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Over and Above The Great Sahara Hospital Trek 2024

2nd Nov 2024 - 9th Nov 2024

8 days/Morocco /Moderate


Join Over and Above as they trek in the Moroccan Sahara gaining 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.

You will then spend two days helping a community project in Marrakech. We anticipate you will help an organisation which supports vulnerable young people with education and vocational training after they have been orphaned, abused or rejected by their family. The organisation also supports elderly people whose families have abandoned them by creating a comfortable social environment for them to spend their golden years. Your tasks will vary depending on the need at the time but you’re likely to get involved with refurbishment, redecorating and gardening which will make an instant impact at this incredible centre.

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.

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 Sahara covers an area of over 3,600,000 square miles making it the third largest desert on the planet (after Antarctica and the Arctic respectively). It stretches from the Mediterranean and Atlantic to the north, the Red Sea to the east, and as far south as the Niger River. The Sahara is the world’s hottest desert with record temperatures exceeding 50°C. Despite its inhospitable conditions, the Sahara has many species of flora such as acacia, palms and grass which have adapted to the arid conditions.

The Berbers (or Amazighen – ‘free people’) are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa whose culture can be traced back over 4,000 years. Traditionally, Berber men take care of livestock and Berber women take care of the home and make handicrafts for use around the home and to sell. The lifestyle is generally nomadic or semi-nomadic and there are large Berber communities in the rural parts of the country.

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.

Temperatures can range from 25°C to 35°C during the day and can 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, the project 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 for Over and Above The Great Sahara Hospital Trek

Day 1 (Saturday 2 November 2024):

London to Marrakech
We fly together to Marrakech where we are met by our guide and transfer to our hotel for the night. Depending on flight arrival times we may start the journey to the desert today and stay in Ouarzazate tonight (approx. 4-5 hours).
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 (Sunday 3 November 2024):

Marrakech to Sahara
If staying in Marrakech we set off early, crossing the Atlas Mountains and following ancient caravan routes into the Sahara, stopping for lunch in Ouarzazate on the way (journey time approx. 9 hours including stops.) If starting in Ouarzazate the journey to the desert takes approximately 4-5 hours. This afternoon we will arrive in the desert and be welcomed by the rest of the trek team and the camels before commencing our trek, stopping overnight to camp under the stars of the Sahara.
Approx. trek distance: 5km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 3–4 (Monday 4 – Tuesday 5 November 2024):

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.
Approx. trek distance: 15-20km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Wednesday 6 November 2024):

Sahara to Marrakech
This morning it’s the final leg of the trek to a small village where we bid farewell to the trek team and head back to Marrakech (approx. 9 hours’ drive).
Approx. trek distance: 5km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6-7 (Thursday 7 – Friday 8 November 2024):

After a good night’s rest we spend two days assisting at the community project. We have close links with a residential home accommodating adults and teenagers who are unable to live at home. The centre provides 24 hour support, including education, training and various supplementary therapies, often for a short time whilst receiving treatment at the nearby hospital. Possible tasks include redecorating and painting, creating a garden and relaxation areas, or generally working to improve the environment. You will end the trip with a celebratory meal to recognise your achievements.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 (Saturday 9 November 2024):

Marrakech to UK
Depending on flight times, have some free time to explore Marrakech before your flight back to the UK.
Meals: Breakfast


N.B. This itinerary may change due to unusual 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 that occur outside of our control. In all circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the group’s health and safety.


Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £385
and then either…

Sponsorship: £2,200


Flexi: Pay £1,100* trip costs + fundraise £1,100 for Over and Above


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 Over and Above. 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 80% of the minimum sponsorship (£1,760) must be paid to the charity by 8 August 2024.
  • The remaining £440 must be paid to the charity by the date of departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.


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

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel by 8 August 2024.
  • You are asked to fundraise £1,100* for Over and Above. 80% (£880) is due by 8 August 2024 and the remaining £220 by the date of departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

*this amount is subject to final numbers and could go up or down.

NB. Bookings on this trip are now subject to availability and flight surcharges.


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

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