There is something quite extraordinary about the desert; when you spend a few days there, allow yourself to be enveloped by it, still yourself to hear its voice and be quiet enough to appreciate the absolute silence, it has some kind of magic. Perhaps it hypnotizes, it certainly leaves you with a lasting memory. The Big African Skies are absolutely incredible in the desert, the night time display is truly breathtaking with a vast canopy of stars, planets and of course the Milky Way; lay on the dunes and you feel you can reach up and draw out the constellations.
We have treks in the Sahara from 3 days to 7 or more if you wish. This 3 day trek is near M´hamid el Ghizlane, south of Zagora. Its history talks of the first Jewish settlements and cities, dating back to the 12th century and before. Rock art found near Zagora shows evidence of large animals long since gone, crocodiles near the Iriqui dry salt lake and fossil fields show how it was once all underwater. The earliest tribes from here fractured and built many kasbahs and adobe villages along the once flourishing Draa Valley, ruins can be seen and archaeological remains discovered. A trek in this region is therefore much more than a walk in the dunes. Fully supported by a camel team, you will be camping at night and be fully catered for.
This 3 day trek has options depending on the time of year. Treks can done from October to the first week of May, after that is really is just too hot to be comfortable. During the hottest part of the day, we rest in the shade. As there are no vehicles where we trek, except for occasional military transport taking supplies to the frontier posts, we carry everything for the entire trek.
Day 1: The Drop Zone - Camp 1
If you are arriving from Marrakech, you will spend the night either at a desert guesthouse in Bounou, or there is a possibility to stay with a family if the group is small. There will be a welcome meeting with dinner and time to relax.
After a leisurely breakfast in your accommodation, the driver can take you to Mhamid el Ghizlane, for last minute shopping if required. You then have the option to visit the ancient Kasbah in Bounou if you are staying nearby, or visit an ecological desert garden, you could also visit with a family and see bread being made and perhaps have lunch with them.
After an early lunch, the camels will be packed and you will all leave together for the start of your desert hike.
Departure times will differ according to the month and weather.
The first camp will be near Tidri and is about a four hour walk.
Tidri was the first Jewish City; its inhabitants are thought to have been massacred by the 12th Century Almohads, although this has not be substantiated. The region is of significant archaeological interest.
Once we have had tea, you can wander and find a place to enjoy the sunset and then return to the camp for dinner.
This is a wild camp, you will sleep in personal two man tents and facilities are in nature. Water is carried by the camels and is to be used with care. Drinking water should be consumed as required.
Day 2: Tidri - Camp 2
After a delicious nomad breakfast, the camp is packed up for the days trek which takes you across ancient landscapes of the Sahara. This region is where the first Jewish settlements of Morocco were, and you will come across reminders and remains of this. Today you will see different landscapes, vast open spaces with no trees...until we reach the solo acacia where we stop for lunch prepared by our team. After a rest, we continue to our campsite for the night in some soft dunes.
Day 3: Camp 2 - Bounou
Bounou and Ouled Driss are adobe ksour or fortified towns; Ouled Driss being one of the earliest in the area along the Draa River, it has many different tribes and an interesting history. The days trek will bring you back across the Draa River to your guesthouse accommodation in Bounou.
Day 4: From Bounou, you can choose to return to Marrakech via the same route, or if you have some more days, take a 4x4 off road tour across the desert to discover the other desert region with its rock art and fossils, visit the Todra Gorge, take a drive through the valley of roses and discover the many Kasbahs as you return to Marrakech. You could also combine it with a tour along the Atlantic coast and the charming medina of Essaouira. Just email us as there are many options around this trek.