The Berber Trail
This is a one of a kind trek because it revisits the Berber history. We’ll be immersing in oleandercovered valleys, tracking the remains of the 15th century sugarcane plantations and encountering the Dar Caïd ruins. In the evening, we’ll be gazing upon the stars and listening to the tell-tales.
Days overall9 daysDays in saddle6
StandardBerber caravan (tents, Ocean and singing)Luggageno limit kgFoodlocal cuisine, vegetarian meals available
Skillswalk, trot, gallop
Berbers are proud, stubborn and very cordial people. They call themselves the Amazigh – “the free people”.
The Berber Trail trek is a special one, as it gives unique insight into a little known, but eventful history of the Moroccan people. You can see the remains of the 15th century Portuguese colonies, numerous ruins of strongholds and watchtowers, religious monuments and the 20th century resistance outposts against the French protectorate. All these are spread across a curvy trail leading through a beautiful landscape of hills, canyons, and – eventually – cliffs over the ocean coastline.
A typical daily route takes around 5-6 hours on horseback, but if the weather is fine, the last day will only take 3 hours. While we get some occasions for galloping or trotting, we mostly walk.
Moroccans don’t castrate stallions, so we’re riding meres. They are almost exclusively Arabian-Berber cross-breed. They are small and stocky, but vigorous, as though created just for the rides. They are calmer and of a bit stronger posture than the Arabian horses. A horse tack is provided onsite.
- Accommodation in the Marrakesh and Essaouira riads and in tents during the trek
- Breakfasts in Marrakesh
- Alimentation during the trek (breakfast, takeaway lunch, supper)
- Transfer to and from the Marrakesh airport (on the first and the last day of the trek)
- Transfer from Marrakesh to Essaouira and back
- A company of the local guides in Essaouira and during the trek
- A horse with a complete tack
- Tourist insurance covering high-risk sports
- A flight ticket to and from Marrakesh
- Extra meals in Marrakesh (a restaurant meal costs 5-10 Euro)
- Lunch in Essaouira (a restaurant meal costs 5-10 Euro)
- A camel ride (around 10 Euro)
- Optional – a tip for guides (around 15 Euro)
- Minor expenses (souvenirs, extra snacks, entry tickets etc.)
Each companion is provided with a ride from the airport and taken directly to the riad in Marrakesh. Considering different arrival times of the particular party members, there are no organized attractions planned for that day. You are free to take your time visiting the medina quarter.
The Wind City
After breakfast, the company gets on a bus to Essaouira. The road takes about 3 hours. You can spend the remainder of the day visiting the city or taking a camel trip (it’s necessary to book a date in advance). In the evening, there is a welcoming supper , then we meet the horses and the guides.
The trek starts near Diabat, by the mouth of Wadi Qsob (wadi is a rocky canyon homing a seasonal
river). The party goes east, walking on the wad floor to finally reach the sand dunes. The area is overgrown with juniper trees, but is rather dry otherwise. Gradually, the trail leads towards the fields and villages, and we get some occasions for galloping and trotting. We camp in an uninhabited region in the foothills of the mountain range.
The group travels along the hills to reach the Aït Ameur valley. Thanks to the canyons, the landscape is very diversified. The surroundings are covered with olive trees and oleanders. A careful observer will notice traces of the historical Portuguese sugarcane plantations (16th and 17th century). All that’s left are ditches and remainings of tools used to obtain the sweet juice from the crops.
Next, the party passes the hot springs and heads down the valley to Aït Ouadil, where they spend another night.
The valley of kasbah
On that day, the party arrives at Ait Zelten, one of the most beautiful regions of Morocco. The landscape is rich in kasbah (we will most likely camp close to the Ait Zelten kasbah). From there, the road goes past the villages, fields, and groves. We visit an argan cooperative. By the end of the day, we reach the camping site where we spend the night.
On the trail of the Berber history
The trail rapidly descends here. The track leads between canyons, caves (some of them inhabited) and the small historic villages built of stone. The party passes Lalla Taqendout, an important place of worship, and Dar Caïd – an important historical resistance point against the French. We spend the night near the town of Aït Tizril.
The Atlantic coast
The party heads for the coast. The road goes among the argan trees and goats, and next through the picturesque villages. Finally, the group arrives by the ocean shore. We camp on the beach.
The return journey
The party explores the coastline – beaches, dunes, cliffs, fishing villages, assisted by seabirds, cows, and dromedaries. The pace increases. Eventually, the group goes back to where they started, near Diabat. After lunch, the travelers part ways with their horses and get on a bus to Marrakesh. You can go for a walk in the medina in the evening.
The party leaves Morocco. Each companion gets a lift to the airport.
In Marrakesh, the party spends the night in a riad just next to the Jemaa el-Fnaa palace, the heart of the city. The medina quarter spreads all around. The architecture is very distinctive: the outer walls of the buildings lack any windows for heat protection. All rooms are facing the main court, commonly decorated with a pond or a fountain. Inhabitants traditionally spend their time on terraces placed on the houses’ roofs.
The riad in Essaouira is also a high-standard one if compared to the rest of Morocco. On the actual trek trail, the party spends the nights in the tourist tents with thick foam mattresses. Each party member is entitled to a single shower a day. We are equipped with a shower tent, a water bucket (can be heated on request) and a flushing cup. Apart from the first and the last day, there is no electricity. It is, however, possible to charge a mobile phone with a car charger if needed.
In Marrakesh and Essaouira, continental breakfasts are provided (bread, cake, jam, eggs, coffee, orange juice, etc.). Lunch in Essaouira as well as other Marrakesh meals need to be purchased individually. We encourage party members to taste the local food and don’t want to make any restrictions.
On the road, a cook is responsible for the field kitchen. The breakfasts are rather simple: Moroccan flatbread, jam, peanut butter, honey, cream cheese, argan oil and amlou, an argan paste (traditionally, Berbers eat bread dipped in oil and paste for breakfast). The lunch consists of different kinds of vegetable and fruit salads (sometimes with pasta) and fish. Various traditional tajin dishes are served for supper.
In Morocco, we drink bottled water (which should also be used for toothbrushing by persons with a sensitive intestinal tract), refreshing Berber tea (with mint and sugar) and sweet beverages. A bottle of wine is served for supper.
Please note that Morocco is a Muslim country. There is little or no access to alcohol, especially in Zagora and on the desert. We recommend buying a bottle of strong alcohol at the airport and drinking it in small doses everyday (a different bacterial flora can lead to an upset stomach).
We use Moroccan English-type saddles. For hard seats, we also use fur blankets on the saddles. The bridles are traditional; we also use bits. The gear is pretty much like the European gear.
Additionally, every horse is equipped with two large bags. We use them to transport water supplies (on the first day, everyone receives a large bottle of water; don’t throw it away – we will be refilling them from the drinking water supply), lunch and other handy items (some cash, passport, etc.). The bags are waterproof and can easily contain a softshell jacket.
What you should take with you
We provide all necessary comforts for our Moroccan treks. We have a spacious car and the staff packs it with the camping equipment and luggage every morning, and then transports them to the next location.
- cash, preferably EUR
- electronic devices, e.g. camera
- sleeping bag
- flashlight; head flashlights are quite handy
- head cover against the sun
- riding equipment (Jodhpur boots, gloves, etc.)
- light raincoat
- flip-flops for showering
- swimming suit
- ndigestion remedies (probiotics, diarrhea medications, strong alcohol)
- toilet paper
Available upon request