On this tour you will visit Ouarzazate then head to the Rissani, Erfoud, Merzoua and the Todra Gorge.
DAY 1: MARRAKECH - TIZIN TICHKA PASS - OUARZAZATE
Driving Time: 4 1/2 Hours
- Breakfast at your Riad in Marrakech. Then take the road to Ouarzazate.
- During your journey to Ouarzazate you will also pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat, as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by theFrench in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic influences and desert borders. Along the route you will see panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains as well as sights of fertile valleys, blue and red colored pise villages and other striking mineral environments.
- En route stop for lunch and visit the Argan Cooperative where Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics are made with the Argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Have a complimentary tasting. This cooperative is run entirely by women.
- En route you will go by piste to visit Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous Kasbahs that is the origin of the Pacha Glaoui Family. Kasbah Telout is hidden among a tiny road in a small village that is 20 minutes outside Tichka. It’s history stands alone with its original zellij tile, authentic, preserved silks and grand remnants of the Glaou family. Unlike the other Kasbahs in Southern Morocco, Telout was occupied by the Glaoui’s instead of the slaves and has stunning views. This Kasbahs has yet to be coined a UNESCO World Heritage site and while it appears in parts to be in ruins on the exterior, its interior is one of rue splendor. Lunch near Kasbah Telout.
- Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Kasbah-style Riad in Ouarzazate.
DAY 2: OUARZAZATE - SKOURA - VALLEY OF ROSES - RISSANI- ERFOUD - MERZOUGA
Driving Time: 4 Hours
- Rise, have breakfast at your Riad. Then take the road to Merzouga. Enroute to Merzouga, we pass the Skoura palmary of 1000 Kasbahs and it’s famous Amerdihl Kasbah, the perfumed Valley of Roses and the Sahara Desert towns of Rissani which is the home of the Mausolem Tomb and Erfoud’s Ksar and capital of fossils. Visit all of these places and enjoy seeing Berber Villages, local traditional dress and Nomads en route to Merzouga.
- Visit Skoura and the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs. Skoura is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside desert landscapes. It is renowned for the cultivation of roses. The palm groves were laid out in the 12th century by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el-Mansour and named after its original inhabitants, the Berbers of the Haskourene tribe. The most beautiful kasbahs in southern Morocco can be found here and many of them are still partially inhabited.
- Lunch en route within the Valley of Roses and have tea at Kasbah Itran which boasts views of an old Jewish Kasbah.
- Arrive in Merzouga’s Sahara Desert, then go by dromedary camel trek for 2 Hours before sunset into the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Your Tuareg guide will share some of the Sahara Deserts’ secrets. As you glide across humpback on these silent, mystical dunes there will be countless opportunities to photograph the endless rolling dunes. Enjoy dinner and music in the Sahara Desert.
- Spend the night at a a Bivouac Tent in the Sahara Desert or a charming Sahara Guest House.
DAY 3: MERZOUGA - RISSANI - ERFOUD - TODRA GORGE - OUARZAZATE
Driving Time: 3 Hours
- Rise, have breakfast and take a sunrise trek back to Merzouga center. Breakfast and then take the road to explore Merzouga’s Sahaara by piste. Enjoy the flora and fauna that is unique to the Sahara.
- Then take the road to visit the Saharan Desert towns of Rissani and the capital of fossils, Erfoud. Visit the old ksars and then continue the road to the village of Ait Ouzzine, located in N’kob which is nestled within the Middle Atlas Mountains.
- Continue the road towards the Todra Gorge, just past the city of Tinerhir.
- The drive is scenic as with the new roads built, you will drive past the hotels at the mouth of the Gorge and up to the villages of Aït Hani, Tamtatouchte, The Gorge extends from the village of Tamtatoucheto Tinerhir. The Todra, with cliffs rising dramatically up to 300m on each side of a narrow corridor, make up some of the most impressive cliffs and are by far, the highest in Morocco.
- The Todra Gorge 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 throughout the rest of the day.
- A day at the Todra offers the option of extreme climbing or light hiking and sightseeing. A more strenuous hike would involve 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.
- Options are to have lunch inside the Todra Gorge or at one of the restaurants beneath the overhanging cliffs with a panoramic view. After lunch you can continue by road or hike by foot, or horseback to explore the surrounding area and its Berber villages. Sometimes you can find the Nomad women with children from the Atlas Mountains visiting the Gorge to carry water by donkey to their village. Your driver will give you the option to visit the picturesque village of Tamtattouchte, whose red toned earth houses are located at the other end of the gorge.
- Spend the night at 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate.
DAY 4: OUARZAZATE - OASIS OF FINT - AIT BEN HADDOU - MARRAKECH
Driving Time: 4 1/2 Hours
- Breakfast at your Riad. Take the road to Marrakech.
- Visit the Oasis of Fint and enjoy tea with Azziz O’Azziz. Option to visit the Cinema Studios in Ouarzazate.
- Visit Ait Benhaddou. Located 32 km from Ouarzazate lies the picturesque village. Aït Benhaddou of Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices. Aït Benhaddou is one of many locations in this region used for shooting Hollywood films. Aït Benhaddou which once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; ten families however still live within the ksar.
- After visiting Ait Benhaddou, take the road to Marrakech
- Arrive in Marrakech in the early evening, unwind and then choose to either have dinner at your Riad or at one of Marrakech’s top restaurants, Le Marrakechi, Le Maison Arabe or Le Comptoir. Explore Marrakech’s Djemma El Fna Square.