Dra’a Valley, Zagora, Erg Lihoudi dunes, Mhamid (2 days)

 

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Overview:

Book this desert tour from Ouarzazate to the Erg Lihoudi Dunes. Drive through the Anti-Atlas Mountains via Agdez and the ancient Kasbah Tamnougalte, which you will visit with a local guide. Explore the Dra’a Valley with its palm groves, adobe housing and green oases. Drive off-road following the ancient route of the caravans as far as Zagora. Visit the green pottery workshops and Koranic Library in Tamgroute village and stop by Zagora, the largest oasis before the desert.

Ride camels and take photos of your party wearing blue turbans the nomad way and witness the spectacle of the sunset from the top of the dunes. Enjoy dinner, share a night of music with the nomads and an overnight in the silence and majesty of the Erg Lihoudi Dunes outside Mhamid El Ghizlane.

 

Main Highlights:

  • Drive over the Anti-Atlas Mountains and the famous pass of Tizi-n-Tinfifte
  • Explore the ancient Kasbah of Tamnougalte with a local guide
  • Discover the immense palm groves of the Dra’a Valley, Kasbahs and oases
  • Drive off-road following the ancient route of the caravans
  • Ride camels in the majestic dunes of Erg Lihoudi and take photos of your party wearing blue turbans
  • Watch the spectacle of the sunset from the top of the dunes and practice sandboarding
  • Taste dinner under the starlight, followed by music with the nomads round a campfire
  • Overnight in your private nomad tent in a camp in the middle of the Erg Lihoudi dunes
  • Visit the green pottery workshops and ancient Qoranic library in the village of Tamgroute

 

What is included:

  • Transport in a private air-conditioned 4×4; Toyota Prado Tx and fuel
  • Experienced local English/French/Spanish/Italian-speaking Berber and nomad driver/guide
  • Overnight in a traditional camp Erg Lihoudi dunes in private & comfortable nomadic tents equipped with beds, mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets, carpets with toilet and shower facilities or the possibility of a luxury camp with private toilet and shower, lamps more space and nicer 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
  • 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 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:

  • You can customize this Ouarzazate desert tour to accommodate your points of interest
  • 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 the driver or 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 south over the Tizi-n-Tinfifte pass to Agdez. Descending from the pass you will be amazed at the view of the extensive oasis and the number of palm trees, all indicating the beginning of the Dra’a Valley with its thousands of date palms, producing an amazing 44 varieties of dates.  The date harvest starts in September and lasts a couple of months, so that is the best time to stop in Agdez for the freshest ones.  After a short tea break here, we continue by driving away from the main road along the ancient caravan route

Soon after the police checkpoint in Tansikht, we come to the village of Tinsouline, from where you can drive just a kilometre or so off-road to the fascinating rock carvings of animals long extinct in Morocco at Foum Chenna, some 4000 years old.  Zagora is the largest town in the whole area and where we shall stop for lunch.

In the afternoon we drive further south still, to M’hamid, the very gate to the desert and the end of the paved road. This is where the Sahara starts. Here a one-one and a half-hour camel ride leads to the highest dune to enjoy an unforgettable 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 – 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. After breakfast, there will still be time for a long walk in the dunes.

The return trip begins along another track crossing the “hammada” (flat, stony desert) before joining the paved road and drive to Tamegroute for a visit to the potteries. Later we pass through Tamgroute, where a stop for the potteries famous for the green glaze, which you may have already seen in Marrakesh, and also for its ancient Quranic library with exquisite hand-written Arabic texts.

From here the road leads north again to Tamnougalt Kasbah (one of the most ancient Kasbahs in the south of Morocco) for lunch. We arrive back in Ouarzazate, at the end of the afternoon, on the other side of the mountain pass of Tizi-n-Tinfifite (1660m).

Prices upon request!

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