Nope. You have to make your own way to Morocco and catch the bus to M’zouga. From when we meet until when we come back you won’t have any further expenses.
Water is precious in the desert so the best way to wash is to take a bowl and a cloth and give yourself a sponge bath at a discreet distance. Or else you can just wait for a shower when we head back to town. And toilets are… the desert at a discreet distance!
Yes. There are buses from Marrakech and Fes.
Usually most of the group travels together on the Supratours bus the Sunday morning from Marrakech to Merzouga and we reserve the bus tickets for everyone who wants to come that way.
The weather is quite unpredictable so it’s best to cover all eventualities.
During the day it can reach 25 degrees but the sun is quite strong so we usually wear a cotton scarf on the head.
At the coldest part of the night just before the dawn it can reach 3-4 degrees but you’ll be warm enough with a decent sleeping bag plus the mattress and blankets waiting for you in the camp.
Yes. When you go into the desert you are under the protection of local guides according to the ancient laws of hospitality. ‘The guest is the face of God’ according to Islamic tradition. The locals we work with are responsible and caring and want us to come back each year.
Morocco is a pretty cheap place to travel.
In Marrakech there are some cheap hotels and you can get a bowl of soup for about 25 cents, and a boiled egg sandwich with tea for about a euro.
If you buy olives and dates from the market and eat street food you can get by with a budget of about 10 euros a day not counting travel. Buses cost something like 2 euros per hour of the journey.
Yes, absolutely. While you should dress modestly, (and that goes for the men as well!) covering arms and legs, the guides depend on their reputation and make it a point of honour to ensure your safety.
In the winter there are hardly any to be seen as they sleep until the summer. In the unlikely event that someone gets bitten there are nearby medical facilities.
The retreat happens in a very quiet corner of an established tourist destination. Tourism is the main income here and so the locals would never allow anything to happen to their guests. It’s really just a couple of villages where everyone knows everyone – it’s really safe! We wouldn’t make the retreat here if it wasn’t!
While there will be some meat served, there will always be vegetarian and vegan food so there’s no chance of going hungry. We’ll be eating traditional Morocco cuisine with bread, jam, olives and tea in the morning, soup, biscuits and dates in the afternoon and huge plate of tajine at night. and evening.
There will also be first aid kits on hand and in the case of an emergency we can take you out to the nearest medical center by quad.
A sleeping bag, maybe some lip salve, some books to read, instruments, any medication you may need – but please no alcohol as we want to keep the consciousness high on this retreat. We’ll still party though!
Our camp is in the dunes and is a basic affair but there are mattresses and blankets. You still need to bring a good sleeping bag (or two bad ones!) to stay warm though. You can also just grab your mattress and go to sleep out under the stars.
We used to run a travel site called www.roadjunky.com which was one of the web’s first alternative travel guides for people who are ‘addicted’ to travelling.
Then we thought hey, wouldn’t it be great to bring lots of travelling souls together in amazing places?
But don’t worry, the retreat is not only for travellers. The only real journey is the one inside.
Actually, in our opinion the people who get the most out of the retreat are the ones who come by themselves. Far from your usual social context you’re free to really find yourself and immerse yourself in a new experience. There’s always a great group feeling which starts from when people meet up in Marrakech for dinner and then to catch the bus to the desert the next day so there’s never any cause to feel lonely!
Of course it’s fine to come with friends, too – just try to make sure you give each other the space you need!
The Road Junky Retreat is probably not for you.