Marrakech Sahara Desert Tour
Marrakech tour starts at 8 am from your hotel/riad to the Desert Sahara of Morocco. On the first day of the trip, we visit the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou and the cinema studios in Ouarzazate. In Merzouga, we will do a camel trek in the golden dunes of Erg Chebbi. During this trip, we experience a variety of landscapes (desert, mountains…) in the big south of Morocco. This six days tour offers many adventure activities such as camel trekking and many great things. Overnight in the Sahara desert.
What You’ll Do
- Overnight in the beautiful sand dunes of Erg Chebbi
- Hiking in the Todra Gorge and Dades Gorge
- Camel trek in the dunes, visit the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou
The First Day of Marrakech trip to Desert Sahara: Marrakech – Ouarzazate
The tour begins from Marrakech at 8 am with our air-conditioned vehicle and English-speaking local guide, direction Ouarzazate along the Atlas Mountains and across the Tizi ‘n Tichka (2260m high) to discover different sceneries in this area with its stunning countryside. At the end, you will see the actual Aït Ben Haddou kasbah in Ouarzazate. This city is located at 1160m altitude at the intersection of the Draa and Dades valley east of Agadir, on the main road between the mountains and the Sahara desert. The Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou has been listed by UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. There are also many famous films and series filmed at this location.
In Ouarzazate, you are able to visit the Atlas film studios (6 km outside Ouarzazate on the side of the road to Marrakech) and the kasbah of Taourirt which is located closer to downtown on the way to Boumalne Dades. It was once inhabited by the Glaoui-family and built in the 18th century, renovated in the 19th century and it is now restored since 1994. From the terrace, the Kasbah offers a beautiful view of the mountains and lake Mansour el-Dahbi. Your first day of the Marrakech trip to Desert Sahara ends in Ouarzazate. Overnight in a comfortable hotel.
General information about Marrakech :
Marrakech is one of the four imperial impressive cities of Morocco which is called “the pearl of the south”. The city has an impressive history and was probably founded in 1062 by Abu Bakr, the cousin of Almoravid king Yusuf Ibn Tashfin who built several monuments in Marrakech. Today the red city definitely offers all that you could ask for.
Things to do in Marrakech:
Marrakech offers many things to visit, a day or two will not be enough to discover everything. We suggest you a few things that you can do during your stay in Marrakech to make your day more pleasant. Once you are in Marrakech, you can visit the Djemaa el Fna, the best time to visit it is in the afternoon from 3 pm, Jardin Majorelle, Bahia Palace, Menara gardens, or the Koutoubia Mosque. For a few dirhams, you can also enjoy shopping in Medina. You can also take a one-day trip to the High Atlas Mountains, Ourika Valley, Imlil, or the Ouzoud waterfalls. We have already written once about How to discover the best of Marrakech in one day, check it then! it may be something interesting if you have only one day to spend in Marrakech.
How to get to Marrakech
Getting to Marrakech is today much easier and more comfortable. There are plenty of choices: you can do it by bus, by grande taxi from other Moroccan cities, train or plane. A super quick and easy way to get to Marrakech is that you can fly directly from your country to Marrakech Menara Airport or first to Casablanca Airport than 3 hours by train.
Marrakech Menara Airport is a worldwide airport operated by the Moroccan Airports Authority. It’s a modern airport with direct scheduled flights from all over Europe. You may have to change planes in Casablanca, for instance, if you are flying from Asia. It depends on your airline. The airport is located about 3 kilometers from the center of the city and is easily accessible by taxi or bus, the cost will be about 10 euros. It is also possible to rent a car at the airport.
Language in Marrakech
Berber and Arabic are the official languages of Morocco, but most of the Moroccans in major cities like Marrakech speak French as a second language and Spanish as 3rd language in the north of the country. English is equally popular among young people. As you know Marrakech is a tourist town, many people from the tourism industry speak several languages including English, German, Spanish, Dutch… Don’t be afraid, the language will not be a problem.
Ouarzazate: Nicely situated about 197 km from Marrakech, 1160 m altitude at the intersection of the Draa valley and the Dades valley. There are major film studios. Several famous films were filmed in this area. The city is also known as the Hollywood of Morocco and the door of the desert. A great point to start excursions to the desert. If you are looking for something amazing to visit in this quiet city, Ait Ben Haddou and Kasbah of Taourirt will be the best choice.
