“Leave only footprints; take only pictures” is a well-used sentence, but one we adhere to, particularly on this trip where so much time is spent in areas not usually visited by tourists. There is no more environmentally-friendly means of transport than the horse: they are quiet and gentle on the environment and a natural part of the habitat – particularly because we use an indigenous Moroccan breed.
Over the centuries there has been massive degradation of the Barb breed standard; this stable is part of the registry that was established by the King of Morocco to protect and reinstate the Barb as a distinct breed. It is extremely difficult to export a Barb nowadays (in case you were thinking of bringing one home as a souvenir!). This is because Morocco recognises the value of the breed and it’s potential. The ambition is to breed back to a pure strain of Barb and to that end the stable has 2 pure Barb stallions and multiple crosses (mares and stallions). Joining this trek and riding the horses brings income directly into this project.
On the trail we make sure to remove all waste from each of our camps, carrying recycling separately so that it can be recycled appropriately or composted, and safely burning everything else. We also provide a toilet tent in the camp, and dispose of waste in a sanitary manner. Sterilized water is provided every day, eliminating the need for the use of plastic bottles. As the Guide is working in “his own back yard” he will uphold these policies diligently, and we ask guests to do the same in these fragile wilderness areas.
We appreciate that taking riders through this region will be either positive or negative: it’s unlikely to have zero impact. We are acutely aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism should have on indigenous communities and fragile environments. Our leaders, guides and entire company is trained to handle trips in a nuanced manner so that all stake-holders – including grooms, stable-boys, cooks, drivers, local suppliers of food and facilities, as well as the guides you interact with directly on a daily basis, and of course the habitats we pass through – all benefit. Having a zero impact isn’t good enough, we must leave everything slightly better than we find it.
Money is spent locally shopping for fresh veg, horses, supplies and the hundred-and-one other things we need. Local people are therefore benefiting through employment, and you benefit from the opportunity of chewing the fat with all sorts of locals you wouldn’t normally cross paths with. Our group size throughout the trip is limited to 12 so as not to overwhelm both the communities we visit, and the environment.
On the drive back to Essaouira on the last day we will visit a women’s co-operative which harvests and processes the Argan nuts and oil. It’s a remarkable and modest place to visit and purchases made here link you directly to the hands that collect the nuts and turn the quern-stones that make the magical oil. Language: the guides and stable-folk all speak Berber; and it’s a Big Ask to expect you to learn any Berber! However, most of us can manage a few words of French and it would be a gracious gesture if each person can brush-up on their French language skills and learn the greetings as a minimum!
Reviews of Morocco horse riding holiday, beach ride
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 05 Jan 2016 by jane cartwright
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Galloping along the sand on Christmas morning
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Make sure you can ride and are used to several hours in the saddle at a time
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Read the operator's response here:
Thanks for your comments. I had a message from the stable on the morning you flew home to say how much they had enjoyed hosting you. They do have some lovely horses which suit those Atlantic beaches perfectly!