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Morocco’s Barbary Coast

At a GlanceItineraryDetail

Morocco Beach Ride: The Barbary Coast – Northbound

A fully guided horse riding holiday in Morocco, Africa – 8 days and 7 nights (6 days riding)

Morocco has a long tradition of horsemanship that stretches back centuries: Julius Caesar is said to have chosen a Barb stallion to do battle with the Gauls.  A “Barb” is a horse from the Barbary Coast and is renowned for its courage, sure-footedness and verve. The Barb is one of the oldest breeds in the world and their genes are found in many modern thoroughbreds and race horses. Only the Arab has had a greater influence on modern breeds, and the Arab and Barb share many qualities and characteristics.

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Barbs in the surf

This ride takes place on a section of the Barbary Coast that is difficult to access by vehicle, with pristine stretches of Atlantic-washed sand and secluded little coves. It passes through tiny fishing hamlets and explores hidden-away seaside villages.  Morocco lies so close to Europe, yet is so completely different.

The Barb: always ready and alert!!

The Barb: always ready and on thier toes!!

The Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Agadir

The gateway for this ride is Agadir; if you can’t access Agadir don’t worry, we can arrange a pick-up from Marrakech. We can arrange your flight, or if you prefer to do so yourself, just tell us the details and we can meet you at the airport. The transfer from Agadir airport to the hotel is included and takes about 30 mins. In the evening there’s a detailed briefing about riding in Morocco, the route and the Barb stallions. Supper and night in the hotel.

Day 2: Tamri to Tildi (5 hours riding)

The first task this morning is to match horse to rider. There are a dozen horses to chose from; ample choice to select the horse that suits your temperament and riding style. The ride sets off in a northerly direction along the beach (about 50 Km north of Agadir) to reach the small, rural community of Tamri, close to Cap Rhir; it’s a tricky place to reach by road, but popular with  hard-core surfers, and a stunning beach.

The crew will go ahead and set up camp, so by the time we ride into camp the tents are up and a glass of mint tea awaits. Supper is served in camp.

Above: the perfect end of the day.

The perfect end to a perfect day.

Day 3: Tildi to Id Laasri (6 hours)

After breakfast, we return to Assaka, a tiny settlement just back from the shore. You and your horse will be in harmony by now; they are willing and well-mannered. From Assaka we ride along the gorge of a wadi (river)  and the track crosses a forest of argan trees. Emerge onto open an hillside dotted with fields and small villages. The pace today is slower because the trail is rocky in places which demands a careful approach. We must slow right down when riding through villages and hamlets too. Bivouac near Id Laasri.

Day 4: to Tafedna (6 hours)

This morning’s trail was originally built by the Roman Legionnaires and hugs the cliff-top overlooking the ocean, giving a beautiful panorama of wild rocky coast. At the end of the day, we descend and return to the beach and the famous dunes of Tafedna: this is a deserted beach and invites a big gallop. We don’t ride in to Tafedna itself but bivouac at the foot of the dunes in an idea ‘wild’ campsite.

Above: targine on an open fire.

A veggie targine, prepared on an open fire by our fantastic camp-cook.

Day 5: to Side Ahmed Saih and Iftane (5 hours)

The trail leads back into the Argan forest this morning, criss-crossing fields and orchards and passing through several Berber villages. We arrive at Marabout Sidi Ahmed Saih (a local shrine) for a picnic break. In the afternoon return to the beach where you can let the horse have its head and in no time at all we’re in camp on the beach of Iftane. Bivouac above the beach facing the ocean.

Above: crossing the dunes.

Crossing the dunes.

Day 6: to Sidi Kaouki (6 hours riding)

This morning the trail turns inland to reach the waterfall at Marabout M’berak. It then returns to large open beaches, frequented by seabirds and the occasional kite surfer (the bomb-proof horses don’t look twice at the sails!) which invite a quicker pace once more.

Day 7: reaching Essaouira (4 1/2 hours riding)

This ride gets quicker and quicker as you near the end. Riders become more attuned to their horse and the horses know the end is within sight! Combine that with huge expanses of flat, firm Atlantic sand and the ingredients are exciting! We round the headland at Cap Sim and reach the large beach that precedes Essaouira, the end of our trip. Arrive at the Oued (river) Ksoub which is just 3 km south of Essaouira and transfer by car to the city; free afternoon to visit of the medina (old city). Overnight in Essaouira in hotel.

Day 8: Departure

The ride ends after breakfast. We can arrange onward travel, or transfer to Agadir or Marrakech airport (Marrakech is a 3 hours drive). If you wish to extend your stay, please just ask!

All ready to set off

All ready to set off for the day

The price includes: transfer from and to Agadir airport; all meals, lodging in Berber collective tent or individual tent (2-man tents are available). Horse and tack, the trek guide and full back-up. Please note that we can also arrange flights to suit you. Venture Co is ATOL bonded and deals directly with all major airlines.

Meals: will be prepared by our cook who will introduce the subtleties of the Moroccan cuisine.

There is a camp shower. Baggage is transported by jeep and will be waiting in camp each evening.

Formalities: No visa is required to travel to Morocco you only require a passport valid six months beyond the date of entry. No special vaccinations are required but it’s wise to have cover for typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis.

Rider ability: you must be at ease at all paces and accustomed to riding outside a ménage/school. This itinerary is not suitable for a novice rider.

The horses: The horses are Arab, Arab cross; Barb and Barb cross. They are between 15 hh and 17 hh with 15.2 being the average size. They are well-mannered and willing. Grooms will attend to tack-up and look after the horses, so you can be fully involved or stand back and have it all done for you! It’s up to you.

The tack: each horse is equipped with a trekking-saddle and saddle-bags which enable you to carry your picnic and the personal items. Don’t forget your water-bottle.

Above: Cats sleep on the flap of a Berber tent.

Cats sleep on the flap of a Berber tent (“Guard Cats”?!)

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