nomads ride offers just that.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Some trails offer the comfort of guesthouse accommodation whilst others are camping - see individual itineraries for details.

All meals are included and will be traditional Moroccan fare. Lunch is usually cold whilst dinner is a hot meal.

Water is provided but other drinks are payable locally.

 

Activities

These are riding trails and not suitable for non-riders

 

Further Details

Languages: English, French

Health requirements: You need to be physically fit and riding fit. If you are not riding regularly then you must get back in the saddle before joining the trails.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, all meals, water, transfers from Ouarzazate airport, riding

Not included: Flights, insurance, transfers from Marrakech, drinks, transfers on a day other than set arrival/departure day, tips

 

Travel Information

Airport transfers are included from Ouarzazate airport if you arrive/depart on the set days. If you spend an extra night before/after the ride, then transfers to Ouarzazate are an additional 20 euro, payable locally.

If you cannot find suitable flights to Ouarzazate, then transfers can be arranged from Marrakech airport at an additional cost of 140 Euro each way (split between all riders taking this route).

Airport: Ouarzazate

Alternative Airport: Marrakech

 

Programmes


Horses, Dunes and Nomads



Horseback trail through the Sahara Desert where you spend your nights in cozy inns. This trail crosses the most beautiful part of the Moroccan Sahara, far from the beaten track, and offers many chances to canter and gallop across the open sands.

Day One: Arrival

You'll be transferred from Ouarzazate airport to your hotel where dinner is included. 

Day Two: Ouarzazate - Imi N'Chaabte - Tafraout

At 7am you meet in the foyer of the hotel to transfer by road to Zagora. Your journey takes you through the Draa Valley to Tansikht and then along the Jebel Sagho mountain chain to cross Nkob and Tazzarine. Leave the asphalt road behind and continue to Mcissi (about 6 hour drive of which 420km is road and 60km is dirt track). Picnic lunch is taken en-route. On arrival you meet your team and horses for your first ride across the sandy wadis and dune fields. Overnight in a cozy inn.

Riding c. 2.5 hours

Day Three: Tafraout - Foum March

Ride across the village of Tafrout and out onto the plateau of Ahbouche Ntkouyte (Lake Tafraout) which is perfect terrain for good canters and gallops. Pass through Tattihate between Jebel Mohre on your right and Jebel Zireg on your left. The splendour of the Sahara is laid before you with infinite dunes alternating with cliffs in the background. Overnight in a beautiful desert inn in the valley of Mharech.

Riding c. 4-6 hours

Day Four: Foum March - Remlia - Dunes of Ouzina

Set out in a southerly direction between sand dunes. Today you may meet nomads as you cross the Chouiref plateau and pass Tizi N'Guidou before dropping past the abandoned village of N'Oubahllou and the orange dunes of Remlia. Continue riding between mountains, dunes and small sand dunes in the direction of the Tagine mountain which is famous for Cretaceous fossils. Overnight in a cozy inn and watch the sun set over the dunes. 

Riding c. 4-6 hours

Day Five: Ouzina Dunes - Jdaid

Ride amongst the beautiful dunes of Ouzina, alternating between being within the dunes themselves or between the sands and the mountains. Your whole day is riding in these open sands until reaching the village of Taghaoucht-n-Jdaid and your hostel for the night.

Riding c. 4-5 hours

Day Six: Jdaid - Merzouga

In the morning you continue riding through the sands and mountains until reaching Tamaris with the highest dunes of Morocco - Erg Chebbi. Marvel at these magnificent landscapes as your horse takes you through the vast sands. Overnight in a hostel near the foot of the dunes.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Seven: Merzouga - Ouarzazate

A final morning ride around the dunes before saying a fond farewell to your horse. After lunch you transfer back to Ouarzazate (c. 5 hours drive) and check into the same hotel as the first night. Final dinner at the restaurant. 

Riding c. 3 hours

Day Eight: Departure

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.



Accommodation: Each night is spent in a comfortable desert hotel, in twin/double or triple rooms. Bathrooms may be shared.
In Ouarzazate you stay in a 3* hotel in double/twin rooms.
Single rooms are not always possible in the desert hotels so please check with us.
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You should be competent in all paces across open terrain, rising to the trot and cantering in a forward seat. You must be able to control your horse with a light hand whilst galloping in a group. At the start of the week, canters are taken single file, but the pace is varied and includes lots of canters and gallops.
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding
Departure dates: 2020: 26 Jan-2 Feb, 23 Feb-1 March, 1-8 March (confirmed), 8-15 March, 15-22 March, 22-29 March, 29 Mar-5 April (confirmed), 5-12 April, 18-25 October, 25 Oct-1 Nov, 1-8 November, 8-15 November, 29 Nov-6 December, 6-13 December, 20-27 December, 27 December-3 January 2021.
 
