Kasbahs and Valleys Expedition
Overland Expedition in Morocco
In Morocco South and North are like two different countries contrasting both in climate and landscape. The South seems to embody a step backward in time, to an era of biblical aura of seemingly an ancient Mesopotamia of adobe and suspended gardens. The vast Sahara seems surreal, with its plateaus bordered by mirages. Along these lacing valleys and waddies you will discover sandcastle-like Kasbahs and romantic oases, where tall date palms grow surrounded by silver-green reeds. Sand dunes in the far horizon are constantly reshaped by gentle winds, sheltered by azure-blue African skies shape the backdrop of these lush vistas.
Traveling through these breath-taking landscapes that have attracted artists, poets, and filmmakers is enthralling and amazing. Even Cecil de Mill and Martin Scorsese were unable to capture on film the majesty and unsurpassed beauty of Morocco's Southern lands. It is literally heaven on earth, which has a depth that can only be truly embraced and appreciated by the naked eye.
We have designed this tour especially for the outback lovers of nature and authenticity. It is an overland trek in the southern part of the kingdom but it is offered for all kind of people if you can take a walk in the park then you can do this tour. The tour starts in Marrakech and ends in it as well covering a ceremonial road. We depart from Marrakech the best man made oasis on earth climbing the highest pass of Tizi n Tichka then down to Ouarzazate a Berber city in cross roads between the Draa Valley and the Dades Valley. This part of the tour is for rural enthusiasts, mountain lovers and typical cultural encounters with most remote people in their daily life. A active tour in Morocco unlike the others.
Shoppers will love the Berber souks (daily markets) as all you see from produce to utensils, to crafts are locally produced. This overland tour will continue on its way crossing some of the breath taking oases and Kasbahs (adobe castles) to the Todra Valley the highest and narrower canyons in Morocco. Along your trek riding 4X4 land Rovers through the great south of Morocco where scenery changes in every horizon, you will reach in this expedition suddenly the vastness of the Sahara desert. No word can describe this ethereal God made ocean of emptiness yet it is indeed so fulfilling. Welcome to the ocean of dunes and the land of the camel. Enjoy this trekking expedition in the great south of Morocco.
Day 1: Marrakech welcome and Historic City tour
Upon your arrival at the Menara Airport in Marrakech, you will find your guide waiting to take you to your hotel for check-in. You will devote your day to the exploration of Marrakech many historical sites.
You will devote your morning to the exploration of Marrakech many historical sites, starting at the Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowerbeds, reflecting the image of an exquisite Moorish edifice. It was constructed in 1866 for dignitaries, who enjoyed glorious sunsets with the ethereal Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The pool also functions as an innovative irrigation system that is serving dry life in the desert.
Your Marrakech historic tour will cover many impressive sites, including the Koutoubia Minaret (which is identical to la Giralda, a tower found in Sevilla, Spain), and the Saadien tombs, which demonstrate Moorish architecture at its best. The tombs consist of sixteenth-century mausoleums, which had lain walled-in and undiscovered until 1917. Next, you will explore the gardens of the Agdal then the Marjorelle. Finally, you will return to your hotel for dinner and other accommodations.
Day 2: Travel from Marrakech to Tinghir
You will spend most of your day en route to Tinghir riding with your guide, exploring the legendary Kasbah of Ait-Benhaddou, a renowned architectural marvel classified as UNISCO world heritage. Your trekking expedition will lead you to the highest pass in Morocco, the Taddart and Tizi Tishka pass, at an altitude of 11,000 feet. This pass divides the mountains into two distinct facets: the harsh, stark side acting as a shield that protects the hinterland from the dry expansion of the Sahara, and the lush side, soft and evergreen, which collects the moisture from the Gherbi winds of the Atlantic Ocean.
You will arrive in Ouarzazate, a city of pleasure for both visitors and locals, where southern tribesmen and Berber villagers bring their goods to market. After lunch in Ouarzazate, you will continue to explore the Dades Valley, traveling through El Kelaa De Mgouna and Boumalne to view the inimitable natural vistas and unusual rock formations. You will then continue onward to Tinghir, which is one large oasis that intercepts the flow of water between the Dades, the Todra valleys across the majestic High Atlas Mountains. This is an ideal place to stop for the night. You will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your hotel.
Day 3: Across the Sahara desert to Erfoud
Your trekking today will consist of a walking visit to the Todra Gorges, after which you will continue to Erfoud, where you will explore the Ziz valley palm groves and oases. One of the most aesthetically pleasing of all southern routes, Erfoud is a dry, red belt of desert with a sudden drop into a valley filled with date palm groves; it is a land that is lost in antiquity. You will then continue tour trip to Erfoud, one of the most delightful southern regions. You will visit the gorges of Ziz and some of the oases and natural sites before you reach the magnificent town of Erfoud.
Once you have arrived in Erfoud, you leave your vehicle and hop into the vehicle which takes you to meet a caravan of camels that you will ride to camp. You will conclude your day in your camp over the dunes of Merzouga where tents are pitched for you to enjoy a night under the Milky Way African Skies. After dinner, the Rokba drummers will illuminate your night with their lively dances and moving chants. Enjoy this encounter of Man and nature at its best. A night unlike any you ever had camping over the dunes of Erg Chebbi in the open desert of the Sahara.
Day 4: Travel from Merzouga Dunes to Zagora
Wake up to an ethereal sunrise over the vastness of the Sahara, a natural scene that has no rival. Climb the dunes on your own as high as you can or ride your camel to trek over these dunes. Breakfast will be ready for you in camp when you return. Make it your photography tour if you wish it is worth it to capture on film these unforgettable moments of your trip south of Morocco.
Afterward, you will eat breakfast with the Tuaregs, and start your trip across the desert back roads towards Zagora exploring the holy city of Rissani and its adobe architecture, the valley of Draa and its breathtaking oases. You will reach Zagora the gate to the desert as we call it deep in southern Morocco. Check to your riad when you arrive to Zagora. A festive dinner will served for you in your hotel.
Day 5: Visit Zagora, M'Hamid and Tamegroute
You will spend your day on an excursion that will take you to the real gateway of the Moroccan Saharan Desert. You will drive through the lowlands and along the mountain passes to Tamegroute a humble village where deep knowledge is transmitted in the most simplistic way. There you will visit the famous Moorish Koranic Library. Full of rare books and documents, the library includes 13th century writings made on gazelle hide. Afterward, you will return to Zagora for the night. You will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your hotel.
Day 6: Day Trip from Zagora to Marrakech
You will spend most of your day en route to Marrakesh, exploring Berber villages and oases, cross one of Morocco highest pass, the Taddart and Tizi-n-Tishka pass, climbing at an altitude of 11,000 feet. You will arrive in Marrakech, a city of pleasure for both visitors and locals, where southern tribesmen and Berber villagers bring their goods to market and find a variety of entertainment. To tourists, the city is a feast for the imagination, full of incomparable beauty, situated before the towering mountains that provide a thrilling backdrop.
After a visit to the bustling Souks for last minute shopping, you will return to your hotel for a festive Moroccan Dinner.
Day 7: Marrakech Airport back Home Flight
You will depart from the Marrakech airport for your flight, connecting via Casablanca on your way back home with a memorable trip in Morocco to treasure for a life time.