Day 01 Marrakech to Zagora
When we leave Marrakech behind us in the early morning, we travel through the Atlas Mountains and Tizi N Tichka Pass with some stunning views. You will want to stop several times to take photos as the mountains are very impressive, with beautiful small Berber villages where it seems time has stood still.
After 4 hours we will reach Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, the largest Kasbah in Morocco and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Four families still inhabit this magnificent old place and it’s sometimes used as a filming location for movies and series. We will have lunch here and you will have some free time to wander around. Later on we will continue the trip to Zagora through the breathtaking Draa Valley where thousands of palms can be found. Be sure to buy some fresh dates on the local market here, they are just delicious.
Arriving in Zagora, you will meet your camel which will take you on a one hour camel ride to reach the desert camp where you will spend the night. But first we will enjoy a traditional Moroccan dinner under the stars, relax around the camp fire and listen to music played by the nomads.
Day 02 Zagora to Merzouga Off Road
After breakfast, we leave early because we expect a phase of 280 km of the track ‘Paris-Dakar Rally’. In this no-man’s land, running parallel to the border with Algeria, life is tough. Here you will get the feeling what’s the desert all about. The mountains, the plains, the sand dunes, but most of all: silence. Here you can drive for one hour and see and hear nothing what’s alive. Only the warm wind and sometimes freely roaming camels. Sometimes we see some nomadic Berbers, searching for small sticks to make a fire. You ask yourself how those people can live so far from civilization.
We will have lunch in a small house somewhere around the village of Tafrawt.
After we will continue the dirt road until we arrive in Merzouga. Dinner and Overnight in Hotel near the Dunes.
Day 03 Merzouga Erg Chebbi Dunes
This morning we will experience another part of the ‘Paris-Dakar Rally’ by visiting the desert nomads where we can have some tea and see the oasis where some movies like ‘Sahara‘ was filmed. Sometimes there is water and you can have a swim in the palm tree filled oasis.
After some relaxation and lunch (or picknick) we drive back and visit the town ‘Gnawa Khandi’ (Town of black people), named after the trade in slaves, and where still some families who were in this time were brought from Sudan, still live. You can enjoy some typical Gnawa music from them.
Then it’s time to change the 4×4 for camels and head into the dunes to enjoy the magnificent sunset in the desert and sleep in a traditional or luxury Nomad tent.
Dinner and music in the camp.
Day 04 Merzouga to Dades Valley
After breakfast, we will say good bye to our camels and start the drive towards Tingerhir and Todra Gorge, a deep dramatic canyon where the cliffs are 600 meter high and only 10m apart. We will have lunch here, or in the Berber village Tinjdad.
We will continue our way to the beautiful Dades Valley with different types of interesting and unusual geological formations in a beautiful scenic landscape with Berber villages, plantations and the Dades River. We make a stop at the famous monkey fingers mountains in Tamlalt before arriving at the hotel. The cliffs are a spectacular rock formation, shaped like monkey fingers, rising up from the river. One of the natural wonders of Morocco which can not be missed. After shooting some photos, we will bring you to Mustafa in his lovely hotel Babylon. Dinner and music in the hotel.
Day 05 Dades Valley to Ourzazate
Today we will drive towards Skoura, a scenic stretch of rose gardens and palm groves. Its towering mud brick castle Amirdil tells of past times when the small town was a bustling caravan crossroad filled with spice and gold merchants on their way to Ouarzazate.
This once incredibly wealthy region of Morocco was given the nickname The Valley of the 1000 Kasbahs, with prime position on the trans-Saharan trading route, beautifully ornate and phenomenally expensive Kasbahs filled the valley. The most famous one is Ait Ben Haddou, which we already visited the first day, and where we will have dinner and spend the night. But first we continue the old caravan road until Ouarzazate where we will visit the Cinema Studios and the Kasbah of Taourirt. Ouarzazate is also called the ‘Hollywood of Africa’ as it was, and still is, used as a filming location for several big productions such as Cleopatra, Gladiator, Prison Break and many more. You can have a walk around the enormous sets which were used for those movie productions. It brings beautiful and fun photo-opportunities!
Day 06 Ait Ben Haddou to Marrakech
After breakfast we will drive towards the High Atlas Mountains following the Ounila Valley until we reach the small Berber village of Telouet. You will enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of quasi-desert landscapes, fertile valleys and red colored Berber villages along the way. Take a step back in time when we visit the old Kasbah of Telouet, also called the Palace of Glaoui. This beautiful old Kasbah was built between the 18th and 19th century, and has some nice preserved rooms.
From here we will take the Tizi N Tichka Pass again and drive back to Marrakech. Arrival around 4pm (Insha’Allah!)