The Second Day: Ouarzazate – Zagora – Mhamid
The next day in the morning after breakfast, we start the journey from your hotel. We cross the mountains of the anti-Atlas through the small Berber village called Agdz. The town Agdz is situated about 65 km southeast of Ouarzazate. After a while on the road to Zagora, we will have a stop outside the village of Tamnougalt for a short walk in the Draa valley and to admire amazing views over the oasis full of palm trees. Then we drive further along the right bank of the river to Zagora. Zagora is a small town in the Berber region of Souss-Massa-Drâa and the gateway to the desert. It was once an important trading hub on the way to Timbuktu. There is still a signpost in the city, direction Tamegroute, showing that Timbuktu is 52 days away by camel. Once we arrive in Tamgroute (22 km from Zagora), we will visit the potter’s cooperative and also a famous library in Tamegroute called Zawia Nasiriyya. The Nasiriyya zawiya was founded in the 17th century as an Islamic religious school by the erudite theologian Abou Abdallah Mohamed ben Nassir, namely the Koranic Library, containing some amazing illuminated Korans. After that, we will follow our route further to the dunes of Tinfou where we will have a break. Tinfou dunes are located about 6 km from our next destination Tagounite. Our day trip will end at the last village in the Draa region Mhamid, 88 km away from Zagora, a small desert village, situated approximately 24 kilometers from the Algerian border. Regardless of the possibility that you never sink to your knees in the sand of the dunes, your first night in Mhamid demonstrates that there is still a mystery. Overnight in a nomad tent (a fixed bivouac at the dunes) or in a beautiful riad in the palmer.
About The Draa valley region:
Zagora is the administrative center and province of the Drâa region in southeast Morocco. Zagora is probably dated from the 11th century and played an important role in the political history of Morocco. Zagora is known for the sign indicating “Timbuktu, 52 days by Camel”, So it was a trade route for the large caravans passing through the Sahara Desert. Three kilometers southeast of Zagora, on the way to Mhamid, lies the village Amezrou in an oasis of calm.
Amezrou is situated in an extremely diverse region full of nature, culture, and history. It’s a wonderful place to relax after having a Moroccan mint tea or a camel trek in the refreshing gardens full of palm trees. Summers here are dry and hot, so the best seasons to visit is throughout the fresh spring and fall months. 20 kilometers from Amezrou are the dunes of Tinfou on the road to Tamegroute. Here and there are scattered villages where nomads with blue turban determine images.
Tamegroute is a typical Sahara desert village in the southern part of Morocco, located 22 km from Zagora. Tamegroute contains a library that preserves valuable books including illuminated Koran books made from gazelle leather and other manuscripts of theology, astronomy, geography, pharmacology, and religion, there are actually codices dating from the 13th century. The most important activity in this village is pottery. On the side of the road are small shops where you can admire all kinds of pottery.
Mhamid or as it’s better known as M’Hamid El Ghizlane, is a rural village in the southeast of the Souss-Massa-Draa region and lies in the desert, 78 km from Tamegroute. At Mhamid the Drâa river disappears beneath the sand. It’s also the point where the asphalt road ends and further, there are only sand dunes. This place has become today a popular travel destination for adventurers. At 45 km from Mhamid, the sand dunes of Erg Chigaga are located. They can only be reached by 4×4 vehicles.
The Third Day: Mhamid – Tazzarine – Tamsahelte
After breakfast in your Mhamid accommodation, we make a camel trek in the dunes for half an hour or more if you wish. As Mhamid is the last village of the Draa valley region and is where the African desert starts, we drive back to Zagora where we turn right and take the direction of Taghbalt. Once we arrive in Isdaoun, turn left to Ait Ouazik to visit the rock engravings in a palm grove, the pictures date from about 5000 years BC. However there is no road to the village, we can easily reach it with our 4×4 vehicle. On this day trip, you will not only make contact with the friendly Berber villagers in person, you can also have these villages as a great spot for your memorable hiking. After visiting Ait Ouazik, we continue our route further to the magnificent Berber village of Tamsahelte. In Tamsahelte we have time for discovering the surrounding. We will have a short walk to admire the rural life after we check in at the Riad du Sud. Afterward, we visit the village Nkob with its 45 Kasbahs, located about 20 km from the riad. This impressive village is considered to be the capital of Ait Atta.
