Marrakech to Merzouga Desert Tour 3 Days: Overview
This is not only our favourite tour, but our most popular. There is something for everyone in this tour – architectural, historical and geological treasures, and of course, the unrelenting desert. The panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains are breathtaking. Travellers delight in walking through Aït Ben Haddou and the Kasbahs on the road of 1000 Kasbahs. You will enter another world that can only be experienced on foot. You will admire the rock formations at Dades Gorge and Todra Gorge, as well as the rich fossil treasures at Erfoud. The miles of blooming roses in the Valley of the Roses will not only enchant but inspire you. Once you enter Merzouga and camel trek into the desert, you will enter the land of a harsh mistress, who is able to captivate you with her rolling, golden sand dunes.
Day 1: Marrakesh to Dades Gorge (325km)
08:00am pickup from hotel/riad or any location in Marrakesh. We will Drive through the High Atlas Mountains and pass by Berber villages along the way, with the opportunity to stop for breakfast at a coffee shop with beautiful panoramic views of the mountains.
Lunch at a traditional restaurant in Aït Ben Haddou (Berber: ⴰⵢⵜ ⵃⴰⴷⴷⵓ), a fortified village and a famous UNESCO world heritage site which is locally believed to have been established in 757 AD, however, the adobe buildings date back to the 17th century. You are free to marvel at the stunning architecture and explore the city by yourself or with a local guide. Many films have used this backdrop for historical scenes and it is considered to be the film capital of Morocco. Some examples of films made in Aït Ben Haddou are: Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and Jesus of Nazareth.
Drive to Ouarzazate with the opportunity to visit film studios. We will pass through the perfumed Kelaat M’gouna, the Valley of the Roses (which has an annual festival in May with Berber performers, food and music). You have the opportunity to explore the rose shops and visit a rose distillery factory. You will enjoy the rich and vibrant rose fields and rose beauty products, such as perfumes, soaps and rosewater.
Drive to Dades Valley, where you will appreciate the rock formations at Dades Gorge, Kasbahs and the scenery along the Dades river. Drop off to a hotel with a stunning view of the Monkey’s Feet rock formation.
Day 2: Dades Gorge to Merzouga (300km)
08:00 pickup from your hotel. Drive along the picturesque road of 1000 Kasbahs. Kasbah means fortress and these strategic ancient fortresses were built by an oasis of water and close to food sources. The Kasbahs were also important for trade within their walls and traders could stop there and receive respite from the harsh Saharan climate.
Visit Todra Gorge to view the orange limestone and the 300m deep fault that splits the rock. At certain places you can view the ravine with it’s river flowing through the split. You will view green palm groves, rock climbers and trekking enthusiasts that are motivated to squeeze through the narrow openings, and you will have lunch here.
Drive to Erfoud and witness the area’s rich fossil deposits on display in a museum and watch craftsmen at work. Archaeology lovers will be thrilled to walk around Erfoud and view Morocco’s underwater past from the Palaeozoic era (approximately 540 million to 240 million years ago). Erfoud is also known for it’s date palms and there is an annual festival in October, with traditional music and songs, prayers, processions and camel races.
Reach Merzouga, where you will be greeted by camel herders and embark on a camel ride into the desert for 1 hour. As your camel strolls into the desert and you relax upon them, you will experience an inspired sunset. View the highest sand dunes at Erg Chebbi. Close to the Algerian border, Erg Chebbi will charm you with it’s rolling, golden sand dunes. You can choose to walk or trek across the dunes. If you are feeling more adventurous, we can arrange an electrifying experience, such as quad biking. For sporty people, sandboarding is a fun choice and it’s slower than snowboarding, so easy to do at your own pace.
Embrace traditional Moroccan music and food, including the famous Moroccan mint tea, also known as Moroccan whiskey, and sleep in your own private tent. You will be invited to sit around a campfire and listen to traditional drumming and dancing and meet travellers from all around the world. You will feel free to savour the moment and walk on the golden sand underneath the starry night. This is a chance for you to briefly experience the life of a desert nomad and converse with Berber people.
Day 3: Merzouga to Marrakesh (560km)
Early morning breakfast and experience a sahara sunrise over the dunes of Erg Chebbi. Camel ride out of the desert where your driver will be waiting for you. Drive through villages and Draa Valley and visit Taourirt Kasbah with time for lunch along the way. Drive through the High Atlas Mountains and back to Marrakesh. We say farewell and drop you off at your accommodation.