Morocco and western Sahara tour
Description of Morocco and western Sahara tour
Discover the wild and untamed lands of southern Morocco and the Western Sahara, swapping the acclaimed charms of Marrakech for more mysterious and far less-explored regions where deserts meet remote Atlantic coast communities in a magical melange of lagoons and dunes.
Begin in the lands of the Berbers with a crossing of the mighty High Atlas Mountains to enter the magical landscapes of the Draa Valley, then onto a world of huge dunes and salt lakes roamed by semi-nomadic desert people.
Continuing south, the arid landscape presents a canvas of endless horizons, with pauses at iconic desert towns like Guelmime, the last major town of Morocco proper and a former trading centre for Saharan camel caravans.
The travel itself becomes an experience from here, traversing rough tracks squeezed between the Sahara and Atlantic, lined by caves inhabited by fishermen en route to the fantastic dune-wrapped Naila lagoon, which you'll explore by boat.
Heading into Western Sahara, experience a forgotten land of Saharawi nomads, rolling dunes and camel trains, where traditions are strong and the scenery awe-inspiring. There'll be plenty of chance to meet local people, as well as desert camping under the stars before heading further along the coastal road south to Dakhla. Here you can fish or tackle the Atlantic waves on the wild beaches that mark this last outpost before West Africa.
Morocco is familiar to many, but the deep south is a world apart little changed in centuries – perfect for an unforgettable journey into the unknown.
PlanetThis tour travels visits some very remote regions, which has barely been touched by the presence of humans, and we strongly believe in maintaining its pristine nature. The nature of this trip means that many nights are spent camping. We strive to ensure that we leave these areas as we find them and our team have been trained in strict no litter policies, meaning that we take all refuse to either be recycled or properly disposed of back in the city. Washing of dishes is carried out well away from any water sources so as not to contaminate them.
Similarly, in conjunction with our local team we work with hotels and guesthouses to implement best practices when it comes to environmental matters – again in some places this is far behind what we might be used to in other parts of the world. This includes basic things like not replacing towels each day, as well as saving electricity and turning lights off.
Where there are tracks, we stick to them – not always possible as there are few tracks in this area.
PeopleAs with many of the trips that we offer, this tour has a strong focus on local culture and different ethnic groups. Where possible we try to ensure that local people benefit from our presence.
We are careful not to disrupt the traditional way of life of the people that we meet. As a way to say thank you for allowing us to visit, we bring traditional gifts, such as sugar, tea and so on – we do not bring modern accoutrements that may change their way of life as we feel that it is important for all tribal groups that any move towards a more ‘modern’ lifestyle is made on their own terms and not imposed upon them. We give gifts to the elders of the villages who will then ensure that they are distributed appropriately, rather than just giving them to individuals, which can cause problems, jealousy and fights within small communities.
These are very traditional areas with certain codes of behaviour, and the people here are not that accustomed to outsiders. We ensure that our travellers are appropriately briefed in order so as not to offend local sensibilities.
We buy supplies from local people where this is feasible – usually meat and other foodstuffs, and try to have a positive economic impact upon the communities we visit.