Cultural Tours Handcrafted in Morocco

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Special-interest Morocco Tour

"People & Place" - Photography Holiday

8 days / 7 nights (* see notes)

Tour Ref:   SV035
Tour start:   Marrakech
Tour end:   Marrakech
Tour type:   Desert, Special-interest
Regions:   Imperial Cities (Marrakech), Atlas Mountains, Southern Valleys, Sahara Desert
Available:   OPEN GROUP 11th-18th October 2016, private groups upon request

Tour summary

A week-long photography holiday to Morocco touring from Marrakech into the Sahara desert via the High Atlas Mountains and oases of the Draa Valley to capture landscapes, portraits, architecture, light, colour and texture. Acclaimed photographer, Ben Pipe, has years of professional experience leading travel photography expeditions to the Himalayas, Iceland’s volcanoes and the Moroccan Sahara desert. On this exceptional Morocco photography tour he instructs and inspires you on how to get the best possible pictures. This tour is available Sept-April upon request for private groups/families of 4 people minimum, or annually in October as a mixed group tour. Ideal for beginners, amateurs and professional travel photographers using a digital SLR camera.

Note: all photos in slideshow courtesy of Ben Pipe and previous tour participants: Vi Rowshankish, Anne Carwardine, Phil Goddard

  Contact us to arrange your tour

Or call us now on +212 (0)615 647918 (Morocco) or +44 (0)208 123 7969 (UK)

Please note: All our Morocco tours can be customised to allow extra days for shorter daily car journeys, extra activities, relaxation days, exploration days etc. We can also adapt tours to connect with different start/end locations in Morocco. Let us know your wishes and we will build your perfect Morocco tour itinerary.

Price: Contact us for a personalised quotation.
Prices will vary according to number of people travelling in vehicle, number of days, time of year, category of accommodation chosen and activities requested.

NB Our Morocco tours are private tours organised upon request.

Day-to-day tour itinerary

Day 1

Marrakech

Arrive Marrakech airport and group transfer to your riad in the old medina. You have the rest of the day free to explore the city depending on arrival time. The old medina of Marrakech is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys, with different neighbourhoods and streets specialising in various arts, crafts and produce. Take time to relax in your traditional riad guesthouse, enjoy the roof terrace and soak up the sounds and smells of Morocco’s favourite city. Meet photographic tutor, Ben Pipe (or another tutor by arrangement) to discuss the trip, view & discuss images, different styles, technical tips, briefing on etiquette and general cultural/practical issues. Time to assess individual needs and levels of proficiency. Dinner will be served at your riad/hotel this evening.

Stay: Traditional riad in the old medina of Marrakech

Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2

Marrakech - High Atlas Mountains- Telouet Kasbah - Ait Benhaddou

An exhilarating drive across the Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass in 4x4, winding and twisting at high altitudes towards the great South of Morocco. The landscape is mesmerising and the geology constantly changing. You can stop randomly to photograph whatever catches our eye along the way - people going about their daily lives, roadside cafes, mountain villages, wild flowers etc.

After the highest point of the Mountain Pass, you head off on a minor road to the restored Glaoui Kasbah at Telouet in the Ounila Valley, which has magnificent interiors with mosaic-tiled walls and painted wooden ceilings. You will get expert advice regarding architectural and interiors shooting. Early afternoon arrive at world-famous Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, crossing the Oued Mellah, to reach this carefully restored fortified village. The Berber architecture, decoration, texture and rich colours of the Kasbah are a photographer’s treat and it’s no wonder it has featured in so many major movies. The soft afternoon light here is truly special and you will return the following dawn to capture the dramatic colours of sunrise.

Dinner and relax in riad guesthouse near Ait Benhaddou and review the days work.

Questions and Answers session.

Stay: Traditional 3-star guesthouse at Ait Benhaddou or 4-star hotel

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Day 3

Ait Benhaddou - Draa Valley - Zagora

Dawn shoot at the Kasbah Ait Benhaddou to capture the light and colours. Then continue 4x4 drive over the arid Anti-Atlas Mountains to the market town of Agdz, then off-road through the lush Draa Valley oases and on towards the Sahara desert! Lunch stop at Kasbah Tamnougalt and time to explore the extensive palm oases and rural agriculture of the ksars (small villages). Spend the night in Zagora and (hopefully) time to dip into the back-streets of nearby Amzrou, formerly inhabited by Jewish silversmiths.

