Solitude in the Sahara – Morocco and Western Sahara

Solitude in  the Sahara – An 11 day Small Group Tour from £2750 per person.


The former Spanish Sahara colony has been the site of a long war since the second half of the seventies. This region also known as the Western Sahara has been off-limits for decades to travellers. We are proud to be able to bring intrepid travellers the vast, rocky and sandy regions of Saguia El Hamra, Tiris Zemmour and Rio de Oro, now Saharan provinces of Morocco. Accompanied by reliable guides and following a carefully planned itinerary, we explore it adventurously but safely. This is a true off the beaten track gem of an adventure for passionate travellers and desert lovers. Expect genuine encounters with nomadic tribes such as the mythical Reguibat.

Revel in the history of stone citadels and recently discovered prehistoric rock art sites. , unexpected navigation on emerald lagoons between ocean and dunes, Marvel at the sheer beauty of emerald lagoons, the deep blue of the Atlantic, and towering sandy dunes.  Enjoy a balanced mixture of adventure and cultural discoveries, starting and finishing beside ocean and in between travelling through landscapes moulded over millennia by the harsh realities of the desert.  The itinerary is the result of ten years research, both bibliographical and in the field with nomads and local tribes, allowing us to share with our travellers this epic region, oozing history from prehistoric times to the contemporary era.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace

Busy

Tour style

Pioneer

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary.

Arrival in Agadir. Transfer to the hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure.  No meals or guided activities are included today. Overnight in a comfortable hotel – Hotel Atlas Amadir, or similar.

This morning we explore the atmospheric markets of Agadir where more than 600 merchants ply all manner of trades.  Travelling by 4WD, we then depart the city and follow the Atlantic Coast on a scenic route sandwiched between reefs and creeks. We take a late lunch in a small fishing village before continuing to Sidi Ifni. If time allows we will take some time to explore the town. Overnight Safe Hotel or similar (BLD)

Agadir

Agadir is a Berber and cosmopolitan town with Phoenician origins. From 1140 BC and thanks to its geographical position with a large beach protected by a gulf and to its mild climate, it has also been inhabited by Carthaginians, Portuguese, Dutch, Sephardi Jews and finally, by the French. The town was destroyed by two earthquakes in 1731 and 1960 and has always been rebuilt. Today is a known touristic destination. The market of Agadir surrounded by decorated walls, Souk El Had, is one of the largest in Morocco with more than six thousand merchants offering nearly any product and handicraft from the country.

Travel this morning from the Atlantic coast to the gateway to the desert and the town of Guelmim, an ancient caravan terminal. Here we will discover the remains of the ancient Trans-Sahara trade and take in the authentic camel market, where of particular interest is the sight of nomadic shepherds dressed in the djellaba. After lunch in a local restaurant we take a track to a ghostly military fort which still ‘guards’ the former borders between the French protectorate of Morocco and the Spanish Sahara. Here we feel like we are on the set of an old French foreign legion movie. A late afternoon arrival at the comfortable Ksar Tafnidilt hotel, built using local material in a beautiful Saharan style. The hotel is managed by our long term friends, Guy and Magali, a French couple. Magali is a desert expert; she won the “Rally des Gazelle,” the most gruelling off-track competition reserved for female teams. Ksar Tifnidit is a meeting point for passionate Sahara travellers. The hotel will be our base for the next 2 nights. Overnight at Ksar Tifnidit (BLD)

We leave Tifnidit crossing a steep range of dunes and arrive to the region of the Dra estuary visited only by the most intrepid travellers. Between the cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean there are no paved roads. We will discover tiny temporary fishing settlements, abandoned colonial military posts, dunes, and camels. Leaving the coastline, we find our way along a river bed in a large canyon, the only possible path between high dunes, cliffs and the ocean. We return to our hotel. Overnight at Ksar Tifnidit (BLD)

We leave our amiable hosts from the last 2 nights and cross a steep range of dunes, now in the territory known as Western Sahara. The former Spanish Sahara colony has been the site of a long war between the Polisario Armed Front and the Moroccan army and is presently part of Morocco. We visit the Naila lagoon, separated from the ocean by rows of dunes. It is the largest salt lake in Morocco (100km squared),  and a protected area of great natural beauty with prolific migratory birdlife, at times hosting up to 20,000 individual flamingos, cormorants, herons and gulls. We will take time to explore this remarkable wetland area by local fishing boat and camp in a spectacular location between the dunes and the lagoon. Overnight comfortable camping (see notes) (BLD)

Drive into the rocky desert region of the Seguia el Hamra with Smara our destination. On arrival explore the town including the citadel with its remains of Hispano-Moresque colonial military quarters and the interesting palace of the Zawiya built by Maa el Ainine in stone with a white plaster bas-relief ceiling. Also visit the market and other points of interest. After dinner this evening we will enjoy a local cultural performance of dance and music showcasing Saharawi culture. Overnight either in a fixed camp in large moorish tents with carpets and beds or at the recently built Hotel Sahariano (BLD).

