PROGRAM Royal Cities (8d/7n)
Meeting point: Rabat in the Hotel Sunday at 20.00
Arrival at the airport of Casablanca or Rabat. Individual arrival to the Hotel in Rabat. This already will give you a first impression of the rich diversity of the Moroccan country . If you have the time, you can visit Rabat, the Medina,which is very close to the hotel, or a short walk to the garden of Oudaiya, or the Hassan tower. You will meet the guide and have dinner at the hotel.
A private car will take you early in the morning to the city of Meknes. There your horse will await you. They are Berber-Arab, small but very strong and with a lot of stamina. A first trip will take us to the foot of the mountain range of Zerhoun. The road will wind through many small villages with clay houses and olive trees, sunflowers and cornfields. You will follow the direction of a small river with beautiful flowers just up to the village of Sainte de Sidi Ali. From here you will have a splendid view of Meknes and the surroundings. Lots of sandy fields will offer many chances to gallop before we meet Volubilis, an ancient Roman city with houses like the ones found in Pompei, with ancient temples,
bathing houses and a palace. Beautiful mosaics will give you a picture of what life was like in those days. We will eat and sleep close to the Roman ruins, beside a small River.
Today, the road will take us to Moulay Idriss, across olive tree forests, up to the peak of the Zegota. You will have a magnificent view of the Rif mountains up to the sources of Nzala Des Ben Ammar. The rocky ground does not allow many crops to grow here : only a few olive trees can grow on a rare open space. Before you will arrive at the sources you will travel through a country that it is so devoid of human life and completely deserted, that it is hard to believe. A few human beings can be found around a water well where animals will drink. These places are very important to talk and discuss rumours. you will sleep in tents under olive trees.
Today, you will ride across the white mountain range of the Rif. Here and there you see a small village at the very bottom of a valley or small houses made out of clay. Agriculture is here done in the old fashioned way, that is with bare hands and you will see many women doing hard work on the fields. After the pick nick, you will descend towards the Oued Mikkes. You will follow this stream with many small windy roads and cross many Arab villages. Finally you will climb up a mountain, where you will reach the camping place for tonight. A fantastic view shows over the Rif – mountain.
Today you will enter the 'Death Valley' which got its name because there is a river, that is so salty, that it can not water the fields or refresh animals or human beings. To get water in this area, the local people are forced to go fetch water at places that are up to three hours walking away from here. The land here in the 'Death Valley' is completely sterile and the colour is changing between yellow, white and beige. The road will take us through many small Berber villages via sandy fields from Moulay Yakoub up to Fes. The horse will wait at the gates of the city and a car will take us to Fez, to our hotel.
In the afternoon you will visit Fez, the Medina, the old University, the Souk with its small shops. The magnificent Mausole of the founder of Fes Moulay Idris II, the huge mosque of Karaouin, the tannerie... Dinner will be in the Medina.
After a huge breakfast in the Riad, you will leave the royal city.
You will ride through the fields on top of hills with beautiful views in the desert valleys. Long canters over the mountain ranges are unforgettable.
After the lunch, you will ride in the salt valley.
In dry weather, the salt crystallise and the whole valley is shining in white.
In the middle of the valley stands an impressive, black mountain. The salt valley is surrounded by rose mountains. A way goes in the middle of the salty plane.
But soon you will arrive at the blue shiny lake. on the border you will find the camp. Dinner and overnight in the camp.
Today you will ride on soft ways, along a little river, which is curving through the valley. Bushes and trees grow beside the water. The framers are planting vegetable in small well kept fields. Many little creeks are running along the way and crossing over the way so that the horses will jump the water.
Enjoy this lonely valley with sheep herd grazing. Long canter will bring you back to the riding stables by noon. After an emotional goodbye with our horses, a private car will take you to the Medina of Meknes where you will have a short time to go through the souks. Afterwards the car brings you back to Rabat where you
will spend the night in the hotel.
Return by train to Casablanca and then the flight home.