BecomingX - Morocco Adventure
Everyone has the capacity to achieve extraordinary things - is this your opportunity?
Join the BecomingX team on a fascinating journey to explore the many differing sides of Morocco; discover her people - their colourful culture and traditions and the stunningly diverse landscapes. We start in Marrakesh which is of course also the gateway to Morocco's High Atlas region. Here, we spend some days trekking amongst the scenic mountains surrounded by towering snow capped peaks. We then journey across regions that seem untouched by time, as we explore the beauty and majesty of the vast Sahara desert dunes where they lap into Morocco. We explore desert towns, oasis’s and have adventures on foot and camel back in the dune systems, whilst learning about and experiencing the people and their traditional ways of life, before journeying back to the metropolis of Marrakesh.
BecomingX Morocco Adventure Itinerary
Day 1. Marrakech – arrival, airport transfer to hotel and overnight. Our journey starts and ends in Marrakesh, a city that sums up all of Morocco's exotic North African charm. Within the hustle of the medina, you'll find that the city is a blend of ancient and new. Just soaking up the atmosphere here tops the things on the 'to do' list, with snake charmers and smooth shop touts both competing for your attention amid a noisy, colourful bustle that encapsulates Morocco's vibrant soul.
Days 2, 3 & 4 – After a short drive out into the High Atlas Mountains we start our journey on foot with a wonderful 3-day hiking trip in the Azzaden Valley ending up back in Imlil.
We camp and stay in local Riads / Gites and spend lots of time learning about the people and enjoying the stunning scenery. We visit lofty waterfalls and remote Berber villages as we travel by foot across the corduroy valleys. The Azzaden Valley is a quiet and spectacular region of the High Atlas Mountains. It is adorned by Juniper and Walnut Trees that hug the valley floors, and visit the Berber villages and communities, in their simple stone buildings, which is a real treat.
Our route takes us past the Shrine of Siti to the village of Tizi Tachiddert which is where our charity, Moving Mountains undertook some important community building projects in the past, before reaching Imlil, which is the base for climbing the Atlas Mountains highest peak, Mount Toubkal. Throughout our three days trekking we’ll be gifted with jaw dropping scenery and although we don't climb Mt Toubkal, it is a constant and majestic backdrop.
Day 5. Today we drive to Ait Ben Haddou (4hrs), which is a famous desert fortress and one of main sights to see in Morocco. The Ksar of Aït-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture and was built due to it’s location on the main caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakesh. The Ksar is a collective of dwellings, inside the defensive walls which are reinforced by towers and pierced with a baffle gate. Houses crowd together - some modest, others resembling small urban castles with their high angular towers and upper sections decorated with motifs in clay brick - but there are also buildings and community areas too. It is an extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques. We’ll spend time exploring this unusual and fascinating Ksar before a short drive to Ouazazarte, (30 mins) where we’ll spend the night.
Day 6. In the morning we’ll visit the famous film sets at Ouazazarte, which over the years have played host to many famous Hollywood movies and most recently the Game of Thrones. After which we’ll enjoy a stunning drive to the Kalaat Mgouna - the valley of Roses. Pink roses start peeking through dense roadside hedgerows, and you can’t miss the bottles of local rosewater for sale in town. During the May rose harvest, rose garlands are everywhere, especially during the town’s signature rose festival (first weekend of May). We’ll then continue to the famous Dades Gorge which is a dramatic landscape to travel through with ancient rust-red and mauve mountains and zigzagging switchback roads surrounded by knobbly rock formations. It really is quite a sight! We’ll then stay overnight near Tinghir (2.5 hr drive in total without stops) – Accommodation in a local Riad.
Day 7. Today we’ll take a break from travelling and pop our walking shoes back on and enjoy some hikes round the area, which has some of the most beautiful desert mountain scenery in the country. – Todra Gorge is a massive and spectacular canyon, some 300 metres deep which splits the red limestone into a deep ravine. It is an amazing sight when the high mountain walls “open up” as you we walk through. We also explore the local oasis before returning for our evening meal and overnight stay.
Day 8. Today we drive to Erfoud (2.25hrs), known as the Gate of the Sahara Desert. We’ll explore the area and enjoy some wood-fired madfouna (Berber 'pizza'), fossils dating back hundreds of millions of years and the photogenic ancient Ksar of M’Aadid. We’ll then spend some time preparing for our desert trip.
Days 9 & 10 – After a short drive to Merzouga (45 min) we reach our base for 2 nights in the Erg Chebbi desert camp. This is very much a classic desert experience as we spend a couple of days immersed amongst a sea of mountainous desert dunes. We'll enjoy Camel rides and spend time learning and experiencing first-hand what desert lifestyle, food, travel and culture is all about. At night we can marvel at the myriad of stars in the desert night sky, whilst enjoying the warm companionship of our hosts.
Day 11. From the extremes of the desert we now head back towards Marrakesh via a southern loop that allows us to experience more of this fascinating region of Morocco. Our journey today (4hrs) takes us via Tazzarine to Zagora, which is a well-known desert oasis. The town itself is a welcome lush green area with many miles of date palms growing in the region and more recently, a successful watermelon harvest, all of which is possible due to the water from Morocco’s longest river, the Draa, that runs through the town. We'll also enjoy Zagora's street art and colourful culture.
