Solidarity tour through southern Morocco: Kasbahs and nomads
Description of the tour
There are many ways to travel...
On this route through Morocco we will take advantage to admire the wonderful landscapes of Morocco, learn about its culture and humility. On this route through Morocco, at some point our hearts will go out to those around us, because it is difficult to become indifferent to what we are going to see, but without hesitation, it will be a lesson in gratitude for all that we have and to the extent we can help with a gesture, leaving for example, used clothes to some family or some food.
We will enjoy stony landscapes, which cross deep gorges and descend from the High Atlas to the green oases, in the shade of date palms. Orchards and fruit trees that grow thanks to the efforts of generations of "fellahs" (peasants) with their lands watered by wells that feed a labyrinth of clay ditches.
Ancient walled villages – the Ksur, authentic mud fortresses –, some of the most beautiful of which are located on the initial course of the Drâa River.
Do we need to say more? Come and experience it for yourselves!
Day 1 Marrakesh – Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou – Agdz
We will leave Marrakesh heading to Agdz crossing the High Atlas where, en route we will be crossing over the Tizi-n-Tichka, at 2,260m the highest in Morocco, and will stop to take in some spectacular views of the highlands. We will take a break on the way for a mint tea and visit a local cooperative which produces argan cosmetics and oils from the nut of the argan tree.
Once over the highest point, we will descend into a more arid, desert landscape as we descend into the 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.
From here the route continues through the Unila Valley with its wonderful landscapes and Berber villages, to Aït Ben Haddou, where we can stop for a leisurely meal and then visit the Kasbah, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and the place where They have filmed scenes from many Hollywood movies such as Gladiator.
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. At the end of the day we cross the mountains of Aït Saoun with its lunar landscape, before arriving in Agdz located in the Drâa Valley.
Overnight in Agdz
Day 2 Agdz – the Drâa Valley - Sahara at Ouzina
After breakfast we head out into the Sahara at Ouzina, as we follow the Drâa Valley with its palm groves all the way to Zagora. Here we opt for the former Paris-Dakar route through the desert on a day of adventure off the beaten track, visiting on the way a local school.
Lunch will be taken under the shade of the acacias and in the afternoon, we will stop at the Kasbah of Ouzina.
Overnight in Ouzina
Day 3 Ouzina – Merzouga (Erg Chebbi)
After breakfast we will part from the palm groves by the Kasbah of Ouzina, with its handful of families heading back out towards the Sahara towards Merzouga, stopping on the way at the village of Khamlia, known for its traditional music, where most of its inhabitants are of Sudanese origin. We will enjoy a performance from one of the groups famous for their "Gnawa" music and dance rhythms while drinking tea in sign of hospitality. Afternoon arrival at the great dunes of Erg Chebbi, where we will change our 4x4 for your mounts – the dromedaries which await to take you into the dunes to enjoy the sunset.A magical night in our camp, sleeping in the typical Khaimahs nestled by the dunes. Dinner and breakfast in the Sahara
Day 4 Nomads of the Sahara (Merzouga)
Early start to see the sunrise, then we pick up our 4x4 to meet nomadic families in the desert so that we can collaborate in humanitarian tasks and offer either food or clothingor educational materials, whichever you deem appropriate. We will also pass through schools located in very small villages, where they have few opportunities to get school supplies.
Afternoon return to our hotel to rest.
Day 5 Merzouga – Rissani – Gorges of Todra – Gorges of Dadès
A morning stop at Rissani, to see its market, (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) unique in the area, which attracts numerous nomads, before continuing the route in 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 then get back onto the metalled road to Tinerhir, a small and prosperous town that offers a beautiful panorama of contrasts with its pink houses and palm groves, ideal starting point to enter the famous Gorges of Todra, where we can walk a little following the course of the river and have lunch. We then follow our route in 4x4 to Boumalne Dadès, town located in the Valley of Birds at 1,612m in the High Atlas.
Afternoon arrival in the Gorges of Dadès and overnight.
Day 6 Dadès- M’ Goun – Valley of the Roses- Skoura – Ouarzazate
After breakfast, we leave behind the Gorges of Dadès heading towards Ouarzazate via a track that crosses the M'Goun Valley, a road where only 4x4 vehicles can pass with experienced drivers. You will visit one of the Berber families in the area, nomads who survive a little livestock and a common dwelling.
They usually invite you for tea and greatly appreciate any help you may receive, be it food or clothing, as there are many mouths to feed. We then follow the dirt track, until the Valley of the Roses, where you can visit the oil and rose water cooperative.
The Rose of Damascus rose is used to prepare all cosmetics. Later we resume the journey along the so-called “Route of a Thousand Kasbahs”, which leads to the Skoura Valley, where you can visit the beautiful Kasbah of Amridil, one of the most scenic in this area and best preserved.
In the afternoon arrival at Ouarzazate You will sleep on the outskirts of the town, in an oasis dwelling transformed it into a family hostel. This is where the solidarity route ends.
Day 7 Ouarzazate – Marrakesh
After breakfast departure to Marrakesh passing through the highest mountain pass of all Morocco, the Tizi-n-Tichka (2260) until you reach Marrakesh.
Afternoon arrival in Marrakesh and end of our services.