Experience the vibrant Marrakech medinas and the tranquil Sahara desert on this immersive tour of South Morocco. Discover hidden villages and stay in authentic accommodations, savor delicious tagine, visit the magnificent Ait Benhaddou kasbah, ride camels through the Sahara, and unwind in the coastal town of Essaouira. With ten days of exploration, this tour is ideal for those seeking to experience the rich culture and diverse landscapes of South Morocco.
Experience the Best of Southern Morocco: From Bustling Souks to Desert Dunes
- Embark on a guided trek through the High Atlas Mountains and spend a night in the traditional village of Aroumd with an Amazigh (Berber) family.
- Experience the Sahara Desert on the back of a camel and spend a night in a Bedouin camp, listening to stories by the campfire.
- Take a break in the charming seaside town of Essaouira for two days to explore the lively port, whitewashed houses, and narrow alleys.
- Visit Ait Benhaddou, a World Heritage site with a rich history and a long list of film and TV credits, and drop by a community-run teahouse that supports local women.
- Get lost in the winding souqs and practice your bargaining skills while exploring the 16th-century walled city of Taroudant with the help of your local guide.
Greetings and welcome to Marrakech! Your exciting adventure starts with a meeting at 6 pm, which will be held at a location that will be provided at the reception desk. If you arrive earlier, there's a lot to discover in Marrakech, and we've listed some recommended activities below for your convenience. Please check them out and make the most of your time here.
After arriving in Marrakech, you'll take a short 2-hour drive to the village of Imlil in the High Atlas Mountains. Upon arrival, you'll store your main luggage and load your overnight bags onto pack mules before embarking on a 1-hour trek to the tranquil village of Aroumd. This remote village perched on a rocky outcrop provides breathtaking views of the High Atlas Mountains and a rare opportunity to experience the traditional Berber (Amazigh) culture. You'll spend the night in a family-run mountain gite where you'll be treated to traditional hospitality and food while surrounded by the aroma of woodstoves and bread. Spend the rest of the day exploring the village and surrounding farmlands. If the group is up for it, and weather permits, there will be an opportunity to hike around eight kilometers to the pilgrimage shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (approximately 4 hours return). Regardless of fitness levels, Aroumd's unhurried pace makes it an ideal place to explore beyond the modern world's reach.
Today, you will embark on a scenic drive through the High Atlas Mountains and over Morocco's highest pass, Tizi n'Tichka (2260 metres), to reach Ait Benhaddou on the fringes of the Sahara (approximately 6 hours). Ait Benhaddou, perched on a hilltop, has remained almost unchanged since the 11th century and is one of Morocco's most iconic sites. It was once a significant stop for caravans carrying salt across the Sahara and returning with gold, ivory, and slaves. The town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones, and Gladiator. Join a leader-led walk through the winding streets of the Old Town, making your way to the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy views of the surrounding plains. Stop by the Tawesna teahouse on the riverbanks. This community-run establishment provides income to local women to support their families and serves delicious pastries and teas using locally sourced ingredients. Get to know the women and their stories, and perhaps indulge in a sweet treat. The evening is free, with the option of attending a local cooking demonstration and enjoying Morocco's most famous dishes: couscous and tagine.
Today, you'll head south towards the Sahara, with a stop in the frequently used film location of Ouarzazate along the way (approximately 5 hours in total). Then, you'll continue on a scenic route through the verdant Draa Valley towards Zagora, a charming oasis town on the edge of the Sahara. Upon arrival, take a leisurely stroll through the lush palm groves, explore the local ksars, and enjoy a wander around the picturesque countryside. This overnight stop offers a chance to relax and soak up the serene atmosphere of this idyllic location.
Embark on a scenic drive through the rugged Jbel Tadrart ranges, past vast seas of sand, and occasional oases of date palms to reach Tamegroute township. Here, explore a fascinating library filled with ancient scripts of science, literature, the Koran, and stories of the prophet Mohammed (subject to unregulated opening times). Later, discover the underground Kasbah with the help of a local guide. Continue driving to M'Hamid, a frontier town (approximately 1 hour), and embark on a short camel ride through the dunes. Jump into 4WD vehicles and proceed towards the colossal Erg Chigaga dunes, arriving in the late afternoon. Spend a night under the stars at your desert camp.
Board a minivan and head to the market town of Oulad Berhil. The drive will take approximately 8 hours, including various stops, through scenic desert landscapes and a nature reserve of indigenous argan trees. If you're fortunate, you might even witness the famous sight of goats climbing these trees in search of nuts. Upon arrival in the early evening, settle into your accommodation and unwind after a long day of travel.
In the morning, explore the bustling souqs of Taroudant and barter with local merchants for unique silver jewelry or colorful Moroccan ceramics and mosaics. Later, journey west towards the charming coastal town of Essaouira (approximately 5 hours). Known as the "City of the Wind" and meaning "image," Essaouira is a picturesque town enclosed by stone ramparts, filled with white-washed houses featuring bright blue shutters, galleries, and wood workshops. Although you'll arrive in the early evening, you can still take in the town's enchanting ambiance before calling it a day.
Today, accompany a local guide on a walking tour through the historic medina, Jewish mellah, port, and skala (sea wall). Following the tour, you'll have the remainder of the day at your leisure. You might want to visit the port and try some freshly-cooked seafood, explore the numerous shops, or browse the fascinating art galleries. Alternatively, if you're looking to unwind, take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a traditional hammam or bath.
Spend the morning at leisure in Essaouira before catching an afternoon bus back to Marrakech (approximately 3 hours). Upon arrival, take advantage of some free time to explore the city or engage in optional activities. Perhaps visit the Palais Bahia, a magnificent illustration of Muslim architecture, or the ruins of the Palais Badi.
Your journey concludes after breakfast. If you want to spend more time exploring Marrakech, you can arrange for additional accommodation in advance, subject to availability.