Sounds Of The Sahara


Summary Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Morocco and check into you Riad. Explore at your leisure or rest.
  • Day 2: Explore the major sites and history of Marrakech.
  • Day 3: Take a morning bus to Skoura, explore the area.
  • Day 4: Arrive to Merzougha and check into Riad. Evening free.
  • Day 5-7: The Caravan. Explore the desert and create beautiful music with traditional instruments.
  • Day 8: Gnawa musical instruction and evening performance.
  • Day 9: Leave the desert and head to Rissani. Overnight In Errachadia
  • Day 10: Morning flight to Casablanca, evening to explore
  • Day 11: Free day in Casablanca
  • Day 12: Flight home.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive To Morocco

From the first moment you step off the plane the sounds and smells and sights of Marrakech will welcome you. Feel the energy that courses through the city. Thousands of years of history, mixtures of cultures and people, all humming with life. Your guide, Hicham, will pick you up from the airport and transport you Riad Beldi where you will spend the next two nights. If you have time and energy venture out into the city and get acquainted. At the Riad in the evening enjoy a traditionally prepared dinner and a briefing from Hicham on the experience to come.

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2

Preparing The Mind And Heart

After a delicious breakfast of local Moroccan foods you will meet your city guide for the day. You will venture out into the hustle and bustle of the city and see the many sights Marrakech has to offer. Stroll through the Jemma al Finnad, the main square and central place of commerce for the city. Visit the Koutoubia Mosque which is the largest mosque in Morocco. Return to the Riad around lunch time to refuel and meet Hicham for your next adventure.

There are often things that are hidden about a place because it is hard or challenging or perceived as negative. But in the story of any place the scars on history should be acknowledged and understood in the present time. This afternoon Hicham will lead you on a journey into the past to set the energy and intent for the rest of the trip. You will be the special guest of a very special zawiya, which is a religious and educational center that originates from West and Central Africa. Here you will be introduced to the Gnawa culture, a group of West African people who were brought to Northern Africa as slaves. You will be treated to lessons on history and modern cultural impacts of this practice and how it influences culture in Morocco. Hear the beautiful music that originates from the sounds the the slave chains made as the people marched North across the desert.

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3

The Ancient Kasbah Road

Enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the bus station to begin the journey into the desert. You will ride a comfortable tourist bus for half a day, past the main tourist stop of Ouarzazate to the less visited town of Skoura. Arrive after lunch and enjoy a delicious meal. Once settled in your traditional guest house, Hicham will take you to visit Kasbah Amridil, nestled among the date palms and tall trees of this desert oasis. This living museum shows traditional kasbah life over the centuries, with hand-carved door locks, an olive oil press, still-functioning bread ovens and stalls where animals were once kept.

After you have had time to explore, enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure. Hicham can make recommendations on things to do whether relaxing or adventuring. Enjoy a traditional meal in your guest house.

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4

Partake in a delicious breakfast of dates and local breads before catching your car for the rest of the journey to Merzougha. You will arrive to the desert village of the Sahara in the afternoon and check into Riad Azawad. Settle in and have the rest of the evening free to explore the beautiful sand dunes of Erg Chebi that surrounds the town. Make sure to time your climb of the big sand dune for sunset, you won’t regret the huffing and puffing to get to the top. Get a good night’s sleep and prepare for the caravan in the morning.

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

 

 

Day 5

And so it begins. We take our first steps into the Sahara as we leave behind the distractions and barriers that keep us from deeply experiencing each moment. You will walk in rhythm with not just the camels, but with the breath of the desert and the paths of generations of nomadic Berber people. You will walk when the energy high and the sun is low, and you will rest when the sun tells you to rest. Arrive at your camp and help construct your home for the night in the traditional Berber style. Once settled you will be joined by local musicians with traditional instruments to create music together as you sit under the stars and next to the fire. Learn the history of these sounds and be inspired to incorporate them into your own sounds. Drift off to sleep with the silence of the desert wrapping your camp in its warm embrace.

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

The story continues as you cross the Valley of the Dunes to arrive at Erg Chebi oasis. The day takes on a rhythm like breathing: Wake. Inhale. Walk. Exhale. Rest. Inhale. Walk. Exhale. And so it goes into the evening. You will be joined again in the evening by local musical experts and have the chance to create beautiful music by blending your own sounds with the sounds of the desert. The caravan rolls on with the sounds of drums and strings and the laughter of friends.

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Today you will leave the soft sand of the Erg Chebi dunes and enter the Black Desert. Here you will explore this ancient landscape littered with traces of cultures gone by and the remnants of civilizations who have inhabited this lands. Once camp is set up you will be joined by four local drummers where you will be able to create music and learn the history of the sounds of the desert. Explore acoustics of the abandoned villages and immerse yourself in the spirit of the place. Your last night in the desert has come so take time to soak it in.

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 8

After a short morning walk you will arrive to the old slave village of Khamalia which has been converted to a desert lodge. You will have the privilege to be invited into the home of the caretaker of the village and the teacher of music that is created here. The Gnawa people were brought to this part of the world as slaves many years ago and brought the sounds and history of their people. In this village instruction on traditional Gnawa music is taught, and you will have the chance to learn from the teachers there and make music together with the students. Spend the day understanding the depth of feeling that goes into creating the unique sounds that are filled with pain and joy and history. The lessons will culminate in an evening performance with the performers where you will have the chance to put together all the lessons you have learned together in the day. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that can’t be missed.

Once the day turns to night you will be treated to a special meal prepared of local ingredients. Then its showtime! You will perform some sounds that are blended between what you have brought and what the Gnawa sound is made of. This blending of musical practices will create a beautifully unique experience for everyone. Spend the rest of the night enjoying the music and food and close out your caravan with a celebration together with all those who have been part of the story.

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

Enjoy a simple breakfast before heading back to Merzougha to collect your things and catch your transport to the town of Errachadia. On the way you will stop over in the town of Rissani to explore the local area and partake in all the sites and sounds of this bustling town. Enjoy a nice lunch and then continue on to your lodging for the night.

You will stay in a Riad nearby the city of Errachadia. Situated in a beautiful palmeraie, or palm grove, near the river this place is truly peaceful and a perfect way to bid farewell to the desert and all the experiences you have had there. The evening will be free to explore or rest or just process all that has taken place so far. You will take a morning flight the next day to Casablanca.

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10-11

Catch a morning flight to Casablanca. Meet your transport and be taken to your hotel for the night. You are free to explore Casablanca on your own for the next day. Suggestions on activities can be given upon request and tours can be booked at additional cost.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 12

Today you depart Morocco for home. After breakfast catch your transport to the airport for your onward flight. You are leaving Morocco, but this magical place will be going with you and will stay with you forever.

Meals Provided: Breakfast