Thursday, 2 June 2016


Now into our 35+ years [yes, that’s 35 years and more] of running tours into Morocco and the region where else would you expect to find us?

All we have done is move this “Blog” to ……

As always the page is directed at MOROCCO, rather than ourselves.

Contacts via emails at and telephone 0034 615276532 and 0034 658988841 remain unchanged.

Latest News while you are here ….. ALL remaining 2016 tours are now FULL offering “Standby” places only.  

For 2017 we have available places on April and May, September and October dates only.  For other tours during 2017 it is again a “Standby” situation.

If you have travelled with us before  ….. Watch Out [or contact a.s.a.p.] for the “RETURNEE TOUR” with a MASSIVE celebration

Thursday, 24 March 2016


With out next tour [April Classic] imminent, office refurbishment, major computer/systems up grade and an exciting major family event in the planning it is all go .....  So just a short blog entry for this month.

In fact such is the continued pressure that whilst this 'blog' will continue, as and when, we have switched too a much easier DESERT DETOURS FACEBOOK PAGE .... which is faster to up date whilst "on the move" .......

So for news, features and info go to ......

Finally, for now .... We are a little surprised at the unusually high level [for this time of year] of bookings already taken and confirmed for 2017 ......  But for this year [2016] we only have a few places available for our "Classic" October and November dates.

Enjoy the Easter Break ........

Sunday, 21 February 2016


Once you make your decision to visit MOROCCO you will find that the pre-tour organisation and planning is all part of the fun…….Along with deciding what to take and what to leave!

MARCH Tour is now FULL………
APRIL was full and closed but ONE vehicle place has just become available……..
SEPTEMBER has only ONE vehicle place left…….
OCTOBER has just THREE vehicle places remaining…….
In last month’s Blog posting I suggested that subject to demand we would consider a couple of additional dates, in particular NOVEMBER. We now have a couple of interested parties who are now on “Standby”, subject to one or two more client bookings……If a late, but excellent weather, tour appeals get in touch ASAP.


   1st April ‘16

                  THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR
              Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


  3rd SEPT ‘16

Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast



1st Oct ‘16

 14th Nov ‘16
Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast

     Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast




I don’t have any real Idols or Hero’s; rather I regard and appreciate the unsung. That’s not to say some celebrated individuals have played no small part in providing inspiration, impulse and sway on my life. Bookshelves attest and creak under the weight of Richardson, Rohlfs, Ritchie, Livingstone and of course Lawrence. There’s a whole section by and on Wilfred Thesiger. They and a few others are answerable and responsible for this restless and impatient life…………. But it’s not about me…..I digress……
Gertrude Bell was by any a standard an extraordinary woman and should you wish you can research her life…… For a short and as good as any perhaps see.
Better still read the remarkable biography of her life “Queen of the Desert” by Fergus Mason [very cheap on Kindle]. It will take your breath away.

In the brilliant film “Queen of the Desert” you have two hits for the price of one. It is of course an adaptation on the life of Gertrude Bell but for obvious political and convenience it was almost entirely filmed in Morocco.
Those who have travelled to Morocco with us will not fail to recognise many of the locations….. Erg Chebbie Dunes, Merzouga, Ait Ben Haddou, areas around Ouarzazzate and a few more, as well as numerous byways, Kasbah’s and souks.
Not just a great life, great film but a bit of spot-the-place fun for those who have passed this way.  


Last month I brought you the story of strange sounds in the skies over Morocco…… perhaps gets weirder in the Doukkala region of Morocco…..
Just a few days ago large chunks of the mysterious substance were captured on video rolling on the ground, pushed along by the breeze. Some said that it is a result of chem-trails, a long-running conspiracy theory, claiming poisonous toxins are deliberately sprayed from planes onto the public for sinister purposes. This theory has of course been dismissed by the scientific community. Some others believed that they are real clouds that fell into the ground…....
Whatever it is and whatever the reason it has the locals well and truly spooked……….. Take a look for yourself.

