Options for Christmastime trekking in Morocco

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of July 17-23, 1997
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Options for Christmastime trekking in Morocco

Options for Christmastime trekking in Morocco
Question: A friend who lives in Istanbul and I would like to go to Morocco for Christmas break. We’d like to go trekking, get out into the villages and perhaps up some of the peaks. We’d like to go on a guided tour. If this isn’t possible, could you suggest another trek near Turkey at Christmas where the weather will be reasonably warm and bright?

Sue Kirt
Kent, WA
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Since average December temperatures in Turkey are 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re wise to wander to Morocco — a land of "the senses, imagination, and ... the heart." Herewith are three adventure travel companies with trips that come highly recommended. One minor detail: They aren’t all trekking trips.

Wilderness Travel’s "Morocco’s Camels & Casbahs." Focusing on the High Atlas region, this trek will take you to the spectacular mountain barrier between Marrakesh and the Sahara. You’ll start in Marrakesh, do a little sightseeing, and then begin a six-day trek through Berber settlements, sand dunes, and rock formations. From there, you’ll descend to the Draa Valley where you can explore casbahs and fortresses on the edge of the Sahara desert. A last highlight is a flight to Casablanca where you have a farewell dinner and a bit of time to — pardon the expression — "rock the casbah." Rated moderately difficult, the trip dates are November 22 to December 6. The land-only cost starts at $2,495, with camping and hotel accommodations. Call 800-368-2794 for details.

Mountain Travel Sobek’s "The Marrakesh Express." This trip requires an iron bottom, considering you’ll be riding atop a camel for seven of the 15-day itinerary. There are numerous trip dates, but the one you’d most likely be interested in is December 20-January 3. You’ll fly to Marrakesh, where you’ll sight-see for a day or two, then take a scenic drive to Ouarzazate over the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass. On the seventh day you’ll meet up with your camels and guides and trek through the Sahara to Erfoud. The last few days you’ll visit the imperial city of Fez, drive to Rabat, Moulay Idriss, Volubilis, and Meknes. The cost of this bumpy ride starts at $2,650, with tent and hotel accommodations. Call 800-227-2384 for more details.

Overseas Adventure Travel’s "Morocco Sahara Odyssey." Although this trip is rated easy/moderate and is more of a Land Rover tour than a trek, there are hiking options on most days. Most of your time will be spent exploring Roman ruins, Muslim shrines and busy marketplaces. You’ll travel through the Middle and High Atlas Mountains, and spend three days in the Sahara desert sleeping under the stars in roomy tents. You’ll encounter Berber people in mountain villages and Bedouins in the Sahara. The $2,890 cost includes airfare from New York, with tent and hotel accommodations. Call 800-221-0814 for more details.

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