Riding in the desert

Spend 7 nights riding and camping in the Siroua mountain range, situated between the High Atlas and the Anti Atlas mountains. This region offers magnificent views and dramatic gorges; the ideal terrain to explore on board the well-trained, fit and forward-going Arab-Berber stallions at this destination. These desert trails are ideal for riders visiting Morocco in spring or autumn with accommodation provided in comfortable camps for a true taste of Moroccan rural life.

The riding is a mix of paces to suit the terrain, you can expect plenty of fast canters and exhilarating gallops so you should be confident riding in open spaces and in control at a fast pace. A full support crew will provide meals and set up camp each night. The food is a real highlight when visiting Morocco, they'll be plenty of refreshing mint tea and large platters of tagines and beautiful salads to refuel while on the trail. A really fantastic introduction to Morocco and its varied landscapes and brilliant riding. 

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DAY 1 Arrival in Marrakech
You'll be met at the airport and transfered to your hotel for the night.

DAY 2   Anzal - Tamllakoute
You'll meet the team and horses in the morning and will be served lunch before the trek begins, riding along the banks of Anzal Oued. You'll ride until the village of Tamllakoute where you'll spend your first night camping.
Dinner and overnight in the tent. (2 ½ hours riding)

DAY 3   Tamllakoute-Amezri
You'll take a trail that will allow a gallop before reaching the village of Tinzaline. From here the trail begins with rocky paths until we reach Tizgzawine where a picnic lunch will be taken a few steps away from the village. In the afternoon, you will head for Merzoug, before reaching the huge plateau of Amezri to enjoy incredible views over the surrounding mountains. Dinner and overnight at camp (approx 5 hours riding).

DAY 4   Amezri- Talat n’Mdist
Today, the ride will take you to the Siroua summits, through Aït Tigga. This village overlooks the superb valley of Aït Semgane with its saffron terraced fields. While enjoying the view over the Berber villages of the valley, you’ll climb up to a small pass to have a picnic lunch on top of the sheep pens of Tisswatine. The afternoon will be spent on the way to the high & famous Tizi n’Anzommer pass (2732 m). You can enjoy a panoramic view over the whole mountain before riding down to the campsite through shepherd steep paths, deep inside the Mdist valley. Dinner and overnight at camp. (Approx 5 hours riding)

DAY 5 Talat n’Mdist-Azazougzane
You will continue the trek along a beautiful trail that crosses a mountainous and dry area very rich in medicinal plants. The Siroua region is one of the richest regions as far as medicinal plants are concerned. The Berbers cut them and sell them on the markets all over the country. You will then go down to the riverbed to see a beautiful view over the Ighighi gorges. The horses can enjoy a well deserved rest in the river water before heading for the picnic spot at the foot of Djbel Tazoulte for lunch. Shortly after the break, you will ride uphill until you reach the high mountain pastures and the Azazougzane Azib (sheep pens), where the camp will be set. (Approx. 5 hours riding)

DAY 6 Azazougzane- Anmid
The whole day will give you the opportunity to ride through green fields, from an azib to another, sometimes in an exceptionally rocky environment with spectacular views. A picnic lunch will take place in the sheep pens. In the afternoon, you’ll ride up to Tizi n’Ait Qalla with a panoramic view over the big village of Anmid. Camp down in the village. (Approx. 5 hours riding)

DAY 7 Anmid -Amassine
This morning, you will have breakfast for the last time in the open air. The ride will start in the direction of Agrilaoune village and continue up a long path that overlooks nice Berber villages hanging to the steep slopes of the mountain. We will end our ride with a beautiful gallop before boarding our minibus for a transfer in the direction of Marrakesh (4 hours). Overnight in a 3* hotel in Marrakesh. (Approx. 2 ½ hours riding)

DAY 8 Marrakech
Breakfast in the hotel and transfer to the airport.

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/gallop 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 six 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 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 although assistance is always available. The minimum age for this ride is 16 years.

Weight Limit

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 hotel in Marrakech. During the 5 nights on the trail you will stay in simple two-person dome tents with 2 porches for bags. Foam mattresses are supplied, you need to bring sleeping bags. Camp will also have a large mess tent for meals, a campfire and 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 diets. 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.


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

This trails runs in the south of Morocco between mid October and mid May, will see temperatures rising to 20°C with cold nights. In April, May and October the day time temperatures will be hotter and the nights less extreme. Rain is possible but unlikely.

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. 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)
• Walking 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
• 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 a 8 day/7 night programme with 5.5 days riding available on set dates.

Departure Dates

2021: Sept 19, 26; Oct 3, 10
2022: May 15, 22, 29; Sept 18, 25; Oct 2, 9

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 £
20218d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more699
20218d/7n6supplement group of 2325
20218d/7n6single supplement109
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20218d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more795
20218d/7n6supplement group of 2365
20218d/7n6single supplement125
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20218d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more955
20218d/7n6supplement group of 2439
20218d/7n6single supplement149
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20218d/7n6double pp group of 3 or more8,719
20218d/7n6supplement group of 24,025
20218d/7n6single supplement1,345
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 Activities

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:
2021/22: 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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