Slow Travel Morocco - hike the Moroccan Sahara

Nothing is rushed in the desert…

…which is what makes it ideal for slow travel.

In fact, ideal for a slow holiday which opens a window onto a way of life from days gone by, a slower pace of life. We are passionate about sharing our nomadic background with you, a way of life now less feasible as water in the desert has become ever more scarce.

Our desert region has a rich history, and diversity of flora and fauna. Each day moving through the desert looks different; after all, isn’t this the beauty of a slow holiday? You don’t want to miss anything…

Hiking the dunes for sunset

What does slow travel look like to you?

How about ditching the car for a few days? Getting up close to nature? Walking off-grid and disconnecting from the outside world? Sleeping under the stars? Cooking on the campfire? If so, join us on one of our desert trekking trips in the Iriqui National Park.

In the desert, the day’s rhythm is set by the sun – from the time you wake, to the time your guides choose to find a shaded spot from the midday glare, to the time you make camp for the night. All you need to concentrate on each day is walking, the rest is taken care of. And the walking can be as slow as you like*.

*And if you don’t want to walk, let a camel (or horse) take the strain. Your baggage camels are carrying everything you need for the next few days.

Sahara Desert trekking, multi-day, with wild camps overnight

A must-do experience in Morocco for slow travel

We recommend multi-day trekking in Morocco’s Iriqui National Park – either starting from, or finishing at, the Erg Chigaga dunes at the heart of the Park. 

Sleeping under the stars and being entertained with music at the campfire is a joy of desert life. You will see the staple of every meal, bread, baked fresh in the hot sand beneath the embers of the campfire, and indulge in glass upon glass of strong Moroccan tea each day.

Top 3 things to do in the Sahara Desert

Sunset from the tallest point in the Erg Chigaga dune field;

Trek through little-visited regions of the Iriqui National Park;

Gaze at the Milky Way.

Trekking the Sahara Desert in Winter

The nomadic way of life

Your guides have an innate compass. Imagine spending your childhood as a shepherd in the wilderness, or migrating across the land with your family for part of the year, and you will know how to read the desert terrain.

Most families who once practised transhumance have opted to locate at the desert frontier, Mhamid, and now the younger generation supports their extended families. Previously, our parents kept farms and livestock in the desert when water was freely available. But once the river Draa was dammed upstream (near Ouarzazate), life in the desert settlement eventually became untenable and the desert encroached on farmland.

However, there are handfuls of families that live in the region, some keep a few animals and grow subsistence crops. It is possible to visit one of the families (enquire with us).

Star-gazing and wild camping in the Moroccan Sahara (image M. Breitung)

When is the best time to take your slow holiday?

Our preferred time to visit the Moroccan Sahara is between early October through the end of April. In January through mid-February, it’s not uncommon to see newborn camels and the carpets of wild rucola throughout the dunes. For photographers, the Winter light conditions are perfect for capturing the landscapes due to the low Winter sun. Nights are cold, however Winter is generally less windy than Spring.

The Iriqui National Park is one of the best places in Morocco to view the night skies, being far away from the nearest light pollution, and still relatively unspoilt. This is one of the best locations in the Moroccan Sahara to experience true desert nights in relative isolation.

Contact us with your ideas for slow travel and we’ll tailor a slow holiday for you.

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