Desert Majesty tour - 5 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 be 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. Here you will stop for lunch. Then the route crosses the Ounila Valley and leads along the stunning road to the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, the oldest and most famous Kasbah in Morocco and a UNESCO World Heritage site. 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 gorges – 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 channels 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 – Zagora
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 itinerary continues to the Dra’a Valley via the village of Tazzarine (featured in the film ‘Babel’). Here the road turns south to follow the N12 down to Zagora, the largest oasis in the Dra'a Valley and famous for the great variety of dates. At the end of the afternoon, we take the camels again for about an hour to reach the camp in the dunes for the night in a bivouac and drumming round the camp-fire.
5th day: Zagora – Marrakesh
After breakfast, you take the road north along the ancient caravan route and discover the real Dra’a Valley with its huge palm trees and ancient villages. At the top of the Dra'a Valley you will stop to visit Kasbah Tamnougalte, the oldest in the area, some still lived in and some now crumbling having been abandoned to the elements. You return to Ouarzazate, via the mountain pass of Tizi-n-Tinfifte (1660m). The return to Marrakech will complete the trip by the end of the afternoon.
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.