This one way equestrian camping trail is a true desert adventure across the largest, and still untouched, of the major deserts in Morocco, Erg Chegaga. Some dunes are over 50m above the surrounding landscape and with an area of approximately 35 km by 15 km, this is the largest and wildest erg (dune field) of Morocco. Discover the dunes of the Sahara with the help of a camel caravan, taking in the breathtaking landscapes while in pursuit of hidden wells. Experience the immensity of the dry lake of Iriki and the amazing mountains of M'Douar Srir and M'Douar Kbir.

The pace of the horseback riding trail is varied with regular trots and canters, and occasional gallops when the terrain allows.Ride responsive Barb Arab stallions on this challenging ride which involves horseback riding and camping in some remote locations.Suitable for experienced riders. A true desert crossing!

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.

There are no reviews for this holiday at the moment

Day 1: Ouarzazate - Ouled Driss : 3 hours driving

Guests met by the hosts at Ouarzazate airport. Transfer to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

DAY 2: Ouarzazate - N'esrate - 3 hours riding
Breakfast at the hotel. Immediately take the road that crosses the Djebel Saghro (volcanic massif) to descend the Draa valley and reach the departure point south of Zagora and the Djebel Bani. More than just a transfer, this is the first real stage of the journey. Meet with the team and saddle up. Departure of the horse trek towards the south-west, easy terrain through beautiful small dunes.
To the north, the horizon is dominated by the Jebel Bani, and to the south, from the top of the dunes, see the mountains bordering Algeria. The ride passes through the tamarisk trees and then leaves the dunes to cross a reg, a completely different aspect of the desert, more austere, harsher. Small dunes that isolate riders from the great plateaux. Night in a bivouac.
Transfer by minibus: 3 hours.

DAY 3: N'esrate - Oued N'naam - 5 hours riding
Breakfast at sunrise. Tend to the horses and set up camp. A few steps from a well that was still flowing, a magnificent tamarisk tree that is used it as a parasol for lunch. Continue westwards after a little siesta in the sun or in the shade of the few trees nestling in this undulating landscape. At the end of the day, the superb canyon of Oued l'Ataach, where the night will be spent. The wadi is overgrown with Tamaris trees, which hold back the sand and form numerous small pools that make superb bivouac sites. Dinner and overnight in Oued l'Ataach around a small campfire. Night in bivouac.

Day 4: OUED L’ATAACH – OUM LAALAG- CHGGAGA - 5 hours riding
This morning leave in the N/NW direction. The goal (which can be seen in the distance) is the mountain between the Djebel Bani and the dunes to the S/SW. At the foot of this mountain, the Oum Laalag lunch awaits. Oum Laalag, literally means "wadi of leeches" in Berber. Cross many stony plateaus interspersed with dry wadi beds. The picnic is in a hidden recess of the canyon depending on the weather conditions of the day. In the afternoon, head south on a plateau that offers expansive views of the "plains" that are the gateway to the dunes of Chggaga. Descend to these "plains" which separate the group from the dunes. Take advantage of the terrain to enjoy riding at a faster pace. Arrive at a well and stop to refresh the horses a short way from Tamarisks and Euphorbias (Calotropis Procera). Climb one of the highest dunes of Morocco to admire the sunset. Dinner, campfire and overnight in tents a short distance from the dunes.

Day 5: CHEGAGA – HASSI EL BIAD- ERG GHOUL - 6 hours riding
Today's ride is in a "laughing" desert of very isolated dunes, punctuated with numerous corners of vegetation (tamarisk, euphorbia, acacias and pastures). Early breakfast and leave towards more dunes for some forays into the slopes. The horses manage very well on the "hard" sides, and riders can sometimes make it up quite high. Ride along the high dunes towards the west and obliquely N/NW to cross long dune strips. It is very wild here and gazelles are often seen. There is a well waiting on exiting the dunes, and the group must stay in the funnel to find its location between the erg and the mountains of Bani. Some nomadic camps stand on the edge of the dunes. A nomadic school is even present. Picnic in the shade of the tamarisk. The afternoon's landscape is more "African savanna" with many acacias marking the route. Ride between mountains and dunes and quench the horses' thirst at a well before turning south and joining the dunes to select a campsite in the dune "arena". Dinner and overnight in tents - but not a twig to make a fire. The erg Ghoul (the erg of hercule) does not offer a single tree, and thus no wood!

Day 6: ERG GHOUL –IRIKI – RIVE D’IRIKI - 6 to 7 hours riding
Early breakfast and head to the well to water the horses. The direction is due west toward the "plain" of Iriki, a huge dried up lake. It is very rare that the winter rains of the Atlas manage to feed it enough to create a lake again. Water still comes down from Jebel Ban, but is unfortunately stopped by the Ouarzazate dam. It used to be a refuge for migratory birds, they now prefer a route along the ocean. This "plain" is a stretch of more than 40 km of flat terrain. But be careful on days with sandy winds. The predominating dryness makes the ground very hard but does not prevent riders from stretching out at a faster pace. Cross this immensity on a small side to come to the picnic spot on the northern bank. Acacias offer the essential shade for a short nap. Depending on the conditions, riders cross either directly via the black stone plateaus interspersed with small valleys, or bypass the escarpments on the banks of Iriki. On the plateaus there are many fossil sites, especially "Ortoceras", mollusks that disappeared 250 million years ago. The mountains of M'Douar which bar the horizon to the southwest are visible from afar and serve as a landmark to find the campsite close to a well which is, unfortunately, a little too salty for the horses. Dinner and overnight in tents.

DAY 7: Iriki - M'Douar - Ouarzazate - 3 hours riding
A magnificent stage, long but very varied, with mountains, plateaux and a transfer to Ouarzazate. Don't hesitate to get up early this morning, before breakfast, to admire the sunrise over the mountains. It's a long way to the next well. Reach the foothills of the mountain through a steppe. A landscape of small dunes and dense vegetation, crossed by nomads and their herds  of camels and goats. A hidden well with excellent water awaits in the middle of these dunes and this "forest". Pass between M'Douar Srir and M'Douar Kbir, the names of two recognisable mountains. They are reminiscent of the great American canyons! Ride along the cliffs of M' Daour Kbir, where a few tufts of palm trees curl up. After lunch, transfer to Ouarzazate. Check-in at the hotel. Dinner at the restaurant. Night in hotel.
Transferby minibus: 3 hours.

DAY 8: Ouarzazate
Transfer to Ouarzazate airport and return flight. Possibility of arriving and departing from Marrakech.

 

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. The pacing of the ride is around 60% walk, 25% trot and 15% canter/gallop.


Rider requirements

To go on this ride you should be comfortable spending up to seven hours 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 days 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.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation while on the trail is in simple two-person dome tents. Foam mattresses are supplied, riders will need to bring sleeping bags. Riders are 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). 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 within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures

Your passport should be valid for at least 3 months on your date of entry to Morocco. When entering the country, make sure your passport is stamped. Some tourists have experienced difficulties leaving the country because their passport bears no entry stamp. Before travelling, make sure your passport isn’t damaged. Some travellers have been refused entry when travelling on damaged passports.

Morocco is a Muslim country which follows Islamic laws and customs. You should respect these at all times.

Passport and Visa 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 should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/morocco

In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Morocco.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/morocco


Climate Summary

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.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

You should always bring any regular prescription drugs you may need with you, and spare, just in case.

Morocco has a poor road safety record. Please take care when travelling on roads.

Henna tattoos are common in Morocco. If considering a henna tattoo be aware that some henna paste contain the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which can cause a painful allergic reaction including swelling and an itchy rash in some people.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 150 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Morocco and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Sunscreen, any personal medication, insect repellent.

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

In Morocco the supply voltage is 220V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 220V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

You will be in a remote area. There is occasionally mobile reception at high points. 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 everyone. If using a GoPro make sure to get the permission of the group to be filmed.

Packing List

- Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384. If you do not have one we can arrange for you to borrow a helmet, please request before you book so we can confirm.
- Gloves
- 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)
- Walking 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
- Sunhat
- 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
- Raincoat - although it rains very rarely it may be a good idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket
- A sleeping bag
- Sunglasses
- Towel
- Swimwear for the first and last nights
- Sunscreen
- Refillable Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- 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
- Torch
- A copy of your passport

Provided by hosts
- Saddlebags
- Riding Helmet
A laundry service is available at the hotel

Programmes

This is an 8 day / 7 night programme with 6 days riding on set departure dates.

Departure Dates

2024: 28* Jan; 3** Mar; 20*** Oct; 15* Dec
(* Low Season)
(** Mid Season)
(*** High Season)

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 £
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6double pp 5+ riders mid season1,389
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6single supplement109
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 4 pax pp 65
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 3 pax pp279
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 2 pax pp 715
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6Mid season supplement pp54
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6High season supplement pp87
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6double pp 5+ riders mid season1,615
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6single supplement125
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 4 pax pp 75
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 3 pax pp325
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 2 pax pp 825
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6Mid season supplement pp63
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6High season supplement pp99
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6double pp 5+ riders mid season1,849
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6single supplement145
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 4 pax pp 87
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 3 pax pp375
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 2 pax pp 949
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6Mid season supplement pp72
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6High season supplement pp115
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6double pp 5+ riders mid season19,249
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6single supplement1,495
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 4 pax pp 895
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 3 pax pp3,879
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6supplement for group of 2 pax pp 9,849
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6Mid season supplement pp749
2024 Mid-season8d/7n6High season supplement pp1,195
Recommended Reading

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


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 Ouarzazate 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):
Ouarzazate Airport (OZZ) or Zagora (OZG) or Marrakech (RAK), Morocco
Transfer:
Included from Ouarzazate. Pick up can be arranged from Marrakech (4hrs) or Zagora on request for an extra cost, please enquire.
Flight Guide:
London - Ouarzazate return from £220pp
Riders who booked this ride also considered
Gallop in Moon Valley Oct 2011
Chile, Atacama Desert Trail

An equestrian vacation in spectacular and dramatic l...Read more >

from US $4,449
Pushkar Fair
India, Pushkar Fair and Diwali Festival

See rural India while horseback riding on warmb...Read more >

from US $4,269
Arriving at Azaden valley
Morocco, Oasis Camping Trail

An equestrian  Read more >

from US $1,349