Smara

Smara was established in 1898 by the sheikh Maa el Ainin, born at Oualata in Mauritania to an important Sufi religious family. In 1887, Moulay Abdelaziz, the sultan of Morocco, named him Caid of Tindouf (in the actual Algeria). Smara was built with the support of the Sultan of Morocco that sent fonds, technicians, materials and architects. Before the edification of the town, the site was a caravanserai on the pathway to Mauritania. The town of Smara became a key market for local nomads and for the caravans linking the Magreb with sub-Saharan Africa. In 1908, Sheik Maa el Ainin claimed himself as a religious leader (Imam) declaring Smara a holy town and called the jihad against French and Spanish colonisation. Smara, the only town founded by a Saharawi the rest of the towns in this part of the Sahara was founded by the Spanish. Smara has always been the epicentre of the Saharawi insurgencies.  To settle one of the many rebellions, Smara was attacked by the French camel battalions from Mauritania in 1913 and in 1934 by the “Tercio” (Spanish foreign legion) and in 1973 the Polisario front was founded in Smara. During the Spanish colonial period, the administration didn’t have a strong presence in the inland and the Smara region was under control of Sheikh Maa el Ainin and of its Saharawi rebel tribes. Sheikh Maa el Ainin became the most relevant political-religious leader of a vast region called Trab al-Bidan covering south Morocco to Western Sahara, Mauritania and a large strip of desert from north Mali to southwest Algeria. It is said that he married 116 wives from different tribes, creating an alliance with each of the tribes. A young French intrepid traveller and explorer, Michel Vieuchange, disguised as a Berber woman was able to reach the town in 1930 taking more than 200 photos and filling up seven books of notes. Michel Vieuchange died of dysentery and exhaustion when he was 26 years old on his way back. His brother published the posthumous book “Smara: the forbidden city”. Today Smara is a pleasant small town with a well-supplied market

In Smara we will meet our local guide, a nomad from a Sharawi tribe who will lead us through four days of true desert adventure crossing the former Western Sahara from north to south. During this authentic Saharan odyssey, we will cross imposing dunes discovering wells frequented by camels belonging to the legendary Reguibat nomads and we will meet these stalwarts of the desert. We will also have the privilege of visiting an area rich in ancient petroglyphs only recently discovered and still being studied by local archaeologists. It is believed that these sites hide the highest concentration of art in North Africa. Overnights spent camping under the stars of the timeless Sahara (BLD)

Note regarding camping in the Sahara

Our modern tents are provided with mattresses and are totally closed with mosquito nets at the windows. Tents are placed on a large mat that further isolates them from the soil. A warm dinner will be prepared by a local cook and served at tables. Your tent will be equipped with beds and carpets providing a more comfortable camping experience. A large restaurant tent and a toilet tent (facilities tent) will be installed at each camp: A 4WD logistic vehicle carrying camp and kitchen staff will accompany the expedition in the remote areas.

Our off-piste trans-Saharan expedition traverses a region of dunes, wells and the camps of nomadic camel herders. Later in the afternoon, we join a road that takes us closer to the ocean, in the evening arriving at a comfortable ocean front hotel in Dakhla.  Overnight Hotel Doumss or similar. (BLD)

The exceptional beauty of this landscape makes the Dakhla peninsula a truly special place. The Rio de Oro (Golden River) is a 25-mile long sea loch situated between cliffs and dunes. Different colours paint the scenery: the intense blue of the ocean, banks of yellow sand, and green seaweed fields. The brown rocks and white dunes form an island during high tide. The small town of Dakhla was founded by Spanish navigators in 1502 and was called “Villa Cisneros”. We visit the traditional fishing harbour and have lunch at an oyster farm (other food will be available) then drive along the shore where we will see ocean waves lapping the sand dunes. Return to the hotel for a shower and freshen up before a transfer to the airport for an evening departure with the captivating beauty of the Sahara now entrenched firmly into your soul. (BL)

Dates & Price.

