Walking Safari with the Nomads

Morocco Walking Safari  bikehike Nomads
Morocco Walking Safari  bikehike Nomads
Morocco Walking Safari  bikehike Nomads
Walking Safari with the Nomads
Duration:
9
Days
Priced from:
2299.00
USD

Walking Safari with the Nomads

Trip Overview

Morocco Walking with the Nomads Trip Featured in Forbes for BikeHike AdventuresTwice a year the semi-nomadic tribe of the Ait Atta migrate in search of pastures for their vast flocks of animals. This unique Morocco trekking holiday follows the migration of one such family as they move south from the High Atlas Mountains into their homeland, the Jebel Saghro, a remote and dramatic mountain range in the south of Morocco. This is a real life adventure that will appeal to those in search of something different. It offers beautiful scenery and an enthralling cultural experience. During this weeklong trek, you'll witness a way of life unequivocally different from our own - one that has been handed down through centuries of Ait Atta civilization. Travelling at the gentle pace of the nomads and their flock of goats, sheep, mules and dromedaries, we follow a trail over rocky passes, crossing bright oases and camping in wilderness locations. Walking for 4 – 5 hours per day, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the landscape.

WOW FACTORS

  • Trek and camp with a semi-nomadic Berber family and their herd of around 200 animals
  • Learn traditional songs and dances, how to build sheep enclosures, and how to bake bread in the wilderness
  • Remove yourself completely from modern society in a wild, dramatic, and silent landscape

Activities

Difficulty Level

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Itinerary & Map

Day 1

Marrakech
Arrival
On arrival in Marrakech you will be met by a BikeHike Adventures representative and taken to our hotel in the centre of Marrakech. Flights often arrive in the evening, giving us just enough time to head out for a get-together meal and short briefing. Overnight in a comfortable hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: none

Day 2

Marrakech - Jebel Saghro
Transfer
After breakfast we are met by our transfer vehicle(s) to take us the six hours or so to the village of Tagoudilt on the edge of the Jebel Saghro. The route takes us through the High Atlas over one of the highest paved passes in North Africa, the Tizi-n-Tichka, and down into the largely desertified south of Morocco. En route we’ll stop for lunch before continuing to the town of Boumalne Dades. Here we’ll take a short warm up hike through agricultural land in the Dades Valley, before taking a half hour jeep road to our destination. Tagoudilt is a small village set on an open plain between the High Atlas Mountains and the Jebel Saghro. It’s a popular trailhead for groups traversing the Saghro and lies on the route that the Ait Atta nomads take from the High Atlas to the Jebel Saghro. In Tagoudilt we’ll enjoy a pre-trek tajine (a local stew cooked in a conical clay pot) and stay overnight in a “gite d’etape”, a basic local house licensed to offer rooms to passing visitors. It’s here that we’ll meet our team of mules for the trek, and Zaid our nomad host for the five day hike. Dinner and overnight in a gite. 

Accommodation: B & B
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Jebel Saghro
Trekking
Setting off from Tagoudilt, the next five days will take us on a route traversing the Jebel Saghro from north to south until we reach the village of Hamdor, just north of the town of N’Kob. The route we take follows the traditional migration route of the Ait Atta nomads; a route that can vary slightly from year to year depending on climatic conditions and the state of grazing lands. The autumn migration route is often different from the route taken in the spring as scarcity of water can threaten grazing land. On trek, each day will follow the same format of walking in the morning, setting up camp at lunchtime and relaxing in the hot afternoons. The nomads set up a traditional camel hair tent which is a perfect spot from which to watch the world go by. With a large flock of goats and sheep, dromedaries, mules, dogs and chickens there is invariably plenty of activity on the hillsides that surround camp. For those wanting to walk further, there are always possibilities for further exploration (including some summits) in the afternoons and those who want to learn the art of baking bread in the wild are welcome to join in. The nomad way of life follows this pattern as the afternoon is time set aside for the grazing of animals. Four nights camping in modern one and two man tents and night 7 spent in a gite in Hamdor.

Trekking Duration: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Jebel Saghro
Trekking
We will continue to follow the traditional migration route of the Ait Atta nomads while following along with their daily routine. 
 

Trekking Duration: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Jebel Saghro
Trekking
We will continue to follow the traditional migration route of the Ait Atta nomads while following along with their daily routine. 

Trekking Duration: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Jebel Saghro
Trekking
We will continue to follow the traditional migration route of the Ait Atta nomads while following along with their daily routine. 

Trekking Duration: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Jebel Saghro
Trekking
We will continue to follow the traditional migration route of the Ait Atta nomads while following along with their daily routine. 

