Riders with a background of the valley, Atlas, Morocco
NORTH AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST

Horseback riding trails in Morocco

Riding holidays in Morocco offer many options. Pacey trail rides across the desert or along the coastline and beaches; trail rides through the High Atlas mountains; or centre based stays with comfortable accommodation coupled with the chance to ride in the Atlas mountains. On quality Barb or Arab horses, many of which are stallions, ride horseback trails past Berber villages and immerse yourself in Moroccan culture.
See all our trips

From the horse’s mouth

  • Moroccan Ranch
    Ksenia, aged 34, LONDON
    I would like to say a huge thank you to Yussef, who was absolutely incredible and helpful. He is such an amazing guide and it's so much fun to ride and train with him!
    More about this trip
  • Horses, Dunes and Nomads
    Paul, aged 52, Seattle
    This was a great trip. You ride through some beautiful areas in the desert, staying at wonderful riads, and enjoying excellent food. The guides we're absolutely outstanding. Abdel speaks excellent English and was extremely helpful, not just as a general guide, but also giving tips/training that I specifically sought...
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  • Horses, Dunes and Nomads
    NICOLE ANNINA, aged 27, Burgdorf
    I made an old dream come true and went for a trail ride on the back of a stallion in the Sahara desert - with spirited but reliable horses, a helpful support team and comfortable accommodation despite in the middle of the desert. The desert landscape was surprisingly varied, from rocky hills over dry riverbeds and...
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  • Horses, Dunes and Nomads
    Olga, aged 42, TURRIFF
    I had the time of my life ! the view and horse made my time very good and very lovely staff and very helpful.
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  • Horse riding on the beaches of Morocco
    Long sandy beaches, ideal for fast canters
  • High Atlas on horseback
    Walking down a steep incline
  • Horseback trail ride through the High Atlas Mountains
    Ready for the evening at Camp
  • Trail riding in Morocco's Sahara Desert
    Riding in the Sahara desert
  • Horseriding on the dunes in Sahara desert
    At the top of a dune

Visa & Health

Formalities

It is your responsibility to ensure you have the valid visa requirements for entry.
We will endeavour to keep this section up to date, but please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/morocco.html (US citizens) or https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/morocco/entry-requirements (UK citizens) for further information.

To enter Morocco, a passport valid for the duration of your stay is required by all British, American, Canadian and EU nationals. However, the Moroccan Consulate General in London advise that your passport should be valid for at least 3 months on your date of entry to Morocco. If your passport does not meet this requirement you may face difficulties and you should check with the Moroccan authorities and your travel provider before travelling.

Passport note:
You should ensure that your passport is stamped when you enter the country. Some tourists have experienced difficulties leaving the country because their passport bears no entry stamp. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay in Morocco. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

Visas
Visas are not required by British, American, Canadian and EU nationals for stays in Morocco of up to three months.

Addresses of consulates

  • Paris | Ambassade du Maroc
    5, rue Le Tasse
    75116 Paris
    Tél. : 01.45.20.69.35
    Fax :
    info@amb-maroc.fr
  • Ambassade de France au Maroc
    1 rue Aguelmane Sidi Ali Agdal BP 602
    Rabat - Chellah

    Tél. : +212 5 37 27 66 00
    Fax : +212 5 37 27 67 11
    webmestre@ambafrance-ma.org
  • Moroccan Consulate
    Diamond House
    97-99 Praed Street, Paddington
    W2 1NT London
    Tél. : +44 020 7724 0624
    Fax :

Health

There are no legal requirements regarding vaccinations. Still, it's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Morocco. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also both hepatitis A as well as typhoid would be recommended.
Malaria is very rare and present only in a few remote areas. Don't underestimate this tropical disease and take precautions. Buy repellent (preferably with 50% DEET), and sleep under a net.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

127/220 volts AC, 50Hz, depending on age and location of building. Plugs usually have two round pins or the standard three pin UK.

Budget and money

The official currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). One dirham is equivalent with 100 santimat (singular: santim).
• Banknotes 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 dirham
• Coins 1, 5, 10, 20 santimat; ½, 1, 2, 5, and 10 dirham

Telephone and jetlag

The telephone dialling code is +212.
Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in towns and cities, and across the west of Morocco, but a little more erratic east and further south.

Time zone: GMT

Country information

Country ID

Capital: Rabat
Area: 710,850 sq km (274,461 sq miles, including Western Sahara).
Population: 32.7 million (2013).
Population density: 45.9 per sq km

Language: The official language is Arabic. Berber languages are not officially recognised even though it is the language of the country's first inhabitants, who form a majority. French is widely spoken throughout the country, except in the northern regions where Spanish is more predominant. English is also understood, particularly in the north and major tourist destinations like Marrakech.
Religion: Morocco is predominantly Muslim with Jewish, Christian and Hindu minorities.
Political regime: Constitutional monarchy
Head of State: Abdel-Ilah Benkiran
Head of Government: Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane since 2011

Socio-economical data

The service industry, including a booming tourism sector now worth well over US$2 billion annually, accounts for nearly 55% of the GDP. Remittances from Moroccans living abroad (mostly in Europe) are another major source of revenue. Financial unease in Europe contributed to an economic slowdown across the country in 2012, but in general terms the economy is one of the most stable in the region. The unemployment rate currently sits at just under 10%, with 15% of the population living below the poverty line.

