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Snow and Sand, Morocco
Snow and Sand2018-12-05T17:21:30+00:00

Project Description

SNOW AND SAND
CHARITY CHALLENGE

snow sand

All details for both treks are on this page

snow sand

Snow and Sand Charity Challenge Trek
From Mt Toubkal – over 13,000 feet and 0°C
To the Sahara Desert – sea level and 40°C
transition in just 36hrs!

Our Snow and Sand Charity Challenge captures Morocco’s diverse environments beautifully by trekking to the snow on the highest, and potentially the coldest, point in North Africa (Jbel Toubkal, 4167m) to one of the lowest and hottest; the sand of the vast Sahara Desert. A true contrast of snow to sand in just 36hrs.

Snow and Sand Charity Challenge Highlights:

  • A small weather window of opportunity – 11 day trip UK – UK
  • Transition of high mountain summit (snow), to mountain lake to desert; in 36hrs
  • Beautiful sunrises and sunsets
  • Very experienced Guides
  • Full support pre-trek, explore Marrakech

This Snow and Sand Charity Challenge is something different; something unusual and a great way to see Morocco. Good for all abilities with full mule and camel support if required.

Our unique Snow and Sand Charity Challenge has a small window of opportunity; just as the summer temperatures start to fall away in the desert and just before the winter snows fall heavily in the mountains.

Having flown into Marrakech, overnight, the Snow and Sand Charity Challenge commences with the mountain phase. We drive to Imlil, meet the Support Crew before steadily ascending up to the imposing alpine refuge at Neltner. Early next morning, you will set off for the summit. The views from the infamous Triangle structure (with or without snow!) are amazing and weather permitting, you can see from the Atlantic to the Sahara.

After descending you will camp beside the turquoise shores of Lac D’Ifni before your road transfer the following day through Ouarzazate, the Draa Valley and the dramatic scenery en-route to the desert. You will soon start to feel the warmth of the sand!

By the time you hit the desert, you will have dropped over 12,000 feet and felt the temperature rise by about 40°C in less than 36hrs! The contrast from snow to sand will be immediately apparent and the sheer open space and remoteness becomes a reality. There is nothing here except sand and the tranquil sound of silence. Hovering on the horizon you will see Erg Zaher, a huge sand dune towering majestically over the Chigaga region. Reaching Erg Zaher is your goal and watching the sun set from this naturally moving monument is for most people, a moment to reflect on the purpose of your challenge and your amazing achievement.

After completing the Snow and Sand Charity Challenge, we head to the hotel in Ouarzazate for a well earned hot shower, overnight, before heading back to Marrakech and the chance explore this colourful and captivating city. Of note are the famous Djemma El Fna (Marrakech’s main square), the endless maze of markets in the Medina and perhaps a Spa.

Sahara Desert Challenges, without Toubkal? They can be Life Changing>>
Mt Toubkal Challenge, with the Sahara. Oscar’s Toubkal Challenge, read how this 9 year old got on.

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Fundraising and Itinerary

FUNDRAISING

for 2019 trek

Self Fund

Deposit – £250 on booking
PLUS
Interim self payment – £250
payable 1 Mar 2019
PLUS
Final balance of £800 payable 18 Jul 2019

Total trip cost – £1300

PLUS
Raise as much as you can for the charity
There is no min or time limit

Flexi Fund

Deposit – £250 on booking
PLUS
Balance payment – £250
payable 1 Mar 2019

Cost to client – deposit + balance = £500

PLUS
Fundraise £1600 in sponsorship
to be complete by 18 Jul 2019
£800 is retained by the charity
£800 pays for the remaining balance of the trip 

Minimum Sponsorship

Deposit – £250 on booking

PLUS
Fundraise £2100 in sponsorship
to be complete by 18 Jul 2019
£1050 is retained by the charity
£1050 pays for the remaining balance of the trip 

Regardless of the funding method chosen, the amount paid to us is exactly the same – £1300.

What the Price Includes

  • International flights and airport transfers in Morocco (flight inclusive)
  • An experienced and qualified English speaking local guide
  • All land transfers involved in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as described in the itinerary
  • All meals on trek and B&B in hotels
  • Local porter assistance on trek (mules and camels as appropriate)
  • All necessary trek and National Park access permits

What the Price Does Not Include

  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Lunch & evening meals in Marrakech and en route to the desert (itinerary shows full meal plan)
  • Optional trips and sightseeing tours
  • Guide and Crew gratuities

Snow and Sand Charity Challenge – Full Itinerary

Day 1. Depart UK, fly to Marrakech
Fly from London on a direct flight to Marrakech. On arrival in Marrakech, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel/Riad. Once you have settled in, you will want to experience one of Morocco’s icons; the famous Djemaa el Fna square. Your first experience of the square is one of a senses explosion; entertainers performing, a myriad of food stalls all lit up with the smells to accompany them, and the general melee of activity.

Day 2. Drive Marrakesh to Imlil, trek to Neltner
After breakfast, you will depart and drive into the High Atlas mountains to the town of Imlil (90 mins). Once you have met your trek crew, complete with mules, you will start the Snow and Sand Charity Challenge. It will take between 5 and 6 hrs to reach the Refuge; a steady climb throughout the day. Get lots of rest for tomorrows big day. BLD

Day 3. Toubkal (4167m, summit day), Trek out to Lac Ifni
A pre-dawn start for the ascent of Mt Toubkal (4167m). The terrain varies and can be steep in places. You will also highly likely cross patches of snow, which tends to lie throughout the year. There is also some scree, trekking poles can be extremely useful here. It’ll take about 4 hrs to reach the summit and some may experience some discomfort as the altitude increases (it will subside quickly once you descend). If you experience some difficulties, speak to your Guide. There are some great views from the infamous triangle that marks the summit. The descent is by the same route, have a rest before descending further to Lac D’Ifni. A long day – approx 12 hrs. Overnight camp. BLD

Day 4. Meet Transport, drive to Desert, Short trek
An early start to have breakfast and a short trek to meet the transport. Say goodbye to your mountain crew (the Guide stays with you all of the time) and the first phase of the Snow and Sand Charity Challenge. It takes approx 6 hrs to drive down to the Desert, through Ouarzazate and Zagora. It’s a beautiful drive through the Draa Valley; lunch en route. If you wish, we can safely store some of your clothing/equipment in Ouarzazate that you don’t need in the Desert. Your start point is M’Hamid, where you will meet your Desert trek crew (including camels) and head out into the sand for a short trek to the first night’s camp near Nsrat. BLD

Days 5/6/7/8. Desert trek
For the next 4 full days, you will enjoy some fantastic and remote trekking in the vast Sahara; very different from the mountain terrain of just a day or so ago!
The dunes will be low level to begin with, mixed with the hard baked ‘hamada’ underfoot. This whole area is based on the Draa river.
There are no formal campsites, it literally is open desert. Your first night’s camp will be in an area known as Tidi.
The 2nd full day is a big one as you head out into the high and impressive chain of dunes known as Erg Chigaga. These dunes can reach 1500’ upwards and you will camp in amongst them. In the distance is a mountain ridge that marks the border with Algeria.
Your final full day will leave the bigger dunes behind as you head towards Ras ‘n Akhl.
By now, you will be well and truly used to living a very spartan and simple life. There are no radios, no TV, no newspapers, just silence and a sea of sand. BLD

Day 9. Short trek, Transfer to Ouarzazate
Your final 1-2hr trek of this Snow and Sand Charity Challenge will take you to the finish near M’Hamid to meet your transport. Say a fond farewell to your trek crew before the 5 hr road journey back to Ouarzazate. It’s time for a well earned shower and change of clothes! BLD

Day 10. Transfer to Marrakech
A 5 – 6 hr road transfer back to Marrakech, over the High Atlas mountains.
Morocco’s diverse landscape is a film makers paradise and just after you leave Ouarzazate, there is a visit to Ait Ben Haddou, the place where a lot of the ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ was filmed.
Check into the hotel; the remainder of the day is free. B

Day 11. Depart for London, B
At the appropriate time, you will be transferred back to the airport for your return flight home.

Note – B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner

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Challenge Information

>  Trip length – 11 days UK – UK.
>  Trek length – 8 days.
>  Biggest risk factor – the weather (hot sun and cold temperatures) plus trip hazard on rock on Toubkal.
>  All meals on trek (drinking water supplied in the Sahara), b’fasts in hotels.
>  Hotel accommodation in Marrakech and Ouarzazate, tents on trek.

Passport – Must be valid for the duration of your visit. Information source is the FCO Travel Advice Morocco.

Visa – No visa is required. You need to complete an immigration form on arrival.

Flight Tickets – Most airlines work on e-tickets now (the flight reference No (we supply) and your surname). There are no paper tickets. In the majority of cases, we check you in and supply your Boarding Passes by email. If you are required to check in yourself, we will inform you of the process.

