- Experience the mysterious life of the villages nestled in the palm groves of the Draa Valley, one of the most inhabited areas of southern Morocco
- Large, wide open spaces offer plenty of oppotunities for faster riding
- The route offers a wide variety of sights to discover: the fortified medina of Oulad Driss, the desert village of Mhamid and the ancient kasbah of Benu
Day 1 1: EUROPE - OUARZAZATEHÔTEL FINTInternational flights are not included.
Please note that there are currently no direct flights from the UK to Ouarzazate so it may be easier to fly to Marrakech and take the private transfer by road to Ouarzazate.
If flying in to Marrakech, then you need to arrive by 14:00 to allow time for the transfer (4 hrs). This is payable locally and will be split between all riders arriving that day.
You will be collected from arrivals by a representative holding an Equus Journeys sign and driven directly to your hotel.
Day 2 2 : OUARZAZATE - ZAGORA - DJEBEL BANI - 6 hours ridingYou will be collected from your hotel in the morning at 07:00 and driven to Zagora through the Draa Valley (a journey of around 170km c. 3-4 hours). On your arrival in Zagora, you will be met by the riding team and allocated your horse for the week.
After checking that everyone is happy and comfortable, you will head out riding in a southwesterly direction. Crossing the vast Feija plateau you will get your first taste of the enormity of the Sahara and slowly approach the last mountain range separating you from the desert - Djebel Bani. Riding up via a small, winding path you will reach a peak from where you should have impressive views of the Feija plateau and further afield to Djebel Saghro.
You will then ride down through a narrow gorge, at the bottom of which is a small oasis, frequented by nomads; it is here that you will camp for the night.
Day 3 3 : DJEBEL BANI - OUED NAAM - 5 hours ridingYou will set off on horseback to a new desert plateau where only a few acacia trees seem to resist the drought. Here will come in to view the first dunes of the Moroccan Sahara, whose size will only continue to increases as you ride further south. The horizon here seems almost without limits.
This area of the desert is maintained as a nature reserve and is home to an ever-growing population of gazelles and ostriches.
Day 4 4 : OUED NAAM - OULED DRISS - 5 hours ridingToday you will start by riding through sand dunes dotted with tamarisk, a plant native to this arid region. You may also come across nomadic camps in the form of kheimas - low tents made of camel and goat wool that are typical to Southern Morocco. Your ride will continue to the end of the Draa valley where buildings will start to appear in the midst of the Bounou palm grove. The Ksar here, a fortified village, is one of the valley’s most striking. Your ride will come to an end for the day at the village of Ouled Driss where you will camp for the night.
Day 5 5 : OULED DRISS - NESRATE - 5 hours ridingIn the morning, you will be back in the saddle for day's ride through the Draa valley, crossing the dunes and plateaus at a faster pace. Riding through the Djebel Selman mountain pass, you will come out into another impressive set of sand dunes. You will arrive at the palm grove of Tagounit and pass through fields and small villages (ksours) with decorated walls.
This route passes the old palm grove of Nesrate which has now been re-claimed by the sand. You will camp out in the dunes.
Day 6 6 : NESRATE - OUED DRAA - 5 hours ridingToday you will re-join the hustle and bustle of the villages in the valley: a succession of ksours and gardens in the heart of the oasis will offer refreshing shade; the palm grove comes to an end where the Oued Draa (Draa river) passes between Djebel Bani and Djebel Tadrart. Continuing on horseback along this pass between the hill ranges, you will reach another shady palm grove and spend the night camping in the oasis.
Day 7 7 : OUED DRAA - TINFOU DUNES - OUARZAZATE - 2-3 hours ridingHÔTEL FINTRiding northwards, you will follow trails that wind through ksours and cultivated palm fields to reach the village of Tinfou where impressive dunes threaten to engulf homes and crops. Dune stabilisation measures have been taken but the results have yet to be qualified as a success. Here, you will say goodbye to your horse and the team and you will be transferred (c. 4 hrs) back to Ouarzazate.
You will spend the night in a hotel opposite the medina, the old town, and have dinner out with your guide.
Day 8 8 : EUROPE - LONDONAfter breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Europe. If you are flying from Marrakech then your flight must depart later than 16:00 to allow time for the road transfer (payable locally).
Dates & prices
- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double room and tent.
- Groups are composed of a minimum of 3 riders and a maximum of 10 international riders, plus guides.
- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 2 riders on payment of a supplement of c. €250/£215 per person. Once the group has reached 3 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.
- Transfers are included from Ouarzazate, but if you arrive into Marrakesh then there is an additional transfer cost of c. €140 (c. £125) each way (per vehicle and split between all guests arriving/departing Marraksch)
- If you wish to guarantee single accommodation in Ouarzazate, the supplement is approx. €120/£110. A single tent is an additional €45/£40 for the week.
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.
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
1 vehicle and driver
Private bus or Land rover
Double/triple room in hotel standard 3/4*
Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8
Price doesn't include
Beverage (except during the trek) and personal extra
Park, museum and touristic sites fees
Small group supplement - see above for the details
January - February 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 02/02/2020 09/02/2020 £755 Open Book now 09/02/2020 16/02/2020 £755 Open Book now
March - April 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 01/03/2020 08/03/2020 £810 Open Book now 08/03/2020 15/03/2020 £810 Open Book now 15/03/2020 22/03/2020 £810 Guaranteed departure Book now 29/03/2020 05/04/2020 £810 Open Book now
September - October 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 18/10/2020 25/10/2020 £810 Open Book now
November - December 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 15/11/2020 22/11/2020 £810 Open Book now 22/11/2020 29/11/2020 £810 Open Book now 13/12/2020 20/12/2020 £810 Open Book now 20/12/2020 27/12/2020 £795 Open Book now 27/12/2020 03/01/2021 £795 Open Book now
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
If you weigh more than 90kg or are over 1.95m tall then please contact us to enquire about a suitable horse.
Please note that canters are usually in single file, particularly at the start of the week, due to the temperaments of the horses.
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
Experience of riding a trail of several days would be an advantage but is not required. Riders who do not ride regularly should ensure they are back in the saddle and riding fit before departure.
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.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
On the trail you will camp in two-man tents with mattresses. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag. There is a central "caidale" Moroccan tent for meals, a toilet tent and a hot shower tent.
Water is provided on the trail. Please bring your own water bottle to fill in.
In the Spring and Autumn months the temperatures are pleasantly warm. In October and April the temperatures can be 35c during the day, dropping to 20c at night whilst in November, February and March it is a little cooler (25c daytime and 12c night).
In the heart of the winter (December/January) the mornings and evenings can be cold, as low as minus 5c. At midday the temperatures will be 18-20c can drop rapidly once the sun sets.
In summer it is too hot to ride (45c) and so no desert trails run in the summer.
Guide and local team
- 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
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and dust
- 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
- 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
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
- Thermals are a good option for sleeping in, or a t-shirt and shorts for warmer nights
- A woolly hat when camping (desert nights can be cold)
- Sleeping bag - we recommend a comfort factor of 2-5c (Oct-Nov and Feb-April) and minus 5 - minus 8 for Dec/Jan. We also recommend taking a silk or fleece liner for an extra layer
- 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 15kg 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 sunscream then you can easily access it during the long lunch break
- 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!
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
- 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
Visa & Health
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.
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 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
Tél. : 01.45.20.69.35
- 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
- Moroccan Consulate
97-99 Praed Street, Paddington
W2 1NT London
Tél. : +44 020 7724 0624
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.
Budget and money
• Banknotes 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 dirham
• Coins 1, 5, 10, 20 santimat; ½, 1, 2, 5, and 10 dirham
Telephone and jetlag
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?
Riding in the Sahara desert is a memorable experience. The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, and the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. Its combined surface area of 3,600,00 square miles is comparable to the respective land areas of China and the USA. It stretches from the Atlas mountains in north Africa to the Sahel in the south - a band of semi-arid tropical savannah. Many of its sand dunes are over 180 metres high.
The Sahara desert is the hottest place on earth, with summer temperatures often exceeding 57c. The annual rainfall is less than 25mm and there are often strong winds, which means the dunes are constantly shiftingand sand can be swept up to heights of 1,000 metres.
Despite its inhospitable environment there are small areas of vegetation with desert adapted plants germinating within two days of any precipitation and sowing their seeds within two weeks. There are also mammals such as the addax, a large whie antelope which can go nearly a year without drinking!
The northern edges of the Sahara through which you ride on horseback contains oases and date palm plantations as well as typical sand dune landscapes. The landscape is incredibly varied and our desert trails are amongst our most popular horseback holidays.