This is a wonderful trip for anyone who needs to get from Fez to Marrakesh while taking in smaller towns and some less touristy adventures. This tour proceeds at a leisurely pace, allowing you to truly take in the Berber desert culture in the area around Erg Chebbi, Morocco’s famous sand dunes.
After breakfast, we leave Fez towards sahara passing through Ifrane, which looks like a quaint Swiss mountain town. Once we reach the cedar forests of Azrou we will likely encounter some Barbary monkeys. We end our first day in the “apple town” of Midelt, where we will stay in a local riad.
Following the Ziz Valley, the landscape will begin to gradually change to desert today passing Errachidia and Erfoud, we will reach Rissani. Here we will visit a market (souk) if it is market day. We’ll see livestock, clothing, spices and produce on display, before reaching Merzouga on the edge of the sahara. We’ll spend the night in a local hotel in this quiet desert village.
Today we’ll explore the area around Erg Chebbi by 4×4. We will see the community gardens and venture into some off-road locations, possibly sharing a cup of tea or lunch with some local nomadic families if we cross paths. We will return to Merzouga in the late afternoon, when your camel guide will get you set up on the caravan and lead you into the heart of the dunes of Erg Chebbi. When you arrive at our desert camp, there will be a hot traditional Moroccan dinner, a campfire and drumming under the stars. Sleep in a Berber nomad tent in this magical and wild setting.
Wake up to see the sunrise over the dunes if you like and then hop on the camels to return to Merzouga. After breakfast and a shower, we have some time to relax in the village, visiting the community gardens and taking a dip in the outdoor pool. Continue exploring the dunes on foot and try out some sand boarding if you like. In the afternoon we drive to Khamlia. This desert town is renowned for the numerous Gnawa musicians who make a home there. We’ll enjoy a small concert there before heading to a local riad to spend the night.
After breakfast, we start our journey, passing through the Berber villages of Tinjdad and Tinghir. We will experience the steep rock walls of the Todra Gorge – a rock climber’s paradise. We arrive in the peaceful Dades Gorges with time to explore and see the peculiar “monkey fingers” rock formations. Travel a little further past the Valley of the Roses (the roses usually bloom in May) until we reach Ourzazate, famous for its film industry.
After your breakfast we will have some time to check out the film studio before leaving Ouarzazate along the Road of the Thousand Kasbahs. This is the ancient trade route between the Whole of the Sahara and Marrakesh. We’ll see the most well preserved Kasbah, Ait Benhaddou, the setting for numerous Hollywood films and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, we will cross the Atlas Mountains via the highest road pass in morocco, Tizi n’Tichka (2260m high) offering impressive views of valleys, mountains and many Berber villages nearby. We conclude our tour in the late evening when we deliver you to a location of your choosing in Marrakesh.