Imagine…

You awake after having slept like a sultan, a soft Saharan breeze rustling your tent flap.

The evening before, your guide, Rashid, and his pair of wooly dromedaries greeted your 4-wheel vehicle at the edge of Morocco’s Chegaga dunes. His two camels, honking to each other as their boxy feet plodded, step after sinking step, carried you into the shifting coppery sands of the Sahara.

The dunes folded behind you. It was apparent, as you rode though this constantly shifting sandscape, how incredibly easy it be to get lost. Inshallah, God willing, Rashid’s camels know the way to your camp and will deliver you there safely.

You passed through dunes the wind had sculpted into a tableau suggesting a tawny tossed sea. Undulating furrows of sand spaced perfectly, like a set of small waves, and at the crest, a ridge had been whipped to form a backbone so sharp that single grains of sand danced along the surface in the evening’s breeze.

The shadows of your camels and nomad guide elongated against the dunes in the sinking sun. And then, you arrived at camp, an actual oasis.

Your tent – white canvas with swirling black trim – was ready for you, complete with a king bedstead atop layers of handwoven carpets, and even running water at a brass sink bowl and in the hot shower. But first, you must be properly received with a traditional mint tea service.

You were led into a three-sided, colorfully-patterned tent and seated on a rough, tightly-woven deep-red Berber rug.  By the glow of a bonfire, a young Bedouin appears, silver tray in hand, clothed in a sky-blue djellaba and turban, coiled atop his head like a cobra, its fine, cream edging contrasting dramatically with his deeply tanned face. His face breaks into a wide smile as he pours a two-foot stream of steaming mint tea into petite green-tinted glasses.

You are truly getting a taste of living like a sultan!

Leaving your desert camp behind, two days of High Atlas wonders stand between you and the square of Marrakech, where snake charmers entice cobras to rise from their baskets, entrancing you as much as the serpent. On your wander around Marrakech, you’ll find the hammering cobbler next to the bloody butcher next to the hooded man vending a mountain of tangerines. You’ll sleep in atmospheric riads – the Arabic word for “home with garden”.

Our local ambassadors are Atlas Mountain experts, so they can lead you on hikes to humble valley villages to share a tagine lunch in the home of a Berber family.

You’ll stand beneath the mesmerizing string of arches of a UNESCO-protected mosque from the 1400’s.

At the mud-bricked kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, as you walk beneath the arch made famous from Lawrence of Arabia – you can almost see Peter O’Toole disappearing on his horse into the rocky wasteland.

You’ll want to try a hammam, or traditional communal bath. “They scrubbed parts of my body that I didn’t even know existed”, said one of my impressed clients!

(Wondering what a hammam is? Get our free guide, How to Hammam)

You may train north to the Artisan Capital of the country, Fez. Here, the “new” medina is still 400 years old, teeming with brassworkers and a leather industry. Sleep in a Sacred House and daytrip up to Chefchaouen, the Blue City.

Attend a local rug auction in the Atlas mountains. Walk through a fascinating rural Berber market where they’re trading everything from gourds to goats. Or meet my photography guide to experience an authentic Berber wedding ceremony in one of the remote mountain villages.
Attend a local rug auction in the Atlas mountains. Walk through a fascinating rural Berber market where they’re trading everything from gourds to goats. Or meet my photography guide to experience an authentic Berber wedding ceremony in one of the remote mountain villages.

But for tonight, you drift off to sleep, sheltered within dunes, under a powdered sugar sky full of stars, the pulsing of Nomad drums providing a very different sort of lullaby to carry you into your dreams.

What’s it like being a client of Rare Finds Travel?

Gordons in Morocco

Small extra cost paid off huge dividends!

“The little bit of extra cost paid off such huge dividends in comfort, safety, and experience! We met other Americans as we traveled who were just miserable, and we felt badly for them. We realized how lucky we were to have Melanie’s contacts and expertise. They welcomed us into Marrakech in a way that gave us confidence and made us feel so welcome and happy”. Gordons from Springfield

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Foreign Yet Completely Welcoming

“I cannot thank you enough for (the trip to) for many reasons: the fondouks, the desert scenes, the hustle and the dazzle of the souks, the wonderful warren where we found our tapis… being steeped in a land quite foreign yet completely welcoming.” Dan, Titusville, New Jersey

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“How To Hammam” comes to the rescue with these 8 FAQs