Morocco holiday, Marrakech to the Sahara
Description of Morocco holiday, Marrakech to the Sahara
This Morocco holiday blends a private guided tour of Marrakech and a luxury desert adventure with the chance to stay in some extremely comfortable and authentic riad and Bedouin accommodation, as you journey from Marrakech to the Sahara.
The first port of call, Marrakech, presents a fantastic introduction to the mysteries of Morocco with a luxury converted guesthouse, within the main medina, providing a great base from where to get out and explore.
A half day guided tour of Marrakech, which includes: Ben Youssef Medersa, Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace and the Djemma el Fna, allows you to get to know where you’re going and what you’re seeing, as well as being able to get some insider tips from our knowledgeable and friendly local guide.
After exploring among the souks and narrow alleyways it’s time to get ready for the next stage of this Morocco holiday as you set off for the Sahara on board a combination of air-conditioned 4WD vehicle and a more traditional mode of transport. One hump or two?
The Sahara stage of this week long tour takes you into the High Atlas Mountains via the Ticha Pass, and then along the Draa Valley, with several cultural pit stops en-route, including a lunch at the UNESCO listed Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou. Your first night is spent in the luxury of a small hotel at the edge of the Sahara near the desert town of Zagora (famous for its sign indicating to travellers that Timbuctou is just 52 days away, by camel).
Day two of your desert escape features ancient scrolls at the Koranic Library and traditional pottery making in the village of Tamegroute, prior to an afternoon spent enjoying the hospitality of the Bedouins at Erg Lihoudi and another night under canvas deep within the folds of the Ch'Gagga sand dunes.
Exploring the dunes on top of a gently swaying camel, is a real highlight with stunning sunsets and sublime seclusion adding to the customary refreshment of mint tea and an evening meal underneath a black velvet blanket studded with stars.
The early morning sunrise is definitely worth setting your travel alarm for with the drive north, back over the Atlas Mountains, taking in Berber villages, such as Zaouiate Sidi Ben Abdenbi and Tazenahkt, as well as plenty of captivating scenery as you return to Marrakech.
Your final full day is completely free for you to haggle, explore and enjoy the sights of Marrakech, perhaps even learning some cookery skills (and secrets) before finally heading for home on day seven.
Alternatively, you can extend your Marrakech to the Sahara adventure by heading west to the seaside resort of Essaouira or south to the Berber village of Ouirgane which lies within the Toubkal National Park amongst the peaks and plateaus of the High Atlas Mountains.
|Day 1:||Welcome to Marrakech. Upon arrival you’ll transfer to your B&B riad accommodation for the next two nights before settling in and using the remaining free time to explore and get orientated.|
|Day 2:||Your first morning in Marrakech features a guided tour of the medina with an official English speaking guide; all transport, entrance fees and access to key historical monuments is also included. This afternoon you’ll be invited to continue explorations under your own steam or simply relax and soak up the unique ambience of Marrakech.|
|Day 3-5:||For the next two nights you’ll be staying deep in the south, including one night amongst the sand dunes in a deluxe private Bedouin camp at Ch'Gagga and one at a delightful hotel at the edge of the Sahara. As you embark on a three day excursion of the Sahara’s southern circuit with your English-speaking driver/guide in comfortable four-wheel-drive vehicle(s). A camel ride, all meals, sightseeing and overland transfers are all included. Upon your return to Marrakech you’ll transfer to your B&B riad for the final two nights in Morocco.|
|Day 6:||Your final full day in Marrakech is yours to spend as you wish with optional excursions to the coast or a guided day hike or maybe some cookery lessons - all easily accessible before you prepare for tomorrow’s departure.|
|Day 7:||Transfer to Marrakech airport in time to make your scheduled flight home or onward journey to your next destination.|
21 Reviews of Morocco holiday, Marrakech to the Sahara
Reviewed on 31 Aug 2019 by Charlie WallaceThe whole week was fantastic. It met all our expectations and some! Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Mar 2019 by Erin TilleyThe best holiday I've ever been on. Life altering and gave me a new found perspective on life. Read full review
