Our two-day Zagora desert tour from Marrakesh is the perfect excursion for travellers who want to experience a desert safari but may not have all that much time only spending a couple of days on such a trip. This 2-day Zagora desert tour takes you over the High Atlas Mountains and the famous pass of Tizi-n-Tichka to the desert just outside Zagora in the south.
On all Zagora desert tours, you can enjoy beautiful views during the drive across the mountains and photograph your group with Berber villages, valleys and snow-topped mountains in the background. Visit the two most famous kasbahs in Morocco, Telouet and Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, and stop by Ouarzazate to photograph the film sets. Explore the Dra’a Valley with its adobe-built villages, scattered palm trees, seasonal river, and green oases. Drive along the ancient route of the caravans as far as Zagora.
Enjoy a sunset camel ride and take photos of your group in their blue turbans. Savour a delicious Moroccan dinner in a nomad tent, followed by an evening of Berber music and a night’s rest in your own traditional nomad tent. Visit the green pottery co-operatives and the Koranic Library full of marvellous manuscripts in the village of Tamgroute. By the end of the afternoon, we finish our Zagora desert trip.
1st day: Marrakesh – Zagora
It’s an 8.30 am a departure in a 4×4 from your Marrakesh hotel or traditional riad accommodation, taking you across the High Atlas Mountains and over the famous Tizi-n-Tichka (2260m). From these mountains, the views over the valleys and the Berber villages perched on the mountainsides — sometimes barely distinguishable from the mountains themselves — are truly spectacular.
Next on your Zagora desert trip, having crossed the pass, you continue to descend until you finally reach Ouarzazate, where you stop for lunch. Afterwards, you will have a glass of tea with us at the office in the centre of town. From there you cross another smaller pass, Tizi-n-Tinfifite, (1660m) before reaching the head of the Dra’a Valley at Agdez. For a short while on this Zagora desert tour, we go off-road, along some of the ancient caravan route between the mountains and the river, passing many villages and gardens so that you can gain a better idea of the way of life along the oases. You then reach Zagora and have a camel ride of about an hour or so to reach the dunes, from where you can watch the spectacular sunset. These dunes are small in comparison with the others further south and in the east but are the nearest to Marrakesh on such a short trip.
You have dinner and spend the night at an authentic nomad camp with shared bathroom facilities and a private tent for each couple or family.
Alternatively, you can choose a luxury camp with private bathroom, king-sized beds, beautiful Moroccan furnishings and lamps tastefully arranged to enhance your enjoyment of the silence and beauty of the dunes.
2nd day: Zagora — Marrakesh
If you get up early enough to see the incredible sunrise on your Zagora desert trip, you will be rewarded by the wonderful play of shadows across the sand. After breakfast you return north, taking another short off-road route. From Ouarzazate, you leave the main Marrakesh road to reach the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Ben Haddou. This kasbah, the most famous in Morocco, has been used as a backdrop for many Hollywood blockbusters and was one of the most important fortress strongholds on the old Salt Road caravan routes, where traders brought slaves, gold, ivory and salt from sub-Saharan Africa to Marrakech and beyond.
The Zagora desert trip continues along the new and truly magnificent Ounila Valley road to Telouet Kasbah, which belonged to the Lords of the Atlas, the Glaoui family, and which now stands in ruins after the last Pasha fled the country following the departure of the French. The more historic buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries are in particular disrepair. The return to Marrakesh on this Zagora desert tour is along the main road, passing many Berber villages along the river and through the mountains. At times you come down into the valleys to drive alongside the river, which is bordered by beautiful oleander and fruit trees. The gardens are full of olives, walnuts, pomegranates, apples, pears and quinces. Berber women and children tend goats and sheep and climb even the steepest slopes in search of fodder and firewood. The Zagora desert trip concludes when we reach Marrakesh at the end of the afternoon.
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