Tag Archives: Sahara Desert

Morocco New Years Luxury Desert Trip

Arabian Nights, Skoura Palmeraie

Arabian Nights, Skoura Palmeraie

Journey beyond Marrakech for a New Years Luxury Desert Trip. Take the entire family on a Sahara Desert Safari to Morocco’s Great South and experience the highlights of Morocco. Visit Ait Benhaddou Ksar, Lawrence of Arabia was Filmed Here. Explore Morocco’s natural wonder, the grand Dades Valley, sunset camel trek across the Erg Chebbi Dunes as an Arabian Nights Dinner and Berber Music at a Luxury Desert Camp awaits you. Go off road to Mount Mgoun and Sip Tea with Nomads. Have Lunch with a Berber Family in the Saghro Mountain Region and participate in a henna party designed just for you. A Morocco Desert Tour is not without adventure unless you discover the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs in Skoura and stay in boutique, Moroccan riads and guest houses. A Grand Sahara Desert adventure tour to Morocco awaits you.

Travel Exploration’s detailed experiential and family travel itineraries for visiting Morocco are outlined on our website and for desert adventurers who want to take a Sahara Desert Safari to Morocco for New Years our trip is featured here:

Morocco Tea Ceremony, Sahara Desert

Morocco Tea Ceremony, Sahara Desert

Morocco New Years Desert Trip: A Sahara Desert Safari for the entire Family:

Day 1: Journey Beyond Marrakech via the Tizzin’ Tichka Mountain pass to visit Kasbah Telouet – Kasbah of the Pasha Glaoui, and Ait Benhaddou Ksar before driving via the palmeraie to Skoura.
Take the road to Ouarzazate. During your journey to Ouarzazate you will also pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat, as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic influences and desert borders. Along the route you will see panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains as well as sights of fertile valleys, blue and red colored pise villages and other striking mineral environments.

En route stop for lunch and visit the Argan Cooperative where Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics are made with the Argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Have a complimentary tasting. This cooperative is run entirely by women.

Go by piste to visit Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous Kasbahs that is the origin of the Pacha Glaoui Family. Kasbah Telout is hidden among a tiny road in a small village that is 20 minutes outside Tichka. Its history stands alone with its original zellij tile, authentic, preserved silks and grand remnants of the Glaoui family. Telouet was once an important stop on the Southern Caravan route for traders carrying spices, slaves and other commodities. Telouet’s Kasbah also known as Dar Glaoui once served as the royal headquarters and residence of the Glaoui tribe. Until Morocco’s independence in 1956, the Glaoui had power in the central Moroccan and French administration. Continue the road to Ouarzazate. Visit Aït Benhaddou Kasbah. Ait Benhaddou Kasbah is located 32 km from Ouarzazate. Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. Continue to Skoura, the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs. Overnight at a Boutique Riad in Skoura.

Desert oasis with palm trees - Zagora - Draa valley - Morocco

Desert oasis with palm trees – Zagora – Draa valley – Morocco

Day 2: Visit Skoura and the Palmerie of one-thousand Kasbahs before driving through the magnificent Valley of Roses onto the Dades Valley and Dades Gorge.
Visit the Skoura palmeraie and the Valley of 1000 Kasbahs. The “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs” and Skoura palmeraie is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside deserted landscapes. The palm groves were laid out in the 12th century by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el-Mansour and named after its original inhabitants, the Berbers of the Haskourene tribe. The most beautiful kasbahs in southern Morocco can be found here. Many of them are still partially inhabited. Continue towards the perfumed Valley of Roses, just north of El Kelaa Des Mgouna. On the way to the Valley of Roses, your driver will stop for you to view the Capp et Floral distillation factories laid out in the small Kasbah town that manufacture the entire nations products of eau de rose. The rose water and other products such as hand and body soaps, oil, crème perfume and dried flowers are for sale and also popular among Moroccans. The factories produce 3000-4000 petals a year.

Visit Mount Mgougn and Sip Tea with Nomads in their rural cave. The Valley of Nomads is filled with cave dwellers who have lived in the Mgoun region for centuries. Your journey will then take you through the Dadès Valley, which covers 125 km between Ouarzazate and Boumalne du Dadès in the High Atlas Mountains. Overnight at a Boutique Guest House in the Dades Valley.

