From desert to sea – 5 days

 

1st day: Marrakesh – Ouarzazate
Morning departure from your hotel/riad in Marrakesh at 8.30 to drive across the High Atlas Mountains. At panoramic viewpoints, there will be opportunities to stop and take photos. The first scheduled stop is at the Kasbah of Telouet, which served as a palatial residence and the headquarters of the powerful Glaoui tribe, whose wealth came in part from the salt mines just outside the village. 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.

Then the route leads south and if the mine is open, you can enter and see how the pink salt rock is cut out from the walls. We continue down the Ounila Valley with the green fields and gardens running parallel down below and the road full of bends, many surprises at the hues of the rock and soil, past Berber villages and gardens, as well as smaller Kasbahs. Here olives, almonds and fruit trees are the main crops and the mainstay for many families.  This stunning road leads to the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, the oldest and most famous Kasbah in Morocco and one of Morocco’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. The architectural style is well preserved and the earthen constructions are perfectly adapted to the climatic conditions and in harmony with the natural and social environment. Probably originating in the 17th century, it is also famous as the backdrop to many Hollywood blockbuster films. A further 30 kilometers later, we stop for the night in a road in Ouarzazate.

2nd day: Ouarzazate – Chagaga
After breakfast, we drive over the Tizi-n-Tinfifte pass to the head of the Dra’a Valley at Agdez where we visit to Kasbah Tamnougalte.  Much of it lies in ruins, especially the old Jewish quarter as the inhabitants slowly left after the establishment of the State of Israel. But some parts are still inhabited, which seems hard to believe as it looks so Biblical. Later we continue along a side road to Zagora for lunch. The next bigger town on our way is Tamgroute, where you can visit the famous potteries run by four families and which is well known for their unique green glaze. There is also a Qoranic library with exquisite ancient handwritten Arabic scripts and Qurans. And then, the 4×4 takes us to the Erg Chagaga dunes, travelling some 60 km off-road. This route passes different features of the desert: ‘erg’ (sand dunes) and ‘hammada’ (rocky desert), and the Sacred Oasis to dunes far away from civilization, in the desert proper where the silence and the expanse of sand are overwhelming. Here you could take a second camel ride if you wish. Dinner and the night are in a camp of nomadic tents.

3rd day: Chagaga – Taroudant
After breakfast, we drive another 90 km across the Sahara over the stony desert, “erg” and “hammada” and across the now dried-up Lake Iriqui. In the middle of this lake, we can search for fossils. At the edge of the desert lies Foum Zguid.  The word “foum” means “mouth”, so the name of the town is “the Mouth of the Zguid River. From here the road travels north to Taznakht, famous for its Berber gelims and carpets, where we stop for lunch. After crossing the Tizi-n-Ikhsane and Tizi-n-Tighatine passes, we reach Taliouine, the heart of the saffron growing region. There is a small but interesting saffron museum about the production of saffron, which is well worth a visit. The scent as you enter is delicious. The road takes us on to Taroudant, where we stop for the night in a riad.

4th day: Taroudant – Essaouira
In the morning, there is a visit to the town, known as “the little Marrakesh”. It is spectacular for its massive ramparts and beautiful medina. From here you travel west as far as Agadir, travelling along the Souss river valley with all its thousands of argane trees which are endemic to Morocco. Argane oil has a high nutritional value, is used cosmetically for the skin and hair, and the leaves and “waste” products of the nuts are valuable animal fodder.  The road then travels up the coast, driving through Taghazout, the surfers’  paradise and through the mountains. On arriving in Essaouira, you can explore the town, the Skala, the medina and all its innumerable shops as well as the seafront with its fresh fish restaurants. The night is spent in Essaouira.

5th day: Essaouira – Marrakech
After breakfast you can continue to wander around Essaouira, getting to know it better, perhaps enjoying more of the fresh fish. Return to Marrakesh, stopping perhaps at a co-operative of argane oil producers offering higher quality and less expensive oil than that outside Morocco. We pass many Berber villages on the way and reach Marrakech by the end of the afternoon.

Prices per person

No Days Meals
5  All-inclusive
Total price
2 persons
545 € *
1090€ *
3 persons
465 € *
1395 € *
4 persons
435 € *
1740 € *
5 persons
415 € *
2075 € *
6 persons
415 € *
2490 € *

There is a 25% reduction for children under 12 years old whilst we do not charge for children under 5.

The price for trips includes transport in a private air-conditioned 4×4 a Toyota Prado, and fuel, an experienced English/French/Spanish/Italian-speaking driver/guide, all accommodation and meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner (please let us know if you have a special diet), entrance fees and local guides plus the camel ride on the relevant tours.

Drinks and tips are not included.

There is an option to go to and return from the camp by 4×4.

These prices are liable to fluctuation according to the current exchange rate.

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