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10-day adventure

Trek to the Sahara Desert

Morocco
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Code: MRSD

10 days
Moderate

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our UK team

Our local team

A country that has such contrasting trekking locations, Morocco offers a variety of incredible hikes, between the rocky outcrops of the High Atlas to the rolling dunes of the Sahara. Our local team can pick a path through the infinite dunes and rocky outcrops with their eyes closed! Our operations in Morocco are managed by our very own local Berber guide Mohamed Zbair. He and his highly experienced team know the local paths like the back of...
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Kandoo's view

Be immersed in the vast expanse of amber dunes, billowing out into the infinite Sahara. A magnificent trek across a desert where intense light glorifies the sands by day then blankets them in a comforting calm as night falls. Spend unforgettable nights depicting the thousands of stars smattered across the endless sky and trek to the rhythm of the caravan, a true Bedouin experience. Heading south from Form Zguid, traversing the beautiful arch of Jbel Bani, that provides the backdrop for our trek, we step into another world. Marvelling at the sunlight, casting mystical shadows over Erg Rhoul, Erg Lâalem, Erg Lâabidlya and Chintouf, we savour our time, swaying between a steady plod and siestas under the cool shade of canopy.

Trip highlights

  • Marvel at the endless, dark skies, smattered with stars.
  • Trek to the steady rhythm of the caravan as it plods over ochre dunes.
  • Cross the expansive dunes of the Sahara.
  • Bake bread in the traditional style of the locals.

Experiences

  • Kandoo Trekking
    Hikers in Thorong, during the Annapurnas Tour
    Our core collection of treks and hikes, through some of the world's most outstanding landscapes

Gallery

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Marrakesh

    Arrive into Marrakesh and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your flight time, spend the afternoon exploring the famous Medina markets and hidden souks of the city. A pre-trek briefing will be held at 7pm this in your hotel foyer in Marrakesh. If you should arrive on a later flight, you will be given the full briefing the next morning before you set off on your trek.

    • Transport: Private transfer
    • Accomodation: Hotel
  • Day 2

    Tighza - Kasbah of Aït Ben Haddou - Ouarzazate

    We depart early this morning to cross the stunning peaks of the High Atlas on our way to Ouarzazate. On the way, we stop at the rural village of Tighza, making the short walk up the scenic valley, for a sumptuous lunch sampling local delicacies. We then continue on to visit the regal Kasbah of Aït Ben Haddou; an iconic site used in many famous televised scenes. After having some time to explore the narrow passageways of this ancient settlement, we head to Ouarzazate and have some time to prepare for our dunes adventure.

    • Transport: Private transfer
    • Hiking time: 1.5 hours
    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
  • Day 3

    Ouarzazate – Foum Zguid – Erg el Rhoul

    Another early morning departure by road takes us to Foum Zguid, the last droplets of civilisation before the expansive wilderness of the desert. Climbing aboard our 4x4 vehicles, we set out into this desolate kingdom. We pitch camp at the edge of the immense sea of sand and meet our team of camel drivers who will accompany us during the trek.

    • Transport: Private transfer, 4x4 Vehicle (4 hours)
    • Hiking time: 2 hours
    • Accomodation: Camping
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
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Trip information

Difficulty

A trek through the desert requires you to be in good physical condition and have some experience of walking for up to 5 hours a day for several days in a row.  The trail will vary from rocky paths to sand dunes, which can be quite demanding, particularly in the desert heat. 


There won't be any changes in altitude and little height gain or loss on each day.  A good amount of endurance is necessary but mental stamina is the most important thing.


This programme does not require any technical climbing ability or experience but you should try to be in the best physical condition possible before departure.  You will be accompanied by a qualified Berber guide at all times as well as your cook and camel drivers. As well as hiking you will also be assisting the team with packing away and putting up tents. On this trip, you are part of the team and must do your share of the work. Although this makes the adventure a little more demanding, it also adds to the enormous sense of satisfaction and achievement at the end of your journey. 


If you have any questions about your suitability or how to prepare for this trip please do not hesitate to contact us.

Food & drink

During your trek you will be accompanied by a cook who will prepare all of your meals.  At breakfast there is tea and coffee, bread, jam, cheese and a local breakfast speciality.  A typical lunch will be a salad with fresh vegetables, corn, boiled eggs, tuna and rice or pasta. 

 

Evening meals will always be made up of delicious Moroccan cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients.  There will normally be a soup starter followed by a tagine or stew with salad and couscous or pasta.  We can provide vegetarian, vegan or gluten free meals on request.   If you have special dietary requirements please let us know when booking your trip.