Khemlia Musicians, Merzouga Sahara Desert

Khemlia Musicians, Merzouga Sahara Desert

Day 3: Dades Valley morning exploration before visiting the the Todra Gorge and it’s large canyon en route to the Erg Chebbi dunes located in the heart of the Merzouga Sahara Desert.

Take the road to Merzouga. En route visit Erfoud, the capitol of fossils and the town of Rissani. Rissani is a Sahara desert town that is from the ancient Alawi Dynasty and the birthplace of King Mohammed VI, the current King of Morocco. Visit the old Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Sharif, the first King of the Alawi Dynasty. Next visit Maison Taureg House and then the old Ksar of Rissani.
Continue to Khemlia where you will visit Sudanese- Berber Gnaoua Trance musicians, Moroccan village. The Musicians of Khemlia have been living in this remote village for a century and perform 100 year-old Gnaoua Trance music songs. Spend an hour listening to Gnaoua Trance music using old world instruments by these Sudanese Berber Musicians. Tea is served and then there is an option to explore their village.
Arrive in Merzouga’s Erg Chebbi Dunes before sunset, and then go by dromedary at sunset into the Erg Chebbi Dunes to a bivouac camp. Your Tuareg guide will share some of the Sahara Deserts’ secrets. As you glide across humpback on these silent, mystical dunes there will be countless opportunities to photograph the endless rolling dunes. Arabian Nights Dinner and Spend the night in a Luxury Desert Camp.

Day 4: Merzouga Departure for Ait Ouzzine, Nkob Berber Village where you will enjoy lunch with a Berber family, participate in a private henna party and discover how traditional families live in this mountain and desert region.

Aït Ouzzine, just minutes outside Nkob is a Berber village inhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated Kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani. Meet a local Berber family; partake in a cooking lesson of how to make traditional bread and a tajine. Explore and tour the village by foot. Walk in the green fields and see how the traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, livestock, and henna plants.
Sip tea with the Berbers in the Saghro Mountains and enjoy a traditional Berber lunch. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices and a chicken and vegetable tajine or couscous and fresh local fruits for desert.

After lunch, you can have your hands and feet painted with henna or your hair adorned with saffron by a local village artist and relaxes. Experience the tradition of Berber perfume made from musk and amber along with the villages own spices. End the afternoon in Ait Ouzzine with mint tea and almonds. Overnight at a Boutique Riad in Ouarzazate.
Day 5: Drive from Ouarzazate via the Ounilla Valley and Tizzin’ Tichka Pass back to Marrakech.
Visit the Oasis of Fint passing the “Plateau de pierres”. On this road you will find a shining Oasis of palms. Visit the Oasis of Fint that hovers under the Atlas Mountains. Journey on a one-hour walk inside the Oasis where you will have a cup of tea with the headmaster’s family Azziz Ouaziz and tour the surrounding area where date palm oases and dramatic desert scenery are king.
Next journey to the Atlas Film Studios. The studios are flanked by Holly-wood style Egyptian figures and cover 30,000 sq. m of desert. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara. Return to Marrakech.

A Sahara Desert Safari New Years Trip for the entire family.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Discover the Diverse Region of Ouarzazate, Through Kasbahs, Berber Villages & Road Trips

Ouarzazate Region, Kasbah

Ouarzazate Region, Kasbah

Ouarzazate became famous when it’s nearby Kasbah; Aït Benhaddou appeared in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. This spellbinding quiet town is the perfect home base for exploring the southern region of Morocco which is comprised of ancient Kasbahs, the Dadès Valley, the Gorge of Todra, the Atlas Films Studios, the Skoura Palmeraie along with the Sahara Desert regions of Merzouga, Zagora and M’hamid / Erg Chigaga. On a private tour from Ouarzazate there are many site seeing opportunities ranging from visiting the historic Ait Benhaddou Ksar, Kasbah Taourirt, open air forts Atlas landscapes to the the Valley of Roses and Erg Chebbi Sand dunes.

