Sahara Self Drive Challenge
If you are a traveller and adventurer, seeking a unique experience by a 4×4 on a desert safari, we invite you into our world. Join us and hit the road to reveal the country’s heart and soul and discover the mystery of the Moroccan Sahara with our Sahara Road trip Challenge.
If you are looking for freedom, time and flexibility to have the sort of adventure you have dreamed of, the best way is to rent a car and have your very own Moroccan road trip. Self driving means you can plan our own route, take the time to stop where and when you are pleased, head off the beaten track and get to know Morocco in a much more intimate way over a longer period of time. Don’t forget: we are here to help you and add some adventure to your trip!
There are many challenges along the way, and we don’t want to spoil the surprise, but all you need is your smartphone with camera facility. And creativity always helps as well! During your trip you will get a few assignments, which will give you the possibility to meet locals along the way who will help you accomplish the Challenge. We encourage you to be spontaneous, to follow your interests and to explore Morocco in a fun way!
The road trip starts from Marrakech with its fascinating history and exotic atmosphere. Near one thousand year old pink walls surround the ancient medina, with monumental gates leading to an incredible network of tiny streets and alleyways. It’s here you’ll find Marrakesh vibrant souks, markets and artisan workshops selling fragrant spices, colorful Berber carpets, fabrics, leather-ware, handmade jewellery, lamps, pottery and much more. But you will also find grand palaces, beautiful gardens, impressive mosques, bustling squares, tombs and museums. The centre piece is Jemaa el-Fnaa, a bustling market square that hosts food stalls, storytellers, snake charmers, belly dancers and performers in what is an unforgettable nightly spectacle. Marrakesh is world famous for it’s shopping, so make sure you will bring a spare suitcase!
Day 01 Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou
In the morning we leave the cool courtyards and sun-drenched bazars behind us and drive towards the High Atlas Mountains. You will cross the pass of Tizi-N-Tichka, offering breathtaking panoramic views of quasi-desert landscapes, fertile valleys and red colored Berber villages along the way. Take a step back in time when you make a stop in the small Berber village of Telouet, where you will find the old Kasbah, also called the Palace of Glaoui. This beautiful old Kasbah was built between the 18th and 19th century, and has some nice preserved rooms.
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 the stunning Ait Ben Haddou, which still inhabits four families and is still used as filming location for many series and movies such as Gladiator, Cleopatra, Prison Break and many more.We will spend the night in one of the former Kasbah’s and when we start the next day and when we look at Ait Ben haddou as the sun rises, it’s easy to imagine how incredible this place must have once been.
Day 02 Ait Ben Haddou to Dades Valley
In Ouarzazate you will meet Khadija and learn how to make real Moroccan bread and take some delicious home made food from her with you on the trip. Practice some Arabic phrases while you are having tea, and just accept it when the grandmother of Khadija for sure wants to put some traditional black kohl on your eyes. After filling your picknick basket you will continue the road and drive towards Skoura, a scenic stretch of rose gardens and palm groves. Its towering mud brick castle Amirdil reminds of past times when the small town was a bustling caravan crossroad filled with spice and gold merchants on their way to Ouarzazate. Here you can enjoy some of the food you prepared this morning with Khadija and have a lovely walk around the Kasbah.
The next stop will be the Dades Gorge and Valley, with different types of interesting and unusual geological formations in a beautiful scenic landscape with Berber villages, plantations and the Dades River. This evening you can practice your music skills in Hotel Babylon and have a tea with Mustafa and his friends.
Day 03 Dades Valley to Merzouga
After breakfast, we will make a stop at the famous monkey fingers mountains in Tamlalt. 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 continue our trip 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.
From here we leave all the mountains and rock formations behind us and wait until the golden dunes appear at the horizon. We ask our selves what it is, that draws us to the Sahara? Maybe the majesty of saffron dunes, changing color as the sun gradually sinks? Or the waking up at night with the Milky Way above you?
After two hours we will arrive at the small desert village of Erfoud. Here you will meet with Hanan and her sister Aisha to have a walk to the local Souk together and trying in your best Arabic to buy all the things you need for the desert. You will continue your drive towards the golden sand dunes and change your 4×4 for a camel, just in time for the sunset. Your camel will bring you to your camp where you can enjoy a traditional Moroccan dinner under the starry sky, and later relax around the camp fire while listening to the nomads playing drums. Here you will find your answer about what draws us to the Sahara maybe: having the feeling of complete solitude and being far away from civilization.
Day 04 Merzouga to Agdz
The next morning Youssef will wake you up to see the sunrise. Don’t forget the things you bought yesterday with Hanan!
After breakfast and saying good bye to your camel you will start the drive towards Rissani, a village with a real Sahara feeling. Have a tea or coffee at one of the terraces and watch the life goes by.
Later you will continue your way towards the beautiful Draa Valley with thousand of palms and old Kasbah’s. Be sure to buy some fresh dates here as they are just delicious. You will spend the night in a lovely hotel in Agdz.
Day 05 Agdz to Marrakech
The next day you will experience the mountain roads Djebel saghro and tizi’n –Tinififft. You can have several stops to enjoy the panoramic views here. You will arrive in Ouarzazate again and this time you will see and learn everything why it’s also called ‘the Hollywood of Africa’.
From here its a four hour drive back to Marrakech (Insha’Allah!)
The Challenge normally starts from Marrakech with duration of five days. But we can adjust the tour with a shorter or even longer period of time. One couple can do the Challenge but it will be even more fun when you are a group to see who will accomplish the Challenge the best way. So treat yourself with a journey you will never forget and join us!