In Marrakesh, at the start and end of your trip, you can purchase meals at the hotel or head out in to the city to find a restaurant.  Less than a 5 minute walk from the hotel you will find Bd Moulay Rachid, a street with a wide range of international and local options and you will find most dietary requirements are catered for. Restaurants with international options such as pizza and burgers, French and local cuisine, or if you are wanting something lighter then look for the roadside cafes offering the locals favourite, Omelette Khaali (lamb omelette) and Mint Tea.   

 

On the trek we will provide mineral water for you to drink. You will need to bring with you at least two water bottles or flasks to top up daily. Prior to and after the trek, your drinks are not included, you may wish to bring a water filter for use during these times, or simply buy bottled water. 

Accommodation

Camping

We provide a good quality 3 man tent. They are designed to sleep three people, but we only ever sleep 2 to a tent, to ensure you have plenty of space for you and your gear. Keep in mind, these are proper mountain tents, designed to cope with extreme conditions so don’t expect to be able to stand up and walk around inside! A foam mattress per person will also be provided. You will be required to assist with pitching your own tent at the end of each day. 


Your meals will be taken in a separate mess tent where you will be able to sit comfortably, while you relax and chat to your team mates and enjoy some of the delicious food that our cook has freshly prepared for you. Inside, you’ll be pleased to find a table (of course) and fold out stools so there is no need to sit on the floor! 

 

At camp each evening we will set up a toilet tent.  This is a very basic facility that provides a little privacy.  The toilet tent will simply cover a hole in the ground. If you don't wish to use the toilet tent there is always the option to find somewhere hidden, away from camp or the path and go wild. We can guarantee it will be the most scenic toilet break you've ever had! Please remember to bring toilet roll and a lighter to burn it after use. 

A wash basin can also be provided on request with cold water.

 

Other Accommodation

In Marrakesh and in Ouarzazate, you will be staying in comfortable 4 star hotels in an en-suite twin or double room. The hotel in Marrakesh has a swimming pool, restaurant and free WiFi. 

Transport

You will travel in a private transfer vehicle between Marrakesh-Form Zguid and Mhamid - Marrakesh.

 

Where the terrain is rougher, you will travel by 4x4 vehicle.

Luggage

Main bag weight: 15kg

During the trek your luggage will be carried by camels.  To be suitable for carrying, your duffel bag must be flexible not rigid, maximum 100 litres and weigh no more than 15kg. You should also bring a small day pack to carry water, snacks and anything else you may need whilst trekking.  This could be used as your hand luggage on your flight.

 

Lost / delayed luggage

We recommend that you wear your walking boots to travel and pack as many essential items as possible in your carry-on luggage. If your luggage is delayed we can then do our best to kit you out to start the trek on time. In the event that your luggage is delayed or lost, our procedure is as follows:

Establish what items are missing and a contingency plan for each critical item

If it reaches 6pm on the evening before starting the trek and your luggage has not arrived we recommend buying and/or hiring items immediately as a precaution

We will take you to a shop where you can buy toiletry items, e.g. toothbrush. You will be able to find everything you need in Marrakesh.

We will do everything we can to help if your luggage is lost or delayed. Be sure to check your insurance policy coverage for lost luggage cover.

How do I get there?

You will need to arrive in Marrakesh on day 1 of your itinerary and the trek will begin the following morning. For UK travellers there are direct flights with BA, Easy Jet and Ryan Air from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and Manchester. With a short stop in Europe, you can travel from virtually any major UK airport. The flight time from the UK is roughly four hours.

There are no direct flights to Marrakesh from the USA but, it is only necessary to have a short stop of less than 3 and a half hours somewhere in Europe. Delta Airways operate convenient flights via Paris from New York, Boston and Los Angles. TAP Air Portugal, American Airlines and United provide further options.

Menara Airport is located 9km outside the city of Marrakesh and the transfer to your hotel will take between 20 and 30 mins. We provide personalised transfers so somebody will be at the airport to meet you when your flight gets in. Please be aware that if your flight arrives within 90 minutes of another guest you may be asked to wait until they have arrived to share a transfer. Rest assured, you won't be asked to wait for more than 90 minutes. 

Once you have cleared immigration and collected your luggage please exit the arrivals area and look out for a Kandoo team member holding a big sign reading "KANDOO". Once you have exited arrivals you will not be allowed back in, so please ensure you have exchanged your money and any other necessary errands before leaving the airport. Please bear in mind that meals in Marrakesh are not included in your trip. This means if you arrive on a very late flight you may struggle to find somewhere to eat by the time you have reached the hotel. We recommend booking a flight that arrives in Marrakesh no later than 5:30pm, allowing you to reach the hotel with plenty of time to have a relaxed meal before bed.