  • Tour Code
    Start
    End
    Trip Status
    Pricing
     
  • Tour Code 21-01 NOV
    Start Thursday November 11, 2021
    End Sunday November 21, 2021
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 12

    Adult ( 1 - 12 Pax ) £2,750.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Solitude in the Sahara – Morocco and Western Sahara (MWS) Single Supplement
    £ 250.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
  • Tour Code 21-02 DEC
    Start Thursday December 9, 2021
    End Sunday December 19, 2021
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 16

    Adult ( 1 - 16 Pax ) £2,750.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Solitude in the Sahara – Morocco and Western Sahara (MWS) Single Supplement
    £ 250.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
  • Tour Code 21-03 DEC
    Start Sunday December 26, 2021
    End Wednesday January 5, 2022
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 16

    Adult ( 1 - 16 Pax ) £2,750.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Solitude in the Sahara – Morocco and Western Sahara (MWS) Single Supplement
    £ 250.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
  • Tour Code 22-01 FEB
    Start Thursday February 3, 2022
    End Sunday February 13, 2022
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 16

    Adult ( 1 - 16 Pax ) £2,750.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Solitude in the Sahara – Morocco and Western Sahara (MWS) Single Supplement
    £ 250.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
  • Tour Code 22-03 MAR
    Start Thursday March 3, 2022
    End Sunday March 13, 2022
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 16

    Adult ( 1 - 16 Pax ) £2,750.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Solitude in the Sahara – Morocco and Western Sahara (MWS) Single Supplement
    £ 250.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
  • Tour Code 22-04 APR
    Start Thursday April 21, 2022
    End Sunday May 1, 2022
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 16

    Adult ( 1 - 16 Pax ) £2,750.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Solitude in the Sahara – Morocco and Western Sahara (MWS) Single Supplement
    £ 250.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
    Oman – From the Desert to the Coast (ODC) Single Supplement
    £ 455.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
  • Tour Code 22-05 NOV
    Start Thursday November 10, 2022
    End Sunday November 20, 2022
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 16

    Adult ( 1 - 16 Pax ) £2,750.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Solitude in the Sahara – Morocco and Western Sahara (MWS) Single Supplement
    £ 250.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
  • Tour Code 22-06 DEC
    Start Monday December 26, 2022
    End Thursday January 5, 2023
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 16

    Adult ( 1 - 16 Pax ) £2,750.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Solitude in the Sahara – Morocco and Western Sahara (MWS) Single Supplement
    £ 250.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More

Tour Notes

Single Supplement from £250.

Return flights from London to Agadir and returning from Dakhla can be arranged through Undiscovered Destinations. Contact us for a quotation. We are fully ATOL and ABTA bonded.

We include airport transfers in the price of your tour if you are arriving on the first day and leaving on the last day of the advertised itinerary. These will be provided by our local representative or on occasions by the hotel used for the first and last nights of the tour. When the transfer is provided by the hotel this will often be via a shared shuttle bus operated by the hotel. If you are planning to arrive before the start date, and/or leave after the end date of the tour, Undiscovered Destinations can arrange private transfers at an additional cost. Please check with us at the time of booking.

Please note that if you have arranged extra pre and/or post tour accommodation, either through Undiscovered Destinations or directly with the hotel or an agent, airport transfers are not included in the price of your tour. Please contact us if you would like Undiscovered Destinations to arrange private airport transfers at an additional cost.

Mapped itinerary.

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Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44 (0)191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers provided on a shared or private basis depending on location. On occasions the transfer will be operated by a hotel shuttle bus (*please see notes below)
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All accommodation as per the itinerary
  • Camping equipment
  • Services of English-speaking guide / tour leader
  • Full board from Day 2 to Day 10
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
  • Drinking bottled water in the vehicle

Note – Airport Transfers

We include airport transfers in the price of your tour if you are arriving on the first day and leaving on the last day of the advertised itinerary. These will be provided by our local representative or on occasions by the hotel used for the first and last nights of the tour. When the transfer is provided by the hotel this will often be via a shared shuttle bus operated by the hotel. If you are planning to arrive before the start date, and/or leave after the end date of the tour, Undiscovered Destinations can arrange private transfers at an additional cost. Please check with us at the time of booking.

Please note that if you have arranged extra pre and/or post tour accommodation, either through Undiscovered Destinations or directly with the hotel or an agent, airport transfers are not included in the price of your tour. Please contact us if you would like Undiscovered Destinations to arrange private airport transfers at an additional cost.

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas (contact us for details)
  • Additional drinks
  • Items of personal nature
  • Tips (Discretionary)

A very enjoyable time. Our guide Francesca was excellent, she was on top of all the arrangements. I was really impressed. The itinerary was great and really saw unusual and interesting things every day. Particularly loved the Bijagos Islands, at the full moon saw green turtles nesting, laying eggs and babies hatching and running to the sea.

Pamela Stubing, USA