On this horseback riding vacation in Morocco enjoy long gallops on sandy roads and through deserted villages with their labyrinths of cacti. This is a world of rich plantations and dry and barren land at the foot of the Anti- Atlas mountains.
Ride through rocky fields where only herbs grow, and catch sight of Berber women in colorful clothing before reaching the Atlantic coast. Gallop for miles along the beach on your fit and eager horses as shore birds swoop and dive above the waves.
Morocco is only a 7-hour flight from the US, and has long been a favorite winter destination for Europeans who revel in its vital and colorful traditions. The spectacular landscape has not escaped the attention of the film industry which has taken advantage of the varied and beautiful terrain to shoot many films here, including “Lawrence of Arabia.”
The first and last nights are spent in a hotel in Agadir and one night is in Tiznit. While on trek, accommodations are in 2 person dome tents.
Meals are taken in a large dining tent while on the trek and are a sampling of the Moroccan cuisine. The cook will prepare dishes such as tagines and couscous.
Meals are taken in a large dining tent while on the trek and are a sampling of the Moroccan cuisine. The cook will prepare dishes such as tagines and couscous. Tagines are stewed or steamed dishes traditionally cooked over a small charcoal brazier with olive oil or butter, liquids and spiced meat to which vegetables are added. The picnic lunches feature prepared salads. Breakfast is simple, continental style.
As is the custom in Morocco, the horses are Arab / Barb mares and stallions, 14.2 - 15.2hh. They are strong, calm and well trained for trekking. The horses are accustomed to traveling together, however, riders must be aware of the stallions and not allow them to come too close to each other. On Day 2, time is spent matching each rider with a suitable mount.
English saddles and snaffle bits are used.
After breakfast you try out your horses, arrange saddle bags and coats etc., and make any changes necessary to horse and rider combinations.
Your first ride takes you across the fertile plains of the Souss with many sandy roads allowing for good gallops. In this region vegetables are grown in greenhouses to protect them from the fluctuating temperatures. Tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini squash can be enjoyed year round! The dry brush in the open fields is used by the local people to feed their sheep and goats. Camp is set up outside the last villages on an immense plain that reaches to the mountains on the horizon.
Today long sandy tracks take you from Berber village to Berber village. The red clay walls are mostly hidden by cactus bushes, from behind which you may see a pair of curious eyes watching as you go, as horses and riders are an uncommon sight in these regions. Under the hot sun, the farmers manage to grow a few crops but mostly live on the sheep and goats, usually tended by young children and older villagers.
Leave the fertile plains of the Souss and descend into rocky and deserted hills filled with cactus and bushes. The Berber people live basically on the production of oil from the nuts of the local Argan trees, and on the sheep they raise. It is surprising to see how the little goats climb up into the bushes to reach the few leaves that are still clinging there. Lunch will be next to a lake between the hills while birds chatter nearby. You will spend the night in camp set up on the shores of Youssef Ibn Tachafine Lake.
Today you ride over the hills of Tachilla, affording one last view of the blue waters of the lake before heading to the region of Tiznit. The landscape will vary from dry sand dunes to big rocky plains, and a deep canyon which you cross. Leave the horses in a small village and transfer by car to the city of Tiznit, very well-known for its silver works. In the afternoon you will visit the Medina of Tiznit with time to see the silver artisans at work. Have dinner and spend the night in Tiznit.
After breakfast leave Tiznit and rejoin your horses. Ride across the stony plain towards the Atlantic Ocean, soon reaching an area of succulents and cactuses. This wild section is impressive and you may have to carefully select your way through before reaching one last hill. A fresh wind flows from the Atlantic refreshing you for nice long gallops over sandy plains before reaching the coastline. Follow along sandy tracks and the seaside while enjoying the salt air. Lunch will be near the ocean. Enjoy long gallops in the afternoon before reaching camp where you have dinner and overnight on the coast.
This morning you ride along the coast and into the dunes and low hills along the coastline, ending on an enormous deserted beach where you have the opportunity for fast gallops. Only the cries of seagulls and the sound of the waves reaching the shore break the silence. Waves of birds, seagulls and flamingos will make way as your horses race along the beach. Before lunch you reach the dry bed of the Souss that is a large bird reserve. Their cries will accompany you for some time as you ride. Lunch will be in a large eucalyptus forest. Slowly you ride back into civilization and say good-bye to your horses. Transfer to your hotel in Agadir for your final night and farewell dinner.
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I had an absolutely perfect week riding these strong, eager, fit, friendly horses. Every aspect of the trip was truly perfect. This is definitely an adventurous trip for fit, experienced riders. I rode 5 different horses during our week, and each one was fantastic and unique - I loved them all, and was so happy to get to see beautiful Morocco from the backs of these amazing horses. The host is wonderful and it was such a pleasure to spend the week with her and her team. I can't recommend this trip highly enough - it's definitely my new favourite place to ride!