On the final day of your trip we will provide return transfers at 7am and 12pm Remember for international flights you need to arrive at least 2 hours before departure. Delays can occur, and making your flight is your responsibility.

Due to local regulations at Marrakesh, mobile boarding passes are not valid for your return flight. You will need to print your boarding pass and go to the check-in desk to get your documents checked, even if you don't have bags to drop off.

If you are changing airlines or re-checking your luggage at an airport on route, please ensure you leave a minimum of 3 hours between flights. This will account for any delays on arrival, travel time across airports (this can take longer than you think) and time taken to re-check baggage.

Pre-trek briefing

A pre-trek briefing will be held at 7pm on the evening of Day 1 in your hotel foyer in Marrakesh and we strongly recommend that you book a flight that arrives in time for you to attend the briefing. If you should arrive on a later flight, you will be given the full briefing the next morning before you set off on your trek. 

Budget & change

The local currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).  For the most up to date exchange rate please visit www.xe.com.


The dirham is a closed currency, which means it can only be bought once you arrive in Morocco. You’re allowed to bring in or take out 1000Dh (around £65) but you’ll need to exchange the rest on arrival. You can get good exchange rates at the airport with cash and credit card exchange available alongside baggage reclaim and debit/travel card exchange available in the arrivals buildings after you have cleared customs. You can also exchange your GBP (don’t bring Scottish, Gibraltar or Northern Irish Sterling notes) or US Dollars to Dirhams at a bank and in most hotels. Keep hold of your receipt to convert your Dirhams back when you leave – you can do this at the airport for a good rate.

A meal out for 2 people in Morocco will cost ~$15. You will need to account for two evening meals in Marrakesh plus money for any lunches whilst in Marrakesh, tips, drinks and souvenirs. Gifts and souvenirs are best acquired from the markets in the Medina. Prepare to get haggling! Our recommended guidance for spending budget in Morocco would be between $50-100 on top of your tips, give you ample souvenir spending money. 

Tips

Tipping is common in Morocco but not mandatory and should be based on the level of service you feel you have received.  The below amounts will give you a rough idea of how much you should tip (per trekker per week). Please tip in Moroccan Dirham rather than in your home currency where possible. 

Guide: 100-160 MAD ($10-15)

Cook: 85-110 MAD ($8-10) 

Camel drivers: 160-210 MAD ($15-20) - amount per driver (depending on your group size you may have between 3-7 camels and drivers)


Different crew members will be with you for different stages of your trip to Morocco:

 

  • Your guide will be with you every day that you are in Morocco.
  •  Your cook and camel drivers will be with you while you are on the trek itself (you may have up to 7 camel drivers on your trek, depending on the number of participants. You will be provided with this information 3 weeks before departure)
  •  A driver will provide your airport transfers and transfer you to and from the trek.

Formalities & health

Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your return date. We recommended you keep a colour photocopy of your passport with you at all times.

Visa

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa to enter Morocco for a period of up to 90 days, however, you should check the latest information with the Moroccan authorities before travelling.

Vaccinations

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for travel to Morocco. It is your responsibility to check the latest health information before departure.

Hepatitis A / Hepatitis B / Typhoid / Polio / Tetanus

Insurance

Before you can join any Kandoo Adventures trek / climb, you will need to insure yourself against accident, injury, and illness. Your insurance must cover the cost of helicopter evacuation and repatriation if necessary. Make sure your insurer knows of your travel plans, and verify that your policy fully covers your trek / climb, and any other activities you will participate in. Specifically for all our adventures in Morocco, you need to be covered for trekking up to 4200m. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your trip. Please ensure that all activities, excursions and destinations in your itinerary are included in your travel insurance policy, in addition to your regular cover for cancellation and medical expenses.

We ask that you keep a copy of your policy summary (containing policy number and the emergency contact number for your insurer) in your day sack at all times, so that we can access this information should we need to contact the insurer on your behalf. You will also need to bring details of your insurance cover to the pre-trek briefing.

Medication

Your guide carries a first aid kit at all times but we recommend you carry the following items : - Painkillers - Anti-diarrhoea tablets - Sunscreen (high factor) for lips and skin - Moisturising cream (for sunburn) - Elastic bandage and regular bandages - Sanitary products - Water purifying tablets or filters - Mosquito spray - Blister bandage.

Other information

Alcohol:
Although Morocco is more liberal than many other Muslim nations you do need to be careful when purchasing or consuming alcohol.  Morocco does allow the consumption of alcohol and you can buy beer, wine and spirits in licensed hotels, bars and supermarkets.  In supermarkets there will often be a separate alcohol room which is out of sight.  If you attempt to purchase alcohol outside of one of these licensed areas then you may find yourself in trouble with the police. 

