Sand Dunes Ride

Morocco Morocco: (PG-MRSP)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/morocco_sand_dunes_horseback_camel_ride.aspx

Introduction
Morocco Morocco
Experience the spectacular sand dunes of Morrocco and majestic red-gold desert landscapes in the most natural and traditional way - on horseback and astride a camel!

This adventure combines the experience of the passionate horse culture here with the local camels use with a mix of nomadic camping and charming Moroccan inn and hotels with local character. This tour begins in Ouarzazate from where we must travel to meet our string of horses and saddle up for a week of adventure in the desert. Escaping into the mystery of a new and foreign land, we know that the next few days will bring thrilling canters, new and interesting cultural experiences, amazing vistas of golden sand dunes as far as the eye can see, and peaceful grazing camels and tall pink flamingos.

Along the way we visit exciting destinations such as the Oasis of Thinghras (the set of many desert movies), the Mausoleum of Moulay Al Cherif, the lake of Dair Srji (where birds flourish and pink flamingos can occasionally be spotted), desert villages such as Erg Chebbi, sand dunes that reach heights of over 200 meters, and small Moroccan settlements where we experience Gnawa music, a mix of sub-Sharan African, Berber and Arabic religious songs and rhythms that  is both a prayer and a celebration of life. We will ride camels into the heart of the sand dunes and travel and camp like the nomads.  We will wake each morning by a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and golds of the sunrise as we set off for the day’s voyage. Come enjoy the desert of Morocco on horses and camels – the unique people, animals and their land will make you never want to leave! Near the end of the trip you will be also afforded free time for independent exploration and shopping.

Accomodation


Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so  nights are spent in different locations.

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

Camp Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1 & 7: Hotel in Ouarzazate
Night 2: Camp near Erfoud
Night 3: Guesthouse in Ergchebbi
Night 4: Camp near Merzouga
Night 5: Hotel in Rissani
Night 6: Camp near Fezna 


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.

Hotel Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1 & 7: Hotel in Ouarzazate
Night 2: Hotel in Erfoud
Night 3: Guesthouse in Ergchebbi
Night 4: Hotel in Merzouga
Night 5: Hotel in Rissani
Night 6: Hotel in Erfoud 



Hotel in Ouarzazate
Since 2005, the hotel « Les Jardins de Ouarzazate » welcomes guests in a warm and friendly atmosphere. It offer 31 air conditioned rooms, a pool, an enclosed garden with trees, a large terrace and free Wi-Fi.

Guesthouse in Ergchebbi
This authentic guesthouse offers simple rooms, all with private bathrooms with hot water. Free WIFI is available at this property.

Hotel in Merzouga
This traditional Moroccan-style lodging offers bedrooms with ensuite facilities and air conditioning. The hotel also has a relaxed restaurant, an outdoor pool & gardens. Free Wi-Fi is available at this property.

Hotel in Rissani
This charming hotel displays a traditional Moroccan architecture and offers simply furnished bedrooms that come with air conditioning, mosquito net, a patio and private facilities with free toiletries. Hotel amenities include an outdoor pool, a terrace, and hammam where guests can relax. Free Wi-Fi access is provided at this property.



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. 

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: camping option - subject to changes

Note: In hotel option, all nights in hotels


Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival in Ouarzazate
Transfer from the airport to your hotel for the evening and rest up from your travels.
Meals included: //
Overnight at Hotel in Ouarzazate


Day 2 (Monday): Tinghrir to Erfoud
Drive from Ouarzazate through the valley of thousand Kasbahs to Tinghrir by car. Reddish- yellow valleys in the desert and groves of palm trees with the Kasbah castles gives you a first impression of the desert. Drive on through the desert to the horses. After a short lunch you start riding the horses. You ride along the groves of the palm trees through nice little fields of grain or lucerne in direction of Erfoud. Afterwards, you get to the real desert landscape. Sandy ground, dried out river bed and the first sand dunes begin. Towards the evening you reach a little hill range which is covered by sand. Only a few black rocks stick out the top. In these mountains there are many fossils which are old coral riffs.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight Camping near Erfoud (Hotel or riad if Hotel option)


