Current as of: June 14, 2024 - 16:04

Morocco Camels

Marrakech & the Sahara Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Morocco
  • Programmes: Culture
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: AMS
  • Carbon Footprint: 21kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Embark on an exciting adventure in the Sahara and High Atlas Mountains

Experience the grandeur of the Sahara as we journey from Marrakech across the High Atlas Mountains to the palm groves of the Draa Valley and the gateway to the desert at Zagora. En route, we’ll explore the Unesco-listed ksar (fortified village) of Ait Benhaddou, before a camel trek and night under a thousand stars on the edge of the largest desert in the world, the Sahara. On our way back to the city, we’ll stop in the remote village of Tighza and enjoy a peaceful walk and authentic hammam. Finally, there is free time to enjoy the sights and smells of Marrakech, one of the great cities of the Arabic world.

At a Glance

  • Five nights in hotels, one night in a gite and one night in a Sahara camp with shared facilities
  • Travel by private minibus and camel
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Minimum age: 16


  • Experience varied scenery from the Sahara to the High Atlas Mountains
  • Journey into the desert by camel and spend a memorable night under the stars
  • Visit Tighza and experience a traditional hammam
  • Walk in the magnificent High Atlas Mountains
  • Explore Marrakech with its lively souks and peaceful gardens

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is rated Activity Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate). For more on our ratings, please visit our Activity Level guidelines.

This trip visits as much as possible in a week taking in two major highlights, Marrakech and the Sahara. Morocco is stunning but large and the cities and country areas are spread out. This means there are sometimes long journeys, but this is the only way to see all the country offers. We are not confined to our vehicle though, as there are plenty of photo stops and opportunities to stretch your legs.The approximate drive times are noted on the daily itinerary.

Please note, accommodation standards are generally comparable to sub-Saharan Africa, although the warm Amazigh welcome makes up for this. There are various walks available around the remote village of Tighza and the leader will choose the best walk according to the weather and ability of the group.

The temperatures in Morocco are hot in the summer months but we try to make the most of the coolest parts of the day for our sightseeing so you can expect some early starts.  Expect it to be hot to very hot in the desert from May through to September.

Morocco can get cold in the winter months though usually daytime temperatures are mild. It is advisable to pack winter clothes for November through to March when nighttime temperatures especially in the desert and the mountains can drop considerably. During these months there can also be rain throughout the country and snow in the mountains. As Morocco is generally mild to hot it is not set up for colder temperatures and so there may not be heaters available. Please pack winter clothes and nightwear to ensure you are comfortable. Of course you can also ask for more blankets from the hotels. Please be prepared for the colder months.

Ramadan is expected to run from approximately 10 March-10 April 2024 and 28 February-29 March 2025. One of the most important periods in the Islamic calendar, it is a special time to visit a Muslim country. Each evening, the streets empty as people head home to break the fast, followed by an air of festivity upon their return. Our leaders and drivers choose to work at this time so we continue to run trips; however, their energy levels may be slightly lower than normal. Many tourist sites, restaurants and shops will have an amended schedule, but your tour leader will know how to adapt the itinerary to still experience all the inclusions on this trip and maximise your experience during this special time.


There will be a local leader and a driver and local guides at various sites.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 5

Max group size: 16



Land Only

  • Start City: Marrakech
  • End City: Marrakech

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Marrakech

The tour starts at our Marrakech hotel this afternoon.

Accommodation: Akabar Hotel (or similar)

Day 2
Across the High Atlas to Ait Benhaddou

With time to explore Marrakech at the end of our journey, we leave the Red City behind and head into the Atlas Mountains. Our destination for the day is the well-preserved ksar of Ait Benhaddou. This Unesco World Heritage site is one of the most spectacular landmarks in the Atlas and the filming location for several Hollywood movies, including Gladiator (2000). The route takes us over the Tizi n’Tichka pass, the highest in Morocco, arriving mid-afternoon. We take a tour through the ksar and then return to our hotel for dinner.

Accommodation: Rose du Sable (or similar)

Drive time: Four hours

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3
Draa Valley, camel ride and Amazigh camp

We travel through Ouarzazate, nicknamed the door to the desert because it used to be a crossing point for African traders on their way to Europe. It is now the site of the Atlas Film Studios, the setting for many Hollywood films and Game of Thrones. It’s also home to the impressive Kasbah Taourirt, a grand fort largely constructed from rammed earth and mud-brick.

