morocco camel safari; sahara desert to Marrakesh tour; camel trek

Erg Chebbi, Morocco’s Sahara

The highest dunescape in Morocco’s Sahara Desert, Erg Chebbi is the setting for our camel trek. We camp at the base of Erg Chebbi to witness the sunset colors.

Photo by Brian McGilloway

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Morocco: Camels to Casbahs

Fez, Marrakesh, Essaouira, and the Golden Dunes of the Sahara

Morocco: Camels to Casbahs route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4695  
Length: 14 days
Arrive: Casablanca, Morocco
Depart: Marrakesh, Morocco
Lodging: 11 nights first-class hotels, 2 nights luxury tented camp (with showers!)
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 3 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Cultural exploration and walking tours, 2-day camel trek with 3-6 hours hiking a day, altitudes between 4,000-6,000 feet, 4WD vehicle support


  • Roam the labyrinthine medinas of medieval Fez and Marrakesh
  • Ride a camel or hike (or even a Jeep option) across the Sahara’s golden sands
  • Meet the Berbers of the High Atlas Mountains
  • Explore tiny Essaouira, a picturesque walled city by the sea

It was our 13th WT trip and we were not disappointed. We continue to be loyal clients because of trips like this.Dennis K.—Shaker Heights, OH

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The Road to Morocco, Anne & Ian Gray

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Fabled casbahs, medieval medinas, royal cities, golden dunes, red-rock canyons—Morocco has a mystique all its own and our comprehensive journey perfectly captures its sensuous beauty and mythic charms. Enjoy day hikes, Berber hospitality, and meet nomads and artisans as you explore from Fez, a walled city suspended in a medieval dream, to Essaouira, an 18th century gem set by the sea. The highlight? A 2-day camel safari in the silent, open spaces and golden dunes of the Sahara. At our exclusive private tented camp, you'll savor the silence, watch the sunset, and stargaze under a brilliant sky—a breathtaking experience of a world unto itself.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Casablanca / Rabat / Moulay Idriss / Volubulis / Fez

From Casablanca, head to Rabat to stroll through the picturesque Oudaya Kasbah, explore the hill town of Moulay Idriss and Roman ruins of Volubulis, then enter magical Fez, with its honeycomb of twisting alleys.

Days 5-7
Middle Atlas Mountains / Sahara Camel Safari

Crossing the Atlas Mountains, descend to Erfoud, then set off into the silent world of the Sahara, riding a camel or walking each day (or riding in the vehicle—your choice). From our private luxury tented camp at the huge, windswept dunes of Erg Chebbi, you’ll feel you have the desert all to yourself as you sense the vastness, wake to an amazing sunrise, and stargaze under a brilliant night sky.

Days 8-10
Todra / Dades / Ait Ben Haddou / Marrakesh

Meet Berber nomad families as you hike in the red-rock canyons of the Todra and Dades Gorges, then visit the mud-brick citadel of Ait Ben Haddou en route to Marrakesh.

Day 11

In the artists’ haven of Essaouira, with its decidedly relaxed ambiance, explore the medina, artisan workshops, fishermen’s market, and the tiny harbor where wooden fishing boats are still built the traditional way.

Days 12-14

Explorations of Marrakesh include a walk through its labyrinthine souks, where traditional artists are on every corner and everything from pottery and fabrics to silver and spices are displayed. Depart on Day 14.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 2+, Moderate, according to our trip grading system. It combines overland travel and cultural exploration with a moderate three-day camel trek in the Sahara. It is expected that each participant be in excellent health and physical condition. We recommend that you make a special effort to get in shape for the trip. Daily walking or hiking, jogging, or stair-climbing are excellent for preparing for the trip. In addition, you should be prepared for three days of hardy outdoor living. Elevations on the trip range from 4,000 to 6,900 feet.

Camel Trek
On the camel trek, the footing is not difficult but it covers a variety of overland terrain with no trails. We travel mostly over hard-packed, rock-dotted desert and through dry, sandy riverbeds. At Erg Chebbi, we have several hours of sand-dune hiking, with ups and downs over the rolling dunes. Our camels are attached to one another in groups of three or four by a rope and led by a Tuareg cameleer. Most people alternately ride and walk, as camel riding can be uncomfortable for long periods. You are always free to hike instead of ride a camel, or skip a day’s hike and ride in the 4WD vehicles with our Berber crew.

