and celebrate New Years Eve in Morocco with live music, dancing and a real Moroccan feast under brilliant winter stars on an overnight camel trek to our desert camp in the dunes. Our camp in the roadless Erg Chebbi where the crystal winter sky is other worldly and you can climb the huge dunes and contemplate the years past, or dance the night away by the fire light. On tour you'll also explore the old Salt Road World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou kasbahs and Telouet, plus visit the Dades valley and Todra Gorges in the heart of Moroccos exotic desert and High Atlas mountains. New Years desert starts from Marrakech or Fes on a three or four day tour.
We also have a luxury Sahara desert camp option.
Marrakech to Marrakech
Four days (or longer) can start
December 29th or 30th.
Can also go Marrakech to Fes.
What's Not included
Your driver will meet you at your riad or hotel at 8:00am depart Marrakech and transport over the High Atlas mountains Tichka pass. Stop and enjoy impressive landscapes, and break for coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Pass through Ouarzazate for lunch. After Ouarzazate, you'll head to the Skoura oasis and then turn at the Valley of the Rose, famous for producing elegant Persian rose oil, towards the remote village of Boutaghrah. You'll pass through many Berber villages, and green riverside oasis and barren red hillsides clustered with ksars (fortified dwellings that house many families and their livestock). From here you'll drive off road, (weather permitting) through the mountain valleys and visit nomads in the area, then head for Dades gorge. Along the way you'll visit the red Tamnalt hills, called locally the monkey fingers. Stay in small Dades valley hotel this night or you may continue to Tinehir and stay in an old kasbah. Includes dinner and breakfast.
After breakfast you'll have a short drive to Todra gorges for a walk through a massive fault dividing the High Atlas mountains. The gorge sheer rock walls rises to 300 m in the narrowest part. Back in the car drive further into the desert to the Erg Chebbi sand sea and stop to visit any local Berber markets along the way. After lunch in Rissani, continue further into the desert world until red dunes appear on the horizon. Your destination is the auberge (small inn) in the Erg Chebbi dunes 29km from Merzouga. Upon arrival at the auberge you will meet your camel guide and ride into the camp at sunset. Climb the dunes and watch the moon rise before retiring to your bed in the nomad wool tent.
New Years party in the camp includes roast lamb (Meschui) with a multi course dinner (vegetarians welcome), and live very danceable music by local musicians.
Our desert camp in the north of Erg Chebbi is far from the crowds going to Merzouga. It consists of a circle of traditional nomad styled tents that each sleep 4 people, 2 to each side divided by a wall. They are equipped with wool carpets, foam mattresses, wool blankets, freshly washed cotton sheets and pillows - camp also has solar lighting and toilets, a kitchen tent and dining tent. All camel guides are local young men working to support their families.
This morning you'll wake and get ready to ride the camels by a different route back to the auberge for a leisurely big breakfast and hot shower. Back on the road to Ait Benhaddou. Along the way you can visit the fossil workshops for a closer look at Sahara's wonderful variety of ancient life. Explore any local markets at your leisure, and visit a small museum about Berber life in an ancient mud village of Khorbat. Rissani has a lively thrice weekly souk selling many goods, animals and spices brought in from the surrounding villages and it's fun to explore and people watch. Your next destination is Ait Benhaddou World Heritage site kasbahs. Spend the night in an auberge with views of Ait Benhaddou. Includes dinner and breakfast.
This morning at your leisure you can explore the World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou before the crowds from Marrakech arrive. The village of clustered Berber Kasbahs has been used as a backdrop for more than 20 films and was one of the most important fortress strongholds on the old Salt Road where caravans brought slaves, gold, ivory and salt from Saharan Africa to Marrakech and beyond. Back in the car you'll follow the old Salt Road camel caravan route to Telouet to visit the old Glaoui kasbah. This once beautiful palace now stands crumbling to ruins because no one wants to remember "the vulture" sultan and his son "Thami" who lived here until the 1950's. After lunch descend the High Atlas mountains Tichka pass (2260m) to Marrakech. Arrive in Marrakech. You will need to book a hotel in Marrakech this night.
Luxury Desert Camp Option
Our luxury desert camp is set in a beautiful spot between sand dunes and gives the impression of being alone in the vast African desert while enjoying the comforts of a nomad king. We will enjoy a delicious dinner followed by camp fire time beneath the starry African sky. Nothing compares to the millions of stars, silence and peacefulness of the Sahara. Sleep in luxury tents feeling like stories from Arabian nights. Includes breakfast and dinner.
The camp is about 20 minutes off road driving in 4x4WD or 45 minutes to 1 hour camel trek.
For more information click on the menu across the top of this page.
FAQ's also has important information about visiting Morocco.
Telephone to Marrakech Morocco:
GSM: +212 667 705 212 / 661 498 177
Telephone from inside Marrakech Morocco:
GSM: 0 667 705 212 / 0 661 498 177
Telephone British Columbia Canada voice mail:
+1 604 393 3715
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Marrakech Morocco • British Columbia Canada
PRAISE FOR OUR TOURS
We just wanted to thank you for the fantastic trip we took with Morocco Explored while in Marrakech!! What started out to be a four person adventure ended up with 14 of us caravanning through the Atlas Mountains. Everyone was so happy that they had "joined the group" as they enjoyed the adventure so much.
Again, thanks so much for the wonderful experience!!
L McNary, Canada
Thank you for you good (New Years) wishes. We wish you the same, and more!! We consider our time in Morocco as one of the most wonderful experiences ever. Thanks, in no little measure, to you. I have attached some precious memories to share with you. Regards,
L Carr & family, Australia
I just wanted to let you know that we all had a great time! Essalah did a great job of getting us to all the places we hoped to see and the timing was fine. Both my friends were extremely happy with the trip, the experiences and the photos they got (we will see more as they get them developed). So... thank you VERY much for making it such a wonderful tour. This was their one trip to Morocco so I am glad it was a positive one (that was my job! [:)]
V Bowler, Morocco