This trip combines the two most visited cities in Morocco with a extended stay in the desert of Merzouga and the visits of many sights along the way. You will get to know a more secluded part of the Moroccan desert far away from the tourist buses. The tour can be extended with some additional days in Fes or Marrakech or with the trip «The Coast of Southern Morocco» if you have a 2 weeks holiday.
Day 1: Explore Fes
Your first day is dedicated to explore the spiritual and cultural capital of the Kingdom together with a local guide. Fes is the religious, artistic and intellectual center of Morocco as well as the oldest and most famous of the imperial cities. Tour the huge Medina «Fes el-Bali», visit the beautiful buildings of the Medersas of Bou Inania and El-Attarine (Koran schools for religious studies), the University and Mosque of Karaouine and the Nejjarine Museum for wooden arts.
After a lunchbreak in one of the hunderts of restaurants in the medina, you have the opportunity to explore the various souks which offer different handicrafts. Every visitor of Fes has to get lost at least once in the labyrinth of the small streets of the Medina! But don't worry, you can give some coins to a child to guide you out or just follow one of the bigger «main streets» to the next gate.
Another highlight are the famous tanneries, where the leather is processed still the same as hunderts of years ago. You can observe the workers from a lookout and they will be glad to explain you the different workings steps if you are willing to bargain for a bag or new belt afterwards. But be aware of the bad smelling of the furs and coloring goods! Individual dinner in the Medina of Fes. Overnight at your Riad.
Day 2: Fez – Ifrane – Erfoud – Merzouga (510 km)
We start our journey early in the morning and head for the Middle Atlas Mountains. Stop for a coffee in Ifran, also known as «Switzerland of Morocco» with its chalet like houses. Shortly after it’s time to feed the monkeys! They life in a cedar forest and love the sweet bananas which you can buy at the roadside. From here we are heading south through several typical villages and you will have the opportunity to spot nomad families living in their tents along the road.
After our lunch in Midelt we continue our drive and enjoy panoramic views crossing the Tizi N' Talghoumt pass (1'907 m). In Erfoud, you can enjoy a fantastic view of the valley of the river Ziz lined with thousands of date palms. Now we’re almost at the dunes! After arriving in Merzouga, you will enjoy a traditional dinner in the lodge where you'll spend the night.
Day 3: The Dunes of Merzouga (100 km)
After breakfast, we hop on our 4x4 to explore the area around the desert city Merzouga: visit the black people in the village of Khamlia and enjoy their music and dance; cross desert plateaus, and visit a Berber family in their tent for lunch. You can learn how they live in their tents with their goats, sheep and working donkeys.
Afterwards, we catch a 4x4 gravel road to the lake of Merzouga (also named Lake Tamezguida), which appears seasonal from November to May when it is rainy season in the Middle Atlas. It is the best spot to observe desert birds and sometimes even Flamingos.
After returning to your lodge, you will experience a one hour camel ride to reach the desert camp while the sun sinks down behind the dunes. Enjoy your evening dining in a berber tent, look for shooting stars at the camp fire and sleep in a nomad tent!
Day 4: Merzouga – Rissani – Ouzina desert: Land of the Ait Khebbach (100 km)
After an early breakfast in the desert camp, we will return to the lodge on the back of our camels or by 4x4. Today, we will explore the country of the Berber people from the Ait Khebbach tribe. We will visit the city of Rissani, the economic capital of southern Morocco. In Rissani we will have the opportunity to visit the local market with the «donkey parking», which takes place 3 times per week (Sun/Tue/Thu). This market is very authentic and you can observe the men from the area bargaining about birds, sheep and silver jewelry.
After the lunch break we follow the road further in direction Taouz.There is a hidden 1-hour-track only accessible by 4x4 to the dunes of Ouzina. Ouzina lies on the Paris-Dakar-Ralley route and has some photogenic and less visited dunes to offer. Dinner and overnight in a lodge in Ouzina.