We then head south with a 4hr 30min drive along the Draa Valley, which contains more than 4m palm trees and is bordered by many ksours (fortified villages). Here we embark on a one and a half hour camel trek and venture further into the Sahara, where we spend the night at a simple Bedouin camp for spectacular stargazing. Surrounded by silence and millions of stars, we can appreciate the immensity of the desert.

Accommodation: Camp Chez Le Pacha (full-service camping)

Drive time: 5hr 30min

Please note: As we venture into the desert, you are requested to only bring an overnight bag and leave all your remaining luggage with the vehicle. Please pack your overnight bag ready for today.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4
Camel ride; on to Zagora and free time

We wake in the desert silence, then take a return camel ride and a short drive to Zagora. There’s time to rest, have a shower and enjoy the pool. Later in the afternoon, we can take an optional walk into the valley and around this famous desert outpost.

Accommodation: Hotel Chez le Pacha (or similar)

Drive time: Two hours

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Into the High Atlas Mountains; walk to remote village of Tighza and visit the local hammam

We travel west through the Draa Valley to join the Ounila Valley in the High Atlas Mountains. We start our walk from Animeter on a track with short steep inclines passing through small villages. After about 1hr 30min, we arrive at our gite in Tighza where we spend the night. Tighza is a rural village set in the Atlas mountains. From the terrace of our Gite you can look down into the valley and enjoy the sunset over the surrounding mountains. It is a peaceful retreat and provides the opportunity to meet local villagers and share their way of life.

In the evening, we  visit the village hammam, built with money raised by Exodus clients. This is a truly authentic experience. It is very much a traditional hammam and you are likely to get the opportunity to mix with the villagers, which further adds to the experience. Please don’t expect a spa treatment. A standard treatment is included, but you will need to purchase a scrubber and soap for 20 Moroccan dirham (US$2) and pay a customary tip of 20 dirham. Refreshed, we return to the gite for our dinner in the mountains.

Accommodation: Tighza gite (or similar)

Drive time: 4hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6
Morning walk; afternoon transfer to Marrakech through magnificent mountain scenery

This morning there is time to relax on the terrace, which has wonderful views across the fertile Tijhza Valley. Alternatively, we offer an optional three hour trek through the villages of this remote area, passing fields cultivated by the Amazigh women, with the peaks of the High Atlas as a fitting backdrop. We leave the gite after lunch, making the scenic drive over the High Atlas Mountains back to Marrakech, with some stunning scenery along the way. Once again, we cross Tizi n’Tichka. Back in Marrakech, we check into our hotel. In the evening, we visit Djemma el Fna, the open-air central square around which Marrakech revolves. The name literally means place of death, as the sultans once displayed the heads of their enemies here. Now, with the food stalls, snake charmers, juice-sellers and acrobats, it is a place of night-time entertainment.

Accommodation: Akabar Hotel (or similar)

Drive time: 5hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Explore Marrakech: Djemaa el Fna, beautiful gardens, palaces and souks

Today, we have a guided walking tour to see the spectacular sites of Marrakech. Our city guide will lead us to the Bahia Palace and the Saadian tombs, which date to the 16th century. We see the outside of the largest mosque in Marrakech the Koutoubia. We continue through the labyrinthine of souks where you can barter for souvenirs. We can then have lunch together in a restaurant overlooking the square. Alternatively, you may prefer to head off on your own today and take a calèche ride (horse-drawn carriage) to the peaceful Majorelle gardens, owned by Yves St Laurent and decorated throughout in indigo blue or simply enjoy another hammam.

Accommodation: Akabar Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
End Marrakech

Our journey comes to an end after breakfast. Hop into your free transfer to Marrakech Airport to catch your flight. Alternatively, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay in the Red City.

Meals included: Breakfast


Hotels, mountain 'gite' and Sahara camp

On this Moroccan adventure, we spend five nights in hotels, one night in a gite and one night in a Sahara camp. Below are the accommodations we typically use.

Marrakech: Hotel Akabar (nights 1 and 6-7)

Marrakech & the Sahara

We begin and end the adventure at Hotel Akabar, which has a sun terrace with a pool, a restaurant and bar. If you’re ready for a cultural adventure, it’s just a 20-minute walk to the Djemaa el Fna square, where you can explore the mazy souks, excellent restaurants and street-food stalls. Alternatively, if you don’t fancy the walk, a taxi will take you there in around five minutes.

Ait Benhaddou: La Rose du Sable (night 2)

Marrakech & the Sahara

Just a 15-minute walk from the magnificent Ait Benhaddou, La Rose du Sable occupies a prime address for our adventures. Though the location is undoubtedly a highlight, the hotel also has a swimming pool for any spare moments, plus there’s an upstairs terrace where our groups often gather to chat and relax.

