Tour features :
- Soak up breathtaking views of the Middle Atlas range & enjoy the majestic Cedar forests of Azrou and glimpse Barbary Apes at play in this 4 Days Fes to Marrakech Desert Tour.
- Witness the fabulous and largest Oasis in Morocco, in the Ziz Valley.
- Discover exhilarating activities (Quad biking, Sand Boarding) to undertake in the Sahara dunes.
- Experience a wondrous starry night in a Berber desert camp, after a Camel Trek into the desert.
- Be dazzled by traditional legendary African music in Sahara.
- Breathtaking orange glows of sunrises and sunsets over the Sahara will be an ultimate experience.
- Visit a welcoming Berber nomad family and partake tea with them.
- Lose yourself in the mind blowing ancient gorges and towering cliffs of Todgha gorges.
- Marvel at the amazing (monkey fingers) rock formation in Dades valley.
- Visit the scenic Oasis of Skoura and the dynamic 17th century mud brick Kasbah of Amridil.
- Visit Ouarzazate known as “Hollywood of Africa” and excite your cinema interests.
- Experience Morocco’s amazing iconic ancient UNESCO World heritage site “Ksar Ait Benhaddou”.
- Visit the intriguing women’s cooperative and view the making of the World famous Argan Oil.
- Be swept away by the antiquity of historic facts, landmarks and embrace the stunning High Atlas mountains on the way to Marrakech.
” Please Click on each section bellow so that the details of each day will appear “.
✪ Day 1 : Fes » Ifrane » Middle Atlas » Ziz valley » Sahara desert camp :
After breakfast, your Grand Morocco Driver Guide will pick you up from your Hotel or Riad in Fes to begin your spectacular journey to the Sahara Desert region.
Today, your tour begins towards the long awaited, magical and legendary Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world and where the undulating golden dunes glisten like gold in the sunlight. Travel dreams do come true and this visit to the desert may be one of yours “it will be beyond your wildest dreams”.
Leaving Fes, we travel to Ifrane town, which has a European image and atmosphere, with sloping roofs, chimneys housing large stork nests, generous flower beds and Chestnut trees. Thus, the nickname “Little Switzerland of Morocco”. The city was French built in the 1930’s and is known for its mountainous terrain, altitudes to 1,664 M and cold winter temperatures. -24 degrees, measured in 1935, the lowest temperature in Africa. Skiing is a popular sport in Ifrane. It also claims the distinction of featuring in the top 10 of the world’s cleanest cities, ahead of Ottawa, Helsinki and Singapore. The Cedar plantations in Ifrane and the surrounding area are known to be the largest Cedar plantations in the world and cover about 134,000 hectares of Morocco, being still a potent symbol of national pride.
A stop at the Cedar forests of Azrou, in the Middle Atlas region, altitude 1,278 M where you may be able to glimpse and feed the Barbary Macaque Apes in their Cedar forest habitat and hopefully observe their antics. The Barbary macaque also known as Barbary ape or magot, is a species of macaque found only in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria along with a small population of uncertain origin in Gibraltar.
After a scenic driving through the middle Atlas and lunch, we will move through the striking Ziz Valley oasis, the largest palm groves oasis in Morocco. There is a wonderful sight of a dense canopy of palms between ancient striated cliffs dating back to the Jurassic period, 199.6 to 145.5 million years ago.
We 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 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 in the Edge of Sahara Desert and regarded as the gate way to the Grand African Sahara, which is a huge expanse of sand dunes.
On approach you will observe a magnificent panoramic view of the golden dunes considered the highest sand dunes in north Africa at 350M 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, and 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 Fes to Marrakech Desert Tour.
✪ Day 2 : Merzouga Sahara Sightseeing activities :
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.
★Begin your day with a 1 hour Quad excursion through the Sahara Desert. Enjoy the exhilaration of speeding through the sands and up the dunes, where you will stop to enjoy a peaceful moment with just sky and sand for as far as you can see. You will have a professional guide to ensure your safety!
★Explore the Berber farms and fields of Merzouga and marvel at the ingenious underground water and irrigation system, for family agriculture and for spectacular date palms.
★Visit “Tifert n igdad” Salt Lake or “Flamingos Lake”. During Spring the lake attracts many species of birds e.g. amazing colony of Greater Flamingos, desert Warbler, Egyptian Nightjar, Falcons, desert Sparrows and many more. Several species reside at the lake all year round. Other wild life to be spotted at the lake are lizards, hedgehogs and desert foxes.
★Visit the Black Village of “Khamlia”, a little village with a big story. This village has a population of 390 of Black African families and Berber ethnic groups and it is located at the foothills of Merzouga dunes, doors to the great Sahara Desert.
For centuries black Africans from the Gnawa tribe, originating from sub-Saharan countries such as The Sudan, Mali and Niger, were forcibly moved from their homelands across the Sahara to Morocco as part of the worldwide slave trade. Shackled in chains as they crossed the desert, they sang to soothe their pain and found a mindfulness in the rhythmic chanting and clanking of the chains.
Today Khamlia’s inhabitants are direct descendants of these slaves. We will visit one of the music associations, have a cup of tea and listen to the Gnawa inspirational African music which is legendary from their ancestors, preserved from their original homeland and still played in a traditional manner.
★Partake of a delectable lunch of Berber Pizza which is a food specialty of the desert town of Merzouga.
