This tour starts and ends in Marrakech. It visits the spectacular rocky gorges at Todra, the Dades Canyon, the Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert, Atlantic Coast, scenic Draa Valley to Ouarzazate and the UNESCO World heritage site of Ait Benhaddou.
Welcome to Morocco! Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Marrakech for the start of your trip. They'll help you settle in and introduce you to the local area.
Today's tour of Marrakech begins with a trip to the iconic Koutoubia Mosque, home to the minaret which has become a symbol of the city. We then visit the Mausoleum and Bahia Palace which both host intricate and beautiful Arabic craftsmanship. Then we head to the lively souks and bazaars in Marrakech's famous medina. Home to many different types of traders these narrow and winding streets are bustling with activity and full of sights sounds and smells uniquely Moroccan. Today's tour ends at the lively Djemaa El Fna Square.
After breakfast this morning we enjoy a spectacular drive across the Tizi N'tichka pass. We then descend and pass Ouarzazate, or 'place of no noise'. An incredibly dramatic landscape. Our final highlight today is a drive through the Dades Canyon. We finish today in Tinghir where we spend the night.
Our next taste of dramatic Moroccan scenery comes at the Todra Gorge close to Tinghir, where we'll stop for a short hike along the valley floor with rocky cliffs towering above us on both sides. We then continue along the 'road of a thousand Kasbahs' to Erfoud before switching into 4WD vehicles to travel to Merzouga and through the Erg Chebbi sand desert to a traditional Berber camp amidst the dunes. Here a sunset camel ride is included plus a walk to the top of some of the dunes for spectacular views as the sun sinks below the horizon. You'll enjoy a hearty Bedouin meal and a campfire this evening, often with local musicians helping enhance the atmosphere, before sleeping in comfortable Berber camel-hair tents.
After breakfast with our Berber hosts we head out of the dunes and drive back to Rissani and the birthplace of the Alaouita Dynasty. We leave our 4WD vehicles here and drive to Erfoud. We continue back along the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs through the Draa Valley to Ouarzazate where we spend the night. While in Ouarzazate we include a tour of the movie studios that have taken advantage of the amazing scenery in the area. Our final visit today is to Morocco's most well known Kasbahm the UNESCO world heritage site of Ait Benhaddou.
Our drive today skirts the foothills of the Atlas mountains with some great views to our right hand side, stopping for a break en-route to see the Kasbah at Taliouine and to learn about the production of saffron, the world's most expensive spice, which takes place in only this area in Morocco. We continue onto Taroudant, a large walled Berber market town, and its souqs are reputed to be the best in the south with some excellent local crafts on sale. The town walls are some of the longest and best preserved in Morocco, with their mud construction changing colour atmospherically as the day progresses - they're best seen in the early evening. You'll have some free time here in Taroudant to explore the souqs, and walk along the walls.
We head to the coast today with our first stop at Morocco's main resort town of Agadir. We'll take a short tour of the harbour and the famous High Kasbah before continuing along the coast towards the North Atlantic coastal town of Essaouira. Well regarded as one of Morocco's most beautiful areas, Essaouira has always attracted and inspired artists, drawn by its good light and tranquil, relaxed way of life.
The first half of the day is free today to explore Essaouira further. You could visit the working port with its busy fish auction market and traditional wooden boat builders; explore the craft stalls and shops in the walled Medina which is UNESCO World Heritage listed; take a boat trip to the nearby island of Mogador which is a nature reserve popular with birdwatchers; try a windsurfing or kitesurfing lesson from the beach; or just explore randomly at your leisure. While you're here it's also well worth having a meal at one of Essaouira's well known fish stalls, where a wide range of local freshly caught fish and seafood are displayed, ready to be cooked in front of you and served with bread and salad. After lunch we drive back to Marrakech for a final evening in this chaotic and busy city.
Your day is free today to explore Marrakech further, and perhaps do some final souvenir shopping and sightseeing before we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight.