The Majestic Dunes – 5 days

 

1st day: Marrakesh – Agdez
8 o’clock departure from your hotel/riad in Marrakesh to Ouarzazate, crossing the High Atlas and the pass of Tizi-n-Tichka (2260m). At panoramic viewpoints, there’ll be opportunities to stop to take pictures.

After lunch in Ouarzazate, we visit the Kasbah of Taourirt in the town centre, once the residence of the Pasha of Marrakech and a symbol of the feudal period of the lords of the Atlas. In the afternoon we drive along the Dra’a Valley, famous as the date basket of Morocco of which there are more than 18 varieties. Fruit trees and vegetables are the main crops but henna is also a well-known product of the region. The agriculture is very labour-intensive because it takes place on terraced fields. Seguias (small canals) transport the water from the river to the fields.

The head of the valley is Agdez which you can see miles before reaching it as you descend the mountains.  Here you stay a night in a guest house.

2nd day: Agdez – M’hamid
After breakfast, a visit to Kasbah Tamnougalte is planned.  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.

In the afternoon, the trip takes us to M’hamid, which marks the end of the paved road and the beginning of the desert. A one to one & a half-hour camel ride takes us to the nearest high dune, where the view of the sunset is magnificent. The night is spent in a nomadic tent close to the dunes of Erg Lihoudi.

3rd day: M’hamid – Chagaga
After breakfast we return to M’hamid, across the now usually dry Dra’a River, to visit the old village with its adobe houses and covered streets to protect against the sometimes searing desert heat.

In the afternoon, the 4×4 takes us to the Erg Chagaga dunes, travelling some 60km 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.

4th day: Chagaga – Ouarzazate
After breakfast, the road takes us west through another 90km of the desert with varying scenery: Lake Iriqui, where you are likely to experience a wide mirage in the heat, the mountains, and fossils, which the interested can look for and probably find.

Lunch will be in Foum Zguid, the first village after the desert. “Foum” means “mouth” so the name is the “mouth/source” of the Zguid River.

From here the drive goes north along paved roads and past amazing rock formations to the small town of Taznakht, famous for its Berber carpets and rugs. Once back in Ouarzazate, you stay in a riad for the night.

5th day: Ouarzazate – Marrakesh
After breakfast we make a morning departure to the Kasbah of Tifoultoute and the cinema studios, continuing to the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, the backdrop to many Hollywood blockbusters, such as the Kingdom of Heaven and the Gladiator and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the most famous Kasbah in Morocco and one of the most visited spots in the whole country.

We continue up the Ounila Valley with the green fields and gardens running parallel down below full of bends in the roads, surprises at the hues of the rock and soil, 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 Telouet set right in the midst of the mountains and was once the seat of the last Pasha of Marrakesh, Thami El Glaoui, from where the highest pass in Africa, Tizi-n-Tichka was controlled. The Glaoui wealth came in part from the salt mines just outside the village. Each addition to the Kasbah building now stands in ruins exposed to the wind and the rain, having been abandoned and plundered after Glouai 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.

At the end of the afternoon, we arrive in Marrakesh.

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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