We booked a 2 day, 1 night desert tour following following an email conversation with Allal. He was rapid at responding and very clear in his emails.
We met at the Ibis hotel in Oaurzazate and we were able to leave our hire car their for the entirety of our tour.
Our guide Beshir took us to the company office to pay the remainder of our agreed fee and we were welcomed by a friendly Allal. He provided us with a detailed itinerary, a couple of maps, cold bottled water and a clean bathroom to use before we set off. Allal went out of his way to ensure that we had everything on the itinerary that we wanted and that we fully understood our trip.
Our driver Mohammed was an absolute dream. He's been driving in the Sahara "since 1980"... He drove in a very safe and respectful manor for the entire trip. The 4x4 was an aged Mitsubishi, having said that, it all worked, had usb charging and functioning AC. He did, however, manage to get the 4x4 completely and utterly stuck in the sand dunes about a kilometre from our camp. He didn't have a shovel or any sand boards to extricate the car, but a phone call or two later, several of his friends and family appeared from behind various dunes to help. It was a short but authentic disruption to an otherwise faultless journey.
Beshir (our guide) was vastly knowledgeable of the local area, it people and customs. He has a degree in English language and it truly showed. He gave just the right amount of interaction without being intrusive or vacant. A skill often missed on these trips.
On the way to the desert, we stopped at several places of interest. The valley of dates, villages and the caravan road were all worth stopping at. The jewel in the crown was the lunch stop, a riad owned by Allal. The food was some the best of our entire week, the swimming pool was refreshing and they even laid on an air conditioned bedroom for my pregnant partner.
Camp itself was minimalistic but fine. The tents are white plastic on the outside but with anicely decorated interior. We had an electric light in ours and a very firm bed. Plenty of blankets and rugs too. There was a fire pit and outdoor seating area under a more ornate tent, as well as an enclosed dinning tent and fully functioning toilets as well as hot showers.
The dinner was your bog standard Morrocan menu of Harira soup, tagine and fruit. It was unremarkable, until you remember that it was made in the Sahara, amongst the sand dunes. Breakfast was rather weak. Stale bread and a nearly out of date yoghurt. Served with coffee that was definitely brewed in tagine from the night before. (We suggest taking a car pantry for the morning)
At the camp there is free sand boarding equipment (old snowboards), a sledge and a camel treker brought some camels round for a sunset ride.
Sunset was glorious, but getting up for sunrise was simply magical. Get up, climb a dune and enjoy. Never seen a sunrise like it.
All in all, an expensive addition to our trip at €280 euros per person (plus tip), but an amazing experiences we don't regret one bit.
Desert dreams fitted us and our requirements perfectly and the riad stop for lunch both on the way and way back was a lovely complimentary addition.