On this best-selling highlights tour of Southern Morocco we travel in comfort by 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser or Prado and sleep in style at a High Atlas lodge retreat, a tented camp in the Sahara and a beautiful riad in the heart of Marrakech medina. First we spend time in the High Atlas experiencing Berber village life and walking trails in Toubkal National Park. Then we cross the dramatic Tizi n’Test pass and descend to the fertile Souss Valley.
Next we cross the desolate Anti-Atlas Mountains to reach the Moroccan Sahara desert. In the Sahara we explore by 4×4, on foot or by camel visiting oases with abundant date palms and mud-built Berber villages, traversing wind-swept dunes and gazing at the most amazing star-filled African skies. Finally we traverse the Draa Valley to reach the World Heritage-listed Ksar of Ait Benhaddou before descending the High Atlas to reach magical Marrakech.
|Duration||8 days / 7 nights||Tour Starts||Marrakech|
|Group Size||From 2 to 15||Tour Ends||Marrakech|
|Accommodation||Authentic Abodes 3-4 Star||Prices From||£xxx pp|
|Operating Season||All Year Round||Private Departures||Daily on request|
Day 1 – Drive to High Atlas Retreat in Azzadene Valley
Our journey begins from Marrakech as we travel south through the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains to Dar Tassa, an Atlas mountain retreat perched high above the Azzadene Valley above the Berber village of Tassa Ouirgane.
Days 2 & 3 – Explore the High Atlas Mountains
Sitting at an altitude of 1,300 metres in Toubkal National Park, Tassa Ouirgane is the prettiest village in the Azzadene Valley. For an unrivalled appreciation of the jagged beauty of North Africa’s highest mountain range the views from Dar Tassa are hard to beat.
Hiking in the High Atlas is one of the best experiences in Morocco. Regardless of levels of fitness this area is accessible to all with a wide range of walking possibilities, from a short ramble through the village and valley to more demanding day hikes or major treks. Mules can also be hired and a guide is always available at Dar Tassa should you wish to walk. The trails around the Azzadene Valley and Ouirgane are well contoured and kept in excellent condition.
Day 4 – Across the Anti-Atlas to the Sahara
We make an early start from Dar Tassa. The first place of interest today is the pretty village of Ouirgane and its reservoir. There’s also time to visit the Mosque at Tin Mal. Next we make a dramatic traverse of the High Atlas Mountains, ascending a twisting and turning mountain road to the Tizi n’Test Pass (2,092m) passing numerous Berber villages clinging to the slopes.
After time to gaze at the spectacular views of the Souss Valley we continue through ever-changing scenery to reach the colourful Berber town of Tazenakht. In the afternoon we cross the Anti-Atlas on a remote drive and reach Agdz in the Draa Valley. At Agdz the stunning Draa Valley begins. Lined with Kasbahs, Ksour and irrigated palm groves, a drive through the valley is regarded by many as one of the most scenic journeys in Morocco.
After a stop in Zagora, we’ll enjoy a tour of the great Islamic learning centre of Tamegroute. The final stretch of today’s journey will take us to Ait Isfoul where we head off-road to arrive at Sahara Safari Camp, a Moroccan desert retreat situated between an ancient Kasbah and sweeping dunes near the village of Ait Isfoul.
Day 5 – Exploring the Moroccan Sahara
Here in the deep south of Morocco in the region of the southern Draa Valley and M’hamid the Sahara Desert is a beguiling wilderness of palm-filled oases, vast sand dunes, ancient lake-beds, camel caravans, adobe mud-brick villages and men in blue.
Bounded by the Moroccan Sahara Desert the camp is set in a stunning location surrounded by incredibly varied landscapes. Excursions can be taken on foot or by camel to nearby oases, villages, flat-topped mesas and towering dunes. Alternatively take a 4×4 day trip to the dunes of Chegaga located to the west of M’hamid. For wildlife enthusiasts, desert fox, gerbil and a variety of bird species are regularly seen close to camp.
Day 6 – From the Sahara to Marrakech
Today we make an early start to drive to Marrakech. We first follow the Draa Valley north to Agdz and then cross the barren Jebel Saghro to arrive at Ouarzazate, home to one of the largest movie studios in the world where several famous movies have been set, including “Gladiator”, “Alexander” and “Kingdom of Heaven”.
Next we visit Ait Benhaddou, 30 km from Ouarzazate. Inscribed by UNESCO in 1987 as a ‘World Heritage Site’, the Ksar of Ait Benhaddou is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco. The Ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers.
Later in the afternoon you’ll enjoy a scenic journey to Marrakech through the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka Pass (2,260m). Reaching the World Heritage-listed Marrakech medina it is a short walk from the Jewish ‘Mellah’ quarter to your accommodation at Riad Africa.
Day 7 – Discover Marrakech
With palaces and palm groves, rose gardens, and a backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is the capital of the Moroccan South, a cultural crossroads and keeper of tradition and folklore. The ancient pink-walled medina contains a wealth of rich architectural heritage.
For first time visitors to the medina of Marrakech, a great way of getting to grips with this magical city is on a guided sightseeing tour. The famous souks of Marrakech offer an intoxicating passage to Africa’s most famous meeting place – the huge medieval square of Djemaa el Fna. Here at the heart of the old city acrobats and jugglers, snake charmers, beggars, boxers, musicians, fresh juice and food sellers all compete for your attention.
It is easy to spend several hours wandering the square, sipping mint tea and savouring the utter assault on your senses. As night falls take a seat in one of the restaurants that overlook the square and watch the scene unfold. With the conflicting sounds from musicians and singers, and thousands of tiny white lights illuminating swirling smoke rising from food stalls, expect a night you’ll never forget!
Day 1 – Dar Tassa
Day 2 – Dar Tassa B
Day 3 – Dar Tassa B
Day 4 – Sahara Safari Camp BD
Day 5 – Sahara Safari Camp BLD
Day 6 – Riad Africa B
Day 7 – Riad Africa B
Day 8 – Check Out B
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner
Day 1 – Riad Africa to Dar Tassa: 70 km / 44 miles / 1.5 hours
Day 4 – Dar Tassa to Sahara Safari Camp: 510 km / 319 miles / 8 hours
Day 6 – Sahara Safari Camp to Riad Africa: 430 km / 269 miles / 7 hours
If you wish to extend your holiday by including extra nights at Riad Africa at the end of your tour, or perhaps include additional nights either at Dar Tassa or Sahara Safari Camp please contact us for a quote.
INCLUDED – Transfer by 4×4 from Marrakech to Dar Tassa; hire of 4×4 including driver, fuel, taxes, tolls, driver expenses from Dar Tassa to Sahara to Marrakech; transfer from Riad Africa to Marrakech airport; accommodation in standard en-suite rooms and tents on twin-share basis with meals as stated in this itinerary.
EXCLUDED – Flights, personal travel insurance, room/tent upgrades; local guides; entrance fees; beverages; meals not specified; tips and items of a personal nature.
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