Day 12. Today we have a longer journey (6 hrs) past Ait Ben Haddou until we reach Zat in the stunning Ourika Valley, which is another particularly beautiful place to see. This brings us to the end of our desert travels and within close reach of Marrakesh.
Day 13. In the morning we can relax and enjoy this fascinating area that lies in the shadow of both the Atlas mountains and Marrakesh. Then after a short drive of 1hr we'll be back in our city Riad for lunch. After the midday sun passes, we can explore the City and its markets. For shoppers, the city is famous as a frenzied hub for bargain hunting. For history-loving tourists, the many museums and monuments are some of the country's sightseeing must-dos. And for those who just want to dive into local culture, the medina offers Moroccan life in all its hectic, colourful, wonderful glory. Being our last night together we'll enjoy a celebratory evening mean at our Marrakesh Hotel.
Day 14. Depart for home, or if you’re on a late afternoon, or evening flight we can enjoy more of Marrakesh’s sights, sites and atmosphere. There are also options to extend your trip with some time visiting Morocco's famous coastline - do contact us if this is of interest.
BecomingX Morocco Adventure Map
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BecomingX Morocco Adventure Trip Terrain
This is an adventurous trip, but it is not extreme, nor does it require any previous experience or knowledge. It does involve some days of trekking and a lot of time in the outdoors, in what can be a very hot country. Participants must be able to follow instruction, advice and be able to look after themselves in terms of heat and sun exposure - all training will be provided along with water.
During the trek sections we'll walk on average 4 to 6 hours per day. Every day the trek starts after breakfast at about 8.30am and there are many opportunities to stop and take photos or have a drink along the trail. The pace is slow and we don't reach heights in terms of needing to acclimatise for high altitudes. Throughout the trek there are a few hills as we undulate across the valleys, but we take our time and there's no rush. Most days trekking is finished by early to mid afternoon.
The terrain is along well trodden and defined paths and presents no need for technical equipment. There are no precipitous drops that require ropes and we have a team of time proven and qualified guides with us at all times.
The desert sections can be hard work in the soft sand, hence at times using camels. The drives are not too long and pass through wonderful landscapes to look out and enjoy. We'll take regular refreshments stops as well as stopping at places of interest.
Accommodation and Food on the BecomingX Morocco Adventure
The food of Morocco ranks high on lists of the world's best cuisines and is well worth exploring. You won't be disappointed with the incredible variety, flavourful seasoning, and innovative ingredient combinations that await you. The main Moroccan dish that most people are familiar with is couscous; beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco, usually eaten in a tagine with a wide selection of vegetables. Chicken is also very commonly used in tagines or roasted. They also use additional ingredients such as plums, boiled eggs, and lemons. On the treks you can expect fresh meals, lot's of salads and we can cater for any diets if given advance notice.
We have a mixture of accommodation throughout this adventure ranging from City Riads (hotels), to camping to mountain refuges. They vary in standard based on our locations and what is available in the locality however, all are clean, well run, comfortable and secure.
BecomingX Morocco Adventure Packing List
The basic idea of the kit we will take is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun, able to move efficiently on the trek and able to be comfortable in the evenings and night. There is a detailed packing list on this page which shows what you need (note: you won't need winter climbing gear).
- BAGS - Large duffle ~90L (carried by mules) + medium daypack ~25L (carried by you)
- SHELL - Top and bottoms to keep off the rain
- BASELAYER - Thin layers to wick away sweat and to strip down to and keep the sun off when it gets hot
- FEET - Sturdy trekking Boots (not walking Shoes), flip flops or similar, footwear for city
- SLEEPING - sleeping bag and camping mat
- EATING/DRINKING - Water bottles & favourite energy-snacks for during the day
- WASH kit & MEDICAL kit
At the start of the trip, we will be in Marrakech. Here it is likely to be hot but we will be walking gently around town, not carrying anything. For this, you just need comfortable light-weight clothing and general shoes. As Morocco is a largely Muslim country it is respectful to dress modestly, covering at least most of the length of your arms and legs. This is especially true for women. Temperatures could be up as high as 35degC in the middle of the day with bright sunlight. Sunglasses, sunhat and sunblock are therefore pretty much essential.
On a general day of trekking in the mountains, we may be getting up early when it may be cooler, perhaps down to 10degC in the shade. We may, therefore, start walking with thin trekking trousers, a trekking shirt/base layer and perhaps a jumper or thin fleece. As we warm up while walking, and as the sun comes up above the peaks we start to get hotter. At this point, we will probably be wearing a thin top, thin trousers or shorts, sunhat and sunglasses. By midday, it may perhaps be 30degC, although on high passes and peaks the wind-chill of any breeze will make it feel much cooler.
While we are walking we will be carrying just a small rucksack or perhaps 25-35 litres. In this, we will have our water/windproof jacket and trousers, our warmer top, two litres of water, camera etc and some favourite high-energy snacks. When we have finished the day's walk we will arrive at our camp and probably be keen to get our boots and socks off and walk about in flip-flops or sandals. We may then add a warmer layer as the sun goes down.
For the desert sections you will need light clothing that offers shade from the sun but air flow for the heat. Sun hat, sunglasses and sun cream are required throughout the trip.
Rental items - You do not need any technical or special kit, but if you do not have all of the equipment that you need or forget something, you can rent most items in the villages before going on the trek.