Cities of Kings

Morocco Morocco: (PG-MRT8)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/morocco_city_kings.aspx

Introduction
Morocco Morocco
A unique horse riding experience that leads you through a rich and beautiful country to the historic heart of Morocco, a heart that is still very much alive and beating. You will see the Roman ruins of Volubilis and Meknes, the town of the great king Moulay Ismail and Fez, the Islamic centre of culture, handicrafts and religion. This experience also highlights the fertile and green Morocco, a Morocco with a rich soil where fruit and olive trees are growing everywhere. In contrast, you also discover the dry and deserted and aptly named Dead Valley. To ride here is to enter a new and yet unexplored world.

The trip begins with a meet up in Rabat and a transfer to Mekenes. Our ride starts to the foot of the mountain range of Zerhound. Lots of sandy fields offer many chances to canter before we reach Volubilis, an ancient Roman city with houses, like those found in Pompeii,  ancient temples, bath houses, and a palace. Beautiful mosaics give you a picture of what life was like in those days. The road will take us to Moulay, across olive tree forests, up to the peak of the Zegota. We will have a magnificent view of the Rif mountains up to the springs of Dezala Des Ben Ammar. We ride across the white mountain range of the Rif and descend towards the Oued Mikkes. We follow this stream with many small windy roads and cross many Arab villages. When we enter Death Valley we encounter completely sterile land with colors alternating between yellow, white, and beige. We ride through many small Berber villages and across sandy fields until we reach the royal city of Fez, where we will visit the Medina, the University, and the Souk with its small shops. The ride continues from hill to hill and occasionally through small villages. Once in awhile we have the opportunity to race each other in a long gallop alongside fields where grapes and melons grow. After an emotional goodbye with our horses, a private car takes you to the Medina of Meknes and onto Rabat where you will spend the last night in a hotel.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a wilderness ride, so nights will be spent in different locations.

Description
Camp option: 3 nights in hotels and 4 nights camping
Hotel option: all nights in hotels/ riads

All hotel/ riad options contain private washrooms and free WIFI. A riad is a old house turned into a guest house. They often have very beautiful mosaics and wooden decoration. They are old homes from very rich people which often look like little palaces. They have few bedrooms but in style of 4* to 5* hotels. Hotel rooms are mostly naturally air-cooled and most of the hotels have their sun-warmed swimming pool! The average hotel has a small bar. Please note that hotels are subject to change based on availability. Laundry can be arranged in hotels. Inquire at the hotel for price. Double check at the time of booking!

Camp Itinerary
Night 1 & 7: Hotel in Rabat
Night 2: Camping in Volubilis
Night 3: Camping near Café Albrtqizia
Night 4: Camping near Oued Mikkes
Night 5: Riad in Fes
Night 6: Camping in Ain Taoujdate


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!

Hotel Itinerary
Night 1 & 7: Hotel in Rabat
The hotel has 69 rooms spread over 3 floors. All are air conditioned with bathtub, telephone, TV, radio, WIFI internet access, mini bar, tea/coffee facilities.

Night 2 & 3: Riad in Moulay idriss
Restored in a authentic Moroccan style, this riad offers individually decorated rooms and private washrooms. The sun terrace and outdoor pool are great for relaxation. 

Night 4:  Hotel in Moulau Yacoub
The hotel features a restaurant with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. It serves international and typical Moroccan cuisine. You can enjoy an after dinner drink in the bar or a snack by the pool.

Night 5 & 6: Riad in Fes 
The riad 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. It was restored by Fassis expert craftsmen and now offers comfortable rooms with personalized decoration. All rooms and suites are equipped with modern en suite facilities and Wi-Fi internet access.
 
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 8. 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. In general, tap water should not be used for drinking but only for washing.

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 at Casablanca airport. Travel by train to Rabat (not included), providing a glimpse into the rich diversity of the Moroccan countryside (1.5 – 2 hours). If you have the time, you can visit Rabat to get a first impression of the Eastern lifestyle. You can take a walk in the Medina, the garden of Oudaiya or the Hassan tower. We meet at the hotel with the guide and spend the night there.

