Day 1: FES – IFRANE – AZROU FOREST OF MONKEYS – MIDELT – ZIZ GORGES – DESERT
You will be departing from your Riad at about 8.00 am with the plan to arrive in the desert at Erg Chebbi. We cross the mountains of the Middle Atlas where we can expect to see varied inhospitable looking landscapes full of stories about life in this area. We will be able to take photos and stop in many interesting places; like the town of Ifrane which all the world knows as the “Moroccan Switzerland”; a settlement built in an alpine style by the French, with houses of sloping roofs which are clearly nothing to do with the traditional architecture of Morocco. Due to its altitude of 1630 meters, Ifrane is surrounded by trees and what is most striking is the nature that surrounds this small city, in particular the National Park which is well worth a stop to visit. One of the more interesting inhabitants is the Barbary monkey that continues to survive in the extensive forest of cedar trees.
The scenery begins to change again leaving behind greenery and becoming a barren landscape, but before that manages to catch your eye, we make a stop in Midelt to eat. Our route will continue through the Ziz Valley; an immense grove of some 9000 palm trees in amongst the kasbahs that follows the course of the river before stretching on to become lost somewhere in the remoteness. It is a hidden treasure in Morocco especially for all lovers of nature. The High Atlas is a great pleasure to be able to admire, particularly the immensity of the mountains and the erosion that over the years the waters that formerly came from the mountains have produced with great force. The contrasting green of the palm trees, red earth of the mountains and the small ochre coloured typical Berber houses that are all over the course of this valley and set in a spectacular landscape, should not be missed.The route for the desert passes by the Oasis of Tafilalet, the largest palm grove in the world with around 800,000 date palms, this is the last great oasis before arriving to the desert and its vast expanses of sand from the Sahara, without no doubt it is a true oasis of vegetation accompanied by the river and the adobe houses that are dotted all over the oasis. Little by little the desert sand welcomes us with the sight of the first small dunes and when we arrive at the riad in Merzouga; which is located at the foot of the dunes where we can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the desert at Erg Chebbi, our hosts will be waiting with a welcome tea.
Day 2: DESERT – MERZOUGA – RISSANI – ERG CHEBBI
In the morning after a good Moroccan breakfast at the feet of the desert dunes, today we will head 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 well-known spices. The souk becomes a meeting point for a large part of the population of the region, a real feast of colours, smells, flavours and textures that inundate the visitor in an unknown world, where animals are bought and sold and there is a huge donkey market; Morocco’s authentic medium of transport. This area alone truly makes the city a world worthy to discover.After taking lunch in Rissani we return to our Riad where the welcome tea we will be waiting for us. The camels will also be ready to carry us into the desert to the Berber camp in the middle of the dunes; during the trip we will be able to take pictures, an experience that without a doubt will astound you. At night you can see that the desert takes on a very different colour and as the evening becomes night it can become quite cool depending on the time of year you go. We are served dinner to the rhythm of the drums, singing and playing, as the big fireplace will keep us company until it´s time to go to sleep. So without any worries it is best to enjoy this magical and authentic night under the starry sky of the desert.
Day 3: ERG CHEBBI – ERG OUZINA – M’HARECH – ALNIF – TODRA GORGE
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.
We return with the camels to have a shower, breakfast and continue our route becoming involved in the desert and visiting nomadic peoples who live apart from civilization. We will make a stop in Khamlia; a village of people originally from black Africa, where we will enjoy their traditional Gnawa music while we have a delicious tea and enjoyed the hospitality of the people. We continue along the track of the Paris-Dakar Rally, fully enjoying the sights like the red desert of Ouzina where we will observe the different shades of the ground as we move forward, some spectacular landscapes where each flush of change is a surprise from green lands and black people to find ourselves in vast expanses of sand dunes.Continue through the desert to discover the strait of M’harech; one of the most incredible landscapes, surrounded by small mountains that offer a lunar landscape which is quite amazing!! The vision of the desert and the oasis in the remoteness of the small gorge is spectacular.
We will continue toward Todra Gorge with more than 100 meters of height and with its houses excavated in the rock; a magical place of vertical rocky walls caused by the erosion of the water and the air during centuries, a perfect place for climbers. Surrounded by a river of low flow but of crystalline water, we can enjoy this stop to take a quiet walk. Accommodation in Todra for the night.
Day 4: TODRA GORGE – OUARZAZATE – KASBAH AIT BENHADDOU – MARRAKECH
Today our route will continue toward Ouarzazate; known as “The Door of the Desert”, it is the centre of contrasting landscapes with high mountains, snowy peaks, extensive palm groves and lush valleys, making it the favourite place for many films, but also one of the highlights is the visit of the Kasbah of Taourirt; a fortified palace where getting lost in its labyrinthine corridors and stairways is a joy. From the top of its towers we have an impressive panoramic view of the medina, built in adobe with crenelated towers and where you can still see some of their rooms with painted stucco decorations, cedar wood roofs etc…
After lunch we head toward another most beautiful point of Morocco: Ait Benhaddou; originally inhabited by the tribe of Ben Haddou but declared a UNESCO World Heritage site when this fortified kasbah began to deteriorate. Ait Benhaddou is a majestic fortification of sand colour, its interior looks like the set of a movie and it is impressive to stroll around. Its citadel is tiny and consists of a few pebbled and narrow winding streets that climb up until you reach the top of the fortification, where there are some splendid views with the red tones of the dry mountains.
We arrive at a small mountain village called Telouet where we will make a stop to visit its beautiful kasbah. Although looking from the outside there is a lot of deterioration, when we enter we have a pleasant surprise and find endless chambers with white ornamented walls of gypsum, but the biggest surprise of this kasbah is at the end of your visit where a very nicely decorated door appears and opens onto the visiting room of what was formerly the palace and various rooms that in their time were the rooms of women who lived there. Finally we arrive at a beautiful window that leads directly to the village from where apart from having a magnificent view of Telouet and the Atlas; you will be able to take some great photos.
In the afternoon we will continue toward Marrakech crossing the High Atlas 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. We arrive in Marrakech in the middle of the afternoon.
Day 5: MARRAKECH – ESSAOUIRA – MARRAKECH
Today after a big Moroccan breakfast we will head toward Essaouira, a coastal town two and a half hours from Marrakech and with a special charm and privilege, this small fishing town falls is loved all over the world for its tranquility, strolling through its souks, buy fried fish to take away, or close to its market and its port you can choose the fish that you like and you can have it cooked in that moment.
Another interesting visit to make is the Portuguese fortress where you can traverse the entire wall that surrounds part of the city and from where you will see the canyons and some truly spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Essaouira in a special corner; where suddenly the sea is full of foam, with its precious wind, where the seagulls juggle in order not to lose their balance, and where you can enjoy sunset sitting at any of the terraces that are located close to the sea by taking a cup of tea. You will be able to watch as locals and tourists watch the fabulous sunset, the sight and the moment has a mystical mystery for it has a tranquility that leaves you dazzled by the golden light of the sun and the wind blowing along to the sound of the sea. We will return to Marrakesh in the middle of the afternoon. Transfer to your hotel and the end of our tour.
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