Atlas Mountains

Morocco Morocco: (PG-MR10)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/morocco_atlas_mountains.aspx

Introduction
Morocco Morocco
Discover a lush and mountainous Morocco on this exciting 10 day tour. Beginning in Fez, a city still reminiscent of the Middle Ages, you explore French villages, Moroccan lakes, stark mountain ranges, rocky plains, fresh water springs and waterfalls, and volcanic stone that sprouts grass. Along the way you encounter animals such as sheep, goats, camels, monkeys, and a multitude of birds. Explore the land of the Nomads and make note of their legendary lifestyle as we pass by Berber villages of clay huts established miles from anywhere. This amazing trip takes you toward the  Lake Afnourir Nature Reservation, where you spend one last peaceful night in the wilderness.

Highlights
- Swimming with the horses!
- The 40 springs of Oum Erbia
- The city of Ifrane
- Cedar forests with wild monkeys
- Racing over abandoned prairies 
 

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a wilderness ride, so nights will be a mixture of hotels and camping.

Description
You will spend 2 nights in a hotel and 7 nights camping. You will change champ sites 6 times.

Night 1 & 9: Hotel Riad El Yacout in Fes 
Night 2: Camping in Ifran
Night 3: Camping in Ait Youssef
Night 4 & 5: Camping near Aguelmame Sidi Ali Lake
Night 6: Camping near Oyoun oum rabii
Night 7: Camping near Lake Ouiouane
Night 8: Camping near Lake Afennourir


Riad El Yacout in Fes
Riad El Yacout is an ancient private residence of a rich merchant in the beginning of the last century in Fès and is ideally situated in the heart of the medina. El Yacout was restored by Fassis expert craftsmen and now offers comfortable rooms with personalized decoration. All rooms are equipped with modern en suite facilities and WIFI internet access. Each room contains a satellite TV, telephone, safe, mini fridge, air conditioning, bathrobes, toiletries, and hairdryer. The hotel also contains a spa and swimming pool. Laundry can be arranged for an additional fee.
*Please note that hotels are subject to change based on availability. Double check at the time of booking!


Camping
You will overnight in comfortable dome tents with ground mats. There are rustic portable toilets (no flush) on site and no showers. There will be some rivers along the ride where you can bathe and wash up. Make sure to being your own sleeping bag!

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory if we are unable to find another rider to share.


Meals
All meals are included on the ride from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 10. You will enjoy a mix of food: some "western food" and some very good local specialties! Some days a car will meet us for lunch and on some days we will have a picnic on the trail - you will take the food with you in your saddle bags. Drinks in hotels or restaurants and alcoholic drinks on the ride are not included.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to dietary restrictions if given prior notice.


This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Horses
You will ride small but very surefooted Arabian Berber horses with a great courage and stamina. Mares and stallions go together on the ride. Stallions and mares go well together, but some of the stallions need extra space when two are in the same area. A whip is suggested for the stallions, as they need strict orders. This does not make them difficult to ride, they just require more firm direction and more attention. These horses can get very attached to their riders and are always ready to please.

Riding Experience
Riders must have at least 5 years experience and hacking experience is a plus. We might have to lead our horses in some difficult mountain pass.

Tack
Mostly English and some military tracking saddles. Some people bring their own gel-cushion or sheep-skin cover to put over the saddle since we ride for long hours.

Staff
Driss and Rena have been organizing treks on horseback in Morocco since 1982.
Rena, once a schoolteacher in Switzerland, came to Meknes in the year 1984 to realize her dream of living in harmony with horses and nature. In love with Morocco and its inhabitants, she will help you discover another Morocco, away from the beaten track, authentic and enchanting, as your guide on the treks.
Driss is a riding instructor who used to work for the National Studfarm of Meknes. He has more than 25 years of experience with horses and he has taught a great many students (a lot of them French) who for the most part have gone on to be high level riders).

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1

Arrival in Fes. Transfer to Riad (traditional Moroccan house or palace). Dinner in the medina of Fes and night in the riad.

Day 2
In the morning you will visit the medina of Fes. This old medina is very spectacular. Built in 808 by Moulay Idris de II, you will feel like you're in the middle ages. You will see the old University, the Souk with its small shops, the magnificent mausoleum of the founder of Fes Moulay Idris II, the huge mosque of Karaouin, the tanneries, and so much more that you won't want to blink! An hour drive by car will bring you up to the Atlas Mountain, where you will have picnic beside a lake. Moroccans often comes here to enjoy the nature.
Afterwards we will transfer to Ifran. The town of Ifran was built in 1929 by the French. This little town, with its pointy rooftops and flowery alleys is at a height of 1700 meters (approx. 5500 feet) above the sea. Ifran is very popular for his agreeable climate in the summer. The horses are waiting for us, outside Ifran (near Azrou) beside a lake – but there is only water if it had enough raining or snowing in winter.
We will go for a short ride during which you will get to know you new friend. We'll spend the night in tents.

Day 3
The day will start on a high plain, with beautiful view over the Atlas. The local famers have bees and the region is very famous for the lavender honey. Big cedar trees grow beside the hills. In the forest are living many kinds of birds, the famous berber monkey of the Atlas and a few wild boars, which you may see occasionally. We will stop for lunch in an oak tree forest, enjoying the shade. 
In the afternoon, we will leave the woods and ride over big lonely planes (volcanic ground). Soon, we will reach a big forest of zederwood and the landscape changes completely. Later on, we reach a high plane where we find the natural reservoir of Afnourir lake. The lake gets water only from the rain. Many birds, frogs and small fishes populate the area. We set camp on the border of lake Afnourir.

