Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat in Morocco
November 17 - November 24
Yoga among the sand dunes. Sleeping in a nomad tent of goat hair. Writing under the shadow of a palm tree. Come along on a dazzling and deepening journey through the colorful and hospitable Morocco!
- Experiencing the nomadic lifestyle
- Daily yoga and writing assignments
- An amazing journey through the dazzling Atlas mountain range
- A tour through ancient Kasbas, towns and the desert (by camel)
- Reading stories and listening to local music around the campfire
- 7 nights accommodation
- Traditional healthy food
The most welcoming, friendly & beautifully designed riad in Marrakech! Ank, the Dutch owner, and her staff make you feel at home; in your Moroccan home. Riad Chambres d’Amis is located just a stone’s throw away from the beating heart of old Marrakesh the Jemaa el-Fna Square and the Souks! Despite this, it’s as quiet here as if you were in the countryside; greenery and birds all over the place. They want you to feel at home in this green oasis, right in the middle, but far away from it all – drinking a mint tea or a cocktail! You will, of course, be overloaded with impressions in Marrakesh, but Riad Chambres d’Amis will be your quiet home to return to. The street, Derb Moulay Abdelkader, is a very quiet and safe residential area, and very easy to find.
This place benefits a unique situation to the world: precisely facing the mythical village of Aït Ben Haddou, site sequenced worldwide heritage by UNESCO. It is an extraordinary family’s traditional house (it is the landlord’s father who built it 40 years ago), most ancient constructed in pisé facing the village, the panorama close to the village, the relief, meanders of the river. Historic place: it is also the surviving testimony of the activity of the ksar (fortified village) of a tribe highlander. Magic: the place attracted many filmmakers to use decors of its measurements and the extraordinary charm.
The Nomad Camp
The bivouac Le Petit Prince is located where the last Draa palms meet the vast Sahara; the gateway to the great desert. Le Petit Prince is composed of a dozen nomadic tents arranged in a circle, with a large communal tent that hosts many cultural activities throughout the year. Discover a timeless place, located in the south of Morocco. You are invited to experience the traditional nomadic lifestyle, rooted in sharing and living in harmony with the fragile environment. The bivouac Le Petit Prince is a meeting place for culture exchange and environmental preservation in the Sahara.
Accommodations are subject to change, due to availability and group size. Prana Morgana Reizen always looks for the best locations and service. Please contact the organizer for more information.
Roll out your yoga mat. Breath in, breath out. Stretch. Slow down. Feel what is happening inside you. This moment is all yours. This week is all yours. Enjoy the rising sun, which transforms the sand into gold. Listen to the palm trees that sigh in the wind. Enjoy the vastness. The silence. Meanwhile, the hospitable nomads prepare a traditional breakfast and the dromedaries trudge toward the camp. Soon they offer their hump for a ride through the desert and tell the nomads about their unique way of life that is threatened with extinction.
Activate your senses, let your creativity flow and write! About mirages, camel tracks to Timbuktu, ancient desert cities and yourself. What’s happening right now? What makes your life shine? What does the simplicity of life and the vast nature awaken in you? In the evening we eat from the tagine and read stories to each other by the campfire under the starry sky. You also experience this colourful country through the eyes of your fellow travellers. Your journey gets an extra dimension.
We start with a welcome drink in a sweet riad in the middle of the old medina in bustling Marrakech. Here, we spend the night, get to know each other and have our first yoga and meditation exercises.
From Marrakech we cross the Atlas Mountains and the UNESCO-protected fortress Ait Ben Haddou: decor of Game of Thrones and The Gladiator. ‘Hollywood of Africa’ as it is called, is an ancient city pulled out of clay in an (almost) indescribably beautiful area. We stay in a sweet and welcoming riad in the middle of wild nature: rough mountains with hats of forever snow.
This second night we will stay in a beautiful Moroccan house and practice yoga on the balcony with an amazing view over the kasbah. Every day you receive a creative writing assignment. Discover your unique writing style and learn how to make a story worth reading. We close every day with a meditation.