I will be honest and admit that Tangier is not my favourite Moroccan city. I will also admit that I have not been there for, Mmmmm, let me think…….for 12 years.
My indifference is mostly based on the horrendous traffic conditions I encountered [but I was driving a MASSIVE 6X6 truck] and the hassle at the port, the rest is based on non-complementary day-tripper accounts. I will make an effort to re-visit this year……........In the meantime
Local artisans in Tangier have embarked on an ambitious series of projects to clean up and beautify their neighbourhoods with several competing to create the most impressive decoration of their streets. The “Creation and Sustainability” prize went to the Al Inaach and Al Majid neighbourhoods and the “Commitment and Participation” prize was won by the Al Amal, Al Irfane and Ibn Battuta neighbourhoods.
The time-sequence video [link below] shows local Moroccans designing, cleaning, building, decorating, and beautifying their street. The engineers, architects, wrought-iron workers, designers, painters, artists, handy-men and residents worked day and night to turn their street into a dream-like, colourful, and spotless destination………

Well done and all credit to them.
Another of our visited locations but those who have been with us will no doubt remember the overnight wilderness, Berber village, campfire setting before we call into .……. 
Originally a Berber settlement before the Romans arrived, conquered, and renamed the area Mauretania Tingitana, was a fertile triangle between Meknes, Fez and Rabat, with direct connections to the ports of Tangier and, thus, the rest of the Roman Empire.
Volubilis began its story in Neolithic times, with remains found dating back some 5000 years. Settled between the Zerhoun mountain and its river valleys, it was a fertile area for growing crops. Fast forward to the Romans arrival in around 150 BC and its rule under a descendant of Cleopatra. This site ticks all my boxes: prehistory, romance and famous folks.
By the 2nd century, Volubilis had approximately 20,000 inhabitants. It was surely one of the most majestic cities in North Africa.

In only another hundred years, the Romans were defeated and control of the plain returned to the original tribes of the area. History tells us it was here where Moulay Idriss (787) established the Idrisid dynasty of Morocco. After the capital moved to Fez, archaeologists tell us people lived here until the 14th century. Thereafter, it seems to have been slowly deserted. By the 17th century, Moulay Ismail demolished parts of the city to build his new palaces in the area, most notably the city of Meknes.
This beautiful city was in the midst of destruction from all sides, being demolished stone by stone and recycled into newer palaces. Humans, however, were not the only things to cause destruction to Volubilis; it’s tallest buildings were flattened by an earthquake in 1755.
It seems to have remained dormant until the early 20th century, when archaeologists rediscovered it and excavations began in earnest. In the 1960's, several of the arches were restored and rebuilt, something that is frowned on today. But look at the beautiful pictures of the Triumphant Arch of Caracalla!

Now we jump into modern times. In 1997, UNESCO listed the area as a World Heritage Site. In 2000, another area was discovered by INSAP and said to be the headquarters of Idriss I. Many of the objects found have been taken to the Archeological Museum in Rabat. There is also a small Museum on this site that you can visit.
I am fascinated by the rich history of this site, inhabited for a 1,000 years, only to be cast aside for the new imperial cities of Fez and Meknes. I really recommend a guided tour, which can explain the complex history of North Africa’s conquest, the discipline of Roman architecture, as well as its being one of the founding sites of Morocco’s history as a nation. I can’t possibly cover its history in a few words and pictures, but please take the time to look it up online or even in a book!


Finally an extremely rare moan………. And this DOES NOT apply to the many and valued friends we have made over the years and who we are at times in contact with……… keep asking for our assistance and advise or whatever…….you are genuinely welcome. But as for the others!

We have just had a major clear-out of our yard and workshop and I was staggered at the number of items found that we have sourced for distressed motorhome owners over the years and that have not been collected or paid for. I know, I know, but it creeps up on you and I genuinely didn’t realise the amount and full cost.
It starts with a call to our office “I am desperate, broken down and can’t locate a CPU unit for my Fiat [or whatever]. Can you get me one and I will collect and pay” There is no need to go on and on other than to say that next Sundays “Boot Sale” will have several motorhome tyres and awning parts, as well as a large assortment of mechanical items, gas fittings and electronic gizmo’s. We even found a Hymer window-screen that was “desperately needed” but never collected……Yes, you know who you are……Desperate in Marrakech.
Then there are the calls for help from stranded solo motorhome travellers in Morocco. The call invariably starts with “I know it’s a cheek but………..”  We have in the past delivered clutch parts [and fitted] from Spain too as far as Merzouger [Erg Chebbie Dunes] as well as sourcing various items they could not find themselves from all over Morocco. We have opened our workshop in both Spain and Morocco. We have sent out our mechanic on endless missions. Again I could go on and on and on……. Rarely for more than a “thank you”, if that!
Nuts, bolts and tools [“lost” a few of them], etc. etc. You name it and we have loaned or given it.
Travel, route and general advice requests are received almost daily in our office and take a great deal of time, phone calls, email etc. etc… feels almost a full-time job in itself.
The straw that has “Broken the Camel’s back” as it were was the recent request for Spain-Morocco ferry tickets…….Yes, YOU Mr Packham ....... Having booked his ferry at around 50% discount, made more than a few emails and phone calls, gave directions to the ticket pick-up location etc. etc. Yes you’ve guest it. Without explanation, or contact, or answering our phone calls and emails Mr Packham failed to collect the tickets, leaving us to pay for the unused tickets ourselves as they were, as requested, time sensitive for a particular day .……… What an arsehole!
So the few….and in this case Mr Packham [ex-client] has spoilt it for the many.
The sick and injured is a difficult one to say no too. For non-clients we have in the past dealt with just about everything from broken limbs to yes, even death. In distress payment is the last thing to be considered or asked for, but without our experienced office staff your no-insurance their bills would have been astronomical. Even a thank you would go some way………It has over the years cost Desert Detours a [I nearly said small] fortune……. But OK, call in this case………..!
BUT………Desert Detours are no longer an agent or information bureau for the Solo or Non-Client traveller. We are no longer a motorhome parts department. Our workshops and mechanics based in both Spain and Morocco will continue to be at the disposal of our clients on tour ONLY. Our Veterinary service is only for our clients on tour with pets. Campsite bookings are now undertaken for clients on tour only…………In fact if you are not a client or one of our “valued friends”,  DON’T CALL!


Tuesday, 12 January 2016



…………..   As it’s flat-out at the office!


As always the Christmas/New Year holiday period produced the usual high level of enquiries and bookings, leaving us with very little left on our 10 date 2016 Moroccan Tour scheduling. 

By Christmas we found ourselves down to just 4 tour dates with places available for 2016…………..Now there are just 3 dates left!!
The MARCH Tour is now CLOSED………
APRIL has just ONE vehicle place left……..
SEPTEMBER has only THREE vehicle places left…….
OCTOBER has just THREE vehicle places remaining…….
In the last blog posting, just over a week ago, I suggested that subject to demand we would consider a couple of additional dates……We did and they are now FULL. We may, and I stress may, be able to accommodate an additional NOVEMBER tour but for that and the aforementioned dates get in touch ASAP.
Whatever your plans and wherever your travels take you our British, Spanish and Moroccan staff at Desert Detours wish you a safe, healthy and exciting 2016……..


1st Mar ‘16

THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast

1st April ‘16

THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


3rd SEPT ‘16

Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


1st Oct ‘16

Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast




Whilst working on my “Moroccan Blog” I came across some interesting news items that are building up a momentum of interest.  Strange noises recorded over the last few days in a number of Moroccan cities. 
These bizarre and unfamiliar sounds have been heard across a number of Moroccan cities since the New Year and have left people wondering about its inexplicable nature. The odd sounds have been reportedly heard in Casablanca, Agadir as well as other Moroccan cities, shepherds and villagers are also submitting reports from rural areas.  
In the absence of a concrete scientific explanation, the strange noise/s, which have been recorded and posted on YouTube by many people, are prompting several theories, most of which are too far from human reasoning.
Interestingly these sounds, as well as being widespread, are heard both during the day and night. 
Some social media users have associated the occurrence with a religious explanation, claiming that “this is one of the signs of the end of the world.” Others went as far as saying that the sound came from “the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, (HAARP),” an important U.S. military defense program, which has generated quite a bit of controversy over the past years. The HAARP program is allegedly a ‘secret weapon’ used for weather modification and electromagnetic warfare.
Hoax or real………………You decide!


