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Marrakech & the Sahara
TQ-EXD-406152
8 days from
£429
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At a glance
Exciting adventure in the Sahara Desert and High Atlas Mountains
Trip Highlights
Start Destination
Ouarzazate
End Destination
Marrakech
What's included
  • All breakfasts and 3 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

All breakfasts and 3 dinners included. Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced - kebab and bread cost only about GBP4 (USD7). In main towns it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and French wine will cost anything from GBP20 (USD30) upwards. Generally dinner is likely to cost between GBP5-10 (approx. . USD8-15) depending on what you drink. Local beers, wines and soft drinks are reasonably priced, but you can pay UK prices or more for imported alcohol. Your leader will recommend restaurants for each evening and can help keep costs down by collecting a kitty at the beginning of the week - overall GBP60 (approx. . USD100) pp is enough for the week. Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian cous cous and tajine or omelettes. This is particularly the case during the more rural or trekking sections of the trip. Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform the Exodus Office prior to the trip. If you have a specific medical/dietary need (i.e. coeliac or vegan) you may find it helpful to bring some items of food with you from home.

Itinerary
1
Day 1
Fly to Ouarzazate
Fly to Ouarzazate.
2
Day 2
Zagora
We head south along the Draa Valley, a huge palmery containing over four million palm trees, edged by many ksours (fortified villages). We skirt the shattered orange and brown-coloured rocks of the Jebel Sahro to arrive at the oasis town of Zagora. Situated right on the edge of the Sahara, this town was formerly a starting point from which traders set off on their arduous journey across the desert to Timbuktu.
3
Day 3
Camel Trek
Today we transfer to the quiet area of M'Hamid for a wonderful walk through sand dunes, a true Saharan experience. We then embark on our camel trek, further into the desert, where we spend the night at a simple Bedouin camp for some spectacular star-gazing. Surrounded by silence and millions of stars lets us appreciate the immensity of the Sahara Desert.
4
Day 4
Ait Benhaddou
We enjoy a short camel trek in the morning before continuing our journey up the Draa Valley, passing the beautiful palmery and Ouarzazate, to the well-preserved Kasbah Ait Benhaddou. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most spectacular sights of the Atlas Mountains and was made famous as the location of several Hollywood films, including 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Gladiator'. Although few families continue to live in the various fortresses within the walls, Ait Benhaddou retains an exotic atmosphere that transports us into another world, especially at sunset when the walls of the Kasbah glow red.
5
Day 5
High Atlas Mountains and Telouet
Travelling east along a mountain valley, we arrive into the breathtaking High Atlas Mountains. These mountains once were controlled by feudal clans and the most powerful of these were the Glaoui, with Telouet as their residence. The Glaoui power stretched across Morocco and into Europe - they even toppled a French Premier in the early 20th Century. Now Telouet stands abandoned and crumbling, and we are only able to visit the exterior of this labyrinthine, fairytale structure. A short drive takes us to Animeter, where we leave our bus for a picturesque walk (1-hour) on a gentle uphill gradient to our well-equipped gite, where we spend the night. Overnight bags are transported to the gite for us.
6
Day 6
Tijhza and Marrakech
There is time to relax this morning on the gite terrace, with wonderful views across the fertile Tijhza Valley. Alternatively, we offer an optional 3-4 hour trek through the villages of this remote area, passing fields cultivated by the Berber women, with peaks of the High Atlas as a fitting backdrop. After lunch, we leave the gite making the scenic drive over the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakech, with some stunning scenery along the way. The main pass is called the Tizi'n'Tichka, and at 2260m it's the highest road pass in Morocco. In the evening we visit Djemma el Fna, the open-air central square around which Marrakech revolves. The name literally means 'place of death', as the Sultans once displayed the heads of their enemies here. Now, with the food stalls, snake charmers, juice-sellers and acrobats, it is a place of night time entertainment for locals and tourists alike.
7
Day 7
Marrakech
Today we set off on foot on a guided tour to see the spectacular sites of Marrakech. Our city guide will lead us to the Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs, which, incredibly, date to the 16th century. We end in the famous central square continuing through the labyrinthine souks, bartering for souvenirs, or visit the largest mosque in Marrakech, Koutoubia. Then venture through the old streets of the medina to the Koranic School and the Museum of Marrakech. Alternatively, you may prefer to head off on your own today and take a calèche ride (horse-drawn carriage) to the peaceful Majorelle gardens, owned by Yves St Laurent and decorated throughout in Indigo Blue; or simply enjoy a hammam (traditional Moroccan steam bath).
8
Day 8
Fly to London
Fly to London.
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