4 DAYS DESERT TOUR FROM MARRAKECH
✪ Tour features :
This 4 DAYS DESERT TOUR FROM MARRAKECH takes you over the great High Atlas Mountains and through the Tizi n’ Tichka pass to the charming ‘Hollywood of Africa’ city of Ouarzazate and visit the World famous UNESCO site of Ksar Ait Benhaddou. Discover beautiful valleys, oases, imposing gorges and unique rock formations along the way.
There will be old Berber mud villages to observe and a visit to a nomad family, share a cup of tea with them and discover their lifestyle. Enjoy a Berber Pizza picnic in the desert and a monumental desert trek by camel into the iconic Sahara where you will enjoy a classic overnight stay in a Berber desert camp under the milky way stars and may avail yourself of sand boarding and quad bike riding the golden orange Sahara dunes. You will be captivated by the remarkable Atlas Mountains, wondrous landscapes, deep gorges, soaring cliffs, valleys, luscious oases and unique rock formations.
You will visit the amazing UNESCO protected site of the Oasis of Skoura which houses the iconic 17th century Kasbah of Amridil. and pass through the Oasis of the Draa Valley and the stunning Anti Atlas mountains. Tour ends in Marrakech.
” Please Click on each section bellow so that the details of each day will appear “.
✪ Day 1 : Marrakech » High Atlas Mountains » Ksar Ait Benhaddou » Ouarzazate » Rose valley » Dades valley :
After your breakfast, your Grand Morocco Guide / Driver will pick you up from your Hotel or Riad in Marrakech, then travel through the dramatic landscape of the High Atlas Mountains, passing through the mountainous Berber villages and over the 2,260 M altitude, Tizi n Tichka Pass. In the High Atlas Mountains, there is a women’s cooperative for making the world famous Argan Oil. A stop there, so you can see the process of how the oil is made. This will enrich your minds more about this wonderful treasured Argan Tree, which has many benefits and which grows only in Morocco. The Argan tree is registered as Bio-patrimony Heritage by UNESCO.
Driving down from the High Atlas Mountains, about 20km before Ouarzazate city, we will stop for a walking visit to explore the famous UNESCO World Heritage listed site of the “Ksar Ait Benhaddou”, listed in 1987. This Ksar or village is one of the most intriguing of the Red Earth Castles lining the ancient road of the camel caravans and it is the oldest mud village in Morocco. It was once a commercial hub for trans Saharan caravan traders. The Ksar has been the back-drop for many international movies, such as Gladiator, Game of Thrones, Prince of Persia, Indiana Jones, Kingdom of Heaven and many more.
Then we drive to Ouarzazate city, the gateway to the Sahara Desert and is known as the “Hollywood of Africa”. It was a former caravan town on the silk and salt route in the eastern foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. There may be an opportunity for photo stops and for visiting one of the many cinema studios, as we visit this city. After lunch, we continue through the “Road of the thousand Kasbahs” and earth castles to the ‘Oasis of Skoura’. The Oasis of Skoura is UNESCO protected, and is famous for its numerous Kasbahs. Here we will stop to visit the iconic 17th century ‘Kasbah of Amridil’, located in the Oasis and appears on the 50 dirhams note. Amridil Kasbah was founded over 300 years ago and is largely unchanged today. It is one of the living museums of Morocco and is the ancestral home of the Nasiri family. The present generation of the family live on site, have a museum of ancient Moroccan artifacts as part of the Kasbah. In ancient times camel caravans of gold, spice, slaves, salt and other cargo off-loaded in Skoura, after many weeks trekking across the desert from several sub Saharan countries e.g. Mali, Senegal, Ghana and Asia. Today, Skoura’s historic mud brick castles remain and traders still arrive with desert products, especially trading salt.
After visiting the Amridil Kasbah and along the road of 1,000 Kasbahs, we will pass through Kelaat Mgouna, known as ‘The Rose Capital’ for the famous Damaskina Roses, also known for the annual festival during the rose harvest in May each year, when Miss Rose of Morocco is chosen.
Continuing our journey towards one of the most beautiful valleys in the Kingdom and enjoy colourful Berber mud villages overlooking the amazing Dades Valley. We drive along the spectacular Dades Valley to discover the amazing rock formations, known as “monkey toes” or sometimes “monkey fingers”. These extraordinary rock formations are metamorphic rock, which has been severely eroded by rain, water (which gives a chemical breakdown of the rock), wind and possibly sand storms over thousands of years.
The Dades Valley prides itself for the extensive production of roses, wall nuts, groves of palm and almond trees. It was the site of ancient nomad crossroads and the valley is dotted with Oases and mud brick palaces known as Kasbahs which gives the region its fairy tale nickname. (Overnight in the Dades Valley).
* 4 DAYS DESERT TOUR FROM MARRAKECH.