Reviewed on 09 Feb 2019 by Anthea PowellRiads 4.5 * Desert trip (less carpet visit) 4 * Information from tour guides especially around prices and customs 2.5 * Adil our driver to Essaouira was excellent and merited 5 * Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Oct 2018 by Penny AyreExcellent... Read full review
Reviewed on 04 Jul 2018 by Shameem KleinOverall, we got much more than we thought such a holiday might give us. For this, we are deeply grateful and would thoroughly recommend the service. Can I give more than 5 stars? Read full review
Reviewed on 13 Nov 2018 by Liz WeaverAll of it was great, Marrakesh in its madness, then out at beautiful quiet Kasbar Angour. Read full review
Reviewed on 22 May 2017 by Mark LillingtonOur holiday was first class, the booking agent understood our requirements and delivered. Highly recommended Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Oct 2017 by Mark ShawDriver we had for 5 days who was excellent. Riad berbere really lovely and well run and jardins de skoura too. Live most of it. Read full review
Reviewed on 22 May 2017 by David GarrisonThe most memorable was 4X4 travel through remarkable scenery. Read full review
Reviewed on 18 Sep 2016 by Theresa HallAmazing! Marrakech was fascinating and we loved the nightlife in Djemaa el-Fna square. We had great guides at every stage of the holiday and learned a lot about the Moroccan culture. All the organisation from the holiday provider went very smoothly and I would use them again. Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Mar 2016 by Anna GonzalesOur main driver was very knowledgeable about the area as is a qualified guide and he was very attentive to our needs. He made our long road trip a pleasure. Read full review
Reviewed on 13 Feb 2016 by Juliet SimpsonThe most memorable moments were sitting on a high dune in the Ch'Gagga desert at sunset without anyone else around apart from my husband and then later that evening stargazing at a sky with no light pollution. Read full review
Reviewed on 23 Jun 2015 by Derek MoorhouseExcellent...great places to stay, lovely people...we talked with our guides. We were not just talked to! We were out of our comfort zone when we arranged it for us to share with old friends...who had flown half way across the world...but we were not disappointed! Read full review
Reviewed on 17 Nov 2015 by Jason LevineExcellent....I loved the overnight in the Sahara Desert as well as the hike in the Atlas Mountains Read full review
Reviewed on 18 Oct 2015 by Gill RawlinsonThe trip to the Sahara was amazing - we marvelled at the fantastic stars and the contrasts the country offer. Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Aug 2015 by Derek FacerThe scenery in the Sahara is spectacular. Marrakech is an incredibly bustling city and the guided walks in the High Atlas are fantastic too Read full review
Reviewed on 17 May 2015 by Pamela BohlWonderful time as a family. Being in the remote High Atlas with our son so he could appreciate how much different the lifestyle is in some parts of the world. He held a baby goat that was born an hour earlier during the daily trip to the high pastures. Read full review
Reviewed on 01 May 2015 by Helen Santiago FinkEnjoyable and culturally informative; increased understanding of the country's topography. Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Apr 2013 by Giovanna BeberIt's difficult to choose what was the most memorable part of our holiday: wandering through the colorful and lively souks of Marrakech... Riding a dromedary at sunset? Or listening to Berber music around the fire in the moonlit desert? Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Sep 2012 by Mohamed KarimullahMost memorable was seeing the beautiful scenery along the Marrakech/Zagora route, and sleeping outdoors in the desert under a moonlit sky. Read full review
PlanetTo ensure the best possible service to our customers we engage services that make as low an impact as possible on the environment and local culture, whilst helping to generate long term employment and benefits for local people. Raising awareness of the culture, politics and economy of areas visited encourages responsible tourism practice and indirectly aides the preservation of the Kingdom's most precious resources. We take our responsibilities to the environment seriously and strive to make improvements where we can; there is always more work to be done but little by little one travels far. We have a policy of always using local suppliers wherever we can, so as to bring as much income to the local area as possible
We believe that it is vital to work with local operators for our desert tours, firstly as they will be able to offer an insight into the desert environment; secondly to enable any profits to be ploughed back into the community. On this break the desert trip is organised by Lahcen from the Fibule du Draa, who is well renowned for his work in the region to supply sports facilities for the local young people.
