SAHARA TOURS MOROCCO

Few places in the world are as otherworldly as the Sahara Desert, wrapped in folklore and romantic exoticism; a place to get away from it all, enjoy unique adventures and gawk at the milky way.

Our ten-day Sahara photography tour takes you deep into desert, to Erg Chigaga, and our luxury tented camp. Here we’ll trek by camel photographing remote nomadic tribes in situ, dine out under the stars with the Gnawa band, shoot famous film sets and enjoy true adventure straight from the pages of literature. This stunning journey is a must for the inquisitive traveller.

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“Photographers can start by capturing the snake charmers and souks of Marrakech and then move deeper into the bosomy dunes where subject matter ranges from nomadic Bedouin camel herders and Tuareg tea ceremonies, to ancient gnawa music played out on goatskin drums and unforgettable sunsets and sunrises. Not forgetting the myriad forms of the dunes themselves.”

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Highlights.

A fount of solitude and the desert of childhood imaginings, the Sahara Desert is like nowhere else on earth. It is the world’s largest desert, at once continental in its scale and exquisite in its detail, from a sand sea the size of a small European country to an orange sand dune sculpted to perfection by the wind.

Yes, we investigate all of the excitement of the myriad souks, jaw dropping architecture and bustle of Marrakech, but the Sahara is where few tourists have ever been – and it shows. Friendly people living on the fringes of society, this is chance to shoot images of a culture few have ever witnessed.

Street reportage in the Marrakechi medina; incredible light and scenes
Shoot stunning portraits of underground hammam stokers
Capture street life in one of the only authentic Berber villages in Marrakech
Try our still life in Yves St Laurents famous garden
Snap panoramics landscapes on the set of Gladiator, Game of Thrones and Jason Bourne
Shoot nomadic tribespeople in their homes, far from tourist eyes
Try out star trails at midnight, with the band playing in the background

Morocco Photography Holidays : Itinerary.

Twenty minutes after touchdown on your Sahara Photography Holiday, you’ll be at Tigmi, our luxe boutique hideaway Harpers Bazaar called ‘a blissed out haven’. With breath-taking views over the Atlas mountains, this is the perfect place to relax, unwind and discover your creativity.

Today, we’ll start slowly – starting with the basics of photography, right from the very beginning, all in non-techy language. In no time, you’ll start to realise all these buttons, switches and dials are quite easy when you know how –and we’ll take some initial practice shots at dusk in the Berber village of Tagadert, before unwinding in the spectacular dining hall, sampling our first of many glasses of superb Moroccan vino.

Next morning, we’ll try our hand at being paparazzi, then test out all of our lenses to see which ones really shine. Then into the medina in Marrakech, trying out some composition techniques in Yves St. Laurent’s private garden, then, after a quick bite at a local’s hangout off the Djemaa El-Fna square, we’ll take out first peek at the souq – myriad bazaars lacing the core of this ancient medina.

Here, we’ll capture artisans crafting fine leathers, carpets and jewellery, plus go to a secret underground location to meet the hammam stokers. We’ll round off the day at Café Arabe – drinking chilled sundowners and watch the sun dip down over the Atlas Mountains.

Up early, we climb Morocco’s most dramatic (and highest) pass, the Tizi-n-Tichka along the former caravan route towards Ait Benhaddou, a spectacularly photogenic UNESCO World Heritage Site, location to films such as Lawrence Of Arabia, The Jewel Of The Nile and Gladiator. We’ll shoot inside its kasbah, a fortified village known for its pisé clay architecture – touring the houses of the few remaining residents who still live in its crumbled ruins.

Continuing our journey south, we’ll catch the pink tinges of sunset across the beautiful Oases in the lush Draa Valley, and a glass of something refreshing in M’Hamid, our stop for the night and the end of the road before the Sahara begins. Early next morning, we’ll board our fleet of Land Cruisers and into the desert, bathed in orange hues as far as the eye can see. After a couple of hours journey over some of Morocco’s biggest dunes – and stops to capture this incredible natural beauty – we reach Erg Chigaga Luxury Camp, our palatial home for the next few days.

Fresh from a restful sleep amid the dunes – the team at Erg Chigaga will cater to your every need – starting with a hearty breakfast. This morning, we’ll turn our attention to the next stage of your photography; people pictures. We’ll run through step-by-step professional techniques on how to shoot the best portrait and documentary images.

