Riders cantering in a green part of the Sahara

Saharan Caravan

Discover the Sahara on horseback and enjoy a real equestrian adventure. Ride off the beaten track over the sand dunes of the Erg Chegaga, accompanied by a caravan of camels carrying your belongings and camp equipment - a truly sustainable horse riding holiday. The trusty Barb and Barb Arab cross horses will carry you safely over deep sand dunes, stony plateaus and dry riverbeds. This is a magical and fully immersive way to explore the Sahara on horseback.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
10 days (6 riding)
From £1,420
  • Two riders at sunset in the Sahara
    An exciting riding adventure for competent and intrepid riders
  • Rider riding through canyons in the Sahara in Morocco
    Ride from rugged canyons to vast plateaux and sand dunes
  • Riders riding out towards mountains in the Sahara
    Explore the beautiful, rugged scenery of the Sahara on a trail riding holiday
  • Horses drinking at awell in the sahara
    Horses are watered at the wells that dot out the desert
  • Two riders cantering on green grass in the Sahara
    Saharan caravan holiday with Equus Journeys
  • Horse and camel in the Sahara
    Trail riding holiday in the Sahara, Morocco
  • Horses picketed at camp after a trail ride in the Sahara
    Look after your horse in the evening, as the sun sets on a beautiful day in the saddle
  • Camp set up in the Sahara for riders on a riding vacation
    Camping out in the Sahara desert during your riding holiday
  • A caravan of camels in the Sahara led by a team of berbers
    Leave no trace: this trail is fully supported by a caravan of camels.
  • Berber leading a camel in the Moroccan sahara
    This trail ride operates without back-up vehicles, replaced by a pack of camels

Itinerary

Highlights

- Enjoy a ride across the wide open spaces of the Sahara, with exhilarating canters and gallops.
- Camp under the stars in remote areas.
- Climb the highest dune in Southern Morocco on foot.
- Ride excellent trail horses that are well-behaved yet very responsive.
- Leave no trace: this trail is fully supported by a caravan of camels.
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - OUARZAZATE

    Fint hotel
    Fly in to Ouarzazate. Flights are not included but can be booked on request. There are currently no direct flights from the UK to Ouarzazate and so it may be easier to fly to Marrakech and transfer by road to Ouarzazate - this is at an additional cost, payable locally and will be split between all who are sharing the transfer. See dates and prices.

    Transfer to your hotel, dinner and night at the hotel.
  • Day 2 2 : OUARZAZATE - OULED DRISS - Approx. 30 minutes riding

    Morning at your leisure - lunch is not included and you are free to make your own plans.

    In the afternoon, transfer to the Djebel Bani, south of Zagora (approximately 3h drive). Meet the horses and the team before saddling up for a very short introductory ride.

    Dinner and overnight at camp in the desert.
  • Day 3 3: OUED DRISS - MOUZMOU WELL - OUED N'NAAM - 5 hours riding

    Your first proper day in the saddle will be spent in the Moroccan Sahara. After breakfast, you get the horses ready and ride south-west through small sand dunes, between the Djebel Bani and the mountains that mark the border with Algeria. You will reach Mouzmou in time for lunch where you can enjoy a well-deserved siesta in the shade. In the afternoon, you leave the dunes behind and ride in more austere country, across dry stony paths.

    Overnight in a new camp location.
  • Day 4 4: OUED N'NAAM - OUED L'ATAACH - 5 hours riding

    An early rise in time for breakfast before taking down the tents and getting the horses ready for a new adventure in the desert. Once ready, you will begin your ride across large sandy plateaux, oueds and rocky outcrops. The desert is not just about sand dunes, and offers a wide variety of landscapes! A lunch break in the shade, situated next to a well where the horses can enjoy a cool down and some fresh water.

    In the afternoon, you will reach the stunning canyon formed by the l’Ataach Oued, dotted with tamarisk trees. This is where you will set up camp for the night.
  • Day 5 5 : OUED L’ATAACH - OUM LAALAG - CHEGAGA - 5 hours riding

    After breakfast, you ride north across rocky plateaus criss-crossed by dry riverbeds. You will ride over the Djebel Bani to find Oum Laalag (“Leech river” in Berber) where you will stop for lunch. The afternoon offers beautiful views of the surrounding plains leading to the Chegaga dunes. In winter, this area turns green and you may spot nomads and camels that come to find grazing. The flat terrain offers some great opportunities to step up the gears and enjoy a faster paced ride. Once you have reached the campsite, you will take time to look after the horses and settle them in for the evening. Once everything is in order, you will set out on foot to climb one of Morocco’s highest dunes. Admire the beautiful sunset for above and take in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you. Dinner and overnight at camp.
  • Day 6 6 : CHEGAGA - ERG GHOUL - 6 hours riding

    Get ready for another day of trail riding in the desert. This morning sees you riding over sandy slopes and along high dunes. You veer north to cross long dune compounds where you may even spot a desert-adapted gazelle or two. Nomad camps can be seen too. You will ride up to a well located spot between the erg and the Bani mountains, stopping there for lunch and perhaps a siesta.

    In the afternoon, you cross lands that will bring to mind the African savannah as you ride through acacia trees, with the mountains still looming in the distance. A few more hours in the saddle before you reach your camp for the night, located in an arena-shaped dune compound. Dinner and overnight at camp.
  • Day 7 7 : ERG GHOUL - IRIKI - 6 to 7 hours riding

    Early morning start before a long day in the saddle. Today you will ride across the Iriki “plain”, a former lake that has completely dried up over the years. The flat terrain allows you to give your horses their heads and get the real measure of what they are capable of! Lunch will be had on the northern “bank” before you hit the road again.

