IMPERIAL AND SAHARA DESERT 9 DAYS TOUR FROM MARRAKECH
Explore Sahara desert in popular 4×4 private tour from Marrakech to Merzouga. We visit Unesco Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou ,then Dades and Merzouga. Tour finish in Marrakech.
DAY 1 : MARRAKECH TO CASABLANCA AND RABAT
The private driver for your Marrakech to desert tour will transfer you from Marrakech to Casablanca. If there is enough time you will head to the city to visit the most highlighted landmark in Casablanca, the Hassan 2 mosque. The work to build this mosque began in 1980 .its built right next to the Atlantic Ocean .the entire structure, which covers a total area of 24,000square, is designed on a gigantic scale. the prayer hall accommodates 25,000 worshippers ,with space for a further 80,00 pilgrims to pray on the esplanade .a cultural centre ,with a library ,museum and Koranic school ,adjoins the main building .and after the visit of this vast construction you will drive to the Corniche which is bordered by uninterrupted sweep of beaches ,swimming pools, cafes ,hotels and restaurant .than driver to rabat. We will start with the Bad challah , Mausoleum of Mohammed V,and one of the main gates of the royal palace and the oudaya kasbah. Lunch in a local restaurant than the drop off in your riad in the medina for the over night.over night in a riad in the old medina.
DAY 2 : RABAT-MEKNES – VOLUBILIS –FES
In the morning again at 8 :30 am you will meet your driver guide and travel first to meknes. It was founded in the 9th century when Zenata Berbers from the Mknassa tribe settled in the fertile Sais plain and a series of small villages sprang up along the banks of the Oued Bou Fekrane – the old city which is surrounded by 25 miles of triple ramparts. and the wall around has many gates called Bab so you will see Bad Elkhmis ,Bab mansor ,Bab berdaine(gate of the pack saddles),and others .also you will have time to visit the Moulay Ismail mausoleum a, the Moulay Ismail granaries and the Agudoual Basin.lunch in a local restaurant.than leave to the roman city,volubilis. volubilis is at the foot of the Jebel Zerhoun .the site was inhabited during the Meolithic period and was occupied by the carthaginians and then by the Romans .inside this historical site you will see the house of Orpheus ,Decumanus Maximus and Triumphal Arch, the house of Dinysus ,the house of Dionysus and the ‘Four seasion’ ,Etc … and after the visit you will leave to Fes.over night in a riad.
DAY 3- SIGHTSEEING AND AN HISTORICAL VISIT TO FES.
In the morning around 9:30 am you will meet a local guide in your riad to join him for the visit of Fes and its historical places .Fes is the oldest of Morocco’s imperial cities, is an important religious, intellectual and cultural centre. it is also renowned for its crafts ,and because of the particularly high reputation of its university it is known by Idriss 1 ,founder of Fes. first, you will start by the visit of the entrance gate of the royal palace than the Mellah .the term Mellah referring to the Jewish quarter of a Moroccan town ,comes from the Arabic word Melh(salt).and after that you will take a visit to a pottery cooperative .and the Fes pottery is tinglazed earthenware decorated with predominantly coblt-blue designs. Later on you will walk in the medina and start with Medersa Bou Inania ,Moulay Idriss ‘zaouia’,Nejjarine ‘Fondouk’,The Kairouyine university ;The Andalous Quarter etc…than towards the Tannery Quarter to the process by which animal skins are rendered supple and rot proof .after you visit inside this fascinating old medina ,you will meet your driver for a quick sightseeing the modern city .the construction of the modern city of Fes began under the French protectorate. Then drop off back to your riad .over night in the same riad.
DAY 4 – FES –IFRAN-THE CEDAR FOREST- MIDELT
At 9:00 am in the morning, you will continue the trip to Merzouga via many Berber towns. The first stop will be in Ifrane, Moroccan Swiss style city. Built as a mountain health resort (5,400 feet) in 1929. Ifrane is now the seat of Morocco‘s only Engliahs-speaking university. Then you begin the long climb into the Middle Atlas through an old cedar forest of Azrou and Holm oaks lashed by the mind. In the forest you will see the Barbary Macaque. This extremely social monkey, also known as the Barbary ape, is active during the day. This forest too has other creatures like Common Genet, Leopard but this one is very rare today. And a variety of birds like Fiercest, Blue tit ,Scoops owl …etc. after the forest you will drive through a completely barren plateau which is reminiscent of certain lunar landscape .the ground is pitted with small volcanic craters ,some filled with rainwater known here as Aguelmane ,and of course you will have many stops for pictures and enjoyments. Arrive midelt in the afternoon.over night in a hotel.