Day 3 (Tuesday): Erfoud to Ergchebbi
You ride over little hill ranges, you gallop through wide plains, cross dry river valleys and again sand dunes overgrown by halfgrass. Soon you reach the black hills. Even though the ground is stony you´re able to do good gallops because the stones are fine. In between, there is red desert sand.  From far away you can already see the pink colored sand dunes of Ergchebbi. Finally you are there. Everybody should definitely take the time to enjoy the sunset from the sand dunes.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Overnight at Guesthouse in Ergchebbi


Day 4 (Wednesday): Ride around Ergchebbi
After an ample breakfast in the guesthouse you ride along a dune in direction to Algeria. At the front side of the big sand dune you can find many little guest houses. But we ride at the other side where it´s very lonely. The sight of the huge dunes is always very impressive. You cross the dunes to get back to the flat country side on the other side. A few short gallops leads you to the camp at the lake, which is not always filled with water. Only after a rainy winter it gets filled and attracts many different kinds of birds. Sometimes you can even see flamingos.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight Camping near Merzouga (Hotel or riad if Hotel option)


Day 5 (Thursday): Ergchebbi to Rissani
In the morning you ride over the black lightly bumpy plain. Endless gallops brings you to a river bed. On the other side, the ground suddenly turns white and sandy. In the distance you can see the groves of palm trees of Rissani. On little paths you ride through an oasis to the hotel. The horses are located right next to the hotel by the palm trees. In the afternoon, you drive to Rissani to the mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif, the first king of the dynasty of the Alaouites. Afterwards there is still time left to get to Rissani and have a break in a café. The turbulent life in the desert city  is very impressive.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Rissani


Day 6 (Friday): Ride to underground canals
Today you ride through groves of palm trees again out to endless plains. Over and over again there are little sand dunes. Endless gallops bring you to the distant mountains. In the afternoon, you reach the area of the underground canals which date from the middle ages. Like molehills the sand of the excavations rises.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight Camping near Fezna (Hotel in Erfoud if Hotel option)


Day 7 (Saturday): Last Ride
You cross a little farmer village. Some of the farmers are quiet rich and built beautiful houses. Then again, we enter in the empty landscape. Little sand dunes alternate with dry river valleys. After that, you can see huge tufts of grass where sometimes rabbits live-in. Soon you get to see something sticking out in the distance. It’s the skystairs built by a German artist. This monument made out of natural material is very impressive.  A little later, you will see the Orion town and the Golden Spiral (by the same artist). Then long canters brings you back to the cars where the horses are left. After a short lunch you drive back to Ouarzazate.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
Overnight at a Hotel in Ouarzazate


Day 8 (Sunday): Departure
Individual return trip from the hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast


Rates and Dates for Sand Dunes Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, 6 riding days & Pick-up transfer from Ouarzazate airport.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20218 day trip, AP (Camp)€1030$1230
    • Small group supplement (3 pax only), pp€160$190
      Single supplement€80$95
  • B
    20218 day trip, AP (Hotel)€1200$1430
    • Small group supplement (3 pax only), pp€335$400
      Single supplement€135$165
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.19

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2021 Pick-up from Ouarzazate airport included 0 $0
2021 Taxi from hotel in Ouarzazate to Ouarzazate Airport ~
- to be paid locally
10 $15

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 11/21 - 11/28 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Camp) 4 /9 Reserve
B 2021 11/21 - 11/28 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Hotel) 4 /9 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Drop-off transfer, Entrance fees and sightseeings (1-2 Euros per place), Alcoholic beverages, Drinks in hotels & Gratuities for porters (~5-10 Dirham) and grooms (~50 Euros)

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Sand Dunes Horse & Camel Ride (PG-MRSP):
If current bookings are suddenly not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic, our partner will offer to reschedule your trip to a later date.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Ouarzazate
Airport: Ouarzazate Airport (OZZ)
Transfer: Ouarzazate Airport

Climate:
                                            Errachidia area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

60

64

71

78

85

94

102

100

90

79

68

61

Average Low Temperature (°F)

37

42

48

55

62

71

78

77

68

58

47

39

Average High Temperature (°C)

16

18

22

25

29

35

39

38

32

26

20

16

Average Low Temperature (°C)

3

5

9

13

17

22

25

25

20

14

8

4

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Winter is usually bright and crisp, while autumn brings delicious fresh produce in the markets. Nights can be cold around that time.
Spring sees the Atlas Mountains covered in flowers, while the summers are hot.

The average annual precipitation is less than 102 millimeters (less than 4 inches) in the Sahara.

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.