Considered one of the top destinations for travellers worldwide, Marrakech is associated with rich culture, artistry, entertainment, great nightlife, amazing cuisine, warm hospitality, and some of the most iconic locations in Morocco.
I stumbled on this old Pathe documentary [there are actually more than a few around for those interested] and thought I would share. What I found particularly interesting was the locations shown in the film and still recognizable…….. 
The 1948 documentary “Marrakech – Desert Paradise” was presented by Pathé Pictures and depicted the “Red City” in its mid-20th century. The documentary reflects the diversity of Marrakech’s expression of Berber, Moorish, Middle Eastern, with Mediterranean and Western Asian influences. Those that saw the Marrakech of the 1940s enjoyed the unique tastes of authentic Moroccan spices, full Muslim garb, opium pipes, where street shopping at the market place was the norm…….incredibly much has remained….you just need to explore a little.
Situated in the foot hills of the Atlas Mountains and founded by the Berber Almoravid dynasty in 1062 Marrakech was then just an oasis watering-hole, now it is undoubtedly the most famous, alluring and charismatic town in Morocco….. “Ochre City”, “The land of God” are just a couple of its many designations.  Winston Churchill, the legendary British politician, enjoyed his stays in the emblematic Mamounia Hotel, and many rejoiced in the lifestyle of the 1948 “Pearl of the South”.
Now the real spirit of the city, as it was in 1948, is its heart…..The Medina. This captivating documentary recounts the lifestyle of the Moroccan city and if you have visited recently look closely, past the men dressed in their traditional djellaba and the women who were only recognizable by their full-cover veils, you will see one or two familiar sights.  
Winston Churchill once said that Marrakech was “the most beautiful place on Earth.”………Many have found it to be true, as the saying goes “He who once sees Marrakech must always return.”


If the fashion pundits are to be believed, 2016 will be the year of the babouche. Yes, the famous Moroccan slipper is making another comeback [the last time was in the 17th century.] But if the image in your head is of the traditional yellow or white slippers, then think again.

Fashion firms say that the backless flat is the must-have shoe, cool and insouciant. Gucci introduced them last season, as a chic fur-lined leather loafer, and the trend has continued with Wang, Victoria Beckham, Opening Ceremony and Narciso Rodriguez jumping on the babouche bandwagon and offering their own twist on the style for their pre-fall collections.
The Céline version should set you back about £500 and will no doubt sell out, leaving the less well-off fashionistas searching for a cheaper, “more authentic” pair. 

But there is of course good news. You could buy the real thing, handmade even, in the markets and medinas of all the major and Imperial Cities……Meknes, Casablanca and Fez etc. for around £8. Or you could fly into Marrakech for a weekend stay in a classy Riad and buy your babouche…..and still be way ahead of the game!
Pedigree? The babouche has been crafted by Moroccan artisans and worn by Bedouins for more than a thousand years. They became very trendy in Paris during the 17th century. And the name babouche? The word comes from the Persian papus بابوش composed of pa (foot) and pus (cover). In France, from the XVI century when they were very popular, the name appears as papouch or babuc.
Even The Times in London has taken note of the babouche trend, albeit with a satirical piece...
Oi! Aladdin! Don’t you know panto season’s over, mate?  I beg your pardon? Are you talking to me? 
To you and your funny pointy shoes, yeah. Off to catch a ride on a magic carpet, are you? Honestly, the indignities I suffer in the name of aesthetics. These are not “funny, pointy shoes”, they are predicted to be the “shoe of 2016” by people who know a lot more about this sort of thing than you do.
I know an Aladdin shoe when I see one.

Then perhaps you’ll also know that this style of footwear is called a “babouche”? And that it originated in Morocco, thereby making your laboured Aladdin joke both geographically and politically incorrect.