DAY 5 – MIDELT- ERRACHIDIA-ERFOUD-RISSANI – MERZOUGA DESERT
In the morning at 9:00am after breakfast.you will leave to the desert. You will continue the journey through Er Rachidia to the Tafilalet oasis and drive through the Oued ZIZ and Oued Rhris run together for a distance of about 175 miles, irrigating a vast plain that is sometimes referred to as the ‘Mesopotamia of the Maghreb’. Then through Erfoud which is know with one of the largest oases in Morocco .and a date festival is held here. it’s also the starting point for excursions into the first great dunes of the Sahara .And after that you will drive through Rissani which for eleven centuries was the last staging post on the southern caravan route and its where the Alaouites first came to the Tafilalet.and at the end of the day you will make it to the sand dunes of Merzouga. Overnight in a hotel on the edge of the dunes. Over night in a hotel
DAY 6 – A 4WD TOUR AROUND THE DESERT
After breakfast in the hotel, you will start the tour around the desert .you will start with the visit to the Khamliyya tribe ,home for a very dark ,very friendly dark skin people. they have their own spiritual music which called Gnawa music.you will spend around 30 min to enjoy the music and after that you will drive through the desert to explore it .you will drive to visit the Bedouin families living in tents ,they are welcoming people . You will have a stop for a visit and to drink a cup of tea with them and look inside the tent .then, continue the desert adventure till you make the whole tour around the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. And at lunch time, you driver will order you a Berber pizza in a local restaurant. In the desert too you will take a visit to the nearby lake, Dayet Srji , various species of birds ,particularly flamingos ,can be seen in February and March. and in the Hamada, a kind of desert landscape, the vast expanses with deep hollows are the habitat of several species of reptile and small rodent .but on the dunes there is only very few species like the sandfish and the desert fox .and around 3:30 pm you will go back to your hotel to relax and be ready to ride camels the middle of the sand dunes .over night in a Berber tent.
DAY 7 – MERZOUGA-TINJDAD-TINGHIR-DADES GORGES
In the desert you will wake up like 15 minutes before the sunrise to go up to a sand dune to watch the sunrise and to take pictures. Later on you will ride back to camels to the hotel. breakfast and shower the hotel .just as you become ready you will continue the trip to the next destination .you will pass through many town and villages like the oasis of Jerf where you will see the traditional irrigation systems called KHettara canalizes underground water along gently sloping drainage channels, and through Tinjdad and go to Todra Gorges to spend some time also to walk for a while in the Gorges and in its palm grove. It’s a place as well for climbers due to its huge cliffs like walls. Lunch in a local restaurant somewhere next or in the Gorges .after lunch you will continue the trip to the Dades valley which is known as the valley of one thousand Kasbah .from the administrative centre of Boumalne Dades ,where houses are built on the mountainside next to the Kasbah ,stand at the entrance of the magnificent Dades Gorges .At first the road is bordered by a series of Ksour and Kasnahs. overnight in a hotel next the Gorges.
DAY 8 – DADES VALLEY –NOMADS IN CAVES-ROSE VALLEY- SKOURA-OURZAZATE
After breakfast, you begin your day’s journey towards Ouarzazate via the High Atlas Mountains. Take off road about 25 km on your 4×4, you will discover nomad life in caves before arriving in the the centre of Moroccan roses and rose products. Continue your trip via the Road of One Thousand Kasbahs. Then drive to Skoura.This fertile oasis, renowned for the cultivation of dates, olives and other crops, was founded by Yacoub el Mansour and named after its original inhabitants .you will visit a 12 century Kasbah called Ameridel .then, go to the Moroccan Hollywood, Ourzazate. Over night in a hotel.
DAY 9 – OURZAZATE- AITBENHADDOU – TIZI N TICHKA – MARRAKECH.
This city has studios for the many films that are shot on location in the surrounding area .A scene from Bernardo Bertolucci’s the sheltering sky (1990) was shot in the Kasbah Taourirt .you will visit this former Glaoui adobe residence is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Morocco. You can take a visit to one of the cinema studios or a museum in the town .and after that continue the fortified village of Ait Benhaddou has been classified by UNESCO as one the world’s cultural treasures and many movies were shot in the village like gladiator and others. you will stop for the visit of the village also lunch .later on you will drive to Marrakech through Tizi n tichka, which is in an altitude of 7,415 feet (2260 M) ,is the highest vehicular pass in Morocco .it links Marrakech with the pre-Saharan regions, and the small typical village of Tddart ,set among walnut trees ,used to be the first staging post on the caravan route between Marrakech and Ouarzazate. And around 5:30 you will arrive Marrakech .drop off in Marrakech.