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New Year in the Sahara 2025

29th Dec 2024 - 3rd Jan 2025

6 days/Morocco /Moderate to Challenging

Overview

Join us as we bring in the New Year in the Sahara and spend it under the stars of a desert sky. Start 2025 as you mean to go on as we trek through the Moroccan Sahara.

This trip 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.

New Year’s Eve will see our first full day of trekking in the Sahara before we gather together around the camp fire and see in the New Year with good food and the sound of Auld Lang Syne.

 

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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, although lower at this time of year, can pose a challenge. You must be of a good fitness level before departure, to ensure fast recovery each day.

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.

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.

Alcohol will be available to purchase in the hotels but only soft drinks will be provided on the trek. We do not recommend that you drink alcohol while trekking as consuming alcoholic drinks prior to hiking can significantly contribute to dehydration.

Temperatures can range from 18°C to 20°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 you will sleep in tents (two to a tent), or if the weather is good you can sleep outside under the stars; highly recommended! Foam sleeping mats are provided but you will need to bring a sleeping bag. Toilet facilities consist of a small toilet ‘tent’ covering a hole in the ground. There are no showers or bathing facilities in the desert so you must bring a pack of baby wipes.

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.

Itinerary

Itinerary for New Year in the Sahara

Day 1 (Sunday 29 December 2024):

London – Marrakech
Depart London for Marrakech. Depending on flight times we will transfer to a central hotel for the night or begin the journey to the desert, stopping for an overnight stay in a hotel at Ouazazarte.
Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 (Monday 30 December 2024):

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 a picnic 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 (Tuesday 31st December 2024 – Wednesday 1st January 2025):

Sahara Desert
Spend 2 complete days out in the Sahara, and experience a completely different, peaceful and off-grid New Year’s Eve, with your fellow trekkers, and the camels under the amazing night sky! With only your other trekkers and the support team for company, each day you will pass sand dunes, the occasional oasis, and mile after mile of natural beauty, a million miles away from daily life in the UK!  Each night camp is set up under the stars. Overnight: Camping
Approx. trek distance: 15-20km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Thursday 2nd January 2025):

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 (approx. 8 hours’ drive).  This evening, we will gather together for a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant.
Overnight: Hotel
Approx. trek distance: 5km.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 (Friday 3rd January 2025):

Marrakech – London
Depending on the return flight times, spend time exploring Marrakech before the transfer to the airport for the return flight to London.
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: £375
and then either…

Self-funded: £975

or

Sponsorship: £1950

or

Flexi: £975 trip costs and £975 sponsorship for a charity* of your choice

SELF-FUNDED

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

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 their chosen charity. 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.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.

FLEXI

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel and your fundraising is payable to the charity 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

A single supplement may be available on request and is subject to availability.

OPTIONAL TRIP EXTENSION

2-night shared occupancy (twin or triple) extension: £180

  • Two additional nights’ accommodation* with breakfast plus a return airport transfer based on 2 people sharing a twin room.

*You will be accommodated in the same hotel as is used for the group during the main trip. This is TBC but is likely to be Hotel El Andalous or similar.

2-night single occupancy extension: £225

  • Two additional nights’ accommodation* with breakfast plus a return airport transfer in a single occupancy room.

*You will be accommodated in the same hotel as is used for the group during the main trip. This is TBC but is likely to be Hotel El Andalous or similar.

Independent extension: £45

  • Fly home on any date of your choosing (subject to flight schedules). Please specify your preferred date in the booking notes section.
  • You will need to arrange your own accommodation and airport transfers for your additional days.
  • The cost is £45 plus any difference in cost in the flight airfare on your chosen return date.

NB. Optional trip extensions are subject to availability and flight costs.

*If your chosen charity is not on this list, please seek permission to fundraise for them by taking part in this challenge before making your booking.

What's included

  • Return flights from the UK
  • Airport taxes and charges
  • Local transfers and transport in Morocco
  • Accommodation in 3 star hotels, tents and sleeping mats on trek
  • English-speaking local guides
  • Support staff, camels and camel handlers on trek
  • All meals as specified
  • Different Travel UK tour manager

What's not included

  • Any necessary vaccinations
  • Drinks, laundry and personal expenses
  • Spending money (tips and gratuities, souvenirs)
  • Transport to/from UK airports
  • Personal trek kit
  • Travel insurance

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.

Book onto any of our trips between 1st - 30th June 2024 and receive a FREE Different Travel neck buff!*

*Your buff will be given to you either at your pre-departure meeting or the start of your trip.