Stay: 3-star hotel, or 4-star boutique guesthouse in Zagora

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Day 4

Zagora - Tamegroute pottery - Draa Valley - M'Hamid el Ghizlane

As you head further south in the Draa Valley on our desert adventure tour, you will notice the change in regional traditional dress of both men and women. You will be advised on cultural etiquette before photographing people (especially women) on our journey. You will stop to visit the pottery co-operative at Tamegroute and the nearby Koranic library. By late morning we cross the ridge of Jbel Bani to arrive at the desert village of M’Hamid el Ghizlane, at the very edge of the Sahara desert. You spend the afternoon relaxing in a boutique guesthouse or hotel (both with delightful gardens, pool and featuring traditional architectural styles). You stay in the oasis a few kilometres from the village and can explore locally on foot or visit the village kasbah museum for a cultural immersion in local history. NB This is the last opportunity for re-charging batteries and backing-up data to disc/memory card as for next night there is no electricity. Clients are strongly advised to keep camera equipment & lenses sealed in cling-film and zip-lock bags. Or else to bring non-valuable apparatus. Fine sand can easily enter and destroy shutter mechanisms. You have been warned!

Stay: 3-star hotel, or 4-star boutique guesthouse in M'Hamid

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Day 5

M'Hamid el Ghizlane - Sahara Desert - Erg Chigaga

Early morning shots of the nearby dunes, kasbahs and palm groves, capturing rural life at the local weekly souk in M’Hamid in full swing - fruit sellers, traders, goatherds etc. Morning is a free for exploring on foot or simply relaxing by the pool of your hotel as per the groups wishes. You can choose to have lunch back at the hotel or in the village (not in price). After lunch, set off in 4x4 desert adventure to the high dunes of Erg Chigaga, the highest in Morocco - to capture sunset and textures of the drifting desert sands. We drive off-road across stony desert to reach the highest dunes of Erg Chigaga in time for sunset shots of the sea of dunes that stretches for miles. Camels, windswept dunes, thorny acacia trees, strange plants in lunar landscapes - there are infinite abstract possibilities! Overnight and dinner in very comfortable bivouac camp and sleeping in nomad-style woven tents or under the African stars. To see details of the Sahara desert camp Click here.

Stay: Comfortable standard bivouac desert camp in Erg Chigaga

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Day 6

Erg Chigaga - Sahara desert - Lake Iriqui - Tazenakht - Ouarzazate - High Atlas - Marrakech

Departure before the sun gets too high to continue across the desert in 4x4, over the dried flat expanse of lake of Iriqui where you may just capture a mirage and can learn some fun photographic tricks. After 3 hours we reach tarmac road in Foum Zguid and then continue to Tazenakht for lunch at a Berber co-operative of carpet-weavers. Here we will be able to photograph the Berber women going about their laborious and colourful craft. After lunch onwards for a long 6 hour drive back to Marrakech crossing the Anti-Atlas Mountains and the Jbel Siroua plains. There are spectacular panoramic vistas and huge skies to photograph. We’ll be able stop along the way whenever something catches the eye. The shifting dunes, the stunted trees, the lush oasis…was it all a mirage? Dinner at our riad in the medina in Marrakech. NB You may wish to add an extra overnight stay near Ouarzazate to break the journey back to Marrakech. You would gain more time to photograph the desert and also more time with the artisans.

Stay: Traditional riad in Marrakech

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 7

Marrakech Photography Day Tour

Morning: Photography tour of the labyrinth of the medina and its souks and spices. Led by Ben Pipe (or alternative photographic tutor) and escorted by our Official City Guide, plenty of opportunity for portraits of people at work - cobblers, tailors, blacksmiths, bakers, butchers and merchants. Lunch (not included in price) - the group will gather together at La Maison de la Photographie in the medina, which houses an inspirational collection of old Moroccan photographs and lithoprints depicting a bygone era and has very relaxing roof terrace cafe/restaurant with views across the rooftops. Afternoon: individual free time for own photo assignments – unaccompanied. Evening time – a summary session with slideshow (of selected images) and feedback/discussion. Late afternoon you will head to the bustling Place Jemaa el Fna amongst acrobats, musicians, peddlers and soothsayers…not to mention sizzling barbecue grills for a delicious outdoor supper. From the terrace of a cafe you will learn how to take long-exposure sunset shots of the Koutoubia mosque and of the busy night-time scene with movement, lights and swirling smoke. Plenty of opportunity for dusk and night-time photography

Stay: Traditional riad in Marrakech

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 8

Marrakech - departure

After breakfast and goodbyes to your fellow photographers and crew, group transfer to the airport from your riad. You may wish to extend you stay in Marrakech for a few days or alternatively, you can choose to continue your holiday in Morocco with us by adding-on one of our Suggested Morocco Adventure Tour Itineraries.

Stay: N/A

Meal plan: Breakfast

  • This tour can be extended to a 9-day / 8-night itinerary by adding an overnight break on Day 6 during the long drive from the Sahara to Marrakech.
  • For information about Ben Pipe: http://www.benpipe.com
  • This group tour is offered ONCE per year, but is available any time between Sept-April departures on request for private group bookings of minimum 4 people (subject to availability of the photography tutor).

Add-on experiences for this tour

Allow at least 1 day extra for each experience.

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