About the challenge
Trek a challenging 100km through the awe-inspiring Sahara Desert! From flat desert floor scattered with ancient fossils to perfect wind-blown sand-dunes, and salt-pans creating strange mirages, the trekking is diverse and demanding. A vast, unforgiving landscape, the desert is a truly beautiful place to discover, while the incredible star-strewn night skies are unforgettable. Trekking through the Sahara can be humbling and life-changing; your everyday life back home will feel a million miles away! Accompanied by Berber guides and a small caravan of camels, our remote night-camps are scenes of friendly hospitality, with camp-fires and Berber singing often a real highlight of the trip!
A free day exploring the sights and souks of Marrakech provides a real contrast to our desert experience, and a great way to celebrate our achievement.
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|29 Oct 2016||9||Open challenge||Spaces||£199||+||£2200||Or||£1100||Book now|
|25 Feb 2017||9||Open challenge||Spaces||£199||+||£2300||£1150||Book now|
Day 1-2: Fly to Ouarzazate on edge of desert and drive to start point
Day 3-5: Trek among small dunes, occasional trees and stony plateau scattered with fossils; fabulous views
Day 6-9: Scale highest dune and cross shimmering salt pan, finish and drive to Marrakech; flight to UK
What makes it demanding?
Trek firm desert floor and soft sand
Strenuous ascents of dunes
Trek 6-7 hours each day
Heat can be intense; cold at night
Great interaction with Berber guides and cameleers
Camping and sleeping under desert skies whilst trekking
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
For details of our Marrakech Riad extension (adds 2 days min) please contact us.
The cost includes all accommodation as well as all flights and transfers, fuel supplement if charged by the airline, camping equipment (except sleeping bag and sleeping mat), all meals except three as specified in the itinerary, entrance to any sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of guides, cooks, cameleers and drivers.
It does not include personal travel insurance, one meal as specified, tips for local crew, or international departure tax. It also does not include any entrance fees for any optional sites you may wish to visit. There is an optional city tour of Marrakech on your free day (not included). Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Royal Air Maroc. However, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
When camping, water is scarce and reserved for drinking – for obvious reasons. However there should be a couple of opportunities to wash when we camp near wells. Wet-wipes are recommended for other days! We use good hotels with shower and toilet in each room at the start and end of the trip. Please do not expect the same standards as you would in the UK!
All food is included when camping. The food is great, very varied and there is plenty of it! Three meals as specified in the itinerary are not included.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic, who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in Morocco would be led by two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, drivers, cameleers and cooks. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and cameleers do not always speak English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew works closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. All luggage, food, water and camping equipment is carried by camels accompanied by cameleers, and some landrovers. It is essential that your luggage is carried in either a soft expedition kitbag or soft rucksack. These are easily loaded onto the camels. Hard-sided luggage is completely unsuitable. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
We trek over stony, firm desert floor (hamada) and loose, soft, and in places steep, sand dunes. We are travelling through remote desert and through the occasional small oasis. You will trek approximately 100km on this trip overall. Because of the varied terrain and lack of accurate maps, it’s impossible to give accurate daily distances; moreover these can vary year to year because of the natural movement of the dunes. It’s also much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for!
Clothing & Equipment
We might be in the desert but be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Conditions can change quickly particularly if the wind picks up and sand storms begin. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Days in the desert are usually clear and sunny, and it can get very hot. Nights are colder and the temperature drops noticeably as soon as the sun sets. There may even be frost on the tents some mornings. It can rain in this part of the desert, though it is not common.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least 6 months after arrival in Morocco. There is currently no visa requirement for UK citizens. Other nationalities should check entry requirements.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up. Please see our website for more details.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.