hacking in the Atlas foothills
view across the Atlas mountains from horseback
cantering horses in the Atlas mountains
horse and rider looking across the Atlas mountains
horses paddling in the Atlas mountains
horse riding across the Ouka plateau
horse riding along trails in the Atlas mountains
riding camp in the Atlas mountains
Horse riding holiday Morocco
Horseback vacation Morocco

Starting a few miles from Marrakech this point to point horse camping riding holiday will take you through the central  part of the High Atlas mountains. The responsive but sensible Barb Arab stallions are perfect for intermediate riders onwards. The terrain varies from mountain trails to bigger paths and allows riding at all three gaits each day. This is the perfect way to discover the unspoilt authentic Morocco , riding from village to village and enjoying splendid views over the Haouz Plain and Toubkal summits.

The Barb X Arab stallions are a true highlight of this ride: strong and well trained, these beautiful horses will allow you to get to magnificent remote places barely touched by tourism. Riding through steep-sided valleys provides a real sense of adventure!

This is a camping trail with facilities, and hotel accommodation on the first and the last day. Showers are available in camp each evening, luggage and food is carried by support vehicle.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from ME of Zürich on 10/09/2017

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday
fantastic staff and made to accommodate
Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments

Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments

Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
More detailed description of daily route
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
The experience needed to join the right group
What could we do to improve this ride?
Be certain everyones experience in horse riding matches the group
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
8
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
I do not have much experience however the difficulty level was also the same with the more experience riders
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
all in all the package was great and met all needs
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:
I had a fantastic experience however it would be helpful if riders were together with the same or similar experience. I was a Novice and the rest where all highly experience riders. This did not impact on any of the trip as I was able to keep up with the group however I felt alittle out of place.
Unicorn comments: Thanks for the great comments and glad you had a good time! You did well keeping up with the intermediate group ;)
Day 1
Meet and greet at airport and immediate transfer to the riding centre. Depending on your arrival time, you may get to meet your horse. Dinner and overnight in hotel and a swim in the pool of you like.

Day 2 
We will saddle up for an evaluation of each rider before the horses are allocated for the week. There is a briefing and equipment double check and off we go!! This first day will take us to the first foothills of the Atlas Mountain opposite the hotel along a ridge trail until we reach our first overnight camp site next to Tatult village. 3 ½hours riding

Day 3 
Today we head out on the trail before climbing up a path in direction of the N’Kik plateau. From up there, we will enjoy a plunging view on Amizmiz Valley and Takerkoust Lake. After  crossing the Tizi N’Ousaud pass, we stop for a picnic break. In the afternoon, we will climb down the trail and follow a path across a forest of thuya and green oaks until we reach our camp site, down near the village of Tassa Wourgane Saline. 5 ½ hours riding

Day 4
After breakfast we ride across the Tassa Ouirgane valley and enjoy the fresh air by Azzadne Oued (river) with its pretty Berber villages. Our lunchtime picnic will take place beside the river in Azerfssane. The afternoon will be spent in Azzadne valley along mountain paths before we take the trail to Tiziane village. Overnight with a local family. 5 hours riding

Day 5
This morning our horses climb out in the direction of the Tizi N’Oudide pass (2,100 m). After crossing we head down to Matate village overlooking Gheghaya valley. Today our picnic lunch is beside the river in Aguerssiwale. In the afternoon we will ride up again to Aguerssiwale pass and then along the superb D’Imnane valley with its pretty villages nestled at the foot of the mountains. Overnight with a local family in Ounskra down the Toubkal summit (highest in Morocco). 6 hours riding

Day 6
Today we will gain altitude again from one pass to another. We will reach Tizi N’Addi (3,100 m) that offers us a spectacular view over the High Atlas and the Toubkal Summit (4,167 m) and we will then ride through the Oukaïmeden plateau (a winter sport resort in another season). We enjoy our picnic right after Tizi ‘N Ouka pass (2,800 m). In the afternoon, we will ride down the trail overlooking the Haouz plain until we reach Tiselit, where our camp site is already prepared for us and snacks are waiting. 5-6 hours riding.

Day 7
Our last day riding takes us to the village of Asni through a forest of oaks and junipers. We eat our picnic in the shade of the Alep pine trees at the foot of Djebel Choucht. In the afternoon, we will enjoy the last canters ot the trek that will lead us back to our starting point where we have dinner and overnight in our hotel with swimming pool. 4 hours riding

Day 8
Breakfast and airport transfer 3 hours before take off. Depending on your to flight schedule, an optional extra visit to Marrakesh can be arranged on request.  

This ride can be confirmed for 2 or more riders for a supplement. This supplement is fully refundable if the more riders subsequently book on the same date.

Non riders
For non riders interested in exploring the region there is the option to follow the ride by mountain bike. Please enquire for more details.

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.

Horses & Riding

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.

Rider requirements

To go on this ride you should be comfortable spending up to six hours a day in the saddle and 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 force us to dismount and lead our horses. 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.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 15 st/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 hotel/lodge/resort, comfortable and environmentally friendly set in the foothills of the Atlas mountains (or similar). There's a swimming pool too. During the 4 nights you will stay in simple two-person dome tents with 2 porches for bags, and at 'inns', houses owned by local Berber families. 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 include European diet. Remember the language here is French and the French love their food so it will be good! Breakfast is simple continental style, lunches are picnic 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 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.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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.

General information:

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: mail@sifamaldn.org.

Climate Summary

The days can be warm (usually no more than 25 in the mountains, below graph is for Marrakech which is much warmer and the nights generally cooler (10-16C). Mountain weather can be very variable and you are advised to be prepared for anything from relentless sunshine which burns at altitude to showers and wind.

Climate Chart

Health

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

Health (ride specific)

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.!

Electricity

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.

Film and Camera Equipment

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.

Packing List

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 programme and 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 which is PAS015 or BSEN1384. Helmets are available at the stables if you do not have your own
• 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 foe 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
• Sunhat
• Sunglasses
• 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
• Towel
• Torch
• A sleeping bag
• Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
• 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

Programmes

This is an 8 day / 7 night programme with 6 days riding on set departure dates. Private departures for groups of 4 or more can be arranged.

Departure Dates

2018: 29 Jul; 5, 12, 19, 26 Aug; 2, 9 Sept

Pricing
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2018 8d/7n6double pp group of 3 riders or more819
2018 8d/7n6supplement for group of 2229
2018 8d/7n6single supplement for tent and lodge119
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2018 8d/7n6double pp group of 3 riders or more875
2018 8d/7n6supplement for group of 2245
2018 8d/7n6single supplement for tent and lodge125
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2018 8d/7n6double pp group of 3 riders or more1,075
2018 8d/7n6supplement for group of 2299
2018 8d/7n6single supplement for tent and lodge155
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2018 8d/7n6double pp group of 3 riders or more9,499
2018 8d/7n6supplement for group of 22,649
2018 8d/7n6single supplement for tent and lodge1,359
Other Activities

The hotel has various activities including archery, climbing and craft workshops (not included). Depending on departure time, a tour of Marrakech can be arranged for an additional (reasonable) cost.

Other Information

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 local shops as well as the usual array of carbonated drinks.

Other Country Information

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.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Marrakech Airport (RAK)
Transfer:
2018: Included from meeting point (30mins). Transfers can also be arranged from Ouarzazate for €140 per vehicle (1-8pax) each way, payable on site.
Flight Guide:
London - Marrakech return from £150 - £250
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