Marrakesh, Dades gorges, Erg Chebbi cameltrek, Fes (5 days)

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Overview:

Embark on this 5-day Marrakesh desert tour to the red dunes of Erg Chebbi in Merzouga, spanning the two imperial cities of Marrakesh and Fes. Cross the majestic Atlas Mountains and the Tizi-n-Tichka pass with visits to Kasbah Telouet and the UNESCO World Heritage Site; Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou.

Take photographs in the film studios in Ouarzazate and drive along the Road of a 1000 Kasbahs, wander Skoura Oasis palm groves and explore the beautifully restored Kasbah of Amredhil and the Rose Valley full of Damascene roses.

Take a walk by the river through the Toudgha Gorges or go for a two-hour hike with a local guide, if desired. Spend an overnight in a beautiful guest-house in the Dades Valley with time to explore the gardens and fields the next morning.

Ride camels to the top of the 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’s rest in your own private tent in the Merzouga desert.

Enjoy a full day in the desert: go for a one-day camel trekking in the dunes, take a half a day 4×4 tour around the dunes, with a visit to Khamlia village, or wander the dunes barefoot and read your favourite book.

Drive by the Ziz Valley, stop by Berber villages 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 over the High Atlas Mountains and through the Tizi-n-Tichka pass enjoying the landscape
  • Explore UNESCO World Heritage Site; Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, and Kasbah Telouet
  • Visit the beautifully restored Kasbah Amredhil and wander the Skoura Oasis palm groves
  • Drive off-road along the Valley of the Roses and the Road of 1000 Kasbahs
  • Hike in the Toudgha Gorges and the Dades Valley with a local guide, or stroll along the river
  • Spend wonderful nights in a desert camp at the foot of the Erg Chebbi dunes
  • Share evenings of Berber music and drumming around a fire camp with the nomads
  • Enjoy a sunset camel ride in Erg Chebbi Dunes and take selfies wearing blue turbans
  • Enjoy a full day camel trekking in Merzouga or go on half a day 4×4 tour around the dunes
  • 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-ff 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
  • Two overnights 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 of going to and 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, the 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 tailored to accommodate your points of interest
  • Additional activities, such as quad-biking or full day camel trekking in Erg Chebbi Dunes, can be added to this tour
  • On the second day in Merzouga, you can choose to go on a full day trekking in the desert or go on a half a day 4×4 tour around the dunes and to the Khamlia village
  • You can choose to go to the camp either on camelback or by the 4×4 (then you go for your camel ride from the camp itself)
  • 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
  • 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 o’clock 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, and which now stands in ruins after the last Pasha fled the country, following the departure of the French.

From there you continue for lunch at Ait Ben Haddou along the newly asphalted connecting road. This is the most famous Kasbah in Morocco and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which we visit after lunch.

After visiting the Kasbah, you continue to Ouarzazate where you spend the night in a riad.

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 – 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 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. Lunch will be in a Berber village along the way.

At the bivouac, 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

After breakfast, you take the camels, either riding or walking behind, as they carry everything needed to cook your lunch, which will be prepared out in the dunes by your camel man. You’ll walk about three hours in the morning, followed by another three in the afternoon returning to the bivouac for dinner and the night.

Alternatively, after breakfast, you will explore the desert area more fully. First of all, you will be visit the Gnawa people in the village of Khamlia. They specialize in Gnawa music brought from sub-Saharan Africa with the slave trade. They will play some for you.  

 Afterward, you will visit the old city of Rissani. This small town was the foundation of the Alaouite dynasty – the current ruling royal family in Morocco. It is surrounded by 360 ksars (a ksar is a fortified village with many towers) and has a large souk (an open market) held three times a week. Here you’ll walk through the souk, which sells spices, vegetables, household goods, and handicrafts. Rissani has been built on the site of Sijilmassa, which was the meeting place for the salt caravans, coming from Timbuktu in Mali.

And then in the afternoon, you will mount your camel, and be led by an experienced camel man through the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi at Merzouga for an hour to an hour and a half to watch the sunset and spend the night back in your chosen camp. 

5th 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.

From there the road leads north to Er Rachidia and the Ziz Valley, remarkable for the extent of its palm trees. Lunch is in Midelt, which is called “the apple capital”, in the Middle Atlas and at the foot of the Ayachi Mountain.

We cross the Tizi-n-Talremt pass and reach Azrou, where you can see Barbary apes looking out for tidbits. We reach Fez in the early evening.

Prices per person

No Days Meals
5
 Full-board
Total price
2 persons
545 € *
1090 € *
3 persons
495 € *
1485 € *
4 persons
445 € *
1780 € *
5 persons
420 € *
2100 € *
6 persons
420 € *
2520 € *

 

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