Kasbahs and Sahara 4 days / 3 nights
Description of the tour
Southern Morocco is like a country in itself, bringing together evocative cities, mountains, gorges and wonderful deserts, numerous old walled towns, the "Ksur", mud fortresses - many still inhabited.
This is the route through Morocco to discover the Great South!
This is an area that hangs on to its distinctive past, where there are many regions where the old lifestyle endures, with traditions that remain to this day; cabinetmakers, tanners, potters, weavers ... who use identical methods as those used by their ancestors, with their customs and traditions, despite the ever encroaching trappings of our digital world.
Travel to the Sahara with expert guides, who know the area inside out and take you to the Sahara, whose beauty defies description, and dazzles in the day, leaving magical nights under the stars.
Day1 Marrakesh – Gorges of Dadès
Morning departure from our guests’ Riad or hotel at 8am.
Leave Marrakesh towards the Gorges of Dadès crossing the High Atlas and a mountain pass; the Tizi'n Tichka, at 2,260 meters, the highest in Morocco, with spectacular views, as the route passes through small Berber settlements on the slopes of the mountains with their characteristic ochre hues, blending with the landscape and making the houses of the Amazigh, (Berbers) look camouflaged as only the white of the sheep stand out against the hillsides.
We will stop to rest, and taste a mint tea or café and visit a women's cooperative, where they prepare argan oil and all kinds of cosmetics and oils, making an ideal break along the way.
Once over the highest point, we will be descend into a more arid, desert landscape as we head to the Gorges of Dadès as the road continues to Ouarzazate – film location capital, where the studios "Atlas" are based and where movies such as; Gladiator, Asterix and Cleopatra, The Jewel of the Nile, and many other titles were recorded. Following this, we enter the Valley of Skoura also known as the “Route of a thousand Kasbahs” and the Valley of the Roses. We will be guided round the Amridil Kasbah, one of the most famous of all those still standing.
Overnight in the Gorges of Dadès
Day 2 Gorges of Dadès – Sahara at Merzouga
The route through Morocco continues along the Valley of Dadès throughto the Gorges of Todra, the deepest in Morocco where we will stroll a while by the banks of the river and enjoy the views of the magnificent rocky canyon.
We will then continue in our 4x4 to the palm groves of Jorf to visit underground channels - an ancient irrigation system that the people of the town used to take water to their lands. We will pass through the small town of Erfoud, known for its fossils, and in the afternoon arrive at the great dunes of Erg Chebbi, where the dromedaries await you to enter the dunes and enjoy the sunset.
A magical night in our camp, sleeping in the typical Khaimahs nestled by the dunes.
Day 3 Sahara at Merzouga – Agdz
Early to rise today to enjoy the sunrise over the Sahara, breakfast and pack up before picking up our vehicle which will take us to the Drâa Valley. First stop is the charming village of Rissani,ancient market town of nomads. We will continue through theBlack Desert with its acacias until Nekob, an oasis with 45 adobe palaces or "Ksur", before heading through the Drâa Valley, whose river - the Drâa is the longest in southern Morocco, rising in the High Atlas and providing water for endless orchards and groves. We will make a last halt in Agdz to enjoy the sight of the palm forests and visit the Tamnougalt Kasbah belonging to the local mayor.
Overnight in Agdz
Day 4 Agdz – Marrakesh
After breakfast, depart from Agdz to Marrakesh, passing through the mountains of Aït Saoun, to Aït Ben Haddou, where we can stop for a quiet meal and then visit the Kasbah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, often used as a Hollywood film set.
Shortly after we descend the Unila Valley lined with Berber villages and on to the Kasbah Telouet, which we will stop to visit. Here was the site of the great Palace of the Glaoui clan, a jewel of Moorish architecture, built in the 18th century to control the salt caravan routes crossing from Sub-Saharan lands through the Drâa Valley onwards to the imperial cities.
All that remains is to cross back over the High Atlasmountain pass of the Tizi'n Tichka and descend into the valley again.
Afternoon arrival back at your riad or hotel in Marrakesh.