Picturesque and traditional Essaouria is situated several hours west of Marrakech. This week long trail along the coast features plenty of riding along endless beaches interspersed with date palms and sand dunes and rocky peaks with views over the ocean. The horses are fit Arab X Barb stallions, responsive and ridden in English tack - an ideal summer break for good riders. The accommodation comprises of camping with a night in Essaouira and Marrakech at the end in a small guesthouse.
A guest house only version of this trail is also available.
Read Sue Maling's article about her experience on this ride.
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 AG of Nottingham on 17/09/2017
Please note that on occasion this itinerary may run in reverse.
You will be met at the airport, transferred to your Riad in Marrakech and for your overnight stay. You will enjoy dinner with your fellow riders and discuss the trail ahead!
After breakfast you will be met by your guide at the reception of your hotel at 08:00. You will be transferred to Immesouana (about a 5 hour drive) and arrive in time for lunch. This afternoon you will start your riding with a short 2 hour trail to test the horses and level of each rider. The start of the trail will take you across a forest of thujas (type of juniper tree). The terrain is variable - sometimes rocky, sometimes wide earthy tracks, sometimes sand, but you will progress at all times through forest. You will eventually arrive at the Sidi Kaouki beach where you will have your first canter across the sands. The night will be spent camping.
Tissila to Tafedna. By beautiful little paths and tracks you will alternate between beach and forest, and pass through sand dunes. In the afternoon you will climb again into the Argans (a Morrocan timber tree with an oil-bearing seed) to set up camp on the cliff of Iftane which dominates the ocean. Night camping. 6hrs riding.
You will progress through the Argan forests, passing numerous typical villages. You will pass little sacred rivers and forest glades until you arrive at the beach of Tafedna. Night camping situated to the left of a fishing village. 5 hrs riding.
Iftane to Sidi Kaouki. A long ride high up on the cliff with the ocean your only horizon. Eventually you will descend towards the beach and the village of Timzguida where you will have a picnic. Night camping. 5hrs riding.
Sidi Kaiuki to Ghazoua. A shorter ride today of just over 4 hours. After a delightful lunch you will be transferred by minibus to Essaouira (about 30 minutes) and the afternoon will be free for time at the beach or to discover this interesting Medina. Night in a guesthouse in Essaouria.
Today you will rest from riding and have a free morning in Essaouira to enjoy the beach or to have a wander around the narrow streets. After lunch you will transfer to Marrakech and spend the night in a hotel.
Transfer to airport after breakfast.
There is a full backup team with vehicle for the length of your stay. Cooking will be done for you but you will be requested to assist with grooming and saddling your horse.
You must be a good horseman and fairly fit. The horses are all stallions as it is customary not to castrate riding horses. They all have individual characters and are well schooled, of good temperament and no more difficult to handle than normal riding horses.
The camping is in 2 person dome tents with 2 porches for baggage. You may also have a tent to yourself. Foam mattresses are supplied, you will need to bring sleeping bags. You will be asked to 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). Meals are taken in a large restaurant tent around a round table with stools for seats. We recommend you bring 2 water bottles. Mineral water will be supplied as well as plentiful amounts of Berber mint tea. It is also possible to buy the usual array of carbonated drinks for about 40p per bottle in local shops. Your hosts will not be able to buy wine and beer in advance but you are quite welcome to bring your own.
Alchohol is not provided on this trip. You are welcome to bring your own from your country of origin or purchase in Marrakech before the trip.
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. 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 all paces once everyone is comfortable with their horses and there are some long days. The temperatures can vary from very hot and dusty days to cool nights. The terrain varies from stoney tracks through forests to sandy dunes and deserted beaches. There are some rocky steep areas. The views are amazing and every day brings new delights.
To go on this ride you should be comfortable spending up to six hours a day in the saddle and be confident at a walk, trot and canter. Experience of riding out is recommended but not essential as the horses are very sure footed.
Weight limit: 15 stone (95 kg). The minimum age for this ride is 12 years.
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 camping is in 2 person dome tents with 2 porches. 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).
Meals are taken in a large restaurant tent around a round table with stools for seats. There is shade available to eat at lunch times, either natural or a simple tent is erected. 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. All special diets can be catered for.
Alchohol is not provided on this trip. You are welcome to bring your own from your country of origin or purchase in Marrakech before the trip. The back up includes a truck carrying the luggage and tents 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: email@example.com.
Summers are hot but the humidity is quite low. Winters are generally mild and sunny despite some spells of changeable weather. The breeze on the coast makes the difference less dramatic in the day but nights can be chilly.
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 at certain times of year. Water must be purified or boiled if not using mineral water. Mineral water is widely available for purchase at about 40p 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, Imodium and any other routine medication you may require.
We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!
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 camping and we suggest you bring sufficient film and batteries with you from the UK. There may be mobile reception on some but not all days of the ride.
SUGGESTED PACKING LIST
It is recommended that you bring clothes that air-dry quickly.
Riding pants - thin jeans or breeches
Riding boots or paddock boots or riding trainers
Lipbalm with sunscreen
Half chaps (optional, some small sizes available to borrow)
Riding hat with brim
Hard hat (recommended)
Plastic bags for wet clothing
T-shirts and shorts
All terrain sandals
Camera and batteries
Long sleeved shirts or cotton shirts
Spare set of shoes
Informal wear for evenings/ hotels
Copy of your passport
Light wind breaker
Light fleece or coat for evenings
Sleeping Bag and sleeping sheet, pillow
Pack luggage in large soft bags
Bandana / sarong / light scarf to protect face from dust
Avoid synthetic clothes and underwear, tight jeans or jeans with thick seams and long boots.
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 5 days riding available on set dates. Private departures for groups of 4 or more can be arranged.
2019: 17*, 24* Feb; 10*, 17*, 31** Mar; 7**, 14** Apr; 13**, 20**, 27** Oct; 22** Dec. (* denotes mid season, ** high season).
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||755|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||325|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||115|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||809|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||325|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||115|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||845|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||325|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||115|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||835|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||359|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||129|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||899|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||359|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||129|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||935|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||359|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||129|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||969|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||419|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||149|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||1,045|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||419|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||149|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||1,089|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||419|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||149|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||8,725|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||3,759|
|2019 Low Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||1,345|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||9,395|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||3,759|
|2019 Mid Season||8d/7n||5||single supplement||1,345|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||double pp group of 3-10||9,795|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||supplement group of 2||3,759|
|2019 High Season||8d/7n||5||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 40p per bottle in local shops 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.