Programme details:

This is an 8-day programme to Morocco to meet the Berber and see Marrakech, but the highlight being a 3-day camel trek in the Sahara with the Berber to Ras Rech Sand Dunes and Erg Sahal Oasis.

Day 1: Saturday - Arrival in Marrakech

Arrive in Marrakech and transfer to your Riad (4* option) or 3* Hotel.

Day 2: Sunday - Marrakech to M’hamid

Meet your driver at 8:00am and travel through the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi-n-Tischka Pass to the city of Ouarzazate and then on to M'hamid, a trip of 276+ miles. On your way, you will visit the "seat" of Glaoui tribal power, Telouet Kasbah, now mostly in ruins except for the magnificent state rooms of this once great Kasbah which can still be visited. British author Gavin Maxwell accomplished the twofold task of detailing the daily life, customs, and rituals in pre-independence Morocco and of recounting the rise and fall of El Hadj T'hani El Glaoui, the legendary tribal warlord through whom the French ruled one of their prize colonies in North Africa in his famous book, Lords of the Atlas. Maxwell, who died in 1969, considered himself an explorer and wrote of faraway places; in Lords of the Atlas he introduces readers to the harshness and beauty of Morocco. He shows how the blend of Berber, Arab, and black African races created an extraordinary cultural mosaic and explains how the French colonialists recruited the Atlas Mountain tribal warlords to subdue the other tribes. As the chief beneficiary of this policy, El Glaoui was able to rule most of southern Morocco in an absolute fashion, until Morocco's independence from France in 1956 brought an end to the rule of a very colourful warlord. The book contains many superb colour photographs that enhance Maxwell's lively narrative.
From Telouet Kasbah we will take the piste (dirt) road along mountainous cliffs high above the valley floor and then stop at another Glaoui kasbah, Aït Benhaddou, which is the oldest continuously inhabited kasbah in Morocco (500+ years) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Client pays for own lunches). Continue on to M'hamid or Zagora where you will spend the night at Chez le Pacha Resort (4* option) in M'Hamid or a Hotel in Zagora (3*option).

Day 3: Monday - Camel Trek

Departure from OULED DRISS one crosses the large sand dunes and arrives for the evening at ERG SAHL where you will spend the night in camp.

Day 4: Tuesday - Camel Trek

In the morning we cross a superb desert plate (small dunes, mountains, water well). At the end of the day you can admire the superb sunset on the dunes of RAS RICH. It is here at the water well when they come to provide their animals with water, where you will have the best chance to meet some of the indigenous people who make the Sahara their home. We will camp here for the night.

Day 5: Wednesday - Camel Trek

Instead of returning directly to M'hamid, a 4x4 will meet you and transport you through the Sahara to ERG CHIGAGA sand dunes where you can spend the day. The distance round trip is approximately 70 miles. At Erg Chigaga you will be able to experience the second largest sand dunes in Morocco which are as tall as an 8 storey building. You can spend some time exploring the dunes or relaxing in the sun after you have had the opportunity to shower at the bivouac. Late in the afternoon, you will be transported by 4x4 back to Chez le Pacha Resort (4* option) or Zagora (3*option) for dinner and a comfortable bed.

Day 6: Thursday - Tamegroute

For those who wish to spend time around the pool, there is not a better place than Chez le Pacha Resort in M'Hamid or Hotel la Fibuille du Draa in Zagora. However, today one of the activities is to visit Tamegroute to visit the ancient Islamic Library and the Potter's Cooperative.
Tamegroute is dominated by a zaouia (religious cloister) of the Sufi Naciri brotherhood that has been a centre of religious learning since the Almoravide dynasty spear-headed a wave of religious reawakening in the 11th century. The zaouia also attracts some of the most underprivileged members of Moroccan society, people suffering from mental or physical illness, or simply lost souls who find their way to its peace and charity from as far away as Casablanca. It was also the cradle of the Saadian dynasty. The zaouia incorporates a madrassa which, although now a modern school, has its origins in the 17th century. Alongside the school is a celebrated library (another modern building) which counts among its treasures Islamic commentaries written on gazelle skin dating from before the 13th century. The library is open to visitors.
Also in Tamegroute is a "co-op" of artisans who produce some of the finest examples of Moroccan pottery, jewellery and other folk art in all of Southern Morocco. All of the pottery is made from local clay. The artisans will even show you how it is all done from the "refining" of the clay, to the forming of the pottery on the wheel, to the decorating with traditional symbols, and finally, to the firing of the finished product.

Overnight in M'Hamid (4* option) or Zagora (3*option)

Day 7: Friday - Return to Marrakech

Return to Marrakech. Half-day free in Marrakech. Spend the night at your Riad or 3* Hotel.

Day 8: Saturday - Marrakech

Day at leisure to explore the wonders of Marrakech. Spend the night in your Riad or 3* Hotel.

Day 9: Sunday - Departure

Transfer back to Marrakech airport for your flight home.

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