We base ourselves in the beautiful High Atlas Mountains where we undertake our Gold DofE Expedition. We then spend time with the local community in a Berber village and will complete a hands-on, worthwhile, community project. Finally we will explore the unique and vibrant city of Marrakech…
Day 1 London / Marrakech
We fly to Marrakech and are transferred to our Riad within the walls of this ancient and beautiful city.
Marrakech is a vibrant and busy place; at its heart is the UNESCO world heritage market square, Djemaa al-Fna. Here we can watch as Southern tribesmen and Berber villagers bring their goods to buy and sell. Just off the square, a maze of alleyways leads into the traditional Berber souks and stalls piled high with goods. We may have time to explore before dinner and our first taste of authentic Moroccan cuisine.
As we navigate the narrow alleys and lanes the 800-year old Koutoubia Minaret, the most perfect Islamic monument in North Africa, towers above us and in the far distance the peaks of the High Atlas Mountains are just visible.
Day 2 Familiarisation day
This morning we leave the city behind and travel to the Atlas Mountains which stretch from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Saharan Desert in the east. Our wonderful destination is a valley situated in the Toubkal Massif, home to some of North Africa’s highest peaks. It is full of fascinating Berber villages, very different to the city life we experienced in Marrakech.
After we arrive we will have the chance to trek around some local routes and get a feel for the terrain whilst enjoying the spectacular mountain scenery.
Our leader will be able to talk us through our planned routes and we will also have the opportunity to revise the skills we will need to navigate and be self-sufficient in this new environment.
Days 3-6 Gold DofE Qualifying Expedition
Today we start our mountain trek. After a final check of our kit we will begin our challenge in the spectacular High Atlas Mountains. Trekking in our teams, we will navigate our way to our camp each night. The region is a mix of fertile valleys and soaring, barren, snow-capped peaks, all offering stunning trekking.
On our route we may pass through age-old traditional Berber stone and adobe villages which blend almost seamlessly into the mountainside. These remote indigenous communities have lived in the same way for centuries, making their living from tending the land and farming sheep.
They have their own fascinating culture and unique language; they are also known for their hospitality and friendliness, so do remember to say ‘Salam Aleykum’ which is a pleasant ‘hello’.
The valleys here are criss-crossed with irrigation channels and shaped by neatly terraced fields. As we trek we will see an abundance of walnut, cherry and apple trees and maybe see mules at work threshing wheat.
Each night we will camp, using only what we have carried on our backs! Once we have arrived, we can perfect our camp-skills as we set up our tents and cook our own evening meals.
Watching the sun set over the stark mountain peaks, we can recount each day’s great adventure, telling bad jokes and falling asleep under the stunning night skies of the Atlas Mountains.
Days 7- 9 Community Project
For the next few days we will be based in a Berber village in the mountains. We will stay in a traditional gite and work alongside the local community. We will have an opportunity to really getting to know the families who call this beautiful valley home.
The activities that we undertake will depend on the requirements of the local community at the time we travel. We may be helping with the cows and sheep, gathering grass and fodder, and producing food or carrying water. We may also be helping with building projects in the village or attend the Sunday souk, loading the mules for carrying goods or maybe helping in the fields with the irrigation systems, harvesting or planting.
We hope to spend some time at a local school where we can interact with the local children, observe lessons, and maybe even do some teaching ourselves.
Our aim for these days is to gain a real insight into the local culture, history and language of these fascinating people.
Day 10 Marrakech
Today we will return to vibrant Marrakech and having transferred to our Riad we have the rest of the day free to explore.
In Djemaa al-Fna Square at the centre of the Medina, we can watch the long-established rituals where groups of acrobats, drummers, pipe musicians, dancers, storytellers and comedians entertain the crowds. As the sun sets, the square becomes a hive of activity as food stalls are set out for the evening trade, where locals and tourists rub shoulders at crowded tables.
There will be a chance to visit the amazing souks selling everything from beautiful handcrafted crafts and handmade leather shoes, to perfumes and spices. Bartering is a way of life in the souks and we can perfect our skills as we shop for family presents and souvenirs.
Day 11 Return to London
After an adventure to last a lifetime, we return home with wonderful memories.
Fly to Marrakech Overnight Marrakech
DofE Familiarisation day
Gold DofE Qualifying Expedition
Return to London
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An unforgettable two weeks in the Pearl of Africa, exploring national parks, meeting local communties and spotting some of the world's most spectacular wildlife.
"We are different from other expedition companies - we are a family business with family values. We will always exceed expectations thanks to outstanding leadership, energy and dedication. This is the Far Frontiers way."
Christopher Short, Managing Director of Far Frontiers Expeditions
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Written on Monday, 13 February 2017
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