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Saharan Trek with Julia’s House

2nd Nov 2023 - 7th Nov 2023

6 days/Morocco /Moderate

Overview

This trek in the Moroccan Sahara gives you an insight into this vast and diverse landscape as well as the Berber way of life. You will spend two full days and two half days trekking across ancient dried up river beds, sand dunes and vast sun-baked plains. Camping each night gives you a chance to experience the stunning stars in the night sky (weather permitting) and the traditional Berber cuisine cooked by the team is second to none.

The trek is rated moderately challenging for someone of a good fitness level. The terrain is a mixture of hard, flat sundried plains, dried up ancient riverbeds, wide sandy dune fields and hard rocky outcrops. Temperatures pose a specific challenge with temperatures historically reaching 35°C. You must be of a good fitness level before departure, to ensure fast recovery each day.

You will be accompanied by professional English-speaking Berber guides who have an excellent knowledge of culture and hiking in the region. The guides are first aid trained and will support you throughout your journey. You will also be accompanied by a team of support staff including cooks and camel handlers, and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager.

The minimum age is 18. It may be possible to participate if you are 16 or 17 years old but you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no upper age limit. The ideal candidate would be fit, healthy and determined, open to adventure and adaptable to unexpected changes.

The trek is rated moderately challenging for someone of a good fitness level. The terrain is a mixture of hard, flat sundried plains, dried up ancient riverbeds, wide sandy dune fields and hard rocky outcrops. Temperatures pose a specific challenge with temperatures historically reaching 35°C. You must be of a good fitness level before departure, to ensure fast recovery each day.

Temperatures can range from 25°C to 35°C during the day and drop to around 0°C at night however you must be prepared for variations to this which are out of our control. Weather during the trek will be dry but there may be some strong winds. Rain, although very rare, is not impossible. Please note: the temperatures and conditions above are historically accurate but climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions during the trip which are out of our control. The guides will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and safety of the group.

During the trek meals are cooked by a chef who will prepare Moroccan dishes. Breakfast and lunch will be eaten alfresco, and evening meals will be in a mess tent at camp. Plates, mugs, cutlery and other equipment are provided. While staying in Marrakech (and Ouarzazate if applicable) meals will be at the hotel or at local restaurants.

You will stay in a hotel with en-suite facilities while in Marrakech (and Ouarzazate if flight arrival times permit us to start the journey to the desert upon arrival), and you will camp during the trek. You will stay in hotel rooms on a twin or triple-share basis, and there will be two people per tent while camping. A single-occupancy hotel room may be possible subject to availability and payment of a single supplement.
During the trek, weather permitting, there may be the opportunity to sleep outside under the stars; this is strongly recommended. Tents and sleeping mats are provided but you must bring a sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner. A dining tent, cutlery and crockery are provided.

The hotels have en-suite facilities with flushing toilets and hot showers. Toilet paper should always be placed in the bin, not flushed.
At camp there will be a toilet tent which offers privacy over a pit in the sand. Please put used toilet paper into a sealable nappy bag or sanitary disposal bag and put into the main trek bin bag. After you have used the toilet, please cover your waste with sand to avoid smells and flies for the next person who visits the toilet tent. There are no bathing facilities during the trek so please bring a small pack of baby wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer for personal hygiene.
If you need to use the toilet during the trek day you must find a private area off the trail. You must never leave used toilet paper on the ground; this must be packed up into a nappy bag or sanitary disposal bag, pop it in your daypack and dispose of it properly at camp (please bring your own nappy sacks with you). You should bring one to two rolls of toilet paper for your own use.

We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.

The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing our booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.

If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP.

In the event that your medical issues at the time of booking represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your booking will not be confirmed and the deposit will be refunded.

We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.

Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.

Essentials

E-tickets & pre-departure info
Passport & copy
Travel Insurance documents
Pen for immigration forms
Cash (£ Sterling)
ATM + credit card(s)
LED head torch + spare batteries
Adaptor 2 round pins (Euro)
Sunglasses (preferably polarized)
Camera + spare batteries
Mobile phone + charger

Clothing & Footwear

Hiking boots*
Trainers/flip flops for evenings
Casual shoes for Marrakech
Trek socks & underwear
Non-cotton long sleeved top\shirt
Non-cotton t-shirts
Fleece, sweater or warm jacket
Sun hat with wide brim
Lightweight trek trousers
Warm hat for night
Neck cooling ‘Cobber’
Gaiters (for the sand)
Casual clothes for Marrakech
Swimwear for hotel

