7 Days desert tour from Marrakech
Day 1: Marrakesh – Taroudant
Departure from your hotel or riad into the High Atlas Mountains, across the famous Tizi-n-Test pass, stopping at the Tinmal mosque, which may be visited by non-Moslems. Lunch will be in a mountain restaurant with superb views. Descending the other side we reach Taroudant, known as “the little Marrakesh”. It is spectacular for its massive ramparts and beautiful medina. It is here that you spend the night in a riad set in a large garden with olive and orange trees.
Day 2: Taroudant – Chagaga
After breakfast, we continue to Taliouine, which is the heart of the saffron growing area in Morocco where yu can visit the small but interesting, government run saffron museum. We cross the two passes of Tizi-n-Tighatine and Tizi-n-Ikhsane before reaching Kourkouda and Taznakht. This small town is famous for its Berber gelims and carpets. From here we continue south and drive into the Sahara across the stony desert, “reg” and “hammada” and across the now dried-up Lake Iriqui. In the middle of this lake we can search for fossils. Lunch will be in Chagaga, far away from villages and ‘civilisation’. Here you take a camel ride and can clamber up to the top of the high dunes to watch the sunset. At the foot of the dunes, we have dinner and spend the night in a bivouac of nomad tents.
Day 3: Chagaga – Zagora
After breakfast in the bivouac, the itinerary takes you across another 60 km of desert road via the Sacred Oasis to arrive in M’hamid. Here you will be taken to visit Abdelhadi’s ancestral house in the old village on the opposite side of the Dra’a River. At a riad outside the village, we will stop for a shower, lunch and a rest. Later we take the road again towards Zagora, where we stop for the night in a bivouac of nomad tents, where you can have a camel ride before dinner.
Day 4: Zagora – Merzouga
After breakfast, we follow the ancient route of the caravans which used to ply their goods brought from Mali or Mauritania in Marrakesh and Fes. We continue along the Dra’a River, travelling between the river and the mountains past all the Kasbahs and local gardens to get an impression of life here in this remote area of Morocco. Leaving the Dra’a behind, we turn east in Tansikht and start the next step of the journey towards Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi dunes. We stop for lunch at a riad in N’Qob overlooking the mountains. Later we pass through Tazzarine, featured in the film “Babel” and reach the bivouac in Merzouga, where you will be greeted with a glass of tea. If you wish, you can take another camel ride to watch the sun go down over the dunes, followed by dinner and the night a nomad tent.
Day 5: Merzouga – Tinghir/Toudgha – Dades Gorges
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 you can walk in the dunes before leaving for Tinghir and the Toudgha gorges for lunch. The road passes through Tinjdad and the Toudgha Valley. Here there are plenty of opportunities to walk, such as along the river through the gardens or up the road on the other side of the gorges. Later the itinerary continues to the Dades Valley and the Dades Gorges for the night in a hotel.
Day 6: Dades Gorges – Ouarzazate
After breakfast a walk in the Dades Gorges is scheduled. Back at the car, the trip to Ouarzazate continues, going off-road along the Boutarar piste to visit Berber nomads in their caves and partake of a glass of tea with them. From here we continue through the Valley of the Roses, famous for its Rose Festival in May, and past the kasbahs of Skoura. In Ouarzazate, you stay in a riad.
Day 7: Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Telouet – Marrakesh
After breakfast, the route goes on to Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, a World Heritage site and the backdrop for many Hollywood blockbusters. It is the most famous Kasbah in Morocco. From there the road continues to Telouet, along the newly asphalted road. This kasbah is set right in the midst of the mountains and was once the seat of the last Pasha of Marrakesh, El Glaoui, from where the highest pass in Africa, Tizi-n-Tichka was controlled. At the end of the afternoon we arrive in Marrakesh