Instead of taking a one hour domestic flight from Fez to Marrakesh – why not add a tad bit of adventure and consider a jaunt down south to the Saharan Erg Chebbi dunes in Merzouga before looping back up to Marrakesh via the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Ben Haddou? If this sounds enticing – we have the perfect tour for you!
*Indicative stay 2 nights at the Merzouga Luxury Camp, 1 night at L’Ma Lodge in Skora and 1 night at Riad Caravane/Riad Ellouze in Ait Ben Haddou. Prices based on two people travelling by private vehicle.
*All of our itineraries are flexible and can be tailored according to your needs.
Transfer from your accommodation in Fez. Your journey from Fez to the Saharan Erg Chebbi dunes (Merzouga) will be via the Middle Atlas. On route, you will stop by Ifrane (a Moroccan Alpine village) and the Cedar Forest (near the town of Azrou) where you can visit the famous Barbary apes. Upon arriving in Merzouga, enjoy an epic camel ride into the sunset before arriving at your desert camp for the night. For those who do not have an interest in a camel ride, your driver will be more than happy to drive you directly to the camp.
Spend the day as a true Berber nomad and travel via camel. The full day camel trek will take you to the desert oasis in Merzouga, the village of Khamilia (if you are lucky you may have the chance to listen to the music of Gnaouas, a traditional type of music played by the descendants of the freed Sub-Saharan slaves) and a visit to the mines of Mfis. After a day of adventure, take some time for much need rest and relaxation at the desert camp.
After having spent a restful night at the Merzouga desert camp, transfer by camel to meet your driver to start your journey to Skoura Valley. For travelers who do not wish to ride a camel, our driver will be more than happy to arrange pick-up at the desert camp. The scenic route to Skoura Valley will be via Todgha Gorge and Dades Valley. The gorge is about 15 km long and the drive is breathtaking. The deep red cliffs beside the Todgha River have an average height of 400 meters which makes it one of the most canyons in the world. Dades Valley is also know as the “valley of figs”. This valley is green, lush and bursting with life. You will see fields of almonds, cheeries, peach, apple, apricot and dozens of other fruits. It is like walking through the Garden of Eden on Earth. Continue the scenic drive to spend the night at a well-appointed riad in Skoura (L’Ma Lodge).
After enjoying breakfast at the guesthouse take some time to soak in the beauty Skoura. The journey to Ait Ben Haddou will be via the city of Ouarzazate. Just as Vancouver BC is the Hollywood of the North so too is Ouarzazate is the Hollywood of Morocco – therefore if you are a movie aficionado, feel free to visit the movie studio. After your visit to “Hollywood”, you will be given an opportunity to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou (made famous by the movie “Gladiator” and TV show “Game of Thrones”). Although this site is now used as a setting for many TV and film productions, one should not forget that it has a rich history as well. It was once a large fortified city that sat on the caravan route that led from Sudan to Marrakesh. Inside it’s impressive walls lies homes, places of worship, cemeteries, a caravanserai, grain and storage mills. After a day of sightseeing, relax at one of the delightful guesthouses near Ait Ben Haddou (Kasbah Ellouze or Riad Caravane).
As the journey back to Marrakesh is relatively short (3 – 4 hours), take your time to enjoy a lovely breakfast at the guesthouse. The scenic drive will be via the High Atlas Mountains and the Tizi n’Tichka pass (altitude 2260 meters). There will also be time to visit local Berber villages such as Ljoukak and Ourigane.