Responsible tourism: Sahara Desert Trekking in Morocco
Your small group of travellers will follow along the itinerary the recommendations of your local tour leader regarding environmental issues. There two main areas to be considered in this trip: water and impact on local environment.
Regarding water, this adventure is especially sensitive on this matter, as most of it happens in the desert and dry areas, where water is more valuable than gold. You will experience nomad life in the desert and how the communities living in oases and extremely dry areas manage and optimise the water and you will learn to appreciate an important resource that we take for granted.
Along the way, your will learn about how the communities of the oases of the Draa Valley organise their lives around the management of the water and the different water cycles, optimising as much as possible its use. You will learn how agriculture is approached around the natural cycles of water and considering the scarcity of this during most of the year. Something radically opposed to the Western agricultural systems. You will visit some oasis villages and will learn about how communities settled historically around a bit of water and a group of palm trees and made their life out of it. You will learn as well about the dates growing and the life cycle of the palm tree during your stay in the Draa Valley.
You won't experience water scarcity on this tour but you will be advised on its purchase and consumption, for example prepare to drink really hot water due to the high temperatures in the desert! Also don't expect abundant showers in many parts of the trip!
With regards to our impact on the local environment, you will receive guidance from your tour leader in order to reduce this as much as possible. Usually there're a couple of sensitive places the you will pass by, Fint Oasis and the desert, in which you will need to pay especial attention and follow the guidelines of your tour leader. For example waste collection and management is absolutely essential in this tour. You won't have access to waste bins in many parts of the tour and will be advised to take with you everything. Organic waste will be collected and deposit in some parts of the trip, used for compost or animal feeding in some villages.
Regarding domestic animals, you will be encountering camels, for camel-trekking in the desert. We constantly aim for improving the treatment that these animals receive, as in Morocco they are considered just a practical tool and nothing else. This is a sensitive matter as we cannot pretend to change radically their relationship with their animals which comes from centuries, but we try at all times to gradually improve the use and conditions of domestic animals in Morocco. Your tour leader is the person to talk with if you feel some of the animals are mistreated. He or she will liaise with the muleteers or camel-riders to suggest or to amend behaviours related with their animals. These are little steps for a greater purpose and we recommend this approach rather than engaging directly with the animal owners, the nomads.
The main contributions of this trip with our local communities happen in the remote Fint Oasis and with the nomad families. You visit and exchange everyday life with these communities, remote family settlements far from the impact of tourism. Our small group contribution brings not only resources to the family but also an opportunity to bring a mutual exchange of admiration and stories between our travellers and our host families. If you wish to bring some little gifts for kids, this is your opportunity to do so and we suggest our travellers this. Simple things like pencils or small toys can bring enormous joy to the families.
There's a certain etiquette regarding photos and we recommend people to enjoy their landscapes and experiences through their own eyes and leave photos as a secondary channel. Moroccan people are very reserved and, in more traditional and rural areas, photography might be seen as something negative for religious or cultural reasons. You will be always advised to ask for permission when taking photos of people.
Along your adventure, you will taste delicious home-family-made food in all your stays, sourced from the regions that you will be visiting. Regarding accommodation, you will stay in family-owned small businesses or family houses like the one in Fint Oasis, your desert nomad camp and the local-owned Riad in Marrakech. These have all been selected for its contribution to the families behind.