Venture deep into the Moroccan Sahara with this 3-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga, a perfect option for those wishing to explore the hidden treasures of the south of Morocco and seize the opportunity to get introduced to the nomadic life in the magnificent Sahara Desert.
It is an incredible experience that covers a drive over the spectacular Atlas Mountains, visits to the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou & Telouet, the verdant Dra’a valley with its thousands of palm trees, and the massive Toudgha Gorges. Also, this trip offers an insight into the lives of the Berber and nomad people in the Sahara Desert and Berber villages in the mountains.
Yet, the highlight of this trip is the tranquil Merzouga Desert, where you will hop on camelback to reach your campsite for an incredible overnight in a luxury desert camp at the foot of the big dunes.
A desert experience to hold in the memories for a long time!
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Morning departure at 08:30 from your riad or hotel in Marrakech, venturing south on your 3-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga. You drive over the high Atlas Mountains, enjoying panoramic views of spectacular landscapes, beautiful Berber villages, and often snow-topped mountain peaks.
After the Tizi-n-Tichka pass (2,205 m), a side road leads you to Kasbah Telouet, which used to be the palatial residence of the Lords of the Atlas, the Glaoui Family. The Kasbah now stands in ruins after the last Pasha fled Morocco following the departure of the French in 195. But, wait to be pleasantly surprised by the architectural marvel of this historic home.
Driving further south, you arrive at the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a backdrop for many Hollywood blockbusters, including “Gladiator,” “Alexander,” and some scenes of the famous TV series “Game of Thrones.” After lunch, you will visit the Kasbah.
In the afternoon, we drive past Ouarzazate to 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 repaired and is well worth the visit.
From here, travel through the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs and then the beautiful Valley of the Roses as far as Kel’aa M’gouna. Here, you can visit a local cooperative producing cosmetic articles from the abundant roses of the valley.
By the end of the day, we arrive at Dades Gorges, where you spend the night with dinner and breakfast in a guest house overlooking the valley.
After breakfast, you continue your adventure southeast. In Toudgha Gorges, there are plenty of opportunities to walk alongside the river through the gardens or up the road on the other side of the gorges. You will have lunch here in the gorges or later in Erfoud.
Between Tinjdad and Erfoud, you can stop to go down into “Khettara,” a fascinating underground water channel system deep below the earth, always cool and preventing the evaporation of water. In Erfoud itself, 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 it is worth a visit!
Next, you continue your desert trip alongside the Ziz Valley, which is remarkable for its huge oases and fortified kasbahs standing tall among palm trees. From here, we continue driving east as far as Merzouga, where sand alongside the road indicates the start of the mighty Sahara Desert.
You check in to your tent at the campsite and enjoy a relaxing glass of tea and Moroccan biscuits. Then, you take a camel ride up 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.
If you get up early in the morning, you can watch the sunrise spectacle, when the dunes’ colour and the play of shadows are an incredible sight. You will also have free time to wander the dunes and experience the tranquillity of this magical setting.
After breakfast, the drive back east to Marrakech takes you along the length of the Saghro Mountains via the villages of Rissani, Alnif, Tazarine (featured in the film ‘Babel’), and then N’Qob just in time for lunch.
After visiting Kasbah Tamnougalte, you travel up north via the Dra’a Valley’s unlimited palm trees and green oases along the ancient Caravans Road. We rejoin the paved road in Agdz and reach Ouarzazate, crossing the Anti-Atlas Mountains and the pass of Tizi-n-Tinfifite (1660m).
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.”
From here, you drive along the main road over the Atlas Mountains. Along the road, you will stop at panoramic viewpoints for photos and to stretch your legs. We 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 3-day Sahara desert tour to Merzouga from Marrakech.