Please note: Camels can be unpredictable animals. It is possible for the camel to stumble on rough terrain or make a sudden erratic movement. Since camels cannot be saddled as securely as horses, the possibility of a fall from any sudden or erratic movement is increased. It’s important to follow the instruction and guidance of your Trip Leader, and to stay alert while riding. Anyone participating in this optional activity must acknowledge the inherent risks in riding and perhaps falling from the saddle, and agree to accept responsibility. Alternative activities, such as hiking or riding in the support vehicles, are always available for those who want a break from riding or prefer not to ride at all.

For lodging, we enjoy first class hotels in the cities, with a stay at a luxury desert camp on the camel trek and mountain lodges in the mountains. Transportation is by minibus and 4WD Land Cruiser. Bottled water is carried on board our vehicles at all times for your use.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Feb 27-Mar 11, 2016   Ali Ait Ichou
Mar 19-Apr 1, 2016   Mark Gordon
Sep 4-17, 2016   Ali Ait Ichou
Sep 18-Oct 1, 2016   Mohamed Hjira
Oct 16-29, 2016   Mark Gordon
Nov 13-26, 2016   Ali Ait Ichou

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$4695 (10-15 members)
$5095 (5-9 members)
Single supplement: $720
Forced single supplement: $520
more on pricing

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guide
  • Accommodations
  • All meals included except 1 lunch and 3 dinners
  • Camel trekking staff

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare to Casablanca and from Marrakesh, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, bottled water other than what is served at meals, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessary due to airline schedule changes or other factors, cost of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2016 Departures

Casablanca, Morocco
Date: Day 1

Suggested Airport for Arrival:
Casablanca, Morocco (airport code CMN)
Suggested arrival time: by 5:00 pm
Marrakesh, Morocco
Date: Day 14

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Marrakesh, Morocco (airport code RAK)
Suggested departure time: anytime

Sheraton Casablanca Hotel

Sheraton Casablanca Hotel

Day 1 (1 night), Casablanca, Morocco

A comfortable place to unwind after the long flight from the US, the Sheraton is an international-style hotel with well-kept rooms, a friendly bar ...
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Le Diwan Rabat

Le Diwan Rabat

Day 2 (1 night), Rabat, Morocco

Located in Rabat’s embassy district, this hotel is within walking distance of the atmospheric kasbah, medina, and Royal Palace. Here the ...
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Les Merinides

Les Merinides

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Fez, Morocco

The delight of this hotel is its view over the city of Fez, which you can enjoy from the terrace bar, listening to the call to prayer echo through ...
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Kasbah Xaluca

Kasbah Xaluca

Day 5 (1 night), Erfoud, Morocco

Surrounded by desert sands on the edge of the Moroccan Sahara, this newly built kasbah-style hotel is very atmospheric, with its numerous adobe ...
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Private Sahara Desert Camp

Private Sahara Desert Camp

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Erg Chebbi, Morocco

Our luxury tented camp, exclusive to our group, is set in the dunes of Merzouga near Erg Chebbi. The canvas interiors are hung with bright fabrics ...
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Hotel Kasbah Lamrani

Hotel Kasbah Lamrani

Day 8 (1 night), Tinghir, Morocco

Located on the outskirts of Tinghir amid a vast adobe-colored landscape stands the enchanting Hotel Kasbah Lamrani, a simple yet authentic riad. ...
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Hotel Xaluca Dades

Hotel Xaluca Dades

Day 9 (1 night), Dades Gorge, Morocco

This 110-room hotel is situated between the Todra and Dades Gorges at an altitude of 5,290 feet. Spacious guest rooms feature a unique African ...
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Hotel Es Saadi

Hotel Es Saadi

Day 10 (1 night),
Days 12 to 13 (2 nights), Marrakesh, Morocco

With a convenient location in the new section of the city, the Es Saadi is a 15-minute walk from the bustling medina. A five-story hotel built in ...
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Riad Al Medina

Riad Al Medina

Day 11 (1 night), Essaouria, Morocco

Right in the heart of Essaouira’s walled medina, this lovely riad has rooms built around a traditional open-air tiled courtyard. The rooms are ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Ali Ait Ichou

Departure Dates: February 27-March 11, 2016, September 4-17, 2016, November 13-26, 2016

Ali Ait Ichou was born in the heart of Morocco’s High Atlas and spent his childhood  up in the high mountains of Berber country. Coming down to the modern side of  the Moroccan kingdom, he attended high school and university in Marrakesh, majoring in English at the University of ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Mark Gordon

