Sahara Desert Treks
It's Time to Start Your Adventures
Sahara Desert Treks
Sahara Desert Treks is like nowhere else, and the desert truly makes for a slow travel experience. Join a long weekend of Moroccan adventure on this trek to discover the beauty of one of the most breathtaking and wide-ranging deserts: the Sahara!Spring and autumn are the best months of hiking through the Sahara desert.
Summer temperatures are skyrocketing, and winters can be very cold, particularly at night.When you land in Marrakech, you will experience a manic celebration for the senses like no other.Welcome to the Sahara wilderness.And camels, for sure.
Sahara Desert Treks
Erg Chegaga Treks
A Morocco desert trek to discover the wonderful region of Erg Zahar and Sidi Naji. A 7-day, 6-night in the hearth of the Moroccan desert hiking trek under the stars…
A Morning departure from Oued Ben Hakki. After a few hours of walking, lunch in the shade of the acacias. Rest of a few hours and contunue of the walk towards the Magic desert.
Erg Chebbi - Merzouga Treks
Camel trek in the dunes of Merzouga 5 Days
The discovery of the solitude of large deserted spaces, the pleasure of walking in a universe of sand and the atmosphere of the camel caravan. Infinite spaces to contemplate while walking on the crest of the dunes or on the stony plateaus of the Reg.
ERG CHEBBI AND MERZOUGA IN CAMEL HIKE 8 Days
Discover the thousand date palms of Tafilalet, cradle of the Alaouite dynasty. The passage at the foot of the Sargho range with its beautiful rock formations is also incredible! The silence of the desert, and the ascent of the highest sand dunes !
Merzouga Sahara Desert hike 6 Days
Merzouga desert trek - Desert and dunes hike in merzouga Morocco This region, Merzouga and Erg Chebbi, located in the south-east of Morocco, after the palm grove of Rissani, in the vicinity of Taffilalte, offers a wide range of Saharan beauty (dunes, plateaus, lakes, etc.)
BETWEEN SEAS, MOUNTAINS AND DESERTS... MOROCCO!
You can multiply your stays in Morocco, they will never be alike!
Between mountains, deserts, sea, vestiges of the past and a well-established culture, Morocco is a land of contrasts and a privileged place for all travelers.
Paradise for hikers, set off to explore the valleys, canyons and oases of the South;
Want to go beyond your limits? Embark on a trek or an ascent and approach the highest peaks of the Atlas!
The Moroccan population is mainly composed of Berbers and Arabs. The Berbers mainly occupy the mountainous and desert areas; They are made up of different tribes depending on the region in which they reside (Masmuda, Zenatas, Sanhadja...).
The Arabs settled in Morocco after the Berbers, but powerfully established their culture over a large part of the territory, gradually imposing the Arabic language and the Muslim religion.
The official language in Morocco is Arabic; but nearly 40% of the Moroccan population practice Amazigh, Rif, Tamazigh or Tachelhit Berber depending on the region. Former French colony, French is a language spoken by many inhabitants.
Nearly 98% of the Moroccan population is Muslim; She mainly practices Sunni and Malekite rites.
The "Commander of the Faithful" (supreme religious leader) is none other than the King of Morocco. The rest of the population is Christian (1%) and Jewish (0.2%).
Morocco has a Mediterranean climate with generally mild winters and sunny, hot and dry summers.
The temperature in Marrakech can be around 40°C in summer! The Atlas and Rif mountains - suitable for beautiful hikes - benefit from a continental-type climate; as for the ocean coast - a paradise for surfers - it is known for its mild winters, its hot summers, its sea breezes and its cool waters even in summer (21°C);
You can therefore travel to Morocco all year round, depending on how you view this destination! Prefer autumn and spring for visiting the imperial cities, summer for the coasts and mountains.
What to see during your trip to Morocco:
- The Atlas Mountains:
Notice to lovers of more committed hikes or treks... The Atlas Mountains are the perfect terrain! At the heart of landscapes as magnificent as they are varied, explore the valleys, gorges, canyons, plateaus, cirques, peaks of the High, Middle and Anti-Atlas.
Ourika Valley, Imlil Valley, M’Goun…promise you beautiful hikes in the heart of a diversified nature, to meet traditional Berber cultures.
Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa with its 4,167 meters, provides a unique experience for high mountain enthusiasts!
- The Atlantic coast:
The Atlantic coast has a mild climate throughout the year and many natural and cultural attractions. Ideal for travelers who like to indulge, as in Dakhla, in seaside practices (water sports, idleness, etc.), it is also the place conducive to hiking between ocean, lagoons and desert, in the heart of a very natural environment. diversified.
The discovery of this region will not be done without the visit of Agadir, Essaouira and Rabat, revealing cities of an architecture specific to the imperial cities; Also take the time to discover the fishing villages where tranquility reigns! Casablanca will offer you the centuries-old vestiges inherited from the many civilizations it has sheltered (Romans, Andalusians, Merinids, Portuguese, etc.)
- The Imperial cities:
Marrakech, Meknes, Fez, Rabat... Former capitals punctuating the different dynasties that have succeeded each other in Morocco, these imperial cities will reveal their secrets to you in the bends of alleys, to discover majestic palaces, ancestral medinas, animated souks, museums… but also encounters and indulging in the many flavors offered by Moroccan cuisine!
- The Moroccan South:
Discover the Great Moroccan South and its multiple landscapes; The ocher desert and its dunes shaped by the winds await you there: Ouarzazate (at the gates of the desert), Merzouga, Erg Chebbi, Zagora will be the opportunity for you to live the Saharan experience!
But the South of Morocco is also the many valleys (Dadès, Drâa…), canyons, oases, palm groves which are conducive to many outdoor sports such as hiking and rafting.
The level of our stays depends on the formula chosen;
Discovery trips, including 4x4 and ballads, do not present any technical difficulty.
Hiking stays include between 3 and 6 hours of walking per day, with moderate positive and negative elevations, varying according to the area visited.
The trekking and ascent of Toubkal stays in particular are aimed at walkers in good physical condition; the walking times for the ascent are about 8 hours, as for the elevations they are 1000 meters positive and 1000 meters negative! Depending on the season, snow may be there... You have to be well equipped!
Local supervision: The guides are Moroccan, all graduates and they master the English language perfectly.
During the ascents of Toubkal or during hikes and treks in mountainous areas (Ait Bougmez, Draa Valley, High Atlas...), you will be accompanied by a local qualified mountain guide.
Depending on the stays and the number of participants, your guides can be assisted by a team of camel drivers or mule drivers, a driver and a cook.
The stay "Better understand rock art in Morocco", is supervised by Yves Gauthier - specialist in Parietal Art and author of numerous publications on Saharan Rock Art, assisted by a French-speaking Moroccan guide, a cook and drivers.
The notion of hospitality being inscribed in their genes and they love to share their knowledge and their mastery of the field. Do not hesitate to ask them questions, they will be happy to answer them!
Land transportation : During the tours, transfers are mainly made by air-conditioned minibus or 4X4, the capacity of which may vary depending on the number of participants.
Some stays alternate walking and transfer by vehicle, others are mainly oriented towards hiking, especially in the Atlas and the desert (walking between 2 to 8 hours / day depending on the trip chosen). Discovery on foot promotes observation and encounters.
The poor condition of the tracks and the absence of roads in certain Moroccan regions can make transfers tedious, long and difficult! We appeal to your indulgence and ask you to consider that these routes are the only solutions to discover exceptional places!
Never forget: in Africa, we know roughly when we leave, but we never know what time we arrive. It is an integral part of the trip. You have to know it and admit it.
On certain stays, especially stays that can accommodate young children, saddle animals will be made available to minimize walking time for the little ones and so that they can enjoy the stay like the adults!
Journeys in the desert are sometimes accompanied by camels allowing the transport of luggage and food.
During stays in which there is hiking or trekking, you will need to provide a small bag that will allow you to carry the necessary for the day. Your big bag with the bulk of your belongings will be transported by our teams between the different stages.
Accommodation and Berber Camps:
Accommodation varies according to the type of circuits you have chosen to discover Morocco.
