Essaouira Coastal Trail Ride

7 nights: From EUR €1137 pp sharing

UNFORGETTABLE RIDE THROUGH MOROCCO’S ARGAN FORESTS & DESERTED BEACHES

There are many amazing riding destinations in Morocco, but the High Atlas Mountains are perhaps the most exceptional and one of the most challenging trail rides.

Morocco’s Atlantic Coastline provides the ideal escape from the desert heat for riding during the summer months. This horse riding holiday will take you from the uninterrupted beaches of Agadir to the quaint seaside town of Essaouira. While there is plenty of fast beach riding, you will also meander inland to explore the Argan forests and rocky outcrops on your journey. You will ride through some remote, authentic Moroccan villages where the locals gather to see the cavalcade of beautiful stallions passing through their village.

A highlight of riding in Morocco will most certainly be the experience of riding a beautiful Arab / Barb stallion. While you will need to be a confident rider to be able to deal with the usual Stallion quirks, these guys are well schooled and easy to handle on the ground. The power and the exhilaration you will feel galloping down a beach on an exquisite stallion is second-to-none!

This is a brilliant ride for intrepid riders and offers a true escape to discover the secrets of Morocco. You will start and end your horseback adventure in Marrakesh, with 4 nights either spent camping in some of the most remote places in Northern Africa, or in comfortable local guesthouses on the trail. You will be involved in grooming and tacking up your own horse, with allows you that extra time to fall in love with your four-legged companion and a chance to see how the herd is cared for.

You will also have time to explore the bustling Marrakesh, a city steeped in ancient artistry that continues to thrive, kept alive by the traditional craftspeople of the souqs and the modern art and design scene. Wake up to the call to prayer echoing from the mosques and set-off to explore the old imperial capital’s Islamic architecture and colourful markets. On Day 7, you will have the morning free to explore the windswept fishing village of Essaouira. Surrounded by stone city walls, it is a mix of bright blues, golden browns and dazzling whitewash buildings, brightened with colourful djellabas and permeated with the smell of spices.

DATES AND RATES

Open April to October. Rides are confirmed with a minimum of 2 riders and this will determine whether will be a camping or accommodated trail ride.

2024 RATES

LOW SEASON

09 – 16 June 2024 / 16 – 23 June 2024 / 23 – 30 June 2024 / 30 June – 07 July 2024

Camping: From EUR €1137 pp sharing

Guesthouse: From EUR €1617 pp sharing


MID SEASON

12 – 19 May 2024 / 07 – 14 July 2024 / 14 – 21 July 2024 / 21 – 28 July 2204 / 28 July – 04 August 2024 / 04 – 11 August 2024 / 11 – 18 August 2024 / 18 – 25 August 2024 / 25 August – 01 September 2024 / 01 – 08 September 2024 / 08 – 15 September 2024 / 15 – 22 September 2024

Camping: From EUR €1187pp sharing

Guesthouse: From EUR €1667 pp sharing


HIGH SEASON

07 – 14 April 2024 / 14 – 21 April 2024 / 21 – 28 April 2024 / 28 April – 05 May 2024 / 05 – 12 May 2024

Camping: From EUR €1217 pp sharing

Guesthouse: From EUR €1697 pp sharing

EXTRAS – SUBJECT TO CHANGE

SMALL GROUP SUPPLEMENTS

If there are only two people confirmed, there is a supplement of EUR €420 pp sharing for camping


SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

EUR €120 / EUR €260 should you not wish to share

INCLUDES & EXCLUDES

Includes

  • Accommodation (tented / guesthouses)
  • Full board (from dinner on night of arrival to breakfast on last morning)
  • Water and snacks
  • All riding on well-trained and responsive horses
  • English and French-speaking guides
  • Camp staff and driver
  • Airport transfers
  • Road transfers from Marrakesh

Excludes

  • International Flights to Marrakesh
  • Visas
  • Comprehensive Medical and Travel Insurance
  • Lunch on arrival and departure day
  • Drinks in hotels
  • Alcoholic beverages (not readily available)
  • Museum entrance or activities not listed
  • Any additional transfers
  • Gratuities for camp staff and guides
  • Items of a personal nature

QUICK FACTS

Location: Essaouria, Morocco
Airport: Marrakesh International Airport
Month: May - September
Duration: 7 Nights
Group Size: Max 12
Skill Level: Intermediate Plus / Advanced
Weight Limit: 90kg / 200lbs
Accommodation: Guesthouse / Camp
VIEW GALLERY
7 nights: From EUR €1137 pp sharing

SUITABLE RIDING LEVELS

  • Beginner
  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • Intermediate Plus
  • Advanced
WHAT RIDING LEVEL AM I?

