Morocco Deserts and Rivers
This trip is full of contrasts, and will give you a wonderful insight into the rich culture, diversity and spectacular scenery in Morocco. We’ll begin our journey exploring the Ahanssel River, nestled in the middle Atlas Mountains. This is a trip for those of you really wanting to “get away from it all”
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- Vacation Style Holiday TypeCamping, Family, Rafting
- Activity Level Moderate
- Group Size Medium Group
This trip is full of contrasts, and will give you a wonderful insight into the rich culture, diversity and spectacular scenery in Morocco. We’ll begin our journey exploring the Ahanssel River, nestled in the middle Atlas Mountains. This is a trip for those of you really wanting to “get away from it all”. The only people we will see on our river journey will be the occasional goat herder, nestled in amongst the fun filled rapids and spectacular scenery. The Sahara desert has long held a draw for travelers. We’ll sample camel riding, experience the peace and tranquility that only the largest desert on earth can provide. This is an adventure that everyone can enjoy.
The Kingdom of Morocco is a country rich in beauty and culture, and a civilization that has remained unchanged for centuries. From the moment you set foot in Morocco you will be transported to a whole new world. This magical country full of myths and fairy tales will captivate you with its rich tapestry of traditions and customs. Our river journey is set amongst the stunning Middle Atlas mountain range, its clear waters coursing through beautiful glades and dramatic gorges. Aquaterra is delighted to introduce fellow travellers to this unique and fascinating destination. Within easy reach of Europe, Morocco’s warm African weather is the perfect antidote for those winter blues. From the splendour of the Sahara to the pristine beaches of its coastline, from the beguiling markets and souqs to the diverse aromas of Moroccan spices, this country is a feast for the senses.
- Day 1 Fly into Marrakech
Flights generally arrive into Marrakech in the morning. You will be met at the airport by our Aquaterra representative who will take you to your hotel and make sure that you get settled in nice and comfy! Then it’s out to explore the local restaurants and culture (and believe us, there are plenty!)
Included: No meals
- Day 2 Drive from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains and then Tilouguite crossing the Ahanssel River
We enjoy a hearty breakfast at our hotel, and then board our vehicles bound for the heart of the Atlas Mountains. We drive from Marrakech with the sun rising over the Atlas Mountains, northward toward the middle Atlas Mountains. On a good day we can see Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa. We stop in stunning olive groves for a sumptuous lunch and drive towards Tilouguite pausing to take in the view as we cross this picturesque mountain range. We cross the Ahanssel River just past Tilouguite and drive a little further to one of the fantastic campsites we have ever seen! We dine in style on the riverbank.
- Day 3 First Day on the Trail
After breakfast we will take you through a thorough safety briefing so you are fully prepared should you make an untimely exit from the boat and practice our paddling techniques before tackling our first rafting of the trip. We load the gear raft with the rest of our equipment and take on the rapids! Many of the rapids are as yet unnamed perhaps a chance for your fame to be realized! Depending on flows this can be a fun technical river or big volume and bouncy! We paddle through the narrows in Tilouguite with locals watching on the riverbanks, rather bemused at our range of colourful equipment. Some may even jump in and attempt to hitch a lift down the river. We camp amongst cedar trees at ”Barking Dog” camp. The afternoon is yours to explore the nearby mountains, or sit back and relax and soak up this beautiful scenery.
- Day 4 Raft some roller coaster rapids!
Today sees more roller coaster rapids as we head down river and discover the majestic beauty of this land. Some great fun waves today. Our day is punctuated with a relaxing lunch, accompanied by curious locals churning wheat at local waterwheels. The water here is generally crystal clear and we will pack our fishing rods, to try our luck to catch fresh fish for dinner tonight! We will raft for around 4-5 hours per day, leaving plenty of time to go and explore nearby villages, or just sit around with your fellow paddlers and discuss the day!