You what?   and were resurrected in that very same city last year by the Céline designer and fashion oracle Phoebe Philo. Victoria Beckham’s done a pair too — it’s just a matter of minutes before they end up in Topshop.


And, if you think it is only the babouche that is in fashion, take time to check out Dolce & Gabbana's Luxury hijab collection.


Monday, 28 December 2015


With the best of intentions and in good time I sat down and prepared the Pre-Desert Detours Christmas and New Year Blog entry……… Then it all “went to rats” as they say and it didn’t get posted. So with some minor editing we now have the shortened in-between event version.
WHERE DID IT GO? ...........................


I know, as time slips by we all say that at some time or other during the year. But honestly where has this year gone?

Against all the odds 2015 has turned out to be one of our busiest touring years ever….yes we had some “odds” to overcome….. Lol ….. as they say. New and additional staff, vehicle matters, additional legalities and regulations etc. etc……. not to mention the inevitable anti-Morocco references. But the fact is that we ran EVERY scheduled tour. Only one tour [due to late cancellations/breakdown] ran under numbers, which was not a problem, while all the others were fully booked.

Anyway the best advert for touring Morocco is……Morocco. So I am leaving you this month with just a selection of photographs taken by an American client, Ryel and Joll Kestano,  on our November tour…….



And client comments are by far our best recommendation so with permission I quote from an email from Steve and Lynda Hugill who also recently joined us on tour.
"We had a fantastic time on our tour of Morocco.  Our expectations were all well exceeded.  We think your pacing of the tour was perfect.  You gradually introduced us to the Moroccan culture and way of life.  We've never experienced anything like it on our previous travels!  We would like to say a big thank you to you, Debbie and Hammid for such a wonderful experience".
Next year [2016] has already well surpassed our best expectations; leaving us with just a few places available on the March/April and Sept/Oct tour dates…..and incredibly we already have confirmed more than a few firm bookings for 2017…………Retirement is on hold yet again!!!!

1st Mar ‘16

THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast

1st April ‘16

THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


3rd SEPT ‘16

Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


1st Oct ‘16

Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast



Inevitably we get clients cancel or change tour dates but rather than continually post our full 2016/17 schedule contact us to check if there is availability…….remember, except for high summer we are in Morocco EVERY month. 

Should there be demand we may perhaps schedule additional tours during MAY and NOVEMBER. Let us know as soon as possible if you have these months in mind.

From our [Desert Detours] point of view and observations Christmas and the New Year can be very special and so much fun in Morocco. Our own tours over this period have always been some of our busiest, with bookings running years ahead. Christmas day on the sand dunes of the Sahara and then moving on to celebrate the arrival of a New Year in Marrakech is by any standard both astounding and amazing.

In the West the celebration of Christmas has become mired in confusion and commercialism and that modern and mercantile "spirit of Christmas" has it seems reached Morocco. While many are embracing some aspects, for other Moroccans the festival is an anathema  
"We don't need Christmas in Morocco," one Moroccan Riad said, owner said “In fact a lot of my guests say they are coming to Morocco to escape what they call the “Christmas madness". One of our clients said that there were Christmas commercials on TV way back in the beginning of November!"
Ask many tourists arriving in Morocco over the festive holiday period and they will tell you that they want to get away from the commercial hype and secular "celebrations" of Christmas. In England and in many European countries the Christmas season gets under way weeks before the actual date and its biggest impact is on the national economies and personal credit cards.

For devout Christians, Christmas can be observed in simple ways, but each year it becomes more and more secular and divorced from its roots. Sadly, it is this style of Christmas that has arrived in Morocco. And, it will be no surprise that Christmas is embraced far more strongly by the younger generations. At the same time many young Moroccans are forgetting elements of their own culture.

Tinsel, toys, candle-holders, candles, candies, garlands and wooden ornaments can be found in markets. The lights, sounds and sentiment that symbolised and celebrated home and family has moved outward into public streets and stores. There are now street decorations in some parts of Morocco.

