The Sahara desert is the largest hot desert in the world. The size of the US, it covers much of North Africa. Home to varied wild-life, flora and vegetation, and nomads. These indigenous tribes live in the desert, away from the western world, with their own traditions, customs and methods for navigating desert life. The Moroccan Sahara is home to several desert tribes; Touaregs, Bedouins and Berbers. Living primarily off agriculture, their style of dwelling, eating, cooking, handicrafts and other daily rituals are a timeless account of desert life. Join us on this unique 12 day journey into the Sahara, where you will cross stunning vistas, live with nomadic families and spend time on a desert farm. Discover Sahara life first-hand, weaving tents from camel-hair, building open fires, and shepherding camels. Sing traditional songs as you experience the hospitality, wisdom, humour and resilience of the “Free People.” Our journey has been designed to experience both the natural beauty of the desert and the innate aspects of Sahawian and nomadic culture. We will follow a programme but also adopt a go with the flow rhythm, desert style, with quiet moments to enjoy the landscapes, read, write, paint or simply reflect. This is a rare and privileged opportunity to live with nomads and gain first-hand insight into their way of life. Led by veterans, who rarely guide tourists, these natives will lead and accompany us on our journey across the Sahara.
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.
Arrive at traditional desert eco-lodge, built in the Saharian style architecture of rammed earth. Welcome tea and dinner and opportunity to meet hosts and other travelers.
Leisurely day visiting the desert town of M’Hamid El Ghizlane, doorway to the Sahara. Explore the old Jewish Kasbah, 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 morning, join your camel caravan and guides to follow the southern banks of the Draa River. Trek north to El Bour, nomadic farmland, of wheat, corn and barley. Lunch under the desert’s largest Tamaris trees. Watch the changing terrain from dunes to stone desert, passing wild donkeys, camels and bird-life, to arrive at the camel gathering place, Kraiaat Jmal. Camp among the small dunes.
Watch your first desert sunrise, 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, and 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 colours and magnificent sunset and sunrise. Tie up your camels and fetch firewood for an evening singing and star-gazing around the campfire.
After breakfast, we trek to Erg Smar, abandoned agricultural settlement and former home to desert farming families, rich in history and archaeological remains. We 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.
After breakfast and a morning on the Farm, we trek on to the vast, remote dunes of Erg Zahar, so named because of the humming sound of the sand when walked across. Legend tells of a village buried beneath the sand. Explore the remote, virgin dunes and take in the magnificent views before dinner.
Today we trek an important pass of the former Caravan route to Timbuktu. Crossing remote, virgin desert, we 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, we 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.
After breakfast, we prepare the Caravan for our return. Our 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 our farewell dinner of 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
Join a likeminded community of curious and active explorers
Private departures, for just you and your friends or family