Marrakech & the Sahara holiday in Morocco

“From the High Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert, this is an overland introduction to central Morocco culminating in one of the world's most exciting cities, Marrakech.”

Highlights

Draa Valley | Zagora | M'Hamid | camel trek in Sahara Desert | Ouarzazate | Kasbah Ait Benhaddou | High Atlas Mountains | Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator film locations | early mornings over the Tijhza Valley | Tizi'n'Tichka pass | guided tour of Marrakech or free day to explore | Optional activities include hammam visits, horse drawn carriage rides and longer treks in Tijhza Valley |

Description of Marrakech & the Sahara holiday in Morocco

This eight day small group holiday includes flights as well as offering the chance to experience the contrasts of both Marrakech and the Sahara Desert.

Setting out from Marrakech you'll travel into the remote desert and fertile valley regions of the Atlas Mountains. This is where the Saharan section of the holiday begins as you journey by road and by camel through desert dunes, and spend a night under the stars at a full service Bedouin camp.

From Ouarzazate to the Draa Valley and Zagora, your group will get the chance to explore amongst the desert palms and Berber castles on foot as well as travelling by vehicle over the Tizi'n'Tichka, the highest road in Morocco (7414ft).

Alongside a night in a Bedouin camp you'll also be invited to stay at a series of en-suite hotels and a basic rural gite to give you an authentic taste of what life is like within Morocco's mountain villages and desert towns.

After spending four nights in the folds of the North African Sahara and remote regions of the High Atlas Mountains, you'll return to the rose red city of Marrakech for two more nights in Morocco.

Excitement abounds amongst the medinas and narrow alleyways of Marrakech with the smells, sights and sounds of Jemaa el-Fnaa providing a thrilling finale to a wonderful week of adventures.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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12 Sep 2021
£979
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03 Oct 2021
£999
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19 Dec 2021
£1049
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13 Feb 2022
£1049
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10 Apr 2022
£1149
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01 May 2022
£999
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05 Jun 2022
£1099
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14 Aug 2022
£1099
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02 Oct 2022
£999
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16 Oct 2022
£999
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18 Dec 2022
£1149
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Small group tours:
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. Those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
Our top tip:
There's plenty of walking and driving involved so bring sensible footwear and an empty pillowcase to fill with comfy clothes in order to cushion lumps and bumps. Also, don't forget a toilet roll and a torch.
Trip type:
Small group. Avg 12. Min age 16.
Activity level:
Leisurely/Moderate.
Accomm:
5 nights en-suite hotel, 1 basic gite, 1 Bedouin camp - communal sleeping arrangements.
Included:
Accommodation, transport (including camel), listed activities and tour leader throughout.
Meals:
All breakfasts and 3 dinners.
Solos:
Single rooms available in hotels only (surcharges apply).
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Accommodation and Meals:
We spend 5 nights in en suite hotel rooms, 1 night at a gite and 1 night camping at a traditional Bedouin camp. Our local operators generally prefer to select accommodation which is locally owned in order to support smaller businesses and their employees. This ensures that most income generated is reinvested into the area and the community. Our suppliers are encouraged to create awareness of energy and water savings as Morocco can be arid in places. Consumption is often reduced by putting signs in the rooms and ensuring that employees are thoroughly aware of the issue. Most vegetables come from the region of Sous; meat is locally supplied by butchers and fruits can be found at markets or farms in the countryside. The main Moroccan dishes most people are familiar with are couscous, meat and vegetable tagines, fish chermoula and bocadillos, which are available from street stalls almost everywhere.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Local Craft and Culture:
We stop at a number of desert towns and mountain villages, including Zagora, Telouet and Tijhza before ending in Marrakech. On the way down to the Sahara camp we stop in one of the oldest villages in the area, Tamegroute. Here, clients can look around the village and learn about their traditional methods of making ceramic items. We can purchase souvenirs and rest assured that we are contributing to a sustainable industry which allows customary craftsmanship to continue. Another cultural highlight is Marrakech, where clients are encouraged to haggle for souvenirs, take a ride in a traditional Caliche, or to visit the world renowned Marjorelle gardens. In the evening, the Djemma el Fna central square comes alive with musicians, snake charmers, travelling acrobats and food stalls. This is the perfect opportunity to interact with local people, purchase locally produced handicrafts and to support small street vendors by trying authentic food.

Campaigning for Change:
In conjunction with Baraka Community Partnerships, we have sponsored the development of a small village called Tijhza for many years with a variety of projects. These include supplying a pipeline system and water tower to the village and a toilet block for the school. Thanks to our volunteer groups, Tijhza now also has electricity and an annual medical clinic, which has had a hugely positive effect on the welfare of the village. More recently, we have achieved our aim of building a Hammam to alleviate some of the hygiene issues in the area and to provide a sustainable source income for many inhabitants. Unfortunately, devastating storms struck in November 2014, leaving much of the village severely damaged. We were able to raise emergency funding to provide supplies and to re-build many of the homes affected.

Community:
Passing through Berber villages up in the High Atlas Mountains, hiring local guides, staying in local gites and using markets and mule transport has a positive impact on the local economy. There are also opportunities for us to stop at women’s co-operatives in the south east of the Atlas and in the Essaouira region. These co-operatives help local women to be more independent and take care of their children- especially if they are in difficult family situations. Stops can also be made at a care centre for those with disabilities, which aims to teach handicrafts skills and sell souvenirs. Also as we stay in Tighza, which is remote and still recovering from damages, our presence is really appreciated. Many clients like to leave behind items such as reading and writing materials and winter clothes which are taken in and re-distributed by a local association.

Climate

3 Reviews of Marrakech & the Sahara holiday in Morocco

4.5 out of 5 stars
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In depth story review

“After dinner at the camp, we were entertained beside the fire by some Tuareg drumming, which was simply mesmeric.”

Reviewed on 27 May 2019 by

The walks in the mountains and the local people were memorable ! Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Dec 2015 by

The best bit was climbing a sand dune after a camel trek to our camp for the night...Excellent. No criticisms whatsoever. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 May 2013 by

Great trip for anyone looking for a variety of experiences - desert, mountains, city - packed into a week. The camel trip was a memorable experience, as was glamping in the desert and star-gazing. Read full review

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