All the magnificent Majesty of the South - 8 days
1st day: Marrakesh – Ouarzazate
Morning departure from your hotel/riad in Marrakesh at 8 o'clock and driving across the High Atlas mountains. At panoramic viewpoints, there will opportunities to stop and take photos. The first scheduled stop is at the Kasbah of Telouet, which served as a palatial residence and the headquarters of the powerful Glaoui tribe. Then the route crosses the Oumila Valley and leads to the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, the oldest and most famous Kasbah in Morocco and a UNESCO World Heritage site where we have lunch. After visiting the Kasbah, you continue to see another famous one of the area, Kasbah Tifoultoute. In Ouarzazate you spend the night in a riad.
2nd day: Ouarzazate – Dades Gorges
After breakfast, you set out towards the Dades Gorge, passing the Skoura Oasis, where numerous ancient kasbahs, some sadly in ruins, stand amongst the palm trees. From here, our route takes us through Kela’a M’gouna, the Valley of Roses, famous for its Rose Festival in May. Here we stop to see the cosmetic articles which are made locally from the valley’s abundant flowers. These products are well-known throughout Morocco and are highly valued. From here, you take an off-road route to have a better impression of the landscape. Along the way, you will stop at caves, used by whichever Berber nomads happen to pass and claim residence there. We will have a glass of tea with them before continuing to the Dades Gorge for lunch. This leaves you half a day to walk in the valley, or to spend it relaxing or simply strolling by the fields and gardens, or having tea with a Berber family.
3rd day: Dades – Merzouga
After breakfast, the trip continues a short distance to Tinghir and the very different Toudgha gorges where you can take a short walk to appreciate the steep sides to the gorge and the narrow expanse of the sky above. From there, you continue to the Chebbi dunes via Tinjdad, and the Oasis of Tafilalet near Erfoud, famous for its Date Festival, and Rissani, which is the seat of the Alaouite family of the present king of Morocco. Erfoud and Rissani. Between Tinjdad and Erfoud, you can stop to go down into the fascinating underground water cannels deep below the earth, always cool and preventing the evaporation of this source of irrigation. In Erfoud itself, you can stop to see the workings of thousands of fossils made into all sorts of artefacts. Lunch will be in a Berber village along the way. At the bivouac you are welcomed with a glass of tea before taking a camel ride to watch the sunset from the top of the dunes. Later there is dinner and the night in a nomad tent at the foot of the dunes.
4th day: Merzouga – Agdez
If you wake up early enough, you can watch the spectacle of the sunrise, when the colour of the dunes and the play of shadows are an awesome sight. The drive back east to the Dra’a Valley takes us via the villages of Tazzarine (featured in the film ‘Babel’) and N’Qob, where we have lunch. In the afternoon we drive to Tanasikht, along the track of the ancient caravan route, reaching the Dra’a valley, abundant with large palm trees and ancient kasbahs, at Agdez. We spend the night at the oldest Kasbah in the village, Kasbah Tamnougalte.
5th day: Agdez – Chagaga
Departure in the morning by 4x4 from Agdez through the Dra’a Valley along the track of the ancient caravan route to Zagora. From here the trip continues along paved roads to the village of M’hamid, which marks the end of the paved road and the beginning of the Sahara. Here we pause for lunch in a riad set in a beautiful garden full of palm trees and with a swimming pool. In the afternoon, we leave for the Erg Chagaga dunes (300m) with 60km off-road. This route passes different features of the desert; ‘erg’, ‘reg’, ‘hammada’, oases. These dunes are far away from civilization, in the desert proper ……. and the silence and the expanse of the sand are overwhelming. If you wish, you could enjoy a second camel ride here. Dinner and the night are in a bivouac there.
6th day: Chagaga – Taroudant
After breakfast we drive another 90 km across the Sahara over the stony desert, “reg” and “hammada” and across the now dried-up Lake Iriqui. In the middle of this lake we can search for fossils. At the edge of the desert at Foum Zguid, we drive north to Taznakht, famous for its Berber gelims and carpets, where we stop for lunch. After crossing the Tizi-n-Ikhsane and Tizi-n-Tighatine passes, we reach Taliouine, the heart of the saffron growing region. The road takes us onto to Taroudant, where we stop for the night in a riad.
7th day: Taroudant - Imlil
In the morning a visit to the town known as “the little Marrakesh”. It is spectacular for its massive ramparts and beautiful medina. Then we climb back up the High Atlas Mountains across the famous Tizi-n-Test pass, stopping at the Tinmal mosque, which may be visited by non-Moslems. Lunch will be in a mountain restaurant with superb views. From here we continue through the mountains to the village of Imlil, where we stay the night. Here the quiet and beauty of the views are overwhelming.
8th day: Imlil – Marrakesh
After breakfast, we have time to walk and look up at Toubkal Mountain, the highest peak in North Africa. Passing the Toubkal National Park we reach Asni, a small Berber village, which is famous for its permanent as well as for its weekly soukhs. We then pass the mausoleum of Moulay Brahim, a well-known Moroccan Sufi saint who died in 1661. Here you can have tea with a local Berber family, who will show you the traditional hammam and bread ovens. The last Valley of the trip is that of the Lalla Takerkoust reservoir, which supplies Marrakesh and the surrounding area with water from the snow melt of the High Atlas. Here there are stops to take photos of the wonderful scenery over the lake. And then back to Marrakesh.
Prices per person
- There is a 25% reduction for children under 12 years old whilst we do not charge for children under 5.The price for trips includes the transport in a private air-conditioned 4x4;Toyota Prado or Mitsubishi Pajero,and fuel. Experienced English-, French-, Spanish- and Italian-speaking driver / guide, all accommodation and meals as well as the camel ride on the relevant tours. Drinks and tips are not included.These prices are liable to fluctuation according to the current exchange rate.