Day 1: Marrakech – High Atlas – Telouet – Ait ben Haddou – Ouarzazate
We will welcome you at Marrakesh airport or in your hotel, in order to drive to Ouarzazate, a former caravan town on the silk and salt route in the eastern foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Ouarzazate is known as the Gateway to the Sahara. First of all, we will travel through the dramatic landscape of the High Atlas Mountains passing through the berber town of Taddert and over the 2260 meters high Tizi-in-Tichka pass. We will arrive in Telouet, where you can visit the famouse kasbah of El Glaoui, which was once the residence of one of the most powerful Berber leaders. The artful Moorish-style interior design with stuccodecoration, ceiling decor carved from cedar wood and wonderfully painted and colourful faiences is very impressive. The subsequent tour across the still very primeval Ounila valley will lead us to Ait Ben Haddou, where you can take the time for visiting the world-famous Ksar (fortified village), one of the most picturesque in Morocco and a UNESCO World Cultural Herritage. The kasbah is one of the most intriguing red earth castles lining the ancient road of the Kasbahs. Lunch by the kasbah and continue our way to Ouarzazate. We will stop to visit the Taourirt kasbah former home of the famous Pasha Glaoui. The painted ceilings, arches, beautiful small windows with wrought iron works and woodwork have helped make it another UNESCO site. The local guide will explain lifestyle of the pasha in the former feudalistic Moroccan society, stressing the status of his women, the favourites and common-law wives as well as the slaves. In the afternoon, enjoy a private visit of the Atlas Corporation Studio, a well–known cinematographic centre renowned for blockbuster productions including Asterix and Cleopatre directed by Alain Chabat; and the Oscar-wining Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott. Overnight accommodation will be at the hotel or riad in Ouarzazate.
Day 2: Ouarzazate – Agdz – Zagora – M’hamid
After breakfast, we will depart for Zagora passing the Tizi-in-Tiniffit Pass at 1660 metres elevation. We will cross a wild and ragged, rough mountain countryside. The road descends to the Draa Valley, where Morrocan Jewish families settled along this fertile valley and used to live in harmony with Berber tribes. We will lead to Agdz, situated at the foot of the extraordinary rock formation called Jbel Kissane, In Agdz you will be able to visit the Ksar with the Kasbah of Tamnougalte, the former centre of the tribal region of the Mezguita Berbers. Along the Oued Drâa, we will pass by the Drâa valley which is one of Morocco’s most fascinating river landscapes… Marvel at the date palms, laurel bushes and numerous kasbahs and ksars. Continue to the Zagora oasis, the real “Gate of the desert”. The valley is lined by palm oases, clay fortresses and picturesque Berber villages. Arriving at Zagora, the “Gate to the Desert”, which used to be the most important camel trail station. The sign “52 days to Timbouctou” still proves it. In the midst of wonderful palm groves, we will find the Ksar Amezraou known for its silver jewellery workshops which you can visit just like the Ksar. From Zagora we will drive past the sand dunes between Tinfou and M’hamid, which also means the end of the tarmac road. This is where the journey to the closest sand dune region, where we will reach our bivouac, starts. Experience an unforgettable evening in the desert. Until dusk you can walk across the dunes on foot or use the time for a camel tour. Enjoy a lovingly prepared dinner and the music of the drums. You will spend the night in a nomad’s tent under the stars.
Day 3: M’Hamid – Tagounite – Tamegroute – Draa valley – Ouarzazate – Marrakech
After you have regained your strength at breakfast, we will start the return journey. The trip will lead us from M’hamid to Tagounite, where we will take a detour to a dirt road that leads us across a picturesque countryside with oases gardens and palms. In Tamegroute, a small town right outside of Zagora, it is worth visiting an old Koran library and/or a pottery workshop. Once more, enjoy the exotic countryside on the way back across the Draa village. After a stop in Ouarzazate we will drive to Marrakech via the High Atlas.