Dades gorges, Merzouga Erg Chebbi desert, Fes (4 days)

 

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Overview:

Book this 4-day desert tour from Marrakesh to the famous dunes of Erg Chebbi in Merzouga, combining the two imperial cities of Marrakesh and Fes. Cross the High Atlas Mountains with memorial visits to Kasbah Telouet and the Hollywood movie darling, Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou.

Explore Skoura Oasis with its innumerable palm trees and fascinating Kasbah Amredhil, and drive along the Road of a 1000 Kasbahs and the Rose Valley of Damascene roses. Take a walk by the river through the Toudgha Gorges or go for a 2-hour hike with a local guide if you wish. Spend an overnight in a beautiful guest-house in the Dades Valley with time to explore the gardens and fields in the morning.

Ride camels to the top of red Erg Chebbi dunes and take photos with the sunset in the background. Sip a glass of tea with the nomads, taste dinner under the starlit sky followed by a party of Berber music and drumming. Enjoy a night rest in your own private tent in this magical setting.

Explore the Ziz Valley, stop by Berber villages to get to know about life in the south of Morocco. Drive along the Middle Atlas Mountains and feed Barbary apes in the cedar forest near Ifrane.

Experience the majesty and wonder of our unique range of Marrakech Desert tours. Discover the tour itinerary below. Your journey starts here!

 

Main Highlights:

  • Drive through the High Atlas Mountains and over the Tizi-n-Tichka pass enjoying panoramic views
  • Explore the Hollywood movie darling, Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, and Kasbah Telouet
  • Visit the small museum of Kasbah Amredhil and wander Skoura’s green oasis
  • Drive off-road along the Valley of the Roses and the Road of 1000 Kasbahs
  • Hike the Dades Valley or in the Toudgha Gorges with a local guide, or stroll along the river
  • Spend a wonderful night in a desert camp at the foothill of the dunes of Erg Chebbi
  • Share an evening of Berber music and drumming around a fire camp with the nomads
  • Enjoy a sunset camel ride in the Erg Chebbi Dunes and take selfies wearing blue turbans
  • Drive across the Middle Atlas Mountains and watch Barbary apes in the cedar forests near Ifrane

 

What is included:

  • Transport in a private air-conditioned 4×4; Toyota Prado Tx or Deluxe Van and fuel
  • Pick up from your hotel or riad in Marrakesh and drop-off at your hotel or riad in Fes
  • 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 Chebbi dunes in private & comfortable nomadic tent equipped with beds, mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets, carpets with shared toilet and shower facilities
  • The possibility of a luxury camp in Erg Chebbi with private toilet and shower, lamps, more space and pleasanter furnishings at 45 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
  • The 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 Ait Ben Haddou, Ounila Valley, Kasbah Amredhil in Skoura, 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 Marrakesh desert tour can be customised to fit your interests and requirements
  • You can always consult your driver about skipping some spots to spend more time elsewhere
  • It is possible to do this tour the other way around, starting the tour from Fes
  • Additional activities, such as quad-biking or full day camel trekking in Erg Chebbi Dunes, can be added to this tour
  • You can choose to go to the camp either on camelback or by the 4×4 (then, you go for your camel ride)
  • 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: Marrakesh – Ouarzazate
Morning departure at 8.30 from your hotel or riad in Marrakesh to cross the High Atlas Mountains.

After the Tichka pass, you leave the main road and take a side road to the Telouet Kasbah, which belonged to the Lords of the Atlas, the Glaoui family. Each addition to the building now stands in ruins exposed to the wind and the rain, having been abandoned and plundered after the last Pasha fled the country following the departure of the French in 1956. Wait to be pleasantly surprised by the traditional interior decoration as you reach the farthest end of the Kasbah.

From here you drive along the beautiful and awe-inspiring Ounila Valley, full of bends in the roads, surprises at the hues of the rock and soil, Berber villages and gardens, as well as smaller Kasbahs.  Almost at the end of the road, you reach Aït Ben Haddou, where you stop for a tasty lunch.  This will energise you for a visit to the Kasbah, after which you continue to Ouarzazate, where you visit us in the office for tea and to pay your balance.

The night is spent in a riad/guest house in or near the town.

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. You spend the night in a guest house.

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. Between Tinjdad and Erfoud, you can stop to go down into the ingenious underground water channels deep below the earth, always cool and preventing the evaporation of this source of irrigation. It is fascinating to climb down to experience the coolness below ground and to wonder at the ancient engineering involved.

At the camp, you are welcomed with a glass of tea, before taking a 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.

4th day: Merzouga – Fes
After breakfast, departure for Rissani and Erfoud, where there will be a stop to see how locally found fossils are worked into furniture and artifacts. It is a source of wonder to witness the sheer numbers and beauty of these fossils but feel assured there is no obligation to buy any.

From there the road leads north to Er Rachidia and the Ziz Valley, remarkable for the extent of its palm trees and the volume of dates produced each year.

Lunch is in Midelt, 1508M, which is called “the apple capital”, in the Middle Atlas and at the foot of the Ayachi Mountain.  The town serves as the commercial agricultural center for the surrounding area and is also one of Morocco’s principal cities for the mining of several minerals, such as fluorite, vanadinite, quartz, and cerussite.

We cross the Tizi-n-Talremt pass, known as the “she-camel” pass and reach Azrou, where you can see Barbary apes in the cedar forests looking out for tidbits. We reach Fez at the end of the afternoon.

Prices per person

No Days Meals
4 All inclusive
Total price
2 persons
445 € *
890 € *
3 persons
395 € *
1185 € *
4 persons
385 € *
1540 € *
5 persons
365 € *
1825 € *
6 persons
365 € *
2190 € *

 

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