- Day 5 Rafting and Walk up to the Valey
It is great to remember where we are on the edge of the Sahara, on a crystal clear river tackling the best whitewater that Morocco has to offer. Rapids come thick and fast today, what a fantastic place to learn your newly found skills! After a lunch full of the fresh foods Morocco has to offer, we walk up the valley to a nearby Casbah, as we relax and sample Moroccan hospitality! Farmers go about their everyday business and inquisitive locals marvel at out vast array of multicoloured equipment! We raft down to our night’s camp deep within a stunning gorge, a fitting finale to this magical journey! It’s great to sit around the fire watching the glow dance on the canyon walls and recount the day’s tales.
Included: All Meals Days 2-5 inclusive
- Day 6 Last day on the River
On the last river day we finish off with a few fun rapids and then paddle towards Lake Bin El Ouidane where we will raft all the boats up together and motor across the lake to our waiting vehicle. Here. we’ll get to stay at the gorgeous Widiane Hotel on the banks of the Lake, where you can relax in the pool, take a soak in the hot tub, or enjoy a cold beer (in a glass) at the bar. This is a truly stunning hotel in a gorgeous setting.
Included: All meals
- Day 7 Scenic drive to the heart of the Atlas Mountains
Today sees an amazingly scenic drive up to and through the heart of the majestic Atlas mountains. We board our 4 wheel drive vehicles (or minibus) at the hotel, stopping en route to enjoy a great lunch alongside the River Dades. We arrive mid afternoon into Erg Chebbi and enjoy local food, music and entertainment. Overnight at the Xaluca Dades.
- Day 8 Ride on Camels to the Sahara Desert
Let’s try another type of transport today! Camels! After breakfast we board our new best friends, we take us to the Sahara Desert Great Dunes. We have some amazing photo opportunities here. We take a chance to enjoy lunch and relax. In the evening we visit a local Nomad village and meet the families who are totally at home and welcoming out here. We enjoy a traditional Moroccan Dinner with proud families entertaining us with music and dance. We Bivouac in the desert under the stars!
- Day 9 Camel ride back to Erg Chebbi Auberge and Drive to Rissani Kasbah
We depart by Camel back to Erg Chebbi Auberge, where we enjoy our lunch. We drive towards the Rissani Kasbah and other surrounding areas of interest for the afternoon. If you choose here, we can arrange an extra night in a desert Bivouac.
- Day 10 Head to Ait Benhaddou and then Ouarzazate
Today we leave Erg Chebbi Auberge after breakfast and head for Ait Benhaddou and sample the history and hospitality of the locals. We have our lunch in the stunning Todra Gorge before making our way to Ouarzazate. We visit the Kasbah and in the evening after settling into our hotel we take a tour of the spectacular hillside medina. We enjoy dinner on the terrace of our hotel with Moroccan music and entertainment all included!
Included: All Meals, Days 7-10 inclusive
- Day 11 Depart Ait Ben Haddou to Marrakech
After breakfast we depart Ait Ben Haddou bound for Marrakech. A chance for some more exploring around this great city and for some last minute shopping.
Included: Breakfast & lunch
- Day 12 Take Flight back Home
After breakfast, take your flight home
We believe that along with the privilege of adventure in the Himalaya comes a serious responsibility, the responsibility to protect and contribute to its ecology, cultures and its tremendous beauty. The “Leave No Trace” philosophy is followed to the letter and we work to minimize the environmental impact of our trips. We are scrupulous in our camping, cooking and sanitation practices; we limit the number of trekkers we allow to join us on our trips and the number of trips we lead in a given area.
In wilderness, commercial agreements between service provider and client require a depth of understanding that is more than what is routinely attached to similar agreements elsewhere. In the outdoors, we have to balance pursuit of stated objective and risk. We try to overcome risk and deliver the objective promised in the agreement between client and service provider. But that does not mean that we ignore risk altogether to chase an objective. We wish you to be informed on what makes a trip safe for you and everyone else.