    Depending on local conditions, you will either ride on dark-stoned rugged plateaux, or avoid the uneven terrain by following the curve of the lake.

    Dinner and overnight at camp under not far from the M’Douar mountains.
  • Day 8 8 : IRIKI - M’DOUAR SERIR - M’DOUAR KEBIR - 6 to 7 hours riding

    Today is another rather long day in the saddle, which means you will likely be up early enough to admire the sun rise over the mountains. The landscape this morning is dotted with small sand dunes that are home to some low bushes and grass, attracting nomads and their cattle. After a short break to water the horses at a local well, you ride between the M’Douar Serir and the M’Douar Kebir where palm trees grow. Tonight’s camp offers beautiful views of the mountains. Last dinner and overnight at camp.

  • Day 9 9 : M’DOUAR KEBIR - OUARZAZATE - No Riding

    Fint hotel
    Transfer back to Ouarzazate. We have added an extra night in Ouarzazate tonight as there are very few flights leaving Ouarzazate in the evening. Transfer to your hotel - lunch is not included.
  • Day 10 10: OUARZAZATE - HOME

    Transfer to the airport in time for your flight home.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to your destination (Ouarzazate, or alternatively Marrakech, please see below) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double tent during the ride.

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 5 riders and a maximum of 12 international riders, plus guides.

- Please note: the ride will also confirm for less riders on payment of a small group supplement of: €750/£660 per person for two riders, €350/£310 per person for three riders, €150/£130 per person for 4 riders. Once the group has reached 5 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.

- There is no single supplement if you are willing to share a tent with another guest of the same sex. To guarantee your own tent and room in Ouarzazate there is a single supplement of €80/£70.

- Transfers are included from and to Ouarzazate airport on the first and last day. Note: A private shuttle from Marrakech airport on payment of an additional transfer charge is possible. This is currently €140 (£130) for the vehicle each way and is payable locally and split between the number of people sharing the transfer.

- If you decide to arrive a day early or leave a day late, we can organize an extra night in a hotel in Ouarzazate, starting from €50/£45 per person including dinner and breakfast (€70/£63 for a single room). A private transfer will be charged at €20/£18 per car.

- Accompanied minors are welcome from 13 yo, provided they match the riding requirements.

- Rider weight limit: 90 kilos, 14st1lbs. This is a strict limit as the horses are small and the terrain is demanding. If you are very tall please let us know as well.
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

Accommodation

Tents and foam mattresses during the ride

Meals

Full board accommodation from dinner on D1 to breakfast on D8, except for lunches in Ouarzazate that are not included
Bottled or filtered water

Price doesn't include

Extra

Gratuities to the local team

Meals

Extra drinks and personal extras (laundry...), lunches in Ouarzazate

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

Transport

Airport transfers from Marrakech
  • January - February 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    02/01/2021 11/01/2021 £1,420 Open Book now
    09/01/2021 18/01/2021 £1,420 Open Book now
  • September - October 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    30/10/2021 08/11/2021 £1,420 Open Book now
  • November - December 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    06/11/2021 15/11/2021 £1,420 Open Book now
    25/12/2021 03/01/2022 £1,420 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

The horses are Barb or Barb Arabian and many are stallions. They are forward going but sensible and perfectly adapted to the desert landscape with big hearts, small feet and smooth paces. They are not particularly big and stand 14hh -15.2hh. There are spirited horses for very competent riders looking for a challenge, and calm, quiet horses perfect for more intermediate riders or those who just want to sit back and enjoy the ride!

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a competent rider and able to control your horse at all paces in open spaces. You should be able to canter in a forward seat, be balanced with good hands and be comfortable with handling well-behaved stallions.

There is a rider weight limit of 90 kilos, 14st1lbs. Please also let us know if you are tall so that we can ensure a suitable horse is available.

Pace

The main pace is the walk, especially when the ground is soft or stony, but there are some regular trots and canters when the terrain allows and once the riders have gotten to know their horses a little better. Fast canters and gallops will be had so you should be comfortable with this, although the group may split for those who prefer more relaxed canters.
Please note that the canters will be single file in places, particularly at the start of the ride, but it may be possible to spread out on some canters later in the week, depending on the abilities of the group.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be expected to groom, saddle and un-tack your horse. You will also be asked to help at camp – setting up and putting down tents, helping with dishes, etc. You can also help feeding and watering the horses.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be physically fit for the long hours in the saddle, sometimes at a fast pace. You should be prepared for cold nights, particularly in December and January. 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.

It is of particular importance to ensure you are comfortable and balanced when riding at speed across rough terrain and open spaces.

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

This is a camping trip: two-man tents with thick foam mattresses, a mess tent for dinners, and a shower/toilet tent with heated water.
Sleeping bags are not provided and you must bring your own. Nights in the desert can be cold, especially in December and January.

Meals

All meals are cooked by your camp chef. They are hearty and generous in quantities, all inspired by the traditional Moroccan cuisine – salads, tajines, couscous, breads, etc.

Water is provided but you need to bring your own water bottle.

Climate

In southern Morocco the rains are rare but not non-existent and in recent years the Sahara has experienced substantial rainfall. 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

You will be guided by local Moroccans 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