Sahara Desert / 3 Days
You will journey on the Three Day Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour & Discover The Erg Chebbi Dunes, the town of Rissani, an ancient Berber Village, Ait Ouzzin, Ouarzazate and the hidden jewels of the culture in Southern Morocco.
DAY 1: FES - IFRANE - ZIZ VALLEY- MERZOUGA
- Morning departure from your riad or hotel in Marrakesh to travel to Morocco’s Sahara in a 4×4.
- En route to Merzouga view the unusual flora and fauna of the Sahara.
- Pass Ifrane and visit the cedar tree forest and the local Barbary macaque monkeys.
- Lunch in the Ziz Valley. Arrive at Merzouga’s Erg Chebbi Dunes before sunset.
- Venture out on a 2 hour dromedary camel trek to watch the sunset in the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Your Tuareg guide will share the secrets of the Sahara Desert. As you glide across the silent desert landscape there will be countless opportunities to photograph the endless rolling dunes. Enjoy dinner and music at a luxury bivouac in the Sahara Desert.
- Spend the night in a luxury bivouac tent near the Oasis in the Erg Chebbi Dunes of Merzouga.
DAY 2: MERZOUGA - RISSANI - ALNIF - AIT OUZZINE - AGDZ - OUARZAZATE OR VISIT THE TODRA GORGE
- Rise, have breakfast, and take a sunrise trek back to Merzouga.
- Before lunch, depart Merzouga and cross the palm groves to visit the ksours along the kasbah studded road to Rissani. Choose from options to visit the 19th century Abbar Ksar or the Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif.
- Drive to Rissani, an ancient capital for the Alaouite Sultans it is an important market town for sub-Saharan camel caravans and was built on the ruins of Sijilmassa. Stop in Rissani for lunch and visit its souks where stalls are piled high with pyramids of dates, vegetables, spices, rugs, carpets, pottery, jewelry, and metalwork. The Rissani souk is one of the most famous in the area and surrounded by donkeys, mules, sheep, and goat corrals. After a tour of Rissani, we are off to Alnif. Alnif is known for its rocks, fossils, and minerals found in shops along the roadside.
- Depart Alnif and head towards to Ait Ouzzine, N’kob for lunch with a Berber, Moroccan family.
- Lunch will be served to you in Ait Ouzzine by a traditional Berber family. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices, a chicken and vegetable tajine (tagine), and fresh local fruits for desert.
- After lunch, have your hands and feet painted with henna, or have your hair adorned with saffron by a local village artist. Relax. Experience the tradition of Berber perfume made from musk and amber along with the villages own spices.
- Explore and tour the village. Walk in the green fields and see how the traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, live stock, and henna plants.
- End the afternoon in Ait Ouzzine with mint tea and almonds.
- Take the road through the Draa Valley back to Ouarzazate and pass Skoura, the village known for 1000 kasbahs.
- Dine and spend the night at a 4 star riad in the heart of Ouarzazate’s Berber region with views of the Atlas Mountains.
DAY 3: OUARZAZATE - AIT BENHADDOU - MARRAKESH
- Breakfast at your riad in Ouarzazate.
- Start your morning with a tour of Atlas Film Studios. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at these studios. International blockbusters filmed here include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Sahara.
- Take the road by piste to the picturesque village of Ait Benhaddou. 32 km from Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Jesus of Nazareth were filmed here. In recent years, controlled restoration has been carried out under the auspices of UNESCO. Ait Benhaddou once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. Most of the town’s inhabitants live in a more modern village on the other side of the river, however ten families still live within the old ksar.
- Your guide will lead you on a private tour through this Berber village of towered and crenelated kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas Mountains.Ait Benhaddou was once a significant stop for traders carrying gold, salt, and slaves along the famous Southern Caravan route through the Sahara. Six miles away is the village of Tamdaght, dominated by the walls of the Glaoui Kasbah. The Glaoui Kasbah’s towers are inhabited by storks. Walk outside the Kasbah’s lush terraced gardens and view the desert scenery used in films Gladiator and Alexander the Great.
- For lunch, relax on a terrace with clear views of Ait Benhaddou and enjoy a traditional Moroccan tajine, couscous, and fruit. After lunch, depart Ait Benhaddou and take the road to Marrakesh.
- En route to Marrakesh, visit the Argan Cooperative where argan oil, argan butter, and argan cosmetics are made by hand from argan nuts. Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Enjoy a complimentary tasting. This cooperative is run entirely by women.
- Arrive in Marrakesh with drop off at your riad or hotel.