Ouarzazate is often referred to as a city “without noise” and is a direct translation of its name. This dusty Sahara town has immense desert charm and is the Hollywood of Morocco. Ouarzazate’s unique combination arid and dry North African landscapes boast stunning views of the Atlas Mountains. Ouarzazate was once the leading administrative city in the region and was purely developed for this purpose by the French during colonization. As the region of the South expanded, Tinghir and Errachidia, became a provinces with Ouarzazate losing its name as a hub for administrative purposes.

“See Ouarzazate and die” are feelings often expressed by Moroccans with regards to this magical city that is the door to the Sahara desert. Located just four hours from Marrakesh, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south. It is also known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once crossing point for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative centre of the Zagora region.

As a diverse region Ouarzazate offers various site seeing opportunities ranging from the Atlas Film Studios, the CLA Film Studios, the Oasis of Fint, Ancient Ksars and Kasbahs along with Berber Villages.

 

Kundun, Atlas Film Studios, Ouarzazate

Kundun, Atlas Film Studios, Ouarzazate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Visit in the Region of Ouarzazate:

Atlas Film Studios/ The Oscar Film Studios are flanked by Holly-wood style Egyptian figures and cover 30,000 square meters of desert. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara along with the series Game of Thrones. Most of the filming takes place in the desert in the south however you can view the Tibetan monastery featured in Scorese’s Kundan and an Egyptian temple from Cleopatra.

Cleopatra, Atlas Studios, Ouarzazate

Cleopatra, Atlas Studios, Ouarzazate

CLA Film Studios was established in 2004 in partnership with Dino de Laurentis, Cinectittà and Sanam Holding. CLA Studios is open daily to travelers visiting Ouarzazate and the ideal place to see a combination of costumes, props, film sets other movie items used in major independent films and television productions. CLA studios is surrounded by varied landscapes, from desert to oasis. Renowned directors like David Lean, Bernardo Bertolucci, Martin Scorsese, Ridlye or Oiliver Scott Stone, chose to film at CLA Studios for its location. Films and television series shot at CLA Studios range from Lawrence of Arabia, The Sheltering Sky, Black Hawk Down, Kundum, Gladiator, The Mummy 1 and 2, Alexander the Great, The Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Troy, Exorcist 1 and 2, Hidalgo and Babel.

Ancient Moroccan Ksars & Kasbahs

Ait Benhaddou Ksar is located 32 km from Ouarzazate lies the picturesque village. Aït Benhaddou of Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss Massa Draa on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices. Aït Benhaddou is one of many locations in this region used for shooting Hollywood films.

Kasbah Taouirt was was built by the Pasha Glaoui. Kasbah Taouirt’s location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South it was then one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Explore its nooks and crannies and discover some local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.

Kasbah Tifoultoute is an ancient Kasbah (fortress) in Ouarzazate located 8 kilometers West of the city. Kasbah Tifoultoute once belonged to the family of Thami El Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakech. The kasbah of Tifoultoute served as decor for films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Jesus of Nazareth. There is a stunning view from the terrace of the Atlas Mountains.

Berber Villages:

The Berbers are the original inhabitants of Morocco. The Berbers once occupied much of North Africa before they were persecuted and driven out or into the mountain ranges by the Arabs who came from Yemen in the 7th Century. One-third of Moroccans are Berber and live in the mountains, in villages within the Middle-Atlas and within remote areas of Morocco. Today, most Berbers understand and speak Arabic but their primary language is Berber. During a private tour to Morocco you can visit Berber villages in the High Atlas, the Middle Atlas or Anti-Atlas Mountain regions of Morocco. Within the Berber Villages you can visit old ksars, have lunch with a Berber family, and also learn about their village life. Ait Ouzine is a small village of 1200 inhabitants nestled within the Middle Atlas Mountains. Aït Ouzzine-Nkob is a Berber village inhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock, and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani. On a private tour, travelers can meet a local Berber family, sip tea in the Saghro Mountains, and dine on couscous.

Merzouga Erg Chebbi Dunes

Merzouga Erg Chebbi Dunes

Sahara Desert Regions:

Merzouga is a small village in Southern Morocco which is home to the highest and most gold dunes called Erg Chebbi. Merzouga is located in the Moroccan Sahara Desert and has the largest underground natural body of water. It’s Erg Chebbi dunes are the most visited by Moroccan tourists who want a majestic and authentic Sahara experience for camel trekking and desert camping.

