Airport transfer on arrival and departure
1 Night in Kasbah Hotel at the Dadès Gorges with Breakfast and Dinner
1 Night in Kasbah/Hotel in Merzouga Desert with Breakfast and Dinner
1 night in Merzouga Desert Camp (Jaimas) with Breakfast and Dinner
Sahara Camel trek (one camel per person)
Transport by air conditioned 4x4 or minibus, fuel included
Guide and Driver
Early morning departure from your Hotel/Riad in MARRAKECH. Our journey to the Dadès Valley includes breathtaking views throughout the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka Pass (2260m), the highest point in Morocco. Along the way we will make several stops in order to view and appreciate the magnificent panoramic views which include the Berber villages which seem to be born out of the mountains themselves. Later we will head towards Ait Ben Haddou, an ighrem (fortified village), and traditional Mud Brick city on the edge of the High Atlas Mountains. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and has been featured in many films including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Game of Thrones and many others. We will have lunch in the village and continue on to Ouarzazate. Ouarzazate is a city south of Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, known as a “The gate of the Desert”, its name comes from a Berber phrase meaning "without noise" or "without confusion". Its huge Taourirt Kasbah, home to a 19th-century palace, is one of the most well-preserved Kasbahs in Morocco.
We will continue towards the Dadès Valley. Along the way we will see the oasis of Skoura with its date palms, eucalyptus and oleanders, apple trees, vines, blossoming almond trees and spectacular ruins of fortified Berber architecture: ksur. Our journey will also take us across the Valley of the Roses (Kalaat M’gouna), located between the Atlas Mountain Range and the Sahara Desert, where rose fields stretch out as far as the eye can see, over 50 km in length, along the banks of the Dadès and M’Goun, where spring explodes in a luminous and inebriating array of colours. Since the early 30s, a few French industrialists and perfumers began to promote the production of the centifolia rose, whose essence, known as “Rose of May”, is used in many prestigious perfumes and cosmetic products. Each year during the first or second week of May, this valley springs to life in a festival animated by Berber folklore featuring roses and all other local trades. The rose festival is a truly unmissable event.
We will arrive at the Dadès valley where we will stay overnight.
After breakfast, we will be able to enjoy the most amazing views of the Dadès Valley from one of the most panoramic points in the mountains. The Dadès Valley is home to many kasbahs that were built here for the added protection the valley provides and is often referred to as the Land of a Thousand Kasbahs. Along the route you will have a chance to see many of these kasbahs, each one unique on its own. In the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, near the town of Tinerhir, the Todra and the Dades Rivers have carved out a narrow canyon called Todra Gorge, a massive trench that rises over 250 meters to form one of the most spectacular natural sights in Morocco. The Todra Gorge is recognized around the world as one of the most spectacular canyons. The road from Tinerhir passes green palmeraies (palm groves) and Berber villages until, 15km along, high walls of pink and grey rock close in around the road. Thanks to its robust rock sides with many uneven surfaces, Todra Gorge is popular among rock climbers. After a short walk through the sheer cliffs of the Todra Gorge, we will take a short break for lunch along the route on our way to the magnificent Merzouga Desert
We'll drive through changing scenery, from barren mountain sides to fertile valleys, on the journey to Merzouga. With a backdrop of the orange-coloured Erg Chebbi sand dunes, the charming Saharan village of Merzouga feels wonderfully isolated, like the modern world has left it behind. The Erg Chebbi dunes are the most stunning in the country and an essential part of any visit to Morocco. An erg is a vast sea of shifting wind-swept sand that's formed into picturesque, undulating crests and valleys. The Erg Chebbi is one of the world's iconic landscapes, with towering dunes up to 150 metres in height. Located at the end of a sealed road and just 20 kilometers from the Algerian border this really feels like frontier country. You will leave your gear at a simple auberge and then ride camels into the heart of the Sahara Desert, enjoying one of the most magnificent sunsets you will ever see, along the way. The dunes are stunning, especially as the evening light plays across them and sets off the colors of the sand.
Tonight, you will camp out in traditional style, with the chance to try some fantastic local cuisine while you sit around an open fire. Stay late after the dinner, enjoying lively music, drumming, Berber stories and dancing under a magnificent blanket of stars. You will enjoy the comfort of private tents (Jaimas), with proper size standing beds, coffee table and chairs. Each tent (jaima) has a private shower and toilet provided. The entire camp is set up by our crew while you relax and enjoy the mighty Sahara Desert.
Early start to watch the sunrise over the spectacular Merzouga dunes around the camp. This is a once in a lifetime experience that you will not soon forget and one of the high points of our journey. We will return by camels (dromedary) to the town of Merzouga where we will have breakfast and start a full day of desert adventures. First, we’ll head towards Erg Chebbi, location of the Large Dune, Morocco’s biggest, around 250m in height. Departure in 4×4 along part of the route of the Paris/Dakar itinerary, with the mountains along the border of Morocco and Algeria on the horizon. We will visit the Khamlia Village whose inhabitants are direct descendants from the Gnawa tribe, originating from sub-Saharan countries such as the Sudan, Mali and Niger, who were forcibly moved from their homelands across the Sahara to Morocco as part of the worldwide slave trade. Here we will relax with some mint tea while listening to authentic Gnawa spiritual music played by local musicians. Next, we will visit a traditional nomad family and learn about some of their customs. After lunch we will return to the hotel and you will have the afternoon free to visit the village, climb the dunes or just relax.
Dinner and lodging at the Hotel
After breakfast we initiate our return to MARRAKECH. We will journey through the arid but interesting pre-desert landscapes covered by Acacia trees on our way to the Draa Valley, created by the Draa River, Morocco’s longest river, formed by the confluence of the Dades River and Imini River. The Draa River flows from the Hight Atlas Mountains southeastward to Tagounit and from Tagounit mostly westwards to the Atlantic Ocean. The Draa Valley is a long, green oasis in a dry, rocky landscape. Known as “the date basket of Morocco”, this fertile corridor is home to many date palms, orchards and irrigated fields. The gateway to the valley is Agdz, which itself boasts a vast palmerie and a surprising number of ancient but well-preserved kasbahs. We will drive across the Anti Atlas Mountains towards Ouarzazate where we will have lunch. Our drive continues across the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka Pass on our way back to MARRAKECH where we will arrive in the evening.
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