This is the trip that started it all!
Get ready to see, hear, taste and RUN one of the most beautiful, welcoming & magical areas of North Africa. We'll wander Marrakech markets, pass over the snow-capped High Atlas mountains, explore ancient kasbahs, learn about the traditional Berber way of life and play on the giant sand dunes surrounding our private camp in the Sahara.
Run along lush river valleys, through dramatic gorges and palm oases and in the Sahara, catching glimpses of village life that are never seen from the highways. Enjoy full run support from our team, who are always on hand with water, rides and plenty of high fives, no matter your pace.
Finish each day with a beautiful desert sunset, a delicious Moroccan feast, endless stories and mind-blowing views of the stars.
Please note that all listed run distances can be shortened or lengthened - all abilities accommodated! - and that itinerary is subject to minor adjustments due to weather, logistical considerations, etc.
DAY 1 | ARRIVAL IN MARRAKECH
Arrive in Marrakech, where we will pick you up at the airport and take you to our beautiful riad (traditional courtyard house). That evening you will get your first taste of Moroccan tagine as we dine on the rooftop, relax, and unwind. Those who manage to hold off the jet lag can experience the Djemaa El-fna and the surrounding souks: sample local treats, bargain for scarves, charm a cobra, jump into a drum circle or simply wander around and take it all in!
No organized run
Meals: D (dinner)
DAY 2 | AIT BEN HADDOU KASBAH
Depart from Marrakech towards the High Atlas mountains. After a beautiful journey over the pass and a fresh picnic prepared by our cook team, we'll drive a bit more before beginning our afternoon run. Beginning with a long descent into the Ounila Valley, this run rolls along miles of lush green gardens and ultimately finishes at Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO-preserved kasbah that has served as the set for Gladiator, Game of Thrones and many other films. Spend the evening soaking your legs in the pool and enjoying a big dinner at our guesthouse.
Running: Up to 13 miles, pavement
DAY 3 | DESERT OASIS & THE DADES VALLEY
Up early? Hike up to the watchtower of Ait Ben Haddou for sunrise exploration & photos before a big breakfast. Later we'll head to the nearby oases of Skoura, where the run begins. Weave through immense palm groves, a couple of small villages and lush gardens before finishing with a picnic in the trees. Afterward we’ll head to the fertile Dades Valley where you’ll have the afternoon to explore the gardens (and a hidden waterfall!), or simply relax and enjoy the stunning view from our cliffside guesthouse.
Running: Up to 10 miles, dirt road
DAY 4 | THE MARS RUN & THE TODRA GORGE
After a light breakfast we’ll begin a rolling trail run over a surreal, Mars-like landscape dotted with Berber nomad camps and views of the High Atlas, eventually finishing with an outdoor brunch in a small village. After that, our destination is the Todra Gorge, a dramatic canyon that offers prime rock climbing - and running! - opportunities. There will be some optional afternoon activities, but the real focus is on resting those legs – tomorrow is the long run!
Running: up to 12 miles, rocky/dirt road
DAY 5 | THE TODRA GORGE
We’ll get an early start with a light breakfast and a drive out to our starting line. This run offers a bit of everything - a big descent, a bit of rocky jeep track, desert beauty, quiet pavement and increasingly spectacular views as you get deeper and deeper into the spectacular gorge. Lunch is the finish line, and once everyone has had a chance to refuel and soak their legs in the river we will head back to our riad where an afternoon of relaxing by the pool awaits.
Running: up to 14 miles, jeep track and pavement
DAY 6 | REST DAY
Rest day! Enjoy a relaxed morning, big breakfast and then a day of travel as we head south towards the Draa Valley, one of the biggest palm oases in the world. We'll visit a local pottery cooperative and then spend the night in Zagora at a beautiful guesthouse hidden in magical gardens.
