Experience a true desert adventure based in southern Morocco, where the Draa Valley winds its way towards the Sahara desert along a string of beautiful oasis'. Discover the dunes of the Sahara, taking in the breathtaking landscapes and following in the footsteps of past nomads. The plateaus are ideal terrain for a gallop or two on this faster-than-average desert ride on Arab-Barb stallions. Cross narrow gorges and palm groves before passing through local desert villages. This is a challenging ride which involves riding and camping in some remote locations, suitable for experienced riders.
The simple camps consist of 2-person dome tents set up around a campfire. Riders are expected to help with the setting up of camp although a support vehicle carries a camp crew throughout the 5 nights camping, providing support and cooking delicious and nourishing Moroccan fare.
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You'll be met by your hosts at Ouarzazate airport and from there will transfer to a local hotel. Dinner & overnight at the hotel.
It's an early 6:30am departure from Ouarzazate in the direction of Zagora (approx. a 3 hour drive). Here you will meet the horses and begin the trail, heading south-west. Slowly, you'll get close to the last mountain chain and the gate to the Sahara: the Djebel (mount) Bani. You'll climb up the mountain along a small winding path & once at the pass, will be treated to breathtaking views across the Feïja plateau & beyond. You'll then climb down a narrow gorge leading to a small oasis, a usual stopping place for the nomads. Camp - 5 hours riding.
You'll start the day riding across an arid plateau where only a few acacias are capable to survive in the dry climate of the area. You'll soon reach the sand hills which will become higher & higher as you keep on riding in the direction of the South. The landscape in front of us is now boundless & in this region, which is actually a natural reserve, gazelles & ostriches are being reintroduced. Camp by the Naam River (Naam means “ostrich” in Arabic). 5 hours riding.
Sand hills are all around in todays lanscape as well as a few tamaris here & there. One can see nomad camps from time to time, these are low tents made of camel or goat hairs called “Kheïma”. Today you'll ride towards the end of the Drâa Valley where you'll spot a few houses amongst the trees in the Bounou palm groves. This “ksar” is one of the most beautiful of the valley. You will then reach Ouled Driss village where you'll get a chance to visit the ksar & the little museum. Camp - 5 hours riding.
Starting now, we will speed up a bit, riding up the Draa Valley across a ribbon of sand hills followed by an arid plateau. When we get through the Selmane pass, we will enjoy a panoramic view over Tagounite palm grove. After another sand hill area, where we will stop, we will make our way towards Tagounite palm grove, across fields & villages proud of their decorated walls. We’ll then reach what used to be a palm grove, now under the sand, close to Nesrate village. Camp in the dunes. 5 hours riding.
Today, you'll return to the hustle & bustle of the villages: ksour, gardens, burning sun & refreshing shade. The palm grove ends where the Draa River stretches between Djbel Bani & Djbel Tadrart. After a little break, you'll ride on until reaching the palm grove where you'll spend the night. Camp in an oasis. 4 ½ hours riding.
It's the final day of riding and you'll head north along trails that snake through the ksour and the cultivated fields of the palm grove. Reaching Tinfou village, famous for its impressive sand dunes, this is where you'll end the weeks riding. 2 hours riding.
Transfer back to Ouarzazate at the beginning of the afternoon and check-in at the hotel. You'll have the rest of the afternoon free to explore or relax. Dinner in a local restaurant in Ouarzazate and overnight in the hotel.
After breakfast, check out and transfer to Ouarzazate airport for your return flight.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
The horses used for this ride are Arab-Barb crosses, ideal for the climate and terrain. They are all stallions as it is customary not to castrate riding horses in Morocco. They all have individual characters and are well schooled, of good temperament and no more difficult to handle than normal riding horses. They are generally 14.2-15.2hh.
The tack is English saddles with snaffle bridles. Saddle bags are provided. Time is spent on the first day to match you to your horse. The riding is at walk, trot and canter once everyone is comfortable with their horses. The temperatures can vary from very warm in the daytime to cool nights. The pacing of the ride is around 60% walk, 25% trot and 15% canter/gallop.
To go on this ride you should be comfortable spending up to six hors a day in the saddle and able to ride at all paces on a good horse. Experience over rough and challenging terrain is recommended but not essential as the horses are very sure footed and capable.
Certain stages may force you to have longer days than usual. Certain passages in the mountains may mean you have to dismount and lead your horse. A sense of humour and common sense are essential as well as the capacity to enjoy remote mountain scenery. There is a full backup team with vehicle for the length of your stay. You will be requested to assist with grooming and saddling your horse. The minimum age for this ride is 16 years.
The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The first and last nights of the trip are spent at a local hotel in Ouarzazate. There are 74 air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant serving Moroccan and international cuisine, a swimming pool with sun loungers, beautiful gardens with hammocks and a piano bar with views over the mountains.
Accommodation while on the trail (5 nights) is in simple two-person dome tents. Foam mattresses are supplied, you need to bring sleeping bags. You are asked to give some help with the setting up of your tents. There is a shower tent with a large bucket of hot water for washing every day. There is one shower tent and one toilet (chemical). Private rooms and tents are available for an extra fee.
The food on the ride is thoughtfully prepared to give you a taste of Morocco and includes European diet staples. Remember the language here is French and the French love their food so it will be good! Breakfast is simple continental style, lunches are picnics with beautifully prepared salads. Dinner will include balanced, slightly spicy, local food such as cous-cous and rice dishes served in a traditional Tagine. Traditional Berber mint tea is a really refreshing and a welcome treat. Most special diets can be catered for - please enquire.
