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Walking with the Berber Nomads in Morocco TOP008_7
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Walking with the Berber Nomads in Morocco

Travel from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains as you join a local Berber family making their annual journey from the hot city to the cool mountains. For thousands of years, Berbers have been guided by the seasons and the nomadic traditions of the Ait Atta tribes. Become part of the family on a very special eight-day walking expedition.

You’ll sleep in remote mobile campsites and help with the daily chores like animal herding and food preparation. Travel through Berber villages along the way and breath the ever fresher air as you leave the city behind. If you’re looking for a chance to make strong connections with people living a deeply authentic and completely different way of life, this is the adventure for you.

Highlights:

  • Discover the Medina in Marrakech and try to not get lost
  • Cross one of the highest passes in Northern Africa, the Tizi N Tichka pass
  • Enjoy delicious home cooked Moroccan dishes
  • Learn how to bake bread in the traditional nomadic way

In Marrakech you’ll have time to explore the city before heading out. Enjoy the tropical gardens once owned by French painter Jacques Majorelle and check out the twisting endless alleys of the Medina. When it’s time to leave the city, you’ll be heading to Imassen at the base of the Atlas Mountains. This is where you’ll meet the Berber family that you’ll be joining on this journey. The work starts right away as you help to pack and prepare the equipment before dinner.

The first day of walking (about 4-5 hours) takes you to Bouyeghd. As you walk you’ll have the chance to start getting to know your hosts and to start getting a feel for the nomadic lifestyle. You’ll see that the ease of finding water depends on recent snow and rain fall. Days start early, and that there is always work to do before there’s a chance to sit down for the evening.

The journey takes you through places like Imi n Taghia village, Laasker gorge, Aklim village, and Valley Ait Hmad. The trek ends near Ait Hmad and, if you’ve been paying attention to the cooks, you’ll have a lovely opportunity to prepare a thank you dinner for your hosts before departing in the morning. The last night is spent in the vibrant Jemaa el Fna – a square that comes to life each evening when the story-tellers, musicians, and fire-eaters arrive. It’s a fun and perfect way to end your week in Morocco.

Immerse yourself in another culture and a new (yet ancient) way of life. Enquire today to learn more about this walking with the Berber Nomads in Morocco adventure.

Itinerary

Day 1 Marrakech

Welcome to Marrakech, Morocco! Your expedition begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you’re going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, perhaps get your bearings of the city with a walk around town.

Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Explore the Medina and the seemingly endless mosaic of souqs, each devoted to a separate trade – pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. You might also like to visit the famous Koutoubia Mosque or check out the lesser-known tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent).

Notes: If you can’t arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you’re able to attend. We’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Day 2 Imassen

Today will be an early start. Travelling by private vehicle, head into the Skoura region of the Atlas Mountains. About 2,500 kilometres (1,600 miles) long, the mountain range extends through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Cross over the Tizi N Tichka pass, one of the highest in North Africa. Upon arrival, there’s a one-hour walk to the first nomadic camp in Imassen, where you’ll meet your Berber family and discuss the next four days. After helping prepare and pack the equipment for the trek, sit down to a delicious dinner with the family and get to know each other.

Day 3 Bouyeghd

Rise early this morning for breakfast. After packing up the campsite equipment (don’t worry – you’ll be shown how), head off towards Bouyeghd. The walk should take around 4-5 hours. Once there, sit down for a picnic lunch before continuing onto your camp at the base of Azefgue Mountain. While there is a nearby spring, water availability will depend on how much rain and snow has fallen that year. Help the family set up camp for the evening, before sitting down together again for dinner.

Day 4 Imi n Taghia

Hopefully by now you’re getting used to rising early! This morning, the family will teach you how to prepare and bake bread in the traditional nomadic way. Gender roles differ between tribes and families, but generally women look after the campsite, bring water and do the cooking, while men herd the sheep and go to the weekly markets for produce exchange.

