Stephanie Ackland is a British journalist and travel organiser living in Morocco. She has spent her recent years in the desert town of M’Hamid El Ghizlane, doorway to the Moroccan Sahara, where she has developed a deep connection to this formidable place, its landscapes, people and tempo. She remains constantly fascinated by the contradictions of the desert; powerful, beautiful, magical, changeable, comforting, vast and unpredictable. Together with Brahim Laghrissi, local Bedouin, born in the desert and a team of native guides, she now shares this passion, offering insights into nomadic life and Sahawian culture and exploring the amazing beauty of the Sahara desert.read more
On your first day, arrive at a traditional desert eco-lodge, built in the Saharian style architecture of rammed earth. You will be welcomed with tea, dinner and opportunity to meet your hosts and other travelers.
Today, you will visit the desert town of M’Hamid El Ghizlane, the doorway to the Sahara. Explore the old Jewish Kasbah, the meeting point for the Caravans to Timbuktu. Visit the private Sahara Museum with a local historian for an insight into desert life. Make any final preparations for your trek into the Sahara.
Early this morning, join your camel caravan and guides to follow the southern banks of the Draa River. Trek north to El Bour, a nomadic farmland of wheat, corn and barley. Eat lunch under the desert’s largest tamarind trees. Watch the terrain change from dunes to stone desert as you make your way to the camel gathering place, Kraiaat Jmal. Camp among the small dunes.
Wake up early to watch your first desert sunrise. Eat breakfast, then trek to Oum Laatach to set up camp with a nomadic desert family. Discover Sahara life first hand; make tea on a coal fire, bake sand bread, and learn the art of tent-making. Observe daily life, eat and talk around an open campfire.
After breakfast, say farewell and trek on to Oum Laalag, the Sacred Oasis, an important nomadic meeting point on the caravan route to Timbuktu. Set up camp in a small farm oasis and watering point for local camel flocks. Eat lunch with nomadic shepherds and explore the locale. Spend the evening around the campfire watching the stars.
After breakfast, leave the Oasis to head for L’Aabidila Sghira, the great dunes of Erg Chigaga, the largest and most stunning dunes of Morocco. Take the lesser known route past farms and through the green valley of Chigaga. Set up camp and watch the sunset over the endless dunes.
Today, our trek continues south to Erg Sidra, also known as the red dunes for its breath-taking colors and magnificent sunset and sunrise. Tie up your camel and fetch firewood for an evening singing and star-gazing around the campfire.
After breakfast, you will trek to Erg Smar, an abandoned agricultural settlement and former home to desert farming families, rich both in history and archaeological remains. You will spend the day at a working desert farm to learn about nomadic farming techniques and agricultural cultivation in the desert. Pick your own vegetables for dinner and wait for visiting birds and wild-life. Camp at the Farm.read more
After breakfast and a morning on the Farm, you will trek to the vast, remote dunes of Erg Zahar, named because of the humming sound of the sand when walked across it. Legend tells of a village buried beneath the sand. Explore the remote, virgin dunes and take in the magnificent views before dinner.
Today you will trek to an important pass of the former Caravan route to Timbuktu. Crossing remote, virgin desert, you will arrive at Bousnina, an old desert village, with plenteous evidence of human habitation, including the remains of human skulls and skeletons. Upon leaving the village, you will trek north to the shrine of the ancient desert saint, Sidi Naji. Revered traveller, tribal leader and holy man, Sidi Naji was sought out for his sage advice, wisdom and healing abilities. Tonight’s camp is set up near the shrine of Sidi Naji.read more
After breakfast, the caravan will be prepared for your return. Your final trek is across rolling dunes and through the lush green Palm Groves of M’hamid to arrive back at the eco-lodge. You can rest, relax or explore before your farewell dinner accompanied by music and Mechoui.
After breakfast, depart M’Hamid. Make your own travel arrangements to your onward destination, or we can arrange transfers to airports or cities to suit your post-tour arrangements and/or departure points (please ask).
3 x nights eco-lodge 8 x nights desert camping
11 x Breakfast 11 x Lunch 11 x Dinner
- bottled mineral water for desert trek
4 x 4 for additional supplies and desert use
Entrance ticket and talk
- can be arranged (please ask).
- should be included in personal travel insurance
- a full packing list will be forwarded before your arrival
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Private departures, for just you and your friends or family