Let us take you from beautiful, vibrant Marrakech over the High Atlas mountains and down into the Sahara for the desert adventure you’ve always dreamed of. You’ll trek along Morocco’s longest valley, the Draa, winding our way through palm groves – and you’ll walk across vast landscapes of rock and sand, before ascending Erg Chegaga, Morocco’s highest dune, and looking out over a landscape of rolling desert stretching to the horizon. You’ll never be the same again.
Day 1 – The Adventure Begins in Marrakech
Welcome to Marrakech! It’s one of the liveliest cities in Northern Africa – and it’s the start of your Saharan adventure. You’ll be transferred from Menara, Marrakech Airport, a short distance from the city – and you’ll meet the group at your designated hotel for the day.
Depending on arrival time, you’ll have an opportunity to get out into Marrakech to see the sights (note: there will also be an opportunity to explore on Day 7). Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site called Jemaa el-Fna square, an open-air marketplace where you’ll find the best wares (and the most enthusiastic haggling) in the city. Or take a Caleche (horse-drawn carriage) and explore further! At the hotel, you’ll learn what the itinerary is for the trip – then after dinner, you’ll turn in, ready for an early start towards the High Atlas tomorrow.
Day 2 – Journey Across The High Atlas
After an early start, you’ll be transferred in your 4×4 into the High Atlas, Northern Morocco’s great range of mountains. You’ll head eastwards, through the Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass that links Marrakesh with nearby Ouarzazate – at 2.260 meters above sea level, it’s Northern Africa’s highest mountain pass. Then you’ll head east, exploring this stunning landscape of towering, dry mountainsides overlooking green valleys and plateaus fed by streams and rivers. You’ll then explore the remote Fint Oasis, where you’ll enjoy a family dinner, and end your day among palm trees.
Day 3 – From Fint Oasis to the desert
Today, you’ll meet your camel (that will carry your luggage) and will trek a little of the way down Morocco’s longest river (dry in its desert part), the Draa (1,100 km in km), and wander along its fertile banks and through its palm groves. People have lived along the Draa since prehistoric times, and in the 16th Century, the Drawa people prospered, thanks to the Trans-Saharan gold, salt and spice trades (the surviving watchtowers and castles of this region are a testament to how much wealth they had to defend). You’ll pass first by the town of Zagora, known locally as “the gateway to the Sahara,” and later in the day, you’ll have your first sight of dunes at El Mazouaria, before stopping at the well of Oued Naam to bivouac for the night.
Day 4 – Into The Deep Desert
Today the real adventure begins. You’ll trek across a vast arid plateau (including flat, rocky Hamada, which comprises most of the Sahara) past tamarisk trees and splurges (a flowering plant) until the sand rises under your feet and you arrive at the high dune of Erg Bouguerne, to spend your second night in the deep desert.
Day 5 – Finding The Great Erg Of Chegaga
Today you’ll trek along desert wadis (dried seasonal riverbeds) that run along the desert, paying testament to the power of the infrequent, unpredictable precipitation in this part of the world. Your destination for the day is Erg Chegaga, one of the great dune systems of in Morocco, approximately 40 km wide and 15 km long. You’ll set up camp at the base of this otherworldly landscape, ready to go climbing tomorrow.
Day 6 – Ascending Erg Chegaga
It’s time to climb and explore Morocco’s highest dune, the mighty Erg Chegaga, which contains dunes that climb more than a hundred meters above the surrounding landscape. You’ll have most of the day for the climb (if you’ve never climbed a dune before, be assured, it’s tough work!) If you’ve ever wanted that classic Saharan view of dunes stretching unbroken to the horizon, Erg Chegaga will blow your mind – and we also recommend getting up super-early tomorrow morning to grab the desert sunrise.
Day 7 – A Free Afternoon In Marrakech
This morning, beginning early, you’ll leave the desert behind you and transfer in your 4×4 back to Marrakech, taking in the stunning landscape along the way. Once back, you’ll have a free afternoon to explore any sights you may have missed on Day 1 – before you all meet at your hotel for the evening to say farewell and tentatively plan your next visit.
Day 8 – Goodbye, For Now, Sahara!
Sadly it’s time to depart! There will be complimentary transfers to Marrakech Airport -and, depending on the time of your flight, the last chance to grab souvenirs.