2 Days Desert Tour from Fes to Marrakech
On this trip you’ll discover the heights and valleys of the High Atlas before exploring the south of Morocco on your way to the endless dunes of Erg Chebbi—one of Morocco’s two Saharan seas of wind-blown sand dunes and back. On 2 amazing days you’ll walk through the Palm Valleys of the ziz valley, stay in the beautiful Dades Valley, pass through the spectacular Todra Gorge—a narrow, 300m high canyon—ride a camel into the Sahara at sunset, discover the rocky landscapes and hidden oases of the Dades Valley, and visit the once prominent trading post of Ait Ben Haddou—famous for its 17th century fortified kasbahs. Along the way you’ll pass through Berber villages where locals are always friendly, cross some spectacular mountain passes of Tichka, soak up the sweet, pungent scent of the High Atlas junipers, travel through the gorgeous green valleys of rural Morocco that lead you to its vast desert plains, witness a caravan of camels silently passing you by, sleep under the stars of the brilliantly clear night sky and wake to a spectacular desert sunrise like no other. This journey through the High Atlas and Sahara has all the ingredients for an unforgettable nature adventure!
DAY 1: FES – MIDELT – ZIZ VALLEY – ERFOUD – MERZOUGA
Meet your Guide at 8am in your Riad, and embark a long driving day, where we will meet different colors of the kingdom by leaving the old Moroccan city of Fes. In the way we will pass through the most modern and clean city in the country Ifran. This Berber name of Ifran means caves and it is nicknamed in Morocco as a little Switzerland since it is a very green town and is a ski resort in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco because of its high altitude at 1665 meters. Ifran is very known as well by The Brotherhood private university, established in 1997 by The king of Morocco Hassan II and the king of Saudi Arabia Fahd. Where all classes are taught in English, it is an international university. Lunch will be scheduled in a Berber village called Midelt which is situated on the foothills of the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains. From vast plateau we start crossing up those tough mountains which are still settled by a big Berber community. The landscapes here includes palm tree oases at Jbel Ayachi (at 3747 m) before driving down the curves and join the pre-saharan zone passing first by Errachidia.
Stop for the photo in Ziz valley which is the beginning of palm grovesand dates. Erfoud is the capital of Fossils in Morocco so you will have this chance to visit one of the factories where they make beautiful articles out of marble. And right after that we may if time permit, visit the mausoleum of Mouay Ali Chref in Rissani the founder of the actual Alaouite dynasty of Morocco at 17th century. We drive to Erg Chebbi time for a cup of tea and packing for desert camp. Meet up with Camels for camel-ride and head to the dunes to watch the sunset .Overnight in the Berber tent in the middle of the most spectacular dunes of morocco, Highest dunes, spend 1 night the friendly berbers enjoy their music, dance around the fire… dinner in the camp.
Accommodation: Desert Camp
Photography, Macaque Monkeys ( barbary apes )Camel Trekking, Desert Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast / Dinner
Day 2- MERZOUGA – TODRA GORGE – DADES GORGE
Early wake up for the sun rise from the highest dunes, chance to see some wild life. Time for breakfast and shower, last chance to enjoy the dunes, we set off to Rissani to explore the capital of ziz valley, Moroccan 2nd dates basket, famous for Sijilmasa in the old times, a carrefour of Caravans, where Merchants from Tombouctou Trade, Gold, Silver, Ivory, Silk, Slaves, Camels… visit to dates market and drive to arfoud to explore the fossils, then we drive along the stone Sahara, to reach the impressive underground irrigation channels from 12th centure. Stop for mint tea and some drums, then we drive to the most spectacular gorge of Morocco, Todra gorge, enjoy a walk with your guide to explore the irrigation system and traditional farming gardens, a visit to a berber family to learn about carpet, recommended, to knock your socks off, after the berber family co-operative, showing their goods and carepets, great place to shop from mohamed’s family ( situated in the other side of the river near the mosque ) great place to buy genuine berber carpets and souvenirs, then you walk to the gorge
From the great canyons of Todgha we go along the road of 1000 kasbahs, since there are enormous Kasbahs on both sides of the road. Some of those old fortified houses are restored but unfortunately a lot of them are ruins. We drive up to visit the Dades gorge & valley, and we head to the Berber family for Lunch, Along this valley another valley called valley of roses appearing with the green colors of its Alfalfa plants, olive trees, fig trees and grapes. This valley gives birth to a rose from which locals produces different cosmetic products like soap, perfumes and skin creams. Locals here celebrate this rose by organizing a national festival eachend of April. Getting to Ouarzazate (Hollywood of Africa, Noiselessly town, The door of the desert), is a city situated in the middle of a bare plateau, south of the High Atlas Mountains. It is mainly inhabited by Berbers, who constructed many of the prominent kasbahs and building for which the area is known. One of those building is Taourirt Kasbah diverted in 17th century.
Why this town is nicknamed as Hollywood of Africa? Simply because it has been noted as a film-making location, with Morocco’s biggest studios inviting many international film companies to shoot their movies like: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Martin Scorsese’s Kundun (1997) and Babel (2005). the we continue to Marrakech via
We start our day visiting the fortified city of Aït Benhaddou, built in the 11th century. Once up on a time this Kasbah was the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. It is situated on a hill along the Ounila River and has some beautiful examples of kasbahs, which unfortunately sustain damage during each rainstorm and windstorms. Most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; however, around five families are still living within this Kasbah.
Aït Benhaddou Kasbah has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and several films have been shot there, including Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Time Bandits (1981), The Jewel of the Nile (1985), Kundun (1997), Gladiator (2000) and Alexander (2004). From this beautiful fortified house we head to Marrakech.
Visit Cinema Museum
Ait benhaddou Kasbah
Optional Traditional Hammam
Meals Included: Breakfast