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Beautiful, powerful Barb or Arab Stallions will carry you over this 8-day trail ride
  • Canter across deserted, windswept beaches
  • Explore the inland argan forests and ride along the cliffsides for spectacular views over the sparkling Atlantic Ocean
  • Wander through Essaouira’s spice-scented lanes and palm-lined avenues of the fortified medina and watch fishing nets being mended and traditional boats being built
  • Explore bustling Marrakesh with a local guide

TOUR REVIEWS

Our trip was one of the best dream trips I’ve ever took. The sights we saw and the trails we took will forever be ingrained in my heart and mind. Even though we promised ourselves this would be the one and only trip we take, we are planning to come to Botswana in two years to see some of the Big Five. Thank you again for everything!

Melisssa and LynelleHigh Atlas Trail, Morocco
READ MORE REVIEWS

SAMPLE ITINERARY

The following is the proposed itinerary but please note that changes are possible due to weather and local conditions. On occasions, the itinerary may run in reverse or you may be in the saddle for longer durations than stated below.

You must be willing and able to groom, saddle and bridle your own horse. It is important that you are a competent rider, capable and in control at all paces. You must be able to post to the trot and do a two-point canter. Good physical condition and stamina is required and we recommend riding regularly before your trail ride. The terrain is varied to include steep ascents/descents, endless beaches, and soft sand dunes. Riders should be able to mount from the ground.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN MARRAKESH

Upon arrival in Marrakesh, you will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel for your first evening in Morocco at the Hotel Les Trois Palmiers (or similar). Here you will meet the rest of your group for a delicious dinner and to eagerly discuss the adventure ahead!

DAY 2: MARRAKECH - IMSSOUANE - TISSILA

After breakfast, you will meet your guide and driver for the 5-hour journey to Immesouna to arrive in time for lunch. This afternoon you will meet the horses for the first time. Your guide will match you with the best possible equine partner for the week. It is important that you follow the few basic rules in dealing with your stallion to ensure your safety as well as that of the other riders and horses. The two-hour introductory ride will give you and your horse the opportunity to get to know each other before embarking on a long day’s riding tomorrow. On this ride you will get your first glimpse of the Juniper and Argan tree forests, rocky outcrops, and some of the charming local villages that you will be spending the next few days exploring.

About 2 hours in the saddle

DAY 3: TISSILA - TIMZGUIDA - TAFADNA

This morning after your breakfast, groom and tack up your horse before setting off on the day’s adventure. Today will have approximately 6 hours of riding along beautiful little paths that will lead you between beaches and inland Argan forests, through traditional villages and across small wadi’s, sacred to the Berbers. The beautiful stone walls and regional architecture will make you feel as if you are riding through the life of centuries past. Not to mention the occasional camel and local herdsman on his donkey that you pass on your way. Locals are friendly and curious as you and your herd of horses pass through their village. This afternoon you will arrive at the beach of Tafedna. How about wading into the sparkling surf with your horse? The stuff of dreams! Enjoy a night near the local fishing village and see the traditional way of life.

About 6 hours in the saddle

DAY 4: TAFADNA - IFTANE

On day four you will continue your explorations towards Iftane. Dramatic views from the tall cliffs abutting the Atlantic Ocean make for some brilliant photo opportunities. You will decent the steep cliffs and dunes to reach the windswept beaches for an exhilarating canter. Stop for a picnic lunch set up on a worn Persian carpet or small table and chairs before saddling up again. At the end of a long day’s ride, you will be welcomed with the customary Moroccan sweet tea and delicious dates and nuts while recounting the day’s highlights with your fellow adventurers.

About 5-6 hours in the saddle

DAY 5: IFTANE - SIDI KAOUKI

Today you will ride from Iftane along the ridge of the tall cliffs with the Atlantic Ocean stretching out before you. Another picnic lunch, perhaps with a nap under an Argan tree while your horse grazes nearby. Before setting off again for the afternoon leg riding through the sand dunes to get to Sidi Kaouki beach in the late afternoon, just in time for a last long gallop across the golden sands.

About 5-6 hours in the saddle

DAY 6: SIDI KAOUKI - GHASSOUAL – ESSAOUIRA

This morning’s four-hour ride will be your final chance to canter along the beach with your beautiful stallion who you would no doubt, have completely fallen in love with by now. You’ll gradually leave the ocean behind you as you ride through the forests of Thuyas and towards the small town of Ghazoua. Then, after your delicious lunch and final groom, you will say goodbye to the horses before transferring by minibus to Essaouria. Enjoy a free afternoon of exploring the interesting Medina or lounging on the popular beach. This evening you will stay at the lovely Riad Maison Du Sud.