Sahara: Camp Chez Le Pacha (night 3)

Marrakech & the Sahara

The highlight for many is our night in the Sahara, where our camp is circled by bronze dunes you can climb to watch the sun set and rise. Our accommodation is a ring of traditional mud huts, though most prefer to take their beds outside to sleep under a blanket of stars – look out for the tell-tale streak of a shooting star. In the centre of the camp is a fire, which is lit at night and typically becomes the place to share stories and bond with our guide and hosts. Distractions are few here, which allows everyone to share, what is for many, a bucket-list experience.

Zagora: Hotel Chez Le Pacha (night 4)

Marrakech & the Sahara

After a night under the desert sky, the large pool, sun loungers and swinging hammocks at Hotel Chez Le Pacha make for a nice change. There’s also a restaurant serving Moroccan dishes, plenty of seating spaces to gather as a group, and traditionally styled rooms.

Tighza: Mountain ‘gite’ (night 5)

Marrakech & the Sahara

Our night in the Atlas village of Tighza is spent in a gite, which denotes simple rural accommodation (like a refuge or hostel) in Morocco. Here, we receive a lovely welcome from our hosts, who bring us tea as we sit on the terrace taking in countryside views. Our rooms are simple and sparse and you could be sharing with other group members depending on room availability; however, the spectacular location and chance to spend a night in a traditional village is reason enough to visit.

Worth knowing

  • There are shared bathroom facilities at the Sahara camp and mountain gite.
  • Single supplement not available in the desert camp or mountain gite.

Single supplement from £ 130

Accommodation - Pre Trip

Pre-tour accommodation can be arranged in Marrakech.

Accommodation - Post Trip

Post-tour accommodation can be arranged in Marrakech.

Food & Drink

All breakfasts and three dinners included.

Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent, though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Where meals are not included budget for the following approximate prices.

  • Lunches: 60-100 dirhams (US$6-US$10)
  • Dinners:
    • In cities: 80-200 dirhams (US$8-US$19)
    • In small towns and villages: 60-100 dirhams (US$6-US$10)
  • Drinks in restaurants
    • Soft drinks: 10-20 dirhams (US$1-US$1.90)
    • Beer: 30-50 dirham (US$2.85-US$5)
    • Wine: 150 dirham (US$14) and more

Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian couscous, tajine or omelettes. This is particularly the case during the more rural sections of the trip. Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform the Exodus Office prior to the trip. If you have a specific medical/dietary need (e.g. coeliac or vegan) you may find it helpful to bring some food with you from home.



For most of this trip, we use a private bus, the size of which will depend on the group size, with a local driver. The roads in Morocco are reasonably good, and driving conditions in towns and on the plains are good. On mountain roads, the pace will be slower. Buses usually have air conditioning and heating, but may not be up to European standards.

Weather & Seasonality

From April to June, and in September, Marrakech and the north are pleasantly hot, with temperatures averaging 26C (79F) in the day 16C (61F) at night. It is unusual for there to be much humidity so it is quite pleasant except at midday when the sun is very strong. Desert temperatures are similar to those in Marrakech, with the nights usually a little cooler and the days a little hotter. Mountain temperatures are cooler than in Marrakech. In winter, the daytime temperatures in Marrakech are around 18C-22C (64F-72F) with night temperatures falling to 4C-7C (39F-45F). The days should be clear and sunny, and a particularly attractive feature of the winter months is the clear views of the snow-covered Atlas mountains.

The temperatures in the south are generally a couple of degrees higher than those prevailing north of the mountains. There is a small chance of rain and it has even been known to snow (very infrequently) in January and sometimes February on the higher desert plateaux (in which case it is cold at night and early in the morning on the southern side of the Atlas).

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Akabar Hotel , Avenue Echouhada-Quartier De L’hivernage, Marrakech Morocco
Phone: +212524437799
Recommended arrival time: Hotel check-in is from 2pm
Airport: Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately a 20-minute drive from the airport depending on traffic. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Marrakech Airport (RAK) from the end hotel. If you’re not taking the Exodus transfer, allow three hours for check in, bag drop, immigration and security.

Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Marrakech airport
The amount of time it takes to get through Marrakech Airport can vary considerably. Therefore, we suggest you mitigate for delays and allow two hours to get through immigration, security and baggage reclaim on arrival. Take a pen with you to complete the arrivals form and have the details of your accommodation to hand for this purpose. Operators are not allowed to wait inside the terminal building for clients, so please find your Exodus representative outside the main doors.

