Imperial Cities, Sahara Desert Tours from Marrakech – 8 days

Experience an unforgettable 8-day Sahara Desert tour from Marrakech. Journey through the majestic High Atlas Mountains and explore iconic sites like Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou and Ouarzazate's film sets. Enjoy camel rides and stunning sunsets in Merzouga's dunes. Discover the charm of Fes, the Roman ruins of Volubilis, and the cultural wonders of Rabat and Casablanca. This incomparable desert adventure will leave you with cherished memories to treasure

Imperial Cities, Sahara Desert Tours from Marrakech – 8 days – itinerary

1st day : Marrakech – Skoura

Departing in the morning at 8:30 from your Marrakech hotel or riad, the journey takes you across the majestic High Atlas Mountains. After reaching the Tichka pass, the highest in North Africa at 2260 m, you’ll veer off the main road to venture on a side road leading to the Telouet Kasbah, once owned by the Glaoui family, Lords of the Atlas. Although much of the building now lies in ruins, it still holds a traditional interior decoration that will pleasantly surprise you as you explore the farthest end of the Kasbah.

Continuing along the breathtaking Ounila Valley, you’ll encounter winding roads, captivating rock and soil hues, Berber villages, gardens, and smaller Kasbahs. Eventually, you’ll arrive at Ait Ben Haddou, where a delicious lunch awaits, providing you with the energy to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its appearance in numerous Hollywood blockbusters.

The journey continues for another hour or so until you reach Skoura, where you’ll spend the night in a comfortable guest house.

2nd day : Skoura – Dades Gorges

After breakfast, you’ll have the opportunity to take a leisurely walk through the oasis, surrounded by thousands of palm trees, olives, and almonds, and pass by traditional houses nestled among the fields. Next, you’ll visit the beautifully restored Kasbah Amredhil, offering an authentic glimpse into historic Berber life.

Continuing on, the journey heads towards the Dades Gorge, passing through the renowned Valley of Roses, famous for its Rose Festival in early May. You’ll stop to see locally-made cosmetic articles using the valley’s abundant flowers, products highly valued throughout Morocco.

An off-road route will provide a better perspective of the landscape, and you’ll have the chance to visit caves occasionally used by Berber nomads as shelter. You can stop for a glass of tea with them before proceeding to the Dades Gorge for lunch.

The afternoon allows you to explore the valley, take relaxing strolls by the fields and gardens, or spend time with a Berber family over tea. The night will be spent in a comfortable guest house.

3rd day : Dades gorges – Merzouga

After breakfast, the journey continues to Tinghir and the remarkable Toudgha Gorges, where you can take a short walk to admire the steep canyon walls and the narrow stretch of sky above.

Next, you’ll proceed to the Chebbi dunes through Tinjdad, passing by the Oasis of Tafilalet near Erfoud, renowned for its Date Festival, and Rissani, which holds significance as the seat of the Alaouite family, the present king of Morocco. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to stop and explore the ingenious underground water channels that lie deep beneath the earth, providing a cooling and efficient source of irrigation. Descending into these channels offers a fascinating experience and showcases ancient engineering marvels.

Upon reaching the camp, you’ll be welcomed with a refreshing glass of tea before embarking on a camel ride to witness the breathtaking sunset from the dunes’ summit. Later, you’ll enjoy dinner and spend the night in a nomad tent nestled at the foot of the dunes

4th day : Merzouga

After breakfast, you have two options to explore the desert. The first option involves a camel trek, either riding or walking alongside the camels, as they carry the necessary items to cook your lunch. You’ll walk for about three hours in the morning and another three hours in the afternoon, returning to the bivouac for dinner and overnight stay.

