Budget camel safari in Morocco

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made all year round to suit you (not recommended for children under 16 during the very hot summer months of June, July & August)
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Accepted
Vacation type

Traveling with a local operator

This vacation is operated by a company based in the vacation destination and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge. They will be able to tailor make your vacation to suit your requirements not only concerning the dates of travel but also typically the standard of accommodation, and thus price. It is rare for local operators to be able to help with the booking of your flights.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Budget camel safari in Morocco

Environment

This vacation is fairly priced, permitting the Fayou Family to improve their standard of living and quality of life, while providing you with a very reasonably priced vacation. Please do not haggle with the family; all prices are fixed and agreed at the time of booking.

The purchase of 5 litre bottles of drinking water is most economic way of buying water and there is less waste. Our family have many uses for 5 litre bottles; they will not be wasted. Please bring a refillable water bottle so that you can carry a small supply of personal drinking water at all times.

Food scraps and vegetable peelings are fed to the families animals, nothing is wasted.

Cooking is powered by bottled gas to reduce the amount of vegetation removed from this arid landscape.

Electric lights in the family home are powered by a solar panel attached to the roof.

Reservations are 'paper free'. All bookings are made by the internet. We do not have a 'glossy brochure' to sell our enterprise. We only advertise on ethically based tourism websites. We do not have an energy consuming office. Enquiries and reservations are dealt with at home in the evening. Our computer is not on all the time using unnecessary energy.

Community

If additional camels are needed to accommodate your group they are rented locally, providing extra income for other local familes. On longer camel treks you may stay overnight with nomadic Berber familes who are paid fairly for their hospitality.

Please respect our culture by dressing modestly. If you bring alcohol please do not drink excessively. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Reviews of Budget camel safari in Morocco

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 13 Jan 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The starry sky and the sand dunes on our camel trek in the Sahara (Merzouga)

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


It is very basic, take your sleeping bags with you, warm clothes for the nights even in summer!
Be prepared to have no toilet and sleep on the floor under a tent, be not fussy with the food and appreciate all the wonderful scenery.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was a good vacation with an insight into a different world which was the highlight of it for us. A bit off the beaten track, even if these days it is difficult, yes, mobile phones are there too, everywhere, and 4 wheel drive vehicles too.

Reviewed on 25 May 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


My daughter's sheer delight in "her" camel (called Yellow) & my son's face as we set off on the camels on the 1st day, his 13th birthday. My children playing blind mans bluff with the younger 3, watching them all wrestling in a heap on the floor. All the children running off across the desert together after Arthur the donkey. The Erg Chebbi dunes, the peace & the grandeur.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If you are traveling for more that a day on the camels, I would recommend that you wear a loose pair of trousers in a stretchy fabric rather than the ordinary type. Lightweight jersey PJ trousers would be ideal for comfort if not for looks! There are long breaks in the middle of the day, due to the heat, so do take a book each/writing materials, also games like dominos/cards/draughts.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We definitely benefited the family, obviously, but also the families where we stayed overnight en route as they cooked supper for us & would have been paid for this. Our party required 2 extra camels so these were hired from another family. We also bought items in the local "Berber Shop". The family were very careful to take all rubbish with us on the trek & we really did leave nothing behind but our footprints. We noticed that the family were reusing all the 5L water containers left by previous visitors.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We would all go back tomorrow - need I say more?

Reviewed on 11 Feb 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


My husband and I truly enjoyed the silence and peacefulness of the 5-day journey. I like to sum it up by likening it to a 5-day interior camping trip, with a camel instead of a canoe. We weren't sure what to expect, topography-wise, other than the fact that we knew that the majority of our Sahara-trip would be in the desert. The scenery was diverse, and I saw some beautiful colour combinations that I never thought I would witness in a natural environment. It was amazing to see all the evidence of life wherever we went, plants, footprints, curious birds inside our room.

Mohammed and Hassan were great guides. Hassan reminded us of a real MacGyver as he was a desert nomad for 30 years of his life - he truly appreciates good gear if you are looking to bring gifts. While we only stayed with the family properly for one night, they were equally warm, inviting, embracing and served up a fantastic couscous. Additionally, you will find it amazing what can be cooked with basic supplies. At the end of our trip, Mohammed helped to facilitate an early departure due to extenuating circumstances. It was fabulous to be able to appreciate the environment without having to worry about cooking or supplies.

The property in Erg Chebbi is also beautiful, near a very high dune, fenced off, and with only one, relatively small neighbour in the bowl.

Other favourites: catching the camels, sleeping under the stars, being gifted two arrowheads by Hassan, drawing with and sharing family photos with the daughters.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Re. the 5-6 day trip. The trip is basic in nature. Bring toilet paper, and expect to trim your luggage and leave some of it at the family’s home. Water was always provided for drinking, however, wet naps are invaluable for personal hygiene as there are no real showers along the way. If you are planning to visit during the winter months, it can be very cold at night, however, a -7 sleeping bag was more than adequate and we were sweating inside. We arrived from Azrou and left to Marrakech, and both were very long trips (8.5 hrs using private bus and 12 hours using Supratours respectively) - it would have been good to break them up. If you are headed in the direction of Marrakech afterwards, it is not possible to catch the morning bus on your final day, you will need to wait until the following morning or cut the trip 1 night short, as we did.

A general note on the typical day's itinerary: rise at 8, depart camp at 10, decamp at 12:30, lunch/hike/wander, depart again at 3:30, 4:30/5:00 decamp for the evening.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It is obvious from your communication with Youssef and Loretta that this initiative is intended to directly benefit Youssef's Moroccan family. After witnessing other tours in the dunes at the end, the family leaves little impact (every third day, they burn all the minimal garbage that they have collected) on their surroundings. Camels are better than 4 x 4s for many reasons. Also, it appears to be better for the environment to travel in small groups rather than in large camel trains (which leave massive poo-filled areas to be trekked through by other guides).

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We were in Morocco for a whole month, and this was definitely our favourite part. It is definitely not for everyone, but it was perfect for us!

Reviewed on 24 Aug 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The whole experience with the family in their home was the most meaningful and interesting part of the experience. It was a joy to try and communicate and share in their lives for a few days. Trying to communicate in a new language was also wonderful and the landscape was just unbelievable.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I would recommend being careful to drink enough water and bringing pictures, books, or other things to look at from home. The kids in the family loved exploring our stuff and I wished that I had brought more to share.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. I felt good about supporting the family and I hope they had a good time with us as well. It was amazing to see how carefully they use water and what a small impact their lifestyle has on the planet.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was fantastic. I will remember it always and I would definitely do it again.

Reviewed on 10 Jan 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The warmth of the family's welcome and the care taken of each of us stands out, alongside the beauty of the constantly changing desert landscapes through which the trek will take you. It was a privilege to receive the hospitality of the nomads, to see and share their way of life.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The desert is quite cold at night - so follow the family's advice on what to bring. Also travelers should be aware that they are booking a trekking trip, so accommodation is as basic as it comes (tents, no toilets most nights, and take wet-wipes and a plastic bag for rubbish for washing).

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We stayed with a number of nomad families who earn precious income from visitors like us so the trip benefits both the family and many of their (fairly distant!) neighbours, supplies were all purchased (by the family) in the market at Rissani. Travel was by local bus or camel, and we carried out our rubbish so this trip has a very low environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Absolutely first rate, the best trip we've taken; I have recommended the trip to all my friends.

Reviewed on 07 Oct 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Driving through the Atlas Mountains. Living with a Berber Family. Sleeping under the stars in the Desert.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Come without preconceived ideas and accept things for what they are. Go with the (sometimes) very slow pace of life.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Certainly the vacation benefited local people. As for impact of the environment I'm not sure. Much litter (plastic bottles, cans...) was in evidence right into the desert dunes. If impact to the environment is to be minimised, there should be facilities/instruction about disposals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Exciting and instructive. This is a beautiful if sometimes desolate and barren country.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your kind comments. We agree that waste disposal in the desert, especially in the popular tourist spots, can be a problem. We do not have any collection facility as in many countries. This is one reason that we offer free drinking water from our well - so that plastic bottles do not need to be used. If a guest prefers to drink bottled water, we recommend that they purchase 5 litre bottles so we can reuse them for transporting and storing well water for our family.

We are very careful about waste disposal and collect our guests rubbish which we bury deep. It is a shame that many tour operators in the area do not have the same values as us. We encourage all guests to the desert to use operators who are responsible and value their environment.

Reviewed on 13 Apr 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The diversity of the landscape during the 5 days in the desert was fantastic. Most memorable though will be the wonderful and also hilarious moments we had with Mohammed and Youssef and the whole (extended) family. They certainly made the experience unforgettable.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


We were reasonably well prepared but I could have brought our sleeping bags (yes it is true it does get chilly during the night, and windy too). Bring a game (we had a card game which was so popular other folks kept joining in during the evening stops) and don't forget torches. Although it's the desert there is actually plenty of water at the stops (wells) so you can wash if you want to (Mohammed & Youssef were very keen to pour water over our heads!). If you have small speakers you can connect to your I-pods bring them along, we didn't and will never be forgiven....

If you have very good negotiation skills in case of problems you can take the risk and fly Royal Air Maroc, otherwise I would strongly suggest not to.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I would hope the answer is yes. We were very careful not to leave litter etc but there is unfortunately quite a bit of plastic lying around in the desert.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A great experience which my 15 years old daughter loved as well.

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The friendships and games created between our kids and the children. Running down the perfect soft dunes.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


When you are met in Rissani, ask Mohammad to take you to a cheap place to buy your scarfs the first guy wanted €24 for some piece of cloth and the 2nd little shop it was €8 for 3 scarves. Ask the price of everything upfront or you will be asked to pay over European prices!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.. it definitely benefits the lovely family and their friends and the local community. In terms of environmental impact, we are reminded of how little electricity and water and heating we really need. We really wanted to know more about the environment, animal tracks, the local culture, navigating by the stars, and already a lot of that knowledge seems to be getting lost between father and son.. so I would encourage our guides to really learn all that old knowledge if only to pass it on to their curious guests!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was excellent. We went to show our children another way of life and they were really enriched by the experience, as were we!

Reviewed on 07 Jan 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Falling asleep under the stars in the Sahara was amazing. Living in cities or even outside of cities in more populated countries we forget how amazing the night sky is.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Five days on a camel is hard. Rewarding, but hard. I would recommend considering a shorter time on the camels if you're prone to aches and pains. Also, pack your day-pack light for the camel ride. We brought more changes of clothes than we ended up wanting but the weight of our day-packs ended up being painful at times.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely. We could see that guiding tours has an immense impact on the quality of life for the families. Our guides were also very conscientious towards the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was an amazing once in a lifetime experience. The combination of being in one of the most beautiful places on earth and spending time with people living a traditional lifestyle was unique and really enjoyable.

Reviewed on 05 Jan 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It was very interesting to get an insight into Berber life in the Sahara off the beaten track. The landscape is stunning! The locations are very well chosen and everything is superbly organised. The family and everybody else we stayed with were very nice and hospitable.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Don't expect camel riding to be comfortable. After 2 painful attempts I opted for walking.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Very much so. The vacation is organised by the family, not by an agent. They don't use a taxi but the local bus to pick up the guests from the nearest town. You only stay with local people, never in hotels. The tour doesn' t damage the environment as you walk or ride a camel. The family uses solar power to generate electricity.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent! Much more interesting than I had expected it to be.

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The feeling of complete freedom in the desert. All your worries are replaced by the calm and tranquil pace of the camels. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular but for me the most memorable thing was the night sky and the incredible milkyway. For my husband the most memorable thing was experiencing the making and eating of the Berber pizza as the moon rose over the dunes, it was beautiful.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take lots and lots of wet wipes, we ran out after the third day and missed them badly! Hygiene facilities are similar to wild camping and in the heat it is nice to have a wipe down. It might also be useful to take some sort of sterilizing fluid to clean any drinking containers, we didn't and suffered the unfortunate consequences.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We felt the vacation did benefit local people, from our host family to the Berber people we stayed with at overnight stops. Our guides were very particular regarding the disposal of our rubbish, burning as much as possible and transporting
the rest back. In fact they were horrified by the amount of rubbish left by tourists and spent time picking up bottles and cans that had been thrown away in the desert.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This vacation should not be called 'budget' but 'Berber' camel safari. We were so well looked after, nothing was too much trouble. Our guides were very willing to share their knowledge of the desert and full of fun, we both felt very comfortable with them all. If you are reading this and wondering whether it is for you I would say DO it, I am 49, overweight and not that fit but I had a brilliant vacation.

Reviewed on 29 Apr 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Gosh, too many to mention. Walking to the top of the dunes. Having the only set of footprints the whole way and surveying the vast view. Sleeping under the stars. Staying with Berber families. Drinking 'Berber Whisky'. Running up a dune in the dark and sitting on the top looking at the stars. The brilliant food.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take warm clothing, we were quite often cold during the day and I had a thick fleece, it wasn't hot when we were there (last week in March). And take water proofs, we had rain 3 out of the 5 days. Just take one change of clothes, there isn't much opportunity to change anyway. There are no facilities, the loo is a hole you dig yourself and often involves a 10 min walk to find privacy! Take toilet roll and tooth brush, that's all you'll have the opportunity to use. When you're on the camels for the 5 days you will have very little opportunity to carry stuff, just a small rucksack (20L) which can be hung around the handle of the saddle. Ask questions. Mohammed and Youssef aren't very forth coming but they are very friendly. It is the most incredible experience, enjoy yourself. If you want to buy something talk to the family, they may be able to help you.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. It definitely benefited the family and other families we stayed with. We used next to no resources so had a v low environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. Life changing.

Reviewed on 29 Dec 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Going to bed in the silence of the desert every evening, waking up amongst the huge sand dunes. Learning about the desert from a family that has lived in it for generations.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The family provides wonderful hospitality and you will spend the days living as they do. It is basic compared to what we were used to, but you have absolutely everything you need. It would be a superb vacation for children.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes - this is clearly their main source of income, and living with minimal electricity and water consumption, and total respect for the environment, this life exemplifies "green living".

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


One of the most "authentic" tourist experiences we’ve ever had. There are lots of "desert experiences", but this is the real deal. It was a wonderful way to enjoy life as a part of a family, with no pretensions or tourist kitch. It was an opportunity to totally remove oneself from the busy life in the UK and to change gears for a few days. The hospitality is extraordinary - not in any 5 star hotel have we felt so well-looked after and at ease.

Reviewed on 28 Nov 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The most memorable part of the vacation was climbing to the top of a monster dune and looking out over the desert for miles and miles, who could have thought that sand could stack so high! Totally glorious.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Pack a nice warm fleece for the nights, and sandals for trekking during the day, and a good water bottle (I had a 1.5 litre one worn on my back like a ruck-sack, very good in the desert). And bring lip-seal, that dry desert air will crack your lips good without it!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I felt that the family and other local people around the village and at the market at Risanni benefited from my stay. I felt sorry for the tourists I saw in the distance insulated in four-by-fours and hotels, never really interacting with the local people or really feeling the desert.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A brilliant vacation, full of wonderful moments, I really enjoyed it and I miss the Sahara already.

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