M’Hamid El Ghizlane is the last Oasis in the Great Sahara Desert and historically where caravans gathered before setting off on journeys to Timbuktu. M’Hamid is also referred to as Bounou which historically was a village of various Southern tribes such as the Ait Atta Berbers, Drawa and the Hassani.

Zagora is referred to as the “direct door to the Sahara” since it is the last town before one reaches the heart of the Dunes of Tinfo, M’hamid and Erg Chegaga also known as Erg Chigaga.

Erg Chegaga (Erg Chigaga) is one of the two major regions of dunes in the Sahara Desert, the other being Erg Chebbi of Merzouga. These dunes are located in the region  referred to as the Sous-Mass- Draa and approximately 50 kilometers west of M’Hamid El Ghizlane and 98 kilometers south of Zaogra. Erg Chegaga remains virgin and an untouched region of Morocco and can be reached only by 4×4 land cruiser or camel trekking on a private tour to Morocco.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Morocco Weather, Best Time for a Private Tour

 

Morocco Weather, Best Time to Visit

Morocco Weather, Best Time to Visit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morocco is well situated on the far northwestern corner of Africa and has an expansive shoreline that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Straight of Gibraltar. Morocco’s weather is temperate year round. The Best Time to visit Morocco on a Private Tour is spring and fall. With its dramatic landscapes such as the High Atlas and Sahara Desert Morocco is ideal for couples, families and small group travel. Morocco’s weather makes the country a perfect destination for a variety of activities ranging from camel trekking to hiking, biking, horseback riding and sunbathing. “Morocco’s weather” also enables travelers to enjoy site seeing year round at architectural sites, monuments, gardens and mosques.

Seasons and weather in Morocco take on a whole new meaning as the country is divided into two climatic zones by the High Atlas Mountains. To the north of the High Atlas, the western winds from the Atlantic contribute to the cooler temperatures of the north. South of the High Atlas, the weather is influenced in this region by the Sahara Desert.

For those not comfortable traveling in very hot weather, it is advisable to avoid visiting Morocco during July through August because these are the hottest times of the year. Also, certain cities such as Marrakech may continue to be hot until the last weeks of September. When considering a Private Morocco Tour during July and August, it’s a wonderful time to head for the coast, while in the mountains there are no set rules.

When preparing to visit Morocco, keep in mind that the country is separated into five regions: the Rif Mountains, the Middle Atlas, High Atlas, Anti-Atlas, and the Sahara desert.

The poetically red Rif Mountains, which are surrounded by plateaus, valleys, and costal plains, parallel the Mediterranean coast. Northern cities by such as Cueta, Tangier, Tetouan, Melilla, and Cala Iris enjoy Mediterranean conditions. The coastal cities by the Mediterranean are generally mild and pleasant all year long; even wintertime is enjoyable at temperatures staying at 50 degrees. Autumn and spring time in Morocco’s weather can be a little frustrating with rain spells falling for days at a time. Summer weather in Morocco is usually picture perfect with temperatures averaging 77 degrees.

If your Morocco Private Tour itinerary moves you down the coast of the Atlantic, passing cities such as Moulay Bousselham, Rabat, Casablanca, and Essaouira, expect to enjoy cool wet winters, and dry and moderately hot summers.

Beyond central Morocco lie the High Atlas Mountains, running diagonally across Morocco from the Agadir’s Atlantic beaches to northern Algeria. Southern Morocco is divided into three areas: the Souss Valley, the Anti-Atlas, and the Western Sahara desert. Winters are popular times to visit any of the three regions, especially the desert, as the south is semi-tropical with a hot and humid climate; temperatures rise more than 100 degrees.

Ultimately, Morocco’s weather is like few others. In one day, it is possible to have a snowstorm in the mountains, warm weather by the Mediterranean coast, and a day of unbearable heat in the Sahara followed by sub-zero night temperatures.

