Desert trip from Agadir to the Erg Chebbi – 5 days
This desert trip from Agadir to the Erg Chebbi dunes provides an exciting opportunity for beach holidaymakers to add a thrilling desert adventure to their itinerary. During the journey, you'll gain further insights into Morocco's diverse and enchanting landscapes. Passing through Taroudant, often referred to as "the little Marrakech," you'll witness the charm of this vibrant city. Talouine offers a visit to a saffron museum, where you can learn about the cultivation of this precious spice. Taznakht showcases the craft of Berber rug-making through its co-operatives. Along the way, you'll also encounter the Bouazzer cobalt and copper mines, a sight rarely seen by tourists, en route to Agdez. This small town serves as the gateway to the Dra'a Valley, the longest valley in Morocco, where you'll spend your first night in a traditional guest-house. Exploring the Dra'a Valley, you'll visit Kasbah Tamnougalte in Agdez and witness the rural Berber life thriving in the oases. From Tansikht, you'll head east, passing through Nkob and Tazzarine, before reaching the majestic Erg Chebbi dunes in Merzouga. One of the highlights of this journey is embarking on a thrilling camel ride through the dunes, where the sunset becomes a spectacular sight to behold. Indulge in a traditional Moroccan dinner at a luxurious desert camp, which is sure to be one of the culinary highlights of your time in Morocco. The evening continues with the enchanting melodies of Berber music around a campfire beneath the starry sky. Conclude the day with a romantic night spent in an exotic tent within the comfort of a luxury desert camp. On the return journey, be prepared to be astonished by the geological wonders of the Dades Valley, where the ever-changing rock formations never cease to surprise. A stop at the underground irrigation channels will prove fascinating. Another enchanting experience awaits at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, located outside Ouarzazate. The majestic High Atlas Mountains provide unforgettable panoramic vistas. Finally, in Marrakech, immerse yourself in the wonders of this Imperial city through a sightseeing tour that showcases its main attractions, leaving you with even more marvels to cherish.
Sahara desert tour from Agadir to Marrakech 5 days – itinerary
1st day: Agadir – Taroudant – Taliouine – Agdez
At 8:30, we embark on our journey from Agadir in a 4WD vehicle. Our first destination is Taroudant, often referred to as “the little Marrakech,” renowned for its impressive ramparts and captivating medina.
Next, we proceed to Taliouine, the heart of Morocco’s saffron growing region. Here, you’ll find a delightful government-run museum dedicated to saffron agriculture, where the aroma of saffron fills the air, offering a truly delightful experience.
Continuing our adventure, we traverse the Tizi-n-Tighatine and Tizi-n-Ikhsane passes, which lead us to Taznakht, famous for its exquisite Berber gelims and carpets.
Our journey then takes us to Agdez, passing through the Bouazzer cobalt and copper mines, as we make our way to spend our first night in the enchanting Dra’a Valley.
The journey then takes you to the renowned Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, the most famous kasbah in Morocco and one of the country’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. After enjoying lunch in the village, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the kasbah, including a climb to the top for breathtaking views.
In the afternoon, a visit to the Atlas Film Studios is on the schedule. These studios have been the backdrop for numerous Hollywood blockbusters, and many of the sets are still intact (including those from Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Asterix and Obelix, and Game of Thrones). With just a few kilometers remaining, you’ll arrive in the charming town of Ouarzazate, where you’ll spend the night in a riad.
2nd day: Agdez – Merzouga
Following a satisfying breakfast, our itinerary takes us to Kasbah Tamnougalte, the oldest Kasbah in the Dra’a Valley. Despite being inhabited by around 13 families, the Jewish quarter has been abandoned and now stands as a crumbling testament to its past.
Continuing our journey southward, we reach Tansikht, where our path intersects with the serene Dra’a River. Just before reaching this point, be sure to ask your driver to stop and marvel at the dinosaur footprints preserved in the rocks alongside the road. Continuing eastward, we pause for a delightful lunch at a charming riad in N’Qob, offering splendid views of the mountains.
As our journey progresses, we pass through Tazzarine, a place that gained fame through its appearance in the film “Babel.” Finally, we arrive at the bivouac in Merzouga, where a warm welcome awaits, accompanied by a refreshing glass of tea. After settling in, you embark on an unforgettable one to one-and-a-half-hour camel ride, providing the perfect vantage point to witness the captivating sunset over the dunes.
The evening brings a delectable dinner and a night’s stay at a luxurious desert camp. Complete with private bathrooms, king-sized beds, and beautiful Moroccan furnishings and lamps carefully arranged to enhance your immersion in the tranquil and breathtaking ambiance of the dunes.
3rd day: Merzouga – Tinghir/Toudgha – Dades Gorges
If you rise early, you’ll have the incredible opportunity to witness the mesmerizing spectacle of the sunrise, where the dunes come alive with vibrant colors and the interplay of shadows creates an awe-inspiring sight. Following a delightful breakfast at the camp, we set off towards Tinghir and the enchanting Toudgha gorges.
4th day: Dades Gorges – Marrakech
While traveling, you will come across the remarkable water channels known as “khettarat,” which can be descended into to appreciate the architectural marvel and ingenuity behind this irrigation system. Designed to combat evaporation during the scorching summer heat, these channels start at a higher gradient and gradually emerge at the surface, nourishing the fields along the way. For further insights into this fascinating system, you can explore the writings of Andrew Wilson.
In the Toudgha gorge and valley, you’ll have the opportunity to venture beyond the gorge itself and explore the picturesque village gardens and fields. Continuing on, our journey takes us to the captivating Dades Valley. This area, once submerged under the sea millions of years ago, witnessed the deposition of sediment around colossal coral reefs. Over time, these sediments transformed into various types of sedimentary rocks, such as sandstone and limestone. The movement of the Earth’s crust eventually elevated the region above sea level, giving rise to the majestic Atlas Mountains and the surrounding landscape. For accommodation, the night is spent in a hotel or kasbah, offering comfort and charm.
After a delightful breakfast, we embark on a visit to the Dades gorges, followed by a short walk through their captivating scenery. Our route then takes us through the renowned Valley of the Roses, famous for its vibrant Rose Festival held in May. The aromatic damascene roses grown here are used in the production of cosmetics and toiletries, highly valued throughout the country.
Next on our itinerary is Skoura and its oasis, where the notable Kasbah Amredhil awaits your exploration. This beautifully restored kasbah provides a glimpse into the multi-generational lifestyle within such dwellings. Constructed entirely of adobe, a superb building material, it offers a cozy warmth during winters and keeps cool during summers, thanks to the thickness of its walls.
Continuing our journey, we arrive at the iconic Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, one of Morocco’s nine UNESCO World Heritage sites and a prominent backdrop for numerous Hollywood blockbusters. This distinguished Kasbah holds historical significance, with some buildings dating back to the 17th century. Our road then ascends over the majestic High Atlas Mountains, treating us to breathtaking vistas. By late afternoon, after crossing the Tizi-n-Tichka pass, we arrive in the vibrant city of Marrakech, marking the end of our journey.
5th day: Marrakech – Agadir
After enjoying a delightful breakfast, your morning will be dedicated to exploring the sights of your choice, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Following a fulfilling morning of exploration, we will return to Agadir after lunch.
Among the recommended sights, you have the option to visit the Madressah ben Youssef, the Saadian tombs, the vibrant souks, the Bahia Palace, and the renowned Majorelle Gardens, once owned by Yves St Laurent. The gardens are particularly notable for their captivating shade of blue, known as the Majorelle blue, which adorns the walls and plant pots throughout the lush grounds.
While it may not be possible to visit all of these sights in one short morning, you always have the option to extend your stay and add a sixth day to your itinerary. As your desert trip from Agadir to the Erg Chebbi Dunes concludes, your driver will accompany you back to your riad, marking the end of the journey.