Hygiene

Shampoo + conditioner*
Toothbrush + toothpaste*
Antiperspirant deodorant*
Shower gel/ shave kit / loofah*
Wet wipes*
Toilet paper (1-2 rolls)*
Sun cream (high SPF)*
Hand sanitizer
Hairbrush/comb
Feminine hygiene products*
Nappy sacks (for used toilet paper)*

First Aid Kit

Prescription medicine
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Plasters
Blister plasters (e.g. Compeed)
Imodium (Loperamide)
Rehydration salts (e.g. Dioralyte)
Muscle rub (tiger balm/Deep Heat)
Anti-histamine tablets/cream
Antiseptic wipes
Indigestion remedy (e.g. Gaviscon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Scissors/tweezers
Zinc oxide tape 
Spare glasses/contact lenses

Optional

Video Camera + charger
iPod/MP3 player
Umbrella (for the sun)
Hiking pole(s)
Portable power bank/power pack
Notebook/diary
Books/playing cards
Nail brush

Luggage

Suitcase/rucksack for luggage
Trek kit bag/holdall (carried by camels)
Daypack (25-30 litres)
Combination Padlocks

Eating and Drinking

Energy snacks
2-3 litre water bottle (e.g. CamelBak)
1-litre standard water bottle
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)

Sleeping

Ear plugs (essential)
Sleeping bag (comfort -0°C)
Sleeping bag liner (cotton/silk)
Pyjamas (use thermals on trek)
Eye mask (optional)

Please note: This list is just a guideline and is not exhaustive. The items on this list do not take into account your personal preferences based on your previous trekking experience, or individual requirements. For information about items on this list please refer to the trip dossier or contact The Different Travel Company on info@different-travel.com

*Please ensure you pack your hiking boots into your hand baggage in the unlikely event your checked luggage goes missing or is delayed.

*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Thursday 2 November 2023):

London – Marrakech – Ouarzazate
Depart London for Marrakech. On arrival we immediately set off for a journey across the High Atlas Mountain Range to our overnight stop in Ouarzazate (journey time approx. 4 hours).  Dinner and overnight.
Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 (Friday 3 November 2023):

Marrakech – Oulaid Driss – Sahara
An early start for our journey along ancient caravan routes and into the arid scenery of the Sahara desert, stopping for lunch en route.  Later this afternoon you will meet up with your trekking team, consisting of local Berber guides and their camels, and start the trek.  Overnight under the stars in bivouacs (or tents weather permitting).
Overnight: Camping
Approx. trek distance: 5km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 3–4 (Saturday 4 – Sunday 5 November 2023):

Sahara Desert
Our trek continues through the desert as we traverse sand dunes and rocky, lunar landscapes for the next two days. We are aided by our local Berber team comprising of the guides, cook and camel owners (the camels are our porters, carrying our luggage and equipment). Each day you enjoy the varied Saharan landscape and learn about how important it is to respect and comply with the forces of nature in the desert. On average we will cover 15-20km per day but this will vary. As the trek progresses we learn how the nomadic people of the Sahara live: from cooking to sleeping out under the stars and reading the magnificent Saharan night sky.
Overnight: Camping
Approx. trek distance: 15-20km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Monday 6 November 2023):

Sahara – Oulaid Dris – Marrakech
This morning it’s the final leg of the trek to the small village where we bid farewell to the trek team and head back to Marrakech to enjoy a celebratory dinner.(approx. 8 hours’ drive).
Overnight: Hotel
Approx. trek distance: 5km.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 (Tuesday 7 November 2023):

Marrakech – London
Some free time this morning to explore the exotic city of Marrakech before flying back to London (subject to flight times).
Meals: Breakfast

N.B. This itinerary may change due to weather, the ability of the group and so on. We will do our best to keep to the itinerary but we cannot be held responsible for changes outside of our control. In all circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest health and safety.  

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £350
and then…

Sponsorship: £1,900

or

Self Fund: £1,650

SPONSORSHIP

This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to Julia’s House. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • A total of 50% of the minimum sponsorship (£950) must be paid to Julia’s House by 7th July 2023.
  • A total of 80% of the minimum sponsorship (£1,520) must be paid to the charity by 8th September 2023.
  • The remaining £380 must be paid to the charity by 1st December 2023.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.

SELF FUND

  • A registration fee of £350 is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance of £715 must be paid directly to Different Travel by 24th August 2023.
  • Final balance of £935 must be paid to Julia’s House by 22nd September 2023.

What's included

  • Return flights from London (inc. current taxes and fuel surcharges),
  • Transfers and transport in Morocco
  • Accommodation in hotels (2 nights)
  • Tents and sleeping mats on trek (3 nights)
  • All meals as specified
  • Local guides, camels and camel handlers on trek
  • Different Travel UK tour manager.

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips (£25-30pp)
  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, souvenirs etc.)
  • Vaccinations

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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