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Morocco Desert Tour

Trans-Sahara Luxury 4x4 Safari

5 days / 4 nights (*see notes)

Tour Ref:   SV016
Tour start:   Ouarzazate
Tour end:   Ouarzazate (or Agadir)
Tour type:   Cultural, Desert
Regions:   Southern Valleys, Sahara Desert, Atlas Mountains
Available:   mid-September to end May upon request

Tour summary

Starting from Ouarzazate, a unique 5-day luxury adventure tour that combines the two main desert regions of Morocco - Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga, connected by a staggering 300 kilometres of hard off-road desert driving in 4x4 vehicle. Staying in some of the most luxurious boutique hotels and sumptuous desert camps in the south of Morocco, this tour strikes a balance between comfortable adventure holiday and challenging expedition. The voyage takes in the Skoura Valley, Dadès and Todra Gorges, Sahara desert and Anti-Atlas Mountains. Fully supported with our local knowledge, an expert driver and Sahrawi guide this Morocco desert adventure tour is ideal for those seeking a thrilling and authentic taste of the Moroccan Sahara. NB Not suitable for children (under 18yrs) or anybody with back/neck problems due to long distances of off-road driving.

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

Ouarzazate - Skoura - Roses Valley - Dadès Gorge - Dadès Valley

Your luxury desert adventure starts with pick-up directly from your hotel in Ouarzazate. You travel in 4x4 vehicle eastwards via the Skoura oasis, passing the Lake Mansour Eddahbi. In Skoura you will visit the 17th century Kasbah Amerhidil in amongst the oasis of date palms, figs, quince, pomegranate and olive trees. The Skoura palm oasis was planted in the 12th century by Sultan Moulay Yacoub el Mansour and was named after the indigenous Berber Haskourene tribe that lived here. You will also visit the fascinating Museum of Skoura which houses exhibits of regional traditional costumes, manuscripts and local agricultural implements. A collection of antique photographs shows the old kasbahs of the region with explanations of their significance and architecture. About half an hour from Skoura, you enter the Valley of Roses at Kelaa M’Gouna, you take the route north into the High Atlas Mountains as far as Bou Tharar. From here the journey is off-road to discover Ait Atta Berber nomads living in caves in the mountainside. We stop to share some mint tea in the simple grottoes before continuing on rocky tracks to enter the Dadès Gorge. The astounding rock formations from thousands of years of erosion of the sandstone have left the ‘monkey’s fingers’. The valley is especially beautiful in spring when the almond orchards are in blossom. You head up into the gorge to the famous switchback mountain pass and enjoy a delicious lunch along the route at a guesthouse with outdoor pool and terraces clinging to the steep mountain sides. After lunch you will take a guided hike into the mountains above the gorge before heading back down through the valley to the town of Boumalne du Dadès. Across the Dadès river is our luxury hotel, rebuilt from the ruins of an old kasbah. Rooms are decorated with plenty of African charm and furnished with ethnic textiles, masks, paintings, carved wooden furniture and artefacts gathered from Central and West Africa by the French owners. There is a large outdoor pool and gardens for relaxing before dinner. NB you may wish to add an extra day here for hiking/trekking or even exploring by mountain bike with a guide.

Stay: Boutique hotel in Dadès Valley

Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2

Dades Valley - Todra Gorge - Merzouga - Erg Chebbi Sahara dunes

From the kasbah hotel you will drive for about 2 hours through the Dadès Valley, also known as the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, due to the numbers of crumbling mud-built kasbah fortresses and villages which line this route which once was the trade caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakech. At Tinerhir you reach the road that winds up into the Todra Gorge, with its immense limestone cliffs that attract rock climbers from around the world. Palm trees, figs, oleander and pomegranate and olives grow along the river which carves out this fertile gorge and which is Morocco’s highest oasis. You can stop for refreshments and to stretch your legs at the narrowest part of the gorge, where the river runs right next to the road before retuning to your 4x4 vehicle to continue the desert adventure. You head back down to Tinerhir and then east to Tinejdad where you stop to visit the fascinating community project, the Museum of the Oasis at Ksar el-Khorbat. You can enjoy lunch here on a tranquil terrace at the edge of the Ferkla Oasis before then continuing to the Tafilalt oasis towns of Erfoud and Rissani, the birthplace of the current Alaouite dynasty. Between Erfoud and Rissani, look out for the ‘khettara’ ancient water irrigation system that lines the road and also the Museum of Geology and Paleontology. This region is particularly rich in prehistoric fossils, ammonites and trilobites embedded in the bedrock for millennia. Polished black marble and granite is a speciality of Erfoud and you may wish to visit a marble workshop along the way (time permitting). Your Morocco desert tour then leads you to Merzouga village and the edge of the towering Moroccan Sahara dunes of Erg Chebbi. Here you swap your 4x4 and driver for a camel and local nomad guide to take you to your luxury bivouac desert camp in the Erg Chebbi desert dunes for the night. At the luxury camp you will sleep in a small cluster of top-quality canvas tents, each with huge double bed, pure cotton sheets, private toilet and shower. Each tent is decorated with Tuareg antiques, traditional Berber carpets, woven mats, cushions and lanterns. Drinks are served upon your arrival, with a carpet and low table laid upon the dunes for you away from any other guests. Your hosts will entertain you with local music and folklore. NB You can also choose to sleep in a 4-star hotel or riad if you prefer.

Stay: Luxury desert camp Erg Chebbi (or 4-star hotel/riad)

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 3

Merzouga - Taouz - Remlia - Kem Kem - Tagounite - M'Hamid el Ghizlane

Today’s itinerary is an adventurous and challenging desert safari. Involving a full hard day of driving off-road across wild and little-explored territory on desert pistes and through sand dunes. The route is undertaken only with the expertise of a local knowledgeable desert guide to navigate and is not for the faint-hearted. You depart early morning, stop for a very simple picnic lunch halfway, near the desert village and oasis of Remlia before continuing along the river bed of Oued Rheris and eventually towards Tagounite, at the foot of the Draa Valley. The desert tracks are a combination of black stony desert tracks and soft sand. For about 250 kilometres the journey is a tough one and can last around 8 hours. On arriving in Tagounite, you reach tarmac road in a small village and then continue to the end of the road to reach your luxury hotel or guesthouse at the end of the day. A swim, shower and cold drink will be most welcome before dinner. NB You may wish to add an overnight in the desert at Remlia to break up this long, bumpy journey of 250 kms - however there are only basic facilities or camping.

Stay: Luxury boutique hotel or guesthouse in M'Hamid el Ghizlane

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 4

M'Hamid el Ghizlane - Erg Chigaga dunes

The morning is free at your hotel to relax in the gardens of your hotel and enjoy a swim (or even a hammam). Lunch will be served at the hotel and early afternoon you continue your trans-Sahara desert adventure tour. Tonight you are heading to the magnificent dunes of Erg Chigaga. It’s about 2 hours off-road driving on sandy pistes and stony hammda. The dunes of Erg Chigaga are the highest in Morocco at 300 metres and from the top the sea of sand stretches to the horizon. Unlike Erg Chebbi there are no nearby villages or settlements - you are 50 kilometres from the nearest dwelling, though you will still spot the occasional nomad family living in their traditional camel-wool haima. The evening is spent at our luxury bivouac desert camp close to the Erg Chigaga dunes and here you can enjoy a cool drink as you watch the sunset. The individual tents are very spacious with king-size beds. You can relax in the ‘chill-out’ tent, play musical instruments, board games, read a book or swing in a hammock slung between two palm trees before dinner is served. A campfire and braziers will keep you warm as you gaze at the canopy of stars overhead on your final night of this luxury desert tour.

Stay: Luxury desert camp in Erg Chigaga dunes

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 5

Erg Chigaga luxury camp - Iriqui National Park - Foum Zguid - Ouarzazate

After a leisurely breakfast at the luxury Sahara desert camp, the adventure continues off-road in your 4x4 vehicle. Crossing the dried Lake Iriqui, through river beds and rocky desert for about 3 hours on the old Paris-Dakkar rally route until you reach the main tarmac road from Tata at Foum Zguid. Here we will stop at a delightful guest-house in the oasis at the foot of the Jbel Bani mountain ridge. You can enjoy the pool and have a light lunch before continuing to the village of Tazenakht, famous as a regional centre for Berber hand-woven carpets off different tribes of the High Atlas. You have the option of visiting a carpet co-operative to haggle yourself some great bargains, if you wish. The road then heads east, circling back towards your starting point of Ouarzazate. You cross through arid and rocky terrain of the Anti-Atlas Mountains and Jbel Siroua volcanic range. By around 6 p.m. we will drop you at your hotel in Ouarzazate, where this tour ends. NB We can arrange luxury accommodation in or near Ouarzazate if required pre- and post-tour. Alternatively we can arrange an onward transfer to Marrakech, or you can choose to continue your holiday in Morocco with us by adding on or combining one of our Suggested Morocco Adventure Tour Itineraries.

Stay: N/A

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

  • This tour can be adapted so that it starts in Ouarzazate and ends in Agadir (add an extra night in Taroudant)
  • NB Not suitable for children under 18 or anybody with back/neck problems due to long distances of off-road driving.

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