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departures from Marrakech

Description

Day 1

Marrakech We will meet you at your riad or hotel, 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 pass through Ouarzazate and stop for 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 auberge (small country inn) with Moroccan dinner on the terrace, overlooking the valley gorge and gardens.

Day 2

After breakfast we will drive off road drive to Tinehir for lunch. After lunch we\'ll walk through a massive fault dividing the Atlas mountains. Todra Gorge sheer limestone walls rise over 300m in its narrowest part. You can wander with a guide through palmery villages, gardens and kasbahs for a close look at traditional Berber ways of life and visit the evening women’s market in Tinehir. We will stay in a traditional old kasbah with evening Moroccan dinner.

Day 3

Today we rise early and leave 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. We’ll traverse the range off-road, crossing high plateaus, volcanic cones, ridges, and take time to enjoy spectacular views over this area. Stop for a picnic lunch near Bab n’Ali, two ancient weathered volcanic cores. We’ll be in the Draa valley by late afternoon, and our Zagora hotel by dinner.

Day 4

Back on the road again, we’ll take a scenic drive south to the very edge of Sahara, near M’Hamid. After lunch, you can hop on your camel and explore the dunes.

Day 5

Across the desert again after breakfast, we’re off road on the trail to the Chegaga dunes. Along the way we’ll find camels at wells, nomads with their goats, and flat desert Hamada covered with fossils, crystals, perhaps stone age tools, or if you’re really lucky, you’ll find a meteorite. We’ll be in Chegaga after lunch, and you will have the day and evening to enjoy your time in a desert bivouac. Explore and climb the dunes to watch the night sky. A traditional Moroccan tagine will be served for dinner, before you retire to your bed in a nomad wool tent.

Day 6

Today we’ll go off road further south through the dunes, following the Algerian border (yes it’s safe!) through stark desert landscapes, bordered on one side by mountains, and the other by sand dunes. Few nomads live in this area, and there is little else. We’ll arrive at Foum Zguid for lunch, then head north to Ouarzazate over a very scenic route. Back in civilization, we’ll stay outside of Ouarzazate, in a modern kasbah.

Day 7

Back on the tourist route heading back to Marrakech today, 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. After lunch we’ll off road to Telouet, back down the Tizi n\'Tichka pass to Marrakech, arriving approximately 6 pm. You will need to book a hotel this night in Marrakech, or we can book (with extra cost) for you.

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