Desert Tours from Marrakech (Kasbahs and the Sahara)
Marrakech, a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic center whose heady sights and sounds are sure to enchant. Marrakech is full of sights and attractions such as the Bahia Palace and the Dar Si Said, with their tilework and intricate floral painted-wood ceilings, the Saadian Tombs, which are enriched by a bounty of marble, while the Musee de Mouassine and Musee de Marrakech are a showcase of swirling stucco and carved-wood design. Marrakech is a city steeped in ancient artistry that continues to thrive, kept alive by the modern craftspeople of the souks and the contemporary art and design scene of the ville nouvelle.
As an old imperial capital, Marrakech is home to some beautiful examples of Islamic architecture, most impressively the Ali ben Youssef Medersa and the Koutoubia minaret. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with mazelike alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry. Think of the medina's souks as a shopping mall, but laid out according to a labyrinthine medieval-era plan. The main artery into this mazy muddle is the vast square of Djemaa el-Fna, where it's carnival night every night. Stroll between snail-vendors, soothsayers, acrobats and conjurers, musicians and slapstick acting troupes to discover the old city's frenetic pulse. The party doesn't end until the lights go out. The cuisine of Morocco is a mix of Arab, Berber, Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, African and French influences. The cooks refined Moroccan cuisine over the centuries and created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today, which is a big part of the culture and overall feels of the city. With so much to see, do, and taste, Marrakech is a great place to experience and it also makes a great base for exploring nearby areas, and there are several options for day trips to the desert from Marrakech to help you make the most of your time here.
Your Agafay desert day trip departs at 9am from a southern spot in Marrakech,. You will have a short look at the Takerkourste lake, which provides great views of the surrounding Atlas Mountains. See the Takerkoust Dam, which was built between 1929 and 1935 for the primary purpose of providing the city of Marrakech and the surrounding areas with electricity, as well as to irrigate the agricultural fields in the plain of Haouz. Then continue to the big village of Amizmiz at the foot of the high Atlas mountains, Amizmiz acts as a juncture point between the many small Berber villages in the surrounding area. The weekly souk is an important part of their economic role, as individual Berber farmers from the surrounding hills. After a tea break, take an off-road to reach the source of Imi n Tala, in the deep valley of Amizmiz, passing by traditional villages. You will take a short walk in the village of Tnirt where you will have lunch in one of the traditional Berber houses there. Later on, continue your tour descending to the big plain of Haouz, taking an off-road crossing the village of Ouled Mtaa, inhabited by nomadic Arab tribes originally from the Sahara. Explore different villages, then finish your tour crossing the rocky Desert of Agafay. You will have great photo opportunities fbefore heading back to Marrakech around 5pm.
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Begin your small-group day trip with a pickup from your Marrakech accommodation. Hop inside your air-conditioned 4x4 or minivan and soak up the scenery as you travel into the Atlas Mountains. Learn about life in the mountain villages, and traverse the spectacular Tizi-n-Tichka pass, climbing to 7,415 feet on route. Behold the vast Anti-Atlas region beyond the pass, and follow ancient caravan routes that linked Marrakech to the Sahara Desert. As you travel, hear about the merchants who traded slaves and gold along the route, and pass through desert hills, fruit groves, and timeless villages. After around three hours, arrive at Ait Benhaddou, known for its well-preserved, UNESCO-listed kasbah. Head inside at your own expense to explore the adobe-built houses and streets, and learn how the kasbah featured in movies such as Jesus of Nazareth and the first Star Wars. Continue to Ouarzazate on the edges of the Sahara Desert. A bustling outpost with an impressive kasbah, the town is home to the Atlas Film Studios and starred in classics such as Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator, and the cult TV series, Game of Thrones. After a restaurant lunch at your own expense, overlooking the kasbah, visit the Atlas Film Studios or Cinema Museum both at your own expense to see some of the fading sets that appeared in Gladiator and other hits. Afterward, return to Marrakech and finish your trip with a drop-off at your accommodation.
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Discover the real Morocco on this tour through the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains. This 3-day tour from Marrakech takes you on an adventure through the beautiful scenery of southern Morocco. Enjoy the sunset behind the fascinating sand dunes, and see limestone cliffs, spectacular mountain valleys, and desert landscapes.
This journey passes through many interesting towns and villages, where you will get an insight into authentic Moroccan life. Visit the famous Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular location for many film settings.
Enjoy a camel ride through the fascinating dunes of Erg Chebbi and admire the palm groves surrounding the Todra Gorge. You also have the option to spend a night under the stars in a nomadic tent in the desert.
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Find some solitude in the desert as you escape Marrakech for this 4-day, 3-night trip to explore the starry skies and UNESCO World Heritage-listed attractions of the Sahara desert. This excursion is a great opportunity to explore the stark-but-beautiful landscapes of the Sahara while enjoying a little dose of desert culture and history along the way. Start your first day with a pickup from your accommodations in Marrakech, continuing into the High Atlas Mountains up toward the Tizi-n-Tichka pass, observing remote Berber villages and local farmers along the way. Stop by the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Benhaddou kashbah, check out a number of remote desert oases and then trek by camel into the desert for an unforgettable evening camping in the Sahara. Ride your camel on day two back to Zagora, continuing by car to visit the small village of Mezrouga. You'll eventually rejoin your camel caravan, trekking back into the desert towards the town of Erg Chebbi and your remote camp, where you'll spend a second night under the stars. On day three head to the ancient town of Rissani, before driving the "Road of 1,000 Kashbahs" to Tinghir and visiting the Todgha Gorge. You'll spend the evening of your third day at a hotel in Bourmaine du Dades. Finish your trip on day four with a trip through the scenic Valley of Roses, stopping at the Oasis of Skoura before heading back to Marrakech for drop-off at your accommodation.
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Meet your guide and set off from your hotel for an early start. Travel by 4x4 and head into the High Atlas Mountains where you will stop in different places to discover many authentic Berber villages, constructed with local earth and stones, and see the numerous surrounding valleys. You will pass the villages of Taferiate, Ait Barka, Zarkten and Tofliht until you reach the Tizi-n-Tichka pass. Cross the impressive High Atlas Mountains, then head down into the Ounila valley. Pass through the small kasbah of Pasha Glaoui on your way to Telouet. Located at the foot of the mountains, discover the special decorations and amazing architecture of this kasbah. After the visit, you will continue crossing through villages on the side of valley while heading for the famous Ait Benhaddou kasbah. Just before you arrive, stop at a smaller yet still traditional kasbah named Tamdakht before you reach the Ait Benhaddou. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, this has been the setting for many famous films such as, Lawrence of Arabia, The Sheltering Sky and Gladiator. Have lunch in a quiet restaurant, and then visit the kasbah with a local guide before heading back to Marrakech. Go via the Tichka pass and see other mountain villages such as Tiseldei, Tizirine and Agouim. You will arrive back in Marrakech at approximately 7:30pm, when your tour will end.
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