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Tour 12.1

12 days/11 nights: „High mountains, deep gorges and the fantastic desert“

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Day 1: Marrakesh – Imlil (day trek)
We leave the riad in Marrakesh in the morning. Our journey takes us south, towards the High Atlas range and its highest peak Toubkal (4160 metres). We’ll be crossing the plain of Marrakesh, with its scatterings of orchards and olive groves, pine forests and walnut trees, before the road becomes increasingly steep and narrow as it leads on to Imlil, a small Berber village on the slope of a mountain. From here, we set out on our trek to explore the fascinating nature and mountains of the High Atlas range. The walk lasts around 5 hours. Packed lunch and overnight accommodation in a hotel in Imlil.
Day 2: Imlil – Tizn Test Pass (2,093 m) – Taroudant
After breakfast in the hotel, we resume our journey to the south, crossing the High Atlas range and the Pass of Tizn-Test (2093 m). Our route takes us through splendid woods of oleanders, pine and oak trees, and Berber villages where the houses are made of mud. After crossing the pass, we head down towards the green valley of Sous, an important agricultural centre. Here, the vegetation changes, and the landscape is dominated by lavender, juniper and argan trees. We reach Taroudant, with its olive groves, orchards and vineyards, surrounded by a high clay wall reminiscent of the walls of Marrakesh. We tour the Medina and souk, before dinner and overnight accommodation in a hotel.
Day 3: Taroudant – Talouine – Tazenakth – Fooum Zguid – desert off road -lake of Iriqui – dunes of Erg Chigaga (sandboarding)
After breakfast in the hotel, we resume our journey to the desert. We will reach Talouine, Tazenakth and Fouum Zguid the desert outpost. From Fouum Zguid, we continue our journey into the desert. An adventurous journey through the Sahara by jeep on the old track of the Paris-Dakar rally awaits us. We pass below the fossil mountain, reaching the dried up salt lake of Iriki and continuing towards the dunes of Erg Chigaga – an amazing series of golden desert dunes stretching for 40 km and reaching a maximum height of 300 metres. Here, you can admire the sunset amid the dunes. The typical nomad hospitality awaits us here in our tented camp, surrounded by the dunes of the Sahara, with the ritual welcome with mint tea, a traditional nomad dinner with music and a bonfire and overnight accommodation in a nomad tent.
Day 4 and day 5: 2 days of trekking with dromedaries in the dunes of Erg Chigaga, and visit to a nomad family.
If you sleep in the desert, make sure you get up early to admire the golden light of dawn as it illuminates the sand dunes. After breakfast, we set out on our trek with the dromedaries to the dunes of Erg Chigaga. Everybody taking part has his own camel and the time taken can be adapted to your own requirements. Your guides will take care of you and do the cooking. In the afternoon of the first day we pay a visit to a genuine nomad family, to see how the nomads of the desert live, have dinner with them and spend the night in a tent. We go back to our camp, where you can admire a breathtaking sunset among the dunes while awaiting dinner. Enjoy a hot shower. Dinner and overnight accommodation in a Berber tent.
Day 6: Erg Chigaga – oasis of Iriki – Mhamid – Draavalley– Tamegroute – Zagora
After breakfast, we continue on our journey by jeep along the old track of the Paris-Dakar rally, reaching the oasis of Iriki and after 50 km Mhamid, the desert outpost. We continue on our journey along the Draavalley; the waters running down from the High Atlas have formed a long oasis which runs from Ouarzazate to M’Hamid. The most luxuriant part, with millions of date palms, is located between Agdz and Zagora. The dates of Zagora are of particularly high quality and can be bought anywhere in the area during the harvest period from September to December. Whatever you do, make sure you taste this exceptional fruit. From Mhamid we move on to Zagora. Dinner and overnight accommodation in a typical riad.
Day 7: Zagora – Nkob – Tazzarine – Alnif – Erfoud – Merzouga – dunes of Erg Chebbi
After breakfast in the hotel, we continue on our journey to the desert of Merzouga. On the road to Erfoud, we’ll see the ancient Qanah, horizontal wells which were once used to irrigate the desert. Finally we head for the desert and the dunes of Merzouga, Erg Chebbi, where we can admire a breathtaking sunset. The dunes (erg), with their gilded pink hues, reach a height of 160 metres and their shape changes continuously. We spend the night in a desert tented camp, with a traditional Berber dinner and music. Don’t forget to gaze at the stars in the immense desert sky.
Day 8: Merzouga – Rissani – Erfoud – Tingehir – Todra gorges – Dades gorges
If you sleep in the desert, make sure you get up early to admire the golden light of dawn as it illuminates the sand dunes. After breakfast in our camp, we resume our journey and head towards Rissani, where we can visit Ksar Abdel Karim and an ancient mosque in Rissani. We continue on our journey to the spectacular Todra gorge. The road passes through Tinerhir, set amidst green palms, and yellow Berber villages, until we start to see high walls of pink and grey rock stand out against the sky. After a walk through the gorge, we resume our journey to the Dadesvalley and the Dades gorges. Dinner and overnight accommodation in a typical riad.
Day 9 and day 10: Trekking with mules in the Dades gorge (total walking time 4-5 hours approx per day, with total climb of 200 metres), visit to a Berber family and overnight accommodation in the caves or in a tent.
After breakfast in the riad, we set off on a trek through the Dades gorge with the brothers Ibrahim and Youssef from the Panorama Riad. After around 2.5 hours of walking, we reach the entrance to the canyon, where we stop for lunch, cooked by the guides. After lunch, we carry on for around 2 more hours, to the oasis of Oanan. We visit a Berber family and spend the night in the nomads’ caves. Next day after breakfast, we continue our walk through the Dades gorge, to reach Imzoudar and the Bougfiane gorge, before returning to the riad. Open air lunch, dinner and overnight accommodation in the riad.
Day 11: Dades – Boumalne – Kelaa M´Gouna – Rosevalley – Valley of the Million Kasbahs – Skoura – Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou
After breakfast in the riad, we continue our journey to the Valley of Dades; we then pass through Kelaa M’Gouna and Skoura travelling through magnificent oases of palm trees and spectacular kasbahs which have given this region the name of The Valley of the Million Kasbahs. We will reach Ait Benhaddou, a mud brick kasbah protected by UNESCO and known as the finest and most famous in Morocco, which has featured in a number of films, such as Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth and The Gladiator. We have dinner here and spend the night in a hotel or traditional local riad.
Day 12: Ait Ben Haddou – Telouet – Pass of Tizn Tichka (2.260 m)– Marrakesh
After breakfast we will visit the Kasbah and than cross the High Atlas mountains. We’ll be crossing the mountains of the High Atlas range and the pass of Tizi-n-Tichka (2,260 m), where the views are breathtaking. The scenic road runs through oak woods and walnut groves, Berber villages with stone and mud brick houses, and pastures where goats and sheep graze. We will reach Telouet and Marrakesh towards evening.

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Itinerary:

Marrakesh- Imlil – pass of Tizn Test- Taroudant – Talouine – Tazenakth – Fouum Zguid – Lake of Iriqui -dunes of Erg Chigaga – Oasis of Iriki – Mhamid- Draavalley – Zagora – Nkob – Tazzarine – Alnif – Rissani – Merzouga – dunes of Erg Chebbi – Erfoud – Tineghir – Todra gorges – Dades gorges – Rosevalley – valley of the 1000 Kasbah -Skoura – Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou- Telouet – pass of Tizi-n-Tichka – Marrakesh

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All prices are given at the bottom of each tour, day trip or trek.
Prices are always given per person and according to the number in the group: 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.

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There is a 25% reduction for children under 12 years old whilst we do not charge for children under 5.
Included in the price are the air-conditioned 4×4, Toyota Land Cruiser and English and French-speaking driver, all accommodation, all meals, a camel ride/trekking and sand-boarding, Berber drumming and music, free time to explore the sites, for walks, photo and tea/coffee breaks.
The price does not include entrance fees, drinks or tips.

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