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6-Day Desert Tour from Marrakech to Merzouga: An Overview
Moroccan Desert Tours is your trusted travel operator in Morocco, offering a carefully crafted 6-day desert tour itinerary from Marrakech to Merzouga. Our itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to your preferences. If you’re looking to kickstart your 6-day adventure in Fes, we have a special itinerary for you as well. Your journey begins with a warm welcome at the airport, where we’ll transfer you to your accommodation.
Depending on your arrival time, we can explore Marrakech on the first day if you arrive early. The second day is dedicated to discovering the charms of Marrakech with a local guide. On the third day, we’ll venture to Boumalne Dades, passing through Aitbenhaddou and Ouarzazate. Day four takes us to the enchanting Merzouga desert, where you’ll spend the night in a Berber tent beneath the starlit skies. Day five is all about exploring the desert and its surroundings. Finally, on the penultimate day, we’ll return to the vibrant red city of Marrakech.
Discover the Unforgettable Highlights of Our 6-Day Desert Tour from Marrakech to Merzouga
- Prepare to be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring Atlas Mountains’ scenery.
- Step back in time with a visit to the Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Get an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes at the renowned Ouarzazate Film Studio and explore the historic Taourirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate.
- Embark on a memorable stroll through the stunning landscapes of the Dades and Todra Gorges.
- Soar to new heights and soak in the panoramic vistas of the Erg Chebbi sand dunes.
- Experience the enchantment of a Sahara camel ride in Merzouga.
- Witness the breathtaking sunset over the serene sand dunes.
- Unleash your adventurous spirit with sandboarding at the Merzouga Desert Camp, where you’ll spend a captivating night.
- Savor a delectable dinner and partake in a lively campfire celebration accompanied by Berber Drums.
- Don’t miss the chance to visit the playful Barbary Apes at the Azrou Cedar Forest.
6-Day Desert Tour Itinerary from Marrakech
Day 1: Airport Pickup and Hotel Transfer
On the first day of our 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga, we’ll be there to greet you at the airport and provide a convenient transfer to your hotel. If you arrive early, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some spectacular locations, including the Jamaa el-Fna plaza. We can take you there, and you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere as it comes alive in the evening. Your overnight stay will be at your chosen accommodation.
Day 2: Exploring Marrakech’s Top Attractions
Marrakech, often referred to as the City of Lights or the City That Never Sleeps in Morocco, stands as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. This vibrant “Red City” offers a plethora of captivating sights and places to explore, sure to leave visitors in awe. Recognizing the abundance of attractions, we’ve dedicated an entire day, though it may still feel short, to explore the city’s key points of interest. Given Marrakech’s status as Morocco’s fourth-largest city, having a local guide is essential to navigate its treasures. Moroccan Desert Tours boasts the finest local guides in Marrakech, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of the city’s major landmarks.
During the second day of our 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga itinerary, you’ll embark on a guided tour of Marrakech. Our typical itinerary commences with a visit to the Majorelle Garden, one of Morocco’s most exquisite and historically significant gardens. Its origins trace back to 1923 when a French orientalist artist settled in Morocco and established his workshop, leaving a distinct French influence on this site. Next on our list is the Menara Garden, another stunning oasis situated to the west of Marrakech, offering breathtaking panoramic views of both the city and the nearby High Atlas Mountains, delighting both residents and visitors.
In no time, we’ll reach the Bahia Palace, a notable monument showcasing exquisite Moroccan architecture. The tour continues with stops at various other sites of interest. As the day draws to a close, you’ll experience the enchanting Jamaa el Fna plaza, which comes alive in the evening with its vibrant atmosphere.
Day 3: Marrakech to Boumalne – Journey Through the High Atlas
On the third day of our 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga itinerary, we set forth on an exciting road trip from Marrakech to Boumalne Dades. The adventure commences with our departure through the magnificent High Atlas Mountains, along the renowned Tizi Ntichka Pass. This winding route stretches for approximately 200 kilometers, weaving through the heart of the High Atlas range.
This mountainous region is home to several Berber tribes whose livelihood depends on various sources, including tourism, the production of Argan oil, and livestock husbandry. As the High Atlas area is famous for its Argan oil production, we’ll take you to local cooperatives, offering insights into the traditional methods of crafting cosmetic products from this precious resource. The journey through the High Atlas Mountains and Tizi Ntichka Pass unveils breathtaking landscapes and cultural richness that define this region.
