By Rhonda Carrier
Think of Morocco and you probably think of the Sahara. But that iconic desert is more than nine hours and several gruelling mountain passes away from Marrakech, where we were enjoying a city break – ruling it out for our short holiday. Luckily a solution presented itself: the Agafay Desert just 40 minutes south-east of Marrakech, where a couple of luxury camps give you the opportunity to experience the area’s lunar-esque landscapes and have two or three days and nights of wilderness adventure.
‘Joining in with the Berbers’ joyful, uninhibited dancing around the crackling campfire, as they encouraged us to do, felt liberating and almost paganistic.’
We opted for Inara Camp with its funky safari-style tents, the largest of which, the mountain-view suites, sleep four. You’re welcomed to this remote glamping property by charming traditionally clad Berbers – ‘blue men’ from the desert of southern Morocco, who will take care of your every need during your stay.
The highlight of ours was spending an evening with these Berbers as they played hypnotic gnaoua music on traditional instruments and sang around the crackling campfire under a star speckled with stars. Joining in with their joyful, uninhibited dancing, as they encouraged us to do, felt liberating and almost paganistic.
The same blue men took us out on camels to see some of the surrounding desert at sunset; other options are hiking, mountain-biking and quad-biking, and sometimes there’s stargazing with an expert from the Marrakech Space Centre. You can also simply kick back and relax by the shimmering desert oasis of a heated lagoon swimming pool surrounded by loungers.
If that sounds fancy, then know that Inara is largely solar-powered and that there are no fridges here: ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner are grown on-site or brought in daily from hyper-local producers, and the delicious authentic meals including tajines can be taken on the decking of your tent, in a larger communal tent, by the campfire or even out in the desert or in the Atlas mountains.
Dancing with the musicians felt like a paean to both nature and to human connection after the dislocation created by COVID. And indeed this is what Inara Camp is really about. Cosy cocoons the tents may be (some of them have wood-burning stoves), but you’ll want to get up early to make the most of this bewitching spot, and to sit out on your decking together ’til way past bedtime, watching the night sky wheel around you in its ages-old dance.
Find out more about Morocco family holidays or call one of our agents now on 0203 633 0653 and let us book you the tailor-made trip of your dreams. Think about combining a luxury desert camp with a Marrakech city break.