For More Information about Morocco’s Weather and the Best Time to Visit Morocco

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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The Caravan Routes of Morocco

52 Days to Tombouctou Sign, Zagora

52 Days to Tombouctou Sign, Zagora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a much-photographed sign in Zagora, in the spectacular Draa Valley in Morocco. Beside the image of a blue-swaddled desert nomad is written: “TOMBOUCTOU 52 JOURS.” The journey is considerably quicker today, but if you go by camel, it probably still takes 52 days. Zagora is a popular starting point for trips on camel back into the Sahara Desert and this famous sign gives some indication of the significance of this area back in the mists of history.

Camel caravans (or – more accurately – dromedary caravans, as it is the one-humped version that is used in the Sahara) have existed since the 3rd century; the last caravans were officially closed down during the French and Spanish Protectorates in 1933.

For centuries the camel trains were the main means of transportation of goods and people between North African ports and economic hubs (such as Marrakech and Fes), across the Sahara to sub-Saharan Africa and eventually the Levant. For example, the camels travelled from as far West as the Moroccan Atlantic Coast right across to Ethiopia and Sudan in East Africa. An important north-south trade was salt (from Morocco) with gold (from the then Ghana Empire). One of the key caravan routes connected Tifilalt in Morocco, one of the largest oases in the world; Sijilmassa, an important salt mine; Tindouf in the deep south of Algeria, and Timbuktu in Mali.

Map of Caravan Routes of Morocco

Map of Caravan Routes of Morocco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloth, manufactured items and paper were brought in from Europe. On the return leg, they carried gold, slaves, ivory and ostrich feathers as well as beads and shells for currency. On the way, the traders may have picked up silver, salt, dates or handicrafts for exchanging on route. Slaves flowed in both directions, but particularly northwards. It has been estimated that from the 10th- 19th century, as many as 7,000 slaves were transported northwards into Morocco.

The procession of the camel train was a carefully planned affair. In previous times, the Sahara fringes and the Sahel were greener than today and the camels would be fattened for a number of months on the plains before being rounded into a caravan. The famous 14th century Moroccan explorer, Ibn Battuta, describes the size of the camel trains: 1,000 camels but occasionally as large as 12,000.

The leaders of this solemn procession were well-paid Berbers and Touareg tribesmen who literally knew the desert like the back of their hands. Along with their camel herds, this knowledge was a valuable commodity. Furthermore, they had invested time in building the relationships and connections necessary to ensure safe passage of the valuable cargo. The routes changed according to these allegiances, the rise and fall of economic might of different towns and cities and – importantly – the existence of rivers and oases, many of which in the desert are ephemeral and unpredictable. Runners would sometimes be sent ahead to oases to bring water back to the caravan because of the difficulty of transporting the water necessary between sources. It was not unusual for them to travel 3-4 days in each direction to provide this service.

The peak of the caravan trade coincided with the boom in the fortunes of the Islamic rulers of the greater Maghreb and Al-Andalus region, from the 8th century until the late 16th century. These routes were even responsible for the spreading of Islam from North Africa into West Africa. The decline was caused by improvements in maritime transport by the European powers and the discovery of gold in the Americas. However, the link between, for example, the port of Mogador (modern day Essaouira) and Timbuktu was significant as late as the 19th century, when Jewish traders in both cities exchanged goods and slaves from sub-Saharan Africa with produce imported from Europe and further afield, such as gunpowder tea from China.

Today, some sections of the routes are passable. In fact, many of the unmade trails used today by all-terrain vehicles to traverse the desert are actually the remnant of the old camel routes. Modern political tensions have made many Saharan borders impassable to tourists and travellers. However, the local tribesmen still know the routes and still use ancient navigation techniques passed down through the generations. It’s unlikely they would let a modern construct such as a line on a map hinder their passage!

Written by Lynn Sheppard 

Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.

For more information about Moroccan Caravan Routes from Zagora or a Morocco Tour 

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.  We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Visiting Morocco In Winter, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Morocco Winter Vacation, Kasbah Tamadot

Morocco Winter Vacation, Kasbah Tamadot

Morocco is the perfect travel destination regarding of season. Visiting Morocco in winter can make for a rewarding holiday travel experience. The period around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year is a popular time to take vacation and a great time of year to get away from it all. Morocco is a cold country with hot sun. Morocco enjoys sunny, mild weather year round and makes a perfect winter vacation destination.

