Chagaga desert, Dades Valley & Gorge, Ait ben Haddou (4 days)

 

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Overview:

Go on this 4 day desert tour from Ouarzazate to the largest Sahara desert in Morocco, combining the two sand dunes; the gate of the Sahara, Erg Lihoudi, and the remote and wild Erg Chagaga. Ride camels, photograph your party wearing blue turbans and witness the marvellous sunset from the top of the dunes. Share an evening of music with the nomads and spend two nights in dunes of Erg Lihoudi and Erg Chagaga.

Enjoy splendid views driving over the Anti Atlas Mountains. Stroll in the Dra’a Valley with its adobe-built villages, multiple palm trees, seasonal rivers, and green oases. Visit the pottery co-operatives in Tamgroute village just outside Zagora, the largest town in the Dra’a Valley.

Explore two of the most famous Kasbahs in Morocco, including Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou and Kasbah Tamnougalte. Visit the Dades gorges and walk along the river.

Main Highlights:

  • Cross the Anti-Atlas Mountains and its Tizi-n-Tinfifte pass, enjoying wonderful views of the amazing rock formations
  • Explore the ancient Kasbah of Tamnougalte outside Agdez with a local guide
  • Stroll in the Dra’a Valley with its green palm groves and numerous Kasbahs
  • Drive along the ancient caravan road
  • Visit the green pottery workshops and ancient Qoranic library in the village of Tamgroute
  • Ride camels in the dunes and take photos of your party wearing turbans
  • Watch the spectacle of the sunset from the top of the highest dunes (300 m)
  • Enjoy dinner under the starlit sky, followed by an evening of Berber music
  • Two overnights in your private tent in desert camps in the most expansive Sahara dunes in Morocco

 

What is included:

  • Transport in a private air-conditioned 4×4; Toyota Prado Tx or deluxe van and fuel
  • Experienced local English/French/Spanish/Italian-speaking Berber and nomad driver/guide
  • Accommodation in air-conditioned rooms/suites with private bathroom
  • Overnight in an authentic desert camp in Erg Lihoudi Dunes: in private & comfortable nomadic tents equipped with beds, mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets, carpets with shared toilet and shower facilities or the possibility of a luxury camp in Erg Lihoudi with private toilet and shower, lamps, more space and pleasanter furnishings at 45 euro more each
  • Overnight in an authentic desert camp in Erg Chagaga dunes:  in private & comfortable nomadic tents equipped with beds, mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets, carpets with shared toilet and shower facilities or the possibility of a luxury camp in Erg Chegaga with private toilet and shower, lamps, more space and pleasanter furnishings at 90 euro more each
  • All meals; breakfast, lunch, dinner – with vegetarian and vegan options available
  • A camel ride of about an hour – an hour & a half with a guide, and free sandboarding, if desired – just ask the camp staff
  • Option to go to and return from the camp by 4×4
  • Luggage service to the camp and all accommodation
  • Berber drumming and music
  • Free time to explore the sites such as the Dra’a Valley, Kasbah Tamnougalte, for walks, photos, and tea/coffee breaks
  • The opportunity to ask the driver to stop when and where you wish
  • Entrance fees and local guide
  • Tea, coffee and mineral water in the desert

 

What is not included:

  • Drinks
  • Tips
  • Extras

 

Know before you go:

  • This Ouarzazate desert tour can be customised to be more personal and special
  • You can ask us if others are interested in sharing the car
  • We require a 30% deposit of the total price to book the car, while the balance is payable to us in the office in Ouarzazate
  • There is a 25% reduction for children under 12 years old, whilst we do not charge children under 5
  • These prices are liable to fluctuation according to the current exchange rate

 

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Itinerary:

1st day: Ouarzazate – M’hamid
Morning departure by 4×4 from Ouarzazate to Agdez (which is where the Dra’a Valley starts) for a short tea break. Here you can take the road crossing the river that leads to Kasbah Tamnougalte and then along the ancient caravan route, joining the main road again before reaching Zagora. The road follows the Dra’a Valley full of small villages, kasbahs, oases, palm trees and donkeys all the way, After lunch, the itinerary continues to M’hamid, where the road ends and the desert begins. Here, in Erg Lihoudi, after a short break for a glass of tea, you can take a camel ride for a couple of hours to watch the sunset.

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: M’hamid – Chagaga
The return to M’hamid is on camelback to have lunch in a riad in the midst of palm trees, and where there is a possibility to freshen up under a shower. In the afternoon, the 4×4 will take us to the Erg Cheggaga dunes (300m) with 60km off-road. This route passes different features of the desert; ‘erg’, ‘hammada’, oases. These dunes are far away from civilization, in the desert proper …… where the silence and the expanse of the sand are overwhelming.

Dinner and the night will be in an authentic camp in the dunes, or, once again, you can opt for a night in a luxury camp, with all the amenities of the first desert night in Mhamid.

3rd day: Chagaga – Ait Ben Haddou
After breakfast, the road takes us through another 90km of the desert with varying scenery; Lake Iriqui, the mountains and fossils. Lunch will be in Foum Zguid, the first village after the desert, where it is also possible to freshen up with a shower. From here the drive back Ouarzazate is along paved roads via the village of Taznakht, famous for its Berber carpets and rugs. We arrive in the course of the afternoon at Ait Ben Haddou, the oldest and most well-known of Morocco’s Kasbahs. In 1987 this Kasbah became one of the several UNESCO World Heritage sites in Morocco. We spend the night in a riad.

4th day: Ait Ben Haddou – Dades – Ouarzazate
Morning departure from Ait Ben Haddou to the Dades Gorges and the Skoura Oasis, travelling off-road to see all the Kasbahs, some sadly in a state of disrepair but idyllically placed amongst the palm trees. The main road passes through the Valley of Roses, with a stop to see the cosmetic articles locally-made from the valley’s abundant roses. These products are well-known throughout Morocco and are highly valued. We continue to the Dades Valley for lunch. After lunch, we walk through the gorges themselves and return to Ouarzazate in the afternoon.

Prices on request!

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