If you think you know Morocco, think again. South of Marrakech lies the ‘bled es siba’, the lands that were traditionally beyond the control of the sultans and ruled by fiercely independent Berber tribes. This is a region that resisted the Arab conquest and held on tightly to their unique traditions.

Our Morocco and Western Sahara holidays and tours take you from the High Atlas to the deserts beyond, a region studded with picturesque kasbahs, inhabited by nomadic tribes, and with the raw allure of the Sahara.

This is a much more ‘untamed’ land than the northern cities and packaged beach resorts that many are familiar with. Here old Berber men ride their mules on ancient trails to market and grandmothers with tattooed faces greet you in remote villages. Crumbling mud-brick fortresses dot the old trade routes through the region. The roads get worse, and the settlements more sparse, the further south you go.

Top highlights on Morocco and Western Sahara tours

  • Check out the bustling souks of Marrakech
  • Camp in solitude amidst the dunes of the Western Sahara
  • Explore the vast deserts between Laayoune and Dakhla
  • Wander through the enigmatic ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, used as the backdrop for many Hollywood blockbusters
  • Enjoy a fabulously scenic drive over the High Atlas Mountains and through the Draa Valley

Western Sahara is officially Moroccan, but feels very different. It has an unresolved claim of independence dating back to the 1970s, when the old colonial masters Spain left. This was the Spanish Sahara, populated by the Saharawi people, masters of the desert.

In Western Sahara, we encounter Reguibat nomads who follow the ancient customs of their forefathers. We travel on remote desert tracks and meet the camel caravans that still ply this route, in one of the most challenging and arid parts of the desert. Very few travellers make it this far south, giving travel here a real feel of exploration.

Our Western Sahara tours are pioneering trips to an undiscovered land.

When to go on holiday to Morocco and Western Sahara

Morocco can be colder than one might think, especially in the winter. The High Atlas can be under deep snow for some months, and the mountain passes can be closed. South of the mountains, the climate is better. Here the opposite problem exists, and in the summer the heat can be fierce. The best times to travel to this part of Morocco are the spring and autumn, which generally avoid temperature extremes.

Culture

Morocco is bewilderingly rich in culture, from its delightful architecture to its renowned cuisine. Berber until the 8th century, Morocco was conquered by Arab invaders who used it as a bridgehead to invade Andalusia, and since then its culture has incorporated elements of both. South of the Atlas Mountains, the Arabic influence diminishes and Berber culture comes to the forefront. The Berbers consist of several different subgroups and are the original inhabitants of North Africa, spreading all the way to Siwa in Egypt.

Western Sahara is home to its own ethnic groups, collectively known as the Saharawis, who fought a long and bitter – and ultimately unsuccessful – war of independence against Morocco. Although the shift towards the cities has gained ground in recent years, traditionally they are nomadic desert dwellers.

Morocco is almost completely Sunni Muslim. The Jewish population, which had lived here for centuries, largely migrated to Israel after the Second World War.

Arabic and Berber dialects are spoken, and French is also an official language.

Start planning your Morocco and Western Sahara holiday

Check out our scheduled small group tours to Morocco and Western Sahara: Marrakech to Bissau and Morocco and the Western Sahara. Although many of our trips are small group adventures with set departures, as a bespoke operator, we can design and create trips to suit any traveller, from solos to larger group. If you would like to find out more about our tailor-made Morocco and Western Sahara holidays or our group tours, call us on 01473 328546 or email us via our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

Morocco and Western Sahara Holidays and Tours

Morocco & Western Sahara

Good for:Tribal Cultures and Stunning Landscapes