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.

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 pas 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 stand outside Ifran beside a lake – but there is only water if it had enough raining or snowing in winter. On a short ride you will to know you new friend, your horse. We'll spend the night in tents.

Day 3
The day will start at the plain of the lakes. In dry years the lakes get very small or even are disappearing. On the big plane we'll find immense fields of lavender. The 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. In the afternoon, we will leave the woods and ride over big lonely planes. The day will end in a fertile valley. The camp is beside a big spring, where you have possibility to wash in the clean and cold river.

Day 4
We will reach the Tchachoukt mountains and climb up on little mule way up to 2000 meters (approx. 6500 feet). You will see a beautiful view over the big valley of Gigou.
Over a plane we will reach the river Ain Nokra, where the horses can drink then we follow a lonely canyon. We will travel through many small valleys, between big cedar woods where the grass may grow a meter high. In the evening, we will reach Jebel Agbalou and it is here that we may see exceptionally big cedars that have a diameter of more than one meter. Only a few lucky trees have the chance to grow so old as sheep and goats eat most young trees. We will descend via narrow mountain paths and have a splendid overview of the clear blue sky and the big lake called Aguelmane Sidi Ali. We will sleep in tents.

Day 5
In the morning, we will ride to the heart of the great grassy plains where we will have many opportunities for many gallops. This is the empire of the Nomads as there is not a single village in the vicinity. We will meet occasional lonely tents on our way as well as huge herds of sheep and goat and perhaps even a herd of camels. In the afternoon, the horses will take a break and we will have the chance to refresh ourselves at the feet of the mountain. Again we will make camp at the lake Aguelmane Sidi Ali, with possibility to swim with our horses. Don't miss this splendid opportunity! We will sleep in tents again.

Day 6
Today we will leave the area of the lake. A nice and quiet valley will take you to the volcanic plane of Bekrite. Rocks of petrified lava are everywhere and are the soil for many herbs. Our way is slowly getting higher and higher up to 2000 meters (approx. 6500 feet). The green grass growing between the black vulcanic stone is very impressive. We will see many old craters and it is here that the nomads are still living in their clay houses, with their herds in the close vicinity. We will camp at the side of a river.

Day 7
Today is again more agriculture, bigger villages. but between each valley there are wild mountains, gorges, cederwoods or stoney planes. This is the longest riding day of the week. You will see some land which are carved by heavy erosion. Red, yellow and brown mountain ranges can be seen at the horizon, beyond salt lakes.
Then we will climb down to the springs of the river Oum-Erbia. 40 little springs are coming here together in big wild river. This place is very famous for Moroccan tourists. There are many little cafes beside the wild river. You can walk over little bridges from one side to the other. For us just a cold Coke will refresh us , before we leave again for the ride. We will follow a small river where green grass grows beside it. Many birds and also sometimes the storks live here. The camp will be at the side of the lake Ouiouane.

Day 8
In the morning we will ride through a cedar forest with a few oak trees here and there. A narrow path will take us to the village of Zaouat Ifran. This village is a true masterpiece. A small waterfall falls from 50 meters high. The rocks here are covered with many interesting kinds of plants. In the caves behind the waterfall is where the Berber monkey lives. Picnic is beside the river. You can even jump in the cold river to get refreshed. After the picnic we will cross the mountains to arrive on a plane. On the side is a natural reserve and occasionally you might see behind the fence a deer. We will follow a small trail and arrive at a high plateau where we will camp at the border of lake Afnourir. This is another natural reserve where many kinds of birds and frogs are living beside this lonely lake.

Day 9
A big canter over the lonely plane brings us to the cedar woods. Slowly, we descend down to the next plane. Big sheep heards are eating here the short grass. The villages are getting bigger and bigger, an indication of a return to civilization. Picnic beside a river in the shade of big trees. In the afternoon -- endless gallops brings us to the country of mandar Ito, a last hard climbing up and we will find our cars. After saying goodbye to our horses, the car will take us back to  the town of Fes, where we stay in the riad.

Day 10
Individual return from the riad.


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.

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 07/05 - 07/14 10d / 9n 10 day trip, AP 4 /10 Expired
A 2019 08/16 - 08/25 10d / 9n 10 day trip, AP 4 /10 Expired

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.

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
- Raincoat
- Sunhat
- Sunscreen
- Swimsuit
- Towel
- Water bottle
- Pocket knife

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