Trekking Duration: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: B & B
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Tagoudilt - Marrakech
Transfer
Having completed our trek and bid farewell to the Ait Atta we transfer back to Marrakech, through the Draa Valley, and visiting the kasbah at Ait Benhaddou en route. Ait Benhaddou is the best-preserved of Morocco’s kasbahs and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we’ll have a chance to wander around the site which dates back to the 11th century. The journey time back to Marrakech is about six and a half hours, retracing our route back over the Tichka pass and down onto the fertile Haouz plain around Marrakech. Arriving back in Marrakech is a real highlight. Having arrived in the evening at the start of the trip we had little time to explore the Marrakech medina (old town), a UNESCO Heritage Site and said to be the second largest medieval complex in the world, after Cairo. Much of the medina is a beguiling labyrinth of tiny alleys and passageways where men ply their trades in tiny box-like workshops that have hardly changed in hundreds of years. The medina is also home to the famous souqs (markets) of Marrakech - ideal for devotees of ethnic fashion and decoration, but worth a look for the sights, sounds and smells of this most exotic of markets. Tonight we explore the main square – the Djemaa el Fna – to witness one of the world’s most animated nighttime spectacles. At night the square is transformed into a giant open air restaurant where men in white coats serve anything from sheep’s head stew to snails in hot sauce. The rest of the square is dedicated to other forms of entertainment such as snake charmers, story tellers, acrobats and dancers. Later we will enjoy a farewell dinner in a restaurant before exploring what Marrakech has to offer in the way of nightlife. Overnight in a comfortable hotel. 

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

Day 9

Marrakech
Departure
Free time before transferring to airport for homeward flight. Most flights depart in the afternoon so there’s more time to explore the city and pick up a few last minute souvenirs.

Meals: Breakfast

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
All accommodation (twin shared), meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=Lunch, D=dinner), internal transportation, all equipment (camping gear) and English-speaking guides.

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International airfare, airport departure taxes, gratuities, meals not indicated, and items of a personal nature.

MEALS:
8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 2 Nights
Tent: 4 Nights
Gite: 2 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Morocco

Coastal areas tend to have a less extreme and more temperate climate than the interior, feeling pleasantly warm in winter and not ferociously hot in summer. Most Atlantic regions benefit from a sea breeze which keeps summer temperatures down. Rainfall levels are significantly higher than in low lying areas in the interior.

The plains of the interior have more extreme of temperatures, ranging from a punishing hot in summer (particularly during July and August) to cold in winter. Precipitation levels are very low, and any rain that does fall is most likely in November, February and April.

The Atlas Mountains and their associated sub-ranges are subject to variable conditions with much higher levels of precipitation (falling both as rain and snow in the high mountains) and colder conditions. There are significant regional variations, but generally the north side of the mountains is more bearably hot in summer, and colder in winter than the south side. Nighttime winter temperatures can fall as low as -10ºC and daytime summer temperatures can climb into the upper 30s ºC.

The south of Morocco is notoriously hot in the summer, particularly on the fringes of the Sahara. Although winter daytime temperatures are very pleasant, they tail off dramatically in the evening and often drop well below freezing. The north of Morocco is very lush by comparison as a result of much higher rainfall and temperate conditions.

Travel Documents

Citizens of Canada and the US require a valid passport to enter Morocco. Passports must be valid for six months beyond the date of entry or entry may be refused. There are no visas required for people travelling with Canadian or American passports. Citizens of other countries should check with the local embassy for updated information on entry requirements.

Food and Water

Moroccan food is a combination of European and Arab influences. Some typical Moroccan dishes include tagines (gently steamed stews) and pastillas (sweet and savory flaky pies). Spices also take centre stage in Moroccan kitchens, with chilies, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, saffron, paprika, and ginger. Breakfasts usually consist of locally made crepes, toast, jam, fresh orange juice and tea/coffee. Alcohol is not widely available in Morocco, although larger hotels, foreign-owned auberges and upmarket restaurants sell it.

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. 

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

This is a “moderate” trip. Although the hikes themselves are not particularly strenuous, their length and challenging terrain might be more taxing than expected. Days are full. During the hikes, the most you would have to carry on your back is a daypack.

Most days follow a similar pattern of an early start, morn- ing hike, arrival at camp and then the afternoon free. That adds up to an average of 4 - 5 hours hiking per day, with afternoon hiking options always available for those who require more. Some longer days may require us to stop
for lunch and continue walking for a short period in the afternoon as well. We will generally walk at an easy pace but there is a certain amount of flexibility (given the large size of the team) for those wishing to walk at a faster pace. Of the nomad group it is normally the shepherd who arrives last, his nomad ration pack of figs and dates sustaining him till camp.

Has this trip been run before?

Our trip development department spends long hours researching destinations, routes, ground operations and equipment. BikeHike Adventures has been operating since 1994. 

For the duration of this trek we will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide. Our team for this trek includes cook, mule handlers and their mules. The mules carry all of the food, camping equipment and luggage that you don’t require during the day.

