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Morocco's Great Deserts
Morocco’s Great Deserts
The “Red” City of Marrakech & Coastal town of Essaouira
Duration: 8 Days/ 7 Nights
Morocco Travel: In Luxury 4x4
English, Arabic, French Speaking Driver, Guide
Starting & Finishing Point: Airport in Casablanca
MOROCCO’S GREAT DESERTS - PRIVATE TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:
Discover the Draa Valley
and the road of the Old Caravans
Sip Tea with the Berbers in the Saghro Mountains
Arabian Nights Desert experience In Erg Chegaga
, M’hamid and Merzouga
Discover 4 of Morocco’s Great Desert Regions
Visit the Todra Gorge and it’s Magnificent Canyon
Go by pise to the Valley of Nomads in Mount Mgoun
Overnight at a Luxury Desert Camp and stylish Moroccan Riads and Desert Lodges
Travel to Morocco and visitMorocco’s Great Deserts.
Candlelight Dinners, a Secret Spot to Picnic in the Ourika Valley, Lunch on a Private Beach. The bustling Souks of Marrakech await you.
Private Travel to Morocco. Book a Tour or call (800) 787-8806. Let us be your guide to Morocco Travel.
DAY 1: OUARZAZATE - DRAA VALLEY - ZAGORA - M’HAMID - ERG CHEGAGA
Pick up at your Boutique Riad in Ouarzazate. Begin your tour to Morocco’s Great Desert Regions.
Take the road to M'hamid
and Erg Chegaga
. En route to M’hamid you will pass the magnificent Draa Valley, known for its 45 qualities of dates. Take Road of the Old Caravans to Agdz. Stop for a picturesque view in Agdz and its stunning palmerie along with local trade routes famous for bringing dates, spices and other goods from the South to Marrakech.
Visit Kasbah Tamnagoult. Continue to M’hamid.
Discover M'hamid Iriki. M'hamd is known at Bounou, once a thriving village or Ait Atta Berbers and local Drawa Tribes. Visit the Villages of Oulad Youssef, Oulad Mhaya and Ezouaya, amongst others, are scattered throughout the oasis.
Then take the road to Erg Chegaga
, the furthest dunes in this region of the Sahara Desert.
DAY 2: ERG CHEGAGA - ZAGORA
Take the road to Zagora. Zagora is a Saharan deserttown in the southern Draa Valley. Zagora is favored by travelers for its desert dunes, palms and its Hollywood sunset mountain backdrops. Take the road by pise (windy road) to discover the land where caravans once transported sugar, tea, dates and other dry goods to Ouarzazate.
Pass Zagora’s Dunes of Tinfo and visit the old Kasbah Ait Lkaid in the village of Tamegroute. At the end of the main road you will find the famous road sign to Timbuktu that reads “52 jours” – 52 hours by camel. The Dunes of Tinfo (as well as many other sand dunes in Morocco) are famous for their healing qualities for rheumatoid arthritis. Ask your guide to bury you in the sand from head to toe for this a 20 minute spa-like experience.
Visit Amzrou.Walk the palmery and hamlet set amid lemon, almond and olive trees, and gardens of the village of Amazrou. Visit the former Mellah (Jewish quarter), where a mosque now stands. Amazrou is inhabited by Arabs, Haratines and Berbers who continue the Jewish tradition of silver making. Amezrou, also home to the old Jewish Kasbah, was once the center of life for a community of talented jewelers. Most of the Jewish people are no longer there, however Berber craftsmen have taken over the tradition and their workshops are open to the public.
unique, beautifully glazed forest green pottery at the local cooperative in the desert town of Tamagroute
and pass by the Koranic library
. The holy village of Tamegroute's claim to fame through out history is the beautiful pottery created that has a glaze made of henna and is sun dried.Tamegroute has a Koranic Library that once held 40,000 volumes and theological college dating from the 11th century. The library contains a collection of illuminated Korans, the oldest of which are written on gazelle skins.
Overnight in a charming Boutique Riad or Hotel in Zagora.
Day 3: ZAGORA - ALNIF - AIT OUZZINE BERBER VILLAGE EXPLORATION - NKOB
Take the road to Ait Ouzzine via Alnif and the Sahara Desert Village of N’kob.
Arrive in N’kob in the early afternoon. Option to check in at your Riad or go directly to Ait Ouzzine.
Aït Ouzzine is a Berber village inhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani.
Meet a local Berber family, partake in a cooking lesson of how to make traditional bread and a tajine.
Explore and tour the village by foot. Walk in the green fields and see how the traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, live stock, and henna plants.
Lunch will be served to you in Aït Ouzzine by a traditional Berber family. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices and a chicken and vegetable tajine and fresh local fruits for desert.
After lunch, you can have your hands and feet painted with henna or your hair adorned with saffron by a local village artist and relax. Experience the tradition of Berber perfume made from musk and amber along with the villages own spices.
End the afternoon in Ait Ouzzine with mint tea and almonds.
Overnight in a charming Boutique Riad or Hotel in Nkob.
Day 4: N’KOB - TAZARINE - RISSANI - ERFOUD
Take the road to Tazarine. Tazarine is located 10 km from Tamsahelte, small town with 20,000 inhabitants. On a platform just above the town visit the beautiful panorama over the city with dozens of mosques and palm gardens. Take the road by piste to visit the Prehistoric rock art, Ait Waazik.
After visiting Tazarine, take the road to Rissani. Rissani in the Sahara desert town that is from the ancient Alawi Dynasty and the birthplace of King Mohammed VI, the current King of Morocco. Visit the old Mausolem of Moulay Ali Sharif, the first King of the Alawi Dynasty. Next visit Maison Taureg House and then the old Ksar of Rissani. Continue the road to Erfoud.
Learn about the traditional bread of the region referred to as Madfouna.
Next take the road to Erfoud. Visit the Sahara Desert town of Erfoud. Explore the Museum of Fossils and see how fossils are made.
Visit Royal Palace gate in Erfoud; the panoramic view from the top of the Borj-Est that rises 935 metres (3067 feet) above the city; Fossil sites in Carriere des Fossiles and the Maadid Ksar.
Erfoud is a city located in south-east Morocco. Although many ancient fortified villages have existed in the region for several centuries Erfoud was built up by the French troops after the victory of Tafilalet Battle, that took place between 1916 and 1932. Erfoud is a very active city, full of commerce, restaurants and street cafés, hotels, banks and handicraft and souvenir shops. While maintaining its name as a modern Moroccan Sahara Desert town, it still preserves a certain authenticity of an true Arab city with an impressively “wild” market and gorgeous surrounding landscapes filled of oases, dunes and rocky mountains. Erfoud is a cinema hub for many movie directors. Some well known films had several scenes shot in Erfoud, some include names as Prince of Persia 2010 by Director Dick Richards; March or Die 1977 by Director Dick Richards; The Mummy 1999 by Director Stephen Sommers.
Overnight in a charming Boutique Riad or Hotel in Erfoud.
Day 5: ERFOUD - KHEMLIA - MERZOUGA
Morning at Leisure. Enjoy the amenities at your Hotel in Erfoud. Take the road to Merzouga in the afternoon.
Visit the Musicians of Khemlia in Merzouga, a century-old Gnaoua group that performs ancient trance music. Tea and nuts will be served
Arrive in Merzouga before sunset and then go by dromedary camel 45-60 minutes, at sunset, into the Erg Chebbi Dunes to camp overnight in our luxury biouvac tent at an oasis. Your Tuareg guide will share some of the Sahara Desert’s secrets. As you glide humpback on these silent, mystical dunes, there will be countless opportunities to photograph the endless rolling desert.
Overnight in a charming Luxury Desert Camp in Merzouga.
Day 6: MERZOUGA - TINERHIR - TODRA GORGE - DADES VALLEY
Take the road to the Todra Gorge and the Dades Valley.
Visit the Todra Gorge. The Todra Gorge is a canyon in the eastern part of the High Altas Mountains in Southern Morocco near the town of Tinerhir. Both the Todra and neighboring Dades rivers have carved out cliff-sided canyons. Local people and Nomads live in the area and can be seen with their small donkeys or herding camels and goats. The drive is scenic as with the new roads built, you will drive past the hotels at the mouth of the Gorge and up to the villages of Ait Hani, Tamatouchte, The Gorge extends from the village of Tamtatouche to Tinerhir. The Todra, with cliffs rising dramatically up to 300m on each side of a narrow corridor, make up some of the most impressive cliffs and are by far, the highest in Morocco. The Todra Gorge is a spectacle with its gigantic rock walls changing color to create magical effects with the sunlight. In the morning, when the sun permeates through the bottom of the gorge, the rock changes from pink rose to deep ochre gradually throughout the rest of the day.
Have lunch inside the Todra Gorge or at one of the restaurants beneath the overhanging cliffs with a panoramic view. After lunch take the road passing the Boumalne Dades Valley.
Continue to the Dades Valley. The Dades Valley covers 125 km between the Gorge and Ouarzazate. The Boumalne Dades Valley boasts limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery and the valley’s pise (windy roads). Driving along you will pass flower filled fields, fertile fields, riverbanks and several fortified ksours. At the bottom of Gorge of Boulmane Dadès there are ruined hilltop Kasbahs and valley floor gardens. Once you reach Boumalne at first sight you notice the limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery and the valley’s pise (windy roads). Driving along you will pass flower filled fields, fertile fields, riverbanks and several fortified ksours. At the bottom of Gorge of Boulmane Dadès there are ruined hilltop Kasbahs and valley floor gardens.
Overnight in a charming Boutique Riad or Hotel in the Dades Valley.
Day 7: DADES VALLEY - BOUTHGRAR VALLEY OF NOMADS - VALLEY OF ROSES - SKOURA
Take the road to visit Bouthgrar, the Valley of Nomads, the Valley of Roses and Skoura.
The breathtaking Valley of Nomads located in Bouthgrar is a beautiful 10 kilometer valley where Nomads live in caves that are surrounded by Mount Mgoun. Mount Mgoun is the second highest mountain in Morocco and boasts extraordinary views and rustic colored, earthy scenery.
Have tea with a Nomad family. See first hand where they make their own carpets and co exist in Bouthgrar with other Nomad families. Then take the road to the Valley of Roses.
Your journey will then take you through El Kella Des Mgouna, the Valley of Roses. The perfumed Valley of Roses, just north of El Kelaa Des Mgouna is a pleasant journey in route to Ouarzazate. Your driver will stop for you to view the Capp et Florale distillation factories laid out in the small kasbah town that manufacture the entire nations products of eau de rose.
The rose water and other products such as hand and body soaps, oil, crème perfume and dried flowers are for sale and also popular among Moroccans. The factories produce 3000-4000 petals a year. With ten tons of petals required to produce a few liters of precious oil, the harvest is understandably a labor of love and the culminating festivities of the annual Rose Festival are all the livelier for it. Continue the road to Skoura.
Visit Skoura and its “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs.”Skoura is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside deserted landscapes. It is renowned for the cultivation of roses. The palm groves were laid out in the 12th century by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el-Mansour and named after its original inhabitants, the Berbers of the Haskourene tribe. The most beautiful kasbahs in southern Morocco can be found here. Many of them are still partially inhabited. Most impressive in Skoura are the many kasbahs that ripple through its dry rocky oasis.
The entrances to the palm groves in Skoura can be explored on foot, bicycle or mule-back. Ask your driver if you’re interested in stepping out of the 4x4 to see more of the area.
The small, sleepy town of Skoura has a big market Souk every Monday and a small group of administrative buildings. Most impressive in Skoura are the many kasbahs that ripple through its dry rocky oasis. Skoura is referred to as the “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs.”
Overnight in a charming Boutique Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate.
DAY 8: OUARZAZATE - MARRAKECH
Morning at Leisure. Take the road to Marrakech in the early afternoon.
During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative centre of the Zagora region. Ouarzazate became famous when it’s nearby Kasbah; Ait Benhaddou appeared in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. Visit Ait Benhaddou. Located 32 km from Ouarzazate lies the picturesque village. Aït Benhaddou of Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draa on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices. Aït Benhaddou is one of many locations in this region used for shooting Hollywood films. Aït Benhaddou which once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco.
Your guide will lead you on a private tour through this Berber village of towered and crenulated Kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas Mountains. Explore the Kasbahs by foot with the option to ride a donkey across a river. Aït Benhaddou which once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Aït Benhaddou was once a significant stop for traders carrying gold, salt and slaves along the famous Southern Caravan route moving through the Sahara.
After visiting Ait Benhaddou, continue the road to Marrakech. During your journey to Marrakech you will also pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat, as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic influences and desert borders. long the route you will see panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains as well as sights of fertile valleys, blue and red colored pise villages and other striking mineral environments.
En route you will go by piste to visit Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous Kasbahs that is the origin of the Pacha Glaoui Family. Kasbah Telout is hidden among a tiny road in a small village that is 20 minutes outside Tichka. It’s history stands alone with its original zellij tile, authentic, preserved silks and grand remnants of the Glaou family. Unlike the other Kasbahs in Southern Morocco, Telout was occupied by the Glaoui’s instead of the slaves and has stunning views. This Kasbahs has yet to be coined a UNESCO World Heritage site and while it appears in parts to be in ruins on the exterior, its interior is one of true spelndor.
En route stop for lunch and visit the Argan Cooperative where Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics are made with the Argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Have a complimentary tasting. This cooperative is run entirely by women.
Transfer to your Hotel in Marrakech.