Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the current restrictions surrounding quarantine, we took the decision to postpone this year’s trek to the Sahara until 5th – 10th May 2021. This does mean however, there is still time to sign up and explore the world’s largest hot desert and third-largest desert overall. Click below to order your information pack or sign up.
Trek the Sahara desert, scale sand dunes and camp under the stars
Join us on a magical adventure, trekking over 50 kilometres through the dramatic landscape of the Sahara from 5th – 10th May 2021.
Complete five days trekking and make like-minded friends, all whilst supporting your local life-saving charity. Marvel at the vast and diverse landscape, experience the stunning stars in the night sky and enjoy traditional Berber cuisine.
Experience the Atlas Mountains, traversing snow-capped peaks and lush valleys
Travel through the hottest, and one of the largest deserts in the world
Sleep outside under the stars and wonder at the desert night sky
Enjoy traditional Moroccan cuisine, eaten al fresco
Explore exotic Marrakech before flying home
Situated in North West Africa, the Kingdom of Morocco is a country with a population of over 35 million people. Morocco has a diverse geography with both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines in addition to a rugged mountainous and desert interior. The mighty Atlas Mountains and vast Sahara Desert makes Morocco an adventure lover’s paradise, and Marrakech is a wonderful place to visit before or after the trek with a mixture of spicy aromas, peaceful mosques, diverse entertainers and a cacophony of merchants in the bustling medina.
The Berbers (or Amazighen – ‘free people’) are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa whose culture can be traced back over 4,000 years. Today most Berber people live in Algeria and Morocco although there are also Berber communities in Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Niger. Before Islam most Berbers were Christians, now the majority are Sunni Muslim. Traditionally, Berber men take care of livestock and Berber women take care of the home and make handicrafts for use around the home and to sell. The lifestyle is generally nomadic or semi-nomadic and there are large Berber communities in the rural parts of the country.
The Sahara covers an area of over 3,600,000 square miles making it the third largest desert on the planet (after Antarctica and the Arctic respectively). It stretches from the Mediterranean and Atlantic to the north, the Red Sea to the east, and as far south as the Niger River. The Sahara is the world’s hottest desert with record temperatures exceeding 50°C. Despite its inhospitable conditions, the Sahara has many species of flora such as acacia, palms and grass which have adapted to the arid conditions.
Temperatures tend to range from approx. 25°C to 35°C during the day, and drop to around 0°C at night. Weather during the trek should be dry, but there may be some strong winds.
Who accompanies us?
This trek is organised by Different Travel on behalf of Essex & Herts Air Ambulance. You will be accompanied by professional English-speaking Berber guides who have an excellent knowledge of culture and hiking in the region. The guides are first aid trained and will support you throughout your journey. You will also be accompanied by a team of support staff including cooks and camel handlers, a Different Travel Company UK tour manager, a UK medic and an Essex & Herts Air Ambulance charity representative.
The flight-inclusive trip in this brochure is financially protected by the ATOL scheme. Essex & Herts Air Ambulance is acting as an agent for The Different Travel Company, ATOL 6706.
What’s the daily routine like?
Each day’s trek will vary in duration but on average you will trek for 5-8 hours per day, covering approximately 15-20km, with a long break at lunchtime when you will spend a few hours relaxing through the heat of the day in the desert environment.
A minimum fundraising target of £2,020 is required to take part in this adventure, plus a £290 registration fee. We will be there to help you every step of the way with ideas and advice on how to reach this target and support your local life-saving charity. Why not ask your employer to match fund you? This amount includes your flight and travel and accommodation costs when in Morocco. We suggest taking an extra £200-250 for spending money.
Thank you Paradise Wildlife Park!
We visited Paradise Wildlife Park to learn a bit about the animals* we will be spending time with on the trek. We were lucky enough to be able to take part in feeding the camels – they are the calmest animals! Hopefully, this experience was enough for Dr. Chris to sign up! Thank you to Paradise Wildlife Park for the experience.
*These are not the species of camel you would find in the Sahara, but it was lovely to hang out with them for a bit.
Interested but want to know more?
Please register your interest to join the Sahara Desert Trek at the link below if you would like to receive an information pack.
We fly together to Marrakech where we are met by our guide and transfer to our hotel for the night. Depending on flight arrival times we may start the journey to the desert today and stay in Ouarzazate tonight instead (approx. 4-5 hours).
Marrakech to Sahara
If staying in Marrakech we set off early, crossing the Atlas Mountains and following ancient caravan routes into the arid Sahara desert, stopping for lunch in Ouarzazate on the way (journey time approx. 9 hours including stops.) If starting in Ouarzazate the journey to the desert takes approximately 4-5 hours. This afternoon we will arrive in the desert and be welcomed by the rest of the trek team and the camels before commencing our trek into the vast and arid Sahara desert, stopping overnight to camp under the stars of the Sahara. Approx. trek distance: 5km.
Days 3 – 4
Our trek continues through the desert as we traverse sand dunes and rocky, lunar landscapes for the next three days. We are aided by our local Berber team comprising of the guides, cook and camel owners (the camels are our porters, carrying our luggage and equipment). Each day you enjoy the varied Saharan landscape and learn about how important it is to respect and comply with the forces of nature in the desert. As the trek progresses we learn how the nomadic people of the Sahara live: from cooking to sleeping out under the stars and reading the magnificent Saharan night sky. On average we will cover 15-20km per day but this will vary.
Sahara to Oulad Driss to Marrakech
This morning it’s the final leg of the trek back to the village where we bid farewell to the trekking team and head back to Marrakech (approx. 9 hours’ drive). Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight and overnight stay at a central hotel. Approx. trek distance: 5km.
Marrakech to London
Enjoy some free time to explore the exotic city of Marrakech before your flight back to the London (subject to flight times).
N.B. This itinerary may change due to unusual weather, the ability of the group and so on. We will do our best to keep to the itinerary but we cannot be held responsible for changes that occur outside of our control. In all circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the group’s health and safety.
To get to and from the desert requires long drives (approx. 9 hours including breaks) along winding mountain roads which offer stunning views of the snow-capped peaks and lush valleys. If you suffer from motion sickness you are advised to bring your usual anti-nausea medication with you.
You will be charged £5, plus your standard network rate. 100% of your donation will go to Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT). By texting, you agree that EHAAT may phone or text you to tell you about our work. If you would prefer not to hear from us again, text HELI NO to 70588.
Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1108989). Registered company in England and Wales (05397840). Registered address: Flight House, The Business Centre, Earls Colne Business Park, Earls Colne, Colchester CO6 2NS.