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Sunday, 8 March 2015 12:00 AM

Isabella Bird

International Women’s Day

The International Women’s Day is celebrated each year on 8th March (the first was in 1911) and is designed to celebrate the achievements of women and continuing the call for greater equality.

The theme for 2015 is “Make It Happen” with thousands of events taking place to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.

To support this theme Lizzie Porter has written an article for the Telegraph website:

Telegraph On-Line – Travel Section – 10 Great Female Travellers . this list included Isabella Bird about whom Lizzie Porter wrote:

"Isabella Bird, 1831-1904

No patriarchal Victorian society would stop Isabella Bird in her tracks. This intrepid naturalist, photographer and writer explored America, Hawaii, India, Kurdistan, the Persian Gulf, Iran, Tibet, Malaysia, Korea, Japan and China on her travels, and was the first female to be elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She published at least 18 works of travel notes, photographs and sketches, and became a household name in the 1890s. Among her most adventurous trips included an embed with British soldiers, travelling on horseback from Baghdad to Tehran. She travelled well into her final years, dying just a few months after her return from a trip accompanying Berbers in Morocco.

Follow in her footsteps: Naturally Morocco offers a camel trek that deviates from the more usual tourist trails through the deep Sahara desert to a Berber camp at Nakhla, spending the night under the stars among the dunes (01239 710814; The excursion costs from £55 per person, based on two sharing."

Naturally Morocco Says

Morocco blends Berber and Arab traditions seamlessly for a visitor to the country, with the combined mix being what we see as “Moroccan Culture”, i.e. a vibrant and welcoming society. The Berber strongholds were traditionally in the Atlas mountains and down towards the Sahara desert (to the south east) and the villages there today are still viewed as Berber in nature.

A camel trip in the Sahara is one holiday that you will not forget in a hurry, stunning stark scenery and endless starry nights (spent under canvass) but although more than 100 years since Isabella Bird’s adventures the trip is still an adventure – it is a long way from the nearest International airports, so we advise against doing in a hurry.

Berber villages can also be visited easily from Taroudant (just south of the High Atlas mountains), which is must easily accessible from an International airport (Marrakech or Fez), and we run the Real Morocco programme that includes an introduction to the culture of the Berbers and berber villages of the region.

If time is really scarce it is even possible to have a quick day trip out from Marrakech into the High Atlas (starting just 1 hour’s drive south); however, the Berber villages there may be deemed more touristy.