6-day New Year adventure following the ancient Trans-Saharan caravans route in Morocco!
Thursday 29 Dec 2016 to Tuesday 3 January 2017
Due to high demand, we have now added this SECOND GROUP for this amazing trip!It will run on the same dates, and visit the same places but in a slightly different order and independently from the other group to meet our small-group requirements. Both groups will join in the desert on New Year's eve to celebrate the New Year. This group will be led by a local, English-speaking guide only, the Meetup organiser is travelling with Group One.
- welcome the New Year under the stars in the middle of M’Hamid desert, singing and dancing with the nomads around a bonfire - a must on your ultimate travel bucket list!
- ancient kasbahs and remote villages
- visiting the fortified city of Aït Ben Haddou
- camel trek to the sand dunes of Zagora
- a night with the local Berber family in a traditional village house in Fint Oasis
- hiking to Jebel Zagora to enjoy the magnificent views of the rich Draa Valley and the desert
- Marrakech - exploring the narrow alleys of its famous medina and the unforgettable Jemaa el Fna market
There are only 14 places in total available on this trip. First come, first served. Please note that RSVP Yes does not guarantee or hold you a place.
There is now a discussion board for this trip - please use it instead of the comments section to arrange meeting up in Marrakesh on day one, extending your stay, organising any extra activities, discussing flights, etc http://www.meetup.com/Adventure-Go/messages/boards/thread/50008624/#[masked]
Day 1. (Thurs 29 Dec) Arrival to Marrakesh
You can arrive at anytime to Marrakesh airport where you will be picked up. Marrakech is a bustling mercantile city that will also be our last stop at the end of our adventure. Its iconic Jamaa Fna square is still busy with storytellers, snake charmers, artisan markets, and all sorts of shopping stalls. The first stop after landing in Morocco will be at our riad in the centre of the medina, or the city's old town. A riad is a traditional building in southern Morocco, a large two-story house built around a courtyard. In the evening, once all the group members have arrived, we'll gather at the riad with our guide to discuss our upcoming adventure.
Accommodation: riad in Marrakesh
Day 2 (Fri 30 Dec) Crossing the majestic Atlas Mountains and the fortified city of Aït Ben Haddou
After breakfast, we begin our journey across the Atlas mountains, driving through the breathtaking unspoilt landscapes, the isolated villages of the Ounila valley and its ancient kasbahs on an incredible journey across the Atlas mountains.
On the way we will visit Kasbah de Talouete , the fortified city of Aït Ben Haddou, a famous Moroccan ksar where many films have been set (and a Unesco World Heritage Site). Both of these locations were routine stops for merchants on the caravan trade route.
Our day will end at Ouarzazate, the main capital city on the other side of the Atlas Mountains, known for its film studios, the filming location of the countless Hollywood movies (Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, Babel, etc)
Dinner in our Riad (included)
Accommodation: Riad in Ouarzazate
Day 3. (Sat 31 Dec) Along the Tran-saharan route to the dunes M’Hamid - celebrating New Year in the desert under the stars
After breakfast (included) we travel South to the dunes of Zagora. Along the way we will see the highlights of the trans-saharan caravan route, like the town of Agdz. After lunch, we will go for a camel ride to explore the desert in search of a nomad camp where we will have our dinner (included). We watch the sunset over the dunes, then welcome the arrival of the New Year while singing and dancing with the nomads around the bonfire. We sleep in the middle of the dunes, under the stars. This is an unforgettable experience and a definite must on your travel bucket list!
Accommodation: Sleep under the stars in the middle of the dunes.
Day 4. (Sun 1 Jan) Admire the fertile Draa Valley and hike up the Jbel Zagora for fantastic views
We wake up early to the silence of the desert and watch the first sunrise of the new year over the dunes! We enjoy our breakfast (included) with the nomads under a palm tree. We then have two options – we can ascent to Jebel Zagora (2,640ft / c800m) and admire the magnificent views from the top of the rich Draa Valley and the desert. Or we can pay visit to a Draa valley village and one of their handicrafts cooperatives. We can optionally have lunch by the pool at a restored kasbah at the bottom of the Jbel Zagora, in the Amezrou palm grove. After eating (and optionally a swim), we'll follow the river north to Tammnougalt, where we'll stop to visit its Jewish kasbah.
We'll then explore the remote Fint Oasis, where we'll enjoy a family dinner, and end our day among palm trees.
Accommodation: Sleeping in a locals’ village house in Fint Oasis
Day 5. (Mon 2 Jan) Across the Atlas Mountains back to exciting Marrakech
After breakfast in the oasis (included) we drive to the legendary city of Marrakech. We’ll have lunch along the way. Once we are in Marrakech and check in to our Riad, you can either go for a guided walk around the medina (old town) or have a free afternoon to explore this magical city on your own. Our guides will give you some suggestions on what you could see and do. We will meet again as a group in the evening, and visit the famous ancient Jemaa el Fna market – be prepared for an unforgettable and immersive experience with its riot of colour, food, smells, snake charmers and storytellers.
Accommodation: Comfortable Riad in the ancient Medina of Marrakech
Day 6 (Tuesday 3 Jan) Marrakech and departure
After breakfast (included), we check out of our rooms and have a day free to further explore and discover Marrakech.
Airport transfers will be arranged according to your booked flights. There are three direct flights to London that day, two in the morning and one in the evening.
