The Valley of the Roses, around Djebel Siroua
8 days ; 7 nights ; 6 days riding.
This is a trail ride that starts and finishes at the desert town of Ouarzazate, south of the Atlas Mountains, on the Sahara Desert side. The volcanic massif of Jebel Siroua (3,305m) dominates the days; terraced crops, rocky massifs, deep canyons and lush valleys all contribute to the unparalleled beauty of this trail; and it’s all are overlooked by the massif. This is where the world famous spice saffron is grown (crocus); it is also the place where highly scented, shocking-pink roses thrive. But of course you have to be here at the right season, which is why we only have two of these rides per year (April and May).
At a glance
Morocco mountain and valley trail ride.
A fully guided horse riding holiday in Morocco, Africa
Day 1: Arrive in Ouarzazate. Overnight in local hotel.
Day 2 to 6: riding trail, 5 nights camping.
Day 7: Return to Ouarzazate. Overnight in local hotel.
Day 8: Transfer to airport, depart
Horse ride Morocco: The Valley of the Roses
We’ll meet you upon arrival at Ouarzazate airport; or if you’re flying in to Marrakech we can arrange a transfer down to Ouarzazate. Transfer to hotel in town for overnight; evening briefing about the ride.
Day 2 ride along the Anzel Valley
After breakfast drive out to Skoura oasis (90 mins) and meet the horses. We’ll introduced the support team and horses to you and run through the tack before setting off on the ride. Ride along the valley of the Oued Anzel (the river Anzel) which we follow to the hamlet of Tamllakoute. Not far beyond we establish the first camp; the truck will have gone ahead with the camping equipment and baggage and set up camp, ready for us.
Day 3 ride to Imghrane country
The trail that leads away from camp is flat and sound, allowing for a quicker pace this morning. Pass through several villages whre the Imghrane clans live. Enter an arid, more deserty area. Continue through remote Berber villages and literally between two mountains to reach Taoujgalt. Emerge onto the Amezri Plateau. Stunning views all round of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Camp on the plateau.
Day 4 ride to the Ouzighriout Valley
Today we follow a wadi upstream and ride into the lands of the Ikandoulne tribe and cross the plateau to reach the Ouzighriout Valley. This country is arid and rocky which is in stark contrast to the terraced crops of saffron closer to hand. We climb while enjoying views of the many Berber villages that run along the valley, and reach a small pass. This evening expect to see a panorama that extends over the entire massif. Descend via steep paths to find camp in a beautiful spot on the floor of the valley.
Day 5 ride to Valley of The Roses.
Today we ride through “The most beautiful valley in Morocco” the Valley of the Roses. The roses are in full bloom during this season and complement the surround red earth: this really is the land of red and pink. By mid-day we’ll have reached the small village of Boutaghar where we stop for a picnic. Descend back to the valley floor and we make camp near the village of Hdida, which is in the heart of the rose-growing area.
Day 6 through the Valley of the Roses.
Today we ride the length of the Valley of the Roses to Kelaat M’Gouna. This is where the “Festival of the Roses” takes place after harvest is complete. [The festival date varies each year (early May) and we don’t usually coincide with the festival itself.] In the afternoon we ride on to the “Valley of A Thousand Kasbahs” also known as the Dades Valley, which stands testament to the yesteryear wealth of the Berbers. Camp on the edge of the valley.
Day 7 return to Ouarzazate
Last ‘wild’ breakfast in the countryside; ride towards the road-head. The trail is better-established here and gives lovely views of the Berber villages that seem to cling to the sides of the mountains. By trails and tracks we finish our ride with a last gallop. Picnic break then return to Ouarzazate by minibus. Overnight at the Palmeraie hotel in Ouarzazate.
Day 8 to the airport.
After breakfast we’ll drive you to Ouarzazate airport; or arrange for the transfer to Marrakech.
Horse ride Morocco
Cross-cultural awareness: the majority of the population is Muslim, though the Berber occupy the relaxed-cum-moderate end of the spectrum. The Tuareg nomads are also moderate in their outlook, but care should be taken to dress conservatively. Morocco is generally “dry” but duty free byo is fine.
Guide: the English speaking professional guide who is the first point of contact on the ride is Momo. His first language is Berber, second Arabic, third French and fourth English; I was chatting to him in English and asked him where he learnt it and he replied “On the street” – it’s very good and he clearly has an ear for languages and an eye for horses. The rest of his team speak some English, but rather more French.
The price includes: all meals, hotels as described, camping in two-man tent. Horse and tack, the trek guide and full back-up.
Not included: airport transfers (can be arranged), international flights, travel insurance, tips.
Meals: will be prepared by our cook who will introduce the subtleties of Moroccan cuisine.
Baggage is transported by jeep which you will be able to access each evening.
Formalities: No visa is required to travel to Morocco you only require a passport valid six months beyond the date of departure. No special vaccinations are required.
Rider ability: you must be at ease at all paces and accustomed to riding outside a ménage/school.
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.