The best way to travel from Marrakesh to Fez is to head west to the desert, where you can explore Morocco’s famous Erg Chebbi, the largest sand dunes in the country. This ancient trade route travels through diverse and enchanting landscapes.
Today we will have private guided tour of Marrakesh’s medina with an official guide. Your driver will meet you after breakfast and introduce you to your local city guide. Today, you will see the famous Koutoubia, Jemaa el Fna square and its nearby souks, and we will explore a number of Marrakesh’s architectural and artistic wonders – Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Saadian tombs, the Bahia Palace, and Majorelle Gardens. We spend this night at the local riad in the medina.
Today we depart Marrakesh after breakfast at the riad. We cross the Tizi n’Tichka pass of the High Atlas Mountains. We will stop for lunch and a visit of the UNESCO World Heritage site Ait Benhaddou. This is arguably Morocco’s best preserved kasbah. In fact we are now traveling on the ancient trade route between Marrakesh and the Sahara known as the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs. After touring the fortress, we continue through the city of Ouarzazate, also known as the gateway to the desert. This is the Hollywood of Morocco. Here there is the opportunity to visit the cinema museum and another kasbah, Taourirt Kasbah. It is not difficult to see why Ouarzazate was the backdrop to many blockbuster films, including Gladiator. Tonight we will have dinner and stay in a local hotel.
The next day, after breakfast, we continue to the Rose Valley. If we are travelling during May, this is when the roses are in bloom and the is a local annual rose festival held here. This is where most of Morocco’s rosewater, perfumes, cosmetics and skincare are produced. Even off-season, you can visit a rose collective and see the products they create. We continue to the Dades Gorges to see the famous “monkey fingers” geological formation and to have lunch. Next we travel to an even steeper and narrower gorge, known as Todra Gorge. This is a classic destination for rock climbers and we can stop here for a little walk while we explore the cliffs. Finally, Morocco’s tallest sand dunes will begin to show on the horizon as we near Erg Chebbi and Merzouga village, at the foot of the dunes. Tonight we will stay in a desert hotel at the edge of the dunes.
Today we embark on a tour of the Moroccan desert after breakfast. We’ll hop into the 4×4 and travel around the dunes a little bit until arriving in Khamlia village, famous as a centre of Gnawa music. We will enjoy a musical performance and have lunch nearby. In the afternoon, we will return to the desert hotel in Merzouga where you will meet your camel guide. This guide will get you acquainted with your camels before leading you and your caravan deep into the heart of Erg Chebbi to our desert camp. Here you will be served a traditional Moroccan dinner and there will be an opportunity to try out some Moroccan drumming around the campfire. Sleep under the stars or in a classic Berber nomad tent (khaima).
After waking up early to see the desert sunrise if you like, hop back on the camels and return to Merzouga village where breakfast awaits at the hotel. There is a little time to relax and take a shower or a dip in the swimming pool if it’s warm out. Then we drive torwards Rissani. If we are lucky, we will be visiting on market day. We will stop in Rissani for lunch. In the afternoon, we say goodbye to the desert and begin the northern section of our journey, travelling through the palm-tree-lined Ziz valley to Midelt, the centre of apple production in Morocco. Here we stop for dinner and to spend the night in a local hotel.
After breakfast, we will continue northwards through the mountainous landscape and into the cedar forests of Azrou. There is a very good chance that we will encounter some wild Barbary monkeys here. They are mostly friendly and you can interact with them if you like. After our monkey adventure we will continue to Ifrane, the “Switzerland of Morocco.” This mountain town was developed in a Swiss Alps style and is located near Morocco’s ski resorts. We can stop to do some exploring on foot here before continuing to Fez. We will have dinner and stay in a local riad in Fez this night.
Today you can explore the UNESCO-protected Fez medina with an official tour guide. Fez medina is one of the oldest and most beautiful in Morocco. You will feel like you have been transported back in time in the medieval cobbled streets. There are leather tanneries and thriving ceramics workshops. Fez is also renowned for its intricately tiled gates, mosques, towers and madrasas. In the late afternoon we say our goodbyes and conclude our tour when we leave you at the airport or another location of your choice in Fez.