A remarkable stop along the way is Ait Benhaddou, an ancient fortified village poised on the fringes of the High Atlas Mountains. To reach the Kasbah, you’ll cross the “Ouad El Maleh” river, and upon arrival, the massive walls and towering structures of this settlement vividly showcase the exquisite Moroccan clay architecture.
Notably, Ait Benhaddou was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, recognizing its historical and architectural significance. Continuing our voyage, we arrive in Ouarzazate, a captivating city often dubbed Morocco’s “Ouallywood.” This vibrant urban center in the Southeast boasts an international airport and the world’s largest solar energy facility. Ouarzazate has earned a reputation as an ideal setting for the filming of movies and television series. It is home to two of Morocco’s most prominent film studios and serves as a hub for renting filming equipment.
As the day progresses, we make our way to Boumalne Dades, where we’ll spend the night, surrounded by the striking landscapes of this enchanting region.
Day 4: Boumalne Dades to Merzouga Desert – Unveiling Sahara’s Beauty
Embark on the fourth day of our 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga itinerary, as we set out from Boumalne Dades to the captivating Merzouga Desert. After a delightful breakfast, our adventure commences with a brief drive to the renowned Todra Gorges, also known as the Toudgha Canyons. Here, we pause to explore these impressive canyons, renowned for their 300-meter-high cliffs and a meandering river that graces the region, offering some of Morocco’s most breathtaking vistas.
Our journey continues as we make our way to the fabled Sahara Desert, passing through charming Berber villages and the towns of Tinegher and Tinjedad along the route. Ultimately, we reach the day’s destination, the resplendent golden dunes of the desert. Among the highlights of any Moroccan excursion, the Sahara beckons with its mesmerizing allure. Camels and skilled camel drivers await our arrival, ready to make your desert experience unforgettable. You’ll embark on a camel ride, traversing the dunes and pausing to capture the stunning landscapes and your unique camel adventure.
Before long, we arrive at our desert camp, typically in the early evening. This provides the perfect opportunity for most travelers to ascend the dunes, capturing the magical sunset over the desert. You can explore the camp and even partake in sandboarding, adding excitement to your desert experience. As the night descends, you’ll savor a traditional Moroccan feast. Meanwhile, our camp’s skilled staff will regale you with lively drumming performances and entertainment. Following dinner, you’ll spend the night under the starlit desert sky, surrounded by the enchanting sounds of Berber music by the bonfire.
Day 5: Merzouga Desert Excursion – A Day of Desert Exploration
The fifth day of our 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga offers a unique desert adventure. You’ll have the entire day dedicated to exploring the mesmerizing desert, with the option to start your day early and witness the enchanting desert sunrise. Following a hearty breakfast in your desert tent, you can embark on your desert exploration, either by camel or 4WD vehicle. While both options have their charm, many travelers opt for the 4WD vehicle to cover more ground and discover additional locations. However, if you’re inspired by the spirit of Lawrence of Arabia and wish to traverse the desert on camelback, we can certainly accommodate your preference.
First on the itinerary is a visit to the Berber Nomads, who continue to live in traditional tents. These small, close-knit groups, typically comprising 7 to 10 individuals, rely on the natural resources of the desert. Their primary livelihood revolves around the trade of goats and sheep in nearby towns like Erfoud and Rissani. The warmth and hospitality with which these people live their lives is one of their most endearing characteristics.
After a tranquil visit, we’ll proceed to one of Merzouga’s renowned panoramic sites, known as “Galb El Nas,” or “People’s Heart” in English, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking desert views. Our journey then takes us to a well-known kohl mine in the vicinity, originally owned and operated by the French.
To culminate the day, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of the Gnawa or Gnaoua people, who are famous for their Gnaoua house in the Khamlia village. Here, you’ll gain insights into their way of life and have the privilege of enjoying their distinctive music. Furthermore, the day’s itinerary encompasses additional remarkable sights, including visits to the oases in Hassi Labied, adding depth and richness to your desert exploration.
Day 6: Merzouga to Marrakech – Return Journey and Farewell
On the final day of your 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga, you’ll start the day with a delicious breakfast in our luxurious desert tent. The day’s agenda begins with a camel ride back to Merzouga as we bid the desert farewell. Since we have a return journey to Marrakech ahead of us, we’ll set out early at 8:00 a.m.
