Are you traveling to Marrakech and want to spend 4 days discovering the desert? Here we propose a circuit with that duration, which has its starting and ending point in the red city. It will take you not only to the magical sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, but also to other charming places on the way to and from them. Undoubtedly, the best idea to discover the Sahara from nearby Marrakech, considered the best starting point for routes in the far south.
For all tourists who spend a few days in Marrakech, escaping to the desert is a temptation: on the other side of the High Atlas Mountains, which can be glimpsed on the horizon from the ‘red city’, a different world opens up, pure and wild, where time seems to run at a different speed. You will notice it in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, in the surroundings of Merzouga. But you will also understand this when you come into contact with the people who inhabit this seemingly inhospitable territory. For example, the inhabitants of Khamlia, the black people, with their tribal rhythms. Or with the semi-nomadic families who will show us their ancestral way of life.
This 4-day circuit has a circular character. This allows us to reach the desert through one valley (the Draa) and return through another (the Dades). And that is, grosso modoThe route is known as the Route of the Thousand Kasbahs, due to the abundant Berber fortresses that mark the route. In addition to these castles built centuries ago, there are also numerous palm groves that spring up in the vicinity of both rivers, as well as picturesque villages that huddle in these green orchards. Therefore, a road trip will allow us to cross and appreciate these unique landscapes from the inside.
This 4 days and 3 nights tour of Morocco starts in Marrakech and ends in the same city, so it has a circular route. Below you can see a summary and in detail the development of the stages:
From the red city starts this circuit. And more specifically, from your hotel or from the place you indicate us, because our driver will pick you up there, at the wheel of the premium vehicle that will be your transportation during the whole route.
The first part of the route will be ascending, going up the fertile valleys that lead to the Tizi n’Tichka pass, the most important of the High Atlas. Shortly after cresting the port, we will take a detour to enjoy the kasbah of Telouet, a castle-residence of Thami El Glaoui: admiring its refined rooms and impregnable structure we will understand the power of this Lord of the Atlas and Pasha of Marrakech, until the mid-twentieth century.
The oldest is probably the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, built centuries ago by the Berbers who inhabited this territory. Their strategic position on the caravan routes led them to create this jewel of defensive adobe architecture, which has been very well preserved to this day. For this reason it is a World Heritage Site and is often chosen for the filming of movies and series:
Lawrence of Arabia
Game of Thrones
The next city on the route is also very cinematographic: Ouarzazate, as it has the most important film studios in the country, where scenes of these and other blockbusters were filmed. In our trip, it will be the city where we will have dinner and rest on this first night, in a hotel with all the comforts.
The second day of the route takes us to the Draa Valley, and for this we will have to overcome the Tizi N’Tinifift pass which, although it is not as high as those of the High Atlas (1,660 meters above sea level), offers a very unique stamp for its dark rock mountains. In addition, shortly after we can see on the horizon the palm grove that covers this valley, considered one of the largest in Africa for its 150 km in length.
We will pass through some characteristic cities of the valley, such as Agdz, and late in the day we will arrive at Rissani, one of the most original and beautiful destinations in the desert, where its medina and its popular market, still visited by local citizens on their traditional means of transport: the donkey, stand out.
And shortly after, in Merzouga, we will do something similar: we will leave the motor vehicle to get on another very traditional means, such as camels. These animals, of infinite nobility and patience, are the best suited to roam the dunes of Erg Chebbi, where our luxury tent camp is located. Here, between welcome teas, a dinner to recharge your batteries and a fireplace, you will spend the last hours of the day under the watchful eye of the glittering stars.
On this third day of the circuit, we started our return journey. But to give it more charm and interest, we will do it by another route and living other unforgettable experiences. The first of them is precisely the sunrise of this day, which will dye the landscape with magical tones.
After breakfast and return to Merzouga, we will board our vehicle and travel by road to the village of Khamlia. It is known as the ‘black village’ because many of its inhabitants are of sub-Saharan origin, specifically descendants of former slaves probably from Sudan, who brought their folklore, such as gnawa music, here. They will offer us a concert to get to know better that special sensitivity that characterizes them.
From Khamlia we continue to Erfoud, whose wealth of fossils can be seen with the naked eye. And after that, we will head for the Dades Valley, another fertile valley that is dotted with palm groves and farmland, all between hills and arid mountains. At the foot of one of them is Tinghir, which will be part of the tour. In addition, very close to here we will visit the Todra Gorges, a unique corner in nature for being a canyon of vertical walls through which the river that gives it its name runs very boxed.
After that, the route will continue but with the intention of reaching the nice riad that will welcome us for dinner and the night of this day, in this valley so characteristic.
On this fourth and last day of the circuit we will return to Marrakech through the Dades Valley, which still has charming corners to show us. In particular, the section known as Valle de las Rosas. Its name indicates the main source of wealth of its villages, such as Kelaa M’Gouna: roses of different varieties, used for various purposes such as cosmetics or handicrafts. They fill every corner with color, especially in privamera, when their famous moussem or festival takes place.
From here, the route takes us back to Ouarzazate and the High Atlas with the Tizi n’Tichka pass, which will now be the beginning of the descent to Marrakech, between mountain vegetation and villages perched on the slopes. Upon arrival in Marrakech, our driver will take you to the place where you wish to end the tour, thus putting an end to four days of great experiences in the south of the city.
This circuit is articulated on the basis of quality services in all the days and destinations of the program. These are:
This 4-day tour starting and ending in Marrakech does not include the following services, which are at the discretion of the traveler: