On this riding holiday you can enjoy the incredible variation of desert landscapes and meet the people that have adapted to these harsh conditions. We ride from the stony deserts near Zagora all the way to the big sand dunes of the Sahara at Chegaga. There are many opportunities to gallop in open spaces. The Barb Arab stallions are the true highlight of this ride, strong & well trained, they will accompany you all along this trek. These beautiful horses will allow you to get to magnificent remote places, barely touched by tourism.

Accommodation is either camping in the desert with showers available each evening, luggage and food is carried by support vehicle or, from October to April, a comfort version is available with evenings are spent in comfortable guesthouses, hotels or a riad.

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 HM of Woking on 03/02/2019

Ride Summary
I think this holiday was perhaps the first one that I have been on where I have met an amazing range of people (not exclusively in the riding party) who had amazing stories to tell, which only added to a very memorably and exciting time

What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
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Riding tour leader
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Horses and Tack
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Meals
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What could we do to improve this ride?

How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
7
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
I found my horse both challenging and rewarding and I learnt a lot
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Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Day 1: Arrive Ouarzazate
Riders will be met at the airport and transferred to their hotel.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 2: Ouarzazate - Imi N'Chaabte - Tafraout
You will meet in the hotel lobby at 7am and leave by car in the direction of Zagora, along the Draa Valley, until you reach Tansikht. Then, you will be driven along the Djbel Sagho and travel through Nkob and Tazzarine leaving the asphalt towards Mcissi. The journey is approximately 420 km on asphalt and 60 km on a track. There will be a picnic en-route.  

Upon arrival you will meet your horses and the team and each member of the group will be matched to a suitable horse. Finally, you will set off into the desert and dunes and sandy riverbeds. Overnight in comfortable inn. 2.5 hours riding.

Day 3: Tafraout - Foum Mharech
You will ride across Tafraoute Village to reach Ahbouche Ktkouyte plateau (Tafraoute Lake). This is ideal ground for galloping. You will ride at the foot of Tattihate. between Djbel Mohre to the right and Djbel Zireg to the left. You will have a chance to admire the breath-taking landscapes of the Sahara Desert; endless dunes with majestic cliffs in the background. You will then reach your charming little desert lodge located in Mharech Valley.
Overnight in a cottage. 4/6 hours riding.  

Day 4: Foum March - Remlia Sand Hills - Ouzina
Beautiful stretches available to us, we pass a small pass to overhang the valley of Wad Ghriss. We are moving in the desert and we feel that we sink it! Grandiose landscapes combining dry and austere mountains highlighted with attractive cords dunes where some oasis settle and recall that life is invited in this setting!
Overnight in a comfortable inn. 5/6 hours riding.

Day 5: Ouzina Sand Hills - Jdaid
Today you will ride along the splendid Ouzina sand hills. The ride will take you from dunes to rocky mountains. This Saharan day will end in the village of Tagthaoucht-n-Jdaid, where a water reservoir is located.  
Overnight in a lodge. 4/5 hours riding.

Day 6: Jdaid - Merzouga Sand Hills
A change of scenery every day! Today it is through a landscape dotted with tamarisk. You will find yourself at the feet of the highest dunes in Morocco ... the dunes of the Chebbi Erg!
There will be time to enjoy these grandiose landscapes whilst your horse rolls in the sand.
Overnight in a riad. 5 hours riding.

Day 7: Jdaid - Merzouga Sand Hills
You will spend the last morning on horseback riding through the Chebbi Erg to Taouz. You will say goodbye to the team and horses and jump back in the 4WD, heading in the direction of Erfoud, Boumalne Dades, across the 1000 Kasbah Valley until you reach Ouarzazate.
Check in at the hotel and leisure time. Dinner in restaurant and overnight at hotel. 2 hours riding.

Day 8: Ouarzazate - Departure
Transfer to the airport for your departure.


NOTE: This itinerary on this horse riding holiday is given for your guidance only and it may be altered in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

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.

Level required:
One 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. Certain stages may force you to have longer days than usual. Certain passages in the mountains force us to dismount. A sense of humour and common sense are essential as well as the capacity to enjoy remote mountains and desert scenery.

Alcohol
Alcohol 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.

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. 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 in the desert to cool nights. The terrain varies from vast open stony desert to sandy riverbeds and plateaus. There are some rocky steep areas. The views are amazing and every day brings new delights.

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 including gallop. Experience over rough and challenging terrain is recommended but not essential as the horses are very sure footed. You should be fit and able to accept an adventurous environment.

Weight limit: 15 stone (95 kg)

The minimum age for this ride is 12 years. In general this is not a trip taken by children.

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.

This is a comfort trail so accommodation is in guesthouses and hotels. Showers are available each evening. Single rooms are available upon request (additional charge). There is shade available to eat at lunch times, either natural or a simple tent is erected. Please note that it can get very cold at night and there is no heating in most of the accommodation, so warm clothes for sleeping in is advised.

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.

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 to very hot (30's celsius) and the nights generally cooler (16-22C). It can be dusty and on occasion windy. It is usually very sunny and most of the water in this region is melted snow from the Atlas mountains in wide rivers that run for only a few months of the year.

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 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, Immodium and any other routine medication you may require.
We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!

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 and we suggest you bring sufficient film and batteries with you from the UK.

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.

• 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)
• 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
• 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 riding on 6 days available on set departure. Private departures for groups of 4 or more can be arranged.

Departure Dates

2019: 20, 27 Jan; 3, 10, 17*, 24* Feb; 3*, 10*, 17* Mar; 27** Oct; 3, 10, 17, 24 Nov; 1, 8, 15*, 22** Dec. (* denotes 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 £
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more1,055
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6supplement group of 2369
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6single supplement229
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6double pp group 3-101,115
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6supplement group of 2369
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6single supplement229
2019 High Season8d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more1,149
2019 High Season8d/7n6supplement group of 2369
2019 High Season8d/7n6single supplement229
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more1,179
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6supplement group of 2409
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6single supplement259
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6double pp group 3-101,245
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6supplement group of 2409
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6single supplement259
2019 High Season8d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more1,285
2019 High Season8d/7n6supplement group of 2409
2019 High Season8d/7n6single supplement259
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more1,399
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6supplement group of 2489
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6single supplement305
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6double pp group 3-101,475
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6supplement group of 2489
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6single supplement305
2019 High Season8d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more1,519
2019 High Season8d/7n6supplement group of 2489
2019 High Season8d/7n6single supplement305
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more12,955
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6supplement group of 24,505
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6single supplement2,819
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6double pp group 3-1013,659
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6supplement group of 24,505
2019 Mid Season8d/7n6single supplement2,819
2019 High Season8d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more14,079
2019 High Season8d/7n6supplement group of 24,505
2019 High Season8d/7n6single supplement2,819
Recommended Reading

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


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):
Ouarzazate Airport. It is also possible to fly to Marrakech; from where we can arrange a transfer for you or you can take a bus to Ouarzazate (additional cost). If you are flying into Marrakech then your flight must arrive no later than 2pm on Day 1 and leave no earlier than 3pm on Day 8.
Transfer:
2019: Included from meeting point. For Marrakech transfers there is a supplement of €140 per vehicle (1-8pax) each way, payable on site.
Flight Guide:
London - Ouarzazate return from £275 - 390
London - Marrakech return from £150 - £250
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