Sahara Desert 4 Day Tour Fes to Marrakech
On this tour you will visit Ouarzazate then head to the Rissani, Erfoud and Merzouga.
DAY 1: FES - IFRANE - ZIZ VALLEY - MERZOUGA
Driving Time: 8 1/2 Hours
- Morning departure from your riad or hotel in Marrakesh to travel to Morocco’s Sahara in a 4×4.
- En route to Merzouga’s Sahara Desert 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, or other local town en route. 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 - ERFOUD - TODRA GORGE
Driving Time: 3 Hours
- Rise, have breakfast, and take a sunrise trek back to Merzouga.
- Then take the road to the Todra Gorge. En route, pass the Skoura palmerie of 1000 Kasbahs, the famous Amerdihl Kasbah, and the perfumed Valley of Roses. Visit the Sahara Desert towns of Rissani, home to the Moulay Ali Cherif Mausoleum, and Erfoud, capital of fossils with beautiful ksars.
- Continue on the road towards the Todra Gorge.
- Visit the Todra Gorge. The Todra Gorge is a canyon in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains in southern Morocco near the town of Tinghir. Both the Todra River and Dades River have carved out the cliff-sided canyons. The drive is scenic along newly built roads. Drive past the mouth of the Gorge and up to the villages of Ait Hani and Tamtattouchte. The Todra Gorge extends from the village of Tamtattouchte to Tinghir. The Todra Gorge, with cliffs rising dramatically up to 300m on each side of a narrow corridor, is a spectacle with its gigantic rock walls changing color to create magical effects with the sunlight. In the morning, when the sun permeates through the bottom of the gorge, the rock changes from pink rose to deep ochre gradually through the rest of the day.
- A day at the Todra Gorge offers the option of extreme climbing, hiking, and sightseeing. A fun and strenuous hike involves a three hour loop used by donkeys and mules heading north of the main gorge to Tizgui, home of palmeries and ancient kasbahs. For a lighter hike, try the Petit Gorge entering at the mouth of the gorge. The mouth is an enclosed section with overhanging cliffs and is the most dramatic scenery in the gorge. Climbing in the Todra Gorge is an unforgettable experience.
- Lunch at the foot of the Todra Gorge at a charming Moroccan cafe.
- Another option is to have lunch inside the Todra Gorge, or at one of the restaurants beneath the overhanging cliffs with a panoramic view. After lunch, continue by car, hike, or ride horseback to explore the surrounding area and Berber villages. Afternoon options can include a visit to the picturesque village of Tamtattouchte with gorgeous red earthen houses located at the other end of the gorge.
- Dine and spend the night at 4 star guest house in the Todra Gorge region, or at the foot of the Gorge.
DAY 3: OUARZAZATE - OASIS OF FINT - AIT BEN HADDOU - MARRAKESH
- Breakfast at your riad.
- “See Ouarzazate and die.” is a Moroccan expression about this magical city that is the door to the Sahara desert. Located just four hours from Marrakesh, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once the crossroads for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French rule, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative centre of the Zagora region. Ouarzazate became famous when the nearby Kasbah Aït Benhaddou appeared in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.
- Visit the Oasis of Fint that hovers under the Atlas Mountains. Journey on a one-hour walk inside the Oasis of Fint where you will have a cup of tea with the headmaster, Azziz O’Azziz, and his family. Tour the surrounding date palm oases and take in the dramatic desert scenery.
- 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.
- For lunch, relax on a terrace with clear views of Ait Benhaddou and enjoy a traditional Moroccan salad and a hearty tajine.
- End the day with a short visit to Kasbah Taourirt built by the Pasha Glaoui. Kasbah Taourirt’s location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South it was one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Explore its nooks and crannies and discover local female painters and quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.
- Dine and spend the night at a 4 star riad in Ouarzazate.
DAY 4: OUARZAZATE - TIZI N'TICHKA PASS - MARRAKESH
Driving Time: 4 1/2 Hours
- Breakfast at your riad in Ouarzazate. Choose to relax in the morning and get a rose or orange oil massage at a traditional hammam or visit Spices Maria, the local spice souk.
- Take the road to Marrakesh and en route visit Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous kasbah that is the ancestral home of the Pacha Glaoui Family. Kasbah Telout is hidden on a tiny road in a small village that is 20 minutes outside of Tichka. The original zellij tile, masterful design, and collection of authentic preserved silks are grand remnants of the Glaoui family. Although Kasbah Telout appears to be in ruins on the exterior, its interior is one of true splendor.
- En route 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.
- Lunch on the Tizi N’Tichka Pass. Continue through the High Atlas Mountains. Early evening arrival in Marrakesh.