Morocco really does have so much to offer to the adventurous visitor! Nowadays Marrakech is a very popular destination for the ‘short break’ visitor, many of whom will not venture far beyond the walls of their hotel, let alone Marrakech. This journey takes you into the heart of the city, and then far, far away from it, right over the snow covered High Atlas Mountains (the backbone of Morocco) and out into the true wilderness of the fringes of the mighty Sahara. Out here your imagination will be free to wander across the endless desert sky, star-studded at night like nothing you have seen before. A true feeling of remoteness will be experienced as you walk for three days across the desert to some of the highest sand dunes in the country, which you can sit on top of as the sun goes down in the west.
The return to Marrakech takes you via the spectacular sites of Ait ben Haddou and Telouet, steeped in the history of the film industry in Morocco and of Morocco’s fearsome past.
February 13th: The group have now departed from Gatwick with a slight delay which seems to have helped build up more excitement for our adventure.
February 14th: We have now arrived and after 1 hour wandering the streets of Marrakech the Qegs school group are now Moroccan streetwise and ready to hit the desert.
February 15th: After a 10 hour drive across the snowy High Atlas the group have now arrived at the delightful Chez Pacha.
February 18th am: All safe and well after first days trek across the desert. A lot of sand blowing around in the morning. Calmer but hotter in the afternoon. Lovely light on the dunes in the evening.
February 18th pm: Group 1 have successfully completed the three day, 50km trek across the desert from Ouled Driss to Cheggaga dunes and are now back at the delightful Chez Pacha, showered, well fed and enjoying clean clothes! The trek was certainly a test for many of the group with blisters being the main problem. It is impossible to keep the sand out of the boots!
We experienced varied weather; hot sun, strong winds whipping the sand up into our faces, cold nights and a wonderful sunset and full moon rise at the first camp. Despite arriving sore footed and tired at the fixed camp at Cheggaga yesterday, everyone climbed to the top of the big dune at sunset (a shame it was hazy so not much of a sunset really) and enjoyed running down.
I am very proud of the group who did not whine (too much) and without exception have realised a great sense of achievement. A 2 hour 4×4 drive this morning brought us back to Chez Pacha.
The second group are now on the first day of the trek and it is pleasantly cool so should not be too demanding for them. We hoped to meet them this morning but were not able to as the cars took us back via a different route. Bizarrely there is a good mobile signal on most of the trek so we have been in contact and they are also all going well.
February 21st: Group 1 got back to Marrakech yesterday and will be flying home this evening. We had a message yesterday that group 2 all reached the Cheggaga dunes and in the words of the teacher in charge have had a ‘truly amazing experience.’
Email from Sarah – Just to let you know we’ve successfully finished our desert trek. Everyone is well and buzzing after the 4×4 drive through the dunes. Looking forward to some haggling in Marrakech. The students all send a big hello to parents. Bye for now Sarah