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Desert Dunes



Mount toubkal, Morocco Expedition

14th - 23rd April 2025


Our exciting new Morocco expedition will allow you to experience the extremes of both the desert and the mountains.  We will take you from the bustling capital of Marrakesh into the stunning Atlas Mountains for 5 days trekking, including summiting North Africa's highest peak, Mount Toubkal (4167 metres). We will then head to the Sahara, spending two nights under the stars by camel and on foot. You will be surrounded by local culture throughout the entire expedition as you learn how to thrive in these extreme environments. The expedition ends back in the capital where you will be free to explore the delights of Marrakesh. 


"Welcome to Morocco, in April this beautiful country combines both the winter alpine environment of the High Atlas Mountains with the heat of the Sahara. On this expedition you will experience both. We will teach you the fundamentals of alpine and desert expeditions from core personal skills to the role of medics and leaders in these challenging environments. The mountain summits are still covered in snow providing the opportunity for you to practise your mountaineering skills before we summit the highest mountain in North Africa, Toubkal. We will then head to the dunes of the Sahara, exploring the sands by foot and camel. Deserts aren't always baking hot, April will show you how quickly temperatures change from the heat of the day to the coolness of the night. At the conclusion of the desert phase the team will return to Marrakech for one final night and a celebration meal."

Winding mountain road

Topics covered:

  • Altitude medicine and kit

  • Desert medicine and kit 

  • Hypothermia and Cold-related illness

  • Heat Illness and Hypothermia

  • Trauma scenarios

  • GPS and navigation

  • Radio communications

  • Winter and Avalanche skills

  • Expedition preparation and planning

  • Vehicle maintenance and animal care

experience the extremes of the high atlas mountains and sahara desert

Difficulty Moderate: This is one of the more forgiving expeds we run, however a degree of fitness is needed due to the high altitude in the Atlas Mountains and Mount Toubkal, and the distances to cover hiking each day.  On completion you’ll receive an Advanced Expedition Medicine Certificate.

See here for information on who can apply to join the expedition, if it's suitable for medical elective students and whether it's valid for CDP.

Kit List: Take a look at the Morocco Kit List here.

What's Included


All main meals as well as a celebratory meal in Marrakesh at the end of the expedition.


All accommodation during the trip, from Gites in the Atlas mountains to desert camps under the stars.


Experienced wilderness guides, UK registered doctor, camel trek and in-country travel included.


And of course there's all the fantastic learning you'd expect from a world class expedition.

The only things not included are: Travel insurance, Flights, Personal drinks, Lunch and dinner in Marrakech except the group dinner

Meet our Course Director - Dr Joshua Allison

Dr Joshua Allison is a Wilderness & Expedition Doctor with a passion for providing medical support for teams heading into remote and austere environments across the globe. He has gained extensive field experience over the years, working in a variety of environments, including the Andean mountains, American deserts, and dense tropical jungles. Dr Allison is a co-founder of Unique Expeditions and has taught across all the UE courses, from jungles to desert to mountains. 


Day 1 - Welcome to Morocco 


Arrive in Marrakech, the 4th largest city in Morocco, and the capital of the Marrakesh-Safi region. Plenty of direct flights are available from the UK. You will be welcomed by the Unique Expeditions team into a traditional Moroccan riad in the centre of Marrakech. You will have a chance to get to know your group for the next 10 days as well as the UE Team who will be with you. We'll start the expedition off with a kit check, have a brief about the course and specifically into the different alpine kit we will be using. We will then head out for a group dinner and get to know each other. 

Day 2 - Into The High Atlas 


We start early in the morning with a drive south through the mountains to the village of Imi oughlad. There will be lots of opportunities to take photos and if needs be, catch up on sleep. We will then meet our berber muleteer crew here, this includes a guide and cook between five of us. Together we will start the expedition off with an acclimatisation hike, interspersed with some medical and expedition teaching. We will be spending the night in a gite at 1750m where we will have a talk on altitude medicine in the evening. 

Day 3 - Acclimatisation and altitude medicine training 


We will be hiking up to 1995m through beautiful valleys full of walnut groves and springs. Be aware, we might encounter some casualties for you to put your medical skills to the test. We will then be spending the night at 1870m where we will have another talk in the evening. 

Day 4 - Acclimatisation and altitude medicine training 


We will be exploring more of the valleys as we continue to ascend, this provides the opportunity to practise the skills you have been taught and introduce some more dynamic simulations. Most importantly you can enjoy the beautiful views and amazing food. We will then be spending the night at 1900m where we will have another talk in the evening. 

Day 5 - Alpine Expeditions Skills


Today after a long hike, we will reach the snowline reaching an altitude of 3207m at the Toubkal Refuge. When we arrive we will practise our alpine skills, including the use of crampons and ice axes. We will then enjoy the views from the refuge, where we shall have our dinner, in bivouac around the Refuge.

Day 6 - Summit Day


We will be waking up early to start out three hour climb up steep ground to the summit of Toubkal at 4167m. The panorama from here is simply stunning, when we have taken it all in, we will descend back to the refuge for lunch before heading back down to the valleys below. This will be the perfect time to learn more about the culture of the berber people that live in the mountains and have a cool drink next to a waterfall. We will then spend the night in the village of Imlil. 


Day 7 - To The Sahara


Today we leave the High Atlas Mountains behind as we head for the Sahara. We will be making stops along the way including at the UNESCO world heritage site Ait Benhaddou Kasbah. We continue our drive to Dades Valley, through the valley of roses and Boumalne Dades. We will stay overnight in a hotel where you can chill by the pool before dinner. That evening we will talk more about the considerations to think about when planning your future expeditions. 

Day 8 - Through The Valleys Into The Sahara


We start the day driving to Todra Gorges, there will be the opportunity to do some sport climbing, or just relax and take in the views. We will then drive along the road of 1001 Kasbahs to the Oasis of Tinghir. That afternoon we will arrive at the edge of Erg Chebbi’s dunes in Merzouga. We will then meet our camels and begin our trek through the sand dunes to our desert camp. That evening we will enjoy a local meal and berber drum music around a campfire. Our talk that evening will be on deserts and the special considerations to take into account, all while under the stars.


Day 9 - Exploring The Desert


Now we will leave our camp on foot to explore the desert. We will talk about desert medicine and survival before putting our skills into practice. There might even be opportunities for some additional activities such as sand boarding.

Day 10 - Back to Marrakech


On our final day in the desert, we will wake up early to enjoy the spectacular sunrise of the Sahara. Our camels will then take us back to civilisation where we will have breakfast and a shower. We will then start the drive back to Marrakech, arriving back that evening in time for our group meal to conclude the expedition. 

Day 11 - 


The day is your own, you can fly out in the morning or take some time to explore Marrakech. You will leave Morocco having learnt the skills required to work as a medic in both the alpine and desert environments. What comes next is down to your imagination!

Key Information:

Dates: 14th - 23rd April 2024

Location: Morocco, meeting in Marrakech


Price: £1650

Kit List: available here

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