Embark on this 8-day tour from Marrakesh, combining 3 days trekking around the famous Dades gorges and trekking in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, Merzouga. Kick-off your holiday in Morocco by a fascinating drive over the majestic Atlas Mountains, via the famous pass of Tizi-n-Tichka and along beautiful Berber villages.
Visit the former palatial residence, Kasbah Telouet, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, and stroll in the beautiful Ounila valley. You will trek for three days and three nights to explore the mountains and you will probably spend one night with a Berber family. The pace of trekking is dictated by the hikers themselves.
Drive along Berber villages and interact with the locals to learn about life in the oases. Enjoy dinner under a starlit sky, followed by evenings of Berber music and drumming and sleep in your own nomad tents near the big dunes of Erg Chebbi in Merzouga.
On the second day in Merzouga, go on a full-day camel trekking around the dunes of Erg Chebbi. You will walk for 3 hours in the morning and another 3 hours in the afternoon. You can choose to walk or ride camels. Visit the N’qob and Tazzarine (featured in the film ‘Babel), drive along the ancient route of the caravans, and discover the Dra’a valley with its huge palm trees and ancient housing.
Tour Ouarzazate symbol, Kasbah Taourirt and stop by the cinema studios to learn about the film sets. Drive back over the High Atlas Mountains and arrive at Marrakesh by the end of the day.
1st day: Marrakesh – Dades Gorges
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, 3rd and 4th days:
After breakfast, a trek of three days and two nights in the area surrounding the Dades Gorge begins. During the trek, mules carry the equipment (blankets, mattresses, kitchen equipment as well as personal luggage). The pace and length of each portion of the trek are set by the hikers, allowing time to stop as and when desirable or necessary. You will probably spend one night with a Berber family and the other higher up the mountains in caves with Berber nomads tending their goats up there.
5th day: the mountains – Merzouga
In the morning, we walk back to the hostel to freshen up with a shower, before driving to the Erg Chebbi dunes in Merzouga, stopping along the way to visit the Toudgha Gorge and stopping again later at Rissani for lunch. Alternatively, you will have lunch in the camp on arrival, where you will spend the night.
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.
6th day: Merzouga
In the morning, a three-hour camel ride across the great sand dunes and through the stony Sahara is scheduled, stopping to prepare lunch among the dunes. In the afternoon, a camel ride for another two hours is programmed to reach the high dunes (Erg Chebbi). From here, at 250m, the sunset is a spectacular sight.
7th day: Merzouga – Ouarzazate
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’), and on to N’Qob for lunch. In the afternoon the journey takes us to Tanasikht, to drive along the ancient caravan route to discover the real Dra’a Valley, with its huge palm trees and ancient villages. You return to Ouarzazate by the end of the afternoon.
8th day: Ouarzazate – Marrakesh
After breakfast, there is a visit to Kasbah Taourirt which was the residence of the Pasha of Marrakesh and where he held his goods brought in the caravans from sub-Saharan Africa before he sold them. The day continues with a visit to Ait ben Haddou, a World Heritage site and the backdrop for many Hollywood blockbusters. It is the most famous Kasbah in Morocco. From there the road continues to Telouet, along the newly asphalted road. This kasbah is set right in the midst of the mountains and was once the seat of the last Pasha of Marrakesh, El Glaoui, from where the highest pass in Africa, Tizi-n-Tichka was controlled. At the end of the afternoon, we arrive in Marrakesh.
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