Home > Sahara Desert Tours > Atlas- Merzouga – Drâa Valley
Atlas – Merzouga – Draâ Valley Tour
Duration: 7 Days
Morocco Travel: In Luxury 4×4
English, French, Berber Speaking Driver
Starting & Finishing Point: Your Hotel In Ouarzazate
DAY 1: OUARZAZATE
►Kasbah Taorirt was built by the Glaoui. Its location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South it was then one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Explore its nooks and crannies and discover some local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.
►After visiting Kasbah Tourirt, return to your hotel in Ouarzazate for a relaxing afternoon by the pool or ask your guide about an extending your tour to the souk. At the souk you will have the opportunity to take in the smells of local spices such as Cumin, Saffron and cinnamon as well as Berber amber andmusk while visiting smallcaftan and Moroccan Baboosh (shoe) shops.
DAY 2: OUARZAZATE – ATLAS FILM STUDIO – AIT BENHADDOU – OASIS OF FINT
►Visit the Atlas Film Studios. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version ofCleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’sKundun, Gillies MacKannon’sHideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara.
►After lunch, we will depart Aït Benhaddou and take the pise (windy road) towards the Oasis of Fint passing the “Plateau de pierres“. On this road you will find a shining Oasis of palms.Visit this Oasis of Fint that hovers under the Atlas Mountains. Journey on a one-hour walk inside the Oasis where you will have a cup of tea with the headmaster’s family Azziz Ouaziz and tour the surrounding area where date palm oases and dramatic desert scenery are king.
►For lunch, relax on a terrace with clear views of Aït Benhaddou and enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal of mfouar (steamed wheat), Takila (a Berber tajine), couscous and fruit. After lunch, browse the village shops then climb back in the comfortable air-conditioned/heated 4×4 and head to the village of Tamadaght.
►Take the road to Kasbah Tifoultoute which stands majestically on the banks of Oued Tifoultoute. From a distance this old Kasbah is impressive with its castle-like architecture. In the 1960’s the Kasbah was converted into a hotel for the cast ofLawrence of Arabia. Tour the Kasbah and have lunch at its restaurant which is known for delicious mint and herb teas. See panoramic views from the rooftop.
DAY 3: OUARZAZATE– SKOURA – EL KELLAT DES M’GOUNA – TINERHIR
►After breakfast at your hotel, we will depart Ouarzazate, taking the “Road of One Thousand Kasbahs” and passing by the large lake of Ouarzazate to drive to Skoura.
►Skoura is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside deserted landscapes. It is renowned for the cultivation of roses. The palm groves were laid out in the 12th century by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el-Mansour and named after its original inhabitants, the Berbers of the Haskourene tribe. The most beautiful Kasbahs in southern Morocco can be found here. Many of them are still partially inhabited.
►You will visit the 17th Century old Ben Morro Kasbah, which has been converted into a guesthouse and see the most imposing of the Kasbahs in this area, Amerhidil Kasbah. This fortified residence once belonged to the most powerful family responsible for protecting the village and its lands called the Glaoui. Today it is owned by the Sheikh of Amerhidil.
►We will also visit the Kasbahs of Aït Abou, built in the 1800’s and the oldest Kasbah in the palm grove, is six stories and walls 25 m high. Its outside buildings have been turned into a garden filled with pomegranate,apple, pear, fig, quince and olive trees that provide the necessary shading for growing crops.
►Once in the Valley of Roses, you will immediately notice that the fresh mountain air in this part of southern Morocco has a hint of fresh roses which makes it a particular nice place to go for walks, short hikes and a long drive through the Hdida Valley to the plateau of Imi-n-Louh. Your driver will stop along the way so you can meet the friendly locals, many who are nomads and spend their winters in the nearby caves. There are many photo opportunities in this Dadès Valley town of ancient kasbahs.
►For lunch, we will relax on a petite terrace at Kasbah Itran, a local auberge that overlooks two large abandoned crenulated Jewish Kasbahs and a river.
►Overnight at a Boutique Riad in theTodraGorge.
DAY 4: TINERHIR – MERZOUGA
►Rise early, and drive to Merzouga passing the unusual flora and fauna of the Sahara.
DAY 5: MERZOUGA – RISSANI – N’KOB
►Your camels await you for a trip across the Erg Chebbi Dunes. You will be taken on a 2hour cruise on the back of a dromedary intothedunes to camp at an oasis. Your Tuaregguide will share some of the Sahara Deserts’ secrets. As you glide across humpback on these silent, mystical dunes there will be countless opportunities to photographthe endless rolling sand dunes that appear before you in heaps for thousands of miles. You will witness the sunriseacross the eastover the dunes. Upon return from your trek, enjoy a quiet breakfast and then continue your adventure within the SaharaDesert.
►Just before lunch, you will depart Merzouga and ride across the palm groves to visit the ksours along the kasah studded road to Rissani. The 19th century AbbarKsar, once a residence to Alouniteprinces and the OuladAbdelhaminKsar, built for the brother of SultanMoulayHassan, is popular to visit. Also interesting to see is the Mausoleum of MoulayAliCherif where the father of the founder of the Alouite Dynasty is buried.
►After the famous structures, you will see Rissani, an ancient capital for the AlaouiteSultans and the most important market town for Sub-Sahara camel caravans was built on the ruins of Sijilmassa. Stop in Rissanifor a lunch and visit its souks where stalls are piled high with pyramids of dates, vegetables, spices, rugs, carpets, pottery, jewelryandmetalwork. The Rissanisouk is one of the most famous in the area and surrounded by donkeys, mules, sheep and goats enclosed in corrals. After a tour of Rissani, we are off to Alnif. Alnif is known for its rocks, fossils and minerals found in shops along the roadside Trilobites are the areas main export.
DAY 6: N’KOB – AGDZ – DRAA VALLEY OUARZAZATE
►After a large Moroccan breakfast at Ksar Jenna, discover the village of Aït Ouzzine in the city of N’kob. Past the kasbahs, you will see rugged territories of sheer rockfaces, plateaux and blackish rocky assortments in N’kob.
►Just 5 kilometers after N’kob is Aït Ouzzine (the nice village). Aït Ouzzine is a Berber village inhabited by over 300families who live in beautifully painted crenulatedkasbahs, with their own henna fields, waterwells, livestock and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani.
►Lunch will be served to you in Aït Ouzzine by a traditional Berber family. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices and a chicken and vegetable tajine and fresh local fruits for desert. After lunch, you can go for a walk in green fields of Aït Ouzzine and visit the village elders to sip mint tea.
► Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate.
DAY 7: OUARZAZATE
Early morning flight departure from Ouarzazate. This ends your Morocco Travel experience.