Day 4
Our ride starts over the big planes and soon, forests can be seen on top of the mountains on both sides of the valley. When we reach the end of the plane, we go down the valley through the forest to reach the river of Zaouiet Ifran. Monkeys live in this region, and sometimes we will find them jumping from tree to tree. We cross the pretty village of Zaouiet Ifran and climb up on the other side of the valley, through the oleander bushes, which are in bloom in summer. We will take our picnic lunch around there.
In the afternoon we ride up again, crossing through beautiful forests and arriving by lake Wiwane in the evening. We camp close to the lake.

Day 5
In the morning, we ride around the lake. Our trail then continues on small mule paths across green pastures. Little rivers can be spotted from time to time. At one point, we will reach a river full of salt and the ground looks like it is frozen. Finally we reach the forty springs of Oum Erbia. After a cool drink we climb up the hill. Once at the top we will have our picnic lunch by the river.
In the afternoon, we follow the river through the forest and again over green pastures with sheep, cow , horses and mules. Then, we cross through another beautiful forest with cedarwood and make our way down to the lake of aguelmam aghiza. We camp beside the lake.

Day 6
After leaving the lake behind us, we ride across another beautiful forest populated by monkeys. Beautiful grassy planes invite us for gallops.
In the afternoon, we enjoy beautiful views over the valleys and the mountains. We will eventually reach a green valley and soon we will find our camp beside a salty river.

Day 7
After following a small rocky trail, we reach a plateau and follow a small mule path through the forest. Later on, long gallops bring us over grassy planes. Along the way, we find a well so our horses can drink.
The picnic break will be taken in the mountains. There is not a lot of shade, but a cool wind might blow and bring us some fresh air.
After lunch, we go down to the lake of Aguelmam Sidi Ali. This is the biggest lake in the region and its water comes from underground. The camp is located beside the lake.

Day 8
In the morning we take some time to enjoy the lake and swim (with the horses if possible). We will start riding in the afternoon, making our way through a lonely valley with very old tuya trees. We will enjoy some gallops on the way, and cross a few rivers. Our camp will be beside a smaller lake this evening.

Day 9
For our last riding day, we climb up the mountain. We come across a small salty spring and then we cross a huge valley. Big heards of sheep are grassing here. At one point, the ground changes into volcanic stones. Herewe will carefully stay on the designated path. Some lonely farmhouses can be spotted from time to time. We will eventually reach Azrou where we say goodbye to the horses. From there, a car will bring us back to Fes in the Riad.

Day 10
Individual return.


Rates and Dates for Atlas Mountains

Rates include:

Accommodations - 2 nights hotel and 7 nights camping, all meals, 7 riding days, pick-up transfer from airport or hotel in Fes

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    201910 day trip, AP€870$1045
    • Small group supplement (3 pax only), pp€160$195
      Small group supplement (2 pax only), pp€320$385
      Single supplement€135$165
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2019 Pick-up from airport or hotel in Fes included. Individual return.

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Drop-off transfer, entrance fees and sightseeings (1-2 Euros per place), alcoholic beverages in camps, drinks in hotels, restaurants in hotels (~10 Dirham), tips for porters (~5-10 Dirham) and grooms (~50 Euros)

Other Info
Meeting: Riad El Yacout Hotel
Airport: Fès-Saïs Airport (FEZ)
Transfer: Fes Airport

Climate:
                                                    Fes area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

62

64

69

73

79

88

96

96

89

80

70

64

Average Low Temperature (°F)

41

43

45

49

54

60

66

67

62

56

49

43

Average High Temperature (°C)

17

18

21

23

26

31

36

36

31

27

21

18

Average Low Temperature (°C)

5

6

7

9

12

16

19

19

17

13

9

6

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Fes enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate. The days can be hot but you should be aware that at night, temperature go down quite a lot.

Spring (March to May)
Spring is generally warm and sunny.

Summer (June to August)
Summers are hot and dry. However, there are sometimes thunderstorms and hard rain, but only for short periods of time.

Autumn (September to November)
This time of the year is pleasant and a popular season to visit.

Winter (December to February)
Winters are usually is cool and can be quite wet with an average of 10 rainy days a month in Fes.

What To Bring:
Sunny weather all year! Isn't that great!? Actually, you can expect warm to hot weather with a nice breeze in the open country. At noon, we typically siesta to stay out of the hottest sun. Expect sunny weather most of the time, so bring light yet comfortable clothes with you. The most comfortable clothes in warm environments are covering your body yet are light and airy to make sure that the air can circulate.

Nights can be chilly however, so be sure to take some warm clothes as well. Any moment of the year you may have a thunderstorm - so better you bring a rain coat with you too!

Morocco is a country where almost everybody is Muslim. They are very welcoming towards foreigners, but still it might be better to dress modestly and not to show a lot of uncovered skin, especially when you're a woman.

Recommended equipment
- Warm sleeping bag
- Comfortable riding clothes
- Flashlight
- Multipurpose shoes (riding and walking)
- Non-revealing city clothes for occasional visits to towns and hotels
- A warm sweater and coat for the evenings
- Raincoat
- Sunhat
- Sunscreen
- Swimsuit
- Towel
- Water bottle
- Pocket knife

Note that old clothes and riding equipment you no longer need are very welcome.