Soak up the atmosphere in Marrakech, wonder at the majestic High Atlas Mountains, explore Ait Benhaddou – the legendary fortified Kasbah, star gaze in the vast and silent Sahara desert, visit the Roman archaeological site of Volubilis, enjoy the blue city of Chefchaouen and step back in time in Fez – the world’s oldest medieval city on our route north and south of Morocco.
DAY 1: MARRAKECH – OUARZAZATE – KELAAT M´GOUNA
Departure in the morning towards Ouarzazate. After the Tizi n´Tichka pass (2260 m) we take the road to many kasbahs with interesting berber architecture. We continue on one of the caravan trails (32Km), to visit the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou passing by small Berber villages (UNESCO heritage site since 1987), visit the kasbah and experience your first touch and smell of the Berber traditions. We continue via Ouarzazate, the gateway of the desert and the Hollywood of Africa where a lot of movies were filmed for example; the Gladiator, Babel, Sodom And Gomorrah (1963), Oedipus Rex (1967), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), The Message (1976), Jesus of Nazareth (1977) …etc.
Our adventure takes us across the Skoura valley, 45km of palm trees and olives until we arrive at the valley of roses. In this region they have a festival to celebrate the harvest of roses which usually starts in May each year. Garlands of fragrant roses adorn the girls as they choose the one who represents them as Queen of the Roses. Traditional music and dance fill the streets and visitors are welcomed. Accommodation in a Kasbah, dinner & breakfast.
DAY 2: KELAAT M´GOUNA – TODRA GORGE – SAHARA DESERT
After breakfast we continue our adventure to cross the Saghro Mountains, an area also of trekking, you will feel and smell the real Berber culture (Bedouins)…we will share tea with them (family nomads) …continuation via Dades. Stop for lunch in the scenic Dades Gorge before continuing towards the Saghro Mountains and the first signs of the Sahara. Along the route there are Khettara, the ancient wells dug by the nomads to find water, now dry. Finally we reach Merzouga at the foot of the great sand dune Erg Chebbi in time to watch the sun set and the sand change colour as night falls. Spend the night in Erg Chebbi. Accommodation in Nomad tents, dinner & breakfast.
desert camel rides fez
DAY 3: SAHARA DESERT – AZROU – IFRANE – FEZ
Always it´s important to wake up to see sunrise over the dunes. After breakfast, depart for Fez from Merzouga. We take a long but very scenic drive today, heading north from the desert and up into the High Atlas past the Ziz Gorge. Past Midelt, the route crosses a grassy plain (in winter) where Nomads of the tribe Ait Atta Tafoukht can be seen pitching their tents and finding grazing for their camels and goats. The road carries on over the next set of mountains – the Middle Atlas and another facet of Morocco is seen, the Cedar forests. Ancient forests that cloak the hills and are inhabited by monkeys, wild boar and deer. Finally we descend into Ifrane, a swiss style town and ski resort and continue onward to Fez. Overnight – Fez. Accommodation in a riad, bed and breakfast.
DAY 4: FEZ – WAZAN – VOLUBILIS – CHEFCHAOUEN
After breakfast we depart for Chefchaouen, a city known for its white houses with vibrant blue painted doors. Then some free time to discover and explore the Roman ruins and archaeological site of Volubilis, which was already included in the maps of the Century IV AD. Passing fields of lentils and chickpeas, into the hills around this well preserved city, it´s possible to explore the mosaics and forum. We continue to the city of Meknes. City tour: Inside the mausoleum of Moulay Ismail and tour of its walls. Overnight in Chefchaouen. Accommodation in hotel, bed and breakfast.
DAY 5: CHEFCHAOUEN – VOLUBILIS – FEZ
Along with a relaxed vibe and charming medina, the blue hues of Chefchaouen, set against the greenness of the Rif Mountains, startle even the weariest traveller. This charming city built on the side of the mountain has a distinct Spanish feel to it, and so too is the prominent language spoken to tourists. Explore its architecture and hear about its history, don’t forget your camera for all the quaint streets and vibrant colours.
We have the option to visit Volubilis either on the way to Chefchaouen or the way back. Dating from antiquity, Volubilis is now a site of wonderfully preserved Roman ruins near the town of Moulay Idriss. Today s journey brings us the city and old medina of Fez. Being in Fez is like stepping back in time. Stately city walls, labyrinthine medinas and a wonderfully preserved Old City, has made Fez one of Morocco favourite destinations.
Accommodation in riad, bed and breakfast
DAY 6: FEZ – MARRAKECH – AIRPORT
Breakfast and departure to picturesque Ifrane with its pointed roofs of slate. Continue to the village of Benni Mellal, situated in the heart of the Middle Atlas. Free time and transfer to Marrakech airport.