Cultural Tours Handcrafted in Morocco

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Morocco Family Tour

Magical Marrakech, Kasbah Nights & Wild Desert Camp

9 days / 8 nights

Tour Ref:   SV058
Tour start:   Marrakech
Tour end:   Marrakech
Tour type:   Family, Cultural, Desert
Regions:   Imperial Cities (Marrakech), Atlas Mountains, Southern Valleys, Sahara Desert
Available:   mid-September to early June upon request

Tour summary

A 9-day unique family desert adventure holiday with the emphasis on authentic, fun and cultural experiences. Sleeping inside real mud-built kasbahs along the old caravan routes from the Sahara, staying in traditional riads in the medieval medina of Marrakech and an unforgettable night in the Sahara desert in true nomadic style as you trek by camel into the remote dunes, to go ‘wild’ camping. Our family desert adventure has loads of interesting activities for families to enjoy together - pottery making, camel riding and drumming as well as cultural visits to help kids understand the rich traditions of Southern Morocco. This tour takes in the exotic city of Marrakech, the High Atlas Mountains, the lush oases of the Draa Valley and the remote, immense beauty of the Moroccan Sahara desert - all the while in capable, knowledgeable and trusted hands! This Morocco family adventure holiday is perfect for families with children aged 5 yrs upwards and parents of all fitness levels.

  Contact us to arrange your tour

Or call us now on +212 (0)615 647918 (Morocco) or +44 (0)208 123 7969 (UK)

Please note: All our Morocco tours can be customised to allow extra days for shorter daily car journeys, extra activities, relaxation days, exploration days etc. We can also adapt tours to connect with different start/end locations in Morocco. Let us know your wishes and we will build your perfect Morocco tour itinerary.

Price: Contact us for a personalised quotation.
Prices will vary according to number of people travelling in vehicle, number of days, time of year, category of accommodation chosen and activities requested.

NB Our Morocco tours are private tours organised upon request.

Day-to-day tour itinerary

Day 1

Marrakech

Meet & greet at MARRAKECH airport and transfer to your riad - a guesthouse converted from a traditional Moorish-designed family home centred around a small courtyard patio or inner garden. In order to capture the essence of medieval Marrakech, you will stay inside the old walled city medina. Depending on your arrival time you will then have the rest of the day to explore the vibrant city of Marrakech unguided or just enjoy the facilities at the riad such as a splash pool, roof terrace, board games and books. The old medina of Marrakech is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys, with different neighbourhoods and streets specialising in various arts, crafts and produce. Take time to relax in your traditional guesthouse, enjoy the roof terrace and soak up the sounds and smells of Morocco’s favourite city. Dinner will be served at your riad/hotel this evening.

Stay: traditional riad or hotel in Marrakech

Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2

Marrakech

Half-day morning walking tour with city guide of Marrakech - also known as the ‘red city’ for it’s famous pink-hued ramparts. Our English-speaking city guide will meet you at your riad in the morning and take you through the souks of the medieval medina, introducing you to artisans, bakers, carpenters, spice merchants, apothecaries and also including visiting the landmark monuments of Ben Youssef Medersa, the Bahia Palace and the Koutoubia Mosque. You can test out your haggling skills if you choose to purchase from the many vendors in the souk. Your tour ends at the famous Place Jemaa el Fna square where you can enjoy lunch from a roof terrace overlooking the bizarre activities of the acrobats, storytellers, musicians and snake charmers. Rest of the day is at leisure or we suggest you take a horse-drawn carriage around the ramparts or to the new town are of Gueliz to visit the exquisite Majorelle Gardens, owned by Yves St. Laurent and originally private home of the painter Jacques Majorelle. We suggest you return to the square for an evening dinner at one of the outdoor food grills to sample anything from grilled meats, fried fish, fried aubergines, boiled snails, harira soup, spiced ginger tea, boiled sheep’s head and other local delicacies. Even if you decide to eat elsewhere, the experience of the Place Jemaa el Fna at night is an intoxicating one - with smoke swirling up from the grills, the pounding rhythms of the street musicians, the call to prayer ringing out from the mosques as the excited crowds gather for this nightly ‘circus’.

Stay: Traditional riad in Marrakech

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 3

Marrakech - High Atlas Mountains - Kasbah Ait Benhaddou

Morning departure from Marrakech and you head off in private 4x4 vehicle into the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. Passing mud-built villages clinging to the hillsides with pine forests, juniper, oleander, prickly pear, almond and cherry orchards lining the route. The road winds ever higher over the Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass - the main thoroughfare to the south. In winter you reach the snow line and pass across small plateaus before reaching the highest point at 2260 metres. The road then twists down through valleys of apple trees and small fields cultivated by local Berbers, with stunning mountainscapes of richly coloured earth in shades of olive green, burnt sienna and ochre. You then reach the most famous kasbah in Morocco - the Kasbah Ait Benhaddou - a fortified hilltop village which once controlled the trade caravans that passed through from sub-Saharan Africa. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site and has achieved fame as a backdrop in many Hollywood movies filmed here - Gladiator, Prince of Persia, Jewel in the Nile and Lawrence of Arabia. You have lunch in one of the restaurants overlooking the kasbah and then enjoy a walking tour into the narrow streets of the old kasbah and admire the views across the surrounding landscape from the grain store at the very top of the fortifications. Only a handful of families still live in the kasbah, but some of them have opened their doors for visitors to enter their home and step back in time as you will witness traditional ways of life and enjoy a glass of mint tea. Today is about really experiencing the life of the southern kasbahs, so this evening you will spend the night inside one of these fascinating old buildings constructed of mud mixed with straw. The kasbahs we use are renovated to cater for tourists and so have modern comforts, some with swimming pools, as well as oodles of character and history.

Stay: Renovated kasbah guesthouse near Ait Benhaddou

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Day 4

Ait Benhaddou - Ouarzazate - Agdz - Draa Valley - Zagora - M'Hamid

Today’s journey continues south, heading to the edge of the Sahara desert. Along the way we pass over rocky and arid terrain at the junction of the Anti-Atlas and Jbel Saghro regions. The mountain pass twists along through valleys and deep ravines till eventually you reach Agdz - the regional centre of date cultivation in the Draa Valley oasis. The Draa Valley is dominated by the impressive Jbel Kissane mountain to the east and the oasis stretches along the route of Morocco’s longest river - the Draa River, until it disappears underground at M’Hamid el Ghizlane. The route is one of the most beautiful road-trips in Morocco, passing villages, palm trees, small gardens full of henna, wheat and vegetables, crumbling rust-red kasbahs and fortified villages, village mosques, daily scenes of agricultural life unchanged for centuries. You will take off-road with your 4x4 Morocco adventure vehicle to explore some of the scenes up close along the banks of the Draa River. In the provincial town of Zagora, known as ‘the gate of the Sahara’, you will stop for lunch in the shaded gardens of a delightful riad. The afternoon continues with an instructional guided visit to the local pottery at Tamegroute, famous for its green-glazed ceramics. As a special family cultural activity, you will learn to make and decorate your own pottery items using locally grown natural henna pigment. You will have time also for a short guided tour of the Koranic Library, which houses a magnificent collection of ancient, hand-illuminated manuscripts dating back to the 14th century, when this little village was a major centre for Islamic teaching. The road narrows to a thin ribbon of tarmac and eventually runs out after crossing the Jbel Bani ridge. The Sahara desert encroaches from either side and in M’Hamid el Ghizlane the tarmac road ends. At the end of today’s desert adventure tour you spend the night in a kasbah-style hotel or boutique guest house in the delightful palm oasis at Ouled Driss, just outside the village. Dinner at the hotel.

Stay: Hotel or boutique guesthouse in the palm groves outside M'Hamid

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Day 5

M'Hamid - Sahara desert wild camp experience

Today’s desert adventure is about a truly authentic nomad experience - walking with nomads, riding on camels, preparing your dinner and pitching a simple camp under the stars. No Wi-Fi, no TV, no running water - just the sound of the wilderness, the animals who have taken you there, the crackling fire and the soft voices of your indigenous nomad guides. You depart early afternoon on the back of camels from your hotel in the village of M’Hamid with just your overnight bag (the rest stay securely stowed in the 4x4 vehicle). The morning is free to relax, charge up your camera batteries and enjoy the gardens and pool of your chosen hotel. From here on, you will trek for about 3 hours into the wilderness and small dunes till your guide finds a suitable spot to make camp in the small dunes. You will spot tamarisk trees, cactii and small plants along the way. Your guides will set the camp and prepare a hearty dinner for you, as well as piping hot tea and biscuits as you arrive. You may wish just to play in the dunes which you will have to yourself, or you may wish to get ‘hands on’ and learn how to pitch the tents, the ‘mess’ tent, gather firewood and build a fire as well as helping set the camels for the night. As night falls you can learn some of the traditional songs of the Sahrawi ‘Blue Men’ nomads of this region accompanied by the darbouka, North African goblet drum. Depending on weather conditions you may wish to sleep in the open air and gaze and the canopy of millions of stars overhead. In conditions of a sandstorm, then the wild camp would be switched to a fixed camp. NB For those who are a little timid about the idea of ‘wild’ camping, then you can choose a more sophisticated bivouac camp with showers and toilets or even a luxury tented camp this night.

Stay: Wild camp in Sahara desert (2-man igloo tents with mattresses)

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 6

Sahara desert camp - Zagora - Agdz

In the morning you strike camp and make the return 3hrs trek to the village of M’Hamid where you will pick up your luggage and have lunch at the hotel. You driver will meet you and you then head north back up through the Draa Valley on tarmac road. Passing through Zagora, you stop this time to visit the fascinating inhabited ksar of Tissergate. In the covered streets of the old mud-built kasbah is Tissergate museum which is chock full of artefacts, jewellery, regional tribal costumes and agricultural implements. Your family adventure continues as you follow the meandering Draa River through the oasis along the main road until you reach the market town of Agdz - the centre for trading for hundreds of varieties of dates grown in this oasis. Heading off the main road you enter into the palm groves to a delightful boutique hotel built in a traditional kasbah style with pool and resident pet donkey. Relax in the gardens, splash in the pool and enjoy this little piece of Moroccan paradise. You may also choose to stay in a simpler restored kasbah guesthouse near Tamnougalt (no pool).

Stay: boutique kasbah-style hotel, or restored kasbah guesthouse

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7

Agdz - Draa Valley - Ouarzazate - Atlas Film Studios - Tizi n'Tichka pass- Marrakech

Morning departure from your kasbah accommodation and you head north for about 2 hrs through the Draa Valley to reach the city of Ouarzazate. Here you can chose to take the family to visit the Atlas Film Studios for a tour of some of the sets from blockbuster movies that have been shot here - The Mummy, Gladiator, Kundun, The Last Temptation of Christ…and others. Lunch (not incl.) near to the film studios or in the town of Ouarzazate before then twisting back over the Tizi n’Tichka pass to reach Marrakech by around 6 p.m. You will pass over the magnificent High Atlas Mountains and see simply stunning scenery - so there will be plenty of opportunities for photographs before sunset. Dinner will be ready at your riad in Marrakech at the end of your desert adventure tour.

Stay: Traditional riad in Marrakech

Meal plan: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 8

Marrakech

Free day to explore at your own leisure. You may wish to add on some extra family-friendly cultural activities during this day e.g. cookery class.

Stay: Traditional riad in Marrakech

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 9

We transfer you to Marrakech airport as required for your homeward journey. You can also choose to continue your holiday in Morocco with us by adding-on one of our Suggested Morocco Adventure Tour Itineraries.

Stay: N/A

Meal plan: Breakfast

  • It is possible to reduce this tour to 8 days / 7 nights by returning from the Sahara desert to Marrakech in one day, but be prepared for a 9-10 hour drive!

Add-on experiences for this tour

Allow at least 1 day extra for each experience.

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