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2024 – TRANS-SAHARA, SAVANNAH & FOREST, 28 days: Marrakech-Bissau

2024 – TRANS-SAHARA, SAVANNAH & FOREST, 28 days: Marrakech-Bissau

Tour Type:
International group
Group size:
From 2 to 16 participants
PRICES per person:
- Group of 4/5 guests: 9876 €
- Group of 2/3 guests: 11155 €
- Single room supplement: 1013 €
GUIDE: English, French, Italian speaking
Deposit at the booking:


The deposit is intended as 30% of the total. For more information, you can view our information.


This itinerary is part of  Grand Expedition from Marrakech to  Cotonou.
Marrakech, modern international destination and ancient caravan terminal is the ideal departure point for our expedition. In the Western Sahara other travellers don’t arrive and nomadic tribes of camel herders are authentic…

DEPARTURE: 11 November 2024 (north-south itinerary)

PRICE FROM: 8115 €

You can book online until 30 days before departure.
If you wish to book closer to departure date, please contact our sales team on 

Dates Departure:
  • 11 November 2024 - 8 December 2024
Total: 3510

Special offer



EXPERIENCE. Marrakech, modern international destination and ancient caravan terminal is the ideal departure point for our expedition. In the Western Sahara other travellers don’t arrive and nomadic tribes of camel herders are authentic. Drive on the endless beaches of Rio de Oro to discover an astonishing landscape where the ocean floods in the desert: rocky hills and dunes, during the hight tide, becomes temporary islands. Experience the north-south crossing of the Sahara, the largest desert on earth, driving off the beaten track over chains of virgin sand dunes. Discover remote oasis and stone citadels dating back to the 13th century. Be on the Western point of the African Continent. Meet salt diggers and a fishermen village with thousands of colourful pirogues and Kumpo the spirit that dances.

CLIMATE. The departure dates have been chosen to enjoy the best climate. Late autumn (and spring) are the perfect seasons to travel through the Sahara; temperatures are mild and pleasant; nights are cool but not cold and the days are warm but not hot. Winter (and early spring) are the coolest times of the dry season in Sub-Saharan West Africa.

COMFORT is a must to fully enjoy a long travel experience off the beaten path.

Transports: modern, air-conditioned 4×4 vehicles will be the main means of transport on rugged routes, while on main roads, modern, comfortable air-conditioned minibuses will be used.

Overnights: in comfortable hotels, four stars (****) in the capitals. Recent hotels with air-conditioned rooms and private facilities in the rest of the itinerary. The accommodations have been chosen prioritizing comfort, quality of food, friendly service, typical architectural style, and scenic locations. In the remote areas of the Sahara, we will enjoy two nights at our mobile camp with large Bedouin tents, carpets, mattresses and chairs. In case of sand wind, a comfortable restaurant-tent will be set for dinner. A well-organized camp experience under the stars of the desert is a must for the “Sahara experience”.

SAFETY is our main concern. The expedition is based on our long experience of the area and is led by knowledgeable expedition leaders. The itinerary is safe, our local network constantly monitors it thanks to a permanent presence in the field providing updated information.

Day 1 (Nov. 11th, 2024): MARRAKECH – Morocco
Individual arrival.  A Taxi from the airport to the hotel costs 20 Euro or 25 USD (transfer on request).

Day 2 (Nov. 12th, 2024): HIGH ATLAS – Morocco
We will leave the main road to discover the least frequented Berber villages in the High Atlas Range and join the gem diggers in quest of Amethyst, Tourmaline. With their help we will be able to find our own gems. Our itinerary crosses Tizi n ‘Tichka pass at 7460 ft on the southern side of the Atlas. Ait Benhaddou is along the ancient caravan route linking Marrakech with the Sahara. Over the years, many famous films have been filmed in this Ksar, such as Lawrence of Arabia, Sodom and Gomorrah, Oedipus Rex, The Sheltering Sky, The Jewels of the Nile, Jesus of Nazareth, Alexander, Gladiator, and more…
Arrival in Ouarzazate, a large oasis at the edge of the desert.