Depending on the type of vacation you seek as a Morocco traveler a private tour can be arranged with varied trips that focus on one or two centers as well as tours encompassing as much or as little of this fascinating country as you have time and interest to visit.

To give you some idea of the variety Morocco has to offer, here are a few suggestions…

The coastal resort of Agadir enjoys over 300 days of sunshine per year and is the perfect base for a family holiday or for exploring Morocco’s Southern Atlantic Coast. The daytime temperature is typically around 70°F (although evenings are cool – pack a sweater) and although the sea is cooler than in summer, most hotels and resorts have heated pools and there is none of the sea fog characteristic of the hotter summer months. With a new marina development, Agadir offers fine dining and also plenty of nightclubs and casinos for those looking for a party!

Agadir is also a great base or starting point for a more active vacation. Morocco’s Southern Atlantic Coast is world-ranking for surfing and other water sports. December to March is the peak surfing season in Taghazout (15 miles north of Agadir), when the big winter swells from the North Atlantic hit. Equipment and instruction is easily obtained locally and non-surfers can enjoy deserted beaches and mountains for long winter walks as well as yoga lessons and plenty of opportunities to relax gazing out at the ocean, coffee or wine glass in hand.

Maybe the ocean isn’t your thing and you prefer the mountains? From Marrakech, the High Atlas Mountains are within easy reach, including the ski resort of Oukaimden. Yes, you read right – skiing in Africa! Facilities are not as developed as in the European or North American resorts, but if you fancy skiing at Africa’s highest resort (5 runs at 11,000 ft) and experiencing snow sports ‘Moroccan style,’ this is your chance! Trekking is also possible in the Atlas Mountains in winter, although ascents of snow-covered Mount Toubkal (North Africa’s highest peak at 13,671 ft) are only recommended for those experienced in winter conditions.

From snow-covered peaks to vast sandy deserts…. Morocco’s Sahara Desert is very accessible in winter, once the heat of the summer has died down. At night, you will need the winter clothes you wore to get here, but you will experience stunning clear, starry skies as you sit around the campfire with your Berber hosts. And early risers will catch the unique sight of sunrise over the sand dunes. Morocco has two principal dune ranges: Erg Chebbi and Erg Chegaga. We can arrange trips and overnight stays in both starting from the desert city of Ouarzarzate – in luxury Berber tent or boutique kasbah accommodation. Including camel rides, of course!

Moroccan-Berber-Carpets

Moroccan-Berber-Carpets

If all of that seems rather active for your winter vacation, Morocco’s medinas (old cities) offer plenty of distractions – and relaxation opportunities. Indulge in an authentic Moroccan hammam where you will be scrubbed clean and warmed from the inside out. Spa treatments are also available. Shop til you drop and haggle for bargains in the souks of Marrakech, Fes and Essaouira. And don’t worry – the vendor will be happy to ship that carpet right to your door back home! At the end of the day, enjoy a fireside dinner of traditional Moroccan cuisine in your historical riad guest house (restored townhouse, often more than 200 years old) or modern resort hotel. In either you will be surrounded by the famous Moroccan warmth and hospitality.

Events winter vacationers may wish to travel for include:

Marrakech International Film Festival – 5-13 December 2014, Marrakech. Annual festival features new Moroccan and international films plus retrospective categories and is attended by a star-studded jury.

New Year’s Eve – 31 December 2014. Moroccans typically don’t celebrate new year according to the lunar calendar, but there are plenty of events in tourism centres catering for those wishing to ring out the old and bring in the new!

Marrakech Marathon – 25 January 2015. Road race in this historic city with Half Marathon option.

However you decide to spend your winter vacation in Morocco, a private tour company like Travel Exploration can design your trip of a lifetime!

