Crossing the High Atlas Mountains

This exhilarating horseback ride in Morocco takes you on an unrivalled crossing of the High Atlas mountain range. You ride from the South to the North, through the large olive groves of Skoura and the rugged gorges of the Dades Valley to the remote valley of Ait Bougmez, one of Morocco’s best kept secrets. See the famous waterfalls of Ouzoud which open out onto the plains of Marrakesh. You will discover the hidden Morocco on horseback , that is rich in cultural history, and encounter the Berber communities, some of which are still living nomadic lifestyles.
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Trail Riding
15 days (11 riding)
From £1,335
  • Group of riders riding in Morocco
    Trail riding across the Atlas mountains in Morocco
  • Riders riding in the shade in Morocco
    A riding holiday in Morocco
  • Riders on a trail riding holiday in Morocco
    Riding over mountains and across valleys in the Atlas
  • Group of riders on a trail ride in the Atlas mountains
    An adventurous expedition in a mountainous environment
  • Pack horse carrying riders luggage on a trail riding adventure
    On days where the back up vehicle can't reach you, pack animals take over
  • Barb and Barb Arab stallions used for a trail ride in Morocco
    Ride spirited but sure-footed Barb and Barb Arab stallions
  • Rider watering his horse at a well in the Atlas mountains
    Watering horses at a well during your trail ride
  • Riders riding across a traditional village in Morocco
    You also ride across small, traditional Moroccan villages
  • Horseback riders riding across a green, fertile valley
    Riding in the green valleys before riding across the Atlas mountains
  • Barb horse waiting for his rider on ahorseback holiday
    Barb horse in Morocco
  • Riders with a background of the valley, Atlas, Morocco
    Discover the Atlas Mountains and its traditional villages

Itinerary

Highlights

- Ride well balanced Barb stallions, on this exclusive and wild trail ride as you traverse contrasting landscapes.
- Make your way through green valleys, canyons gauged out of orange-red rocks and the arid mountains of the High Atlas on your sure footed horse.
- Ride through villages perched on the mountainside and passed old cave-type dwellings.
- Experience good levels of service at the campsites during the ride
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - MARRAKESH

    Fly to Marrakesh. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for the evening. Dinner will be taken at the hotel. If riders all have flights that arrive early into Marrakech, then it is possible that you will be taken directly to Skoura and spend the night in the palm grove instead of in Marrakesh. (Flights not included but can be arranged if you wish)
  • Day 2 2: SKOURA – AGHBALOU - 4 hours riding

    Moroccan Camp
    You will be met in the hotel reception at 7 a.m. for the transfer to Skoura equestrian centre, where the horses are based. This is a journey of approx 246 km, between 4.5 to 5 hours drive through the Tizi n'Tichka. You can expect amazing views across the deep gorges and colourful mountainside. On arrival you will be allocated your horse, and will go on a short introductory ride to settle in the saddle to make sure everyone is happy with their horses before you start your expedition. You will ride across the peaceful olive groves of Skoura and the desert plateau of Ait Saïd Oumanssour.

    Camp out this evening with the opportunity to spend your first night under the Moroccan stars. Everyone is required to help at camp: looking after the horses, feeding and watering, and helping setting up your tent. Your meals are cooked over the campfire but a team of talented cooks who always seem to produce the most delicious dishes with the most basic cooking facilities!
  • Day 3 3: AGHBALOU - AGUERD - 5 hours riding

    Moroccan Camp
    Today you will ride through the Tamassent plateaus before arriving at Toundoute. Expect to be greeted with a superb view across the valley filled with almond trees. In the afternoon, good canters across a plateau take you to the village of Tiflit before climbing up the steep gorges to camp near the village of Aguerd.
  • Day 4 4 : AGUERD - TAOUJGALT - 5h30 riding

    Moroccan Camp
    Your ride will take you along the wadi Nait Tounert. All along the wadi, you will encounter villages and cultivated terraces on both sides of the river. After lunch, you will cross desert plateaus before reaching the Azaghar N'Aiguer pass that towers above the valley. You will follow a small path, which brings you to your camp for the night in the beautiful countryside at 1900m.
  • Day 5 5 : TAOUJGALT - AMESKER - 5h30 riding

    Moroccan Camp
    Today you are riding in the Dades Valley, discovering beautiful Ksour (fortified villages) with their traditional Berber architecture. The view is amazing with the green gardens and the red of the gigantic cliffs. You will camp further up in the Amesker gorge at 2100m.
  • Day 6 6 : AMESKER - AFLAFAL - 6h30 riding

    Moroccan Camp
    Today you leave the Dades valley to start the ascent to the Tizi N'ait Ahmed pass which is at 3010 m. In the afternoon, descend to M'goun wadi, which crosses beautiful villages with many kasbahs enroute. Tonight you will camp at the bottom of the Aflafal springs at 2300 m.
  • Day 7 7 : AFLAFALE - AIT BOUGMEZ - 5h riding