Alcohol is not included on the trail but you are welcome to buy your own before the trail starts to take along with you. The back up includes a truck carrying the luggage and tent which will meet you most lunchtimes, there is a cook, driver, a horse guide who cares for the horses and an English speaking guide.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
A valid passport is required for travel to Morocco. Visas are not required for U.K. or other European nationals at the time of going to print. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 0207 008 0232/0233.
The Honorary British Consulate in Marrakesh is at: 55 Boulevard Zerktouni, Residence Taib, tel: (212) (44) 435095.
The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morrocco in the U.K is at 49 Queen's Gate Gardens, London SW7 5NE. Telephone: (020) 7581 5001/4. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The days can be warm (usually no more than 20 Celsius) and the nights generally cold. Trails in October may be a bit warmer and the nights less extreme. Rain is possible but unlikely.
Please check with your doctor for any vaccinations required. You should take an insect repellent that contains DEET to prevent mosquito bites.
The most common cause of injuries to visitors to Morocco is on the roads, every precaution must be taken when travelling in cars or bikes.
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org
Although there are no compulsory vaccinations it is recommended you see your local doctor for up to date information.
Malaria has been known to occur in the northern coastal areas in Morocco at certain times of year if you are also travelling there. Water must be purified or boiled if not using mineral water. Mineral water is widely available for purchase at about 40-60p per litre. If not buying mineral water you should bring water purification tablets or drops with you. We recommend Micropur tablets which are tasteless.
A first aid kit is carried on all rides but we would suggest basic travellers medicines such as Dioralyte, Immodium and any other routine medication you may require.
We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen, sunburm is common at high altitudes and often not detected early due to cooler mountain temperatures.
Voltage is the same as in the UK (220V or 110V, 50Hz) and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.
You will be in a remote area. There is often mobile reception near the villages or at high points. Hotel nights can be used to charge cameras etc and many have WiFi. Solar chargers are useful on camping nights. There is a backup vehicle which can be used in an emergency to recharge but there is not enough battery power for regular recharging by all.
We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may very according to your preferences. A laundry service is available at the hotel.
Saddle bags are provided.
• Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard. If you do not have one we can arrange for you to borrow a helmet, please request before you book so we can confirm.
• Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
• Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
• Walks boots strongly recommended for this trail. There are some steep areas where you must walk with your horse
• Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
• T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
• Fleece - Although the weather is generally very warm, the evenings can be a bit cooler
• Warm layers - At times the evening temperature drops significantly
• Casual Clothes - for when out of the saddle
• Swimwear for the first and last nights
• A sleeping bag
• Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot
• Raincoat - although it rains very rarely it may be a good idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent and plenty of sun cream
• Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
• A copy of your passport
This is an 8 day / 7 night programme with 6 days riding on set departure dates.
2021: 7, 14*, 21* Feb; 7*, 21* Mar; 4**, 11** Apr; 17**, 24** Oct; 21, 28 Nov; 19 Dec (* denotes Mid Season; ** denotes High Season)
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||755|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||305|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||109|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||699|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||305|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||109|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||755|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||305|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||109|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||899|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||359|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||129|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||835|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||359|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||129|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||899|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||359|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||129|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||1,125|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||449|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||159|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||1,045|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||449|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||159|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||1,095|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||439|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||159|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||9,389|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||3,755|
|2020 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||1,345|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||8,719|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||3,755|
|2021 - Low Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||1,345|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||double pp group of 3 or more||9,389|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement group of 2||3,755|
|2021 - Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||1,345|
RECOMMENDED READING – Of course a good guide book is invaluable but in addition:. The Conquest of Morocco by Douglas Porch examines the takeover of Morocco by Paris, leading to the establishment of the protectorate. Peter Mayne's highly readable A Year in Marrakesh is his account of time spent living among the people of the city and observations on their lives. Their Heads Are Green is an intriguing collection of short stories about North Africa by the famous Tangier resident Paul Bowles (author of Sheltering Sky). The House of Si Abdallah: the oral history of a Moroccan family, by Henry Munson Jr, is a unique insight into the daily life and thoughts of Moroccans, mainly through the eyes of a traditional pedlar in Tangier. A fascinating look at the lives of Moroccan women is Leonora Peet's Women of Marrakesh. Over 40 years (1930-70) Peets got about as close as a non-Muslim can to the lives of local women. Iain Finlayson's Tangier: city of the dream is an intriguing look at some of the western literati who found a new home in Morocco at one time or another. For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com
Cooking will be done for you but you will be requested to assist with grooming and saddling your horse. We recommend you bring 2 water bottles, mineral water will be supplied. It is also possible to buy mineral water for about 60p per bottle in Ouarzazate as well as the usual array of carbonated drinks.
The Kingdom of Morocco is on the north-west corner of Africa. Morocco has a history as an independent nation state stretching back to the 9th century interrupted only by the brief interlude of the Protectorate (1912-1956) when the country was divided into French and Spanish zones.
Morocco's cities are bustling and full of life, usually centering around the market place. The muslim country is deeply spiritual and this mysticism is echoed in the dazzling art work found throughout. The power of the evil eye is a potent force for many Moroccans. One way of warding it off is to show the open palm of the hand, fingers pointing upwards. This 'hand of Fatima' (the Prophet's daughter) can frequently be spotted on stickers, painted on doors or as jewellery.
Morocco is on GMT. The international dialling code for Morocco is 212 and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. They are on GMT.