Nights alternate between hostels (Merzouga), hotels (Marrakech, Ouarzazate...), riads (Imlil, Essaouira and Marrakech), rustic cottages, nights with locals, charming camp ("Terre des Etoiles" in the Desert of 'Agafay), ecolodge, tents and bivouacs.
Nights in hostels and hotels are on a twin (2 separate beds), triple or family room basis. For the bivouacs, we provide the 2-person tent and the foam mattress but you must provide a sheet and/or sleeping bag depending on the season. For climbs and other journeys in mountainous areas, plan a good sleeping bag from autumn until spring... The nights can be very cold!
The bivouacs take place in places previously chosen by your guide; Sometimes sheltered from vehicles or in the desert or in the mountains. The precariousness of the comfort and the absence of water for the toilet make the conditions sometimes difficult!
For stays in the mountains - especially during the ascent of Toubkal - the nights can also take place in a refuge.
Small animals… Possible presence of scorpions and snakes in the desert. Vigilance is required without panic: bags closed in the evening, shoes tucked into the bags and tapping your shoes before putting them back on!
The bivouac sites are chosen by the local teams; however, these are never involved in the installation of it! We therefore ask you to participate in the installation of the bivouac (unloading of luggage, equipment, setting up your tent and installing your mattress) so that the evening meal is not too late.
Cooking / Food:
Apart from towns or tourist sites (inns, camps, hotels, etc.), meals are prepared by a cook who accompanies you during your tour.
Depending on the stay chosen, the cuisine is therefore an expedition food based on dry products, preserves and fresh products, depending on the supply possibilities.
There are a lot of starchy foods (pasta, rice, semolina, etc.) necessary for hiking tours, but also meat, grilled or cooked in sauce with vegetables.
Your participation in the preparation of the meal is greatly appreciated. This allows you not to waste too much time in the preparation of lunch or having dinner. Meals taken ashore on mats and mattresses.
You can bring with you cereal bars or energy supplements in addition to local dates.
During your visits to town or villages, do not hesitate to taste the Moroccan specialities;
Moroccan cuisine brings together many flavors of Mediterranean cuisine! Very fragrant, it is often made with beef or mutton, vegetables and spices, all simmered for a few hours. Couscous is the most common dish with tagine; The tajine is more of a cooking method because the stews are cooked in an earthenware dish surmounted by an earthenware lid, conical in shape; Pastilla is also widespread: it is a sweet and savory dish made of sweet and fluted puff pastry, containing minced chicken (or pigeon!). Then, do not hesitate to taste all the meatballs (keftas), méchouis and brochettes… A real delight!
Meals very often begin with salads of tomatoes, peppers, onions, olives… garnished with coriander. Briouates are small donuts stuffed with various foods, which are a good start to a dinner! To finish your meal, for a snack or any other “delicious moments”, succumb to pastries such as kaab el ghzal (gazelle horns), briwats, Ktéfa (a kind of milk pastilla); or again, to all these little cakes with honey, almond, cinnamon flavours…
Drinks : In Morocco, even if the water is said to be "potable", we do not advise you to drink tap water. Similarly, it is strictly not recommended to consume ice cubes. Consume bottled mineral water and sodas, making sure they are well capped and opened in front of you. Anything made with boiled water, such as coffee and tea, is no problem. Do not hesitate to test the "Stork", beer brewed in different cities of Morocco... Wine lovers, Moroccans have developed some areas (especially in the region of Meknes and Casablanca) whose red, white or rosé beverages begin to step up! Try Guerrouane, Siroua, Muscat de Béni-Snassen or Volubikia rosé... Always drink in moderation! Recently, French winegrowers have joined them...
Tea is the national drink; it is consumed at all hours and on all occasions. It's usually green tea imported from China with mint leaves and lots of sugar.
Note that drinks, except tea and coffee, are your responsibility during your stay.
On the stages where refueling with bottled mineral water is not possible, the guides will find drinking water points; However, it is imperative to treat your water with "Micropur" or equivalent. We leave it to you to personally treat your water. To optimize your water management, you can provide two gourds whose capacity is ideally one litre.
Water for drinking will never be restricted to you, on the other hand, we thank everyone for using only the minimum for their toilet.
Budget and change:
The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD); the indicative rate as of 05/15/2022: €1 = MAD 10.53; The course of the Dirham being variable, we encourage you to visit the site https://www.xe.com, to be informed of its news when you leave.
You can change your Euros from France, but also at airports once you arrive there or at banks. Banknote denominations are identical to those of Western Countries, from 20 to 200 Dirhams.
You can use your credit card and exchange money everywhere in the big cities; Ask for small denominations, which will make it easier for you to buy and tip if necessary.
Banks in Morocco are open every day except Saturday and Sunday, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Day of prayer, on Friday the schedules are somewhat modified, as well as during the Ramadan period. Ask the guide once there.
Jet lag : Morocco is at GMT +1; also there is 1h00 less all year round except during the period of Ramadan, when there are 1 hour less.
When it is 12:00 noon in Europe, it is 11:00 a.m. in Marrakech all year round, except during Ramadan when when it is 12:00 noon in Europe, it will be 10:00 a.m. in Marrakech.
Electricity : 220 V. The sockets are identical to European sockets. You can connect (when possible...) all your electrical appliances to the mains, as in France.
For your cameras, GPS, flashlights, etc. plan the autonomy of your batteries. Do not rely on the vehicle's cigarette lighter!
GSM coverage: Except in remote mountain areas, network coverage is very good in Morocco.
On our tours, the guides are equipped with cell phones, allowing them to be reached everywhere and to deal with emergencies when there are any.
Useful information for calling internationally:
- To call from France to Morocco: 00 + 212 + 5 (or 6 if you are calling a mobile) + the number of the interlocutor (do not dial the initial 0).
- To call from Morocco to France: 00 + 33 + the 9-digit contact number (do not dial the initial 0).
Find out about the communication costs from your access provider, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises on your return!
Internet : There are many cyber cafes in Morocco with the possibility of connecting at a lower cost. In addition, the connection speed is really high...
INFORMATION About MOROCCO
Environment : During our stays, we bring real importance to respect the people and the nature that surround us. The exchanges and the memories will only be more beautiful.
Nature: In the field of environmental concerns, Morocco is often taken as an example on the African scale. Moreover, in 2017, the country hosted COP 22! On the other hand, to avoid mismanagement of waste, massive pollution and offenses from industries, agriculture and individuals, the government intends to set up an environmental police!
The environment encountered is exceptional but fragile. It would be sad to turn it into a garbage dump. In order for these spaces to retain their purity, it is necessary to leave the minimum of traces of your passage. Also, be careful not to throw anything away lightly. Every evening at the bivouac a large garbage bag is at your disposal and someone from the team is responsible for burning the contents. Our tip: bring a small plastic bag in your backpack to collect your waste from the day (cigarette butts, wipes, toilet paper, etc.) that you empty in the evening into the large garbage bag.
Likewise, we invite you to take with you polluting waste that is difficult to recycle such as batteries, plastic bags, etc.
Morocco has fragile ecosystems; Avoid straying off marked paths and trampling virgin areas. Also avoid taking anything from the wild (stones, flowers, etc.).
The problem of water is a global phenomenon; Also, we are counting on you to consume it reasonably.
Habits and customs:
During your trip to Morocco, you will come into contact with local people.
The different Moroccan communities that you will meet are hospitable and welcoming. However, the warmth of their welcome will depend on your behavior. The first report is decisive. So be courteous and respectful (by not photographing right away, for example) and very quickly the relationship will be established with respect. Reverse the roles: what would you say to tourists who, getting off their bus, photograph your intimacy, your actions and gestures without even having greeted you? Courtesy is essential in your dealings with both the team accompanying you and the people you meet.
Greet them and respect the time devoted to greetings.
Greetings are essential: In Morocco, as in many Muslim countries, it is customary to say "Hello" to everyone and on all occasions. For this, say “Salamaleikum” to which we answer “Aleikum Salam”; Then we ask for news of the family!
The Senegalese take their meals sitting on the ground, generally on a large carpet; we sit there barefoot, either by sitting on a small seat or by squatting. The dish is common, and it is eaten only with the right hand (the left hand being considered impure); The meal begins only when the host of the house has said “bismilahi”; custom dictates that men eat before women and children.
Moment of conviviality, the tea ceremony is a ritual in which one must participate; 3 glasses of tea will follow one another which according to a Tuareg proverb: “the first is as harsh as life; the second is sweet as love, the third is sweet as death. »
During the Ramadan period, almost all Moroccans practice fasting during the day and perform the 5 ritual prayers. Be sure to respect in particular the Moroccan team that will accompany you and the locals that you will meet during this period... Avoid drinking, eating and smoking in front of them and let them practice their prayers in privacy and respect the constraints related to break the fast.
Clothing outfits: Some religious customs impose the respect of some rules. In particular, it is advisable to always be dressed appropriately: avoid skirts and shorts that are too short and tank tops that are too "plunging"! In places of worship, be sure to cover your shoulders. Provide in case in your bag, a "chache"; and if you don't have one... you can buy them everywhere.
Photographing (or filming) yes, but...
It is not customary to photograph populations without their permission. Photographing someone without their knowledge can cause great discord that can go as far as the confiscation or destruction of your camera! Wait for them to offer it to you. Take the time to take your eyes off your objective and favor exchanges with the population; You will come back from your stay much richer with emotions, knowledge and memories to share.
The advent of smartphones and "selfies" has greatly changed the relationship to the image. Photography is now commonplace. On the other hand, this phenomenon remains very "generational"; also, make sure your subject is okay before shooting it.
No photos of military areas, airports, police stations, prisons, places of worship, etc.
There are obviously no questions to ask and obviously no problem to photograph nature and landscapes.
Tips: This gesture of thanks, which varies according to the route and the duration, is highly anticipated and rather recommended on our part. A kitty is constituted, given at the end of the trip to the members of the team.
However, it is important that the tip remains a gratuity, our teams being very well remunerated elsewhere. We invite you to distribute tips only if the service has met your expectations, and to reduce this amount if the services do not were not sufficient, explaining why, in order to consolidate our educational work.
It is reasonable to give a minimum tip of 300 dhs (approx. 30 €) per hiker and per week. This sum is collected in several envelopes that you will give to the guide, the cook and the camel drivers, muleteers, drivers depending on the type of stay when you leave them. It is generally customary to give a larger tip to the guide (60% of the sum), then to the cook and then to the camel drivers (40%).
Do not indulge in the frantic distribution of "small gifts", especially to children who are very often in search of being able to obtain something from you. It is best to get closer to a privileged interlocutor (your guide for example), who can direct you to a school structure or other social reception in which each donation (notebook, pens, books, clothes, etc.) will be redistributed fairly. and will cover the needs of the many beneficiaries. This way, you will not contribute to an increase in acts of begging.
Memories: The majority of souvenirs are made locally. Do not hesitate to promote the purchase of crafts in order to support local know-how.
Some essentials to find on site:
- Wool carpets: From Berber traditions you will find very beautiful ones in the High and Middle Atlas.
- Ceramics: you will appreciate the pottery in all the souks and stalls of the country! In varnished monochrome terracotta for the most rustic, there are also very beautiful polychrome ones, especially in Fes and Safi (tagine, bowls, dishes, etc.).
- Basketry: bags, decorations...
- Brassware: trays, lanterns, teapots, chandeliers...the art of metalworking is very famous in Marrakech!
- Leather: Slippers, bags, poufs, hats... you will find many items, especially in Fes, a major tannery location.
- Solid silver jewelry: Berber jewelry is magnificent!
- Spices, argan, real black soap etc...
Haggling is an institution...so when shopping for souvenirs, take the time to chat warmly with your interlocutor in order to lower the prices; Depending on the objects, the price can be divided by 2 or 3. Remember that most of the items were made by local craftsmen, so it is not a question of devaluing their work. Do not hesitate to discreetly ask your guide for advice.
Prefer small bills to large denominations.
Various: Avoid giving gifts to children! Whether it's sweets, clothes or pens, these gifts encourage begging and therefore promote illiteracy (we can't wait for tourists to beg and be in school at the same time).
Passport : Compulsory passport whose validity must cover the entire stay for European nationals as well as for Swiss nationals.
Minors must travel with their own passport. For any information concerning minors leaving the territory, we invite you to contact your town hall.
For other nationalities, inquire at the consulate or embassy.