✪ Day 2 : Dades valley » Todgha gorges » Merzouga Sahara desert :
After breakfast in your hotel, we leave the spectacular Dades Valley, and move on towards Tinghir, where we will deviate to a minor road following the river of Todgha Gorge. Contemplate the scenic panoramic views of the old Jewish and Berber mud villages, overlooking the valley. Some time at leisure, to enjoy the immensity of the huge red cliffs of 400 M, where many international rock climbers come to enjoy their preferred sport.
The Todgha Gorge is recognized worldwide for being one of the most spectacular rocky canyons. No wonder this place has been used for the filming of many movies as a magnificent natural setting, with one of the most famous movies being the “Mummy”. In this area of Todgha Gorge, lives a large community of Berber nomads. Here you may see Berber nomad women who have their faces tattooed. They may be seen herding their goats and collecting their own water which is carried by their mules back to the caves where they live. (a visit to a nomad family might be possible).
After lunch, you will continue the trip to Erfoud, known as the capital for dates(fruit) and a global entity for fossil stones famous for amazing fossil beds and Paleozoic Strata, where ancient ‘Trilobite’ fossils are found, 505 – 570 million years old. An intriguing visit to a fossil museum is possible where you will witness some of the ancient specimens (Ask your guide).
After, we continue to the eminent Sahara Desert town of Merzouga, which is a small Moroccan Berber town on the edge of the Sahara desert and regarded as the gate way to the Grand African Sahara, which is a huge expanse of sand dunes. And on approach you will observe a magnificent panoramic view of the golden dunes considered the highest sand dunes in north Africa at 350 M elevation. Then we continue to the camel station to meet your camel and the experienced camel man who will guide your camel trek to explore the mysterious Merzouga sand sea .
You will enjoy the most charming sunset in the Merzouga Dunes. You will spend the night in a Berber desert camp, in the heart of the dunes. The camp consists of several comfortable Berber tents equipped with mattresses and linen, a dining room, a kitchen and a bathroom. The evening will include dinner, followed by entertainment around the camp fire, listening to traditional Berber drum music, gazing at the night sky full of the milky way stars and having the experience of a life time, which will captivate your heart and soul, not for a night, but forever. (Overnight in Sahara desert camp).
* 4 DAYS DESERT TOUR FROM MARRAKECH.
✪ Day 3 : Merzouga Sahara desert » Rissani » Draa valley » Agdz » Anti Atlas » Ouarzazate :
Before sunrise, on waking, you may climb the sand dunes for a fantastic view of the amazing sunrise in the Sahara Desert, followed by a typical traditional Berber breakfast.
You will then take the camel ride back through the shimmering dunes to the main road where you will meet your guide/driver and vehicle to begin your journey towards the next destination. But prior to that, it is possible to undertake Quad-bike riding in the Merzouga dunes for one hour (optional).
After having experienced a memorable night in the spectacular sand sea dunes of Sahara, we depart for the town of Rissani which was an ancient strategic cross roads destination on the trans Saharan trade route, linking Western Africa with Europe and Asia. It was a major camel caravan and commercial center which gave great importance to the city from the 8th to the 16th centuries.
Caravans of up to 200,000 camels would arrive in Rissani each year, from many sub Saharan African countries, e.g. Mali, Ghana, Senegal, Niger, Guinea, all trading gold, ivory, local crafts, slaves and most importantly, salt, which was sometimes used as trade currency and more valuable than gold at that time. Camels were first domesticated by the Native Berbers in north Africa, c. 300 A.D. and the camel caravans traveled vast distances for long periods, up to 100 days to reach Rissani. They rarely traveled faster than the camel man’s walking speed and their ability to withstand hard conditions made them ideal for communication and trade.
Rissani is renowned for its cultural diversity of Berber, Arab and desert communities, all recognisable and differentiated by their clothing style and colours worn. Also, it is a diverse city and well known for its traditional markets / Souks, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, being the busiest shopping days for souvenirs, gifts, spices, crafts and jewelry such as silver. There is a live stock market for sheep, goats and donkeys, also traders in local fresh produce such as dates, olives, vegetables and many traditional items. It might be possible to stop here to explore these traditional markets and maybe taste some Moroccan sweet dates.
After leaving Rissani, the plan for lunch will be a Berber pizza picnic, under the shade of the Acacia trees where we might spot some camels grazing in this area of the desert. Next we travel via Nkob, Agdz and the mesmerizing Draa Valley which stretches from the High Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert. The Draa Valley is a stunning Oasis, home to Berber villages, sumptuous Kasbahs such as the famous “Caid Ali Kasbah”, rolling dunes, lush green plains, enchanting snow capped Atlas Mountains, endless stretches of palm trees and the Draa River, Morocco’s longest river of 1,100 km.