Since the celebration focuses on the secular aspects of the “Prophet” Jesus, some conservative Muslims frown upon the act of celebrating Christmas, arguing that it is a sort of “bida”, a fad that has not been taught by Prophet Mohamed.

Most modern Moroccans do not have this attitude. Yet opinions vary widely. Some say that Christmas is an occasion for them to greet their Christian friends. Others see it as a way of showing tolerance, while others are less than impressed with the commercialisation and also reject it on cultural and religious grounds, saying that Christmas does not represent Moroccan Islamic culture and celebrating it is synonymous with blindly adopting others’ lifestyles and cultural aspects.

I should stress that this does NOT manifest itself into any sort of physical or verbal conflict.

…….. That’s it, just a short Christmas/New Year Blog issue [I may get around to an early New Year one!]. So once again from all at Desert Detours……have a great holiday wherever you may be? 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015



……..Well, ‘till next March anyway!

Recently back from a perfect November tour with both fantastic weather and clients I have decided that after a busy and hectic year I am going to take a much needed 3 month personal break. Of course all scheduled tours [Dec, Jan and Feb] will in the meantime continue without me.

Leaving behind extraordinary storms in mainland Spain and a cold front drifting down from the UK we were a little apprehensive as to what to expect in Morocco during November…..but as we crossed the Med the grey and cold gradually receded and we were greeted, as usual, by sun, sun and even more sun for the whole tour.

Horizon to horizon blue greeted at our desert camp

After 3 nights, during which some camped at a luxury “Deep Dune Camp” overnight, it was a shame to leave.

By the time you receive this blog issue I will hopefully have headed off to the UK for the annual pre-Christmas family gathering, so have little time to re-issue and update our 2016 schedule…….but taking just a quick look at the booking-list in the office it looks like there are just a few places left only on the March and April, September and October 2016 tours………. So if you are thinking of joining us next year don’t think too long! 

Jardin Majorelle is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Marrakech and is rated as one of the world’s best tourist destinations.
Created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962), the Majorelle Garden is a twelve-acre botanical garden and an art’s landscape in Marrakech.
For tourists or inhabitants of the city looking to escape the crowded old medina and Jamaa El fna, the peaceful atmosphere of Jardin Majorelle offers a moment of rest and refreshment in the shadows of its exotic plants.

The garden, a little heaven, is an ideal place for those who love nature and colors. Painted with dark blue with bright yellow vases in every corner, the garden is a masterpiece combining Moorish and Berber-style.

Visitors enjoy walking through the clean pathways under the shade of the trees and plants that draw artistic shapes on the ground, or sit on a colorful bench listening to the tweeting of birds.

The ticket price of MAD 70 is perhaps a little expensive compared to other public sites in Marrakech, but the money goes to promote the Berber culture and organize events and exhibitions.



Perhaps I should rephrase that…….Not a lot of people have realised………

Given the combined billions concerned or entangled I am surprised that nobody has pointed this out before……. Someone probably has I expect!!

During my latest research project [Political Islam] I realised that this year [2015] “Eid Al Mouloud,” or simply “Al Mouloud,” the observance of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, will occur twice. That’s because Muslims first celebrated it earlier when it fell first on January 4, and they will observe it again on December 24 or 25.

Even more remarkably “Al Mouloud” and Christmas Day will fall on the same day for the first time in 457 years. This rare coincidence, specially separate events for both Muslims and Christians, has taken place only three times in the history of humanity………not withstanding that Islam has only been around for something less than 1500 years….and did I say “Humanity” …. Now there’s a laugh!

Anyway to explain…….. “Al Mouloud” falls on the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, that’s the third month in the Islamic calendar. However, the date in the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar, while the Islamic calendar is a lunar one. In the Gregorian calendar, “Al Mouloud falls on a different day every year by approximately 11 days.
The date of “Al Mouloud” may also vary from country to country depending on the sighting of the lunar crescent, which marks the beginning of a new lunar month.
Given this rare coincidence of Al Mouloud with Christmas, some are divided on when to celebrate it. Will Muslims celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad at the same time as the birth of Jesus or will they skip a day to celebrate “Al Mouloud” on December 24 or 26?
Whatever, I expect they will find a consensus and slaughter one another on this special day as on all others……..

