morocco: Atlas Mountains To The Sahara Desert
Morocco delivers excitement and surprises to everyone who visits, exceeding expectations from the moment of arrival. The rich culture, the warm residents, the welcoming faces of its citizens, the secretive smiles of the Berbers and those who dwell in the mountains, and the ever-present traditional hospitality of the tribes that live deep in the Sahara desert all promise an unforgettable journey with unique charm.
Every excursion to Morocco is a fascinating one, full of experiences and surprises, the rush of changing sites and perspectives inspiring countless travelers to document their experiences in travel logs and, of course, by hitting ‘record’ to share with loved ones back home.
On this journey, we’ll cross the Atlas ridge by jeep and venture to the Sahara desert, where we’ll will get in touch with ancient history via exciting off-road trails, crossing giant dunes that stretch into the distance. We will stay at the encampment of Lacsan, a member of a nomadic tribe and a dear friend of ours for many years, under the canopy of stars that spreads overhead every evening.
We will be swept up by breathtaking sites along the way, the intoxicating flavors of Morocco, a lot of Tajine (slow-cooked stews), couscous, lamb chops, and tanjia (lamb meat in cooked in a ceramic pitcher in the earth) at the most authentic places in Marrakesh!
Once we’re stuffed with delicacies from the real authentic Moroccan kitchen, we’ll be pampered at the hotel and enjoy some much-deserved R&R. We’ll complete our journey by jeep to the red city of Marrakesh, a one-time imperial city that incorporates all the magic of Morocco. You are warmly invited to join us on the adventure.
We have found accommodation that we believe is the most comfortable and authentic in each of our destinations. During our time in the desert we will be sleeping in Touareg tents. Depending on seasons and group sizes, we can’t always guarantee our exact hotel. However we’ll show you two of our favourites to give you an idea of where you’ll be staying:
All meals will be included in your trip and will vary depending on the section of the journey. You have the flexibility of being alone but our groups tend to eat together to enable you to enjoy each others company and to try a larger variety of food.
Breakfast at the hotels are often buffet service and at any smaller accommodation it will be a simple Moroccan breakfast, usually croissants and coffee. Moroccan orange juice is highly recommended.
At lunch-time we will prepare a picnic or we will eat with our hosts or at a local cafe. The Moroccan staple is cous cous served with meat or their beautiful tagines.
Evening meals will be at the hotel or a restaurant recommended by the locals.
Our teams are led by expert guides, all fluent in English with an in-depth knowledge of the country you are visiting. We have worked successfully in partnership with our guides for over 15 years. Depending on the group size, you will also have an English guide to accompany you.
Our jeeps will be waiting for us outside of the hotel, and we’re soon on our way south to the massive ridge of the Atlas Mountains. By curving roads around glorious sites, we will climb through via a town named Asni, and continue to ascend along the river Nfiss, taking in spectacular views of the landscape and distant villages. We will brave Tizi-n-Test, a winding road through a mountain pass at a height of 2100 meters. From there, we can see west clear to the highest point in the Atlas range, Toubkal. We will then descend to the vast valley beneath us, which stretches along the Asif Tifnout channel, and wind our way through the alleys of a village at the foot of the Atlas, on the desert side of the ridge, to the hotel that will host us. The hotel is owned and managed by a Danish couple who met and fell in love in Morocco, and they’ll share their fascinating story with us as we share dinner, take a refreshing dip in the pool, and fall finally turn in for a good night’s rest
We will wake up to a peaceful morning full of chirping birds in our magical oasis. We’ll then head east into the depths of the wilderness and the Sahara desert, saying farewell to paved roads and entering the sands as we journey to the giant salt lake Iriqui.
In the dunes of Chigaga, we will meet our host Salach and his crew, be honored with sweet tea and cold water, and from the heights of the tallest dune we watch the sun set into a blanket of stars from one edge of the endless sky to the other. We’ll return to our encampment for a special dinner in the heart of the desert and relax beside the bonfire.
Please note that we’ll stay in simple conditions in tents furnished with comfortable beds and white, clean linens.
After a night experiencing the sands of Chigaga, we will say goodbye to Salach and his crew with a delicious breakfast, then navigate our path through the dunes to Um El Rabia Oasis in the heart of the desert. We’ll then continue via a section of the Paris-Dakar Rally route and connect back to paved roads and the town Mhamid. Next, we’ll climb to the ridge of Jabel Salman, where we can take in the Draa Valley, known as the “Valley of a Million Dates.” We’ll descend into the valley via a winding path with never-ending views.
After lunch in Zagora, we will head north along the valley, and turn right onto road 108R and arrive in the magical town of Nkob. There, we’ll settle into our hotel, washing off the desert dust and wrapping ourselves in authentic vibes as we relax with a Moroccan dinner, sweet tea, and a good night’s sleep.
We’ll wake to a serene desert morning, and after breakfast we will head off-road to cross the Jabel Saharo mountain range. Unending vistas will escort us through the landscapes so vast and otherworldly they look more like the surface of Mars than any place familiar. We will cross lookouts, desert gorges, and green oases, and enjoy lunch in Dades Canyon. As we head out, rushing water will accompany our journey through the deep canyon on our way to Ouarzazate, known as the “door to the desert.” There we’ll find our special hotel for the night, Dar Daif.
We will explore Ouarzazate, also known as the “city of movies,” which we’ll understand as we cross between the studios where classics such as Lawrence of Arabia, Cleopatra, Gladiator and more were filmed. We’ll look out over what is considered the most beautiful kasbah (fortress) in Morocco, Aït Benhaddou. Then, we’ll return to our jeeps and start to climb our way to the high Atlas through Telouet village, see the Galawi Palace, and continue to the mountain pass Tizi n’Tichka to cross the mountain range. We will observe the process of making the famous Argan Oil, find fascinating fossils, and, of course, enjoy one more cup of sweet tea. In the evening, we will arrive at Marrakesh and our hotel, return the jeeps, and freshen up in our rooms for dinner and a night out in Marrakesh.
Book your adventure
All of these tours will be led our friendly, experienced guides. You will drive your own jeep through your chosen destination, allowing you to experience all of your adventure without getting lost.
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We’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions about our tours or dates please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.