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!
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.
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