A large number of Moroccans are still employed in agriculture, growing cereals, vegetables and citrus fruits, and fishing remains another vital field. Industry accounts for around a quarter of GDP, of which the textile and garment industry employs a rapidly growing number of Moroccan women as well as generating export income. Mining also generates revenue for Morocco, which is the world's largest exporter of phosphates. Although Morocco has small oil and gas reserves, it has to import the bulk of its needs.

History

Like the rest of Northern Africa the region we now call Morocco was inhabited from early times. The first connection to the rest of the Mediterranean world came by Phoenician trading colonies and settlements in the early Classical period.
In 670 AD, the first Islamic conquest of North African took place, and the Arabs imported their customs, culture, and Islam, to which most of the Berbers converted, forming states and kingdoms. In 788 Idris ibn Abdallah founded the Idrisid Dynasty, covering most of the territory of modern day Morocco. This dynasty became largely independent of the caliphs that ruled them from far away places, and made Fez the capital. The dynasty lasted for almost 200 years. After the fall of the Idrisid Dynasty the country was ruled by several other dynasties, including the Caliphate of Cordoba, the Almoravid dynasty and Almohad dynasty. But those lost their influence when the Spanish reconquista meant that they lost control over Al Andalus, which also meant a huge inflow of muslims from Iberia. In the 17th and 18th centuries a smaller but wealthier and more united Morroco emerged.
In the 19th century Morroco became a prime target to add as a colony for many European countries, including France, Germany and Spain. The Treaty of Fez (signed on March 30, 1912) made Morocco a protectorate of France, with Spain taking over control over the Saharan zones. By the time of World War II, nationalist parties were pushing for independence for Morocco, which led to complete independence from France in 1956.

Geography

Morocco is located on the westernmost tip of north Africa, bordering Algeria to the east, Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara to the southwest and southeast, the Atlantic ocean to the west and the Mediterranean to the north.
Running through the middle of the country is the Atlas mountain range. The Middle Atlas range sweeps up from the south, rising to over 3,000m (9,850ft), covered with woodlands of pine, oak and cedar, open pastureland and small lakes. The Rif Mountains run along the north coast. Often snow-covered in winter, Morocco's mountains are home to the country's significant indigenous Berber population.
The long stretch of Atlantic coast down Morocco's western side features cool breezes and long sandy beaches. It is separated from the mountainous region by wide swathes of fertile plains. To the north, is the Mediterranean coast, just a stone's throw from the European continent – Gibraltar is an hour’s ferry ride away.
In the south of the country, the Sahara is the largest desert in the world. Far from being featureless, it is dotted with fascinating traditional villages and cool oases.

People, culture and traditions

Morocco's population and culture is a blend of religious and cultural traditions, encompassing Berber, Arab, African, Mediterranean and Jewish influences. Greetings involve a handshake and friendly inquiries after health, happiness and family, and no business is discussed until after these pleasantries. Friends may tack on a cheek air-kiss or two. Moroccan chattiness makes everyday interactions more pleasant, if longer; patience and extroversion are assets. In the souks, vendors call out to customers, joking and striking up conversations before bargaining begins. When offered tea, it's polite to at least take a sip.

Although casual gear is widely acceptable, wearing any clothing that reveals arms or legs is disrespectful. Swimsuits, shorts, sleeveless tops and clingy clothing should be confined to the beach or poolside for both men and women. Women travelling alone can expect help and friendship, but will avoid undue attention if they cover up, ideally in local garb. Sexual relations outside marriage (including homosexual conduct) are theoretically punishable by law, but this is rarely enforced. Smoking is widespread, though sometimes limited to smoking sections in restaurants. Drinking alcohol in view of a mosque is highly disrespectful and alcohol licences are expensive, but alcohol is often served discreetly indoors or on terraces

Choosing the right riding holiday

Choosing the right riding holiday

Morocco is a fascinating country and a year-round horse riding holiday destination - cool mountain trails in the summer months and pacey desert trails in the winter months. You can choose from camping trails, comfortable accommodation or even a centre-based stay. All riding trails are for intermediate or advanced riders and all include opportunities to canter.

DESERT TRAILS: In the northern fringes of the Sahara desert you can ride across sand dunes and open desert flats, skirt oases and pass Bedouin villages. The trails run in the cooler winter months as the desert is too hot in the summer.

Trails staying in camps: Desert Cavalcade

Trails staying in riads: Horses, Dunes and Nomads

MOUNTAIN TRAILS: In the Atlas mountains these trails take you along narrow paths offering panoramic views. Visit forgotten valleys, high mountain passes and Berber villages clinging to the cliffsides. All trails are camping.

Trails in Spring/Autumn: Saffron Trail and Valley of the Roses

Trails in the Summer: High Atlas Mountains

COASTAL TRAILS: Follow cliffs and beaches along the Atlantic coast, where sea breezes keep the summer temperatures pleasant and discourage sunbathers, leaving the beaches perfect for riding: Riders of Essaouira

CENTRE BASED RIDES: Close to Marrakech and ideal for short-breaks and mixed groups as there are plenty of non-riding activities on offer as well. Comfortable accommodation and family friendly: Moroccan Escapade