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Morocco: Middle Atlas Mountain trail 2021/22

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Ride Details

A journey in the Middle Atlas allows you to discover a region that is truly authentic and well off the beaten path. The region is covered in forests of oak, cork and giant cedar. Despite not being on the radar for most travellers it offers an unusual charm and many attractions: such as the famous cedar forests; high plateaus on which cattle breeding predominates and where grain is still grown in the old ways. We stop for wonderful lunches next to  mountain lakes. A really special place indeed to explore on horseback. 

Meeting and Departure Point

Fez

Rates and Dates

€ 948 p/p based on minimum of 3  riders / shared accommodation

€120 single supplement 

small group upplement for groups of 2 participants: 350€ per person.

Price Includes

  • Full board and accommodation
  • horses and guiding
  • All transportation in destination location

Price Excludes

  • Air Fares
  • Tips: It is customary, as a sign of thanks, to give a tip to the local teams. You can foresee about 30€ / 40€ for the whole team.
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Museum entrance fees in Fez
What to Expect

On this ride through the Middle Atlas Mountains you will be  camping beside lakes and rivers  you will ride beautifully trained, forward going Berber and Berber/Arabian stallions and gelding in English tack. These horses are used to traveling in every kind of terrain, are sensitive and responsive and love to move out on the grassy plains.

You will be riding 5- 7 hours per day with  break for  lunch which  the back up staff prepares lunch and the horses can rest. 

The weight limit is 95 km.

You will be expected to be a competent rider who feels comfortable riding at all gaits in open country. The pace of the ride is primarily at the walk with many opportunities for trots and canters and gallops whenever it is safe to do so. 

Everyone is asked to groom, tack and untack their horse. You are also expected to participate in camp tasks, including the setting up and dismantling of tents. You can participate according to your wishes in the care of the horses (distribution of water and food). A multi-day horseback riding experience is a plus, but is not mandatory. Riders who don’t ride regularly are advised to get back in the saddle before the ride.

In camp: tents for two people with mattresses, Moroccan caïdal tent for meals, shower tent with hot water morning / evening, toilet tent.
In Fez : Hotel 3 stars in double room. Possibility on request to spend the night in Riad in Medina (extra charge).

Meals: Copious dinners, cold at noon and hot in the evening at the bivouac.
The cook takes care of everything.
In order to avoid plastic bottles, please provide micro-pure tablets or we provide filtered water (catadyn ceramic filter). We advise you to take with you one or two metal water bottles… to avoid plastic.

Climate: In the Middle Atlas, long and heavy rains are rare but not non-existent. On the other hand in summer showers or thunderstorms are on certain daily periods. They never last long and protect us from the sun in the afternoon! But global warming makes all standards obsolete! From April to June and from September to October the temperatures remain pleasant 20°/25° in altitude.  In the heart of the summer (July/August), the days can be hot for the first two days with an average mountain temperature of 30/35° in the middle of the day. At night the temperatures will always be very pleasant but cool under the showers. Expect cold evenings in early spring (April) and late fall (October).

  • Ride beautiful Berber and Berber cross stallions
  • A great opportunity to travel in a remote and yet undiscovered and very beautiful part of Morocco.
  • Observe Berbers life and customs
  • Ride along magnificent Cedar forest
  • Explore the ancient city of Fez and its medina
Itinerary

Day 1Arrival and welcome in Fez

Reception at the airport of Fez and transfer to the city center a few steps from the Medina. According to your arrival you will be able to discover this twelve centuries old imperial city with its medina of 9000 lanes, the largest in the Maghreb.
Accommodation : 3 star hotel in Fez