Upon departure from Marrakech, we suggest allowing three hours to navigate the airport: check in, bag drop, immigration and security can take even longer on exit. The airport doesn’t accept mobile boarding passes, so we suggest having a printed boarding pass to avoid subjecting yourself to further delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Marrakech
Location end: Marrakech

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Water bottle
  • Sunhat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Daysack (30L to pack for desert stay)
  • Lightweight walking boots with good ankle support and sole protection for in the mountains
  • Torch (flashlight)
  • Towel – for Tijhza, (this is due to water scarcity in the region, which means that it is best used for farming than on washing towels for tourists and it is also needed for the hammam)
  • Light jacket in case it cools down in the desert or mountains
  • Swimming costume (there are pools at some hotels and needed for the hammam)
  • Toilet paper/tissues (advisable for rest stops)

For November to March departures you will also need:

  • A fleece jacket/waterproof jacket
  • Gloves
  • Warmer clothing generally as it can get quite cold

For the desert stay, we request you only bring an overnight bag and leave your remaining luggage with the vehicle.

Although Morocco is a Muslim country, the dress code in the large cities is not as strict as it used to be. So it is fine to wear tops with no sleeves and shorts. When entering mosques and in more rural areas it is advisable to be more modest and wear for example over the knee skirts/shorts/trousers and with shoulders covered.  Additionally, women should avoid wearing revealing clothes.

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we have decided to include drinking water in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe filtered drinking water will be available throughout which means all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

If while packing you find a spare bit of space in your bag please be sure to check out our partner Pack for a Purpose ( This is a great opportunity to bring small items needed locally by schools and medical clinics. While in Tijhza your Tour Leader can assist with donating the items.

The following items would be much appreciated:

  • Pens, pencils, rulers etc
  • Playing cards, Snap, Uno etc
  • Footballs, tennis balls etc
  • Hand tools (non-electrical trowels etc)
  • Work or gardening gloves
  • Paint brushes, trays etc
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap

Practical Information



Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Morocco. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia:
• Canada:
• United Kingdom:
• USA:

Vaccinations and Health


There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, tuberculosis and typhoid. A polio vaccination certificate may be required for some travellers. Please confirm your needs and requirements with your doctor or travel clinic.

Local Time

Morocco's time zone: Africa/Brazzaville (UTC +01:00)


Morocco's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and E (two round pins) – 220V, 50Hz

Marrakech & the Sahara


Morocco's currency: Moroccan dirham (MAD), a non-convertible currency. You can only import/export a maximum of 2,000 dirham to or from Morocco.

ATM Availability

It is easy to use Visa/Mastercard at the ATMs in larger towns and cities in Morocco. Credit cards are normally accepted for more expensive souvenirs, such as carpets. Please note, most shops will charge up to five percent extra for the use of credit cards.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend you change your money at the airport into the local currency, as Morocco only allows 2,000 dirhams to be imported or exported. There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency you take. When changing your money, ensure you keep hold of your exchange receipt as you may need to show it at the airport bank at the end of your holiday where it’s normally possible to change any unspent dirham notes back into Euros, British pounds or US dollars.
Allow approximately 30 – 70 dirhams (US$3-US$6.50) per day to cover postcards, small souvenirs, soft drinks etc. See the eating and drinking section for more details on expenditure.


Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus and tipping is at your discretion for both the leader and the local staff. However we would like to advise that tipping is part of the local culture and generally expected. If you do wish to tip, we have found it useful for the group to have a kitty for tipping – about 250 dirhams (US$24) per person, this can ease confusion and embarrassment of not knowing how much or how little to tip local staff (such as cooks and guides, hotel staff etc). If you do not wish to join in on the group kitty, do not feel pressured. Many clients also wish to tip their leaders and drivers at the end of the trip; we suggest 30 dirhams (US$2.90) a day per person for the leaders and 20 dirhams (US$1.90) a day per person for the drivers. This is completely at your own discretion and to be used as a guideline only.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • In the desert we hire cameleers which supports the local economy.
  • The traditional hammam experience in Tighza village provides employment for local women.
  • Read more about our other initiatives here.


How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • The payment of entrance fees to natural reserves and archaeological sites generates income that is used for upkeep and development of these important sites. We visit a number of heritage sites on this trip.
  • We stay in a riad on day 5 that is based on sustainable tourism projects,  which benefit the host family and local community.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices regarding working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We rewild 1,075sqft (100sqm) per passenger to compensate for all trip and flight emissions.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Our local partners have reached B Corp Certification which requires that they demonstrate high levels of social and environmental performance.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.



Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.


Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.