This 3-day tour is an express trip for those who do not want to miss the opportunity to see the desert during their stay in Morocco. It starts in Fez and ends in Marrakech, so it is the perfect option if your arrival flight lands in Fez and your departure flight takes off in Marrakech. Take note and you will understand that, despite the brevity, the experiences and emotions will last forever.
Walking through the dunes of the Sahara desert is an experience that every self-respecting traveler has dreamed of at some point. And in Morocco it is possible to live it, even if you have little time. Leaving Fez, in a few hours by road we will be in this golden sea, where the sunset, the sunrise and the closed night have an unparalleled beauty. And to feel it with more emotion, we will stay in Berber tents camp with all luxury of comforts, in the middle of the dunes.
But the good thing about this express trip is that to reach the dunes of Erg Chebbi we will have to cross landscapes of great uniqueness and beauty. And the same will happen after visiting them, on the way to Marrakech. In both cases, we will have to cross the imposing Atlas mountain range. And between them and the Sahara, we will be surprised by the landscapes full of contrasts around the Dades and Ziz rivers, where oases of palm trees seem to emerge from nowhere.
Below you can learn in detail the program of this 3 days and 2 nights tour, departing from Fez and arriving in Marrakech:
This 3-day tour starts at your hotel in Fez, or at the place of your choice in the city: our driver will take you there at the wheel of the private vehicle that will take us on the road for the following days.
And after boarding the vehicle, we will not waste any time: we will head towards the Middle Atlas Mountains, passing through beautiful and striking places and corners. This is the case of Ifrane, a small town nicknamed ‘the Moroccan Switzerland’ because the houses have gable roofs and not flat roofs, as in the vast majority of the country. This is due to the abundant rainfall that falls in winter, given that we are at an altitude of approximately 1,700 meters above sea level.
This rainfall also helps to preserve the impressive Ifrane National Park, full of cedar trees, which the Moroccans call the Monkey Forest because Barbary macaques live here to their heart’s content. In fact, it is likely that we will have the opportunity to see them during our walk.
The landscape changes radically as we reach the southern face of the Middle Atlas. Aridity is now the dominant note. The Ziz river, when it makes its presence felt, will be our companion for many kilometers through its valley, which will guide us to Erfoud. This small desert town has in its fossils its hallmark, given the richness of the archaeological sites in its surroundings, and the numerous quarries in the area.
Merzouga will be the next stop on the route, but this time we will not make any visit in the town, but an important transfer: we will change the motor vehicle for another ‘blood’, namely the dromedaries that will take us one by one through the dunes of Erg Chebbi. These docile and noble animals have been making this journey since time immemorial, and now we will do it to reach our goal for the day: the luxury tented camp.
Among these Berber tents we will have our welcome tea, as tradition dictates, have dinner and admire the night sky of the place. And soon after we will rest in them, as they are equipped as a premium accommodation.
To make the most of this second day of the circuit, we will wake up early in the tented camp. But also for another important reason: if we manage to contemplate the dawn in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, the spectacle of lights and silence will be an experience to remember.
After that and breakfast at the camp, we will return to Merzouga. Our vehicle will be waiting for us to continue our trip on asphalt, in this case through other valleys of the pre-Saharan region.
Rissani will be a first stop, still in closed desert territory. This town has a surprisingly genuine atmosphere, where you can still see donkeys parked in a parking lot next to the medina, stalls with handicrafts in its traditional market and historical and religious monuments, such as an important mausoleum (Ali Sherif) for the Alawite dynasty.
As the kilometers progress, we will come into contact with the Dades Valley, where kasbahs and peaceful villages intermingle with palm trees and farmland. And it is in this context that we will spend the night on this day, more specifically in Boumalne Dades, in a charming riad.
But before that moment arrives, the route takes a detour at Tinghir to another natural area of great value: the Todra Gorges. It is an extremely narrow valley, where this river has created sickles that seem improbable. But we will certify its veracity with an unforgettable walk at the foot of these walls of more than 100 meters high.
On this third and last day of the circuit, we leave the region south of the Atlas, in this case for the section corresponding to the High Atlas. But until that time comes, there is still much to see. As a continuation of the Dades Valley is the Valley of the Roses, so called because of the abundance of damascena rose bushes, cultivated mainly for cosmetic products, but not only.
Shortly after we will arrive in Ouarzazate, which preserves a wonderful Berber kasbah: it was the fortified residence of the El Glaoui family, one of the most powerful in the country at the time of the French Protectorate. Its austere exterior, with adobe bricks that create chiaroscuro, contrasts with the refined interior of Islamic taste.
Another outstanding example of Berber architecture will be discovered about 30 km later: the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, a World Heritage Site. Its hamlet huddled around the ruins of the kasbah on top is protected by an impregnable wall. The intention of its inhabitants was to seek protection from external threats, as this was a key stop on the caravan routes centuries ago.
These caravan routes reached Marrakech, following the route that we will also do: ascending the southern face of the High Atlas, crowning in the port of Tizi n’Tichka and descending through gentle and fertile valleys towards the ‘red city’.
It will be there, in the place of Marrakech that you indicate us, where the trip will end and, therefore, our services. And we are sure that, despite the brevity, the imprint on the soul that this circuit will leave will be long lasting.
In the 3 days of this short circuit, everything will be designed in detail to optimize every minute. These are the services included:
These are the services that are not included in the price and that, therefore, will have to be paid by the client at his own expense: