Spend a cracking Christmas exploring the Atlas, snap up some bargains in the souks of Marrakech and ring in the New Year beachside in Essaouira, on Morocco's stunning Atlantic coast!
Day 1: Marrakech
23rd Dec 2014. Welcome to Morocco! Arrival transfer from
Marrakech airport to our hotel. This evening (at 19:00) our welcome meeting takes place, where you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. Overnight - Marrakech
Day 2: Dades Gorge
Marrakech - Dades Gorge. Leaving Marrakech, we drive through the Dades Gorge, an awesome valley which extends from the High Atlas to the Jebel Sarhro range in the south. Berbers built many kasbahs in the vicinity of gorges for defence purposes. These kasbahs combined with the stunning natural setting, makes this a beautiful region through which to travel. Overnight - Dades Gorge (B, L, D)
Surf the New Year - 11 Days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Day 3: Xmas Day in Todra Gorge
Dades Gorge - Todra Gorge. Merry Christmas!
This morning you can choose to go for a walk in Dades Gorge or just relax. We travel on to Todra Gorge after lunch and visit a traditional Berber home where the semi nomadic family have set up a co-operative for the trade of carpets, kilims and handicrafts for all the rural communities across the Atlas. The remainder of the day is spent exploring the magnificent gorge. This dusty red canyon is just 10m wide at its narrowest point, with its cliff walls towering 300m above and a small glacier stream flowing through it. If you're feeling adventurous, there is the option to rock climb (subject to weather conditions, bookable locally). Tonight we sit down to a wonderful Christmas meal. Overnight - Todra Gorge (B, L, D)
Day 4: Discover the Sahara
Todra Gorge - Erg Chebbi. Crossing Jebel
Sarhro, we enjoy lunch and a swim before travelling
down to Erg Chebbi sand dunes, the start point of
the mighty Sahara Desert. The Erg Chebbi dunes
located near the remote frontier town of Merzouga
are renowned for their incredible height and size. In
parts the vast sand pile reaches skyward to heights of
The desert winds ensure this astonishing landscape is forever changing and no two days offer the same panorama. Mounting our camels, we trek across the vast rolling dunes of the Sahara and take in the breath-taking scenery. Arriving at our simple Berber camp, we enjoy dinner and a night under the Saharan stars. Wrap up warm and remember your winter weight sleeping bag. Overnight - Sahara Desert Camp (B, L, D)
Day 5: Route of 1000 Kasbahs
Erg Chebbi - Ouarzazate. After a stunning
sunrise and a camel ride back to the
frontier post (camel HQ) there is time to freshen up
before driving to the verdant Draa valley. Besides the
natural, historical and architectural wonders that the
Draa Valley offers, there are also small villages along
the valley where time seems to have stood still.
Along the Route of a 1000 Kasbahs, we continue on to
Ouarzazate, (pronounced as wazza-zat). Sitting at
an altitude of 1160 metres in the middle of a barren
plateau, Ouarzazate lies at the cross roads of all routes
going north, south, east, and west. Its geographical
position has made it a key trading post in both ancient
and modern times. Capital of a large province, the
town's northern limits run along the southern aspect
of the High Atlas and its southern boundary disappears
back into the vast Sahara Desert. Today, the area is still essentially populated by Berber people, who were constructors of the numerous fortified kasbahs and dwellings for which the region is famous. After hotel check in, consider a late afternoon swim. Overnight - Ouarzazate (B, L, D)
Day 6: Ait Benhaddou
Ouarzazate - Ait Benhaddou - Marrakech. This morning there is the option to visit the film studio that produced Lawrence of Arabia or go quad biking (both payable locally). Then we head to Ait Benhaddou, a medieval fortified city, situated along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech. It is situated on a hill along the Ouarzazate River and boasts some beautiful examples of kasbahs, some of which remain inhabited. Granted UNESCO World Heritage listing, the site is incredibly well preserved. Late this afternoon we return to Marrakech. Overnight - Marrakech (B)
Day 7: Djemaa el Fna
This morning enjoy a guided tour of Marrakech. Set within the rose-coloured walls of the medina lies a reality that is not that far removed from an exotic film set – a tangle of winding streets that open onto verdant gardens and narrow alleyways that lead to bustling souks. The focal point is the central square, the Djemaa el Fna, an extraordinary gathering and market place. Full of colour, spicy aromas and traders it is best seen in the evening when overflowing with food stalls, snake charmers, fortune tellers, musicians and henna artists. Towering over all this is the Koutoubia mosque, the tallest building in the city, and a reminder of the importance of Islam to the lives of the city’s residents. This afternoon is free for you to spend at leisure, perhaps picking up some souvenirs from the souks! Make sure you test out your bartering skills. Overnight - Marrakech (B, D)
Day 8: Beachside Essaouira
Marrakech - Essaouira. This morning we travel to Essaouira. With a laid back vibe Essaouira is Morocco’s hippest coastal town. The windswept fishing port, broad beaches and ancient walled medina with ramparts built into the cliff have long been a favourite refuge for artists, sculptors, food lovers, surfers and backpackers. The medina surrounded by a fortress with 5 main gates you can navigate by, has retained its traditional styles and is laden with quirky shops, coffee houses, antiques, art studios, calligraphers, t-shirt designers and souvenir curios. There’s a relaxed feel to the place and shopping here is a real delight. Locals and visitors alike enjoy strolling along the ramparts as the sun sets. The port is a hive of activity with fishing boats hauling in their daily catch.
Opt for a swim in the Atlantic, though the water is a little cold this time of year, a game of football on the beach with the locals or an afternoon at the hammam. There's also the opportunity to test your skills at surfing, wind surfing or kite surfing. The beach is also great for a stroll and since it runs for about 6 miles (10km) there’s plenty of it. By nightfall sit back and relax at any one of the many al fresco cafes, pubs or bars serving cold beer and the freshest seafood. Free time to explore, try a hammam and practice your bargaining skills in the souks. Overnight - Essaouira (B)
Day 9: New Years Eve by the beach
Enjoy a free day relaxing on the beach, shopping in the quaint souks or choose from a number of exciting optional activities or excursions available about town. This evening - New Year's Eve we'll all head out together for dinner and a few drinks. Overnight - Essaouira (B)
Day 10: Marrakech
Essaouira - Marrakech. This morning is spent at leisure, sleep in or head to beach for your first swim of the year. This afternoon we return to Marrakech. Overnight - Marrakech (B)
Day 11: Marrakech
02 Jan 2015. Spend the morning relaxing or picking up a few last minute souvenirs. Our tour concludes upon hotel check out at 12 noon. (B)
FROM USD $1,749
Prices & Departure Dates
Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.
If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, (if another solo traveller of the same sex is already booked upon the tour), thus avoiding the single person supplement.
All our scheduled tour departures are guaranteed subject to a minimum of 2 travellers.
Take a memorable camel ride across the rolling sand dunes of the mighty Sahara Desert in Morocco or the Great Indian Thar Desert in Rajasthan. Alternatively, enjoy the last remaining Ancient Wonder of the World on camel back as you ride between the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
Trot, canter or gallop along the coast at sunrise in Egypt, through the towering Todra Gorge in Morocco, up to the narrow Siq in Petra or through the breathtaking wilderness and grassy steppe in Mongolia.
Shop til you drop and experience a myriad of different sights, sounds and souvenirs in bustling bazaars around the world. Soak up the atmosphere in the souks of Marrakech, barter for bargains at the ginormous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul or lose yourself in Beijing's Silk Alley Markets. Visit the old covered market in Damascus or get some great souvenirs in Otavalo the handicraft market in Ecuador.
Nothing beats a little rest and relaxation by the sea - wind down from an action packed tour with a few days lazing on golden sands or spend your entire holiday soaking up the sun. From the coral rich Red Sea and the azure Aegean and Mediterranean to the crystal clear waters of the Indian ocean, choose from a wide range of idyllic destinations.
Experience breathtaking sunsets, incredible starry skies and the vast, beautiful landscapes of some of the world's most spectacular deserts. See the incredible limestone formations of the White Desert in Egypt, camel trek across the endless rolling sand dunes of the Sahara or India's great Thar Desert and climb Dune 45 in Namibia.
From the snow capped peaks of the mighty Himalayas and Everest - the world's highest mountain, to Patagonia's immense glaciers, Morocco's Atlas Mountains, Russia's Urals and China's breathtaking Yellow Mountain. Our tours visit all of these breathtaking mountain regions and more.
Highlights & Inclusions
Below is a list of key highlights and what is included on this tour. Further, where appropriate, we have listed the items that are not included in the tour price.
Marrakech - UNESCO-listed Place Djemaa el Fna,
(medina and marketplace)
High Atlas Mountains and views of snow capped Mt Toubkal
Todra Gorge - towering 300m high canyon
Merzouga - camel trek and Berber style camp
Essaouira - ancient medina, wind swept beaches and current day fishing village
Bahia Palace - 19th century residence of the grand vizier
Jebel Sarho and Dades Gorge - a striking valley and stream cut within the mountain range
Erg Chebbi sand dunes - beginning of the Sahara
Ait Benhaddou - UNESCO-listed fortified kasbah city
10 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners including a traditional Berber meal at our Sahara camp.
Arrival transfer from Marrakech airport on day 1
Guided tour of Marrakech
Escorted by an English speaking tour leader
All transportation and transfers in private air-conditioned mini van/
9 nights 3 star accommodation and 1 night camping - Berber desert camp in the Sahara
Camel trek into the great Sahara
Essaouira - beachside bliss and free time
Specialist local guides at some sites
All road taxes and tolls
What's Not Included
Note: On some road journeys, the tour leader may not be in your particular vehicle
Entrance Fees: $20-30 USD
International flights and visa
Tipping Kitty: $60 USD
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Tomboctou Hotel - Todra Gorge
Tomboctou is a comfortable, traditional style of hotel with spacious rooms and a lovely swimming pool area.
Our Rating : Superior —
Local Rating: Mid Range Riad
Desert Camp - Merzouga
Camping out in the desert is a wonderful experience, seeing the myriad of stars in the sky.
Our Rating : Simple —
Local Rating: Standard Camp
Les Jardins - Ouarzazate
A fairly new hotel in Ouarzazate, the Hotel les Jardins is in the traditional style of Kasbah, with spacious rooms. The hotel is set in manicured gardens.
Our Rating : Standard —
Local Rating: 3 Star Hotel
Hotel Miramar - Essaouira
The Miramar is a comfortable modern hotel with good sized rooms and its own hammam on the premises.
Our Rating : Standard —
Local Rating: 3 Star Hotel
Here's what some of our past travellers have written in to us and said about their experiences on this trip.
Surf the New Year - 11 Days
Just back from my most awesome New Years experience ever. I was on the Morrocan Surf the New Year and it was more than I could have ever expected. The group was great, our guide was brilliant and finishing in chilled out Essaouira was the best way to finish this tour. Thanks so much On The Go, already planning next years New Year trip with you guys.
Surf the New Year - 11 Days
Thanks for a brilliant Christmas and New Years On The Go. Morocco is a fantastic place and I highly recommend it to anyone and everybody. So impressed with On The Go - I have already booked an ANZAC tour with you guys. Thanks again.
Surf the New Year - 11 Days
Thanks On The Go for my best trip ever. This was my third trip with you guys and you never fail to impress. Keep up the good work.
Surf the New Year - 11 Days
Hey John -
Xmas/NY in Morocco was excellent, a great escape for winter sun and really great fun! The group were all about the same age so we had a good laugh and the berber camp and Sahara camel trek was awsome. The history, scenery, shopping, food, culture and surfing made it an unforgettable experience - would love to say we'd be back but we have a travel wish-list as long our arms.
Next stop, ANZAC day!
Thanks - M&J Sinclair