Take in the highlights of Southern Morocco and tread into new territory of the Western Sahara.
Absorb the explosion of culture, colour and custom in Marrakech before winding your way through the spectacular Atlas Mountains. Hike through cobbled villages, dine with locals and breathe in fresh mountain air. From Berber hamlets tucked into valleys, to sacred sanctuaries and time frozen village life, your experience will be contrasted as you cross rocky forlorn desert expanses into the disputed territory of Western Sahara. A former Spanish colony, annexed by Morocco in 1975, the further south you head, the city of Dakhla will surprise you with its relaxed vibe. Swaying palm trees, an island studded lagoon and cobalt waters lined with a scattering of cafes and restaurants make for the perfect end to this contrasting journey.
Ahlan wa sahlan and welcome to Morocco! On arrival at Marrakech Airport, your guide and driver will meet you outside the arrivals hall holding a signboard with your name on it. You will then transfer to your hotel to settle in.
Situated to the north of the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and fringing the famed Sahara, the bustling UNESCO-listed city of Marrakesh is an enchanting travel destination. Marrakesh is also home to the largest traditional Berber market in Morocco and one of the busiest squares in the world, known as Djemaa el Fna. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this square in the evening, as it transforms into an enormous, open-air restaurant, and browse through exquisite carpets, spices and a myriad of other items. Art, design and architecture enthusiasts flock to the city to see its incredible artisan achievements, so beautifully expressed at the glorious Bahia Palace, Dar Si Said and Saadian Tombs, as well as at several museums. The other-worldly Jardin Majorelle is also unmissable.
After some time to freshen up, it is time to set off on your amazing food adventure in the heart of Marrakech Medina. This is a colourful melting pot, where European modernity meets ancient vibes. Follow your taste buds through the medina, as you learn about culinary habits, history and culture, as you taste samples of Moroccan food. Venture behind the scenes of the markets with your local guide, who will provide an insight into Moroccan specialities at hidden stalls in the medina offering fresh olives, to stops by a neighbourhood oven – a bakery where locals cook their bread! Taste some freshly baked bread, before sitting in a local café to try mssemen (Moroccan pankcakes) & sfenj (Moroccan donuts), all washed down with a sweet cup of mint tea. Continuing on, head to the next group of stalls to have a delicious roasted lamb and local famous dish known as Tanjia. Wrap up your foodie adventure with a very special spicy herbal tea known as khoudenjal! (D)
Overnight Riad Palais Sebban or similar
After breakfast, depart for the quaint Berber village of Imlil, in the Atlas Mountains. Taking up most of Africa’s north-western corner, the Atlas Mountains extend for roughly 2400 kilometres across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, reaching to over 4000 kilometres above sea level at their zenith, Toubkal Mountain. The Atlas range is exceptionally scenic and known for the many rare and endangered plants and animals occurring there, some of which are found nowhere else on earth. Here, you will explore some of North Africa’s most remote villages tucked away in the deep valleys of the rugged range and hike through the spectacular scenery. Crossing a vibrant green valley that is fresh and lush even during the hottest days of summer, from Douar Samra (1700m), spend the day following trails to Aremd on foot, the highest village of Ait Mizane, before climbing to the sacred sanctuary of Sidi Chamarouch. Todays hike is moderate. Along the way, you’ll see locals going about their daily lives, as they have for centuries. The walk to the shrine takes 2.5 hours. Learn about the fascinating history of this shrine. There are beautiful places to picnic for lunch nearby, either by the river or with a panoramic view of the mountains and the valley below. Transfer to Tamatert for a walk around the village, before arriving at a small riad where you will spend the evening. (B,L,D)
Overnight Domaine de la Roseraie or similar
This morning, head to the coastal town of Taghazout, a small fishing village which is known for surfing and yoga and simply chilling out. The village of Taghazout, near Agadir, has long captivated the hearts of wave catchers from all over the world. And not just theirs, but also of all those who want to experience the authentic spirit of the Moroccan coast. The afternoon is yours to relax and enjoy the amazing views over the Atlantic Ocean. (B,D)
2 nights at Radisson Blu Resort, Taghazout Bay Surf Village or similar
Set off this morning for a day in Paradise Valley; a palm-lined oasis in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, around an hour’s drive from your hotel. Soak up the scenery as you journey into the mountains, hike down to reach the valley floor, and cool off with a swim in the natural pools and waterfalls. Enjoy a picnic lunch in nature. Return to your hotel in the afternoon. (B,L,D)
Today, you will visit the coastal town of Agadir with its authentic kasbah and bustling port. This buzzing city is one of the preferred summer destinations for locals, thanks to its golden beaches and perfect weather. Here, you will have the chance to visit one of Morocco’s largest and busiest souks: Souk el Had. Almost every commodity and good is sold here, from vegetables and snacks to souvenirs and clothing. Departing Agadir after lunch, head to a town known as ‘Little Marrakech’ and the silver capital of Morocco: Taroudant.
Once the capital of the Saadi Dynasty, Taroudant is set in southern Morocco’s lush Souss Valley, in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. The city is surrounded by red-clay walls, similar to those which surround the capital and have remained virtually intact since they were built in 1528. Within these protective walls, lies a vibrant trading centre with both Arab and Berber cultural influences. Two markets are located on either side of the main square. Place Assareg provides excellent shopping opportunities, particularly for the town’s renowned handicrafts, including jewellery, carpets, leather and terracotta products. (B,D)
Overnight Palais Claudio Bravo or similar
This morning, visit Taroudant in depth. Hidden by magnificent red-mud walls, and with the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas beckoning beyond, Taroudant’s souqs and squares are colourful and full of art and traditional crafts. Yet, it is also a practical place, a market town where Berbers trade the produce from the rich and fertile Oued Souss plains.
Around midday, head towards the village of Tiout, a superb oasis of palm trees, where you can discover the traditional life of the Berber locals and their warm hospitality. Transfer to Agadir Airport, where you will say goodbye to your guide and driver and board a flight to the gorgeous seaside retreat of Dakhla.
The city of Dakhla is situated in Western Sahara, a disputed territory administered by Morocco, on a long sandy peninsula. The town is famous for its excellent windsurfing and surfing conditions, with the year-round wind. Here, you can enjoy stand-up-paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, boat trips to Dragon Island, wakeboarding, fishing, yoga, and desert excursions. A gorgeous lagoon, home to pink flamingos, dolphins, and sometimes even orcas, makes a fantastic picnicking and photography spot. In the town centre, explore historic buildings, such as the Spanish Cathedral, Old Mosque, New Mosque, and more. Be sure to try the delicious, fresh local oysters and traditional Saharawi tea, which is served in a wonderful ceremony. (B)
4 nights PK25 Dakhla or similar
This morning you will set off to Dragon Island across the lagoon. You will kayak your way to this isolated yet beautiful island (approx. 1 hour). Discover the completely unspoiled shores and white sandy beaches. (B)
Dakhla is a true kitesurfing paradise. The wind stats in this area are just astounding, so you can sail the whole year in Dakhla! The water is perfectly flat with huge shallow areas; just perfect for beginners. You will meet your kitesurfing instructor, who will be teaching you all the basics of kitesurfing and will provide a safety brief, along with detailed guidelines for this activity. You will then have the opportunity to practice on the sand. (To practice on the water, training should be done for a minimum of three days). The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)
Today is yours at leisure. (B)
Today is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)
Download this tour’s PDF brochure and start your planning offline!
**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.