    After enjoying the cool waters of the M'goun gorge, you go up to the valley of Oulilimt following small mule tracks to the high mountain pass Tizi N'ait Imi pass (2905 m). You will enjoy the panoramic views of the high central Atlas and the valley of Ait Bougmez before you start the dizzy descent on the North side of the Atlas. You ride down to the inn where you are staying for the evening.
  • Day 8 8 : AIT BOUGMEZ - NO RIDING

    Today is a rest day - at least, for the horses. You are off hiking in the happy valley- Ait Bouguemez which is at the foot of the austere Jebel M'Goun (4,068 m). You will see fields, irrigated crops, orchards, villages with rustic architecture, everything is pleasing on the eyes. In the afternoon, you will have the choice between resting or going to meet the local community. Back to the inn for the night.
  • Day 9 9 : AIT BOUGMEZ - AIT BOULLI - 5h30 riding

    Today you will be back on horseback where you will ride between fields and pine forests covering the slopes of the central Atlas. The track will take you to Wadi Ait Abbas. You will walk along the water’s edge to the village of Abachkou, passing villages before reaching the green valley of Aït Boulli where you will stay this evening in an inn.
  • Day 10 10 : AIT BOULLI - AIT BLAL - 6h30 riding

    Moroccan Camp
    A long ride is ahead of you as you follow along the high valleys. You see the terraced farm lands and the superb villages that are perched on the side of the mountain where Berber traditions are rife. In the afternoon you start to descend following a track along the ridge, far from any noise, to the village of Tizi N'Oubadou to set up camp.
  • Day 11 11 : AIT BLAL - LAC AIT TCHOUARIT - 6h riding

    Moroccan Camp
    Today you descend from village to village to the wadi Lakhdar where it is sometimes possible to swim. After lunch, you follow a narrow path to the Tizi n'Tachante pass with a bird's eye view of Lake Ait Tchouarit, where you will camp at the edge of the lake.
  • Day 12 12 : AIT TCHOUARIT - BOUHRAZENE - 5h riding

    Moroccan Camp
    Always in the heart of the Berber tradition, the ride continues through the hills planted with olive and almond trees following mule tracks to the village of Sgate. In the afternoon, you ride across the plateaus of Wansoure and Bouhrazene.
  • Day 13 13 : BOUHRAZENE - OUZOUD FALLS - 3h riding

    Take your last ride on horseback this morning to find the beautiful Ouzoud Falls. In the afternoon you will be given time to settle in to the guest house before you visit the waterfalls on foot.
  • Day 14 OUZOUD FALLS - MARRAKECH - No riding

    You will be transferred early this morning to Marrakesh (about a 3 hour drive). You will be taken to the hotel and the afternoon is free in Marrakesh where you can visit the souks, the medina, the Majorelle Gardens, and many other curiosities. Marrakesh is a beautiful and vibrant city, and captures the essence of modern Morocco perfectly, while maintaining a traditional, authentic character.
  • Day 15 15 : MARRAKESH - EUROPE

    Transfer back to the airport for your flight back to Europe. (Flights not included but can be arranged if you wish)

Dates & prices

Price details

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 6 riders and a maximum of 12 international riders

- If there are fewer than 5 riders in the group then a small group supplement applies (£220). This will be waived once the group reaches 5 riders.

- Single room supplement (tent and hotel) is €170/£150 for the hotel nights and tents. Single accommodation might not be guaranteed in Ouzoud, please contact us in advance.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support team

1 English-speaking horse guide
1 backup guide

Logistics

1 vehicle and driver
1 cook
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider

Transportation

Van or 4W vehicle
Return airport transfers (if your flight times don't match the group's - €20/£18)

Accommodation

Tents and foam mattresses during the ride
Local, standard hotel in double or triple rooms

Meals

Full board accommodation from dinner on D1 to breakfast on D15 (except lunches in Marrakesh)
Bottled or filtered water

Price doesn't include

Extra

Gratuities to the local team

Meals

3 lunches to your own account on D1, D14 and D15.
Extra drinks and personal extras (laundry...)

Transport

International flights

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation
Visas and personal purchase

Optional

Accommodation

Single supplement - see price details above
  • July - August 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    02/08/2020 16/08/2020 £1,335 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

Barb and Barb cross Arab stallions, which have huge stamina, great will and are forward going yet very biddable. With their small feet, big hearts and fast paces, these horses are ideally suited to this landscape. These horses must be ridden with light hands and very gently into the contact.
Height at the withers: 1.45 m to 1.55 m.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You should be a capable rider who is happy riding outdoors in all paces. You should be able to control your horse (speed and direction) in walk, trot and canter whilst maintaining a light hand.

If you weigh more than 90kg or are over 1.95m tall then please contact us to enquire about a suitable horse.

Pace

There is a lot of walking on this trail because of the mountainous landscape, however there are opportunities to trot and canter each day where the terrain allows.

