Morocco - Auberge & Guesthouse
Only a short flight from the UK but with a real feeling of the exotic and sun for most of the year, Morocco is a great destination for the avid traveller. These rides are run by Sports Travel Morocco, a French company based near Marrakech, and are aimed at confident and independent riders who prefer a fairly comfortable and not too strenuous holiday. Itineraries explore distinct areas, including the foothills of the high Atlas, the Atlantic Coast and the northern edge of the Sahara Desert. Routes are progressive with nights spent in local guesthouses and hotels.
Riding: 4-6 hours a day
Horses: Arabs and Berber Arabs
Pace: moderate, chances for long canters varies with itinerary
Riding ability: intermediate to experienced rider
Weight limit: 95kg (15 stone)
Accommodation: guesthouses, 2* & 3* hotels
Group size: maximum 10
Season: year round
Horses: The horses used are mostly pure and cross-bred Berber Arabs of between about 14.2hh and 16hh. They are working desert horses owned by Sports Travel Morocco, who have about 30 horses in all, mainly stallions, with some geldings. The horses are strong, sure-footed and with excellent stamina. They are responsive and forward going to ride and there is a good selection for riders of intermediate ability and above. There is a weight limit of 95kg (15 stone) though please call to check if you are close to this. Groups are usually limited to maximum of 8 guests.
Hours: There is usually about 4 to 6 hours riding a day, riding from guesthouse to guesthouse. Rides are broken up with rests for lunch.
Pace and experience required: To join a ride you must be a fairly experienced rider who is comfortable on a horse at all paces from a walk to fast canter in open country. You will be riding over varied terrain and in open country. The going on these rides does vary from area to area, with some parts quite rough or rocky but where the going is good the pace is often quite fast, with canters across open plains. Generally you will cover 30km a day.
Accommodation on all rides is in a mixture of guesthouses and hotels. Guesthouses vary in standard but are usually quite comfortable, rooms may be small and simple but have their own bathroom and there is hot water (sometimes limited quantity!) Hotels are generally about 3* and bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms - they often have a swimming pool. Luggage will be transported by back up vehicle which will also meet you for lunch where possible. When it is not possible to meet the back-up then a picnic lunch will be carried in the saddlebags.
(prices assume 4 or more riders)
Sand Hills of Merzouga
Itinerary in Brief - Sand Hills of Merzouga (please enquire for other itineraries)
|Day 1||Met at Ouzarzate airport and transfer to a hotel in Ouarzazate for dinner & night.|
|Day 2||Set off in the early morning, driving first along the Draa Valley, then east to Tansihkt. In the afternoon meet the horses and set off riding to your guesthouse near the village of Tafraoute. Night in guesthouse.|
|Day 3||The ride today takes you across a plateau and then into a braod valley between the mountains. Arrive at a charming lodge in the Mharech valley. Dinner and night at the lodge.|
|Day 4||Breakfast and set off, crossing a small pass and descending to Wadi Griss. The desert scenery of black mountains, red pinnacles, table top hills and golden dunes is truly stunning. Arrive at a small inn on the edge of the sand dunes of Ouzina.|
|Day 5||Tack up the horses and set off riding through splendid dunes and then follow tracks into the rocky hills. Water the horses at a small well outside a remote village then stop for a picnic. In the afternoon continue across open plains to your auberge close to the village of Taghaoucht-n-Jaid. Dinner and night at the auberge.|
|Day 6||The ride today's takes you across dry river beds lined with tamarisk. Ride through rolling dunes and tussock grass and stop for lunch near Neolithic carvings. In the afternoon continue towards Merzouga, the great dunes growing closer. The night is spent in a riad close to the base of the dunes.|
|Day 7||Breakfast in the riad and the morning ride takes you through the beautiful Chebbi Erg dunes. After a couple of hours meet the back-up lorry and say goodbye to the horses. A 5 hour drive back to Ouarzazate, stopping for lunch on the way. Dinner and night in Ouarzazate.|
|Day 8||Breakfast and transfer to Ouarzazate airport.|
|Contact us at email@example.com or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
The meeting points are either Marrakech airport or Ouarzazate airport depending on the itinerary.
Royal Air Maroc fly daily from London Gatwick to Casablanca and have onward flights to Ouarzazate.
British Airways and Easy Jet fly from Gatwick to Marrakech daily. Ryan Air fly from London Stansted and Luton to Marrakech.
There is a good train service in Morocco (www.oncf.ma) and there is a station at Casablanca airport with mainline connections to Marrakech. You can also travel by train all the way from the UK (see- www.seat61.com)