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An introduction to the desert.
Antonin snowboarding in Sahara
Mountain bike in the Draa valley
Trekking in Sahara with camels
Mysteries of Zone 51
Who has not slept in sand dunes has not lived... Walking a few hours a day, you will feel blissfully free... An adventure you can have easily at any age !
Photography by Cécile and Jean-François Vibert
The desert is not made only of sand and stone... and is not always empty. Tirelessly penetrating these million year old slabs of rock, a trickle of water is making it's way at the bottom of the valley.
Sleeping in the dunes is a rare luxury. Dawn and sun set are obviously the magic moments. Unforgettable
The nomads are never without their blue scarves called "chéche". Before lighting a little twig fire, they draw a constellation in the sand
"Climb the dunes ". You take three steps forwards and then you automatically go back two..." The ascension of the highest dunes is more to do with physical exertion than sight seeing. As we reach the summit, the incredible golden sunlight throws the tops of the dunes into relief as far as the eye can see. Magic."

The great south : on foot, the back of a camel or mountain bike ...
A few hours away from the Parisian traffic-jams, the stunning silence of the djebel dunes awaits you. By foot, camel or bike, anyone can go to the great Moroccan south. This introduction to the desert is a sporty adventure that's well worth any fitness course and will definitely give you a change of scenery !
How can you transform, without ruining yourself, ten small days holiday into a rejuvenating experience ? Easy, treat yourself to a genuine desert crossing ! Climb up and down the dunes, learn to walk again, cycle on kilometers of trail and share under a nomad's tent the traditional berber tea, hot cakes and Atlas honey ... And, in the evening around the fire, fall asleep under a magnificent star-lit sky. A return to basics you will never forget ...
An adventure for all. For the last few years, this type of holiday has really taken off and word of mouth is spreading," you'll see, it's a unique experience that you have to have done at least once in your life". There are several specialized agencies that offer desert magic on foot by camel or even mountain bike ...
Take your time to read through the magazines Allibert, Club Adventure, or UCPA, it's an invitation to travel. Reasonable prices, a complete change of scenery and a convivial atmosphere are the secrets of the success of these holidays. You needn't have trained much : Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk or pedal 4 or 5 hours a day ... Though Just a few outings to the woods before you leave, or better still some weekend roller blade sessions are recommended, if you usually do no sport at all. It is best to arrive in working order so as to fully appreciate your holiday.
Come fully equipped ! So as to leave nothing to chance, some equipment is necessary. Out door trainers are better than mountain boots. Don't forget your anti-blister kit, especially if your shoes are new, and a pair of sandals to let your feet breath when you get back to the bivouac. Winter temperatures in the desert aren't too bad, but you're still advised to bring the strongest sun cream. When you arrive, buy a big nomad's "cheich" (scarf). It'll make you look like an adventurer by day and it'll be a comfort when you're round the fire at night ! The agencies will give you a list for the rest of the stuff. E.g : aspirin, a water purifier, a fleece, a torch, a gourd, a lighter, a pen-knife, baby wipes, the "Guide du Routard" or "Lonely Planet "... No need to bring an alarm clock, dawn will take care of that !
You will return home transformed Don't worry about the people you'll be with. In this kind of trek, the size of groups varies from 6 to 12 people. The atmosphere is always convivial as walkers are known to be a sound lot. Keep in mind that in the desert, tolerance, helping each other and sharing are the basic rules (could be a moment to question some of your little quirks ?). The incredible beauty of nature makes people more respectful and attentive to places and each other's needs, It wouldn't be surprising if you were to go home transformed : serene and revitalized.

At the bivouac you can count the stars. Who hasn't slept under the desert sky hasn't really lived. The air is so pure that you can see twice as many of them, and the sun rise is magical...

Try the desert four wheel drive. It has to be said that camels aren't over bright. But they won't let you down because of a blister or slight fatigue. You can easily fall in love with a faithful camel...

Go further by mountain bike. This trek is for the fit, it will enable you to cover larger distances, see more and enjoy more freedom. Because the land rover assistance will only meet up in the evening, don't forget your water and puncture repair kit...

Pretend you're a pioneer. Your guide will know the area inside out. Take a map and ask him to draw the itinery... It's great fun to work out where you are and, before you go to bed, study the following day's route.

Find water. Arriving at an oasis or crossing a crystal clear wadi is always the pretext to go for a refreshing swim. Water isn't so rare in the desert, maybe your guide will tell you how to find it...

Fitness freaks, an 8 day cycle trek : A bike ride in the great south - You"ll cycle from oasis to oasis till you reach the palm-grove of the Draa and it's isolated ksours (villages). You"ll get to sleep in the dunes and meet the nomads...
Supplies and equipment follow by car, you bivouac at night in the desert. A qualified guide, specialized in mountain bikes will accompany you.
Level : average. You do need to know how to ride a mountain bike.
The bikes and accessories are provided, but you must bring a padded pair of cycling shorts.
From November to march. Cost for 8 days : from 5300 F, flight included.
The organizers : Serge and Emmanuelle Canu. Sportravel 154, bd Mohammed 5 Guéliz Marrakech Maroc. Tel. : 00.212.443.05.59. Mail :
Infos : UCPA, tel Site web :

Authentic, a 15 day hike on foot : The Southern Cross. Total immersion in the heart of the largest dune area of Morocco. Going towards Mauritania, the great south becomes a series of never ending plateaus, some higher than others ...
Supplies and equipment are carried by camel, nights are spent in bivouacs under tents. A French speaking berber guide will accompany you.
Respect and discretion must be shown towards the local population. When meeting nomads, sleeves and trousers are recommended.
Level : Average, but you should arrive reasonably fit so as to appreciate the trip.
From October to April. The cost for a fortnight : starts at 6750 F, flight included.
Info : Allibert tel. : Site :

Easy, an 8 day half walking / half driving trek : The Zagora desert and it's oasises - With the Land Rover as back-up, You"ll go on foot to explore the great open spaces in the south of Djebel Sarho. An intermediate solution if you don't want to enroll in a hard core hike. You will still get to bivouac in the dunes, but you'll walk less than in the other treks.
The Land Rover will enable you to see a great variety of landscape without tiring. A French speaking guide, a cook and a chauffeur will accompany you.
Level : Easy, an excellent alternative for the not so fit.
From October to May. The cost for 8 days : starting at 5200 F, flight included.
Info : Club Aventure tel. : Site :

Rafida Ndoubane : The first Moroccan female guide - She is the first Moroccan woman to obtain the official diploma, no mean feat in a Muslim country. If you get a group of friends together she will take you into the desert she knows so well.
Address : 97, rue Maasab Ben Omair Assif C - 40000 Marrakech - Maroc. Fax. 00.212.443.19.04
Address : Artootem 8, bis Place aux Bois - 74000 Annecy - France. Tél.
Antonin snowboarding in Sahara
Mountain bike in the Draa valley
Trekking in Sahara with camels
Mysteries of Zone 51

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© Jean François VIBERT - Journalist and photographer - Paris -
Specialised in travels, extrems sports, leisure activities, adventure trips, outdoor sports, deserts and mountains... Trekking, ski, snowboard, mountain, bike, sailing, scuba diving, hiking, in line skating... Texts and pictures for the press and the web, illustration, digital photography, reportages...
Journaliste photographe - Spécialiste des voyages, des sports de glisse, des loisirs, de l'aventure, de l'outdoor, des déserts, des montagnes. VTT, trekking, ski, snowboard, parapente, voile, plongée sous marine, randonnées, roller in line... Textes et photos pour la presse et internet, illustrations, photographie numérique, reportages...

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