Alternatively, you can choose to delve deeper into the desert area. Your exploration starts with a visit to the Gnawa people in the village of Khamlia, known for their Gnawa music influenced by sub-Saharan Africa’s slave trade. They will perform some music for you. Next, you’ll explore the old city of Rissani, where the Alaouite dynasty, the current ruling royal family of Morocco, originated. The city is surrounded by 360 ksars, fortified villages with many towers, and hosts a large souk held three times a week. Strolling through the souk, you’ll find an array of spices, vegetables, household goods, and handicrafts. Rissani was built on the site of Sijilmassa, which served as the meeting place for salt caravans coming from Timbuktu in Mali.

In the afternoon, you’ll mount your camel under the guidance of an experienced camel man and embark on a one to one and a half-hour journey through the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi at Merzouga to witness the enchanting sunset. Dinner will be served in the camp, followed by drumming and music around a campfire.

Please note that weather conditions and temperatures in South Morocco can be variable. If it becomes too hot from May to the end of September, an alternative option may be recommended to avoid the trekking in the dunes.

5th day : Merzouga – Fes

After breakfast, the journey begins with a visit to Rissani and Erfoud. In Erfoud, you’ll have a chance to see how locally found fossils are skillfully crafted into furniture and artifacts. The sheer abundance and beauty of these fossils are truly captivating, but there is no obligation to make any purchases.

Continuing north, the road takes you to Er Rachidia and the stunning Ziz Valley, known for its vast palm tree plantations and the abundant date production each year. For lunch, you’ll stop in Midelt, situated at 1508m in the Middle Atlas region, known as “the apple capital,” nestled at the foot of Ayachi Mountain. The town serves as a significant commercial agricultural center for the surrounding area and is also renowned for mineral mining, including fluorite, vanadinite, quartz, and cerussite.

Next, you’ll cross the Tizi-n-Talremt pass, often referred to as the “she-camel” pass, and reach Azrou. Here, you can observe Barbary apes in the cedar forests, playfully searching for treats.

6th day : Fes Sightseeing

Experience a full day of sightseeing in Fes, the oldest of Morocco’s “Imperial Cities.” The medieval city of Fes El Bali, also known as “Old Fes,” has preserved its original charm and remains unspoiled. During the tour of this historic area, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the enchanting Bou Inania Medersa, wander through the bustling Medina, and visit the impressive Kairaouine Mosque. Don’t miss the chance to capture the beauty of the mosque’s courtyard from the main gate with your camera.

7th day : Fes – Rabat

In Fes, you can explore the University of Al Quaraouiyine, which was founded by Fatima Al Fihri in 859 and is believed to be the oldest university in the world. In the afternoon, you have the opportunity to visit Fes El Jdid, also known as “New Fes,” and the Museum of Moroccan Arts. The night will be spent in a traditional riad.

After a delicious breakfast in your riad, the journey continues through beautiful valleys and hills. A stop is made at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Volubilis, an expansive area of Roman ruins with stunning views. Continuing south, the tour reaches Meknes, where you can explore its ancient medina and impressive gates.

Following lunch, the visit includes the Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, built in honor of the king who passed away in 1961. The mausoleum also houses the tomb of his son and successor, Hassan II, who died in 1999. The night will be spent in a charming riad.

8th day : Rabat – Marrakech

After breakfast, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the medieval fortified Muslim necropolis, the Chellah, offering scenic views overlooking the Bou Regreg River. Later, the journey continues on the motorway to Casablanca, where you’ll visit the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Africa, adorned with exquisite tilework crafted with utmost skill.

Please note that there might be a wait for tickets, but guided tours are available every hour and typically last about an hour.

Following lunch, you’ll have more time to explore Casablanca and the corniche before returning to Marrakech via the motorway. The tour concludes as your driver escorts you back to your riad in Marrakech

Map of Morocco Desert Tour from Marrakech

Services included :

– Transportation by minibus with personal driver including gas and driver’s fee. – Overnight accommodation. Our priorities in the choice of accommodation are: authenticity, comfort and quality of service. – Accompaniment of a guide/driver speaking the tourist’s language during the tour