This Sahara Desert tour from Fes is a must for any traveler in Morocco who wants a practical, efficient but enjoyable way to travel between Fes and the Sahara Desert at Merzouga before arriving in Marrakech!
Today’s drive takes you through the Middle Atlas Mountains, a gateway to the South of Morocco. En route is Azrou, aptly named in Berber for the volcanic rocks on which it is built. Azrou also hosts the area’s largest weekly souk or market. Feed the Barbary macaques on your way through the area’s cedar forest. Traverse the Ziz Valley, where brown bluffs marry fertile green date palm tree groves.
Finally, evening arrival in Erfoud.
Erfoud is the starting point for Sahara treks. Spend the morning exploring the old town of Erfoud Maadid, learn about the local fossils, or visit Rissani, a lively town with a Berber bazaar and frequent market days. Be sure to taste medfouna, a delicious local Berber specialty of stuffed or “buried” treasure of meat, onions, almonds and spices. Not a meat-eater? Don’t worry, the vegetation option is just as tasty.
In the late afternoon, head into the Sahara Desert, either by 4×4 or with your private driver. The rocky flat landscape quickly gives way to rolling sand dunes. Choose a simple sunset camel trek, or if you are more adventurous, consider a night under the stars. The swaying gait of your camel among the quiet peacefulness of the desert is typically the most favorite experience in Morocco.
Wake up early for sunrise photo opportunities and then meet with your driver to start today’s travel. Todra Gorge is one of today’s stops. Dramatic steep cliffs border the road, and this is a natural starting point for the area’s hiking trips and rock-climbing expeditions. Close-by is Tinghir, a bustling yet charming town.
Carry on to Boumalne Dades. The route is spotted with ksour and palm trees, Berber villages and interesting rock formations, which are known locally as Monkey Fingers. Appreciate the final winding road into Boumalne Dades when you arrive at the top and gaze upon the serpentine route.
Breathe in the scent of Kelaa M’Gouna, as you pass through the Rose Valley. Though the name means “fortress”, this village is best known for its rose agriculture and distillation.
Continue to Skoura, a beautiful oasis with palm groves and the Kasbah Amridil. It dates from the 17th century and is still inhabited today. Fun fact: it graces Morocco’s 50 dirham bill.
Today’s drive will take you along the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs toward the Red City, Marrakech. From Skoura, head toward Ouarzazate, founded by the French and used as an outpost for the French Foreign Legion. Also located here is the Taourirt Kasbah, former property of the ruling Glaoui tribe before Morocco took independence from the French. Ouarzazate and the surrounding area are Morocco’s Hollywood. Many international movies have featured its surroundings assets and backdrops, such as Kudu, Kingdom of Heaven and most recently, Games of Thrones. These movie sets are open to the public.
Visit a women’s embroidery co-operative to see firsthand this intricate traditional craft.
Not to be missed: Ait Ben Haddou, a traditional ksar listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a fantastic example of a fortified village and has also been the location for such films as Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia.
Cross the High Atlas Mountains as you make your way toward Marrakech. Your early evening arrival makes for a great sunset against the red-colored walls of the medina.
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