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departures from Marrakech

Description

Day 1:

Marrakeche -Ait ben hadou We will meet you at your Marrakech riad or hotel at 8:30am, depart Marrakech and transport over the High Atlas mountains Tizi nTichka pass, taking time to stop and enjoy impressive landscapes, and have coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice. We’ll take a side road visit to tour World Heritage Site Ait Benhaddou. This village of clustered Berber Kasbahs has been used as a backdrop for more than 20 films and was one of the most important fortress strongholds on the old Salt Road where caravans brought slaves, gold, ivory and salt from Saharan Africa to Marrakech and beyond. Stay this night in Ait Benhaddou.

Day 2

After lunch our next destination is Dades valley. You will pass through many Berber villages, and in the desert, see riverside oasis, and barren red rock formations clustered with kasbahs (fortified dwellings that house many families and their livestock). Stay in Dades valley upper gorge auberge (small country inn) with Moroccan dinner on the terrace, overlooking the valley gorge and gardens.

Day 3

Today we rise early and leave the main road to off road, crossing the High Atlas desert mountains to Tazzarine, then follow the winding road down to Todra Gorge, where sheer limestone walls rise to 300 m in its narrowest part. You’ll have a visit in the gorge, then continue to Tinehir. Visit the market in Tinehir and old kasbah quarter. We will have a late afternoon arrival to stay in an old kasbah with evening Moroccan dinner by the pool.

Day 4

We will again go off road, leaving the tourist route behind for the Saghro massif, one of the most remote regions in Morocco, populated by the Ait Atta nomad tribes. We’ll visit their camps and perhaps be invited in for tea. The traverse climbs a rugged trail off-road, crossing high plateaus, volcanic cones, ridges, and we\'ll take time to enjoy spectacular views over this area. Stop for a picnic lunch near Bab n’Ali, two ancient weathered volcanic cores. Stay in NKob hotel.

Day 5

Today we drive east of the stark Saghro Massif. This route is peppered with isolated villages and towns, rocky mesas and acacia trees. We will have lunch near Rissani before departing for the Erg Chebbi dunes. Our late-afternoon destination is the auberge (small inn) near Merzouga, where you meet your camel guide to ride into the dunes at sunset to the bivouac (camp). Upon arrival you will be served a traditional tagine dinner (vegetarians welcome), prepared under the evening stars shining brilliantly in the above. Climb the big dune and watch the moon rise before retiring to your bed in a nomad wool tent.

Day 6

Return by camel at sunrise to the auberge for breakfast and shower. Today we’ll take the 4x4 off road, and explore around the Erg Chebbi sand sea, visiting Nomads for tea along the way (if they can be found). You can visit the village of kHamlia, and experience the Gnaoua music of the Sufi tribes. This night you are back in the desert auberge for dinner.

Day 7

Back on the tourist route, you’ll depart for long days drive to Fez, traveling through the Ziz gorges into the Middle Atlas mountains. You can stop in the the alpine town of Ifrane, before descending to the hilly lowlands where the ancient city of Fez is situated. We can arrange for your stay in a traditional old riad in the heart of the Fez medina and arrange for a guide for the next day if you wish. (extra cost[s]).

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