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Home/Discover Morocco
Desert Trek

Discover Morocco

Starting from $1449

OVERVIEW

Morocco is a country of many landscapes, as varied as the colors woven into each carpet. It has been overwhelming hapless travelers for centuries. It’s a country diverse with food, religion, language and culture. Experience the energy of the imperial city of Marrakech as you explore the winding streets of the ancient medinas and souks, watch the sunrise above the highest sand dunes, ride camels into the Sahara Desert, and immerse yourself in the exotic colors and cultures that define Morocco.

ADVENTURE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Wander ancient medinas and kasbahs
  • Visit the Majorille Garden, a two-and-a-half acre botanical garden
  • Ride a camel into the Sahara Desert
  • Go hiking in the High Atlas Mountains, home to North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal
  • Journey along the Road of 1000 Kasbahs through the Valley of the Roses to the famous Ait Ben Haddou, where many movies have been filmed
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Day 1: Arrival in Marrakech

Arrive in Marrakech at any time. There are no planned activities on this day, but there is lots to explore. Marrakech is the fourth largest city in Morocco and is a feast for the senses. The “Red City” is a magical place, brimming with markets, gardens, palaces, and mosques.

INCLUDED:
–Airport transfer from Marrakech Menara Airport

Overnight in Marrakech

Day 2: Imlil/ Armed 

Today, we’ll take a drive up the towering High Atlas Mountains, home to North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal. It’s also home to many indigenous tribes living in mud huts scattered along the mountainsides, and even nomadic and semi-nomadic families throughout the valleys.

We’ll arrive in the village of Imlil (1,740m/5,708ft) where we’ll store our main luggage and load daypacks before walking through the traditional mountain village and past the nearby waterfall for our one-hour trek up to the peaceful village of Armed (1843m/6056ft). Armed is the largest village of the Mizane Valley, an extraordinary looking place, built on a huge moraine spur above the valley, which offers stunning views across the High Atlas Mountains. Spend the rest of the day exploring the village and the surrounding farmlands. For those looking for a bit more activity and weather permitting, there will be a chance to hike to the pilgrimage shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (2300m/7545 ft). Sidi Chamharouch attracts pilgrims from all corners of Morocco and is known for its power to cure infertility in women and rheumatism, but the spiritual disease is the specialty of this saint. Rumors and legends say he was the King of the Djinns and that a sacrificed animal can cure mental diseases. The shrine is guarded by the tribe of the Ait Mizan and it is forbidden to non-Muslims.

We’ll spend the night in a family-run mountain home (gite) in Armed for a unique opportunity to experience traditional Berber culture.

Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours driving
Hike to Armed Village:
1 hour, easy
Hike to Sidi Chamharouch Shrine: 5 miles/ 1300 ft elevation gain/ Out & Back/ Est 4 hours

INCLUDED:

–Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Overnight in Armed Village
Note: There will only be the option of shared rooms here

Day 3: Ait Benhaddou

Our journey today takes us along mountain roads and over Morocco’s highest pass, Tizi n’Tichka (2,260m/7,415ft) to Ait Benhaddou. Perched on a hilltop and unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco’s most iconic sites. Located on the edge of the Sahara, it was once an important stop for caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold, ivory, and slaves. Today, its grand kasbah has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its fortified village being a fine example of clay architecture. You may recognize the place from the many movies and TV shows that have been filmed here over the years, including Lawrence of Arabia, Jewel of the Nile, Jesus of Nazareth, Gladiator, and Game of Thrones.

Upon arrival in Ait Benhaddou, you’ll have a guided tour of what is considered to be one of the most extraordinary kasbahs in Morocco. The giant fortification, which is made up of six kasbahs and nearly fifty ksars (a group of earthen building surrounded by high walls), is a great example of pise clay architecture.  We’ll also visit a women’s cooperative for weaving Berber carpets and then hit the new town of Ait Benhaddou for dinner.

Horse lovers will also have the option of exploring the landscape around Ait Benhaddou on a guided horseback riding tour. Rest assured, the horses here are well taken care of and the guides are very knowledgeable.

Optional: Horseback Riding (2 hours, approx 700dh)

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours driving

INCLUDED:
–Meals: Breakfast
–Guided tour of Ait Benhaddou Kasbah
–Visit a women’s cooperative for weaving Berber carpets

Overnight in Ait Benhaddou

Day 4: Dades Valley

Our drive continues as we travel through the Roses Valley, an area as lush and fragrant as it sounds. Our hotel tonight is in the Dades Valley, which has been described as a smaller version of the Grand Canyon. The vividness of the colors will stop you every few steps for a picture. The soil is a deep earthy red that actually becomes a deeper red the further into the valley you go. The mountain walls, carved by the Dades River, range anywhere from 200 to 500 meters (650ft to 1600ft) tall as they twist and dance in an endless pirouette.

This is a great place for hiking. After settling into our hotel for a bit, we’ll put on our hiking boots and discover the unusual rocky outcrops known as “monkey fingers.” This geological curiosity is particularly enchanting at sunset.

Estimated Travel Time: 2.5 hours driving
Hiking Dades Gorge and Monkey Fingers Canyon Loop: 6.2 miles/ 1,026 ft elevation gain/ Loop/ Est 3 hours

INCLUDED:
–Meals: Breakfast

Overnight in Dades Valley

Day 5: Todra Gorge/ Merzouga

Located about an hour from the Dades Valley is the Todra Gorge, recognized around the world as one of the most spectacular canyons. Wedged between massive cliff walls that have been carved by the Todra River, the gorge is filled with a green oasis of palm trees. This serene spot is great for hiking, relaxing on the edge of the river or sampling some local Berber delicacies.

If you are more adventurous and the words Via Ferrata catch your attention, this is also an option here. The Todra Gorge cuts through a mountain, getting as thin as thirty feet at some points, while you can look up the sides of sheer rock faces that reach almost 1,000 feet high. Several of these cliffs are limestone, and there are many climbing routes.

This afternoon, our journey towards the Sahara continues as we make our way to Merzouga, known as the gateway to Erg Chebbi, a huge expanse of sand dunes north of the small Moroccan town. This evening, we’ll ride a camel into the dunes to watch the sunset. We’ll learn how to mount and dismount the camel as well as other safety-related tips. Our guide will also teach us how to tie a turban to keep the desert sun off our face and add a little flare to your photos.

After returning to our kasbah at the desert’s edge, we’ll enjoy a cup of mint tea around the outdoor fire pit as we stargaze for as far as the eyes can see.

Optional: Via Ferrata (minimum 4 people, 1.5 hours, Approx 30dh)

Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour driving (Dades Valley to Todra Gorge), 4 hours driving (Todra Gorge to Merzouga)

INCLUDED:
–Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
–Sahara Camel Trek (1 hour)

Overnight in Merzouga

Day 6: Sahara Desert/ Ouarzazate

We will rise early to watch the sunrise over the dunes before breakfast. Our journey today will take us through the Draa Valley and the seas of sand to the township of Ouarzazate. Known as the “door of the desert” Ouarzazate is home to Atlas Studios, one of the largest movie studios in the world, in terms of land area.

Here, we’ll spend some time exploring the town and visit the Taurirt Kasbah, a citadel set against the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains. As far as fortifications are concerned, this is one of the most impressive of its kind. With almost 300 rooms and a true maze of passageways, steps, and key lock doors, it’s easy to feel lost within the immense structure that only connects to the outside world through a narrow entrance doorway. Afterwards, we’ll visit an herbalist to learn about spices, herbs and oils available in Morocco.

Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours driving

INCLUDED:
–Meals: Breakfast
–Visit Taurirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate City
–Visit an Herbalist

Overnight in Ouarzazate

Day 7: Marrakech

Today, we’ll continue our journey back to the red city of Marrakech. This afternoon, we’ll visit the Majorille Garden, a two-and-a-half-acre botanical garden and artist’s landscape garden. It was created by French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle over almost forty years.

We’ll also visit the medina to really get a taste of everyday life in Marrakech. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating back to the Berber Empire. We’ll explore the Saadian tombs, which were discovered in 1917 and date back to the time of the Saadian dynasty sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). We’ll next take a walk through the Jewish quarter, visit Bahia Palace, and then finish our tour at Jemaa El Fna, the main square in Marrakech.

This evening, we’ll celebrate the end of our adventure with a final dinner at Chez Ali, a restaurant and fantasia show with belly dancers, acrobats, riders, fireworks, and folk music. It’s an enchanting show that will be the perfect end to our memorable adventure!

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours driving

INCLUDED:
–Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
–Visit the Majorille Garden
–Guided tour of Marrakech Medina

Overnight in Marrakech

Day 8: Marrakech

Today is departure day and there are no planned activities. Depending on the time of your flight, you’ll have some free time to knock off any shopping you haven’t finished or possibly an optional activity.

At the appropriate time, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure from Marrakech. Please let us know at the time of booking if you’d like to extend your stay here.

INCLUDED:
–Meals: Breakfast
–Airport Transfer

Depart Marrakech

English, French speaking Berber Guide
All meals indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L= Lunch, D=Dinner)
4 nights in Riad, 1 night homestay (gite), 2 nights in kasbah
All transfers listed in itinerary
Hiking in High Atlas Mountains
Hiking in Dades Valley
Guided tour of Ait Benhaddou
Visit to Majorille Garden
Visit women’s cooperative for weaving Berber carpets
Guided tour of Marrakech Medina (visit Saadian tombs, Bahia Palace, Jewish quarter, Jamaa El Fnaa Square)
Camel ride through the sand dunes at Erg Chebbi
Visit Todra Gorges, Dades Gorges
Guided tour of Taourirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate City
Final Dinner at Chez Ali
Entrance fees for all monuments and historical sites

Airfare
Airport taxes and excess baggage fees
Travel Insurance
Accommodations before and/or after tour
Beverages & Meals not specified
Optional Activities
Gratuities for your guides and drivers
Personal Expenses

This trip is intended for the average active adult who feels comfortable being active approximately 3-5 hours a day. There will be a couple of days of hiking on various types of terrain for approximately 4-8 miles, including rough trails with elevation gain/loss of up to 1,300 feet. Of course, you can always opt-out of doing the hikes, but why would you want to miss out on exploring this incredible destination on foot?

Travel insurance is mandatory to participate in any of our international trips. The minimum requirement must provide coverage of $200,000USD for medical expenses including repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some credit card companies offer travel insurance, but proof of coverage will be required. Contact your provider for details.

World Nomads is our trusted travel insurance provider. Receive a no-hassle online quote in less than 2 minutes.

FAQ

Morocco has had its fair share of bad press, but since early 2018, its status has been updated to Level 1, which means it is now considered safe to travel to the country and tourists should exercise a normal level of caution while visiting.

The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Berber. French is often spoken as Morocco is a former colony of France. English is taught as a second language in schools, but don’t assume every individual you meet will be able to converse in English.

The currency used throughout the country is the Moroccan dirham. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are common, dispensing local currency.

The best time to travel to Morocco is either in the Spring from March to May or in the fall between September and October.

When visiting Morocco, the most important thing to remember is to always dress modestly. Never walk around barefoot. Beach attire is okay for the beaches and nearby hotels, but not for shopping in the market or strolling down the main street of a village.

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ITINERARY DISCLAIMER

Adventure People reserves the right to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your tour director as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, safety, or other unforeseen incidents. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary.

PAYMENT POLICIES

MULTI-DAY TRIPS

Our multi-day trips require a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit of 30% of the total trip cost in order to reserve your spot. You will have the option to pay the deposit or the entire balance at booking. Payment is due in full 90-days prior to the start date. If you book a trip within the 90-day timeframe, payment will be due in full in order to reserve your spot. Pricing is based on double/triple occupancy. Solo travelers are never required to pay a single supplement fee unless you want your own room. Adventure People offers roommate matching to pair you with a same-sex roommate. Should there be an odd number of men to women, you may be asked to join a triple occupancy room if you are one of the last to sign up. If you’d prefer to have your own room, please be sure to add a single supplement to your reservation when you book.

CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY

All cancellations must be advised in writing. We calculate your refund on the day we received written notice of cancellation. The applicable cancellation fees shall be determined with reference to the date on which the request to cancel is received by Adventure People. All refunds will be processed within a few days of your cancellation. Cancellation of a tour Product or failure to join a tour Product will result in retention of funds by Adventure People, as follows:

91+ days prior to departure: Full deposit shall be held by Adventure People
90 to 61 days prior to departure: Full deposit and 50% of the total trip price shall be held by Adventure People
60 days prior to departure: Full deposit and 100% of the total trip price shall be held by Adventure People

No exceptions will be granted to our Cancellation Policy.

We reserve the right to cancel trips with inadequate participant attendance, in which case all money paid to Adventure People will be fully refunded. Adventure People CANNOT be held responsible for any personal expenses, such as airline tickets due to changes in itineraries or tour cancellations.

COVID-19 POLICIES: Please refer to our COVID Travel Info for details.

Please be advised, Adventure People reserves the right to decline or accept or retain any person as a tour participant should such a person’s behavior, health, or mental condition impede the operation of the trip.

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