Day 3 (Nov. 13th, 2024): OUADI DRAA & ROCK ART – Morocco
Our way will follow the first part of the Ouadi (river) Draa. This important river and its floods have created a long strip of continuous palm grove hiding in its shade vegetable gardens that go south following the river for hundred miles in the desert, a long unique oasis with millions of date palm trees. Visit of an archaeological site with hundreds of graffiti depicting hunters, warriors, horse raiders and wildlife; silent witness of peoples living in these regions thousands of years ago, before the desertification. Lunch in a restaurant at the charming oasis of Zagora, our itinerary will continue along the Draa valley to Mhamid. South east of Mhamid the water of the river will vanish in the desert. Mhamid is the last permanent outpost before the total desert.

Day 4 (Nov. 14th, 2024): DUNES, FOSSILES AND ANTELOPES – Morocco
From Mhamid, the Sahara adventure starts; our 4×4 driving off the beaten track will cross a region of high dunes, the Erg Chegaga that we will be able to cross in the middle.
Here with a bit of luck we may encounter some rare and endangered white addax antelopes… The addax is a critically endangered desert antelope that lives in some isolated regions of the Sahara.
After we will reach the dry Salt Lake of Iriki and a site where each of us will be able to find their own fossils. After an intense day driving in total off-road crossing high ranges of dunes, we will join the picturesque oasis of Foum Zguid.

Day 5 (Nov. 15th, 2024): THE OASIS TRAIL Morocco
On the road again, to cross a region of spectacular scenery: rocky mountains and large oasis.
Walk in the oasis to discover this green miracle surrounded by an arid environment.

Day 6 (Nov. 16th, 2024): CARAVAN TERMINALS – Morocco
In the rarely visited region of Assa, we will discover the same ancient Arab-Berber stone architecture that we will see again nearly a thousand miles away, on the southern edge of the Sahara, in the oases of Chinguetti and Ouadane, in Mauritania, which in ancient times were connected to Assa by a caravan route that we will try to retrace in part. The small town of Guelmim, is an ancient caravan terminal. Here we will search for the remains of the ancient Trans-Sahara trade…
From this point onward, the itinerary will partially follow one of the fishiest coasts on earth and the “flying route” of the paleo-artic birds that migrate from Northern Europe and Russia to overwinter in Africa. The migratory birds travelling, like us from north to south, will be a reference for our itinerary as far as to the Bijagos archipelago in Guinea Bissau.
A spectacular ghost military fort still “guards” the former borders between the French protectorate of Morocco and the Spanish Sahara, the scouting of the fort will make us feel like we are on the set of an old French Foreign Legion movie.

Day 7 (Nov. 17th, 2024): ESTUARIES AND DESERT – Morocco
Once left Tafnidilt, we cross a steep range of dunes to reach the Dra estuary region, visited only by brave travellers who dare to find their way on the sandy tracks between the cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean. Here, we will discover tiny temporary settlements of fishermen, ghost colonial military posts, dunes and camels in a virgin landscape, and if lucky with the tide, we will drive for miles on a wild beach where the high dunes meet the ocean.
We will leave the coastline, following a riverbed (Ouadi) in a large canyon: the only possible path between the high dunes, cliffs and ocean.

Day 8 (Nov. 18th, 2024): DUNES AND LAGOONS – Morocco
From Tan-Tan, the road follows an exciting itinerary through a crag on the edge between the Sahara and the ocean. The Naila salt lagoon, separated from the ocean by rows of dunes, with an estuary on the sea, is the largest Salt Lake in Morocco (100 square Km). A protected area of great natural beauty is an important resting point on the birds’ migratory journey, it can host up to 20,000 individual species such as flamingos, cormorants, gulls, herons and more.
We will board local fishing boats to explore the emerald water enclosed in a wide frame of yellow dunes and brown escarpments in an astonishing beautiful landscape.
Late afternoon arrival at the tiny town of Tarfaya on the Juby Cape, less than 100 km away from the Canary Islands. Tarfaya is a former “Aeropostale” base, pioneered airmail from Europe to Africa and Latin America. Interesting museum and the remains of colonial Spanish architecture. In Tarfaya, Saint Exupéry the famous aviator and writer, author of “Le petit prince” (The little Prince), was familiar.

