A true desert experience. Feel the vastness and quiet on this fully supported trek and see the night sky like you have never seen before.
Day 1 – Marrakech –Ouarzazat – Zagora – Oulad Driss
After an early breakfast our guide and driver will collect you from your Riad or Hotel. Leaving Marrakech, we head to Oulad Driss a village in southern Morocco. We will cross the high Atlas mountains via the highest road in North Africa, Tizi-n-Tichka 2260m, the oldest and only route across the High Atlas After we have crossed the mountains we pass through Ouarzazate also referred to as the Gate of the Desert or the “African Hollywood” due to it being home to the Atlas Film Studios. We also stop for lunch here. After lunch we continue crossing the Draa Valley passing the towns of Zagora Tamgrout and Tagounit before we get to Oulad Driss, a small village at the gate of M’hamid Elgazlan, the last village before the Algerian border. We camp here for the night
Day 2 – Oulad Driss – Bounou village – Sid Nagi
Our trek will start after an early breakfast and meeting of our cameleers and support crew. At the very start of our trek we visit the village of Bounou established by Moroccan Jews in the 16th century. It is situated on the old caravan route that linked Marrakech and Timbuktu, in Mali. We continue on crossing a dry river bed of the Draa Valley. Reaching the left bank of river we keep walking on a dry plateau also called a hamada, which means stony desert. It’s a vast plateau of black stones and a transitional zone before we reach the Sahara sands. On the way we will stop for lunch under the shade of a tamarisk tree. After lunch we continue on to the Sidi Naji Dunes where we set up camp for the night.
Day 3 – Sid Naji – Ezahar Dunes
Get up early and you will see many animal tracks around the camp, of desert fox, hedgehog and desert rat to name a few. Unfortunately these desert dwellers prove elusive but you may get lucky! After we break camp we start walking to Ezahar Dunes. Today will be a more challenging day crossing dunes and dry lake beds. When we get to Ezahar Dunes we will stop for lunch then walk to top of Ezahar dunes. Enjoy the dramatic landscape and silence whilst watching the sunset behind the golden dunes. Returning back to camp for dinner and a well earned rest
Day 4 – Ezahar dunes –Draa river Tissdrat Dunes
We leaving our camp crossing Ezahar Dunes to the dry Draa River, the largest river in Morocco stretching from Ouarzazate to the Algerian Desert before it flows into the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of 1100km. Draa Valley is one of oldest routes of the caravan trade between Marrakech and Timbuktu. Moving on we cross a dry lake covered by desert flora of Tamarisk trees and Broomes, you can see the broken pottery pieces of water jars, used by the nomads, littered across the lake. Finally we arrive at Tissdrat dunes, our camp site for the night.
Day 5 – Tissdrat- Chegaga Dunes
We leave camp early for long day walking and crossing Tissdrat dunes and a dry lake before we get to Chegaga Dunes. Today will be totally different from the first 4 days.Now the dunes that we cross are getting bigger until we finally get to Chegaga Dune which at 300m is the second highest dune after Alabidia at 360m. Now its time for some real fun skiing on the sand using sand boards and if you would like to after lunch, climb to the top of Alabidia and enjoy a beautiful sunset before we move back to our camp site to celebrate our trip with some Berber music. Playing the drums is optional!
Day 6 – Chegag Dunes – Ait Ben Haddou
After breakfast we will say our farewells to the Cameleers and meet our driver. We leave the Sahara, crossing dunes, the large dry lake Iriqi and fossil valley before we get to the town of Foum Zgit. After a short stop here we continue onto Taznakht, the capital of Moroccan carpets. Here we can stop to visit a Berber Carpet Co-operative and learn how Berber women make carpets using natural colors and fibres. Leaving Taznakht we drive to Ait Ben Haddou Village the oldest village in southern Morocco. We explore the old village and learn it’s history. You may recognize it, as it has been the set for many blockbuster movies ie Gladiator, Jewel Of The Nile and Kingdom of Heaven. Tonight we will stay in a hotel in the new village of Ait Ben Haddou.
Day 7 – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech
Leaving Ait Ben Haddou village we continue driving along Olina valley until we get to Telouet the favorite castle of Thami Aglou , know as the Lord of southern Morocco and the subject of the book by Gavin Maxwell – The Lord Of The Atlas. The palace is a magnificent ruin, but a small part of it is preserved and you can explore the intricate craftsmanship that went into the detail of the reception rooms. Leaving Telouet we return to Marrakech