After breakfast, pack up and head on towards Imi N Taghia, passing through Laasker gorge along the way. You’ll be walking for around 4.5 hours in total. Once you’ve enjoyed lunch, help set up the tents and campsite for the evening in Imi n Taghia, and lend a hand in dinner preparation.

Day 5 Aklim

Rise early again to bake bread with the family, before packing up and walking towards Aklim. Today’s trek takes around 4-5 hours. You’ll pass through traditional Berber villages on the way, giving you a great chance to practice any local phrases you’ve learnt. After lunch, help set up camp for the evening and sit down to relax before dinner.

Day 6 Ait Hmad

You’re probably getting pretty good at that bread baking by now! After packing up the campsite and eating breakfast, depart Aklim and make your way to Valley Ait Hmad, passing through more Berber villages en route (a 4-5 hour walk in total). Eat a picnic lunch and pitch the tents at your campsite. Tonight is the last night you’ll spend with your Berber family – hopefully you’ve got to know them pretty well by now. With your leader and group, we suggest you draw on the traditional cooking methods you’ve learnt over the past few days and prepare a final thank you meal for the family.

Day 7 Marrakech

Today, the walking component of your adventure comes to an end. After bidding farewell to your new Berber friends, you’ll be transported back to Marrakech in a private vehicle with the rest of the group. On arrival, join the thronging crowds for dinner at the famous public square – Jemaa el Fna. Every night the square comes alive with musicians, story-tellers, fire-eaters and hundreds of small outdoor restaurants. Hotel accommodation is included for the night.

Day 8 Marrakech

Your Moroccan Expedition comes to an end after breakfast today. As there are no activities planned, you are free to depart the accommodation at any time.

More Details

Important notes

1. Please note that on most of the days you will be camping in remote areas of Morocco. Tents and sleeping mats are provided, but you are required to bring your own sleeping bag.
2. Single supplement including single tent is available upon request.

Group size

Maximum of 12 travellers per group.

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nights), Nomadic camp (5 nights)

In Marrakech you will be staying in comfortable, Moroccan style hotel, whereas on the road, you will be camping in twin shared tents, with all necessary facilities, such as basic communal showers and toilets available. Please note that you are required to bring your own sleeping bag for this trip.

Meals introduction

Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian cous cous and tajine or omelettes. This is particularly the case during the trekking sections of the trip.

Please note that all the supplies would have to be bought before setting out on the road with Nomad family. If you have any special dietary requirements you should inform the trip operator office prior to the trip. If you have a specific medical/dietary need (i.e. coeliac or vegan) you may find it helpful to bring some items of food with you from home.

Meals

7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Walking, Private minibus

Your transport from Marrakech to the start point of Nomads migration will be done by comfortable, private minibus. From there, you will be walking on rocky, but not very challenging terrain for next 5 days. The last stretch of the journey on the way back to Marrakech will also be done by private minivan.

Visas

Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans and British citizens do not require a visa to visit Morocco for stays up to 90 days. All other nationalities should check with the Moroccan Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information.

Climate and seasonal information

Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather. Winter (approx November to March) can be very cold. Particularly in the mountains or near the desert, night temperatures can drop to 5 degrees Celsius or less. Even in the hot months out in the desert it can get cold at night. It is recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket. Please also be prepared for cold showers.

   

Dates & Rates

 

Sat 23 Sep 2017 – Sat 30 Sep 2017
From: £725

Sat 24 Mar 2018 – Sat 31 Mar 2018
From: £760

Sat 22 Sep 2018 – Sat 29 Sep 2018
From: £760

What is included

Meals

7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Walking, Private minibus

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nights), Nomadic camp (5 nights)

Operator

We love this operator for the freedom and flexibility they give travellers to get off the tourist trails and really experience local cultures. Their grassroots style of travel ensures the impact on the communities they visit is minimised. They use local leaders, local accommodation & transport and support local community projects, ensuring sustainability is at the centre of everything they do.

This operator is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. However, these values are more than just words on a page; they are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every office and tour. In addition, they expect their staff and travellers to demonstrate the principles of responsible travel – respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.

Enquiry Form

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