Desert Cavalade

DESERT CAVALCADE

  • 8 days (6 on horseback)
  • Activity: Horseback riding
  • Comfort: Camping
  • Level: confirmed

 

Once you have passed Ouarzazate, the Draa Valley makes its way towards the desert across a beautiful string of oasis. In all the twists & turns, lays a “ksar” (a village made of rammed earth) surrounded with vegetation. Men’s complexion gets brownish, the water gets rare, the heat burns stronger, nights are cooler, the sky gets purer, the moonlight gets whiter & brighter.

The desert is not far any more… an immense space & an infinite light fill up your eyes & your heart. Here comes adventure!!

This horse trail goes along a string of oasis & palm groves, of kasbah & ksour made of soil, of sand hills & tamaris that shelter a rich life away from the burning sun. Men & women work in the fields, some children take their donkeys to the well, some go to school!

Life flows quietly in the villages!

  • Ride through the first big dunes of the Moroccan Sahara
  • 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 opportunities 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

DESERT CAVALCADE

*2021 prices from 3 pers.

DÉPARTURE RETURN PRICE STATUS  
17/10/2021 25/10/2021 840€ OPEN
24/10/2021 02/10/2021 840€ OPEN
21/11/2021 28/11/2021 840€ OPEN
28/11/2021 05/12/2021 840€ OPEN   
19/12/2021 26/12/2021 840€  OPEN   
26/12/2021 02/01/2022 840€  OPEN   
02/01/2022 09/01/2022 840€  OPEN   
09/01/2022 16/01/2022 840€  OPEN   
30/01/2022 06/02/2022 840€  OPEN   
20/02/2022 27/02/2022 840€  FULL  
06/03/2022 13/03/2022 840€  OPEN   
27/03/2022 03/04/2022 840€  OPEN   
03/04/2022 10/04/2022 840€  OPEN   
23/10/2022 30/10/2022 840€  OPEN   
13/11/2022 20/11/2022 840€  OPEN   
27/11/2022 04/12/2022 840€  OPEN   
04/12/2022 11/12/2022 840€  OPEN   
25/12/2022 01/01/2023  840€  OPEN  

Price details

  • Price per person and excluding flights.
  • Groups are composed of a minimum of 3 international riders and a maximum of 12 riders.
  • Please note: the ride will also confirm for 2 riders on payment of a supplement of c. €300 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.
  • Single supplement room/tent : 140€

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.

OUR PRICE INCLUDES

Accompanying persons

1 French-speaking and/or English-speaking Moroccan guide following the group and 01 groom (on horseback) beyond 5 riders.


Logistic team

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

Inland Transportation

  • Minibus or 4x4 to reach the start of the ride from Ouarzazate.
  • Reception & airport transfers to and from the airport.

Type of accommodation

  • Camping/bivouacs: 3-seater tents for 2 people and foam mattresses.
  • Hotel 3*** based on 2 persons per room in Ouarzazate.

Meals

  • Full board from diner D01 to breakfast D08.
  • Filtered water or in case mineral water served during the hike.

Miscellaneous equipment

Group pharmacy (first aid)

OPTION

Hosting

Single room and tent supplement on request.

Arrival

Pick up at the airport of Ouarzazate.
On request, pick up from another airport or another city.

 

OUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

Cancellation, Interruption and Repatriation Insurance.

Miscellaneous

  • Visits of Marrakech or Ouarzazate in case.
  • All museum entries and other during the trip.

Meals

  • Lunch on D1 and D8 (depending on your flight schedule).
  • Drinks and personal extras.

Miscellaneous

  • Supplement for groups of 2 participants: 250€ per person.
  • Tips for local teams.
  • Possibility of privatization. Quote on request.

Day 1 : Arrival in Ouarzazate airport

Accommodation : 3 star hotel in Ouarzazate

Meet & greet at airport

Overnight in hotel in Ouarzazate

Day 2 : Ouarzazate -Zagora –Djebel Bani : 5 hours riding

Accommodation : Desert camp

07:00 am Departure from Ouarzazate in direction of Zagora (Approx. 3 hour drive)

Starting from Zagora, we will be heading south-west until we cross Feïja big reg that already gives an idea of the desert immensity…

Slowly, we get close to the last mountain chain, the gate to the Sahara: the Djebel (mount) Bani. We will have to climb up the mountain along a small winding path & once at the pass, we will embrace a breathtaking landscape on the Feïja plateau & beyond on the Djebel Sagho. We will then climb down a narrow gorge leading to a small oasis, a usual stopping place for the nomads.