Information about the Tazzarine region :
Tazzarine is a rural commune, situated near Tamsahelte in the heart of Ait Atta Berbers. Tazzarine is an oasis, well known for its high quality of henna. The plantations around the village invite you for a stroll between the walls built in clay and along irrigation canals. Just above the city on the mountain, you have a beautiful panorama over the town with garden palm trees. During the summer the climate is hot throughout the Tazzarine area, so, it is better to travel here in spring, autumn and winter. A few kilometers from this town there are petroglyphs of Ait Ouazik which can be visited.
Tamsahelte is a small Berber village situated approximately 10 kilometers northwest of Tazzarine. On a hill, there is a former farmhouse that has now become a charming Kasbah, typical for the area. From the terrace of the kasbah, you have breathtaking views over the steep ravines, Saghrou mountains, and blue-black rocks surrounding the village. A short walk here will be the best choice.
fourth day: Tamsahelte – Rissani – Merzouga
After breakfast in The Riad du Sud, we begin our journey in the direction of Alnif. We will have a stop in this village, known as a paradise for fossil hunters. Moving from Alnif, we drive further to Rissani. Rissani is an oasis town on the edge of the Sahara in southern Morocco and was once the capital of Tafilalt. The city was founded by the older nomadic Berber, and Zenata tribes in the 7th century, however, it was an important center for trade exchanges and staging point for the caravan routes through the Sahara. Here on this trading caravan route gold, spices and slaves were passing through on their way to ancient Sudan, Mali, and Guinea. In Rissani we can find some fascinating things to do such as visiting the Zawiya of Moulay Ali Sherif mausoleum (the founder of the Alawite dynasty of Morocco). At this point, you see a superb original decorated gate and the ruins of the Ksar Abbar, dated from the 19th century. We also will visit Ksar Oulad Abdelhalim. If it happens you travel with us on Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday, we can even stop at its huge market to experience the atmosphere of the nomadic daily life in a Souq. After Rissani we continue moving forward to Merzouga on the route leading along other Ksours and an oasis of palm trees. Merzouga is a small desert village in the Southeast of the country, located about 35 kilometers away from Rissani and 20 kilometers from the neighborhood border Algeria. Once we arrive at Merzouga, we will have a camel ride to the desert camp where we will spend the night. A great conclusion to this day trip is enjoying the sunset from the top of sand dunes.
If it’s your first time traveling to Merzouga, we encourage you to read this article, which reveals everything about Merzouga
On the fifth day: Merzouga – Erfoud – Todra valley – Dades valley
Get up early to enjoy the sunrise on the dunes of Merzouga. This place is perfect for make amazing photos in the morning. After breakfast and shower, depart from Merzouga towards the Dades valley passing by Erfoud where you will visit a marble factory where they make tables and other handicrafts from fossils. Then we continue to Tinghir and we will have a visit to the Todgha Gorge. Finally, you will arrive at the Dades Gorge which is located in the eastern part of the High Atlas. The night will be in a guesthouse where you have the opportunity to share a little of the traditions of Berber families.
The last day of the Marrakech trip to Desert Sahara: Dades Valley – Marrakech
On the last day of this trip, we drive to Ouarzazate passing by Kalaat M’Gouna where an annual festival is held in the month of May to celebrate the pink roses. There is the possibility to see local products made from roses. We continue along the road of 1000 Kasbah to the oasis of Skoura to visit the kasbah of Amredil. The next stop is Ouarzazate. At the end of the day, you arrive in Marrakech via the Tizi N Tichka
Welcome to our beautiful World
Desert Morocco Adventure will show you the most amazing places in our beautiful World and share with you unforgettable moments by all kind of travel such as Jeep safari or Trekking and other different kinds of activities to discover Morocco.
You are welcome to visit the amazing places in our peaceful country and discover the culture and traditions of native Moroccan people.
The Price Includes
- Air-conditioned private vehicle with a professional driver
- Pick up & Drop off at your hotel
- English, Arabic, French Speaking Local guide
- 5 Nights accommodation with half pension
What is not included:
- The price of the trip does not include: Lunch
What to Bring:
- Hiking shoes, camera (optional), sun hat, and sunglasses.
Knowing before booking with us
Desert Morocco Adventure organizes only private tours so please if you are traveling with 2 adults ( in total 3 persons) and you are planning to book with us a tour make a booking in the tour schedule for 3 pax.
If you are more than 5 people or you are traveling with kids please contact us.
The luxury option is also available.