Days 9 & 10 (Nov. 19th & 20th, 2024): WESTERN SAHARA: THE FORBIDDEN TRACK – Morocco
In Laayoune we will meet our local guide, a nomad from a Sahrawi tribe who will lead us through a three- day total off-road expedition crossing the Western Sahara from north to south. The former Spanish Sahara colony has been the site of a long war between the Polisario Armed Front and the Moroccan army. Nowadays, it is part of Morocco. Since the second half of the seventies, due to this long “sand war,” this region has been off-limits to travellers. Until today no peace treaty has been signed, but it’s been decades since any fighting has occurred in the strip we cross. We are proud to be the “first” to bring intrepid travellers to the vast, sandy regions of Saguia El Hamra, Tiris Zemmour, ending with the spectacular Rio de Oro sea-look. In this Saharan expedition, we will cross large dunes to discover wells frequented by long lines of camels belonging to the legendary Reguibat nomads.

Day 11 (Nov. 21st, 2024): FROM THE DESERT TO THE OCEAN – Morocco
Morning continuation of our Trans-Saharan expedition, through a region of dunes, wells and nomadic camps. In the afternoon, a road will bring us to the ocean.

Day 12 (Nov. 22nd, 2024): RIO DE ORO – Morocco
The astonishing beauty of Dakhla peninsula landscape makes it a unique place. The Rio de Oro is a 25-mile-long sea loch between cliffs and dunes. Pastel colours paint the scenery: the blue ocean, yellow sand, emerald seaweed fields and dark rocks. Experience a unique event: during the high tide the ocean will flood the desert: a white dune and rock hills will become temporary islands.
The small town of Dakhla was founded by Spanish navigators in 1502 as “Villa Cisneros.”  Visit to the colourful fishing harbour, lunch in an oyster farm. Driving along the shore to discover where the waves lap the sand dunes. Dinner in a typical restaurant.

Day 13 (Nov. 23rd, 2024): BORDER: LINES IN THE SANDS – Morocco – Mauritania
Our way run on the spectacular cliff between the desert and the ocean. We follow the only open road going south. A signboard indicates that we are “on” the Tropic of Cancer. At Guerguerat military post we will cross the southern border post of Morocco, the only open route between Maghreb and Black Africa, a sensible site. We will travel a few miles into no-man’s land. The boundary is a theoretical line in the desert that “divides the sand from the sand”, on the other side, the military post of Mauritania. Evening arrival in Nouadhibou.

Days 14 and 15 (Nov. 24th & 25th, 2024): ADRAR: DUNES AND MOUNTAINS – Mauritania
A day of driving between road and trail will take us to the mining town of Akjoujt. After Akjoujt an absolute “out of any track” long itinerary will find the way through high dunes. To cross long ranges of dunes, we will decrease the tire pressure, GPS, maps and compass will assist our land-navigation in an untouched geological universe. Erg Amatlich is one of the most beautiful dune basins in Mauritania. The Sahara can make a traveller feel like the first person on a planet. We will be able to discover traces of thousand-year-old human presence such as stone tools and shards of potteries. When some rare graze appears, we will find nomadic settlements. These human encounters, after the deep silence of the desert, are intense. We will go into the scenic landscape of the Adrar massif: valleys, high mountains, yellow sand dunes, peaks of dark and red rock. We will enjoy remote oasis and tiny adobe villages.
After a long and intense day, evening arrival in Chinguetti where we will spend two days visiting the region.