Bivouac

 

Day 3 : Djebel Bani - Oued Naam : 5 hours riding

Accommodation : Desert camp

We will start the day across an arid plateau where only a few acacias are capable to survive in the dry climate of the area. Then, we’ll reach the sand hills which will become higher & higher as we keep on riding in direction of the South. The landscape in front of us is now boundless & in this region, which is actually a natural reserve, gazelles & ostriches are being reintroduced.

Bivouac by the Naam River (Naam means “ostrich” in Arabic)

 

Day 4 : Oued Naam - Ouled Driss : 5 hours riding

Accommodation : Desert camp

Riding through the sand dunes you can see nomad camps from time to time, these low tents made of camel or goat hairs are called “Kheïma”. Then, you head towards the end of the Drâa Valley. A few houses appear out of the trees in the Bounou palm grove. The “ksar” (castle) is one of the most beautiful of the valley. You then reach Ouled Driss village where you will get a chance to visit the ksar and the little museum. Overnight camping

 

Day 5 : Ouled Driss – Nesrate : 5 hours riding

Accommodation : Desert camp

From here the pace can speed up a bit as you ride up the Draa Valley across a ribbon of sand hills and onto an arid plateau (“reg”). When you get through the Selmane pass, you will have a panoramic view over Tagounite palm grove. After passing through another sand dune you make your way towards Tagounite palm grove, through fields and villages proud of their decorated walls. Close to Nesrate village you reach what used to be a palm grove but is now under the sand

Bivouac in the dunes

 

Day 6 : Nesrate - Oued Drâa : 4 ½ hours riding

Accommodation : Desert camp

Today, you head back to the “hustle and bustle” of the villages with their fortified homes (ksour), gardens, burning sun and refreshing shade. The palm grove ends where the Draa River stretches between Djbel Bani & Djbel Tadrart. Continue onto a palm grove and camp in an oasis.

 

Day 7 : Oued Drâa – Tinfou Dunes - Ouarzazate : 2 hours riding

Accommodation : 3 star hotel in Ouarzazate

We will keep on heading north along trails that sneak through the ksour & the cultivated fields of the palm grove. We will reach Tinfou village where impressive sand hills threaten to sand up houses & fields. A plan against this desertification process has been set up years ago but it seems to be inefficient.

Transfer to Ouarzazate at the beginning of the afternoon.

Dinner in a superb small restaurant and night at the hotel.

Day 8 : Ouarzazate - Airport

Breakfast and transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule.

Bearded stallion horses and bearded Arabs, selected and trained by our team, enduring, lively and docile. They are admirably adapted to the paths of the High Atlas: small sure-footed and big-hearted, their gaits are raised. Height at the withers: 1.45 m to 1.55 m.

They will amaze you on this hike by their resistance on sometimes the most difficult paths... You will come back for them!

THE HORSES AND LEVEL

Minimum technical requirements

Perfect mastery of the 3 gaits in outdoor and open terrain: trotting with the trotters off, galloping in balance and in groups, keeping control of the horse (distance, direction) at brisk paces with a light hand. Minimum academic equivalent of gallop 4.
Riders over 90kg and over 1m95 must consult us before registration. Good physical conditions required.

Paces

The basic pace in hiking is the step. Good regular trots and gallops every half day: from the small collected canter to unbridled gallops when the terrain allows it.Note that the gallops are done in line, especially at the beginning of the ride, because of the temperament of the stallions.

Autonomy and participation

Everyone is required to dress, saddle, bridle and unhook his horse. They are also expected to participate in camp tasks, including the setting up and dismantling of tents. You can participate according to your wishes in the care of the horses (distribution of water and food).

Level and experience required

Good physical condition and good endurance on horseback. Expect cold evenings in December & January.
A multi-day horseback riding experience is a plus, but is not mandatory. Riders who don't ride regularly must get back in the saddle before the ride.
Encountering different cultures and mentalities implies an acceptance of these differences and respect for them.

Equestrian Equipment

Tailor-made hiking saddles, very practical saddlebags are available.
Bombs or helmets are not mandatory but strongly recommended. Our partner has a few bombs, but preferably bring your own equipment. In case of request, please do so when you register.

