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Trek the Sahara with St Richard’s

22nd Mar 2023 - 27th Mar 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.

There is also the option to extend your stay after the trek to explore more of Morocco for an additional cost.

A moderately challenging trip.  The terrain is generally flat with sand dunes representing the biggest variation in gradient; however the temperatures pose a specific challenge with temperatures historically reaching 40°C. You are advised to be of a good fitness level before departure to ensure fast recovery from each day’s exertions.

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.

It’s not just sand! The terrain is a mixture of hard, flat sun-dried plains, dried up ancient river beds, wide sandy dune fields and hard rocky outcrops.

Temperatures tend to range from 25°C to 35°C during the day, and drop to around 0°C at night however you must be prepared for climate variations, which are out of our control. The climate will be dry and there may be some strong winds. Rain,although very rare, is not impossible.

Please note: the temperatures and conditions above are historically accurate for this time of year but climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions during the trip which are out of our control. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimately safety of the group as a whole.

Meals are cooked by your trek chef who will prepare hearty, delicious Moroccan meals that will keep your energy levels high for each day’s trek. Breakfast and lunch will be taken alfresco, and evening meals will be taken in a mess tent at camp. Plates, mugs, cutlery and other equipment are provided for you.

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 (recommended!). You need to bring a sleeping bag but sleeping mats and tents are provided. While in Marrakech (and Ouarzazate, if applicable) you will stay in hotels with en-suite facilities.

Toilet facilities consist of a small toilet ‘tent’ covering a hole in the ground. There are no showers or bathing facilities so you must ensure you bring a pack of baby wipes (ideally biodegradable).

You must be 18+ to participate on this trek unaccompanied. 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 generally flat with sand dunes representing the biggest variation in gradient; however the temperatures pose a specific challenge with temperatures historically reaching 40°C. You are advised to be of a good fitness level before departure to ensure fast recovery from each day’s exertions.

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 this 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. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Wednesday 22 March 2023):

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 instead (approx. 4-5 hours).
Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 (Thursday 23 March 2023):

Marrakech to Sahara
If staying in Marrakech we set off early, crossing the Atlas Mountains and following ancient caravan routes into the arid Sahara desert, stopping for lunch in Ouarzazate on the way (journey time approx. 9 hours including stops.) If starting in Ouarzazate the journey 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 into the vast and arid Sahara desert, stopping overnight to camp under the stars of the Sahara.
Approx. trek distance: 5km
Overnight: Camping
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 3 – 4 (Friday 24 – Saturday 25 March 2023):

Sahara Desert
Our trek continues through the desert as we traverse sand dunes and rocky, lunar landscapes for the next three 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
Overnight: Camping
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Sunday 26 March 2023):

Sahara to Marrakech
This morning it’s the final leg of the trek back to the village where we bid farewell to the trekking team and head back to Marrakech (approx. 9 hours’ drive). Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight and overnight stay at a central hotel.
Approx. trek distance: 5km
Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 (Monday 27 March 2023):

Marrakech to London
Enjoy some free time to explore the exotic city of Marrakech before your flight back to London (subject to flight times).
Meals: Breakfast

There is also the option to extend your stay after the trek to explore more of Morocco. See Costs + how to pay tab for more details.

N.B. This itinerary may change due to weather, the ability of the group and so on. We do our best to keep to the itinerary but we cannot be held responsible for changes that occur outside of our control. Your guide and tour leader has the final say in the interest of the group’s health and safety.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £290
and then either…

Sponsorship: £1600

or

Flexi: Pay £800 trip costs + fundraise as much as you can for St Richard’s

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.
  • A total of 80% of the minimum sponsorship (£1,280) must be paid to the charity by 28th December 2022.
  • The remaining £320 must be paid to the charity by 22nd March 2023.
  • 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 St Richard’s.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • You are asked to raise as much as you can for St Richard’s. The recommended minimum fundraising target is £800.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

OPTIONAL TRIP EXTENSION

2-night shared occupancy (twin or triple) extension: £145

  • 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 Amani or similar.

2-night single occupancy extension: £190

  • 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 Amani or similar.

Independent extension: £40

  • 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 £40 plus any difference in cost in the flight airfare on your chosen return date.

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?

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