About 4-5 hours in the saddle

DAY 7: ESSAOUIRA-MARRAKECH

You will be able to explore more of Essaouira’s fascinating medina or beaches. Get wonderfully lost in the narrow winding streets discovering Morocco’s beautiful weaving, leather goods, and wooden crafts. It’s also a good opportunity to stock up on the delicious sweet treats for your journey back to bustling Marrakesh (and home!) This evening you will overnight at Les Trois Palmiers in Marrakesh. (You can choose to fly in and out of Essaouira instead)

Non-Riding Day

DAY 8: DEPARTURE

Wake up to the sound of the call to prayer in bustling Marrakesh. Depending on the time of your flight, you can wander through the souks, galleries, and narrow alleys of this fascinating city. Giving you plenty of time, your transfer will take you to Marrakesh International Airport for your departure flight.

THE ACCOMMODATION

You will spend your first and last night at Les Trois Palmiers in Marrakesh. You will also spend one night at Riad Maison Du Sud in Essaouira. The remaining 4 nights can either be spent in local riads (small local guesthouses) or camping.

HOTEL LES TROIS PALMIERS – MARRAESH

Located in the center of the Gueliz neighbourhood close to the Medina’s Old Town, this hotel opens its doors a few steps from the Marrakech Plaza commercial center with its many shops and stores. The hotel features comfortable rooms, many with balconies or terraces to take in the sights of the bustling city. There are gardens and a pool where you can unwind. The hotel’s restaurants are renowned for their varied Moroccan and international cuisine.

RIAD MAISON DU SUD – ESSAOUIRA

This is a traditional and authentic 18th-century riad located just 300 meters from the beach. It features comfortable double and triple rooms with bright patios. The hotel was renovated a few years ago in the traditional Moroccan style with warm colours, local artwork, and ornate gardens. After a day on the beach or sightseeing, enjoy typical specialties prepared with fresh market produce.

RIADS ON THE TRAIL

Four nights can be spent in a comfortable desert guesthouses or inns along the trail – Otherwise known as riads. Rooms are either twin/double or triples. Single rooms cannot always be guaranteed at all the riads so please check with us. Staying in the riads is an authentic Moroccan experience, run by locals and located in the small communities of the desert.

CAMPING

Four nights can be spent in tented camps which are moved on each day. A support vehicle meets you each day for lunch and then goes ahead to set-up camp. When camping you stay in two-person dome tents with a porch area for baggage. Comfy mattresses are supplied, but you will need to bring your own bedding. Normally everyone helps with the setting up of the tents. There is a large mess tent for eating and relaxing in the evenings. There is also a separate shower tent and you are provided with a large bucket of hot water for showering.

FOOD AND DRINK

All meals are included and will be traditional Moroccan dishes. Lunch is usually cold whilst dinner is a hot meal. A typical dinner would begin with hot and cold salads, followed by a hot tagine which may be served with couscous or flat bread. Water is provided but other drinks are payable locally. Please bring metal water bottles and not plastic.

Alcohol is not provided and not easily purchased during the trail, nor is it always sold at the smaller riads or guesthouses. There are some shops where you can buy alcohol in Marrakesh but the choice is very limited and can be expensive. You can bring your own alcohol from home or buy from duty-free if you wish.

THE DESTINATION

Essaouira

Essaouira is a port city on Morocco’s western coastline. The surrounding landscape of rocky hillsides are lined with Palm groves and Argan forests which unfold onto the broad golden beaches abutting the Atlantic Ocean. Essaouira’s ancient past is still evident in its fascinating medina with winding streets lined with markets selling everything from local crafts and leather goods, to delicious local foods and tempting sweets. Your ride will take you off the beaten track between the seaside villages, affording you a glimpse into rural life in current day Morocco where many of the traditions of the past are still flourishing. You will be immersed in the north African coastal landscape dotted with camels and donkeys that form part of everyday life in current day Morocco.

Dark horse cantering in front of clay building

HOW WE CARE FOR OUR HORSES

Our horseback adventures are hand-picked for their quality and care of their horses. Here’s how the horses in Morocco are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:

  • The horses are mainly Barb and Arab Stallions which are well trained, fit, forward going and well-behaved on the trail
  • The tack is good quality English-style or trail saddles that are fitted to each horse and cleaned daily
  • The stables are airy and designed in a traditional way with the horses in mind. On the trail the horses sleep out in paddocks or on a picket line near the tents
  • Water and food are brought by vehicle and the horses get 2-3 hard meals, plus plenty of roughage to eat during lunch stops and throughout the night
  • Riders groom and tack up their own horses on the trail but there is always an experienced guide to assist where needed
  • The Morocco herd is moved throughout the year to different trail locations. This allows them to follow the cooler weather and avoid desert summers or cold mountain winters

HOW TO SIGN UP FOR A HORSE SAFARI

Fill in the form on our website/social media describing your dream African Horse Safari

A Horse Safari Specialists will get in touch to help you plan the perfect escape

Confirm your ride and dates by paying your deposit

We’ll send you a reminder for your balance payment + travel advice

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