As an adult, you accept that you are, at all times, responsible for your own safety. You should not attempt to undertake anything beyond your abilities.
This trip has been organised exclusively for the members of our Adventure Go and The London Travel Group Meetup groups by our friends at Rug and Rock Adventures Ltd . They are a small UK-based tour operator, specialising in Morocco adventure trips with a difference, with a mission to give you a truly authentic and immersive experience of this beautiful country, while aiming for a sustainable tourism by supporting local communities.
They have already organised two amazing adventures for us, check out pictures and comments here:
Hiking in Atlas mountains & Mt Toubkal ascent in April 2016:http://www.meetup.com/Adventure-Go/events/227121830/
Trans-Saharan adventure in Sept 2015:http://www.meetup.com/Adventure-Go/events/221954279/
Early Bird £350 (if booked before 31st October) or £375 (if booked after 31st October). This is a discounted price for Adventure Go! and The London Travel Group members (regular price is £395)
What is included in the price:
- 5 nights accommodation (2 x Riad in Marrakesh, 1 x village house in Fint oasis, 1 x wild desert camp, 1x Kasbah-Riad in Ouarzazate.)
- 5 breakfasts, 3 dinners – please let us know at the time of booking if you have any food allergies or special dietary requirements. We will try our best to accommodate you, but you might also need to bring your own food.
- airport transfers
- private transport throughout
- guided camel trek in the desert
- local guides and tour leader
- Meetup fees
- Financial protection in accordance with The Package Travel regulation
What is not included in the price:
- travel insurance
- meals other than stated (allow £5-10 per meal)
- sleeping bags
- personal expenses and any optional activities
To get the best experience of true Morocco, we will stay in three different types of accommodation during our trip.
Riads – 3 nights in twin rooms in comfortable riads (traditional guesthouses), Ouarzazate and Marrakech
Desert camp – 1 night sleeping under the stars in the desert nomad camp. Here you will need your own sleeping bags. There will be additional blankets available if it gets too chilly.
Village house – 1 night in twin or triple rooms in a Berber village house in Fint Oasis. This accommodation is basic, but gives you a truly unique opportunity to share the life of the local Berber people for a day. Own sleeping bag or at least sleeping bag liner is recommended.
BOOKING AND PAYMENTS
There are only 14 places in total available on this trip.
IMPORTANT: once you RSVP you need to pay a deposit to reserve your place. If you have not paid or contacted us within two days of RSVPing, your RSVP will be changed to 'not attending'. Otherwise others are put off from booking because they think the trip is already full.
£120 deposit, paid directly to Rug and Rock Adventures Ltd, is required to reserve your place. Places will be allocated on first come first served basis. Please do not book your flights until you have received a confirmation that your place has been reserved.
1. Please transfer the payment to the following bank account and use the reference “AG004”:
RUG AND ROCK ADVENTURES LTD
2. Important: once you have made you deposit payment, email both us at [masked] and Rug & Rock Adventures at [masked] with the following details:
your full name, your Meetup group name, contact telephone number, your address, the date you made the payment, and the amount of payment you transferred. Please use ‘Morocco trans-Saharan adventure’ in the email subject line.
3. Once your payment has been received, you will be contacted by Rug and Rock Adventures with the confirmation of booking. Only book your flights once you have received this confirmation! In case the trip is fully booked by the time your payment comes through, you will be refunded in full straight away.
4. The balance (Early Bird £230 or £255) needs to be received by no later than Monday 21 November 2016 , or you will lose your deposit and the place made available to others.It is you own responsibility to remember to make the payment on time. You can pay the full amount straight away if you prefer.
5. If you make your booking after 21 November, the full cost of the trip needs to be paid in order to secure your place.
Your payment is covered by Financial protection in accordance with The Package Travel Regulation.
CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS
The initial £120 deposit payment, and then any balance payment received after 21 November are non-refundable, unless:
- the trip is cancelled or rescheduled (full payment received will be refunded)
- you contact us to cancel within 7 working days from the date you made the initial payment (payment received minus £20 cancellation fee will be refunded)
You can always offer your place to other members, either by advertising it in the Comments section for this meetup or by contacting any members on the waiting list. There is no charge if you wish to transfer your place to someone else.
You must obtain adequate travel insurance to join this trip. You are responsible for arranging your own travel insurance. You must bring your travel insurance details with you, including the emergency medical help number.
It is your responsibility to make sure you check if you need a VISA to enter Morocco, and to arrange all travel documents in good time before the trip.
British nationals do not need a visa to enter Morocco, but you have to bring your passport.
Airport transfers from and back to Marrakesh Menara airport are included in the price. You can arrive anytime on day one (29 December), and depart anytime on day six (3 January)
Check Skyscanner.net for best flight options.
The flight prices are going to go up sharply closer to the date. You might wish to extend your stay in Marrakech for a day or two to get a considerably cheaper fare. There are plenty of very affordable accommodation options in Marrakech - contact [masked] if you'd like them to make the arrangements for you, or check your options on booking.com
WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU
- comfortable walking shoes or trainers
- travel insurance policy details
- sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner
- comfortable backpack/ day-pack
- sunscreen, sunglasses, hat
- loose comfortable clothes for hot days, and chilly nights
- Personal medication
- Money for meals not included, tips, optional activities and other personal expenses
Local currency is Moroccan Dirham. You will be able to change your money or use the ATM at the airport before the start of the trip.