Travel Insurance – Mandatory on our trips. We will ask for proof of cover. We do not sell travel insurance. Go to our Information webpage for our unbias advice and tips.

Min group size 2.

Once this number is reached, the Snow and Sand Charity Challenge is guaranteed to depart; the trip will not be cancelled.

On this Snow and Sand Charity Challenge, you will be walking between 5 – 7 hours per day, occasionally longer if required. Overall distance in the desert can vary between 60 – 100km depending on the group.

Our Snow and Sand Charity Challenge falls just as the summer temperatures start to drop in the desert and just before the winter snows fall heavily in the mountains; a small window of opportunity which make this challenge a rare opportunity for those looking for something a little different.

Temperatures can easily hit 40°C mid afternoon in the Sahara and well below 0°C on the summit of Toubkal. There is also an altitude difference of well over 12,000 feet so the environment change is a real challenge.

The walking surfaces vary between hard baked river bed (wadi), hamada (light sand with pebbles) and very deep soft sand to rock and scree on the mountain. As a result, it can take its toll on your feet. This trek would be considered challenging.

We recommend a good level of fitness and adopt a regular training regime well before you depart.

As part of the booking process, you will be asked about any relevant issues of your medical history. If we have any doubts about your ability to take part in the challenge, we may ask you to provide a letter of fitness from your GP, therefore we would recommend that if you have any concerns, you speak to your GP prior to booking.

In the UK, if you can walk for 5 – 6 hrs per day, on consecutive days, over undulating terrain (with normal rest stops), carrying a daysack weighing approx 6kg, then you should be perfectly capable of completing this trek.

Try our Sahara Desert Challenges.

Fitness Concerns? – Call us on 01529 488159 or 07725 943108

Food

  • B’fast is supplied in hotels, full board on trek including drinking water.
  • Breakfasts will consist of a variable buffet spread: cereals (including porridge), bread with various spreads (jam, nutella, etc..), cream cheeses, omelettes, hot drinks.
  • Lunches are prepared freshly by the camp chef and can be soups, bread, salads of varying type and fruit. Hot drinks.
  • Tea/coffee and biscuits served on arrival into camp each day.
  • Evening meals consists of 3 courses: soup, main course and desert.
    Starter – various soup with bread.
    Main course – traditional tagines of chicken, lots of vegetables, rices, lentils, pasta and similar hearty dishes. Catering for vegetarians presents no issues.
    Deserts – normally tinned fruit.
    Hot drinks.

Accommodation

  • Hotels, Marrakech and Ouarzazate – twin share, same sex basis.
  • On trek – tents, twin share basis, same sex.
  • Declared couples (ie married) will be paired together.
  • If there is an odd number, someone gets lucky with sole occupation at no additional cost.
  • Sole occupation cost – £120. This includes the 4 x hotel nights + a tent to yourself on trek.

Our default flights are London Gatwick (LGW) – Marrakech (RAK) (direct flights) but we may use other airports if necessary.

London not convenient?

We appreciate the potential inconvenience of London if you live far away. The use of regional airports such as Manchester is perfectly possible.

Be aware though that direct flights in both directions from regional airports is highly unlikely and indirect flights take a lot longer. There is also a risk of missed connections and where they are not ‘through flights’, there will be a requirement to re check in at the intermediate airport (collect luggage and re-check in on the second flight). Higher costs may also apply (but they are usually minor). Clients wishing to use regional airports do so on the basis that they accept the risks associated with them and any costs incurred as a result (missed connections for example) are borne by the client.

The advice for this Snow and Sand Charity Challenge is given in good faith from trusted sources; we are not medical professionals. Check with your Medical Practice if you are up to date with the primary courses.

Vaccinations for Morocco:

  • Usually advised for Nepal: Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Typhoid.
  • Consider: Hepatitis B; Rabies.
  • Yellow Fever – No Yellow Fever certificate is required for Morocco.
  • Information source – http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/morocco.aspx
  • Malaria – Malaria not normally present unless the illness was contracted abroad.

FREE Vaccinations – the following are usually FREE on the NHS as they are considered the greatest risk if brought into the country:
Cholera, Diphtheria, Polio, Tetanus and Hep A (be aware some of those are combined vaccinations).
Information source – http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1071.aspx?CategoryID=67

The others you are likely to have to pay for.

INCLUDED – All taxes and fuel supplements associated with international and domestic flights.

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