Day 2
In the early morning a private car takes you to the city of Meknes where your horse awaits. They are Berber-Arab, small but very strong with a lot of stamina. A first trip takes us to the foot of the mountain range of Zerhoun. The road winds through many small villages with clay houses and olive trees, sunflowers and cornfields. We follow alongside a small river with beautiful flowers up to the village of Sainte de Sidi Ali. From here we have a splendid view of Meknes and its surroundings. Lots of sandy fields offer chances to canter before we reach Volubilis, an ancient Roman city with houses, like those found in Pompeii, ancient temples, bath houses, and a palace. Beautiful mosaics provide a picture of what life was like in those days. We eat and sleep close to the Roman ruins, beside a small river.

Day 3
Today, the road takes us to Moulay Idriss, across olive tree forests, up to the peak of the Zegota. We have a magnificent view of the Rif Mountains up to the springs of Dezala Des Ben Ammar. The rocky ground does not allow many crops to grow here: only a few olive trees can grow in a rare open space. Before we arrive at the springs we travel through a country so devoid of human life and completely deserted that it is hard to believe. A few human beings can always be found around a water well where animals drink. Culturally, these places are the Moroccan version of western ‘water coolers’ and provide a gathering place to discuss current rumors. We sleep in tents under olive trees.

Day 4
Today we ride across the white mountain range of the Rif. Here and there you see a small village at the very bottom of a valley or small houses made out of clay. Agriculture here is done in an old fashioned way: with bare hands and we see many women doing hard work on the fields. After the picnic, we descend towards Oued Mikkes to follow a stream that leads us across many winding roads and near numerous Arab villages. After this we will climb up a mountain to reach our camping spot for the night.

Day 5
Today we enter the Death Valley which is named for its river: the water is so salty that it cannot sustain the plants, animals or humans in the area. To get water in this area, local people are forced to fetch water at places that are up to three hours away. The land here in the Death Valley is completely sterile and the color is always changing between yellow, white and beige. The road takes us through many small Berber villages via sandy fields from Moulay Yakoud up to Fez. The horses wait at the gates of the city and a car takes us to Fez to our hotel. In the afternoon we will visit Fez, the Medina, the old University, and the Souk with its small shops. Dinner will be in the Medina and accommodation in the pretty Riad.

Day 6
We leave the royal city today and continue our path through a very different countryside than the beginning of the trip. It's very flat but offers many interesting sights as it is varied. At a curvy stream that passes close by we see many turtles ducking under water to avoid the horses’ hooves. We enjoy a picnic at the top of a hill amongst the figs and a short distance away a spring provides water for us and the horses – this is also a popular washing place. From here you can see the entire Fez region and even the Atlas Mountains. In the afternoon, we ride close to the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. We cross over little creeks and stony hills to arrive on a big plane where we can canter. Our camp is on a hill with a beautiful view towards Fez. On this hill is an old French farm which is now a government agriculture area.

Day 7
The ride continues from hill to hill and occasionally passes through a small village. Once in awhile we have the opportunity to race in a long gallop alongside fields where grapes and melons grow. Finally, a lonely valley brings us back to the riding stables (we arrive around noon). After an emotional goodbye with our horses, a private car takes you to the Medina of Meknes where you have a short time to go through the souks. Afterwards the car brings us back to Rabat where you spend the night in the hotel.

Day 8
Return by train to Casablanca to catch the flight home.

Note: You can also go directly from Casablanca to Rabat by plane.


Rates and Dates for Cities of Kings

Rates include:

Accommodations: 3 nights in hotels and 4 nights in tents, all meals, 6 riding days.
In hotel option, all nights in hotels

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day trip, AP (Camp)€1030$1240
  • B
    20198 day trip, AP (Hotel)€1200$1440
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 Transfers not available. Meeting is at the reception in Hotel Bouregreg in Rabat at 8:00pm on the first day of the trip.

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 09/08 - 09/15 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Camp) 3 /9 Reserve
B 2019 09/08 - 09/15 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Hotel) 3 /9 Reserve
B 2019 09/22 - 09/29 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Hotel) 3 /9 Reserve
A 2019 09/22 - 09/29 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Camp) 3 /9 Reserve
A 2019 09/29 - 10/06 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Camp) 3 /9 Reserve
B 2019 09/29 - 10/06 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Hotel) 3 /9 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Transfers from/ to airport, 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: Rabat hotel
Airport: Rabat-Sale Airport (RBA)
Transfer: --

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.