All food on our desert trip is sourced locally and we use a local restaurant near Ait Ben Haddou. We also include a visit to the pottery cooperative at Tamegroute where customers can purchase souvenirs from pottery made on site. We have worked with our desert supplier for many years and have a well established and excellent relationship. We firmly believe in paying fairly for his services and that of his guides, offering the ‘cheapest’ price simply isn’t an option for us.
All our desert trips are based on individuals or a small group - we feel that this offers a more personal experience and therefore minimises the impact on rural and desert areas. Your visit to the Souks and Sahara will give you a taste of the incredible hospitality of Morocco as well as contributing indirectly to the local economy.
We ask all our customers to respect the environment. Litter, in particular, is damaging to the fragile desert environment and we encourage people to take their litter home. All our trips are tailor made for individuals to minimise the impact of large groups on rural and desert communities.
The following applies to our UK and Morocco partner offices - We work under the principles of reduce, reuse then recycle. We are committed to continuous improvement in all areas within this policy. Paper: We use both sides of the paper before recycling. Recycling: We recycle as many materials as possible including paper, cardboard, printer cartridges, cans and plastic. Energy Use: We turn off (not leave on standby) electrical items overnight or during holidays. Purchasing: We buy recycled / biodegradable products, including recycled printer toners, where possible and refill containers.
PeopleAll our guides and drivers in Morocco are local people. We believe that it is vital to work with local operators for our tours, firstly as they will be able to offer an insight into the local people and their culture and history; secondly to enable any profits to be ploughed back into the community. We have worked with our local Morocco agency for many years and have a well established and excellent relationship. We firmly believe in paying fairly for their services and that of the guides.
Travelling with one of our excellent English-speaking drivers allows you to experience much more of the country and its people. Your driver will gladly discuss both your daily schedule and general matters about Morocco and the places you pass; he can suggest great places to eat traditional cuisine, bring to your attention projects which help local communities, particularly in rural areas.
Most of the riads we use are locally owned or are partnerships with a European owner and a Moroccan National. All staff members at these properties are local and all food and materials are sourced locally. Your visit will give you a taste of the incredible hospitality of Morocco as well as contributing indirectly to the local economy.
Local staff are also encouraged to undertake courses as and when applicable. e.g. The Mule Care Initiative Workshops held on the 1st and 2nd March in Imlil, sponsored by Expedition Providers Association & The Donkey Sanctuary.
Through our long term partnerships in Morocco we have been able to support and encourage volunteering for local causes such as conservation projects. For example, the Berber Cultural Center in the village of Imi'n tahnoute, Association des Bassins d’Imlil for the Protection & Sustainable Development of the Valley Populations around Imlil & the Toubkal National Park, Solidarity & Preservation of Cultural Heritage in the village of Demnate. We also facilitated the opportunity for our local staff to support an initiative alongside Elaine Moran, a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in Demnate. Elaine has the funding to provide materials to repair and maintain pathways but needs manual labour and transportation for work crew which is where our partner agency can help.
Our partner agency in Morocco regularly donates money to local causes. This is done on a case by case basis and is generally not by making monetary donations to large organisations but more by assisting local people/families at times of need. e.g. providing a sheep to a family who cannot afford one at the time of Eid El Kebir, purchasing flight tickets to enable a student to attend study placement awarded overseas, paying for medical treatment or prescription medication, purchasing clothing for a person to attend interviews and obtain employment, offering temporary accommodation/purchasing meals for the homeless as well as initiatives for staff welfare and contributions to local animal and childrens’ charities.