Comfort

In camp: Tents for two people with mattresses, Moroccan caïdal tent for meals, shower tent with hot water morning / evening, toilet tent.
In Ouarzazate : Hotel 3 stars in double room. Possibility on request to spend the night in Riad in Medina (extra charge).

Meals

Copious dinners, cold at noon and hot in the evening at the bivouac.
The cook takes care of everything.
In order to avoid plastic bottles, please provide micro-pure tablets or we provide filtered water (catadyn ceramic filter). We advise you to take with you one or two metal cans... to avoid plastic.

Climate

In the south of Morocco the rains are rare but not non-existent. Since a few years very important rainy events have been affecting the south of the country.
From October to November and from February to April the temperatures remain pleasant see warm 35°/20° (October and April) 25°/12° (November, February, March).
In the heart of winter, mornings and evenings are cool to cold (up to -5° at the end of December). At noon, temperatures reach 18°/20°C to decline fairly quickly in the evening. In summer, the climate is torrid (around 45°C) and riding is not organized.

Local Team Guide

French / English-speaking Moroccan equestrian guides assisted by grooms.

TIPS

It is customary, as a sign of thanks, to give a tip to the local teams. You can foresee about 30€ / 40€ for the whole team.

Packing List
Head
  • A riding helmet: it is seriously recommended and often mandatory. Manufacturers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème...) offer today ventilated, solid and light riding helmets, pleasant under all latitudes. There are also protective shells to put under your hat (Ranch & Rider, Lexington Safety Products) or western helmets (Troxel).
  • Cap or hat for the sun (essential)
  • A bandana, scarf or chèche to protect the neck or face from dust and sunlight
  • A pair of high protection sunglasses
  • A hat or hood in winter (December and January)
Bust
  • Thermal underwear (December and January).
  • Cotton T-shirts + long-sleeved shirts (for protection against the sun) or T-shirts made of quick-drying technical materials.
  • 1 light fleece or equivalent
  • 1 warm fleece or equivalent (From November to mid-Februar).
  • 1 warm Goretex-type jacket (waterproof and breathable) (From December to mid-Februar) .
Legs
  • 2 riding breeches or long leather chaps
  • 1 spare pair of pants (hiking or jeans or equivalent)
  • 1 swimsuit may be useful (swimming, toilet)
  • Cotton or non-irritating synthetic underwear
Feet and Hands
  • 1 pair of light walking shoes (essential for the ascent of the pass) with chaps or boots with specific mini-chaps for riding
  • 1 pair of sneakers or equivalent light shoes for the evening.
  • Several pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of gloves to protect yourself from the sun, cold and rubbin
Little tricks on horseback
  • Soothing cream very useful in the corners of your intimacy irritated by long hours on horseback.
  • Nothing on your back, everything in your jacket or a banana on your belly: lipstick,sunscreen, passport, small camera or mini camera (waterproof), cords, glasses... more accessible than fonts.
  • Riding backpacks are not allowed
Sleep
  • Sleeping bag warm comfort 2 °/-5 ° (October to November and from February to April) and -5° or -8° (December and January).
  • We also advise you to double this one with a meat bag which will be very useful on hot nights.
Miscellaneous
  • Soft travel bag/case
  • 2 metal cans of 1 liter or equivalent
  • Headlamp, batteries and spare bulbs
  • Toilet kit (biodegradable wipes to replace water, micropur...)
  • Toilet paper + lighter to burn it after use
  • A Swiss Army knife or equivalent (in the hold!!)
  • Small paper bags to throw in the trash can
  • Earplugs can be useful for those who would have light sleep as a roommate.
  • Camera (with a spare battery)
  • A pair of binoculars possiblyt
Pharmacy
As a precaution, list your drug allergies in your pharmacy.
  • Personal medications
  • 1 Broad-spectrum antibiotic
  • Aspirin or paracetamol
  • Anti Diarrhea
  • Vitamin C
  • Highly protective sun cream for lips and skin
  • Eye drops
  • Moisturizing cream for after sun.
  • A roll of plaster
  • A 10 cm wide adhesive elastic band
  • A box of bandages is
  • Ready-to-use disinfectant pouches
  • Micropur or Hydroclonazone tablets to disinfect water
  • An anti-mosquito cream and spray

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