Day 1 : Fes - Middle Atlas Mountains - Sahara Desert
Fes Desert Trips's driver, will pick you up from you hotel or Riad at 7 am for the fabulous journey up into the Middle Atlas Mountains. The first stop will be the delightful town of Ifrane, built by the French in the 1930's and known as Morocco's Switzerland because of it's Alpine chalet-styled architecture and aspect. In the winter it is snow covered and there is a ski resort, Michliffen, nearby.
Next you will travel through the huge cedar forests around the Berber village of Azrou, The Rock in the local Berber dialect where the famous Barbary apes, actually macaque monkeys will attempt to share your lunch in their natural habitat.
Then, passing through the Atlas Mountains that are said to hold up the sky, winding your way through forested peaks, twisting mountain streams and gushing springs and passing jagged walls of rock, then, continuing on south, you will pass through Rissani, and then be amazed at the startlingly sudden appearance, as if by magic, of the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. These dunes are massive, up to 50 metres in height and extend eastwards all the way into the Algerian Sahara. At the foot of the sand dunes your Kasbah/hotel awaits you, along with a refreshing glass of hot sweet mint tea, where you can chill out after the long journey and enjoy a delicious dinner while listening to the sweet strains of traditional Berber music until it is time to sleep.
Day 2 : Share in the Beauty of the Erg Chebbi Dunes and the Hypnotic Sahara
After breakfast you can choose your own experience; the delights of a walk through the immense dunes of the Erg Chebbi; perhaps a refreshing dip in the hotel swimming pool; or maybe you'd prefer the option of a shopping trip to the nearby villages of Merzouga, only fifty kilometers from the Algerian border, which boasts the largest underground natural reservoir in Morocco, and then the tiny Khamlia, called the village of the black people, as it is inhabited by the descendants of slaves taken from The Sudan who will enthrall you with their performances of their much loved, sacred Gnawa music. At dusk, you will find your camel prepared to carry you off into the glorious sunset for an unforgettable ninety minute trek through the shifting desert sands before you arrive at a traditional Berber desert encampment where you will spend the night in a tent, surrounded by mountainous dunes. Your guide will cook you an authentic Moroccan repast while you just take it easy, watching the stars, so many and so bright you feel you could just reach out and touch them, and listening to the soft sounds of time-honoured Berber music. A truly memorable day.
Day 3 : Desert Dawn - Fantastic Fossils - Gorgeous Gorges
An early start, as you are awoken to experience the splendour of the sun rising over the sand dunes, then you will ride your camel gently back to your hotel for breakfast, during the ride, you cannot fail to notice the shifting and changing of the shadows cast by the dunes, lengthening and shrinking as the day progresses.
After breakfast, the journey to The Todra Gorge begins with a drive to the main Sahara's edge town of Rissani, the first capital of the Alaouite dynasty. Next it's on to Erfoud with it's array of famous fossils, be sure to pick up a beautiful bargain, but son't forget to haggle! You also get to visit the wonderful workshops where men prepare the fossils, removing them from the rocks and cleaning them up with expert skill.
The voyage carries on through 300 meters deep canyon of the Todgha Gorges cut through the easternmost tip of the High Atlas Mountains, close to the village of Tinghir where you will get the chance to do a spot of relaxed hiking. The Tinghir and Todgha Gorges are the highest and narrowest in Morocco and, some would say, the most beautiful. Dinner will be served and you will spend a peaceful night deep in the heart of the Todgha Gorge.
Day 4 : Mountain Magic - Romantic Roses - Touring Taourirt
In the morning, after a hearty breakfast Fes Authentic Tours will take you first to the delightful Dades Valley, cut deep through banded sandstones and limestones, over an off-road trail past cave dwellings where a few of the world's last troglodytes still live. Then, it's on to the beautiful Berber town of Kelaat Mgouna, where, if you arrive in May, will be celebrating the annual Festival of the Roses. This provides the people of the region the chance to get together and trade many products that they make from roses including the famous rose water that you will be able to try and buy if you wish. The lovely aroma of this scent will stay with your clothes and skin for long after you've left this charming place and used on one's bed linen it can be a joy to freshen up your night chamber.
After this, you will head to the fertile oasis of Skoura, surrounded by huge groves of palm trees with stunning views of the mighty Atlas Mountains. Next is a chance for you to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of the kasbah of Taourirt, a remarkably preserved and quite lovely place exhibiting the best of traditional Moroccan architecture and beloved of both tourists and locals alike. Finally, you'll finish your day with an evening arrival at Ouarzazate where you shall enjoy your dinner and stay overnight in an hotel.
Day 5 : Ouarzazate Film Studios - Kasbahs and the High Atlas - Marvelous Marrakech
After a hearty breakfast, have fun exploring the film sets and studios of Ouarzazate, Africa's Hollywood, whose astonishing scenery and topography have lured some of the world's leading film-makers and directors to make use of the landscape. These are the most famous and largest film studios in all of the African continent. You may visit the studio museum where you can inspect props other items of interest from films such as Babel, The Mummy and Hideous Kinky, as well as the popular TV series, Game of Thrones which were all made here.
Later, you can visit another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Ait Ben haddou kasbah, the largest In Morocco, which is a timeless, ancient village often used as the backdrop to more than twenty Hollywood films including Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones and Gladiator. Take a pleasant stroll to explore to examine the traditional Moroccan architecture that composes the kasbah, now home to the Glaoui family. This central region of the country is vibrant and exciting and surely one of the most romantic regions in Morocco, huddled between fertile, green river valleys with their extensive palmeries and burnished red-brick houses roasting under the blazing Moroccan sun in dazzling colours beneath an azure sky.
Then it's time to continue on your journey, through the astounding Tizi n'tichka Pass, over two and a half kilometres above sea level, along twisting, turning mountain roads dotted with picturesque Berber villages and crystal clear waterfalls until you reach Marrakech. The tour ends when you are safely deposited at your hotel or riad.
PRICE INCLUDES :
- Transport in a comfortable A/C vehicle (a 4x4 or Mini Van).
- Pleasant overnight accommodation in Kasbahs and hotels.
- Half board (dinner and breakfast).
- Pick up and drop off at your accommodation.
- Sahara Desert camel trekking with an experienced guide and an overnight stay in a Berber camp.
- Sightseeing and photo opportunities in the Middle Atlas mountains, the Erg Chebbi Dunes and more!
PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE :
- Lunch and drinks.
- Small admission charge for some monuments.