Please take a few minutes to read the following:
The nature of wilderness
By definition wilderness implies remoteness. It means that response to any accident or mishap takes time. Timely intervention is a life saver. Working back from this, it becomes imperative that any commercial adventure in wilderness be conservative in terms of the risk it courts. Yet adventure means there will be risk. The way out is to manage the risk involved in such a fashion that a safe experience is provided. There are a few things that the client can do.
Prepare in advance
Commercial expeditions entail strain even if others are carrying your load and doing the team’s work. Prior physical conditioning – particularly of the cardiovascular sort contributing to improved endurance – helps. Please invest time and effort for that before embarking on the trip. It will help you in the field.
Be honest, speak up
We encourage clients to be honest about how they are feeling on expedition days; voice any personal difficulties they may be experiencing. This helps the team make relevant decisions for clients’ well being, something crucial when venturing into altitude. Not all of us are meant for altitude. If your physiology rebels, there is nothing to be ashamed of it. Speak up. Make sure that your disclosures about self are not biased by an objective you are feverishly trying to achieve like getting to the summit of a peak or crossing a high pass at any cost. Don’t let summit fever and similar instances of extreme personal ambition, consume you. It puts you and your support team at risk. Stay with the team’s assessment of risk. Go with the resultant decisions. If you think you have a point to make by all means do so. We will hear you out. But risk assessment and decisions, will be by the team leaders as the onus of a safe expedition primarily rests with them.
Let the leaders work
You may be familiar with rivers, mountains and altitude. We don’t wish to question that. But there are reasons why many of us choose to go as clients. One of them is that our primary vocation is something else, while those working in the mountains as guides have chosen to make that their primary vocation or at the very least, dedicate time to it. More than us, they are in the mountains. They are alive to it. That’s why we entrust our passage to them. So, please let them work free of interference. Please don’t influence their judgement. Your expedition needs their best work and best judgement. In any expedition, leadership style will vary with the risk being tackled in a given situation. There will be times when we can travel easy in a very consultative fashion. There will be times when that is not advisable and a more directive style may be adopted by your guides. Please comply.
Be open to alternatives
We can set up the best safety systems possible, checking and double checking to make sure that nothing is left to chance. But we don’t control or totally overcome variables like weather and terrain / river conditions. They impact expedition’s progress. If team leaders review / alter plan citing concerns on any front, we request that it be respected and not viewed as money’s worth denied even if it dims prospects for achieving an expedition’s original goal. Such challenges are frequent in the outdoors. Seasoned trekkers and climbers, when they realize that a particular objective does not seem achievable on a given trip, learn to be happy with other pursuits to compensate – like staying camped and enjoying the mountain environment or attempting more doable hikes from wherever they are. We request you to stay aware of these possibilities. Be open to them. Decades ago when exploration and first ascents were happening in the Himalaya, the explorers / mountaineers / hikers devoted months to their work. Committed outdoorsmen still do. They wait out unfavourable circumstances by having a lot of time and patience. Time is what the modern world does not have even as the mountains remain the same, posing the same challenges; the same risk, the same unpredictable circumstances. An exceptionally lucky circumstance may deliver success. But luck isn’t commonplace. We should be mentally prepared for the above mentioned alternatives.
If you don’t achieve your objective it isn’t the end of the world. Be patient, another chance will emerge. There is a simple reminder, climbers often tell their colleagues leaving for a summit: “ the mountain will always be there; make sure you are there.’’
In other words – be safe.
Our expedition trips are designed for energetic and flexible people who have the spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Previous experience in the outdoors and camping helps, though is not a must. These trips are participatory in nature, and everyone is expected to pitch in, set up and break down their own tent, clean their own dishes. Look up our trip grading before you sign up.
Grading of Trips
We have graded our trips in four different categories and you should choose one that suits you the most. Grading of each trip has been done keeping in mind a lot of factors like the trip duration, the altitude, the terrain, the no. of hours of activity everyday, temperatures and conditions encountered, and the level of fitness needed. Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy the region more.