After lunch, we’ll venture by camel to a nearby nomadic settlement, and photograph travelling desert-dwellers who live and work in this harsh climate – chance to put all the lessons learned into practice. As the sun begins to dip, we’ll have our own private tea ceremony, atop the dunes, shooting Bedouin herders chatting over a charcoal fire, and after setting up our own pop-up ‘dune bar’ – witness the ever-moving spectacle of a desert being transformed from a mass of undulating orange sand into red, then purple then finally jet black. Magical.

This morning, we’ll review yesterday’s images, giving you individual hints and tips to improve your work, before climbing aboard our Land Cruisers once more, hunting in teams for more remote Nomadic encampments close to the Algerian border. As these camps frequently move, our team, communicating by radio, will triangulate travelling communities deep in the desert – giving you a truly unique chance to capture some stunning, rarely seen images of elders, children, parents and living conditions in this unforgiving, remote place.

Lunch will be provided on the fly, as we refine our technique under the watchful eye of your tutor to produce incred- ible images. Later, we’ll dine out under the stars, and review our finest images projected under the night skies, then relax around a blazing bonfire, where Bedouin musicians with goatskin drums and electric guitars will sing you soulful Gnawa ballads to while the evening away.

And for those with energy to spare, the stars are the brightest you will ever see – late late we set off on night safari; a days shooting to remember.

Today we leave the camp, and head North West towards Foum Zguid – a longer route out of the desert, but chock full of photographic opportunities. As we depart the dunes, we’ll indulge ourselves in some black and white desert scapes, continue more portraits with the characters at the Auberge Iriki, plus spend time capturing the majestic rock formations that fringe the desert.

As the sand turns into gravel and then tarmac, we’ll head towards Taznakht, a small town central to carpet production, and shoot Berbers in situ. Returning back to our blissed out haven at Tigmi late afternoon, there’s just time to unwind in the hammam – the antioxidant massage – with argan, camellia seeds, evening primrose and fennel is perfect for ironing out any final creases from our road trip. We’ll also host our second set of 1-on-1’s, chance to discuss your progress and help prepare for your final piece of work over the last couple of days – before indulging ourselves with the chef’s famous moelleux au chocolat and a restful nights snoozing.

Chance for some ‘you time’ today –and with the weather in the mid-twenties, you can choose to catch some rays, a swim in one of two tadelakt pools, or another treatment in the hammam – we definitely recommend the steam scrub, with savon noir and and geranium oils that will leave your skin looking silky smooth. The final day before departure we spend working on a final project of your choice – basing ourselves in the heart of the medina, we’ll bring together all the skills you’ve learned to produce one concluding killer piece of work, shown on our outdoor screen over drinks later that night, before we head out to Bo&Zin, an opulent restaurant populated by the local elite, and celebrate all of our creative achievements. Next morning, we host our final 1-on-1 sessions to give you a detailed review of where your skills lie, where to concentrate your photography next, plus some sugges- tions on kit to enhance your images – before departing for the flight back home with new-found friends, a bag full of images and some once-in-a- lifetime memories.

Morocco Photo Tour Details.

2 – 11 November, 2018
Available

1 – 10 November, 2019
Available

10 days. 9 nights. Starts and ends in Marrakech, Morocco.

£2480 / £395 single supplement

Price includes 
9 nights boutique accommodation at listed hotels, including breakfast
10 full days tuition from our UK-based professional photographer
Full board and complimentary bar at Erg Chicaga Luxury Desert Camp
Entrance to Yves St Laurent garden, Jardin Majorelle
Guided tour around Ait Benhaddou film set
Private portrait session with underground Hammam stokers
4×4 Jeep and Camel transportation inside the Sahara desert
All transfers to and from the airport
All transportation to shooting locations
Entrance to nomad villages, with tea
Multiple 1-on-1 tuition sessions

Price excludes flights, lunch and dinner.

 

There are direct flights from the UK into Marrakech, serviced by British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair, Thomson and Royal Air Maroc. Flights start from £75.

"Thank you for an amazing Moroccan adventure! I learnt so much and had such an incredible time! Creative Escapes is a fantastic company, the whole experience was excellent - from initial queries about the trip, throughout the booking process, and of course - the 10 days away. Great balance of photography, learning, and having fun!"


Sophie Bradley, Southampton