A Berber man and his camel (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 22 January 2018

Beyond the 'Marrakesh Express': 9 adventures into the heart of Morocco

Climb sand dunes, discover hidden valleys, walk with Berbers and learn the secrets of Moroccan cooking on these trips designed to reveal Morocco’s authentic heart

1: Walk with Berber nomads

Walking with Berbers (Intrepid)

Walking with Berbers (Intrepid)

Join the nomadic Ait Atta tribe of southeast Morocco as they make their annual migration into the High Atlas Mountains on this unique walking expedition with Intrepid.

You’ll spend a week with a Berber family as they escape the heat of the lower valleys for higher, cooler pastures. You’ll help organise camp each evening and pack it up each morning, as well as participate in daily chores like milking goats, tending animals, and baking bread the Berber way. Each night you’ll feast on delicious Moroccan food with your new friends.

It’s a unique opportunity to participate in a tradition that has taken place through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco for over 4,000 years, and form real connections with local  people in this enchanting part of the world.

Trip: Morocco Expedition – Walking with Berber Nomads

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Mar, Apr, Sep & Oct

How long: 8 days

How much: From £765 (exc. flights)

2: Bargain your way across northern Morocco

Chefchaouen medina (Dreamstime)

Chefchaouen medina (Dreamstime)

Experience the very best of Northern Morocco without blowing your budget on this jam-packed trip with G Adventures.

Over eight days, you’ll tour charming Tangier, the famous blue-and-white buildings of Chefchaouen, old-world Fes and, finally, the bustling Djemaa El Fna in Marrakech. Along the way you’ll hike the Rif Mountains, take a traditional hammam, visit a Berber pharmacy and lots more.

You’ll see all of Morocco’s best sights and still have money for bargaining in the medina.

Trip: Northern Morocco on a Shoestring

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 8 days

How much: From £485 (exc. flights)

3: Trek through Morocco’s hidden valleys

Assif Mgoun Valley, Bou Tharar (Dreamstime)

Assif Mgoun Valley, Bou Tharar (Dreamstime)

Escape the Toubkal crowds and discover an untouched world of breathtaking scenery and Berber hospitality on this Moroccan walking holiday through the peaks and passes of Mgoun with KE Adventure Travel.

After camping on high pastures used by nomadic shepherds, you’ll head to the summit of Mgoun (4,071m), the third highest peak in Morocco. Regarded as the most beautiful mountain in the country, Mgoun rewards you with a jaw-dropping panorama of the High Atlas Mountains and incredible Sahara Desert. 

You’ll explore the dramatic Mgoun Gorge before finishing among pretty villages, terraced fields and gardens bordered by the famed rose bushes of Morocco. 

It’s the perfect combination of off-the-beaten-track walking and Moroccan culture at its hospitable best.

Trip: Peaks and passes of Mgoun

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures Jun-Sep

How long: 8 days

How much: From £495 (exc. flights)


4: Experience the silence of the dunes

Erg Chebbi (Dreamstime)

Erg Chebbi (Dreamstime)

Encounter the epic silence of the desert on this extraordinary journey through the dunes, oases and kasbahs of the Sahara with Audley.

Starting in the beguiling city of Marrakech, you’ll pass over the spectacular High Atlas Mountains to the striking valleys and gorges of the south, travelling through lush oases and past crumbling kasbahs en route to the desert. 

After camping in the impressive dunes of the Erg Chebbi, you’ll head to remote Zagora before following the Draa Valley up to Skoura, staying in a restored kasbah. This is a side of Morocco that very few people get to experience.

Trip: Erg Chebi Desert Circuit

Who: Audley

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,965 (inc. flights)

5: Dive right in to active Morocco

Essaouira beach, Morocco (Dreamstime)

Essaouira beach, Morocco (Dreamstime)

Don’t just see the sights of Morocco – experience them! – on this 18-day active adventure with Oasis Overland.