No scheduled run
DAY 7 | THE SAHARA
Today we head over the Anti-Atlas mountains to the village of M'Hamid, where we'll share snacks (and a lot of mint tea) at the family home of one of our Moroccan team members. Afterward, it's time for the Sahara! After leaving the pavement far behind, the run will begin over rolling, rocky terrain and head towards the dunes, getting softer and softer as you go. Finish with lunch at our private camp set among towering sand dunes, then go explore and get ready for a sunset camel trek. Later on, it’s time for a huge feast, traditional music around the campfire and more stars than you've ever seen before. Sleep comfortably in traditional nomad tents, complete with real beds, rugs and solar lights - this is where "glamping" began!
Running: Up to 10 miles, jeep track and some sand
DAY 8 | LAKE IRIKI
Wake up early to catch a Sahara sunrise, then enjoy a relaxed breakfast. We'll depart the camp mid-morning and take a short drive to Lake Iriki where our run will begin. This lake no longer has any water, but it does have mirages galore - though pancake flat, this is a challenging and very memorable run! Finish with another big picnic then continue to Foum Z'guide, a town located on the edge of the desert. Enjoy the pool, a nice shower and the bar!
Running: Up to 10 mi, hard-packed dirt
DAY 9 | TRAVEL BACK TO MARRAKECH
If you're still craving a few more miles, then get up early for a low-key shakeout from the hotel. Otherwise, get some rest! We'll embark on the long (but very scenic) journey back to Marrakech after breakfast with plenty of breaks along the way. After we arrive you'll have time to get out and explore the city (or hit the hammam!) before a big farewell dinner at a rooftop restaurant.
Running: up to 8 miles, pavement
DAY 10 | DEPARTURE
This is it! Enjoy a final breakfast and then we will get you to the airport in plenty of time to catch your flight.
No scheduled run
PRICING & DETAILS
Thursday, October 31 - Saturday, November 9, 2019
A $600 deposit secures your spot, and the total cost depends upon signup date:
Standard Pricing: $2695
Late Pricing (after July 31): $2795
Private Room Upgrade: $450 - gives you a single room for 8 nights. A private tent is not guaranteed in the Sahara, though we’ll do our best to accommodate.
Early Arrival package: $205/$310 (single/double) - Arrive a day early for extra time to sleep off the jet lag and explore Marrakech! Includes private airport pickup, accommodation and dinner upon arrival, then breakfast and a medina city tour with a professional guide the following morning.
Balance due by July 31, 2019. Please refer to the FAQs for our cancellation & refund policy.
Pre-trip guidance + communication
Transfers to/from Marrakech airport
Transportation: well-maintained 4×4 vehicles, fuel and drivers
Eight nights in comfortable, unique three and four-star hotels or riads (double occupancy)
One night in our private Sahara camp (fully equipped with traditional tents, real beds and a bathhouse)
Seven organized, vehicle-supported runs
Experienced Moroccan logistics team
Experienced Rogue Expeditions trip leaders
All meals + snacks
All water + coffee/tea/juice with breakfast
Rogue Expeditions shirt
COST DOES NOT INCLUDE
Alcohol or beverages other than water (though coffee, tea and juice are included with breakfasts)
Personal purchases/souvenirs or extra activities
There will be a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 18 runners. Spots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so early deposits are recommended!
Participants will need a passport with at least 6 months of validity left. No visas or vaccinations are required for US citizens in Morocco, though you may want to consider some standard vaccinations if you are a first-time traveler. Please keep in mind that Morocco is a developing country – though you will be comfortable and very well taken care of, an adventurous and flexible attitude is a must!
Please note that travel insurance is strongly recommended. Although we hope you never need it, we've seen enough to know that it can be a lifesaver in the event of a medical emergency, flight delays that cause you to miss the start of the trip, lost baggage or cancellation on your part (broke your leg two weeks before departure? Insurance could cover the entire cost of your trip!).
You can find those here.
Allison Macsas at firstname.lastname@example.org