Day 16 (Nov. 26th, 2024): CHINGUETTI, THE OASIS – Mauritania
We will spend the day discovering the unique atmosphere of Chinguetti considered the “jewel” of the Mauritanian Oasis. This stone citadel dates to the 13th century and is a cross-point of different trans-Saharan routes linking the Mediterranean coasts to Black Africa. The atmosphere of the old stone town, the architecture, some ancient manuscript collections from the Middle-ages, including Ould Habott, the largest in Mauritania. The oasis with their “green miracles” of palm tree gardens are surrounded by large chains of yellow dunes, the western boundary of the town that “fights” not to be covered by the sand.
The main Mosque and the stone minaret: Chinguetti minaret is believed to be the second oldest still operating in the entire Muslim world.

Day 17 (Nov. 27th, 2024): OUADANE, THE REMOTEST – Mauritania
We will drive to Ouadane in an absolute “out of any tracks” itinerary that follows a Ouadi (dry creek), discovering tiny oasis hidden in the high dunes. Experience Ouadane the remotest oasis in Mauritania, an outpost in the emptiness of the desert. Ouadane was founded in 1147, while most of it fell into ruin, some of its stone houses, perched on a rocky hill, are inhabited. Back in time, this town was an important caravan trading point. Trading was so flourishing that, in 1487, Portuguese built a fortified counter in the region.
Return to our comfortable base in Chinguetti.

Day 18 (Nov. 28th, 2024): GREEN OASISMauritania
The landscape will never cease to amaze us. Leaving the main track, we will reach a region of spectacular mountains, gorges and canyons. Infinite space dominated by the ochre of the earth and the blue sky. At the horizon the ruins of Fort Saganne, built to set the namesake film: Fort Saganne with Gérard Depardieu e Catherine Deneuve.
The Agrour site, located at the top of the Amogjar pass, hides prehistoric Roc Art.
After a short visit of the Atar market, we join Terjit, one of the lushest oasis of Mauritania. After walking through a dense palm grove protected by a gorge and following a tiny stream, we discover a vast rock shelter where spring water flows. An unexpected atmosphere disconnected from time and from the harshness of the desert.

Day 19 (Nov. 29th, 2024): NOUKCHOTT – Mauritania
From the desert to the ocean, from Sahara to black Africa.
As resume of Mauritanian history and culture, visit of the interesting National Museum which displays archaeology, artifacts, costumes and textiles from prehistory to the present days. Unique pictures taken during the excavations of Aoudaghost, the northern trading town and better conserved site of the legendary Ghana Empire. Ghana was the oldest Empire and Kingdom known in Black Africa. Dated from the 6th century, the empire was in the southern east of Mauritania. At that time the caravan transporting gold to North Africa departs from Aoudaghost and passes through Ouadane and Assa, which we had discovered during our Sahara crossing.
Lunch in a restaurant managed by Ivory Coast women that will introduce us to the tasty cuisine of West Africa.
Hundreds of colorful pirogues lined the beach on Nouakchott fishing harbor will leave us amazed. Our eyes, accustomed to sand and dunes, will be reflected in tumultuous waters, in which wind, waves, brightly painted pirogues and sub-Saharan (mainly Senegalese) fishermen selling the abundant catches to the market. Mauritania processes more than 1,800,000 tons of fish each year.

Day 20 (Nov. 30th, 2024): DJOUDJ NATIONAL PARK – Mauritania – Senegal
Early morning departure in direction south to Senegal. The natural border between Mauritania and Senegal is the Senegal River a natural boundary between desert and savannah. We will cross the river on a mobile bridge and move into a unique wet land between Sahara and Sahel.
The Djoudj National Park, declared a World Heritage Site, is a green oasis formed by hundreds of miles of partially flooded lands. This “humid paradise” is the best habitat and nesting site of over a million migratory and sedentary birds.
Totally surrounded by an arid landscape the protected wetland habitat attracts migratory birds, more than 400 species live temporarily in this unique bird sanctuary.  We will enjoy a boat excursion to visit an island with an astonishing concentration of pelicans.
Arrival in the evening in Saint Louis.

In the morning, visit of Saint Louis, the first capital of the French colonies in West Africa AOF (Afrique Occidental Francais), a charming old town, situated on two twin islands: the colonial and the local, the two located between Senegal River and the ocean. The best way to roam the narrow streets of Saint Louis is on board of a kalash, like the locals do! Artisan shops, art galleries, libraries with ancient and modern books and an interesting photographic museum are among the highlights of this charming old capital.