Day 5: Ouzina – Ramlia – Foum Mharech – Todra Gorge (200 km)
After breakfast in your lodge we start our daily journey through a moon-like stone desert which is rarely travelled by tourists. We will pass by several Berber families which still live in their tents and follow the Ziz river until Ramlia. The next highlight is the dried lake Maider where you'll have the feeling to be in another world. Now it is only a short drive until the Oasis Foum Mharech.
After your picnic lunch along the way we will soon reach the concrete road again which leads us over the Tizi-N-Tifrkhinn pass to the Todra Gorges. Overnight with dinner in a Riad in Todra.
Day 6: Todra Gorges – Dades Gorges – Ouarzazate (190 km)
Today after breakfast we leave Todra Gorges with its up to 300 m high rock walls in direction Dades valley. We head to Boumalne Dades where you can make some nice pictures of the special rock formations which look like monkey hands and the spectacular winding road in the middle of the gorge landscape.
We will see a lot of different landscapes on our way direction Marrakech. Admire the views of the Valley of a thousand Kasbahs and the famous Valley of Roses along the road, where you will enjoy your lunch.
We continue to the desert city Ouarzazate, also known as «Hollywood of Morocco». You can explore the acient Kasbah of Taourirt, which was built in the Glaoui dynasty and the film museum. Dinner and overnight in Ouarzazate.
Day 7: Ouarzazate – Aït Ben Haddou – Marrakech (200 km)
A little outside of Ouarzazate lies Aït Ben Haddou, the fortified clay city with its numerous ksars and kasbahs, where several famous movies such as Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Prince of Persia have been shot. This photogenic city is also listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After the visit and enjoying your lunch in Aït Ben Haddou, we take a detour to the bizzare Telouet Kasbah which once belonged to the great Glaoui family and has a stratetic position with a fantastic view. Nowadays, it is fast crumbling into the red earth, but still an extraordinary site to visit.
After we pass the High Atlas mountains over the Tizi n’Tichka pass with scenic views along the road and many opportunities to take photos. Early evening arrival in Marrakech at your Riad or Hotel. Individual dinner at the Jemaa el Fna-square.
Day 8: Explore Marrakech
In the morning after breakfast, you’ll visit the famous Palais de Bahia, with its fantastic courtyards and mosaic walls built for Bou Ahmed. Stroll through the Jewish Quarter and notice thedifference in architecture in this district. Visit the hidden Saadian tombs built during the reign of Sultan Ahmed El Mansour in 1557.
You’ll arrive at the Koutoubia mosque and the Djemaa el Fna-square, where you can drink some fresh pressed orange juice while observing the bustle of the snake charmers, henna tatoo artists and water sellers.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit the beautiful Majorelle Garden. This botanical garden is a quiet oasis and the former home of the famous french designer Yves Saint Laurent. Nowadays, the bright blue villa contains a Berber Museum.
Last but not least, you will visit the Medersa Ben Youssef school with its magnificent Arab-Andalusian architecture.
Pick up at your Hotel/Riad in Fes at 10:00 am on the first day, arrival at your Riad in Marrakech around 4 pm on the last day. We suggest that you stay at least 1 additional night in Marrakech and Fes before and after the trip to explore those fascinating cities.
We can organize your journey according to your very special needs – everything as you like it, at your pace. Please do not hesitate to ask for special programs, program modifications or if you have special needs. We will be very glad to assist you to make your holidays the most memorable of your life.
• Private tour with local guide (english/spanish/french)
• Transportation in a comfortable 4x4 car incl. fuel
• Overnight with dinner and breakfast in the desert lodges in Merzouga and Ouzina
• Overnight with dinner and breakfast in the desert camp in Merzouga
• Overnight with breakfast in the Riads in Fes and Marrakech
• Overnight with dinner and breakfast in the Riads in Todra and Ouarzazate
• Lunch, drinks
• dinner in Fes and Marrakech
• local guides in Fes and Marrakech
• entrance fees for museums etc in Fes and Marrakech
• Tips for your guide