Take the best 4-day desert tour from Ouarzazate to Agadir, with an overnight in the famous dunes of Erg Chebbi in Merzouga. Visit Skoura oasis and photograph Kasbah Amredhil, stop by the cosmetic co-operatives based on Damascene roses, go off-road in the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs and take a walk in the Dades and Toudgha gorges.
Explore Berber villages and local life, take photos riding camels and wearing blue turbans with a gorgeous sunset as the backdrop. Share a glass of mint tea with the nomads, enjoy dinner in the majesty of Erg Chebbi dunes, dance to rhythms of Berber music under the starlight and rest in your private tent near the big dunes.
Spend nights in authentic guest-houses. Discover the Dra’a Valley with its palm trees, ancient kasbahs, and local culture. Stop at panoramic viewpoints to take photos and to stretch your legs. The last day brings you to the Atlantic via Taznakht, the town of rugs and gelims co-operatives, Talouine the center of saffron growing, and Taroudant, “the little Marrakesh”.
1st 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. Kasbah Amredhil waits for a very worth-while visit. It has been beautifully restored and gives a clear idea of life within such housing. It is made entirely of adobe, an excellent building material; warm in winter and cool in summer, due to the thickness of the walls.
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.
You then go 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.
The area, which now forms the Dades Gorges, lay at the bottom of the sea millions of years ago. Great quantities of sediment were deposited around giant coral reefs, and over time this material became compacted into a variety of sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and limestone. Eventually, the movement of the earth’s crust caused the region to rise above the sea, forming the Atlas Mountains and surrounding landscape.
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. You spend the night in a hotel or Kasbah, or if you wish you could walk into the hills to spend the night with a Berber family.
2nd 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.
Between Tinjdad and Erfoud, you can stop to go down into the fascinating underground water channels, “khattarat”, 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 artifacts.
At the bivouac, you are welcomed with a glass of tea before taking a one to one and a half-hour camel ride to watch the sunset from the top of the dunes.
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.
3rd 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 itinerary continues to the Dra’a Valley along a southern route via the village of Tazzarine (featured in the film ‘Babel’), and on to N’Qob for lunch.
In the afternoon the journey takes us to Tansikht where we cross the Dra’a River, which forms the longest river valley in Morocco. Tell the driver to show you the dinosaur footprints at the side of the road just after the Tansikht turning north. You then drive along the ancient caravan route and discover the real Dra’a Valley with its huge palm trees and ancient villages. At the end of the afternoon, we stop in Agdez for the night.
4th day: Agdz – Agadir
After breakfast, we drive north-west from Agdz to Taznakht, famous for its Berber gelims and carpets. On the way, we follow beautiful landscapes and pass the Bouazzer cobalt mines. This is a secluded part of the country and more off the beaten track.
Later, we continue west to Agadir, crossing the Tizi-n-Ikhsane and Tizi-n-Tighatine passes.We stop to have lunch in Taliouine, the heart of the saffron growing area of Morocco, and where there is an excellent little museum about the art of growing saffron.
In the afternoon, the road takes us on to Taroudant again and follows the often dry Souss River and innumerous argan trees on all the slopes of the hill-sides back to Agadir, which we reach by the end of the afternoon.
Price on request!