Day 22 (Dic. 2nd, 2024): FROM “THE” FISHERMAN VILLAGE TO LAKE RETBA – Senegal
Morning drive to the south to discover the largest fisherman village in Senegal, more than 4,500 wooden pirogues came to the shore with the catch of the day. We will leave our vehicles for a less intrusive and fun local transport, a donkey chariot, ideal way to approach the fishermen selling their catch to the women, the queens of the market. We will familiarize with the artisans carving the large pirogues, the painters decorating them with bright colours. We will end the visit with an interesting encounter: a “Marabut” (local holy man) will receive us in his large mansion. Specializing in blessings intended to protect pirogues and fishermen, the Marabut will know how to introduce us to ancient techniques of geomancy and divination.
Arrival to Lac Retba, that was known as Lac Rose. It is a shallow saltwater lake surrounded by dunes.

Day 23 (Dic. 3rd, 2024): DAKAR – Senegal
Senegal capital became an important centre of political, artistic, and intellectual “renouveau” during the independence time and still the liveliest metropolis in French speaking West Africa. Visit of the “Musée des Civilisations Noires” including great collections of Tribal Art, textiles, and contemporary local artists.  The “Plateau” district, the Presidential Palace, a typical market, the totally restored Dakar-Bamako railway station – a great example of colonial architecture. Ferry to Gorée Island. The right time to enjoy the atmosphere of Gorée is at sunset, when the massive-tourists have disappeared. Slaves waiting to be shipped to the Americas were crammed onto Gorée Island; fully restored, the island still bears witness to those times. Today, the breezy climate, history and ancient architecture, along with fine restaurants and boutiques, make Gorée an attractive and trendy destination for local and foreign visitors.

Days 24 (Dic. 4th, 2024): THE SALT PANS OF KAOLAK – Senegal
We head to Kaolack town, in a region of salt pans. Lunch in a local restaurant. Kaolack, situated on Saloum River is an important port for exporting peanuts and salt from Senegal and neighbouring countries, and a large market.

Day 25 (Dic. 5th, 2024): BETWEEN ARCHEOLOGY AND CONTEMPORANEITY – Senegal – Gambia
Early departure heading to the region between the north bank of Gambia River and Senegal, which has hosted one of the largest megalithic civilisations on earth. Sine Ngayene is the richest megalithic site with 1,102 erected stones. We cross the border with The Gambia, a tiny English-speaking country surrounded by Senegal and experience a “very local” ferry crossing of the large Gambia River estuary to reach Banjul, the capital of the country. Visit to the national museum.  Optional: evening live music in town.

Day 26 (Dic. 6th, 2024): GAMBIAN BIRDS – Gambia – Casamance (Senegal)
Morning brief but intense Bird Watching, leaded by an expert through different natural environments like wetlands, and savannah. The Gambia is a known birding destination. Arrival at Casamance border, the southern region of Senegal. The natural environment will gradually change from savannah to forest.
Late afternoon arrival to Ziguinchor a charming small town with interesting colonial architecture and a large market.

Day 27 (Dic. 7th, 2024): CASAMANCE: KINGS AND MASKS – Senegal
The road will pass through a spectacular landscape of lagoons, mangroves and small islands created by the Casamance River estuary. In a remote village we will be received by the Monarch of one of the oldest Diola (Jula) Kingdoms. In ancient African traditions, the king is also the High Priest who concentrates political and mystical powers in his person. After the traditional offering of libations at the edge of the sacred forest, His Majesty will be happy to answer our questions about the history of his people, the rules of a traditional chief, and the complicated taboos and mystical meanings of being king in Diola culture.
In the afternoon we will join the ritual dances of the sacred masks of the Diola people. The masks belong to a secret society and the identity of the dancers is not revealed; the mask is said to be animated by spirits. Drums, dances and a colorful crowd will enliven the small village under the shade of large kapok trees.