Our return route will take us through Alnif, with a lunch stop scheduled in Nkob. From there, we’ll continue our journey directly to Marrakech, traversing the picturesque Ait-Saouen pass.
Finally, we’ll ensure your safe return to Marrakech, marking the conclusion of your remarkable 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga.
- Convenient pick-up and drop-off service at your accommodation
- Comfortable transportation in a private, air-conditioned car
- Knowledgeable driver/guide fluent in English
- Fuel for our vehicles
- One-night accommodation at a hotel or riad in a private room (Choose your preferred room type)
- Memorable camel trekking experience (One camel per person)
- Enchanting camel ride at sunset
- Enjoy two hearty meals with both breakfast and dinner included during your stay at the Desert Camp (Select your preferred tent type)
- Hassle-free transfer to and from the camp in a 4×4 vehicle (An alternative to camels)
- Monument entrance fees
- Lunches during the tour
- Tips and gratuities
Key Highlights of the 6 Days Desert Tour from Marrakech to Merzouga
Our exciting 6-day desert tour itinerary promises a plethora of breathtaking sights and experiences to delight in during your journey with us.
Exploring Marrakech on Your 6-Day Desert Tour from Marrakech to Merzouga
The journey of our 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga begins in the vibrant city of Marrakech. Known as Morocco’s City of Light, Marrakech never sleeps, making it one of the country’s most popular destinations. This city has a rich history rooted in its Berber origins, as the original inhabitants of Morocco and North Africa were Berber farmers who named it “Amur Nokoch” or “Land of God.” In fact, the name Morocco is derived from Marrakech, and some nations, like Iran, still refer to Morocco as Marrakech.
Marrakech was discovered by the Berber Almoravids dynasty in 1062 through Abu Bakr ibn Umar, the king’s cousin at the time. As it grew into the capital of Morocco, Marrakech was able to build itself into the vibrant city it is today. As the fourth-largest city in the country, it offers a plethora of breathtaking locations for visitors to explore.
One of the city’s most famous attractions is the iconic Jamaa el Fna Square. This bustling square, one of the largest in Morocco, draws in large crowds with its lively displays and performances. When night falls, the square transforms into something magical, with its gleaming lights, bustling souk streets, and various individuals sharing stories and showcasing their talents.
Adjacent to the square stands the impressive Koutoubia mosque’s towering minaret, providing insights into the city’s history. Marrakech is also home to exquisite gardens, frequently visited by tourists, and offers many other fascinating sites, including the Mellah quarters and the Saadian tombs. It’s a city that seamlessly blends history, culture, and modern life, making it an enchanting place to begin your desert excursion.
Exploring Tizi Ntichka and the Atlas Mountains on Your 6-Day Desert Tour from Marrakech to Merzouga
One of the picturesque routes featured in the 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga itinerary leads you through the captivating Atlas Mountains. These mountain ranges are celebrated as Africa’s longest, stretching across 2,500 kilometers and encompassing three countries: Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. While some refer to them as mountain chains, they are not continuous strings of mountains, as they are separated by vast plateaus.
The Atlas Mountains are divided into three distinct sections: the High, Middle, and Anti Atlas Mountains. The Middle and Anti Atlas Mountains are exclusively situated in Morocco, while the High Atlas Mountains extend into Algeria and Tunisia. The High Atlas Mountains, the longest of the three sections, are home to Toubkal, the highest peak in the entire range, towering at 4,167 meters (13,671 ft). This majestic range serves as our first stop on this excursion.
Building a road through the mountains to reach the desert was a formidable challenge, given the rugged terrain that covers most of this region. Morocco and France, however, have jointly constructed one of the world’s most unique and extensive winding roads, aptly named Tizi Ntichka, meaning “danger of being lost.” The pass reaches its highest point at about 2260 feet, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the entire winding pass.
Although the Anti Atlas Mountains are not a regular inclusion in this tour, you will have the opportunity to experience a small part of it during your journey. As you continue on your way to Fes, you’ll traverse the Middle Atlas Mountains. Here, you’ll find the charming and relatively chilly city of Ifrane, known for having one of Morocco’s most pleasant climates.
The Atlas Mountains, in general, are home to numerous delightful Berber communities and kasbahs that exude enchanting charm and provide captivating glimpses into Morocco’s rich cultural heritage.