As well as exploring the ancient medinas and kasbahs of Marrakech, Fez and Casablanca, you’ll get the chance to go rock climbing in the Todra Gorge, ride camels in the Sahara desert, windsurf in Essouaira and learn to surf in Taghazout. Horse riding tours are available too, as is a visit to the desert sets of Ouarzazate Film Studios where Oscar-winning films like Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator were filmed.

Trip: Morocco Encompassed & Surf School

Who: Oasis Overland

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 18 days

How much: From £1,099 (exc. flights)

6: Discover the hidden secrets of Morocco’s Imperial cities

Djemaa El Fna at dusk, Marrakech (Dreamstime)

Djemaa El Fna at dusk, Marrakech (Dreamstime)

Delve deep into the heart of Morocco’s great Imperial cities on this intensive three-city break with TravelLocal.

Accompanied by specialist guides, you’ll encounter aspects of these great cities that most visitors miss. You will visit different parts of the souks, discover hidden madrassas, and meet local craftsmen keeping age-old traditions alive. You’ll stay in atmospheric riads and enjoy traditional Moroccan dishes.

Beyond the cities, you will wander the Roman ruins at Volubilis, and visit the Berber village of Demnat in the foothills of the High Atlas mountains. 

Trip: Morocco's Imperial Cities

Who: TravelLocal

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 6 days

How much: From £450 (exc. flights)

7: Get a taste of the real Morocco

Selection of spices in a Marrakech market (Dreamstime)

Selection of spices in a Marrakech market (Dreamstime)

Discover the intoxicating combination of Arabic, Berber, and European flavours on this authentic food adventure through Morocco with Peregrine. 

It’s a flavoursome journey that will take you from a market breakfast in Casablanca and goat’s cheese in Chefchaouen, to a taste tour through the ancient souks of Fes and Marrakech, and a Berber feast in the Sahara desert. From street food and small-batch producers to home-cooked dinners and hands-on cooking classes, this is memorable Morocco on a plate.

Finally, you’ll learn how to cook tagine, Morocco’s most famous dish and the perfect symbol for the country’s cuisine – varied in flavour, and infinite in possibilities.

Trip: Morocco Food Explorer

Who: Peregrine

When: Departures Apr, May, Sep-Nov

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1,490

8: Venture into Morocco’s deep south

The Draa Valley in Morocco (Dreamstime)

The Draa Valley in Morocco (Dreamstime)

Lose yourself in Morocco’s enigmatic south on this 14-day adventure with Travel The Unknown.

You’ll experience a wilder, more untamed side of the country as you watch a dramatic sunset from the peak of a sand dune in the Sahara, wander through abandoned kasbahs in the Draa Valley, and marvel at prehistoric rock carvings while sipping mint tea with the Berbers in the remote Anti Atlas. 

Finally, you’ll travel to the far reaches of the Atlantic coastline, relaxing in the serene seaside town of Mirleft and its art deco neighbour Sidi Ifni, before heading north through Sous Massa National Park, a haven for birdlife, to the white-washed medina of picturesque Essaouira.

Morocco’s south has it all.

Trip: Southern Morocco Explorer

Who: Travel The Unknown

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 14 days

How much: From £2,145 (exc. flights)

9: Marrakech to Essaouira by bike

Cycling through ‘traffic’ in Morocco (Exodus)

Cycling through ‘traffic’ in Morocco (Exodus)

Cycle through the best of rural Morocco on this 9-day trip from Marrakech to Essaouira with Exodus.

It’s a journey that will take you through the foothills of Mt Toubkal, past golden kasbahs and impressive gorges to the long sandy beach of Essaouira. It’s a spectacular route that follows smooth tarmac roads and climbs over high mountain passes offering spectacular views of the High Atlas Mountains. 

The highlight of the trip is the ride through Paradise Valley, where a palm-filled valley leads to a high pass with views down to the ocean below. Oh, and the warm welcome you’ll receive each night in a range of great hotels, including a traditional riad. 

Trip: Cycle Morocco's Great South

Who: Exodus

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 9 days

How much: From £1,199 (exc. flights)