Desert Dunes and Moroccan Markets
Morocco Desert Experience
Immerse yourself in all things Moroccan on this Morocco desert experience, where you will drive through luscious oases to the ever-shifting golden dunes of the desert. From Ouarzazate begin your voyage to the desert; leave the modern world behind and enter civilisations of the past. Travel through the imposing Todra Gorge and the spectacular scenery of the Dades valley. Stop at villages such as Tamegroute to see the beautiful dark green pottery for which it is known. As you journey, explore the dramatic Kasbahs which gave the valley its whimsical name ‘valley of a thousand kasbahs’. In these fairy tale surroundings, allow yourself to be transported into an epic tale of sultans and merchants, of hardship and romance. Many of these grand fortresses have crumbled and are half buried in the sand. Although their ancient significance has diminished with time, the ruins hint at buried secrets and allude to a fascinating past.
Wander under Rissani’s beautifully decorated city gate to the largest souk in the region. There, weave through the stalls of foods and fabrics or haggle for leathers before leaving civilisation behind completely. At one of the highlights of the Morocco desert experience, see the sun set over the desert dunes in Merzouga. In this immense area of natural beauty, watch the sun fade and give way to an endless sky of glittering stars.
The serenity of the desert is at odds with the hustle and bustle of Marrakesh. Meander through the labyrinth of the Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on a guided tour of Marrakech. Hand-woven rugs and leathers of every shade create a whirlwind of colour while pyramids of bright spices cause delicious scents to drift through the winding streets. Entertainment is abundant in Djemaa El Fna Square. At dusk, the square becomes a veritable carnival of fortune tellers and acrobats. Belly dancers perform in elaborate costume, musicians sing of folklore and tradition, and snakes are bewitched by flutes.
Dates on request
Suggested Itinerary by Air
Arrive Marrakech – Ouarzazate
Make your way to London Stansted in time for your flight to Marrakech airport, where you will be met by a coach. Travel along the Tizi n’Tichka pass through the Atlas Mountains. After a scenic drive, arrive in Ouarzazate and check into your hotel where you will be provided with dinner.
Ouarzazate – Zagora (approx 3 hours)
After an early breakfast, head west to the oasis of Ouarzazate – this magnificent city is an important film making location and is known as ‘the door to the desert’. Be amazed by the majestic kasbahs as you continue along the scenic Draa Valley and stop to take in these impressive earthern fortresses. Visit the village of Tamegrout famous for its rich green pottery. You may wish to continue to the local Zaouia, or shrine, which houses an ancient manuscript of the Koran. At Zagora check into your hotel and enjoy dinner with your group.
Zagora – Erfoud (approx 4 hours)
Enjoy breakfast in your hotel, then depart towards Erfoud. Journey through Dades Valley and the Todra Gorge. Many of Morocco’s most spectacular Kasbahs and castles hug the lush river bed. Take a walk through a date palm oasis and visit a highly decorated Kasbah and enjoy lunch at leisure. Reach your destination, Erfoud. Located in one of the largest oases in Morocco, Erfoud was built as a military outpost in an area famous for having almost one million date palm trees. Enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Erfoud – Merzouga (approx 1 hour)
Following breakfast, visit the largest souk in the region – Rissani. Explore the crumbling ruins of once-grand Kasbahs, now half buried by sand. For trans-Saharan caravans, these fortifications were the first sign of civilisation after months of hardship in the desert. Especially notable is Sijimassa whose ruins reveal nothing of its previous significance. In the middle ages it was one of the most important trade centres on a route across the desert to secret gold mines. Enjoy lunch at leisure before continuing on to the dunes of Merzouga in time to watch the sunset. Dine and stay overnight in a camp.
Mezouga – Ouarzazte (approx 5/6 hours)
After breakfast, depart for Ouarzazate via Todra Gorge and Dades valley. Enjoy the scenery of this 5-6 hour journey before enjoying an afternoon at leisure in Ouarzazate. Dine in your hotel.
Following breakfast in your hotel, depart for Marrakech. (250km, approx 4 hours drive). Upon arrival, you will check in to your hotel. In the afternoon, soak up the atmosphere of Marrakech on a guided tour. Visit El Bahia palace, which is a haphazard arrangement of luxury apartments opening on to inner courtyards. Marvel at the Moorish design and intricate marquetry. Explore the Mellah – the old Jewish quarter – before entering the winding streets of the medina. The medina’s souks are a riot of colour, noise and activity. Artisans can be seen weaving carpets, hammering copper or gilding leather. The ominously named Assembly of Death (Djemaa El Fna Square) no longer hosts public executions, but is a popular meeting place buzzing with entertainment including Berber musicians, acrobats and snake charmers. Enjoy dinner at your hotel.
After breakfast you will transfer to Marrakech airport by coach for your return flight to London Stansted.