Responsible travel

Our team are the last generation to have grown up as children in the desert, previously practising a way of life that was unchanged in centuries. Our parents kept farms and livestock in the desert when water was freely available. That way of life became untenable two decades ago when the river to this region (Draa) was dammed near its source and the desert encroached on farmland.

Our responsible travel goals aim to support a very poor region of Morocco, educate visitors on the nomadic way of life, and care for our very fragile desert environment.

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ECONOMIC

Economic

We aim to support a very poor region of Morocco through providing work to the main breadwinners of large families.

Tourism is the mainstay in this region of Morocco. Young people normally have to move away from the local village (Mhamid El Ghizlane) to find work elsewhere.

However, we aim to put local knowledge and skills to work locally through employing local guides, local cooks, local camel-handlers and local drivers. Young men who are often the main breadwinners of their extended families will be the source of funding all living costs for 3 generations of their families.

Employing local men ensures that they in turn benefit their own community by contributing money there.

  • We pay fair wages and garner loyalty from our team through fair and equal treatment.
  • We buy all of our food from local shopkeepers. Fruit and vegetables are seasonal only.
  • We donate to animal welfare charities.

ENVIRONMENT

Environment

  • We aim to care for our very fragile environment and show visitors the beauty of the desert wilderness.
  • Having grown up in this region of the desert we are acutely aware of the scarcity of water.
  • We only transport enough water on our desert hikes for food preparation and hand-washing. We do not transport water for ‘showering’ which is non essential.  We don’t encourage desert hiking trips longer than 6 days, again to conserve water.
  • We customise desert hiking on a private basis, and certainly for group sizes no larger than 16. Most of our hiking trips are arranged for couples and individuals who want peace and quiet.
  • We encourage our visitors to collect litter whenever they find it in the desert, as we instruct our local guides and camel-handlers to do so.
  • We ask that our visitors take their litter out of the desert with them or hand it over to their guide who will bring it out of the desert.
  • We do not encourage the rental of quad biking which is harmful to the environment.
  • We offer our visitors information on the flora and fauna of the desert environment in the Iriqui National Park before they visit the region.
  • We encourage our visitors to travel by public bus to the desert frontier.
  • We encourage our visitors to visit Jarjeer Mules and/or SPANA if they are staying in Marrakech.
  • We reuse paper and recycle card/plastic in the office. We do not produce printed brochures.

SOCIAL

Social

We aim to offer authentic, simple experiences which are unique to this part of the world. We aim to educate visitors on the nomadic way of life.

Please refer to the introduction on our background. We are passionate about sharing our nomadic background and desert experience with our visitors. The majority of our team are indigenous Berber, or Sahrawi (whose forebears migrated from much further south). The local guide will act as a bridge between the visitors and the cook and camel-handler.

On the desert hikes, our team wear traditional dress and we give our visitors each a desert turban to protect from the sun/wind when hiking.

Examples of the nomadic experiences we offer – walking for several hours each day accompanied by a camel caravan; preparing tea on the campfire; preparing sand-bread in the embers of the fire; singing traditional songs in the evening at camp; using the stars to navigate.

We provide detailed Frequently Asked Questions pages to visitors once they confirm a desert trip.

We encourage our visitors to visit one of the remaining ‘Ksar’ (series of earth-built dwellings) at Mhamid, on the Draa Valley.
It is possible to visit a local family and take tea with them in their home, if so our guide will offer a small donation to the family.