7. 3-Day Desert Safari and Camel Ride Tour from Marrakech
Escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech for a 3-day desert safari in the High Atlas Mountains and Dades Valley. Ride camels across the sand dunes, spend the night camping under a desert sky, marvel at the Saghro Mountains, and enjoy a traditional Moroccan tagine dinner. Visit the legendary Ksar of Ait Benhaddou, and more.
Following a pick-up from your riad or hotel in Marrakech at 08:30, drive over the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’ Tichka Pass. Stop for impressive views of the valleys and snow-capped mountains, and break for coffee and freshly-squeezed orange juice, before spending the afternoon at Ait Ben Haddou. Explore the village of clustered kasbahs, which have been used as a backdrop for more than 20 films. It was one of the most important fortress strongholds on the old Salt Road, where the caravans brought slaves, gold, ivory and salt from Saharan Africa to Marrakech and beyond.
Pass through Ouarzazate and the Valley of the Rose, famous for its soft Persian rose oil. Continue to the Dades Valley, passing Berber villages. Then, marvel at the barren red rock formations and clustered kasbahs (fortified dwellings that house many families and their livestock). Stay in a small country inn (auberge) in the Dades Valley, enjoying a Moroccan dinner on a terrace that overlooks the valley gorge and gardens.
After breakfast, travel through the Saghro Mountains, stopping in Rissani for lunch. Continue to the Erg Chebbi dunes. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure at an auberge 29 kilometers from Merzouga. Here, you will be met by a camel guide for a ride into the dunes on the back of a camel. Go to the bivouac (camp) for a traditional tagine dinner (vegetarians welcome) under the evening stars. Climb the dunes and watch the moon rise, before retiring to your bed in the nomad wool tent. There’s also the option of a sunset camel trek into the dunes (extra cost), and a stay in the auberge with dinner and breakfast included.
Return to the auberge by camel at sunrise, and enjoy a breakfast and shower before going to Tinerhir. Along the way, drive offroad through exposed rock slabs of fossils. Visit a fossil workshop for a closer look at the Sahara’s varieties of ancient life. Admire the sheer, limestone walls of the Todra Gorge. Then wander through the palmeries, gardens and kasbahs for a closer look at the traditional Berber way of life. Visit the market in Tinehir and the old kasbah. Enjoy a Moroccan dinner by a pool in the old kasbah.