★Visit a desert nomadic Berber family, share a cup of tea with them and be totally captivated by their life style, their traditional tents and the harsh desert environment in which they live.
Head to your Riad/Hotel in front of the sand sea for a rest or a swim at your leisure. (Overnight in your Hotel/Riad).
* 4 Days Fes to Marrakech Desert Tour.
✪ Day 3 : Merzouga Sahara » Rissani » Todgha gorges » Dades valley :
After breakfast, having experienced 2 memorable nights in the spectacular sand sea dunes of Sahara, we depart for the town of Rissani.
This town 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 centre which gave great importance to the city from the 8th to 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, and 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.
Departing Rissani, we will travel towards the Saghro mountain range. The vast desert road, lined with thorny ‘Acacia’ trees, stretches through a most impressive desolate, harsh and spectacular rocky landscape of the huge dry mountains. We pass through Alnif village, which lies at the foot of the Saghro Mountains.
We then continue to 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, 400 M elevation, where many international rock climbers come to enjoy their preferred sport.
The Todgha Gorge is recognised worldwide for being one of the most spectacular rocky canyons. No wonder this place has been used for filming many movies due to its magnificent natural setting, one of the most famous movies being the “Mummy”.
In this area of Todgha Gorge, lives a large community of Berber nomads. Sometimes, you can sight Berber nomad women, who have Berber tattoos on their faces. They may be seen herding their goats to drink water at the river’s edge and collecting their own water which is carried by their mules back to the caves where they live.
After lunch, we continue our journey towards one of the most beautiful valleys in the Kingdom and enjoy colourful Berber mud villages overlooking the amazing Dades Valley. We will 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 has produced 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 crossings and the valley is dotted with Oases and mud brick palaces known as kasbahs which gives the region its fairy tale nickname. (Overnight in a Hotel/Riad / Dades valley).
* 4 Days Fes to Marrakech Desert Tour.
✪ Day 4 : Dades valley » Rose valley » Ouarzazate » Ksar Ait Benhaddou » Hight Atlas Mountains :
After spending the night in the heart of the beautiful Dades Valley and having breakfast, we continue driving through the Rose Valley and Kalaat Mgouna, known as The Rose Capital for Damaskina Roses, also famous for the annual festival during the rose harvest in May to choose Miss Rose of Morocco.
Continue through the “Road of the thousand Kasbahs” and earth castles to the ‘Oasis of Skoura’ in the Skoura Valley. This oasis 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 Kasbahs known as mud brick castles remain and traders still arrive with desert products, especially trading salt.
Moving on, you may have an opportunity for photo stop at one of the many cinema studios as we now visit Ouarzazate. This city is known as the “Hollywood of Africa” and was a former caravan town on the silk and salt route in the eastern foothills of the High Atlas Mountains.
About 20 Km out of Ouarzazate, we will visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage listed site of “Ksar Ait Benhaddou”. This Ksar (village) is one of the most intriguing of the Red Earth Castles lining the ancient road of the old caravan traders and is the oldest mud village in Morocco. It was once a commercial hub for caravan traders and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. This village has been a back drop for many international movies, such as, Gladiator, Game of Thrones, Indiana Jones, Kingdom of Heaven and many more.
The journey will continue from Ksar Ait Benhaddou through the dramatically beautiful landscapes of the High Atlas Mountains, passing through old scenic Berber mud villages and over the Tizi n Tichka pass at altitude 2,260 M. En route, we will visit a women’s cooperative for making the world famous Argan Oil.
You will see the process of extracting the oil from the Argan fruit. This will enrich your knowledge of the wonderful Argan tree, which grows only in Morocco. Tree climbing goats have an important role in assisting in the oil production (ask your guide).
The Argan tree is registered as Bio-patrimony Heritage by UNESCO and is found only in south west Morocco in the Arganeria Biosphere. The oil making process is passed down through the generations of women and is used for cooking, medicines, and cosmetics.
Once through the Pass and over the High Atlas Mountains, we continue travelling to our final destination, the wonderful Marrakech that was originally called “Amur n Akuch” , a Berber name meaning “Land of God”. This city 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 the grand Sahara, West/North Africa to Europe.
Your 4 Days Fes to Marrakech Desert Tour finishes and you will be transported to your Riad or Hotel in Marrakech.
WHAT IS INCLUDED :
- Travel in an air-conditioned 4WD or Minivan, with a professional, licenced English speaking driver/guide.
- Entrance to all included sites and monuments.
- Pick up / drop off from and to your Hotel or Riad in Fes / Marrakech.
- 4 days / 3 nights accommodation in beautiful Hotels and Riads with Breakfast/Dinner while on tour.
- Overnight stay in a Sahara desert camp.
- 2 bottles of water each per day + Wi-Fi Hotspot in the car.
- Camel trek and ATV quad bikes in the Sahara desert.
- Turbant (head wear) each for the camel trek in Sahara.
- Sand boarding in Sahara (optional).
- Visit a nomad family in Sahara & share a cup of tea with them.
- All taxes and monuments fees for this * 4 Days Fes to Marrakech Desert Tour.
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 this * 4 Days Fes to Marrakech Desert Tour.
- Personal expenses.
PLEASE NOTE :
This * 4 Days Fes to Marrakech Desert Tour 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”.