The following day we continue our road through the dazzling mountain range and arrive at M’Hamid el Ghizlane. The last kms we make on the back of a dromedary and arrive at sunset at Bivouac le Petit Prince where we are welcomed with a traditional slow cooked dinner.
For three days we will be guests in this eco-responsible nomad camp at the foot of the desert. With the team of local guides, musicians and chefs you make the most of the local hospitality, (vegetarian) Moroccan cuisine and surroundings. The nomads welcome us with a traditional diner and music at the campfire. We read our stories to each other.
The coming 3 days are filled with yoga sessions, creative writing lessons, meditation and discovering the cultural heritage of the region. Next to the morning sessions, we will offer you a workshop or excursion every afternoon; a visit to one of the ancient villages, local women weaving unique clothes, a local family, a dromedary tour – or just enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the bivouac. Seven days of yoga and creative writing in a timeless place, a gateway to the mysterious Sahara!
The retreat brings you in touch with yourself, with what requires attention. The funds are yoga, writing, the warmth of the desert, the rich Moroccan culture and hospitality of the nomads. You return home with a gift: memories and stories and valuable insights.
After the last evening under the endless starry sky and the last traditional breakfast, we depart from Le Petit Prince to Marrakech. There is a lunch stop in the Atlas Mountains. We arrive at the end of the afternoon in the riad in Marrakech.
You will find that you have become a close-knit group in a week. Especially because writing is so personal. But you always have a nice memory to carry with you: your own desert stories.
Every morning we welcome the rising sun with a sun salutation. Then the gentle hatha yoga orientated flows take you on an inner journey. Open yourself. Warm yourself. Give yourself loving attention. Yoga invites you to be in the moment. Connect with your body and mind.
Meditation, Thai massage and partner yoga are also part of the program. Fun, playful workshops that are beneficial for body and mind. The teacher tunes into the needs of the group.
Unravel the secrets of a well-written story against a backdrop of sand dunes and camels. Get inspired while touring the world famous Atlas Mountains, the villages pulled out of clay and the endless desert. In the mystical Sahara stories are everywhere to be found. In the quiet of this serene place and combined with daily writing assignments and cultural excursions you easily tune into the creative writing flow. Learn vivid writing, applying tension in a story, use your imagination and bring characters to life.
Believe us, you’ll talk about all the beauty for a long while. Sigh when reading your stories and smile at the sight of the bottle of Sahara sand on the mantelpiece. We had not yet returned from our first successful edition or we dreamed about the next. The Sahara gets a place inside your heart. A certain space and silence you can always find in yourself.
The retreat needs a minimum of 4 participants, please ask the organiser for the retreat status.
In addition to daily yoga and writing assignments, we offer writing workshops and lessens in partner yoga and Thai massage. There are also a number of excursions on the program:
- A visit to the Unesco protected fortress in Ait Ben Haddou
- A tour through the desert by dromedary / jeep
- A tour of one of the ancient villages on the edge of the desert
- A visit to local women who weave unique carpets
Annelies van Dam
Annelies is a physiotherapist, psychologist, regression therapist and has been a hatha and ashtanga yoga teacher in Utrecht for more than ten years. Annelies approaches health in different ways, but sees yoga as the core, as a way to gain more (body) awareness and well-being. Her mission is to bring people in contact with the Yoga in themselves. The desert is perfect for that. “In the Sahara you literally experience what Yoga is about: silence and spaciousness.”
Marijke van der Linde
Marijke is a journalist, (copy)writer and teacher of journalism and creative writing at Parnassos cultural center, Utrecht. Her stories about spirituality, art and culture can be found in newspaper Trouw, Sawadee travel magazine and on the website of international art exhibition Sonsbeek. She also helps companies with communication and writes her own short stories, poetry and fairy tales. “Writing is expression, it’s about finding out what’s going on inside you. It is showing the world through your eyes. I like to share my love for the profession and challenge you to become a better writer.”