Some of the highlights on this tour: Atlas Mountains, Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou and the magical desert. The city Taroudant nicknamed “Little Marrakech” and the laidback fishing town Essaouira. Cross Tiz’n Tichka, the highest pass in the Atlas mountains and pass Berber villages. Pass the film city Ouarzazate, also nicknamed “The Gate to Sahara”. Drive through green date valleys, visit a ceramic village and the carpet capital of Morocco. Experience the kind hospitality of the local people.
- Start: Marrakech – we pick you up at your hotel or riad
- Stop: Essaoiura
- Duration: 4 days
- Transport: Landcruiser 4x4 car with aircondition
- Language: Driver/guide speaks English and French
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Day 1: Marrakech - Atlas Mountains - Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou - Draa valley - Zagora
The trip starts at 9 am, when the driver picks you up at your hotel or riad.
We head to the spectacular High Atlas Mountains, crossing via the twisting pass of Tizi n Tichka. We drive further until we reach the famous Kasbah Ait Benhaddou. The kasbah is a well-preserved fortified city which is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage site. From here we visit the city, or ksar, on foot. Lunch in Ait Ben Haddou.
After lunch we continue south, through the city of Ouarzazate, also known as Morocco’s Hollywood and nicknamed the «gate to Sahara». We continue through the lush Draa valley, where we turn off the main road and follow the old caravan route. We drive under the palm trees until we reach the desert town of Zagora.
Dinner and sleep in the guest house in Zagora.
Day 2: Tamegrout - M'hamid - Erg Chegaga dunes - Desert Candles Camp
After breakfast we head further south towards the nomadic village M’hamid. On the way, we stop at a famous pottery in Tamegrout, where you will see how pottery is made with traditional methods. You can also visit the koranic library and medersa (school) next to the pottery.
We continue for about 2 hours until we reach M’hamid where you have your lunch. There is also time to relax a little by the hotel pool.
We then head off-road into the desert and after about 1,5 to 2 hours we reach our desert camp in the sand dunes of Erg Chegaga. On the way we pass different desert landscapes, such as hammada, reg and erg.
The camels are waiting to take you on a trip around the sand dunes and you can also try the sandboarding. The highest sand dune is about 300 metres high and from the top you can view an amazing sunset over sand dunes as far as the eye can see. Bury your feet in the warm, soft sand and enjoy the feeling of freedom, peace and relaxation – an experience which is totally unique for Sahara.
Back in the camp you can enjoy a shower before a delicious 3 course dinner is served in the restaurant tent. After dinner we sit around the camp fire and listen to traditional music performed by the local nomads and gaze at the starlit sky.
Sleep in a nomadic tent, or if you prefer, you can sleep outside under the stars.
Day 3: Off-road driving - Lake Iriki - Taznakht - Taliouine - Taroudant
Departure after breakfast. We head off-road across the desert onto the dried out Lake Iriki. On the way we can stop to see fossils in the area. We follow the old route of rally Paris-Dakar. After about 3 hours off-road, we reach the paved roads and the town Foum Zguid, where we stop for refreshments. We continue to the carpet capital of Morocco; Taznakht, where you will have lunch. The Berber women show you how they make the famous Moroccan carpets and it is possible to buy quality carpets.
After lunch we continue our trip and pass the town Taliouine which is well-known for its production of saffron and one of the main exporters of the spice worldwide. We then continue to the city Taroudant where you will spend the night in a guest house. This town is nicknamed “Little Marrakech” because it looks like a smaller version of Marrakech. Almost the whole town is located inside the city walls and it is also known for its local handicraft. Outside the city walls there is a tannery.
Dinner and stay the night in a guest house.
Day 4: Taroudant - Agadir - Essaouira
Breakfast at the guesthouse, and then you can choose from 2 of the following options:
- Visit the city of Taroudant on your own and meet up with our driver/guide at or after lunch. Then we continue the trip to Essaouira.
- We continue the trip to Essaouira after breakfast and you arrive to Essaouira by lunch time.
The continued trip takes you first to Agadir, after about 1 hour drive. We pass by the city and continue for another 2 to 2,5 hours on the coastal road to Essaouira. Our services finish when we arrive to Essaouira.
NB: If you wish to extend the trip, we are happy to assist.
Essaouira is a charming coastal town with white and blue houses and known for its fish market, strong wind, fine art and beautiful handicrafts. Explore this fortified city with its historic ramparts and at Skala du Kasbah you can enjoy an amazing view of the Atlantic ocean. The harbour is filled with blue fishing boats, boat-building activities, and seagulls competing with fishermen for the catch of the day. The medina is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list and the souk is great for browsing artisan shops and galleries. Marquetry is a tradition in Essaouira and skilled craftsmen make marquetry which is among the best in the world.
Take a walk along the nice beach to relax and watch the surfers and kiters. Enjoy a meal of freshly caught fish and seafood by the harbour, or at a nice restaurant of your choice.
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- Transport in private 4wd Landruiser
- 1 night in guest house in Zagora
- 1 night in desert camp in Erg Chegaga dunes
- 1 night in guest house in Taroudant
- 3 dinners
- 3 breakfasts
- Local guide in Ait Ben Haddou
- Camel ride
- Baking of sandbread with the nomads
- Local music around camp fire
If you wish to extend the tour, we are happy to assist. Our suggestions:
- Extend the stay in the desert by 1 (or more) night(s) (recommended)
- Continue the tour from Essaouira to for example Marrakech or other cities/places of your choice
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