Sahara desert horse riding vacation

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2017: 19 Nov
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sahara desert horse riding vacation

Environment

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 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 stay in Berber camps and make sure to remove all waste from each, 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.

At home we operate in an energy efficient building that produces some of its own electricity and uses the rain water to flush the toilets. We also operate a recycling policy in the office. We encourage the use of environmentally transport by offering storage space for bicycles and operate a flexi start to fit in with the local bus timetable.

Community

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.

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. The wonderful thing about this ride is that you explore hidden away oases and nomad camps, as well as tiny Bedouin communities that seldom receive visitors. Our group size throughout the trip is limited to 12 so as not to overwhelm both the communities we visit, and the environment.

We produce a Field Manual which outlines the trip in more detail and encourages people to respect the communitys, their culture and environment they are traveling in for example in one section ther is mention of language.

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

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