Painting holiday in Moroccan desert

“Brush up on your artistic skills in the Moroccan desert on this eight-day sketching holiday led by an expert tutor. Enjoy traditional auberge hospitality each night too.”


Fez | Ziz Valley palmery | High Atlas passes | Erfoud | Secluded desert oasis | Alnif | Historic Rissani | Erg Chebbi dunes | Maadid old kasbah

Description of Painting holiday in Moroccan desert

Otherworldly and fascinating, Morocco’s desert landscapes offer unending inspiration for artists and painters of all abilities. This eight-day small group painting holiday, starting and finishing in Fez, will take you into the heart of the mysterious Moroccan desert, with stays in traditional desert auberges.

Accompanied by an expert tutor, you’ll have the chance to develop your artistic skills whether you are a complete beginner, or simply new to painting and sketching this type of landscape. This is an excellent trip if you want to maximise the time you spend painting and drawing; once you reach the sands near Erg Chebbi driving times are short each day. Sometimes the best painting spots can only be reached on foot – so you should be prepared for a little walking each day too.

For further inspiration an overnight camel trip into the desert is also included.

During the spring and autumn, the warm days and cool nights make painting and sketching comfortable and enjoyable. If you travel during the spring you might be lucky enough to see the desert in bloom, as wild flowers carpet the landscape. In autumn the land is drier, but this is the time to see (and taste!) dates hanging from the ubiquitous palm trees.

Your accommodation will be in rustic and comfortable, traditional adobe-built guesthouses nestled into the landscape. While these auberges don’t always offer full luxury, you are guaranteed traditional warm hospitality, delicious local food, and a peaceful, authentically Moroccan environment.

Travel Team

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Check dates, prices & availability

20 Oct 2019
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 20 Oct 2019 departure
'Free from' Food:
We are happy to say that we are able to cater for vegetarians and vegans. Being a dairy-free vegetarian myself I know how difficult it is to explain your dietary requirements in different countries. That is why we make sure we are able to cater for vegans and vegetarians.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Painting holiday in Moroccan desert


In common with many parts of the world, both developed and developing, single-use plastic is a real issue in Morocco as plastic bags are routinely given with every purchase in shops and from street food vendors. For many years I have been trying to lead by example and always refuse carrier bags. I make every effort to minimise the occasions where they would be necessary and make sure my guets follow on this. When I refuse a plastic bag I always explain why I am doing so, often generating a lively conversation. Moreover these plastic bags often end up flying around the desert as litter, in a country with inadequate rubbish collection. When I visit beautiful and remote locations with and without my clients I aim to leave them cleaner than I found them in terms of litter and would not allow any client to drop litter, either intentionally or otherwise.

In most countries, education is key when it comes to the environment and where education is poor, leading by example is sometimes the most effective tool and can lead to small changes in local behaviour.

The hotels and auberges we use in the desert regions are made of adobe, a local and sustainable material which is warm in winter and cool in summer. They are built in traditional local style and decorated with locally produced handycrafts such as rugs and ceramics, many of which are very old.
While the accommodation is 'comfortable' and 'sumptious' in terms of decor it is not 'luxury' and I actively avoid hotels and rooms with air-con. Where necessary a fan is always my preference.


Travel in Morocco is always about the people, and it is usually a pretty full-on, absorbing cultural experience. From the beginning I make it very clear to my clients that we guests in a fascinating country whose customs and traditions might differ from ours. An open mind, tolerance, curiosity and respect are paramount on these trips, to enjoy them to the full and foster good relations with the people we meet.

We use a local, self-employed driver and stay in locally owned and run accommodation, employing local people. We eat from local restaurants and cafes,and buy food from local sellers and markets.

The small group size facilitates approachability and interaction with the locals, with mutual benefit. Conversations are encouraged where appropriate, as is purchasing from small establishments or individuals rather than bigger shops.

There is usually the option to visit both a desert handicraft co-operative and a cultural music experience during the trip.

2 Reviews of Painting holiday in Moroccan desert

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 14 Nov 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Wow! Was it spending the night in a Kasbah? Was it sitting at the top of a mountain nestled in to sketch a breathtaking view? Was it lunch in the the desert with mint tea on an open fire? Was it the incredible scenery? Was it sharing a tagine with a small group of like minded people? Seriously The whole trip was exciting and memorable!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go for it! If you are an artist or just want to learn to sketch, the scenery is so inspiring! If you are worried about travelling alone, no need to be. The trip is vey well organized and Mary is great! As soon as you meet your group you will be totally comfortable!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The tour company employs local guides, encourages small restaurant owners and local business.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Personally I would rate it a 5 star, but this is for the type of travel I enjoy. The
accommodations may be a 3 star for some people. They are very clean, authentic and have character, but they are not high class hotels. You have your own room with your own bathroom. In my case they were perfect. I prefer this type of accommodations.

Reviewed on 06 Apr 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Visiting the desert, the wonderful Adobe accommodation nearby, the fantastic locations for sketching and the visit by camel riding off into the sunset in the sand dunes and staying overnight in a Nomad's Tent to watch sunrise.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Please dress warmly if booking for March, as even though the sun shines, it can be quite cold. Take lots of photos - locations for sketching are very inspiring. Absorb the atmosphere.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We stayed in local accommodation. We met Berber people and sometimes shared our food. We didn't leave any plastics or rubbish behind.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I really had a marvellous experience of the desert life, very spontaneous, often stopping to paint buildings, doors, etc. as we passed by. Hamid was a fantastic driver and went out of his way to show us his country. I adored Hassen's Guest House in the desert - very rustic - and it even has a swimming pool! Mary was a wonderful teacher and very patience and tried to get the best out of us. She had given us tasks to do, so it was very helpful as we sketched. I would go again on this holiday.

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