With this roundtrip Morocco The Great South you have the opportunity to visit all the cultural and natural highlights in South Morocco including the famous sand dunes of Erg Chebbi in the Sahara desert. From magical Marrakech, the pearl of South Morocco, you will make a fabulous roundtrip which brings you even further south. Includes highlights like Telouet, Aït Benhaddou, Ouarzazate & Kasbah Taourit, Valley of the 1000 Kasbahs, Roses Valley, Dadès Gorges, Todra Gorge, Merzouga, Rissani, Tazzarine and the Valley of the Drâa.
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Start Roundtrip: Marrakech – Ouarzazate over the High Atlas; along caravan routes and old Kasbahs
After breakfast (08h30) you will start the trip by private transport with your English / French speaking local driver/guide. From the plain of Haouz towards the mountains – on a clear day you can see the white peaks with snow (well into the spring). A mountain road takes you on the pass Tizi n’Tichka (2.260m) – note: it can be fresh and cold here! We descend to the village Télouet with his old mud Kasbah, built in the 19th century by the Glaoui dynasty in a strategic location along the caravan route from Timbuktu to Fès. After lunch and a traditional Berber tea you will hit the road again, over a dirt track road through the valley Ounila with small Berber villages and a fascinating mountain landscape. Several films are recorded in this mud village near the Kasbah or Ksar (reinforced village) of Ait Benhaddou. Here you have the time for a visit. Note: steep climb, the village is built on a steep hill!
Overnight just outside Ouarzazate (pronounced Warzazate) in the village of Taourirt.
Ouarzate – gorges de Dades – Todra gorges
Today you will visit the gorges in the southern foothills of the High Atlas. From Ouarzazate you follow the route of a thousand kasbahs. Often surrounded by gardens with date palms (Skoura). In the shadow you can find small fields with irrigation canals dotted with barley, vegetables, mint, henna and alfalfa clover species (dried) feed for the cattle under the palms. In the vallée des roses at El-Kelaâ M’Gounawe we see hedges of roses around the fields. In May, there is a big party. The rose petals are harvested for rose oil, rose cream and rose water. Moroccans refresh their guests with rose water and they give extra flavor with it to refined pastries. In “El-Kelaâ” you leave the main road along the (partly unpaved) road through the valley of the river M’Goun up to the Berber village Boutaghrar. After lunch, it goes up to the beautiful Dades Gorge and its surrounding jagged mountain sides. Along the river you descend to the town Boulmalne Dades. Our route then goes to Tinerhir and the next, most spectacular gorge with nearly vertical walls of 300 meters high; the Gorge du Todra.
Dinner and overnight in a Kasbha Style hotel – Gorge du Todra.
Gorge du Todra – sand dunes of Merzouga
Along the Todra river and its narrow fertile valley you descend to the town of Tinerhir. The journey continues along the main route to the southeast; vast plains interspersed with a single palm garden. Beyond the town of Erfoud you will stop at the foot of the sand dunes. This is the desert! On the back of a camel (they are camels with one hump) you will ride into the sand dunes to a camp with Bedouin tents in a small oasis. The sand dunes are 200m high and a fantastic base to enjoy the sunset. And what do you think of the 1000 stars at night?
Dinner and overnight at camp with Bedouin tents. Bed with sheets / blankets and towel are provided.
Merzouga – Alnif – Tazzarine – Agdz
After a sunrise – preferably from a high sand dune – enjoy a quiet breakfast before hitting the back of the camel to leave the little oasis and the sand dunes to return to your dirver / guide and his car. Opportunity to take a shower. The journey continues to Rissani with the fossils-masons-work sites. After traversing a desert plain we travel to Tazzarine; This is the backdrop for the film Babel. Not far from Agdz, in the valley of the River Draâ, you find a large palm garden at Tamnougalte an old kasbah, converted into a hotel. This is the place that Jeffrey Tayler describes in his book ‘The valley of the Kasba’s’:
“.. We saw between the palms through the gates of Tamnougalt. The mud fort consisted of several floors and quite a few towers. The kasbah was reminiscent of an old Arabic castle but also a freshly baked cake house. Subject to the Kasbah flowed shimmering green Dra. Beyond the village lay in the distance the ruthless rusty Jbel Asal.”
Dinner and overnight Kasbah style hotel – Tamnougalte
Agdz – Ouarzazate – Marrakech
Today a long drive to get back in Marrakech. Along beautiful rocks we leave the valley of the Draâ through winding roads. From Ouarzazate we drive through the High Atlas Mountains.