With its geographical richness, the Draa Valley has thousands of years history. An enchanting drive through the Draa Valley will excite you, to take in the beauty of the palm groves and the huge Draa Oasis, which stretches far and is surrounded by the wondrous Atlas Mountains. The valley’s history and richness is evidenced by ancient cave paintings and carvings found in the area. Archaeological digs have unearthed a statuette of “Venus of Tan-Tan”, said to be one of the oldest pre-historic sculptures ever found. The Draa Valley was once an important transit point on the trans-Saharan caravan trading routes, as well as an important trading center for Berber, Jewish, Arab and Christian civilizations.
With such rich culture and history, the Berbers of the Draa Valley have preserved the simplicity of the traditional way of life, lived by their ancestors centuries ago. They ride donkeys, wash their clothes in the river and depend on clay to build their houses. When you are there, you will feel transported to an ancient time and will surely find it hard to believe that the cosmopolitan city of Marrakesh is only a few hours away.
We then drive to Ouarzazate city, via the Anti Atlas range which is a land of stunning jiggered peaks, such as Quartzite Jebel El’Kest, with oasis villages in the valleys. The Anti Atlas is a desolate world of rocky outcrops and lunar type landscapes. Villages here, are limited to a few small houses, surrounded by palm trees. The mountain range summit, average height is 3,305 M.
The Anti Atlas region is traditionally a Berber area, inhabited by semi-nomadic Berber Ait Atta tribes. There are Neolithic cave paintings in some areas of the range. Some of the landscapes are marked with picturesque small Kasbahs, which provided palaces for shelter in ancient times. (Overnight in your Riad /Hotel in Ouarzazate).
* 4 DAYS DESERT TOUR FROM MARRAKECH.
✪ Day 4 : Ouarzazate » Telouet » High Atlas mountains » Marrakech :
After breakfast, we leave the delightful city of Ouarzazate and our journey continues towards Marrakech, detouring through the beautiful Ounila Valley, glimpsing many Kasbahs and Berber mud-villages in Anmiter and Angulez villages, as we approach the High Atlas Berber village of Telouet.
Here we will visit Telouet Kasbah which was the birthplace of the High Atlas Mountain’s most powerful family in the 19th century known as the “Glaoui family”. Built of stone and crude cement, this Kasbah resembles urban Marrakech palaces with majestic tile work and carved Cedar wood work.
Kasbah Telouet is in the Berber town of Telouet, along the ancient route of the caravans from the Sahara, over the Atlas Mountains to Marrakech. It was the seat of the powerful “El Glaoui family” and was built in the 1860’s. It stands at an elevation of 1,800 M occupying a strategic position in the High Atlas. The family’s power faded as Morocco rose towards independence. El Glaoui became one of Morocco’s leading figures during the French occupation but he died in oblivion in Marrakech in 1935.
The journey will continue through the dramatically beautiful landscapes of the High Atlas region, passing through old scenic Berber mud villages and over the Tizi n Tichka Pass, at altitude 2,260 M. Once through the Pass and over the Mountains, we continue travelling to our final destination, the wonderful city of Marrakech which was originally called Amur n Akuch, a Berber name meaning “Land of God”.
Marrakech is one of Morocco’s Imperial Cities, because at some time in the country’s history, Marrakech was the capital of Morocco, from 1071 A.D. for the following 2 centuries. Sometimes called the Red city because of the red walls surrounding the Medina. Marrakech is a major tourist destination and home to many Kasbahs, Mosques, Palaces and gardens. The ancient Medina is a walled Medieval style city, dating to the Berber Almoravid Empire. It was founded in 1062 A.D. by Yusuf bin Tashfin and was the capital of the Almoravid powerful Empire, which covered a vast area from Sahara , North/West Africa to Europe.
* 4 DAYS DESERT TOUR FROM MARRAKECH ends in Marrakech and you will be transported to your Riad/Hotel or airport.
INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS
WHAT IS INCLUDED :
- Travel in an air-conditioned 4WD or Minivan, with a professional, licenced English speaking driver/guide.
- Pick up / drop off from and to your Hotel / Riad in Marrakech.
- 4 days / 3nights accommodation with Breakfast/Dinner while on tour.
- Berber pizza for lunch (Day 3).
- Camel trek and quad bikes in the Sahara desert.
- Sand boarding in Sahara (optional).
- WiFi Hotspot in the car + 2 water bottles for each per day.
- Overnight stay in a Desert camp and camel trek.
- Entrance to all included sites and monuments during your * 4 DAYS DESERT TOUR FROM MARRAKECH.
- Turbant (head wear) each for the camel trek in the desert.
- Ticket and guide for the Amridil Kasbah.
- All taxes and fees.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED :
- Travel insurance.
- Flight ticket.
- Snacks, drinks and incidentals.
- Hotel services, such as room service or laundry service.
- Tips and gratuities during your * 4 DAYS DESERT TOUR FROM MARRAKECH.
- Personal expenses.
- Lunches (except for day 3).
This * 4 DAYS DESERT TOUR FROM MARRAKECH itinerary is customised by Grand Morocco LLC. “If our set itineraries do not match what you are looking for, please contact us and we will tailor-make an itinerary to suite your requirements”.