Day 2Fez - Transfer to starting point - Boumzil

In the morning, transportation by minibus from Fez to Khenifra, crossing an agricultural region where arboriculture is highly developed, with a short stop in Ifrane, the Moroccan Switzerland.
After joining the logistics team and having lunch, the horses are assigned.
This half-stage of 3h1/2 winds through cultivated hills, up to the bivouac set up near the hamlets of Boumzil, where there is electricity and internet , but no running water, yet water flows from everywhere in the Middle Atlas, nicknamed the “water tower” of Morocco.
Lodging: Mountain Camp
3H30 on horseback

Day 3From crops to the magnificent cedar forests

Approximately 7 hours of riding during the day, equally divided between morning and afternoon. A series of agricultural valleys are first crossed, before approaching the forest and being amazed by the centuries-old cedars. Lunch is taken at the edge of the three enchanting lakes of Tiguelmamine, whose waters are so clear that swimming is a must.
Afterwards, we will cross very serene agricultural areas, with a scattered habitat full of sheep, cows, donkeys and mules, and sometimes hobbled mares that create some excitement amongst the stallions as we pass by. We then have to tackle a climb to cross the mountain and open out into a magnificent forest of cedars, holm oaks and junipers, before reaching the sublime Ajdir plateau, the place of the bivouac. A paradisiacal place with vast flat grassy areas, ideal for the last canters of the day.
Lodging: Mountain Camp
7 hours on horseback

Day 4Ajdir - Aït Atmane

The morning is spent entirely in a majestic cedar forest, some of which may be 600 years old, up to 70m high, but unfortunately some of them have been damaged as the Berbers have been lighting fires at their base to collect honey. This short stage of 2h1/2 brings us to the edge of the great lake Aguelmame Azigza, where we are welcomed by a colony of monkeys, not at all shy, who come to get food and let themselves be photographed. Nice place again for lunch.
The long afternoon stage, 4 hours, takes place essentially in a huge agricultural basin where the population is busy maintaining
and cultivating by hand plots too small and too sloping to allow access to any machinery. The crossing of small villages, where storks are numerous, makes us appreciate – there as elsewhere – the kindness of the Moroccans.
The bivouac is set up near the hamlets of Aït Atmane, along a river that the horses appreciate.
Lodging: Mountain Camp.
5 hours on horseback

Day 5Aït Atmane - Plateau d'Ounane

In the morning, a 3-hour stopover, mainly in a beautiful forest where cedars predominate, with pleasant clearings and on a wide, not very stony trail. Lunch is taken as usual towards a lake, that of Aguelmame Wiwane, where a long pleasant moment can be spent, as long as the afternoon stage is only about ten kilometers long. We then ride mostly on flat high plateaus bordered by sheepfolds, which allows us to gallop, while crossing countless flocks of black-headed sheep and poultry of all kinds around Lake N’Ifaghrioune.
The plateau of Ounane, the place of our bivouac, even has a small pond in the middle to water the herds. Another superb place, ideal to gallop and spend a great evening.
Lodging: Mountain Camp.
5 hours on horseback

Day 6 Ounane Plateau - Azaghar

After crossing the plateau of Ounane, we start a long descent in a forest of holm oaks, by a wide track, being able to cross vultures. Three hours are necessary to reach a beautiful valley where water flows everywhere and where oleanders abound. We have lunch on the edge of a river, near the beautiful village of Zaouit Ifrane which is installed in a remarkable site.
The afternoon stage takes us up through a pleasant forest on a high plateau, as far as the eye can see, where brilliant gallops take us to Azaghar, the place of the bivouac. The hike ends in apotheosis, so much the place is splendid, in edge of forest, with beautiful lawns without pebbles and a very green grass which pleases the horses.
Lodging: Mountain Camp
5h30 hours on horseback

day 7 Azaghar - Fez

For the last half day, we ride on the crest of this long Azaghar plateau, in vast areas of grassland where sheep are plentiful.
Transfer to Fez and overnight. Farewell dinner in Fez.
Accommodation in Fex in a 3 Star hotel

Day 8 Departure

Breakfast and transfer to the airport according to your schedule.

Map

Photos