Do you want to discover the most spectacular corners of the Sahara desert in Morocco but you don’t have much time for your trip? Then, this tour from Marrakech is a perfect choice for you. In just 3 days you will enjoy a tour that starts from the red city and ends in it, taking advantage of every minute to arrive on time to the great goal of the route: the dunes of Erg Chebbi. Take a look at the proposal and turn this express trip to the desert into an unforgettable experience.
Close your eyes and imagine a desert scene… Probably, what pops into your mind will be dunes of fine golden sand, molded into gentle hills, crossed by a line of dromedaries led by a Tuareg-looking nomad. Well, that is what you will experience during this circuit in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, in the desert of Merzouga. There you will feel all the magic of the desert during the day and night, as we will sleep in a luxury Berber-style camp in the middle of these dunes, which, by the way, are one of the few that exist in the Moroccan part of the Sahara Desert.
As in good trips, the beauty is not only to reach the goal, in this case the dunes of Erg Chebbi, but the road that must be traveled to do so. And in this 3-day circuit, the territory that separates Marrakech from Merzouga is full of attractions. First of all, the High Atlas, which we will cross through its most spectacular pass, the Tizi n’Tichka pass. Then, the Berber fortresses made of adobe. They are followed by the pre-Saharan valleys, in this case the Dades and Draa, which form here authentic whims of nature: rocky canyons, oasis in the form of palm groves … And finally, charming villages for their secluded and genuine character, such as Rissani.
This short 3 days and 2 nights tour of Morocco, starting and ending in Marrakech, has the following travel program:
On this first day of the trip, we will leave early from your hotel in Marrakech to make the most of the day. We will do it in our private vehicle with chauffeur, who will be with you during the whole circuit. Leaving the red city, we will begin our ascent to the High Atlas Mountains through valleys of wild beauty, framed by snow-capped peaks for most of the year.
Once we pass the Tizi n’Tichka pass, we will see that the landscape changes: it becomes more arid and rocky. We will pass by ancient Berber castles (kasbahs) and visit one of them: the kasbah of Telouet, which belonged to the Lord of the Atlas or Pasha of Marrakech, the powerful Thami El Glaoui.
This is just the appetizer of what will come miles later: the fortified village (ksar) of Ait Ben Haddou, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco for its unique beauty. It became important as a stop on the caravan routes that reached Marrakech from the other side of the Sahara, and its inhabitants fortified it in this way for defensive purposes.
We will continue through the Dades Valley, with picturesque villages among rocky hills and green bumps on the banks of this humble river. In one of them, Boulmane Dades, we will spend the night in a traditional riad.
At the beginning of this second day, we will continue to discover charming corners of the Dades Valley, in particular Tinghir (or Tinerhir), carpeted in green and crowned by unique steep mountains. It is also considered the gateway to the Todra Gorges, a unique place that we will access shortly after: it is a rocky canyon, carved by the small river that gives it its name, with nooks and walls that exceed 100 meters high in many cases.
From the Todra Gorges we will continue our route by road, framed in this pre-Saharan valley landscape, until we reach the gates of the desert: we will pass Erfoud and, shortly after, we will visit the picturesque Rissani, a town with the largest and most beautiful medina in the desert, where there are still scenes from another time, such as its donkey parking or its market with bulk goods.
The next stop is Merzouga, where we will make a peculiar transfer: we will leave our motor vehicle to take a four-legged means of transport, the dromedary, authentic desert all-terrain vehicle. On the back of these docile and noble animals, we will start a ride through the dunes of Erg Chebbi until we reach the luxury tent camp where we will spend the night.
At the camp we will be welcomed as tradition dictates: with Berber tea and lots of hospitality. Here we will have dinner and let ourselves be embraced by the peace of the desert, which contributes to its night silence and starry sky, free of light and air pollution.
The last hours of the previous day were magical, because of the particular lights of the sunset and the brightness of the desert sky. But the early hours of this third day will also be very special: it will be worth getting up early to watch the sunrise in this unique environment.
After that and after breakfast at the camp, we will return to Merzouga to take a shower and start our way back to Marrakech. In this case, the route will be more direct, but we will take an alternative route to appreciate the subtle differences of this other pre-Saharan valley: the Draa Valley, considered the largest palm grove in Africa, as its green tongue extends more than 150 km from one end to the other.
We will pass Ouarzazate and cross the High Atlas again by Tizi n’Tickha, to descend towards Marrakech between fertile landscapes and mountain villages. Upon arrival to the red city, we will drop you off at the agreed point, where we will say goodbye and our services will end.
In order to optimize the time and offer the best experience in this 3-day tour from Marrakech, the travel package includes the following services:
These services are excluded from the travel package and must be paid for separately by the traveler: