Embark on a 5-day exploration of the cultures of Southern Morocco and the Sahara Desert. En route to the Sahara, we will travel along ancient caravan roads, visit historic kasbahs and palaces, and will learn about local artisans. The dramatic landscape transitions from mountains to gorges to oases and eventually to the desert. We will spend two nights under the stars at a luxury desert camp, riding camels, hiking up dunes, and resting in the vast open space. We will learn about traditional Bedouin (nomadic) cultures, have coffee as we watch the sunrise over the dunes, and have plenty of down time. On the way back, we will visit an Amazigh carpet stronghold (the perfect place to buy a carpet) and visit a saffron plantation. We will round out our trip by heading back through the mountains, where we will stop for lunch in a rose garden, and spend one last night in Marrakesh. The following morning, guests will be transported back to the airport to catch departing flights.
Since the Sahara Desert is very remote, we have carefully curated this trip in order to break up the driving. This will allow us to see more of this fascinating region of Morocco while spending less time in the car each day. Expect to spend about 5 hours each day driving and expect a range of accommodations on the road (from desert camp to budget hotel to full-service hotel).
Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required to book this trip.
Your deposit is non-refundable. The remaining fees are fully refundable (minus any unrecoverable transaction fees) 91 days in advance. Cancellations 61 to 90 days in advance are eligible for a 50% refund of fees above the deposit. Payments made in the 60 days prior to the retreat are non-refundable. If you are able to find a replacement, we will refund your payment less your deposit and any non-recoverable fees.
This policy exists because we need to ensure that we can meet financial obligations to our venues and in-country partners. This is why trip insurance is so helpful (and required)!
If the trip is canceled due to COVID-19 or other unforeseen circumstances, all payments, minus the deposit will be fully refunded. Deposits are transferrable to a rescheduled trip.
To secure your spot, place a deposit; final payments will be due by August 15, 2022.
*The itinerary and daily schedules may change slightly. Please inquire about payment plans as we are happy to make them available.
After an early breakfast at Bab Zouina, the excursion begins in a 4wd car crossing the Atlas Mountains along the Oued Zat. The road winds its way at the foot of traditional Amazigh villages built with mud bricks and surrounded by green terraces and majestic mountains. The colors of the landscape change after each turn until the arrival at the Tizi N Tichka pass (7,400 feet above sea level).
The descent to the South goes through Telouet, an old merchant hub on the salt road to Timbuktu. After lunch in the village and a visit to the Glaoui Palace (to admire the zellij and cedar woodwork of the princely salon), we will take the road to Aït Ben Haddou, a ksar listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will have dinner and stay a little further down the ancient caravan road, in Ouarzazate, at riad Dar Daif. This magnificent kasbah recreates the atmosphere of the caravanserais of yesterday, which offered freshness and rejuvenation to travelers. Their beautiful swimming pool is at your disposal.
Route: 125 miles, 4 hours and 30 minutes drive time