Having said that, this trip is VERY special and not a typical package "tour." This trip is intended to be a true cross-cultural experience.  You are joining a nomad family. These are not tourism professionals.  In the nomads we have the ultimate mountain guides, people who know the terrain better than anyone. The route we take is not a manicured one for tourists but instead a real life migratory route with camping areas chosen for their functionality (nearby pastures for grazing, natural spring or river) more than for their natural beauty.

Although the route taken is a well-established one in nomad circles, it is uncharted territory for commercial groups.

Our ‘hosts’ for the trip are a family, comprising husband and wife, children and their grandparents. They have a flock of around 200 sheep and goats, several dromedaries and mules, a couple of sheep dogs and some chickens, all of which will be migrating south. The family have by no means had this ‘trek with tourists’ imposed upon them but are more than happy to welcome us along. Moreover, as they supply our pack animals for the hike, it’s a way of earning some extra income whilst not disrupting their natural pattern of life.

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. A typical trip is comprised of men and women, all of whom are invigorated by highly cultural adventures. Our clients on this trip are usually enthusiastic hikers, hiking regularly at home. The age range on this trip is typically from 35-60, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well. 

What should I pack for this trek?

We have prepared a packing list that you can download by clicking the link to the right on this page. 

Which airport do we fly in and out of for this trip?

Marrakech. You can arrive anytime on day 1 of the trip and depart anytime on day 9.

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

Many of our travellers (both men and women) join as singles. On average, BikeHike groups are 75% single travellers and 25% couples. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

Most of our trips are created with adults in mind, many of our itineraries are suitable for strong and active teenagers. This trip is generally not a family focused trip. However, we do offer many Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

Accommodation

Most of our trips include comfortable mid-range accommodations. To build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, we avoid using large international chain brands on BikeHike trips. 

This trip takes it one big step further to connect you with the locals. This trip is VERY special and not a typical package "tour." This trip is intended to be a true cross-cultural experience. You are actually joining a real, nomad family along their semi-annual trek.

Our ‘hosts’ for the trip are a family, comprising husband and wife, children and their grandparents. They have a flock of around 200 sheep and goats, several dromedaries and mules, a couple of sheep dogs and some chickens, all of which will be migrating south. The family have by no means had this ‘trek with tourists’ imposed upon them but are more than happy to welcome us along. Moreover, as they supply our pack animals for the hike, it’s a way of earning some extra income whilst not disrupting their natural pattern of life.

Our team for this trek includes cook, mule handlers and their mules. The mules carry all of the food, camping equipment and luggage that you don’t require during the day. These are not tourism professionals. In the nomads we have the ultimate mountain guides, people who know the terrain better than anyone. The route we take is not a manicured one for tourists but instead a real life migratory route with camping areas chosen for their functionality (nearby pastures for grazing, natural spring or river) more than for their natural beauty. Although the route taken is a well-established one in nomad circles, it is uncharted territory for commercial groups.

Additionally, here is some information about this trip accommodation:

HOTEL NIGHTS

In the city, at the beginning and end of the tour, you will stay in small local style hotels that showcase Morocco's local flair.

CAMPING NIGHTS

Camping on this trip involves sleeping in tents, in a pure rustic camping style.  For relaxing, the nomads set up a traditional camel hair tent which is a perfect spot from which to watch the world go by. Those who want to learn the art of baking bread in the wild are welcome to join the nomads in doing so. The nomad way of life follows the pattern of afternoon free-time after camp is set up, as the afternoon is time set aside for the grazing of animals. At night, we'll enjoy meal around a campfire.  This is an incredible camping experience!

GUESTHOUSE ("Git") NIGHTS

There are also two nights in a “gite d’etape,” a basic local house licensed to offer rooms to passing visitors. Here, the emphasis is less on the common comforts of western living and more on the experience of living as local. The accommodation will be comfortable but can be very basic by western standards.

Click HERE for more information about accommodation styles.

Adventure Dates

  • Sep 21 - Sep 29, 2019
  • May 02 - May 10, 2020
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Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
2299.00
USD
per person

No single supplement fees
** Guaranteed departures on two travellers

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Add-Ons

  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour.  Just ask! 
Day Destination Activity
Duration
Lodging Meals
1
Marrakech
Arrival
Hotel
2
Marrakech - Jebel Saghro
Transfer
B & B
b,
l,
d
3
Jebel Saghro
Trekking
4-5 hours
Tent
b,
l,
d
4
Jebel Saghro
Trekking
4-5 hours
Tent
b,
l,
d
5
Jebel Saghro
Trekking
4-5 hours
Tent
b,
l,
d
6
Jebel Saghro
Trekking
4-5 hours
Tent
b,
l,
d
7
Jebel Saghro
Trekking
4-5 hours
B & B
b,
l,
d
8
Tagoudilt - Marrakech
Transfer
Hotel
b,
l
9
Marrakech
Departure
b

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