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“Gorges, the desert and the imperial cities”

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7-day tour from Marrakech to the Imperial Cities; across the High Atlas, the Dades gorges, the Merzouga desert and the great dunes of Erg Chebbi to the Imperial Cities.

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Highlights

An individualized, private and comfortable tour with the off-road/Minibus to the Imperial Cities combined with a dromedary trip and an overnight stay in the desert of Merzouga, in the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

The route takes you to the valley of 1000 Kasbahs with typical mud constructions and the magnificent Dades and Todra gorges and you will reach the Merzouga desert and the great dunes of Erg Chebbi. Experience the desert atmosphere on a trip with the dromedaries at sunset and overnight in the tented camp of Erg Chebbi. From the desert the tour will then take you to Fez, Meknes and Rabat, the famous Imperial Cities of Morocco and will end in Marrakech.

Type of tour: Private off-road/minibus guided tour with a dromedary excursion in the Merzouga desert, Erg Chebbi

Min. Participants: from 2 participants

Duration of the tour: 7 days and 6 nights with half board

Departure/arrival: departure and arrival from / to your Marrakech hotel

 

Day 1: Marrakesh- High Atlas – Ait Ben Haddou – Valley of the Million Kasbahs – Rosevalley- Valley of Dades
We set out in the morning from your hotel or riad in Marrakesh. 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. After crossing the pass, we come down into the lunar landscape of the Lesser Atlas and 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. After the tour we stop for lunch. Our journey resumes and takes us on to the Valley of Dades, 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 then pass through Skoura and Kelaa M’Gouna, famous for its roses and daggers, and finally stop for the day in the Dades gorge. We have dinner here and spend the night in a hotel or traditional local riad.

Day 2: Todra gorge – Erfoud – dunes of Merzouga, Erg Chebbi – camelriding (ca. 2 hours)
After breakfast in the hotel, 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 Erfoud, where we stop for lunch. 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 from the saddle of a dromedary. 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 3: Merzouga – Rissani – Erfoud – Al Rachidia – Midelt
After breakfast with a view of the dunes of Erg Chebbi, we continue on our journey to Rissani and Erfoud. We travel north towards Al Rachidia and the valley of Ziz, famous for its millions of date palms. We spend the night in a hotel in Midelt, well known for its honey production. Dinner in the hotel.

Day 4: Midelt – Azrou – Ifrane – Fes (citytour)
After breakfast in the hotel, we head north towards the imperial city of Fes. We pass through Azrou, a mountain settlement situated on a plateau at a height of 1,250 metres, and a famous cultural centre of the M’guild Berber people, then proceed towards Ifrane, which was founded during the French protectorate period, in 1929. It’s well known for its alpine climate, with frequent snow showers and low temperatures in winter and cool summers. The town was a summer retreat for the French families living in the country, and it was initially laid out in the style of an alpine village, to suit the European tastes of the time. Finally, we reach Fes, the holy city of Morocco, located in a fertile valley 350 metres above sea level. Its medina contains shops selling textiles, leather goods, ceramics and weapons, as well as the world’s oldest university. The medina of Fes is a UNESCO world heritage site. With its buildings, marketplaces and mosques, it’s one of the most fascinating centres of the Islamic world. Visitors frequently get the impression that they’ve been plunged into the mediaeval past, amidst stunning landscapes, a cacophony of sounds you’ll find nowhere else, rich fragrances and a wealth of colours. Dinner and overnight accommodation in a hotel.

Day 5: Fes – Moulay Idriss – Volubilis – Meknes (citytour)
After breakfast in the hotel, we get back on the road and head towards Moulay Idriss, a picturesque town in which white is the dominant colour. A pilgrimage centre for many centuries, it was founded by a descendant of the prophet Mohammed and is regarded by Muslims as their most holy city after Mecca. The mausoleum of Idriss I is the main attraction. After our tour of the town, we leave for the archaeological site of Volubilis, another UNESCO world heritage site. Volubilis is a Roman town which formed part of the capital of Mauritania, established in this area around the 3rd century BC. After touring the site, we leave for the imperial city of Meknes, located in the plain of Saiss, and also known as the Versailles of Morocco or the city of a hundred minarets. Founded in 1061 as a military stronghold, its name derives from that of the Berber Meknassa tribe, which dominated the eastern part of the country until the 8th century. The city is a remarkable combination of Spanish and Arab architecture. Dinner and overnight accommodation in a hotel.

Day 6: Meknes – Rabat (citytour)
After breakfast in the hotel, we leave for Rabat, the current capital of Morocco and the biggest city on its Atlantic coastline, in the north west. Founded in the 12th century, it only achieved importance in the 18th century, through the Alawida dynasty. Here, we can see monuments of all types and from all the historic periods throughout the long lifetime of the city, with remains testifying to the past presence of the Phoenician, Roman, Almohad and Berber civilisations. Tour of the city, dinner and overnight accommodation in a hotel.

Day 7: Rabat – Casablanca – Marrakesh
After breakfast in the hotel, we proceed along the Atlantic coast to Casablanca, one of the biggest and most modern cities of Morocco and an important industrial centre. Here, we’ll visit the Great Mosque of Hassan II, which is also open to non-Muslims. Finally, we return to the red town of Marrakesh, the most picturesque of the imperial cities.

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