Imperial Cities and Desert Experience
tour 8 days
Day 1: Marrakesh airport – Marrakesh
As soon as your plane lands, our driver will already be waiting for you at the airport. Drop-off at the hotel. Free time. Night at the hotel.
Day 2: Marrakesh – High Atlas Mountains – Ait Benhaddou – Ouarzazate – Dades Valley
After a pick-up at your hotel, we will set off towards the High Atlas Mountains. We will drive through the Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass, where we will make several quick stops to admire the panoramic views and take pictures of the Berber villages well camouflaged between the mountains. We will then head south to reach Ait Benhaddou, declared a World Heritage Site in 1986 by UNESCO. Some world-famous films and TV series, such as Gladiator, Asterix and Obelix, The Mummy, The Jewel of the Nile, Lawrence of Arabia or Game of Thrones, have been shot in such a spectacular setting. After lunch, we will head towards Ouarzazate, also known as the “Door of the Desert”. Some cultural sites, such as the Taourirt Kasbah, are worth mentioning in Ouarzazate. We will then pass through the palm grove of Skoura to reach the Valley of the Roses. We will be able to admire more than 700 palm trees and a great numbers of kasbah in the oasis of Skoura. We will then reach the Valley of the Roses, a charming valley where the beautiful Damask rose is harvested. We will then reach the Dades Valley, where we will spend the night. Night at the hotel.
Day 3: Dadès Valley – Todgha Gorge – Merzouga Dunes
After breakfast, we will enjoy one of the most breathtaking views of the Dadès Valley. We will do that from one of the most strategic places that the mountains offer. From that viewpoint, we will notice hundreds of kasbahs and appreciate how picturesque each of them is. We will also visit the geological formations called “Monkey Fingers”. After several stops along the way, we will reach the Todgha Gorge. Surrounded by a valley covered with palm trees and adobe houses, climbing enthusiasts will find in these mountains some of the best climbing spots in Morocco. The Todgha and Dadès faults are the most well-known and breathtaking faults in Morocco. After wandering around the Todgha Gorge, we will resume our trip towards the desert to reach the magnificent dunes in Merzouga. Drop-off at the hotel. Free time. Night at the hotel.
Day 4: Merzouga – Khamlia – Rissani – Camel ride and night in a haima
After breakfast, we will head out to explore and discover the area. We will visit Khamlia, a small village founded by Malian slave descendants. We will attend a private Gnawa music concert while we sip on some welcome tea. Afterwards, we will visit Rissani, Morocco’s former capital. This traditional village was at the origin of the ruling family in Morocco, and the meeting point for trade caravans that came from as far as Timbuktu, in Mali. We will visit its bustling market and the Moulay Ali Cheriff mausoleum. We will see many hooded men and veiled women there. After lunch, we will drive back to Merzouga for a quick rest. In the afternoon, we will ride the camels, guided by an experienced camel driver from the area. We will admire the astonishing sunset on the dunes before reaching the campsite for the night. We will have a typical Moroccan dinner, which includes a tagine and delicious mint tea. We will enjoy some drum music by the bonfire and observe the magnificent sky and the stars. Night in a haima.
Day 5: Merzouga – Midelt – Azrou – Ifrane – Fez
Don’t forget to wake up at the crack of dawn to walk up the highest dune next to the campsite to enjoy the sunrise and the relaxing landscape that nature offers. After having a delicious breakfast, we will say goodbye to the desert. Our trip will continue through the magnificent Ziz Valley and the Tafilalet palm grove, famous for its dates crops. This palm grove spreads across more than 20 km, and it has more than 10 million palm trees, which makes it one of the biggest palm groves in the world. We will make our way to Midelt for lunch. We will then drive through the famous cedars forest and admire the great Cedre Gouraud, the largest ancient cedar in the region. We will be able to feed the hundreds of wild monkeys that live in the area. Afterwards, we will reach Ifrane, also known as the “Moroccan Switzerland” because of its striking resemblance with that country. One of the animals that used to live there was the Atlas lion. That’s why it has become the city’s landmark and a stone statue has been dedicated to it. We will have time to take some pictures. We will arrive to Fez in the afternoon. Drop-off at the hotel. Free time. Night at the hotel.
Day 6: Full day to explore and discover Fez – Meknes
After a delicious and fulfilling breakfast at the hotel, we will start our guided tour in the new part of the city, where we will discover the Royal Palace and the Jewish quarter (Mellah). We will also go to a viewpoint from where we will have an overview of the medina from the Southern Tower and the mosques. We will then wander around the medina, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We will visit the Al-Karaouine University; the Nejjarine Fountain; and the Cherratine and Al-Attarine Madrasas, both decorated in an Arabic style and devoted to the study of religion. We will soon notice that it’s a medieval city, where time has stopped on the Dar al-Magana’s clock 1200 years after its completion. The tour includes a visit to a ceramic workshop. Its labyrinth-like narrow streets are organized by unions: potters, dyers, tanners… The bustle of these people will make us travel back in time. After visiting Fez, we will make our way to spend the night in Meknes. Free time. Night at the hotel.
Day 7: Meknes – Marrakesh
After breakfast, we will explore the smallest of all the Imperial cities. We will visit the fortified medina, the astonishing Bab Masour gate, the el-Hedim Square and the Sultan Moulay Ismail’s stables and barns in the city that carries the name of this Great Sultan of the Alaouite Dynasty. After the visit, we will drive through a very rich agricultural area before reaching Marrakesh. We will arrive to Marrakesh in the afternoon. Free time. Night at the hotel.
Day 8: Marrakesh – Marrakesh Menara airport
Free time to explore and discover the city until the agreed time for your transfer to the airport. Airport drop-off. End of our services.
- Start of the trip: Marrakech
- End of the trip: Marrakech
- Accommodation in charming hotels with private room and bathroom
The price includes
- Airport or hotel transfers in Casablanca.
- Private transport with A/C
- English-speaking driver/guide at your service during the whole trip
- Accommodation type: bed & breakfast, except in Dades and Merzouga (breakfast & dinner)
- Official guide in Fez
- Camel ride in the desert
- Night in the desert in a haima with breakfast & dinner
- Dinners, except those in Dades and Merzouga