3 Days Sahara Excursion from Marrakech to Fes
Day 1: MARRAKECH – HIGH ATLAS – OUARZAZATE – DADES GORGE
Departure from Marrakech in the morning (Riad or airport) in the direction of the Dades Gorge, we cross the High Atlas mountains where we shall enjoy the extraordinary landscapes that these mountains offer us, the colours change from oranges to greens, the shoulders of the roads occupied by vendors and a landscape worthy of view, we will cross the mountain pass Tizi n’Tichka, the highest point of the route with 2260m of altitude.
Our journey through the mountains will continue to Ouarzazate. On the road we see many kasbahs and sets of genuine adobe houses until we arrive at Ait Benhaddou; declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, this fortified Kasbah was inhabited by the tribe of Ben Haddou until it began to deteriorate, it was then UNESCO helped to rehabilitate a large part of it. Ait Benhaddou is a majestic fortification of sand colour, its interior looks like the set of a movie and is impressive to stroll around. Its citadel is tiny and consists of a few narrow streets leading you to climb until you reach the top of the fortification, where there are some splendid views where the tones of the mountains are red and dried out.
We will continue our route toward Ouarzazate; the intermediate point that joins the mountains and the desert; also called the Hollywood of Morocco, since by its situation is the perfect environment for filming movies in arid lands. One of the town’s charms is its medina in the old part of the city, with many narrow streets full of life and a central square which is a fantastic place to sit, watch and enjoy the daily life of the local people. Another outstanding point is the Kasbah of Taourirt, a fortified palace with winding corridors and where getting lost in the connecting rooms and winding stairways are really fun. From the top of its towers we have a panoramic and impressive view of the medina.
We will continue our route through the Valley of Roses, situated at the foot of the High Atlas, as its name indicates, the area of a most important crop and interesting from the point of view of tourism, 30 kms of uninterrupted cultivation of roses, a splendid greenery nestled at the foot of a canyon of ochre hues that offers a spectacle of beauty and that form part of the most important landscapes of Morocco. We will arrive at the Dades Gorge to stay the night.
Day 2: DADES GORGE – TODRA GORGE – MERZOUGA
Today after a good traditional Moroccan breakfast we will head toward the desert of Merzouga. We pass by the Palm Grove of Todra where we make a stop to visit; a large palm grove with its Kasbahs and its typical villages of adobe, where the river runs through the entire oasis of Todra and on its shores grow palm trees full of dates, olive trees and several crops. Our route continues to the impressive Todra Gorge, a mandatory stop to contemplate the great canyon, formed by limestone rock of red vertical walls and where the last 600 meters are the most spectacular, the canyon is narrow and is only 10 metres wide at this point and 160 metres high, a whole paradise of stone by where it holds a river of crystalline waters and its picturesque environment makes it an obligatory stop.
We will continue toward Erfoud, where the main fields of fossils are located. Its important souk and market next to the central square is the nerve centre of the population, and finally we will arrive in Merzouga where the camels will be waiting to take us into the heart of the desert to camp overnight and enjoy the mantle of stars and the silence that surrounds us.
Day 3: MERZOUGA – ZIZ VALLEY – MIDELT – CEDAR FOREST – FES
This morning we’ll get up extra early to see the spectacular sunrise. Gradually as the sun appears over the horizon, the desert sand glows with a reddish colour, before shifting to shades of yellow as the sun comes further up.
After leaving the desert behind we return on camels for a shower and breakfast. We leave for the Palm Grove of Tafilalet, the largest palm grove in the world, with about 800,000 date palms. Firstly it´s off to Rissani; very famous for its souk and for being the last commercial stop before the desert, this proud and dignified city has a special atmosphere we can almost breathe in as we stroll through the markets. Rissani has something not found in any other place of Morocco, a twilight ambience owing to its roofs that filter the late sun into an explosion of colours and rich outstanding smells of the combination of spices so well-known.
Our route will continue to Fes passing through the beautiful Ziz Valley; a magical place where the life makes an expression due to its people, its palm trees and their way of life that makes us remember the pure life in full nature, by the way we will go to see a group of kasbahs that are now in ruins but which are still preserved in more or less in good condition.We will continue to Midelt which is famous for its mineral mines, from there we will continue to Ifrane where we will find ourselves in a European Alpine setting; green, leafy and fresh; built by the French. Just a few kilometres further we will find ourselves within the legendary forest of Cedars of Azrou where the singing of the birds and the attentive and curious gaze of the Barbary monkeys that live in the forest will not fail to impress.
The National Park of Ifrane is the largest of Morocco and we will be able to contemplate the incredible Atlas cedars trees, some more than 100 years old. The grand, majestic and imposing oaks darken the road creating a mysterious atmosphere and the Gouraud Cedar is the most famous of the Atlas for its imposing antiquity.
We will continue through the Middle Atlas until we reach Fes mid-afternoon. Fes is famous for its ancient walled city, is the first imperial city of Morocco (8th century) and a pioneer in Muslim worship as it has one of the oldest universities in the world. Although it has been able to adapt to modern life, it still preserves traditions and styles of life most authentically Moroccan.
Tour Include :
- Private Transport with A/C
- Driver/guide english speaking
- Hotel (breakfast & dinner included)
- Camel Ride & Night in Sahara Desert
- Camel Per person
- Sandboarding in The Dunes
Not included :
- Monuments tickets