Departure Dates: March 19-April 1, 2016, October 16-29, 2016

Having lived in Marrakesh, Morocco, since 1982, Mark Gordon has led numerous expeditions and journeys for us throughout West and North Africa, and we’re excited to have him lead our expedition to Oman in 2016. Originally from America, Mark fell in love with Morocco after serving in the ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Mohamed Hjira

Departure Dates: September 18-October 1, 2016

Mohamed Hjira was born in the classic Berber town of Azilal in Morocco’s High Atlas. His hometown, gateway to the Central High Atlas, was often visited by travelers because of its proximity to the spectacular Ouzoud Waterfalls, so during his childhood he met people from all around the world, ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Client Comments

It was our 13th WT trip and we were not disappointed. We continue to be loyal clients because of trips like this. Dennis K., Shaker Heights, OH The itinerary was superbly planned. Lots of very nice touches, beginning with dinner at Rick's in Casablanca, staying in a riad in Essaouiria, horse-drawn carriages to the medina in Marrakesh. Walter P., Austin, TX A well designed trip. We saw a lot, traveled a lot, but the pace was just about perfect. We got to see so many different aspects of Moroccan life, in so many different settings. Well done. Darin P., Rye, NH Morocco was wonderful in so many ways and I'm sure my impressions were heightened by the flawless trip organization and leadership provided by your tour. Susan L., Cameron Park, CA Mark and his team did a great job of introducing us to the amazing cultural, geographic, and historical diversity of Morocco. Kitty L., Chicago, IL I knew this trip would be great but it was BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS! What an exciting, exotic, beautiful, and diverse country. I loved the High Atlas Mountains, so exceptionally scenic, the cities, medinas, and the sights, sounds, and aromas. The people were very friendly and gracious. The Sahara is very interesting. Marrakesh is a happening, fun city and coastal Essaouira is pretty and peaceful. I loved it all! Jan J., Gilford, NH A great blend of history, culture, scenery, and food. Dave C., Clackamas, OR What a super country, what tremendous experiences had by all, and Mark made it all a blast from beginning to end. Thanks, Wilderness Travel, once again, for a wonderful trip. Laura B., Tucson, AZ This was the most fascinating trip we have been on with WT. The Sahara, the gorges, and the mountains were my favorites, also the visit with the nomad family. Margaret J., Charlottesville, VA One of the best guided trips we have ever taken. Mark’s guiding skills are very good and his knowledge of Morocco’s culture is encyclopedic. Stephen M., Woodland, CA The more the trip went on, the more I began to appreciate how well it was organized. It give us a great exposure to all the Morocco has to offer. Mark S., North Oaks, MN
I really liked the pace of the trip and the flawless planning. Our Trip Leader has fantastic rapport with the locals throughout the country. Dave S., Olympia, WA We can depend on Wilderness Travel to offer exceptional trips and great attention to detail, and the quality of the Trip Leaders is unsurpassed. Joceln S., Arvada, CO The details of the itinerary, the schedule, and logistics could not have been better. Karl S., Arvada, CO It was extraordinary! Sharon L., Bellevue, WA Probably the best WT trip we've taken and they were all outstanding! Robert B., Oakland, CA This trip was well thought out with an itinerary that captures the spirit of the country. It was everything I had hoped for, and this trip had been on my list for years! Cindy B., St. Louis. MO Morocco is a wonderful, exotic country. Everything was handled with care and professionalism. A first-class operation. Virginia W., Danville, CA This is the kind of trip that has you itching to return before it even ends. Laura B., Seattle, WA The Sahara camel trek/camping was definitely the highlight! Waking at sunrise at the dunes was a beautiful sight. Maria S., Yardley, PA An amazing range of sites, landscape, activities: the desert trek was a really unique experience that I’ll remember always; the mountain landscape was gorgeous; visiting Essaouira gave us a taste of the coast; everything was well organized but allowed flexibility. Heather J., Washington, DC The experience was everything I had hoped for.The camping portion was excellent and the crew was top-notch. Larry M., Anchorage AK This was my first group ‘adventure travel’ trip and it exceeded all my expectations. I could not have enjoyed so many aspects of Moroccan life and culture had I been traveling on my own. Catherine F., Brooklyn, NY

Recent Photo Blog Posts

The Road to Morocco, Anne & Ian Gray