Morocco: Camel trekking and hiking in the desert with Akabar - Sahara Treks - individual - personal - flexible

Article Index

 

Philosophy

  • With our offers of trekking and trekking with homestay we would like to offer an income to the people in the desert, so that they can live further in their environment and in their culture and are not forced to emigrate to cities.  For our trekking tours, friendly nomads from the Jebel Bani Mountains are hired with their own camels. In this way the Chameliers can contribute with their own animals to the support of their families. In order to offer single or destitute nomadic women an income opportunity, they accompany women's groups as cook.
  •  Our tours and hikes take place in close cooperation with nomads from the Ait Atta tribe, who do not just work for us. We attach great importance to community and a friendly family relationship, in which we learn a lot about their culture and everyday life and get to know their living environment. At Akabar - Sahara Treks it is common for guests and team to eat meals together and travel like a large family. The Akabar team always takes care of the well-being of the guests and is careful and responsible in performing its tasks before and during the tour.
  • Akabar - Sahara Treks employs only locals, that are nomads and semi-nomads as chameliers, cook and helpers as well as the jeep drivers from Zagora. Food comes from the market in Zagora and selected local traders. They work together with some small cosy riads, which are located 2 km outside Zagora in the oasis gardens of Amezrou.
  • The camels of our companions are treated well and respectfully. The nomads regard their animals as family members. Their camels are not kept in stables but roam through the valleys of Jebel Bani and the dunes. On the tours they carry their luggage for a maximum of five to six hours, while the rest of the time they are searching for food and resting. In the mornings and evenings they also receive date grist and oats, especially in dry weather.  The number of camels depends on the size of the group, so that the animals do not have to carry too much.
  • Our trekking tours lead off the beaten track of mass tourism on former caravan paths and shepherd's hiking trails through the varied and fascinating stone wilderness of the Jebel Bani, through dune landscapes, over hamadas and to oases. We have chosen our paths so that we walk away from the usual caravan routes and Jeeppists. Our team is at home in the mountains and desert.  The valleys and plains of the vast Jebel Bani mountain range belong to the pastures of the herds of our nomadic companions. On our caravans with spontaneous overnight stay with local families you experience life and culture of the nomadic population of the Sahara.
  • Our desert hikes are offered without fixed daily tour descriptions, as this does not correspond to the nomadic life. A desert hike and the stay with nomads is very easy, without any comfort. The traveller is rewarded by the cordiality, openness and spontaneity of the desert inhabitants. For this reason we also assume that our guests are tolerant and flexible, as well as willing to fit into the community and also to collect things like wood, fetch water and clean up. We want to leave the desert clean and without big traces on our hikes, therefore we burn combustible waste and take other garbage back to Zagora for disposal. It is very important to us to carry out careful and sustainable tourism in order not to negatively influence the existing structures and the culture of the nomads.
  •  In extreme landscapes such as the desert, weather conditions can also cause the described itinerary to be deviated from; therefore, we expect a certain degree of flexibility and adaptability from the participants. On our tours to the Sahara we get to know the daily hard living conditions of the desert inhabitants, who have to live with sandstorms, heat, sudden rainfalls or years of drought.
Our offers are closely calculated, food, wages and transfer costs are current prices in Morocco. For this reason it is not possible for us to give discounts, because otherwise the anyway low income would be reduced thereby.

 

Hafid Benyachou and Monika Boch-Jacuk

 

 


 

                                   
      

              
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Hafid Benyachou, Zagora is responsible for organisation, trekking, homestay and round trips. He descends from a nomad family of the Ait Atta tribe. After his abitur Benyachou studied teaching in Agadir and taught for several years children and young people at the nomadic school of Tafraout. He is the consultant for the nomads of Tafraout area and supports them actively in enforcing their interests outside the desert. So he set up with them the association "Association Akabar for Sustainable Development and Culture"; furthermore he is contact person and translator for the Italian organisation Il Mondo Incantato and for the German voluntary organisation "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen" (see aid projects for nomads). Hafid has several years experience as a trekking guide for the company of his brother. In 2014 he founded his trekking company "Akabar - Sahara Treks". Hafid has visited Germany in 2013 and during his stay he visited travel agencies and the head office of "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen" in Berlin, where he described the water situation of Tafraout area and asked for help. In November 2014 two teams of "engineers" examined the water situation of almost all wells in Tafraout valley, supported by Hafid and the nomads association Akabar.



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My name is Monika Boch-Jacuk and I am responsible for creating the website, contacts to interested travelers and travel advice. I studied International Business M.Sc. (GB) and worked for several years in banks. Desert and its inhabitants have always interested me; since 2009, I have done 14 hiking tours in desert (Tunisia, Morocco, Oman, Mongolia and Algeria) for many years and thus gained my trekking experience. In 2011, after a trekking tour through the desert of southern Morocco, I stranded with nomadic families far away in a remote valley. I have been there several times,  taught young nomads in English and now I am trying along with H. Benyachou to help them to an additional income by offering trekking and homestay. Hereto, there are reports in Stern Magazin Viva ! No. 2/ 2013 and in the in-house newspaper of the Sparkasse Markgräflerland " Hausgeist 2013 ".

By chance, I stumbled upon the commitment of the German organisation "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen" and as at that time (summer 2012) some families already left the valley of Tafraout due to dwindling wells, I described the situation to the employees of the Berlin headquarters of "Engineers" and asking if help would be appreciated. In August 2013, Hafid Benyachou and I visited the responsible engineer of Berlin headquarter, who informed us that the engineer's group "Munich" was already interested in the task. There was a lot of correspondence, Skype and the sending of rock samples to Munich. In November 2014 two teams of "engineers" examined the water situation of almost all wells in Tafraout valley, supported by Hafid (as translator and organisator of food etc.) and the nomads association Akabar.

I am voluntary engaged for the people of Sahara and in supporting business of "Akabar - Sahara treks"; thus no extra costs from Germany are included in our prices.


            
 P1050460  Khadija Ahabal: resonsible for guests staying in Tafraout

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

  P1000768 Lahsen Rabouze, older brother of Yusuf, is our cook. From breakfast to dinner he conjures delicious Moroccan cuisine on the "table"

 

 

 

 

 

P1020417 Mohammed Oukhayi is nomad, chamelier and a great cook. He guides especially our very small groups like single travellers and couples. Mohamed can read from your face. He is responsible for the camels; for the treks he takes the camels of various nomadic families of Jebel Bani and Boujah area, who thus have an income.

 

 

 

 

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  Ydir Oukhayi is Mohamed's older brother and responsible for guiding and camels. And like his borther also a great cook; his plain breads baked in sand or on hot stones are very delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

Said1   Said Azmamar is our english speaking guide. He stems from a nomadic family of M'Hamid area and is experienced guide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 P1000737 Yusuf Rabouze is our experienced junior guide and also chamelier. He is from a nomad family who lived with it's herd until last year in Jebel Bani mountains, yet moved near Tafraout village. Yusuf is about 20 years old, went to the nomad school of Tafraout, thus speaks a little English. He is always very happy to accompany interested travellers on their trekking tour. He knows the desert - mountains and dunes - by heart 

 

 

 

 

 

20150407 162946 Kopie   Yusuf Karmoud is chamelier/nomad from a hidden valley in the Jebel Bani range; some of our treks are passing his grounds.