Bars with a licence to sell alcohol will not usually have windows.  This is because although it is legal to purchase and drink alcohol on the premises, you are not allowed to be seen by the general public outside.  Officially only tourists are allowed to drink outside but to avoid causing any offence it is best avoided.  You are allowed to bring alcohol in to the country with you, but only a maximum of 1 litre.  

While in Marrakesh, if you want to have a drink with a meal, it is best to check with the restaurant if they serve alcohol before you sit down.  You should also ask if they are happy for you to sit anywhere whilst drinking or if they would prefer you to sit at a corner table out of sight.  While you are up in the desert trekking, things tend to be a bit more relaxed than in the city.  However, it is best to show some consideration for your cook and porters by checking with your guide before you crack open the whisky. 

Dressing appropriately:
Although Moroccan people are very tolerant of tourists it is always a good idea to be respectful of the local customs. We would advise female travellers to keep their knees, shoulders and stomachs covered while out in public to avoid any unwanted attention. You need to balance this conservative style of dress with the excessive heat that you may experience in Marrakesh. A long sleeved maxi dress will keep you covered while providing some airflow to keep you cool. Long sleeve breezy button up shirts, harem trousers or jeans are also good options.

For men it is best not to walk around topless despite the heat. Moroccan men do not tend to wear shorts, although there is certainly no problem with male tourists doing this, if you want to blend in with the locals then go for some loose fitting cotton trousers.

Animal welfare:
In the desert the use of camels and cameleers is very common.  The strong and sturdy camels have spent their lives in the heat of the desert and can transport your gear from A to B with ease.  Camels are a big source of income for the local people, as a result they are generally treated with great respect and consideration for their well being.  However there are always exceptions and in some cases camels in the Sahara desert have experienced terrible neglect and cruelty. 

Kandoo Adventures are committed to ensuring that the camels we use on our treks receive only the very best treatment. 

To ensure the animals are never overloaded we have placed restrictions on the weight of the luggage you can bring with you.  Your main bag must always be flexible and not weigh more than 15kg.  The maximum load a camel can carry is 80kg, this will ensure the health and comfort of the camel as well as a sustainable working life.  We will not start trekking with camels who are obviously lame, sick or wounded.  We only work with a select number of cameleers who we know and trust to provide the very best level of care to their animals.

Equipment & clothing

Equipment supplied by Kandoo Adventures

  • 1 tent per 2 people
  • 1 mattress per person
  • Communal dining tent
  • Toilet tent

Clothing to bring

  • Wide brimmed hat for sun protection
  • Hat for warmth
  • Scarf or head scarf that can be wet
  • Sunglasses
  • Long sleeve shirts or cotton t-shirts
  • Jumpers, 1 light weight and 1 warm
  • Windproof and waterproof jacket with hood
  • Breathable fast drying underwear
  • Warm gloves
  • Comfortable long trousers (fast drying)
  • Waterproof trousers
  • 1 or 2 pairs of long shorts
  • Trainers or sandals for evenings
  • Wool and cotton socks
  • Hiking boots (high rise, sturdy soles)
  • Swimming costume may be useful 

Equipment to bring

  • Sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner
  • 2 water bottles or flasks minimum (1 litre)
  • Walking poles (highly recommended)
  • Head torch with spare batteries and bulb
  • Toiletries (including wet wipes)
  • Toilet paper and a lighter for burning it after use
  • Container for any toxic rubbish (batteries, sanitary items etc)
  • Duffel bag (80 to 100 litres), flexible and water resistant (must not exceed 15kg)
  • Daypack (30 to 40 litres) to carry with you each day
  • Water purification system (charcoal filter, chlorine tablets or similar)
  • Camera
  • Microfibre towel
  • Sun cream (high factor)

Dates & prices

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26/10/2024 04/11/2024 $1,105 £849
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16/11/2024 25/11/2024 $1,105 £849
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07/12/2024 16/12/2024 $1,105 £849
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01/03/2025 10/03/2025 $1,165 £899
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05/04/2025 14/04/2025 $1,165 £899
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25/10/2025 03/11/2025 $1,165 £899
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15/11/2025 24/11/2025 $1,165 £899
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06/12/2025 15/12/2025 $1,165 £899
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Want to ask us a question or book a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!

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Price includes

  • Airport transfers
  • A qualified English-speaking mountain guide
  • All transportation as detailed above
  • 9 nights accommodation: 4 nights in hotels, 5 nights camping
  • Tents and mattresses
  • 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Mineral water whilst on trek

Price does not include

  • Flights and Visas
  • Drinks when not on the trek
  • Tips
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any meals not listed in the programme details

Options

Additional hotel nights in Marrakesh prior to or after your trip can be arranged. Please speak to a member of our team if you wish to add this to your trip.