- Easy : Most of our camp based trips, with easy activities, that are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding whitewater trips with easy support and myriad options.
- Moderate : Active trips involving hiking over reasonable terrain, within vehicular access, upto elevations less than 4000 meters, or trips with long walking days, multiple rafting days, wilderness camping. Includes more demanding whitewater trips with Class III rapids.
- Demanding : Hiking and trekking to elevations exceeding 4000-5000 meters, away from vehicular access, over multiple days. Encompasses demanding whitewater with Class IV rapids.
- Challenging : Our most demanding trips include climbing at high elevations in excess of 5000 meters, in remote and extreme conditions with no access to roads; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips, and demanding whitewater trips with Class IV-V rapids.
The Next Step
Ready to go? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place and we will guide you through the booking process. Please sign and scan/email us your booking form and inform us about the status of your payments at the time of confirming the trip (Booking form and Payment details below).
Why travel with Aquaterra Adventures?
We are a pioneer in active adventure travel, and run the most number of rivers in India, having opened them up over the past several years. We set the standard and have a strong reputation for excellence. We have a lot to live up to and we ensure we provide the safest, quality trips for our guests.
Should you wish to contact any of our past guests for a trip reference, write to us.
In remote regions, we often use local suppliers who provide services that may include vehicles for transportation, equipment, logistical support, hotels, guest houses etc. We do not own or operate these independent services or suppliers. We work with them as they share our commitment to service and quality.
- Transfers to and from Marrakech Airport to the hotel. If you provide us with your arrival details we will be happy to meet you at the airport. We request that you arrive in Marrakech by Day One of the trip.
- Accommodation 1 night before and for 1 nights after the river trip in a tourist hotel. There will also be 1 night on the conclusion of the Sahara trip. These will be on a share twin basis with someone also on your river trip. Single supplements are available.
- All transfers to and from the river.
- All meals from breakfast on Day two to breakfast on Day eleven.
- We can cater for any dietary requirements, just let us know!
- All necessary rafting equipment, including the best in buoyancy aids, helmets and spray jackets.
- Tented accommodation whilst on the river.
- All camping equipment excluding sleeping bags (“Sleep Kits” can be rented for $50)
- Fully qualified, experienced river guides and safety kayakers. We have a mixture of local and overseas guides who are extremely professional and make up one of the most experienced river teams in the world. They make every effort to make your trip one of the most memorable, optimising your fun without compromising on your safety. They all hold advanced first aid qualifications and in the unlikely event of an injury they have the expertise and professionalism to deal with it. You will have a thoroughly experienced and entertaining team with you in the Sahara portion of this trip.
- All necessary permits and licenses.
Visas, departure taxes, travel insurance, inoculations, sleeping bags (we have these for hire if you require them), DVD, personal items or gratuities. You will also need to budget for meals in town that are not included in the price and any extra accommodation outside what is provided.
Booking conditions: All bookings are subject to availability of space at Camp. We book space on a 100% advance. All payments by wire transfer, cash or cheque/draft in favor of “Aquaterra Adventures (I) Pvt. Ltd.”
Tips & Gratuities: Our recommendation is a minimum 5-10% of your trip cost for tips to be distributed amongst the team that makes your adventure safe and successful. This includes drivers, guides, cook, kitchen team, porters and horsemen. Of course, this remains a personal choice.
If it becomes necessary to cancel your tour, you must notify Aquaterra Adventures India Pvt. Ltd. immediately in writing. Once we receive your notice, cancellation will take effect. Please note that the following charges will apply on cancellation:
- if cancellation takes place more than 45 days prior to departure, your full deposit
- will be returned except a processing charge of Rs. 5000 or US$ 77 ; (60 days for Brahmaputra trip)
- if cancellation takes place between 45 and 30 days prior to departure, 50% of the
- tour price will be forfeited (between 60 and 30 days for Brahmaputra trip); and
- if cancellation takes place less than 30 days prior to departure, 100% of the tour price will be forfeited.
Some trips attract a minimum processing charge – please check.
The tour price is quoted as a package. No partial refunds or credit will be given for services not used. We recommend that you obtain travel insurance upon booking.
From India via UK/USA
Many options exist from Delhi to Marrakech via Europe where many low cost airlines operate flights on a daily basis. Flights also exist via Qatar and UAE to Morocco. There are a vast variety of flight options for you to take advantage of from the UK and Europe. Many of the “Low cost” airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair and Atlas Blue have daily flights from London airports and Thompson Fly have frequent flights from Manchester. Other alternatives are British Airways out of Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester. Providing you arrive at any time on the Day 1 of your itinerary as listed, you’ll be collected from the airport.
For most of our US guests, we have found that a connection through to the UK or Europe is the best option. Many options exist to the UK and Europe including United, American Airlines, Delta, Virgin and British Airways. Many previous guests have flown via Madrid with Iberia. Please get in touch if we can assist with your flight arrangements.
Normally you can enter Morocco with a minimum of formalities at your point of disembarkation. No visas are required for those of you from New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, USA and many European countries. Please check with us for latest regulations. South Africans, Zimbabweans and Israelis should apply beforehand for an entry visa at their nearest Moroccan Embassy. A passport valid for at least six months is required. A return flight ticket makes life a great deal easier, however proving to the authorities that you have sufficient funds to buy one will also suffice. Contact us for the latest information regarding just who does and who doesn’t need one and what the latest price is.
The Dreaded Jabs
You could be forgiven in thinking that to go to Africa requires multiple vaccinations, however, Morocco is relatively disease free, although Certificates of inoculations for Cholera will be required if traveling into Morocco from infected areas. No other vaccinations are compulsory but we recommend consulting your GP or travel clinic. They may suggest that you get inoculated against Hepatitus A, Polio, Tetanus, Thyphoid and Meningitis. Anti-malaria tablets are not necessary.
Yes. You are likely to experience some physiological problems until your body gets used to being at higher altitudes. This ‘settling in’ is called acclimatization. The time taken to acclimatize varies from person to person – it could take anything from one to five days.
During the acclimatization period you may have any one or a combination of the following symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting, insomnia or poor sleep, loss of appetite, lethargy and fatigue, difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, a general feeling of malaise. A favourite symptom is flatulence! The sum of these symptoms is called ‘Altitude Sickness’ (or Acute Mountain Sickness).
The geological variety of Morocco also gives a wide range of climatic conditions. Be prepared, because almost anything can happen. As we are rafting in the Atlas Mountains, it can get cool in the evening and it is a good idea to bring a reasonably warm sleeping bag and also a fleece jacket and some long pants.
During the day temperatures are relatively warm whilst we are on the river and normal rafting attire with sandals and shorts will be fine! We provide you with a warm spray jacket but you can also put a Helly Hansen on if you are susceptible to feeling the cold. On average at this time of year you can expect temperatures of 24 – 32 degrees Celsius.
Rain is also a possibility although not likely. You can bring a light jacket if you wish although many of our clients use our spray jackets! Most of the coastal hotels have swimming pools in order to cool off in as well.
Safety is our foremost consideration at all times whether on or off the river. All our guides are chosen for their extensive international experience. They each have at least 10 years running rivers around the globe. All have first aid qualifications of the highest standard including at least one medic on each trip. And we carry an extensive First Aid kit and Satellite Telephone with us at all times. They are considered professionals in their field and dedicate their lives to sharing these wonderful river trips with others.
There are no special requirements for this Moroccan Deserts & Rivers trip, except perhaps a sense of adventure. The minimum age for this trip is 10 years and there is no upper age limit providing that you are in reasonable physical shape and you are aware of the rigors of a whitewater expedition in a foreign country. Please let us know (quietly if you wish) if you have any medical conditions or allergies, or are taking any medications that you think we should be aware of.
The dress code in and around the town of Marrakech remains fairly casual. Lightweight casual clothes are recommended during the day. On the river you require little more than a bathing costume and or a pair of shorts (which should be tied on WELL), plus we also recommend a thermal top, such as a Helly Hanson to wear on the river. We also suggest a pair of Teva or Chaco sandals or the like that will stay attached to your feet. Women should be aware they should consider keep their legs, shoulders and upper arms covered and avoid skin tight clothing as this will attract unwanted attention and is considered inappropriate to wear in the Muslim religion.
After years on the river the guides have found exactly what is necessary to feel comfortable on the raft by day, cosy around the camp at night and totally in style in town before and after trips! Therefore our equipment list will mean that you will be perfectly attired and outfitted for your whole trip and well under the baggage allowance – river guides are famous for travelling light (one has to be when a kayak is often in tow!). A full list of what we recommend will be sent to you upon booking confirmation. We find that most people already have in their possession what is necessary for a river trip and very little else in the way of specialised equipment is required.
With its four mountain Ranges, a dozen summits over 4000 metres high, 400 over 3000 metres, and all of them accessible to people in good physical condition, Morocco offers exceptional hiking opportunities. The Moroccan mountains are beautiful and wild, yet they are well organized for hikers with qualified guides, should you equire them, a fantastic network of huts to the hire of pack mules and cross country bikes!
Please remember that things do change, prices go up and down, activities stop running or change format and weather can send the best laid plans out the door. Aquaterra will do it’s best to provide what is described above but please take into consideration the nature of the journey that you are embarking on and the country that you are travelling in and understand that a certain degree of flexibility is necessary! Morocco has something to offer everyone. Great whitewater and gorgeous scenery combined with a country full of culture and ancient history- See you there!
For 1 night before the rafting and 5 nights after your trip, you’ll be staying in a hotel sharing with a fellow adventurer from your trip. If you have a request regarding who you are sharing with, please inform our office. If our trip ends up with odd numbers the last single will be charged a Single Supplement. If this is requested there will be an additional charge of $795. On the river portion of the trip, you’ll also be sharing a tent with a fellow rafter. You can request a single tent for a small additional charge.
You will be able to leave any clothing or baggage that you don’t require on the river at your Hotel whilst you are on the river and collect this again when you get off your trip. All valuables will be locked and kept in the hotel safe. Please do not take valuables such as passports, money, credit cards and flight tickets on the river with you on the river!
Most of our clients are aware that adventure travel to far flung lands can pose it’s own interesting idiosyncrasies common in the developing world. Very few things happen fast, and you’ll find a smiling face and a little patience work wonders in these countries for getting things accomplished. We suggest you read the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise on the country you are visiting prior to your departure. We recommend a few phrases of the local language will get you a long way (this is sent to you in your pre departure pack). Our trip leaders are on hand if you have any queries about the country you are visiting.
On receipt of your deposit and booking form, we’ll send you a suggested equipment list. This can also be found on our website, on the page relating to the country you are visiting. If you require some of the items suggested for your trip, they can also be purchased off our website or a limited number of items from our river teams. 30 days prior to your trip departure, you’ll be sent a pack with a few “goodies” including facts about the country you are visiting, who your guides are, along with what you might expect on your trip and your cool Water By Nature Travel Bag.
An adequate insurance policy is required to cover you whilst white water rafting. This must also include medical evacuation and repatriation in the unlikely event you are injured on your trip. In ten years we have never had to evacuate a client from a trip. Testament to how importantly we take your safety. Water By Nature has a policy we recommend and this can be purchased from our insurance agent if you wish. The policy available for the duration of this trip for £26.25
On many of our departures we take along a trip cameraman who will capture your trip through their eyes. This will capture not only you paddling through white water, but have local wildlife, scenic shots and the adventures around camp. These can be pre-ordered or they can be ordered in destination. When edited, they will be put to music and enclosed in the DVD case for your memory.