Experience an exciting mix of culture and adventure on this 5-day desert tour from Fes to Marrakech. This desert exploration offers a great opportunity to cover the diversity of landscapes and the contrast of Morocco from the high Atlas Mountains to the golden dunes of the Erg Chebbi. You get to discover stunning Berber villages and ancient Kasbahs and learn about life in the oases.
Get your camera ready for scenic hikes through the rocky landscapes of Dades Valley and Toudgha Gorges. Journey on a camelback like a true Saharan adventurer through the windswept dunes to your campsite. Join Saharan villagers for dinner and dance around a campfire in the desert.
Book this trip to truly discover the beauty and authenticity of southern Morocco with local experts.
|Number of persons
|Price per person
Morning departure at 08:30 from your riad or hotel in Fes, as you set out south on your 5-day desert tour from Fes to Marrakech. You travel south past Ifrane, where the houses have sloping roofs, very remarkable and unusual in Morocco. This is to cope with the snowfall in the winter. You continue driving over the Middle Atlas Mountains and via the Tizi-n-Talremt pass, travelling along a beautiful road bordered by green oaks and cedar trees to reach Azrou, where you can see Barbary apes looking out for tidbits. Lunch will be in Midelt, nicknamed “the apple capital”, and is situated at the foot of the Ayachi Mountain.
Travelling further south along the main road, the itinerary takes you deeper into the mountains to enjoy breathtaking views of the varying landscape and admire beautiful Berber villages. As you start descending the mountains, you will be amazed by the splendid views of the extensive green oases and the innumerable palm trees all indicating the beginning of the Ziz Valley. You arrive in Errachidia, and then in Errissani, the last village before the Sahara Desert.
At the campsite, you check in to your tent and enjoy a relaxing glass of tea and Moroccan biscuits. Then, you take a camel ride to the summit of the Erg Chebbi dunes (250 m). You will enjoy the sunset from the top of the dunes!
Back at the camp, dinner is served, followed by an evening of nomad music and drumming around a campfire. You spend the night in your tent, equipped with a private toilet & shower, king-sized beds, mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets & carpets, lamps and beautiful Moroccan furnishings, all tastefully arranged to enhance your stay.
After breakfast in the camp, we offer you two options to choose from for your desert adventure.
First option: Enjoy a full day of desert trekking in the Sahara Desert. Camels will carry everything needed for your trek. Either, you can ride them or walk behind them as they carry what you need for your desert trek.
You will be accompanied by camel men and nomad guides who will navigate the way through the dunes and prepare your lunch on a spot among the dunes. You will walk for about three hours in the morning and another three hours in the afternoon.
Second option: You will explore the region of Merzouga more fully. First, you will visit the Gnawa people in the village of Khamlia. They specialise in Gnawa music brought from sub-Saharan Africa with the slave trade. They will play Gnawa music for you.
Afterwards, you will visit the old town of Rissani. This small town was the foundation of the Alaouite dynasty – the current ruling royal family in Morocco. It is surrounded by 360 ksars (a ksar is a fortified village with many towers) and has a large souk (an open market) held three times a week. Here you will walk through the souk, which sells spices, vegetables, household goods, and handicrafts. Rissani has been built on the site of Sijilmassa, which was the meeting place for the salt caravans, coming from Timbuktu in Mali.
And then in the afternoon, you will mount your camel, and be led by an experienced camel man through the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi at Merzouga for an hour to an hour and a half to watch the sunset. Dinner is once again in the amp and followed by an evening of nomad music and drumming around a campfire.
=> Weather conditions and temperatures in the south of Morocco are rarely stable. So, should it become too hot from May through to the end of September, we might advise you not to attempt desert trekking in the dunes but to opt for the second option instead.
If you get up early enough, you will be rewarded by an amazing spectacle of the sunrise, when the colour dunes and the play of shadows are an incredible sight. After breakfast, experience a scenic drive through the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi.
Back on the paved road, you drive to Erfoud, where you can stop at a local workshop to see the workings of thousands of fossils made into all sorts of artefacts. There is no obligation to buy anything, but the workshops are well worth a visit!
Then, you travel Between Tinjdad and Erfoud, where you can stop to visit the “khettarat”, an ingenious underground water channel system designed to minimise evaporation of the water in the desert heat. It is fascinating to climb down to experience the coolness below ground and to marvel at the ancient engineering involved.
In the Toudgha Gorges, enjoy lunch in one of the restaurants overlooking the valley. Then, you have the opportunity for a walk or to go for a short hike with a local guide beyond the gorge itself, by the village gardens and green fields.
From here, you travel further east as far as the Dades Valley, where you spend the night with dinner and breakfast in a beautiful guest house overlooking the valley.
After breakfast, the itinerary continues through the beautiful Valley of the Roses as far as Kel’aa M’gouna, where tons of roses are harvested every spring from this desert oasis. Here, you can visit a local cooperative producing cosmetic articles from the valley’s abundant roses. These products are highly valued throughout the country.
Afterwards, you travel through the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs as far as the Skoura Oasis, where you stop to visit the Kasbah Amredhil, which used to be featured in the old 50 dirham banknote. The kasbah has been beautifully restored and is well worth visiting; constructed entirely of adobe, an excellent building material that keeps room temperature cool in the summer and warm in the winter due to the thickness of the walls.
You will have lunch in one of the local restaurants with time to wander the Skoura Oasis and learn about the Berber way of life in the south of Morocco.
Just outside of Ouarzazate, you could visit the Film Studios, a movie wonderland, known for keeping its sets and reorganising them to offer a wide range of choices to production studios, but also for letting tourists experience the unique thrill of discovering the sets where many successful films and series have been shot, including “Gladiator”, “Prince of Persia” and “Game of Thrones.”
By the end of the day, you check in to your guest house, where you spend the night with dinner and breakfast.
After breakfast, you leave for Marrakech. After a 45 min drive, you leave the main road and take a side road to the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. It is the most famous Kasbah in Morocco and one of the Kingdom’s nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is also better known as the backdrop for many Hollywood blockbusters, including “Gladiator,” “Alexander,” and some scenes of the famous TV series “Game of Thrones.”
From here, you travel further northwest along the beautiful Ounila Valley, full of bends in the roads, incredible rock formations, Berber villages, and smaller Kasbahs. Finally, you reach Kasbah Telouet, which used to be the palatial residence of the Lords of the Atlas, the Glaoui Family. Although the Kasbah now stands in ruins after the last Pasha fled Morocco following the departure of the French, wait to be pleasantly surprised by the architectural marvel of this historic home. Lunch will be either here or later up in the mountains.
From here, you drive along a different road over the High Atlas Mountains, the largest mountain chain in North Africa. Along the way, soak in uninterrupted views of the High Atlas Mountains and its beautiful Berber villages. Near the top, stretch your legs for panoramic views of the mountains.
You will arrive back in Marrakech by the end of the afternoon. Your driver will transfer you to your hotel, which marks the end of your private 5-day desert tour from Fes to Marrakech.