Marrakech & Beyond
Day 1: Marrakech
Saturday. Welcome to Morocco! A country steeped in history and culture. Arrival transfer from Marrakech airport to our hotel. Be sure to arrive in time for our welcome meeting at 18:00. The rest of the day is free, if time permits explore the rambling souk, local sights and Djemaa el Fna (the main square). Overnight - Marrakech (D)
Day 2: Dades Gorge
Marrakech - Dades Gorge. Leaving Marrakech we drive through the Dades Gorge, an awe-inspiring valley which extends from the High Atlas to the Jebel Sarhro range in the south.
The Atlas Mountains span some 2,090km covering vast regions of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The mountain chain comprise of a series of parallel ranges running west to east including the Anti-Atlas, High Atlas and Middle Atlas. With an average elevation of 3350 metres, the Atlas claims the highest peak of North Africa. The Berbers (original inhabitants of North Africa) built many impressive kasbahs on the mountain steep and in the valley gorges for defence purposes. En route to Dades Gorge we pass many of these medieval kasbahs and stop at one of the highest vantage points to enjoy a cup of sweet minted tea and take in panoramic views of the impressive snow capped mountain vista. Overnight - Dades Gorge (B, L, D)
Marrakech & Beyond - 8 Days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Day 3: Todra Gorge
Dades Gorge – Todra Gorge. After breakfast we head east and discover the stunning Todra Gorge with its 300m high cliffs towering above us. Created millions of years ago, the striking gorge snakes its way through the rugged mountain range. The final 600m of the Todra Gorge are spectacular as the canyon narrows to a flat stony track as little as 10m wide in places with sheer and smooth rock walls up to 160m high on each side. We will have an early lunch at a village co-operative where hundreds of hand made Berber rugs, kilims and carpets are displayed and offered for sale. Then the afternoon is free to explore the gorge, walk through the Palmerie or if you're feel active, try your hand at rock climbing (dependent upon weather conditions, book/pay locally). Overnight - Todra Gorge (B, L, D)
Day 4: Sahara camel trek
Todra Gorge - Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Crossing Jebel Sarhro, we enjoy lunch and a swim before travelling down to Erg Chebbi sand dunes, the start point of the mighty Sahara Desert. The Erg Chebbi dunes located near the remote frontier town of Merzouga are renowned for their incredible height and size. In parts the vast sand pile reaches skyward to heights of 150 metres!.
The desert winds ensure this astonishing landscape is forever changing and no two days offer the same panorama. We camel trek across the vast desert dunes taking in the breathtaking scenery. Arriving at our simple Berber camp, we enjoy dinner and an incredible night under the Saharan stars. Overnight - Berber Camp (B, L, D)
Day 5: Ouarzazate
Erg Chebbi - Ouarzazate. After a stunning sunrise and a tranquil and ambient ride back to our frontier post (camel HQ) there is time to freshen up before driving to the verdant Draa valley. Besides the natural, historical and architectural wonders that the Draa Valley offers, there are also small villages along the valley where time seems to stand still, so little is the effect of modernity on them. Here, women are dressed very conservatively and fully vieled and the local men seem aloof, unaccustomed to foreign visitors. These people, besides speaking Arabic also speak their own dialect of the Berber vernacular, called Tashelhiyt.
Along the route of 1000 Kasbahs, we continue on to Ouarzazate, (pronounced as wazza-zat). Sitting at an altitude of 1160 metres in the middle of a barren plateau, Ouarzazate lies at the cross roads of all routes going north, south, east, and west. Its geographical position has made it a key trading post in both ancient and modern times. Capital of a large province, the towns' northern limits run along the southern aspect of the High Atlas and its southern boundary disappears back into the ever present and mysterious Saharan Desert. Today, the area is still essentially populated by Berber people, who were constructors of the numerous fortified kasbahs and dwellings for which the region is famous. After hotel check in, consider a late afternoon swim. Overnight - Ouarzazate (B, L, D)
Day 6: Ait Benhaddou
Ouarzazate - Ait Benhaddou - Marrakech.This morning you can opt to go quad bike riding or visit the film studio that produced Lawrence of Arabia, Alexander the Great, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Living Daylights.
Arriving at nearby fortified city of Ait Benhaddou - built for defence purposes high on a hill with a bubbling steam within it shadows, the stunningly well preserved medieval city is a true highlight of our tour. Famously used as a backdrop in the film 'Gladiator', its beauty is unequal to any other fortified village in south Morocco. Overnight - Marrakech (B, L, D)
Day 7: Djemaa el Fna
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of old Marrakech. Set within the rose-coloured walls of the medina and a tangle of winding streets lead to bustling souks, the focal point is the central square, the Djemaa el Fna, an extraordinary gathering and market place. Full of colour, spicy aromas and traders it is best seen in the evening when overflowing with food stalls, dancers, acrobats, fortune tellers, musicians and henna artists. Towering over all this is the Koutoubia mosque, the tallest building in the city and a reminder of the importance of Islam to the lives of the city’s residents.
Spend the afternoon at leisure, pamper yourself at the local hammam or further explore the city your own way. Overnight - Marrakech (B)
Day 8: Marrakech
Saturday. Breakfast. Spend the morning relaxing or picking up a few last minute souvenirs. Our tour concludes upon hotel check out at 12 noon. (B)
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