Merzouga desert – Fes
3 Days / 2 Nights: Desert excursion from Fes to Fes via Todra Gorges
Departure from Fes | Duration 3 days
The 3 day trip to the desert of Merzouga is ideal for those who want to enjoy the dunes of Erg Chebbi slowly and have three days.
Day 1: Fes – Ifrane – Monkey Forest – Atlas Mountains – Midelt – Erfoud – Merzouga Desert
We depart early from Fes and you will begin your climb into the Middle Atlas Mountains. We drive through Ifrane, a popular winter ski resort with an alpine style, built by the French in the 1930’s to resemble a Swiss village. We visit the cedar forest in Azrou where you might see the indigenous Barbary monkeys and drive across the Middle Atlas Mountains.
Most of the day will be spent winding your way through the beautiful forests, springs, jagged rock faces, and Berber villages as you cross the Atlas Mountains and begin to descend towards the Sahara Desert. Half way, we will stop for lunch in the town of Midelt, a major apple producing region. After our lunch and a rest we continue south to Erfoud: famous for its fossils and mineral rocks, and on towards Merzouga.
On the way we will stop to look at the panoramic views of a huge oasis of palm trees. Once we reach the desert town of Merzouga we will stop for the night in a traditional desert Kasbah hotel, where you will have dinner with Saharan music to sooth away your stresses.
Day 2: Merzouga – Erg Chebbi Oasis – Ouzina Dunes – Merzouga
After breakfast we will start a 4x4 adventure tour of approximately half a day in the desert to see the different faces of the landscape with its black volcanic rocks. We will be passing through small villages where we will stop to drink mint tea and have lunch with a Berber family in their tent along the road used by the Paris Dakar rally. We will reach a cave where you can discover how the local people extract the fossils from the heart of the earth.
We return to your hotel and in the afternoon around 5 o´clock, your guide and camels will be waiting for you after your rest. You will start a 2 hour camel trek across the sandy dunes of Erg Chebbi, on the way you will stop to watch the sunset: this is an incredible experience that you will really enjoy. Once the sun has gone down behind the dunes you will continue until you reach the desert camp to spend the night in a Berber tent.
At your desert shelter, your camels are hobbled and mint tea is served. After a wonderful dinner, there will be a camp fire and drums playing, and we will listen to the songs of the Berber Nomads of southern Morocco.
Day 3: Merzouga – Gorge Todra – Dades Valley – Roses Valley – Skoura – Ouarzazate
In the morning you get up early to watch the sunrise over the golden dunes as the light changes and chases away the night’s shadows. You ride the camel back to the hotel where you can take a shower and enjoy breakfast. Today we depart for Ouarzazate, traveling the famous Road of a Thousand Kasbahs, there; kasbahs rise up like turreted sand castles along an ancient caravan trading route. The area has long been a popular location for Hollywood films such as The Last Temptation of Christ, Jewel of the Nile, and in 1998: Hideous Kinky.
The region is one of the most picturesque and mysterious destinations of Morocco. Nestled along verdant river valleys are palm groves, oases and traditionally built adobe homes ablaze in spring and early summer with vibrant colours under the shelter of the blue desert sky. We stop for lunch and take a walk in the impressive Todra Gorge. We’ll travel through the Dades Valley, past dramatic escarpments until we reach Ouarzazate in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight will be in Ouarzazate.
Day 4: Ouarzazate – Ksar Ait Benhaddou – Atlas Mountains – Marrakech
After breakfast we will visit the town of Ouarzazate including the Kasbah of Taourirt and the Atlas Studios, the largest and most famous in all of Africa. From here we travel to Ksar Ait Benhaddou where we will arrive in time to have lunch.
There we can visit the famous Kasbah, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. In 1962 David Lean chose Ait-Benhaddou as the perfect location for his movie Lawrence of Arabia, since then many movies have been filmed in and around this location, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, The Mummy to name but a few.
After our visit of this ksar, we continue our journey passing through the High Atlas Mountains and over the Tizi n´Tichka pass, along a road that climbs from the plains up to 2260 m above sea level. We will be passing through small Berber villages, small waterfalls, through the continuously changing landscape and colours of these beautiful mountains until we reach the red plains of Marrakech in the afternoon for the end of the trip.
- Pick up and end at the hotel or riad
- Transportation in Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 or minibus
- English speaking driver
- Accommodations in hotels and one night in Berber haima
- Dinner and breakfast
- Camel ride at sunset and sunrise
- Half-day meals (dinner and breakfast if included)
- Tickets to museums
- Tips to guides or restaurants