Discovering Merzouga: Morocco’s Desert Gem on Your Excursion:
The Sahara desert of Merzouga stands out as a remarkable destination in Morocco, gaining immense popularity in recent years. Situated in the far southeast of Morocco, close to the Algerian border, Merzouga, also known as Erg Chebbi, is the heart of this desert region. Erg Chebbi encompasses several small settlements and a central town. The name Merzouga is derived from the Merzoug family, who have a long history in this desert region. Erg Chebbi, on the other hand, is the name that refers to the entire desert area, stretching over approximately 30 kilometers. This desert region is surrounded by other captivating deserts, including the distant Ramlia desert, offering breathtaking mountain views.
Merzouga Desert is often likened to Morocco’s very own Disney Land, offering a plethora of exhilarating activities. At the top of the list is the unique experience of riding camels across the golden dunes. Few things can rival the wonder of traversing the desert landscape atop a camel, as you journey to your camp while witnessing the enchanting transformations of the desert’s colors during the day. The exquisite hues of both sunrise and sunset further enhance the desert’s allure. As an alternative, you have the option to camp in traditional Berber tents, spending the night beneath a sky adorned with stars.
Another highlight of your desert trip itinerary is the exploration journey, which unveils a variety of captivating sights. Your journey commences with a visit to the Berbers, who are considered the original inhabitants of Morocco. Residing in tents and leading a secluded lifestyle, they have played a vital role in preserving some of the world’s earliest languages. Next, your adventure takes you to the Gnaoua people in the Khmlia hamlet. Originating from Mali and Gabon, these individuals have made the Merzouga desert their home, learning the Berber language and embracing it as their primary means of communication.
In addition to these enriching experiences, Merzouga offers a range of activities for the adventurous at heart, including quad and buggy trips. This fascinating desert destination promises an array of thrilling adventures for all who visit.
Erfoud and Rissani: The Vital Desert Cities on Your Excursion
Erfoud and Rissani, unquestionably, stand out as the two most significant desert cities in Morocco’s southeastern region. Let’s delve into these unique destinations on your 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga itinerary.
First, we arrive in Rissani, the capital of the Tafilalt region. This city bears witness to a rich history and a pivotal role in the emergence of the Alawite dynasty. Once known as Sijilmasa, Rissani holds a crucial place in the kingdom’s historical tapestry. Notably, it served as a vital camel caravan trade post and a resting point for those embarking on the arduous journey to Europe for trade. Today, Rissani boasts one of the desert’s most extensive traditional souks, catering to a myriad of needs for its residents.
Every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, people from neighboring villages and towns convene here to engage in timeless trading practices, with donkeys serving as their primary mode of transportation. As such, the city boasts a dedicated donkey park where you can observe around 60 of these diligent animals during souk days. Rissani is renowned for a variety of treasures, among them the Mdfouna, a culinary delight with local significance.
Our journey then leads us to Erfoud, strategically nestled between the Merzouga desert and the city of Errachidia. This city is celebrated as a global hub for the creation of fossils and dates, making it a remarkable destination for enthusiasts of these unique products. Situated near the Ziz Valley, which stands as Morocco’s largest source of dates, Erfoud reaps the benefits. Each year, Erfoud hosts a vibrant date festival, showcasing an array of date varieties that are renowned both within and outside the nation’s borders. Additionally, Erfoud is home to a multitude of small workshops dedicated to crafting fossils, with the resulting creations finding their way to international markets.
As you embark on our 6-day desert tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit these two desert towns and connect with their hospitable inhabitants, primarily Berbers. They’ll share with you the essence of their heritage and offer unique insights into the history and traditions of these captivating locales.
Discovering the Ait Benhaddou Kasbah: A Highlight of Your 6-Day Desert Tour
Morocco boasts an array of captivating fortifications across the world, with Ait Benhaddou standing as one of the most renowned. This kasbah serves as a key highlight on your 6-day Marrakech to Merzouga desert trip itinerary, offering a journey into the heart of the High Atlas mountains.
Ait Benhaddou owes its inception to the visionary Thami el Glaoui and his illustrious family, who established it as a sanctuary for the legendary camel caravans that once found respite within its walls. Thami el Glaoui’s extensive land holdings and kasbahs allowed him to levy taxes on the caravans, amassing considerable wealth and earning him a place among the country’s most affluent individuals.
The Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou bears the name of one of the era’s most esteemed tribe members, Benhaddou. Erected with imposing walls and towering turrets, it was designed as a defensive fortress to safeguard the community that regarded this settlement as their safe haven. The result is a masterpiece acclaimed as one of the finest examples of Berber Moroccan clay construction.
In bygone eras, numerous families called this kasbah home, but the passage of time saw them gradually forsake it. Presently, only around 40 families reside in the vicinity, with most choosing to make their homes on the opposite side of the “Maleh river.”
The year 1987 marked a momentous occasion, as Ait Benhaddou received UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site. Subsequently, the kasbah underwent multiple restoration efforts aimed at preserving its strength and captivating beauty. Notably, Ait Benhaddou has also evolved into a preferred location for filming movies and television programs, having served as the backdrop for several renowned productions.
As part of your 6-day Marrakech to Merzouga desert travel plan, we invite you to explore and immerse yourself in the rich history and unique charm of Ait Benhaddou.
Exploring Ouarzazate: A Pivotal Stop on Your 6-Day Desert Tour
As part of your 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga itinerary, you’ll journey to one of Morocco’s most significant cities in the southeast – Ouarzazate. Situated approximately 30 kilometers from the renowned Ait Benhaddou fortress, this city stands out for various reasons.
Ouarzazate boasts a well-equipped international airport in the southeast region, supplementing the national flight hub located in Errachidia. The city’s name itself is a fusion of two words, “Ouar” and “Zazate,” where “Ouar” signifies “without” and “Zazate” means “noise.” This nomenclature reflects Ouarzazate’s character as a tranquil and noise-free haven.
Many Moroccans fondly refer to Ouarzazate as “Morocco’s Ouallywood” due to its pivotal role in the film industry. The city houses two prominent studios, Cla and Oscar Studios, where a significant portion of cinematic materials is both rented and filmed. Notably, renowned TV series such as Prison Break and Game of Thrones have chosen Ouarzazate as a backdrop for their productions. For instance, the entire fifth season of Prison Break was shot in a modest secondary school in Ouarzazate, portraying the city as Yemen.
Ouarzazate also stands as the home of one of the world’s largest solar power plants, boasting an impressive capacity of 510 MW. In addition, visitors can explore the renowned Kasbah of Taourirt, an authentic labyrinth comprising over 300 chambers enclosed by imposing walls.
Don’t miss the chance to discover Ouarzazate’s unique blend of tranquility and Hollywood allure on your memorable 6-day desert tour.
Exploring Stunning Valleys: A Highlight of Your 6-Day Desert Tour
The 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga itinerary unveils some of Morocco’s most captivating valleys that hold a rich history and natural beauty. Prepare to be enchanted by the following valleys:
- Ounila Valley: As the first valley stop on the journey from Marrakech, Ounila Valley serves as a mesmerizing gateway. Often dubbed the “secret destination” due to its less frequented status, it links the Tizi Ntichka pass to the Ait Benhaddou Kasbah settlement. Historically, Thami EL Glaoui asserted dominance over this valley, collecting fees from camel caravans that relied on its unique route.
- Rose Valley: Located near Klaat Mgouna, the “rose capital” of Morocco, Rose Valley is a place of natural wonder. Each year, the city hosts a vibrant festival to celebrate flowers, attracting thousands of enthusiasts from both within the nation and abroad. With an annual rose production ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 tons, this valley is the heart of Morocco’s cosmetics industry, as its flowers are used in beauty products and exported worldwide.
- Dades Valley: A pit stop in the Dades Valley during the journey to Boumalne Dades adds a fascinating layer to your trip. Legend has it that this valley was once controlled by a Berber tribe who depended on it for sustenance. A deal was struck with a man who had everything except water – he was granted land in the valley in exchange for various crops and farming essentials. This historical trade led to the valley’s rapid development.
- Erfoud: Known for having the most bountiful source of date palms, Erfoud offers captivating valley vistas. This region showcases the serene beauty of Morocco’s landscapes and stands as a remarkable testament to nature’s bounty.
Exploring these enchanting valleys is an integral part of your 6-day desert tour itinerary, offering you a glimpse into the rich heritage and breathtaking scenery of Morocco’s southeastern regions.