For months the debate about linguistic identity has raged in Morocco. The tussle is between French, and English, with clear lines between those who favor retaining what they describe as the "language of history and the protectorate" and English, the language of "science and civilisation"

The politicians have been vocal in the debate with Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, expressing his desire to give English prime importance in the educational system and to become the second language after the Arabic.  The Minister of Higher Education, Lahcen Daoudi, has repeatedly stressed of English in the scientific disciplines, saying "We are obliged to gain proficiency in English" .

According to a recent poll by the Hespress Newspaper, the overwhelming majority of voters want English over French in Morocco's educational system in Morocco.

The results of the poll of  41,526  people saw the support rate for English at 85.98 with only 14.02 per cent of respondents wanting to keep French
Dr Abdel Kader Fassi Fihri, International expert in the field of linguistics, said the result was "good news", because it reflects the awareness of Moroccan citizens in regard to the choice of foreign language, and the language of education in particular.

He added……"Being the universal language, English is the language of trading and if you want to reach out to the world or want to move between one region and another, even in the Arab countries or  China, you need English." He also pointed out that English is the global language of science and scientific journals internationally and are all indexed in English and noted that "English has become the first language in Europe.  For example, in Spain, Germany, Portugal, and France the first other language is English," adding that "You only find  French as the first foreign language in some African countries, which were a colony of France and Belgium."


This slim volume of stories contains local stories that Herron collected and some that she created herself. They are poignant tales of magic, love and loss. Their brevity makes them vignettes rather than short stories and yet they have a power that belies their short length. 

The stories are retold in modern times and so from time to time a character will produce a smart phone, or mention watching television. This intrusion of the contemporary into ancient tales is a device that works to enhance the notion that the reader is getting a remarkable insight into the longevity of traditional beliefs held by Moroccans living today in the Draa valley.

I studied classical Arabic and the Quran with the women of the village, travelled in the desert, learned how to take care of camels and sheep, how to wash and pray, and helped the other women in the family with the day-to-day running of the home. I fell in love with storytelling and stories, which are at the heart of everyday life in Morocco: sharing old stories handed down from generation to generation, embellishing jokes, spreading gossip or simply recounting a personal experience. I began to document the stories I was hearing and then found myself imagining and composing my own - Samantha  Herron

The author of 'Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah', Tim Mackintosh-Smith agrees: 'Samantha Herron found some of her Moroccan stories ready-made. Others she imagined or dreamed. In size they are miniatures; but they all express big things on a small scale. Reading them is like peering through a series of keyholes – and, each time, glimpsing something momentary but momentous, instants with life-long consequences. They will make you smile, and shiver. And they will tell you as much truth about their Moroccan setting as a shelf-full of ethnologist.'


DEC-JAN 15/16


[Standby Places Only]
1st FEB ‘16
THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast

[Standby Places Only]
1st Mar ‘16
THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast

1st April ‘16

10th April ‘16

THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast




1st MAY’16

7th May ‘16

20th May ‘16

THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast

From the Moroccan Sahara to the Spanish Sierras

Remote, Hidden, Spectacular Morocco. THE TRANS ATLAS-IMISHIL EXPEDITION



    1st Sept ‘16

2nd Sept ‘16

[Small Group only

From the Algerian Border to the Atlantic Coast



3rd SEPT ‘16

Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


1st Oct ‘16

Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


1st NOV ‘16

3rd NOV ‘16
Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast

THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast

1st Dec ‘16

THE MOROCCAN “WINTER WONDER TOUR” A Stunning tour for those who wish to escape the cold and grey of Europe [Give Christmas/New Year/Plus Time in Morocco option]

[Standby Only]
17th Dec ‘16/17

XMAS-NEW YEAR “CELEBRATION” TOUR Imperial City – Xmas Dunes – New Year In Marrakech

[Standby Only]