Written by Lynn Sheppard 

Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients. You can contact Lynn at: lynn@maroc-o-phile.com

For more information about Visiting Morocco in winter or a Private Tour to Morocco

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.  We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Morocco Sahara Desert Camps, Standard or Luxury Bivouac

Sahara Desert Luxury Bivouac Camp

When visiting the  Morocco Sahara desert or Merzouga, M’hamid or Zagora you will be offered the option of a standard or luxury tent. When you go on a camel trek or by a 4X4 in the Moroccan Sahara there are many options of places to stay. There is a wide range of Standard bivouac camps, several top end Luxury Bivouac Camps and also Luxury Guest Houses all worth while of consideration.

Depending on the amount of time you want to stay in the desert and your desire for privacy it may be worth your while considering a luxury tent or bivouac. There are a number of standing camps and the luxury ones are private, usually for two  or more people with superior furnishing and bedding , showers and a toilet and a tent or area  for relaxing. Meals are provided. If you plan a romantic night under the stars (there are special honeymoon tents) or you want to enjoy the desert in comfort, this is for you, but the experience comes at a price. The campsites which offer luxury tents include  Le Belle Etoille, Travel Exploration Morocco, Assou, Les Nomade and Le Red Sand Luxury Desert Camp. At these Morocco Sahara Desert Luxury camps the tents have been designed by top French interior designers. They have 6 tents of around 30 square meters. Each tent has its own bathroom (hot/cold running water) and toilets. This is a permanent camp offering tailor made excursions for relaxing, or more adventurous desert tourism with various sporting activities.

 The  Erg Chigaga Luxury Camp, can accommodate 16 people in 8 tents. The tents are spacious (25 sq m) with the highest quality mattresses, linen and pillows, whilst each tent is equipped with ‘wall-to-wall rugs’, solar-powered lighting and handcrafted furniture. Each tent has en suite facilities. For those seeking privacy, the Erg Chigaga Luxury Camp has two private camps each situated within a 15-minute walk from the main camp. Each camp consists of two luxury en suite tents and a separate relaxing tent, nestled in the dunes.

 For those that want a trip deep into the Sahara desert and to sleep in a different locations each night, they have a nomadic camp for camel treks of 3 and 4 days’ duration. These are also privately run trips, with each camp accommodating between 2 and 4 guests. The nomadic camps are ‘semi-luxury’, with a comfortable bed and fresh linen, private bathroom, Moroccan lounge and cold drinks.

Sahara Desert Morocco Standard Bivouac Camp

The standard  berber tent  is simply a tent  to sleep in for the night without any other facilities. These may be out in the desert but most are in regular camping sites which have shared facilities showers and toilets.

The standard camps are large and shared with other tourists who often stay in local hotels and visit the campsite for a night out in the desert with a meal and entertainment with traditional music and dancing  which can go on late into the night.

You need to make quite certain about  what services  and excursions are offered  including a luxury or standard tent, meals, availability of bottled water  excursions  by camel or 4X 4 and pick up and drop for your onward journey.  All this should be agreed beforehand so ask your travel agent to agree the details. If you are agreeing a deal either with a tour company in Marrakech or actually at Merzouga you need to confirm all the details very carefully before you pay for the trip. You can also stay in a desert camp near Marrakech in the Agafay area an hour’s drive from Marrakech if you do not have time to visit  the desert locations in Merzouga, Zagora or M’hamid.

For More Information on Morocco Sahara Desert Tours & Luxury Bivouac Camps

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Sahara Desert & Seaside Resorts, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Djemaa El Fna Sunset, Marrakech

Visit Morocco where the sun shines 300 days a year. Morocco is one of the ancient intersections of civilization. Boldly situated on the far northwestern corner of Africa, its expansive shoreline stretches from the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar to the Mediterranean. The cultural diversity of contemporary Morocco reflects its historic vantage point  as a gateway to Europe and the world. Morocco’s heritage offers visitors an encounter with an exotic society and its customs, an incomparable cuisine, and a shopper’s paradise of magnificent markets. Visit Morocco and explore it’s Imperial Cities, Sahara Desert and Seaside resorts. Visit Morocco and hike, trek, cook, sunbathe. Visit Morocco and indulge in all things Moroccan. Visit Morocco to explore Berber villages and off the beat places. Morocco should be on everyone’s bucket list. Make Morocco your next holiday destination!

For more information about a Visit to Morocco

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities,Seaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of Morocco,Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best ofMarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel ExplorationTravel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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