Hard-to-find Sahara Desert safaris

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of October 16-22, 1997
Hard-to-find Sahara Desert safaris
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Hard-to-find Sahara Desert safaris
Question: I am planning a visit to northern Africa this winter, namely Morocco and Tunisia. I thought I saw an ad in Outside magazine some time ago for Sahara Desert safaris based out of Tunisia. I may have seen it somewhere else, but I have had little luck in finding any information, let alone company names and price lists. The only thing I've gotten is a bunch of caveats about the irreputibility of the operators of such tours. Any information you can give me on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

Karim Al-Khafaji
Las Vegas, NV
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: After flipping through a few back issues of Outside, I concluded I'm either blind or you found the ad in a different magazine. But no worries. I've found three companies that offer a variation on the Sahara safari theme and have glimpsed many more company brochures with similar itineraries.

Because I didn't exhaust the selection, flip once more to the back pages of Outside and call a few companies listed in the international section of the Active Traveler Directory — they may be sitting on a Tunisian gem.

Mountain Travel Sobek offers the "Marrakesh Express," a 15-day trek that includes moderate to strenuous hiking, jeep travel, and camel safaris. You'll travel from the jagged peaks of the High Atlas mountains to the red-sand dunes of the Draa Valley.

You'll also explore the imperial city of Fez and do a little sightseeing in Marrakesh. Though this trip doesn't cross into Tunisia, you'll still spend the majority of your nights under the starry Saharan sky. Offered year-round, the cost is $2,490 to $2,990 land only. Call 888-644-7303 for details.

A particularly intriguing trip offered by Adventure Center is their 15-day "Ancient Carthage and Camel Safari." Though the majority of the transportation is via bus, it does include a three-day camel trek in the dunes of the northern Sahara. Other highlights: visits to Carthage to see the Great Mosque, sightseeing in various historical cities, and eating fresh seafood in quaint seaside towns. The weekly departures cost $895 land only and include transportation, meals and accommodations, equipment, and guides. Call 800-227-8747 for more details.

The "Morocco Sahara Odyssey" offered by Overseas Adventure Travel is a 15-day exploration of Morocco's imperial cities, Roman ruins, and Muslim shrines. You'll spend three nights camping in the Sahara and mingle with Berbers and nomadic Bedouins. The base price including round-trip airfare from New York is $2,990. Or you can tack on a seven-day Tunisia extension for an additional $1,190. Call 800-955-1925

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