Expedition Morocco – Walking with Berber Nomads

Morocco,

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12 people
8 days
Code: XMSM
Activity and Adventure, Discovery, Expedition, Tours

Overview of Expedition Morocco – Walking with Berber Nomads

Each year, thousands of people migrate into the High Atlas Mountains to escape the heat of the lower valleys. Following 4,000-year-old routes and guided by the seasons, these families are part of the nomadic Ait Atta tribes of southeast Morocco. In 2017, we’ll be joining one such family on a special walking expedition through the mountains. Sleeping in moving campsites and partaking in daily chores – like animal herding and traditional bread making – you’ll meet locals in tiny Berber villages and breathe enough fresh air to last you a lifetime. This is a rare opportunity to form real connections with people from another part of the world, and experience an authentic, ancient and well-preserved way of life likely very different to your own.

Trip Summary for Expedition Morocco – Walking with Berber Nomads

Start Location: Marrakech,   End Location: Marrakech

Countries Visited: Morocco, 
Meals Included: Breakfast: 7   Lunches: 4   Dinners: 6
Highlights:

    • In this one-of-a-kind experience, become part of the biannual migration of nomadic Ait Atta tribes people, a tradition that has taken place through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco for over 4,000 years
    • Spend the week with a Berber family, getting to know them personally. You can even ask them to teach you some basic Arabic so you can communicate like a local!
    • Get involved in life on the road, learning how to organise a camp every evening (and pack it up each morning)
    • Experience ancient nomadic culture and participate in daily chores such as milking goats, tending animal herds and learning to bake bread in the traditional way
    • Enjoy delicious, freshly prepared Moroccan food at your camp each day
    • Wander the vibrant souqs, embracing the sights, sounds and smells of Marrakech on a guided walking tour, then dine on tagine in the lively Djemaa el-Fna square

 

Day 1 - Marrakech
Welcome to Marrakech, Morocco! Your expedition begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, perhaps get your bearings of the city with a walk around town.

Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Explore the Medina and the seemingly endless mosaic of souqs, each devoted to a separate trade – pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. You might also like to visit the famous Koutoubia Mosque or check out the lesser-known tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent).

Please note that itinerary described in this document is for March departure. September departure runs in reverse order on days 2 – 6 due to a different direction in which Berbers are migrating.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Day 2 - Imassen
Today will be an early start. Travelling by private vehicle, head into the Skoura region of the Atlas Mountains. About 2,500 kilometres (1,600 miles) long, the mountain range extends through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Cross over the Tizi N Tichka pass, one of the highest in North Africa. Upon arrival, there’s a one-hour walk to the first nomadic camp in Imassen, where you’ll meet your Berber family and discuss the next four days. After helping prepare and pack the equipment for the trek, sit down to a delicious dinner with the family and get to know each other.

Day 3 - Bouyeghd
Rise early this morning for breakfast. After packing up the campsite equipment (don’t worry – you’ll be shown how), head off towards Bouyeghd. The walk should take around 4-5 hours. Once there, sit down for a picnic lunch before continuing onto your camp at the base of Azefgue Mountain. While there is a nearby spring, water availability will depend on how much rain and snow has fallen that year. Help the family set up camp for the evening, before sitting down together again for dinner.

Day 4 - Imi n Taghia
Hopefully by now you’re getting used to rising early! This morning, the family will teach you how to prepare and bake bread in the traditional nomadic way. Gender roles differ between tribes and families, but generally women look after the campsite, bring water and do the cooking, while men herd the sheep and go to the weekly markets for produce exchange.

After breakfast, pack up and head on towards Imi N Taghia, passing through Laasker gorge along the way. You’ll be walking for around 4.5 hours in total. Once you’ve enjoyed lunch, help set up the tents and campsite for the evening in Imi n Taghia, and lend a hand in dinner preparation.

Day 5 - Aklim
Rise early again to bake bread with the family, before packing up and walking towards Aklim. Today’s trek takes around 4-5 hours. You’ll pass through traditional Berber villages on the way, giving you a great chance to practice any local phrases you’ve learnt. After lunch, help set up camp for the evening and sit down to relax before dinner.

Day 6 - Ait Hmad
You’re probably getting pretty good at that bread baking by now! After packing up the campsite and eating breakfast, depart Aklim and make your way to Valley Ait Hmad, passing through more Berber villages en route (a 4-5 hour walk in total). Eat a picnic lunch and pitch the tents at your campsite. Tonight is the last night you’ll spend with your Berber family – hopefully you’ve got to know them pretty well by now. With your leader and group, we suggest you draw on the traditional cooking methods you’ve learnt over the past few days and prepare a final thank you meal for the family.

Day 7 - Marrakech
Today, the walking component of your adventure comes to an end. After bidding farewell to your new Berber friends, you’ll be transported back to Marrakech in a private vehicle with the rest of the group. On arrival, join the thronging crowds for dinner at the famous public square – Jemaa el Fna. Every night the square comes alive with musicians, story-tellers, fire-eaters and hundreds of small outdoor restaurants. Hotel accommodation is included for the night.

Day 8 - Marrakech
Your Moroccan Expedition comes to an end after breakfast today. As there are no activities planned, you are free to depart the accommodation at any time.

Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities

Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money

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