Please note that canters are always in single file due to the fact you are riding stallions.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be expected to assist with grooming, tacking up and untacking your horse each day whilst out on the trail. It would also be appreciated if you could help with camp tasks such as putting up tents or watering and feeding the horses.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be physically fit for long hours in the saddle in the sun and at high altitudes. The terrain is varied to include steep ascents/descents and there may be holes to avoid. You need to be able to mount and dismount your horse whilst on rocky paths so as to assist your horse during hard climbs and tricky descents - you will likely be asked to dismount and lead your horse on foot.
Temperatures are cooler in the mountains than in Marrakech because of the altitude but it can still be hot and very sunny in summer. Please remember than there is always a level of unpredictability when riding in the mountains and you may experience wind, cold or even storms.
Having previous experience of riding a trail of several days is compulsory on this ride. It is of particular importance to ensure you are comfortable and balanced when riding at speed across rough terrain and open spaces. You also need to be fit enough to walk on foot and lead your horse in the mountains.

You will ride across inhabited valleys and cross desert mountains. The support vehicle may not be able to reach you every day, so please make sure to pack your saddlebags sensibly (water, sunscreen, lip balm). On the days where the vehicle can't reach you, a train of pack mules takes over so it is important you bring a soft bag rather than a hard-sided suitcase.
Visiting a new country offers the opportunity to meet other cultures with different mentalities, therefore it is important to accept these differences and respect the local way of life.

Equestrian equipment

Forestier trail riding saddles and comfortable tack.
Saddlebags are provided.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Travel info

Comfort

In camp: two man tents with mattresses, communal tent for meals, a hot shower and separate toilet tent.
In Marrakesh: a standard hotel in double rooms.

Meals

A cook travels with you and prepares all of the meals. You will usually have a cold lunch and a hot evening meal when camping. Meals are typical Moroccan cuisine.
One bottle of water is provided per person each day but you may wish to take some micropur or similar purification tablets with you in case you require more than this.

Climate

The Atlas mountains have a typical mountainous climate with cold winters and the rides don't run during the winter months.
During the summer months the mountains offer a good alternative to the heat of the desert or Marrakech. The nights are cool without being cold (9-14c depending on altitude) and the days are usually sunny with temperatures around 25c. In short, the climate is ideal from May to September, with temperatures dropping in March/April and October.

Marrakech has a Mediterranean climate which is usually hot summers and a clear blue sky, with cold winters. The best season to visit this city is Spring/Autumn when the temperatures are pleasant all day (22-30c).

Guide and local team

You will be guided by local Moroccan's who are familiar with the horses and the landscape. They will be accompanied by grooms. At least one of the guides will speak English but the grooms may only speak French and Arabic.

Tips

It is customary to tip the local team as a gesture of thanks and we would recommend c. £30 for the week, but you should give what you feel is right.

Packing list

IMPORTANT: Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided and you should pack it into two bags if it weighs more than 15-20kg so it's easier for the team to transport between camps

Head
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and dust
- T-shirts
- Fleece, jumper or jacket - the evenings can be cold
- Waterproof jacket - the rains can be difficult to foresee and it's better to be prepared. Layering is key to cope with the fluctuations in temperature between day and night
- Casual clothes for the evening

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Shorts for lazy lunchtimes
- Casual clothes for the evening
- Swimsuit

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps as long chaps/long boots can get very hot.
- Sandals, flip-flops or trainers for moving around the camp
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding

Nightwear
- Thermals are a good option for sleeping in, or a t-shirt and shorts for warmer nights
- A woolly hat when camping (nights can be cold)
- Sleeping bag - we recommend a comfort factor of 0°C/-5°C. We also recommend taking a silk or fleece liner for an extra layer

Other useful items
- Towel. Camping towels will pack lighter and dry more easily
- Sarong (for going to/from the shower tent)
- Water bottle (1.5 litre or two x 1 litre)
- Hand sanitiser
- Wet wipes for when showers aren't possible
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night
- Toilet paper and small plastic bags for taking rubbish away

In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag.
- Small penknife

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - must be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Rehydration sachets (dioralyte or similar)
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Ear plugs, particularly if you are a light sleeper
- Micropur or similar water purification tablets

Our Recommendations
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided and you should pack it into two bags if it weighs more than 15-20kg so it's easier for the team to transport between camps
- Take a second, smaller bag to pack things you may need during the day such as a book or suncream then you can easily access it during the long lunch break. You are not allowed to ride with your backpack but saddlebags are provided.
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

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.htm l (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

Did you know?

Did you know?

On this trail ride across the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, you will be riding Barb horses - and mostly stallions.

The Barb horse is a breed originating from Northern Africa well-known for its great temperament and great stamina. Barb horses were bred to run and withstand the high temperatures of the desert and rugged terrain of the mountains.

Physically, it is a light riding horse with a rather short back and powerful front end. They are relatively small, but full of energy and they will take you on exhilarating gallops without even breaking a sweat! They are mostly black, brown, bay and grey.

In the present day, Barb horses are mostly found in northern Africa: mostly Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.