Unravel the magic and mystery of the Sahara with MTS favorite Kristy Larson!
We’ve been exploring Morocco since 1975, and it shows—this trip offers the most authentic immersion into its culture, landscapes, and history. MTS guide (and Morocco resident) Kristy Larson’s expertise and personal connections allow for exceptional encounters with locals and fresh insight into this fascinating country. On a one-of-a-kind camel trek following an ancient caravan route, you’ll journey deep into the Sahara Desert, surrounded by scenery nothing short of spectacular—perfectly blue skies, peach-colored sand dunes, lush oases, and volcanic mountains—and camp for four nights immersed in the desert’s timeless magic and solitude. You’ll be equally enchanted with Morocco’s royal cities, from the snake charmers, acrobats, Gnaoua dancers, and storytellers at Marrakesh’s carnivalesque market, to the stunning traditional architecture of Fès. In 4x4 vehicles that allow us to roam the backroads (unlike other companies), you’ll explore the Drâa, Dadès, and Ziz Valleys, where date-palm oases are scattered with mud-brick kasbahs and fortified villages. Throughout your journey, Kristy will open doors for you and show you a rare, inside view of her adopted country. It’s an adventure that’s exclusive to MTS, and one of our top sellers!
5 days easy to moderate hiking, camel riding, moderate 4-wheel-drive travel
- Make a four-day, 4x4-vehicle-supported camel trek in the Sahara along a traditional caravan route on an MTS-exclusive itinerary (other companies just do day trips)
- Visit remote villages and camp in comfort under the stars, far from other travelers (we provide all the camping gear!)
- Enjoy the expertise and unique insights of MTS guide and 30-year Morocco resident Kristy Larson
- Feel the pulse of Morocco's royal cities, including Marrakesh and Fès, the oldest of the imperial cities, boasting stunning traditional Moroccan architecture and the finest souks in the country
- Immerse yourself in the local culture through extensive, genuine contact with Berber villagers and nomadic herders
- Explore Volubilis, one of the most important Roman ruins in Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Duration: 14 days Start Location: Marrakesh End Location: FèsDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Marrakesh
Meet in Marrakesh, one of Morocco's oldest and most beautiful cities. (You can join us from home or from our pre-trip extension in Essaouira.)
Day 2 : Sightseeing in Marrakesh
Stroll the narrow streets of the medina, the fabulous "old town" of Marrakesh, where you'll discover hidden surprises in every corner and enjoy the circus of entertainments of Marrakesh's famous square, Djemma El Fna, with its snake charmers and fire eaters-a veritable scene out of The Thousand and One Nights!
Day 3 : Scenic Drive to Ait Ben Haddou
Scenic drive across the High Atlas Mountains towards Ouarzazate, the gateway to the Sahara, visiting old kasbahs, rural souks, and Berber villages en route.
Day 4 : Dadès Valley
Explore villages, date-palm oases, and crumbling kasbahs on day hikes in the Dadès and Drâa Valleys en route to Zagora, a former French colonial outpost.
Day 5 : Zagora
Travel south along the Drâa Valley, stopping briefly to hike through villages and date-palm oases, before arriving in Zagora.
Day 6 : Remlia
Head east into the Sahara, stopping to visit with nomad families who graze herds of camels. Continue to our camp set in the sand dunes and meet the camels and guides.
Day 7 : On trek in the Sahara
On trek in the Sahara, walking and riding camels over sand dunes and rocky escarpments. You'll experience the isolation and silence of the desert, and watch magnificent sunsets and sunrises from comfortable campsites. Optional hike up Erg Chebbi, site of Morocco's largest sand dunes.
Day 8 : Erg Znigui
Continue by camel and foot to meet our 4x4 vehicles around lunchtime for the drive to Erg Znigui, where we can hike among the spectacular dunes or simply relax in camp.
Day 9 : Erg Chebbi
Continue trek to Erg Chebbi, a truly spectacular range of pumpkin-colored dunes—the largest in Morocco—where we'll camp tonight.
Day 10 : End Trek – Erfoud
A day to explore the otherworldly terrain of Erg Chebbi. After lunch we'll proceed to the northern end of the erg and meet up with the vehicles again for the drive to Erfoud.
Day 11 : Fès
Drive through the Ziz Valley to the imperial city of Fès, noted for its extraordinary architecture.
Day 12 : Fès
Sightseeing in Fès, whose huge medina boasts thousands of craftsmen plying their wares. Visit the King’s palace, Fes el-Jedid with its old Jewish quarter, and Fes el-Bali—the oldest section of town with original sections of wall. Enjoy lunch at a palace and a dinner feast with traditional Moroccan entertainment.
Day 13 : Meknes and Volubilis
Today we tour the Roman ruins at Volubilis and visit the walled fortress city of Meknes before returning to Fes for a final dinner together.
Day 14 : Fly home
Transfer to airport in Fes for early flights home or onward.
DATES: Best time to go: January - March, October - December Departures: Oct 13 - 26, 2013 Nov 3 - 16, 2013 Dec 22, 2013 - Jan 4, 2014
$4,695 (6-14 members)
Es Saadi HotelMarrakesh, Morocco
Located in the heart of Marrakesh on 8 hectares of flowering parkland, this resort is comprised of the hotel, the palace, and 10 individually themed villas. Next to the Casino de Marrakesh, and walking distance from the old city, the hotel offers spectacular views of the High Atlas peaks.
Riad Ksar IghndaAit Ben Haddou, Morocco
The Riad Ksar Ighnda is located close to Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate, overlooking the Atlas Mountains and the edge of the Sahara desert. In an authentic yet modern setting, the hotel blends in with the environment.
Traditional bedrooms are spacious with modern comforts including private bathroom, air conditioning, satellite TV, DVD/CD player, minibar. A refreshing swimming pool offers a place to cool off after a day sightseeing, the hotel is also equipped with a spa, hammam and Jacuzzi.
Chez TaloutSkoura, Morocco
A very pleasant and family-run auberge that sits on a hill overlooking the palm grove of Skoura and the Dades valley with views of the Atlas Mountains and the desert.
Hotel Palais AsmaaZagora, Morocco
Situated in the lush green palm grove of Zagora, the mystic charm of the Palais Asmaa will transport you to a completely different time and place. After a day trip to the desert or marketplace, guests can enjoy a swim in the palm-shaded pool before retiring to comfortably furnished rooms.
Hotel XalucaErfoud, Morocco
Built with adobe bricks, this distinctive hotel is situated among palms and dunes at the door to the desert. Spacious rooms blend traditional decor with modern comforts, and 2 in-house restaurants, a 20-meter swimming pool, and a salon bar offer a variety of recreational options.
Hotel Les MerinidesFès, Morocco
Perched atop a hillside overlooking The Imperial City of Fès, this 4-star hotel boasts an excellent reputation. The rooftop restaurant serves up traditional Moroccan fare and the guest rooms are beautifully designed with decorative carpets and contemporary furniture.
Riad LamaneZagora, Morocco
Riad Lamane is a well-run earthy hotel in Zagora which provides a cosy and comfortable atmosphere before we head into the desert. There are 20 rooms, a swimming pool, and meals are served in the dining room, in tents or out on the terraces.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Kristy fell in love with Morocco about 20 years ago as a Peace Corps volunteer. After all these years she is still startled by its seemingly endless mountains and desert valleys, and the colorful, exotic Berber culture living in a long-forgotten age. Kristy has a passion for traditional Moroccan arts and handicrafts, speaks some Arabic and Berber dialects, has a great rapport with the Moroccan people, and will open the doors of understanding for you.