Pricing: 2020:

Low season (5 Jan-8 Feb): 1029 per person sharing
Mid season (9 Feb-4 April, 11-24 Oct, 15 Nov-12 Dec): 1084 per person sharing
High season (5-25 April, 25 Oct-14 Nov, 20 Dec-3 Jan 2021): 1116 per person sharing


Small group supplement of 328 if only two riders confirmed.

Single supplement (subject to availability and refunded if a sharer found): 175

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.



Desert Cavalcade



Ride through a string of oases, palm groves, sand dunes and adobe ksour villages as you journey through the Draa Valley on horseback. The Draa valley makes its way to the desert along a magnificent oasis chain of nearly 200km, with an adobe ksar at every turn. Pass local women and men working the fields and children driving donkeys to the well before reaching the dunes of the Sahara.

Day One: Arrival

You'll be transferred from Ouarzazate airport to your three star hotel for the night. Dinner at your hotel.

Day Two: Ouarzazate - Zagora - Djebel Rani

At 7am you depart your hotel and transfer by road to Zagora, passing through the Draa Valley (c. 3.5hr drive). On arrival you meet the team and your horses. Set off in a south-westerly direction crossing the great Feija range and eventually the last mountain range that separates you from the Sahara - Jebel Bani. Follow a narrow path to the top for magnificent views across the plateau of Feija and beyond to Jebel Saghro. Descend by another narrow path to reach you camp in a small oasis frequented by nomads.

Riding c. 6 hours

Day Three: Djebel Bani - Oued Naam

Ride to a new desert plateau where only a few parasol acacias seem to withstand the drought. Here you'll tackle your first dunes of the Moroccan Sahara whose size increases as you progress further south. The horizon is limitless and this area is being repopulated with gazelles and ostrich as a nature reserve.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Four: Oued Naam - Ouled Driss

Continue riding through dune fields dotted with tamarisk plants and nomadic camps consisting of kheimas - low tents made of camel and goat skins which are typical of southern Morocco). You head towards the end of the Draa valley and some houses appear in the midst of palm trees - this is Bounou ksar (fortified village) and is one of the most beautiful in the valley. Continue into the village of Ouled Driss and your campsite.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Five: Ouled Driss - Nesrate

Ride through the Draa valley, crossing more dunes to reach a plateau which you cross at a fast pace to reach Jebel Selmane pass. Here you'll cross more dune fields to arrive at the oasis of Tagounit where there are fields and small villages with decorated walls. Your route joins an old palm grove near the village of Nesrate and you camp amongst the dunes.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Six: Nesrate - Oued Draa

Todays ride takes you through the villages in the valley - a successions of ksours and gardens amongst the palm groves which provide refreshing shade. The palm groves continue to the wide pass of Wadi Draa between Jebel Bani and Jebel Tadrart. Follow this wide pass until reaching another oasis where you set up camp.

Riding c. 5 hours

Day Seven: Oued Draa - Tinfou Dunes - Ouarzazate

Head north along trails between ksours and cultivated fields of palm groves until reaching the village of Tinfou where the impressive dunes threaten to engulf the houses and crops. Dune stabilisation measures are being taken but their effectiveness is uncertain. Here you say a fond farewell to your horse and riding team before transferring to Ouarzazate (c. 4 hour drive). You'll arrive in the afternoon to your hotel which faces the medina. Dinner in town with your guide.

Riding c. 2.5 hours

Day Eight: Departure

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.



Accommodation: In Ouarzazate on the first and last night you stay in a 3* hotel in double or triple room.

Whilst on the trail you are camping. Two man tents are provided along with mattresses. There is also a dining tent, a washing tent (with hot and cold water) and a toilet tent. You need to bring your own sleeping bag
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You should be a capable rider who is confident in all paces across varied terrain. You must be able to rise to the trot and canter in a forward seat with light hands. There are good trots and canters every day as well as some gallops.
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding
Departure dates: 2019: 2-9 February, 9-16 February, 1-8 March, 8-15 March (FULL), 15-22 March, 29 Mar-5 April, 11-18 October, 18-25 October, 11-22 November, 13-20 December, 20-27 December, 27 December-3 January 2021
 
Pricing: 2020:

Low season 5 Jan-8 Feb, 15 Nov-12 Dec: 712 per person sharing
Mid season 9 Feb-4 April, 1-24 Oct, 13-20 Dec: 766 per person sharing
High season 25 Oct-14 Nov, 20 Dec-3 Jan 2021: 799 per person

Small group supplement of 306 per person to confirm for 2 riders.

Single supplement (refunded if sharer found): 88

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.