Day 28 (Dic. 8th, 2024): BETWEEN WATER AND EARTH – Senegal – Guinea Bissau 
After crossing the border with Guinea Bissau (former Portuguese Guinea), the road will bring us south to a unique eco-system where Bolon (sea arms) penetrate the land for more than a hundred miles creating a large temporary flooding area. The borders between salt water, land and fresh water are uncertain and changes with the tides. 23% of Guinea Bissau territory is under the water during the high tide end emerges during the low tide…
Arrival in Bissau. Hotel in day-use until 6:00 p.m. and transfer to the airport.



EXPEDITION LEADERS: with long experience of leading off the beaten track in West Africa and the Sahara, and an excellent understanding of African culture and traditions

EXPLORATORY ITINERARY: This itinerary is an expedition; participants must be flexible and ready to enjoy the unique encounters, but also some unexpected situations that are part of the African Experience.

Morocco: Visa not required for EU, UK, US, Canada, and most other nationalities, please check.
Mauritania: Visa required, we obtain the visa at the border, cost 55 Euro.
Senegal: A visa is not required for many nationalities, including the United States, Canada and the European Union. For other nationalities a 2-entry visa is required, please check. In this case, please ask us.
The Gambia: For some nationalities visa is not required, for some others visa is obtainable at the border, for others invitation letter require. Please ask us.
Guinea Bissau: single entry visa required; we can obtain the visa during the tour. Please alert us in advance, at the booking.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON VISAS: Please, after booking, contact us and we will send our advice and suggestions on how to obtain the E-Visas and when Invitation Letters are needed, also if not clearly requested. 

VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever – compulsory; malaria prophylaxis highly recommended. Cholera now not request, please check prior departure.

LUGGAGE: due to the exploratory itinerary, please to be contained in approximately 20 kg (45 Lbs.).

TRAVEL INSURANCE: Not included. Mandatory for medical assistance, repatriation, material and physical damages.

TRANSPORT: 4×4 vehicles and minibus. All vehicles are fitted for African conditions, have air-conditioning and each participant is granted with a window seat. Speed boats on the ocean, local boats to Banana Island and Naila Lagunes.

MEALS: lunches: cold meals, picnics or at restaurants (pre-select menu). Dinners: at the hotel restaurants (pre-select menu). It is included one bottle of water each day during the visits.

NOTICE: The itinerary is designed to discover fascinating places, where often the visit of a foreigner remains an exceptional event. Participants need to be cooperative, tolerant and flexible to fully enjoy the expedition and appreciate the unique nature, as well as the spontaneous hospitality of the local populations, African magic and mystery, its metaphysics, ceremonies, life philosophies, beliefs that people are willing to share with us.

Itineraries, visits and overnight accommodations can be modified or adapted to local conditions or to force majeure. Only the organizers and the Tour Leader can decide on any changes. 


  • Transfer airport/ hotel and hotel/ airport at arrival and departure, EXCEPT on day 1, from the airport to the hotel In Marrakech. The fixed price for a Taxi from the airport to the hotel in Marrakech is 200 Dirhams or 20 Euro.
  • Transfers and itinerary in 4WD vehicles, minibus and boats.
  • Tours and visits as per the programme
  • The equivalent of a bottle of water a day during the visits.
  • Accommodation in standard rooms, as per itinerary
  • All meals, from breakfast of day 2 to breakfast of the last day of the expedition.
  • Entrance fees to parks, concessions, protected areas and cultural sites
  • First Aid box
  • All service charges and taxes


Not included:

  • International flights
  • Earlier (prior) and/or later (after last day) transfers from and to airport
  • Visa fees
  • Any meal or sightseeing other than those specified
  • Mineral water and drinks at restaurants and hotels.
  • Portage
  • Fees for personal photos and videos
  • Personal and holiday insurance (compulsory)
  • Tips for drivers, guides and hotel staff
  • Costs related to delayed program or lost luggage
  • Any item of personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Whatever is not mentioned as included

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