Experience

Morocco: A Luxury Adventure in the Sahara Desert

Versatile and full of intrigue, Morocco perfectly lends itself to all manner of luxury vacations. Extending from snow-capped mountain ranges to rocky hamada and the sweeping sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, there is a lot to explore here. The good news is that our travel experts have found the perfect way to do it. Get off the beaten track and discover a lesser-known side to Morocco as you venture out of Marrakech and into palm-fringed oases and sweeping deserts in this luxurious 10-night adventure. From the ancient kasbahs of Skoura to the history of Zagora, there is plenty to discover. But there’s also an opportunity to disconnect as you head out into the untouched dunes of Erg Chigaga for a night in the desert with only the stars above you for company. Away from the crowds and embedded deep within Moroccan culture, it’s an adventure worth taking.

24 hours in Marrakech

Flying into Marrakech, you’ll spend your first night amid the opulent surrounds of Villa des Orangers, getting to grips with the city on an afternoon private tour of the winding souks and atmospheric Jemaa el Fna square. In the morning, you’ll leave all of this behind as you are met by your private driver-guide who will be at your side for the next eight days of this adventure. Leaving the medina behind, you’ll travel through the heart of the Atlas Mountains, stopping off at the ancient Glaoui kasbah in Telouet, on through the Ounila Valley to the hilltop fortress of Ait Ben Haddou and on through Ouarzazate to the palm-fringed deserts of Skoura.

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Check in at the charming L’Ma Lodge before spending the afternoon relaxing by the pool, ahead of a day exploring your surroundings tomorrow. Striking out with your private guide, you’ll discover small villages where you’ll be able to get to know the friendly locals, meeting local potters, before exploring the ancient kasbahs nearby. From there, head out to Kelaa M’Gouna where you can sample the rose water and oil that the area is so known for, before exploring the Dades Valley on a leisurely hike with a picnic to reward your efforts. Return to L’Ma for a candlelit dinner before heading deeper into Morocco tomorrow.

Through the Draa Valley to the Desert City

Travelling through the date palm lined Draa Valley tomorrow, you’ll visit the old kasbah at Tamnougalt where you’ll have the chance to learn a snippet of Mezguita history in this ancient capital before continuing onto the gateway city to the desert – Zagora. Far away from the reach of internet or televisions, you’ll find your home at Azalai Desert Lodge. Channelling a sense of adventure, rooms here are named after explorers and writers in testament to the days of discovery. Seeking discoveries of your own, explore the old Mellah Jewish Quarter tomorrow, meeting some of the local artisans and learning how they weave symbols from across Africa and the Middle East into their work. In the afternoon, you’ll then make your way to a panoramic viewpoint above the city where a sunset picnic awaits you for your last night in Zagora.

A Night in the Sahara Desert

From Zagora, you’ll then travel south to Tamergroute, home to one of the largest Sufi brotherhoods. Here, you’ll visit the zaouia Islamic cooking school and the Koranic library before you come to reach the end of the tarred roads at M’Hamid. From there, there’s only one thing to do; jump into your private 4×4 for an off-road adventure through the Sahara Desert to your luxury desert camp at the heart of the dunes of Erg Chigaga. Settle in beneath the canvas and breathe in the solitude before stepping back in time and seeing the desert as its been seen for centuries – by camelback. Saddle up atop your desert steed and walk slowly across the dunes, marvelling at the way the sun sinks down to kiss the sands in a sunset you won’t soon forget.

Time Out in Taroudant

In the morning, spend some time better getting to know the Sahara Desert as you travel across its powder-soft sands, past dried out lakes and fossil fields and into the hamada stone desert. Emerging out the other side, you’ll head north to the town of Tazenkahat, famous for its intricately woven carpets, and into the walled city of Taroudant. Check in here at the grand Palais Claudio Bravo and spend the rest of the day relaxed by the pool with the Atlas Mountains in the distance, or perhaps escaping to the spa for a soothing treatment. Tomorrow, take some time to explore the city, joining an expert guide and visiting the leather tanneries and souks filled with old Berber silver, stone sculptures, antiques and local crafts – perhaps picking up a souvenir or two. End the day climbed atop the ramparts, admiring the view that lies before you.

A Sidecar Tour of Marrakech

From Taroudant, you’ll then head back to Marrakech the next morning for two final nights at Villa des Orangers before heading home. In between visits to the souk and indulgent trips to the hammam, you’ll head out to see Marrakech from our favorite perspective – a vintage WWII sidecar. Driven by a local expat, you’ll see the medina in a whole new light as you zip around the corners, taking in the bright colors and fragrant scents of Morocco one last time. In the morning, it’s off to the airport to return home. Shaking the sands of the Sahara Desert from your boots but keeping the memories in your mind, you’ll leave having well and truly adventured through Morocco.

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