Exploring Morroco – Marrakech, Dades Valley, Erg Chebbi and Ait Ben Haddou

If you enjoy hiking at lower altitudes, surrounded by fantastic scenery, and riding camels along Erg Chebbi sand dunes, then this is a trip for you.

I have choosed Dades Valley, located between the peaks of the High Atlas and the Jbel Sarhro mountain range, because of its contrasts. Known as ‘The Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs’, it is the most prominent of the oasis valleys that dominate southern Morocco. It is, also, the heart of rose growing country. Damask roses were first planted by French settlers, and are harvested to produce an essential oil, used in “Eau de Rose”.
You’ll have the opportunity to experience the Bedouins life as long as we will traverse Erg Chebbi dunes from Yasmina to Merzouga.

KEY INFORMATION:

  • Group Size: 5-10 people
  • Specialty Category: Hiking&Trekking, Cultural Experiences
  • Duration: 12 days
  • Following expedition: 26 March-06 April, 2018
  • Tour Customizable: No
  • Meeting place: Henri Coanda International Airport – Bucharest or Menara International Airport – Marrakech

Prices for 2018 trips:  1050 euros / person

Price includes:

  • Airport transfers;
  • All land transfers from/to Marrakech;
  • 3 nights accommodation in a hotel/riad in Marrakech (breakfast included);
  • 5 nights accommodation in gites;
  • 2 nights accommodation in tents (in desert);
  • 1 night accommodation in a hotel/riad in Ait Ben Haddou;
  • services provided by Romanian mountain guide and local (Moroccan) mountain guide;
  • Mules & muleteers (during the hiking along Dades Valley);
  • A cook & cooking equipment (during the hiking along Dades Valley);
  • Camels hiring in desert;
  • Full board during the trekking and desert stages;

Price DOESN’T include:

  • Airfares;
  • Tips for local mountain guide, cook, drivers and muleteers (50 euros/person);
  • Entry fees at the touristic objectives (20-30 euros/person);
  • Dinners & Lunches in Marrakech, Ait Ben Haddou and during the transfers from/to Marrakech (10-20 euros/person/meal);
  • Mineral water and beverages;
  • Insurance;
  • Other expenses that are not included;

TOUR DESCRIPTION

marrakeckDay 1: Arrival to Marrakech.
Transfer to our riad which is located not far away of Medina, and its famous Jamaa el Fna square. For dinner, we will select a local restaurant where we may have the opportunity to experience for the first time the taste of Moroccan cuisine. Why not try a delicious tajine and round off your meal with mint tea or Arabic coffee?

tichkaDay 2: Scenic transfer to Dades Valley.
We leave our hotel after breakfast, beginning our scenic transfer by minibus to our trekking destination, the Dades Valley. Firstly, we will cross the spectacular Tizi n’Tichka Pass of the High Atlas Mountains. We will venture through many Berber villages, heading into the desert, where you can admire riverside oasis and barren hillsides clustered with Kasbahs. After lunch, we travel further into the Valley of the Roses, with stunning views of the Dades valley. Overnight accommodation at a gite in Ait Youl.

A gite consists of a village house with simple dormitory accommodation, each with space for approximately 6-8 people. Furnished in traditional Berber style; low couches (beds), tables, carpets and cushions. Showers are usually available, sometimes hot!

ait youlDay 3: Ait Youl – Ait M’Rao.
Today we will start our trek and straight away will enjoy spectacular views of this delightful valley as we walk towards the small village of Ait M’Rao. We will look out of improvised shelters made by Berber shepherds who tend their flocks in the pastures.
Overnight in Gite.

ait m'raoDay 4: Ait M’Rao – Alamdoune.
After breakfast we’ll leave our gite and will have the fun task of crossing the river. It will be a unique opportunity to refresh ourselves for the rest of the day. The landscape becomes filled with imposing high ridges and summits along the route and in the afternoon you will be surprised by the lush green vegetation that surrounds the village of Alamdoune.
Overnight in Gite.

amajgagoueDay 5: Alamdoune – Amajgague – Alamdoune.
Today we’ll start exploring the fantastic narrow gorges typical of this area. After passing through some picturesque Berber villages, we’ll enter into the world of the red rocks. The views are breathtakingly and with the mid-day heat, you can try cooling off in one of the refreshing small waterfalls dotted around the gorge. Overnight in the same gite in Alamdoune

bou thararDay 6: Alamdoune – Bou Tharar.
On our last trekking day, we’ll enjoy traversing another wonderful gorge. Further along, the valley flattens out and you will see settlements along the riverbanks where the Berbers are able to cultivate the land. The next challenge will be reaching the other side of the river! A successful crossing means we have reached the village of Bou Tharar. Overnight in gite.

dades gorgeDay 7: From Bou Tharar to Yasmina stopping at Dades Gorge, Todra Gorge and the Palmeraie du Tinghir. In the afternoon, we arrive in the desert with reddish sand dunes, where we join the camel caravan (~ 1 hour walk on the camels). We head towards a Berber camp with tents hidden among the sand dunes. In the evening and even at night, we can admire the sky with millions of stars. Accommodation is in Berber tents (please bring your sleeping bags; there will be no showers).

erg chebbiDay 8: Yasmina – Tissardmine Oasis (lunch) – Erg Chebbi Dunes (sleep in Berber tents into the desert)
In the morning, we explore the desert and a little bit of what this experience means. We walk ~ 5-6 hours by camel, including the time dedicated for a picnic lunch in a shady spot in Tissardmine Oasis. We may meet nomads, who live in the desert near oases and wells during winter and up into the mountains during summer. In the evening, we sleep in Berber tents based in Erg Chebbi dunes (the second highest chain of dunes in Morocco). We can make a short excursion through the dunes in the moonlight. Accommodation in Berber tents.

ait ben haddouDay 9: We’ll wake up early in the morning to get the chance of admiring a magnificent sunrise and we’ll ride the camels back to Merzouga. Transfer to Kasbah Ait ben Haddou in the Draa Valley. Some movies (Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘Gladiator’, ‘The Mummy’, ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’, ‘Kundun’, ‘Alexander’, ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, ‘Babel’, ‘Game of Thrones’, etc) have been filmed here, and the Ksar (fortified city) is on UNESCO World Heritage List. Overnight in Hotel.

tichka passDay 10: After a final breakfast at the hotel , we will meet up with our driver for the return journey to Marrakech. We will follow the same route traversing the Atlas Mountains (over the Tichka Pass). We will take a short break in Tadart , where you will have the chance to visit a kasbah. Later we will stop shortly for visiting a store belonging to an Argan Cooperative. Here, you might look after Argan Oil products, valued for their health and skin enhancing properties. In the evening, we will reach Marrakech, just in time for dinner. Accommodation for the next two nights is provided at the same riad/hotel in Marrakech.

jamaa el fnaDay 11: Today we’ll explore the ‘Red Town’ of Marrakech and we’ll visit the famous Jamaa el Fna square. At the Souk, a traditional market, can practice your negotiation skills with the local traders and grab yourself a bargain like typical Moroccan pointed slippers called ‘babouche’. We’ll admire the incredible architecture of Koutubya mosque and we’ll enjoy the shade of the trees and tranquility of the Majorelle garden. Check below Top 10 Attractions of Marrakech:

Day 12: After breakfast, you may have the opportunity to squeeze in another shopping trip before checking out of the hotel (that will depend of your flight schedule). Transfer by minibus to Menara International Airport for the flight back to your home country.

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