As the third largest desert in the world, the magnificent Sahara with its “Lawrence of Arabia” landscape offers an unforgettable Moroccan walking experience complete with snaking wadis, dry plateaus, tamarisk and acacia trees, deserted villages and beautiful sweeping dunes. This fantastic fully-supported trekking holiday takes you deep into the Moroccan Sahara for a genuine “off the beaten track” holiday. After leaving Marrakech we start in true Berber style with an overnight at a traditional fixed desert camp before setting off on unforgettable journey into the heart of the Sahara. Each day we’ll experience an incredible variety of rich desert landscapes from dry wadis to the sweeping crests of dunes. Leisurely lunches are spent in shady spots and each night we’ll camp on the open sand nestled between magnificent dunes and beneath star-filled Saharan skies. Saharan sunrises and sunsets are memorable highlights alongside hiking on little-used trails and the incredible feeling of remoteness. From starting out on the dry bed of the Draa River to reaching the highest point of the great dunes of Zahar, this is a very special Moroccan walking holiday which shows a side to the Sahara Desert people dream about. The perfect end to the holiday is exploring Marrakech – Morocco’s most magical city!
Day 1: Meet at the group hotel in Marrakech. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.
On arrival at Marrakech airport you will be met by a representative who will assist with the short transfer to the group hotel in the city. Depending on your flight arrival time, after settling in you may have the opportunity to do a little exploration. Marrakech is a friendly city and quite easy to get around and most people head for the central square of the Djemaa-el-Fna beneath the imposing tower of the Koutoubia Mosque. Our evening meal will be taken at the group hotel for ease.
Day 2: Transfer across the Atlas to Ouled Driss via the Tichka Pass (2260m).
This morning we depart Marrakech and travel across the High Atlas via the Tichka Pass (2260m), the highest road in Morocco. After crossing the mountains we descend to Ouarzazate where we enter the Draa Valley. This is the largest palm grove in the country and stretches for more than 100km along the banks of the River Draa. Next we pass Agdz, Zagora, and Tagounit to reach Ouled Driss on the edge of the Sahara desert. During the journey we are rewarded with ever-changing scenery and opportunities to stop and take photos. We’ll arrive at our fixed camp in Ouled Driss late in the afternoon where we’ll experience a traditional Berber camp with tents or ‘Khaimas’ which have been upgraded with certain western comforts such as hot showers. Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner surrounded by the desert.
Day 3: Trek through palm groves, villages and dunes to the holy shrine of Sidi Naji.
Whilst we are enjoying breakfast the camels are loaded and we’ll prepare for our desert adventure. We set off and travel in an eastwardly direction crossing palm groves to reach the edge of the sands. We’ll be able to see the dramatic cliffs of the hamada of Draa to the south. Our camels will follow slowly and meander their way through the dunes towards El Ghizlane. We’ll pass through a small, deserted village before reaching a flat plateau and our first golden dunes. Stopping for an early lunch at Rass Nkhel we enjoy the shade of a large tree and the stillness that surrounds us.This afternoon we walk for around two hours to reach the holy shrine of Sidi Naji. After making camp and settling in, we’ll have dinner among the dunes and enjoy one of the magnificent sunsets.
Day 4 : Trek towards Malga Ouedane `meeting of Wadis` and the magnificent dunes of Zahar.
After breakfast we hike along the left bank of the Draa surrounded by a desert landscape shaped by the wind. The Sahara Desert has its own special vocabulary to describe the different forms. ‘Wadi’ is a dry river valley, ‘hamada’ a wind-swept stony plain whilst ‘reg’ is plain of gravel. The classic desert of everyone’s imagination is a vast sea of sand rippled with sand dunes and known as ‘erg’. Today we’ll encounter all these forms as we walk from our camp towards the distant dunes of Erg Ez-Zahar. After a morning of walking we’ll be joined by our camels as we head to Malga Ouedane – the meeting of Wadis and stop for lunch. After a leisurely break we continue through a vast empty expanse to reach the magnificent dunes of Zahar. Here we make camp among these dunes and as we sip tea we can watch the incredible sunset. Finally we’ll enjoy dinner before settling down for another night beneath the stars.
Day 5 : Superb day through tamarisk and acacia trees to the charming dunes of Tilhatine.
This morning after breakfast as we head north and cross a wide bed of the Draa dotted with tamarisk and acacia trees. These incredible desert fauna seem to be able to find water and nourishment from the dry and stony desert floor. Acacia belongs to a species of plant that is mainly native to Africa and Australia. However they are not only desert dwellers and are at home in rainforests, woodlands, coastal dunes, alpine settings and deserts. Tamarisk trees can grow up to 18m in height and are at home in drier and desert areas. With slender branches and grey-green foliage, the trees tend to flower between March and September, with pink and white flowers appearing on the end of spikes. We shall take lunch in the shade of a dense patch of tamarisk before continuing through the desert to reach the smaller dunes of Tilhatine. Tonight we camp near a well which gives the camels a well-earned drink and us the opportunity to enjoy a wash if we wish!
Day 6 : Wadi trekking to the plateau of Iriki Lake before returning to the comforts of Ouled Driss.
We start today on the right bank of a wadi which has remained dry for the past 35 years since the construction of the El-Mansour-Eddhabi dam near Ouarzazate. Before the dam and during desert rainstorms, the waters would reach Iriki Lake which supported a rich ecology of fish and birds. Today dunes block the passage of any water and the former lake is now a dry plateau. After lunch at Ras Nkhile taken in the shade of the palm trees, we will cross a dry river bed to walk on a plateau dotted with small dunes to reach our fixed camp at Oulad Driss.
Day 7: Spectacular drive back to Marrakech.
After an early breakfast we drive back across the Atlas to Marrakech arriving late afternoon. After checking in at the hotel there will be some time at leisure before we meet up for our final dinner. Most people head to the remarkable central square of the Djemaa-el-Fna which is the focus of activities for local people and tourists. Tonight we take our final dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 8: Departure Day. Complimentary transfers to Marrakech Airport are provided.
The day is free for you to relax and explore Marrakech some more if you so wish. The city is a great place to spend a few days and if you wish to extend your stay in the group hotel or in a riad then the contact me I can happily arrange this. There are also a number of ways to extend your time such as a few days on the coast which we can arrange for you. Complimentary transfers to Marrakech Airport are provided for anyone departing on this day.
- Group 1 person : On request
- Group 2 – 3 people : 540êurosp/p£/person
- Group 4 – 7 people : 515euros£/person
- Group 8 – 12 people : 485euros£/person
- English speaking guide, and cook
- Hotels or riads in marrakech or ouarzazat
- Camels for luggages
- Full board on trek + , coffee and tea
- Ground transfers by minibuses / taxis: ( hotel – trek – hotel )
- Mess, cooking & toilet tents (camping option )
Not included :
- Travel insurance.
- Soft/alcoholic drinks
- Tips and personal expanses
- mineral water and soflts drinks
Departure every Sunday or when a group is complete