Day 1: Marrakech – Ait Benhaddou Kasbah – Skoura Oases – Roses Valley – Dades Valley
We will depart from Marrakech at 8:00 am in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle. We will journey over the Atlas Mountains, enjoying the magnificent views of the surrounding countryside below. This tour takes you to the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou (like certain Botoxed stars). This UNESCO protected kasbah seems suspiciously frozen in time; with Hollywood touch-ups, it still resembles its days in the 11th century an Almoravid caravanserai. Movie buffs recognize this red mudbrick Kasbah, 32km from Ouarzazate, from films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth (for which much of Ait Benhaddou was rebuilt), Jewel of the Nile (note the Egyptian towers) and Gladiator. After enjoying our morning refreshments, we will continue onward to Ouarzazate (approx. 40min or so), for a delicious lunch prepared locally. We will also embark on a sightseeing tour of the city. After lunch, we will continue along the route of The Roses Valley, which is renowned for the Festival of Roses. We will also pass through the little Berber villages of Skoura, ‘El Kelaa des M’Gouna,’ and ‘Boumalene Dades.’ The latest is our final stop for the day. We shall stay overnight in a Kasbah hotel which includes dinner and breakfast.
Day 2: Dades Gorge – Todra Gorge – Tinjdad – Merzouga
Today we will take you on a camel ride followed by a night in a camp (a private camp, not a busy touristy one). In the morning, we will continue along the Dades valley, visiting Dades Gorge, Todra, Todra Gorge and other interesting sites, making our way to Merzouga. In Merzouga, we will explore the village and meet our camels, who will take us for a one and a half hour ride into the dunes, to a Berber camp in the middle of the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. Eg Chebbi, 20 km long and 5 to 8 km wide, is considered the highest sand dunes in North Africa. It is a unique and diverse environment. Here, we continue the spirit of the nomadic Berber lifestyle.
Each person rides their own camel and additional camels are provided to carry your luggage. The Camel trek is usually just prior to sunset so that you may enjoy the sun setting over the landscape from the top of the dunes. Once we arrive at the desert camp, we will be greeted with a cup of delicious hot mint tea. We will relax while spending the evening under the stars, on the dunes, beside the warmth of the fire built especially for you. We will enjoy a locally cooked meal of tagine and couscous (special diets are catered for), a drum party and story swapping. Those that wish to sleep directly under the stars are fee to do so, but there are bivouacs for everyone. Enjoy the stars in the desert because this is a rare opportunity to see them in this way. There are no artificial lights around, so you can fully appreciate the romance and glory of the skies above.
Day 3: Merzouga – Rissani – Alnif – Tazarine – Nkob – Agdez – Low Atlas Mountains – Ouarzazate – Tizi N Tichka – Marrakech
Just prior to sunrise, we will return to Merzouga on our camels, further exploring the area on our way. Upon returning to the hotel, you will have time to shower and enjoy a good breakfast. Afterwards, we will begin our journey back to Marrakech through the Draa valley and over the Atlas Mountains, with plenty of stops for photos, exploring and lunch.
The usual arrival time in Marrakech is between 5:00 p.m and 6:00 p.m.