Discover the magic of the Sahara Desert as you set out on this 4-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga that takes you from the bustling markets of Marrakech to the soaring dunes of Erg Chebbi dunes. You will have the opportunity to explore the south of Morocco, from the scenic Atlas Mountains, beautiful Berber villages, and old Kasbahs with overnights in authentic guest houses.
Then, hike past stunning gorges and majestic valleys to reach the magnificent Sahara Desert. You will enjoy an epic camel trek and climb windswept sand to admire beautiful sunsets found amid the towering dunes. To top it off, you will spend an incredible night in a luxury desert camp in the Erg Chebbi under a sky full of stars.
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Departure in the morning at 08:30 from your riad or hotel in Marrakech as you venture south on your 4-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga. All along the road, you will stop at panoramic viewpoints for breaks and photos and to admire the beautiful valleys and the often snow-topped mountain peaks.
The Berber villages perched on the side of the mountainside, sometimes barely distinguishable from the mountains themselves, are fascinating. After crossing the Tizi-nTichka pass, you continue descending the mountains to arrive in Ouarzazate, often nicknamed the gate to the Sahara Desert, and is the venue for lunch.
In the afternoon, you follow the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs to Skoura Oasis. Here, you will visit Kasbah Amridhil. The Kasbah has been beautifully restored and is well worth visiting; constructed entirely of adobe, an excellent building material that keeps room temperature due to the thickness of the walls.
From here, you then travel through the beautiful Valley of the Roses as far as Kel’aa M’gouna, where you can visit a local cooperative producing cosmetic articles from the valley’s abundant roses.
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 4-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga southeast. In the Toudgha Gorges, you will have the opportunity to walk alongside the river through the gardens or up the road on the other side of the gorges. You could have lunch here in the gorges or later in Erfoud.
Between Tinjdad and Erfoud, 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 Erfoud, you can stop at a local workshop to discover how fossil-rich rocks are skilfully transformed into practical and decorative objects. There is no obligation to buy anything, but it is worth a visit!
Next, you continue your adventure alongside the Ziz Valley, which is remarkable for its vast groves and fortified kasbahs standing tall among palm trees. From here, we continue driving east as far as Merzouga, where sand alongside the paved 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 wake up early enough, you can watch the sunrise spectacle, when the dunes’ colour and the play of shadows are an incredible sight. You will also have time to wander the dunes and experience the tranquillity of this magical place.
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.
For a short while, we go off-road along some of the ancient caravan routes between the mountains and the Dra’a river, passing through many villages to gain a better idea of the way of life along the oases.
At the head of the Dra’a Valley, you will stop to visit Kasbah Tamnougalte, the oldest Kasbah in the area. Some parts of the Kasbah are still inhabited, while others, particularly the Jewish quarter, are now crumbling and have been abandoned.
We rejoin the paved road in Agdez and reach Ouarzazate, crossing the Anti-Atlas Mountains and the pass of Tizi-n-Tinfifite (1660m). You spend the night with dinner and breakfast in a lovely riad in Ouarzazate.
After breakfast, you will visit the Film Studios, a movie wonderland just outside Ouarzazate, 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.”
Driving north, 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.
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 4-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga.