Trade the bustling city of Marrakech for the solitude of the desert during this 3-day, 2-night excursion to Mezrouga and Erg Chebbi, Over the course of your journey you’ll get an up-close-personal experience in the desert, including a chance to visit a desert oasis, explore a UNESCO World Heritage site and spend the night under the stars at a camp in the Sahara Desert.
Start the first day with a pickup from your Marrakech accommodation, continuing into the Atlas Mountains as you pass Berber villages and cross the Tizi-n-Tichka pass. You’ll also visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Aït Benhaddou kashbah, a historic meeting place and trading site, and check out the desert oasis at Skoura before spending the night in Bourmaine du Dadès.
On day two travel the “Road of 1,000 Kashbahs” to the Todra Gorge, stopping at the holy city of Rissani in the afternoon. Then climb aboard a camel for an unforgettable ride in the late afternoon sun toward Erg Chebbi and your evening camping accommodations in the desert. Spend the evening enjoying dinner and serenades of traditional music from local nomads under the stars. On day three you’ll ride your camel back to Mezrouga, heading back through the High Atlas Mountains to your Marrakech accommodations to finish the trip.
For a full run-down of the trip itinerary as well as more details about overnight accommodation choices, please read the details below.
Day 1: Marrakech – Ouarzazate – Boumalne du Dadès
Following a morning pickup from your accommodation in Marrakech, head deep into the High Atlas Mountains in your air-conditioned minivan to begin your tour. Travel along the Tizi-n-Tichka pass and past rural Berber villages, where local shepherds herd their flocks the way they have for thousands of years.
First, visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Aït Benhaddou kasbah, where locals and travelers alike have met to socialize and trade down the centuries. Soak up the atmosphere at your leisure, then head onward with your guide to Ouarzazate for lunch in a local cafe (own expense). Perhaps visit Taourirte Kasbah — a popular meeting place for people from the Atlas, Drâa and Dadès Valleys.
In the afternoon, head onward with your guide to the oasis at Skoura. Pause to admire the lush, green palm trees rising like a mirage in the dry desert, then continue on along the Dadès River through deep gorges, where the ruins of ancient kasbahs lie among traditional Berber villages.
Arrive in Boumalne du Dadès in the evening, where your dinner and accommodation await.
Overnight: Hôtel du Vieux Château du Dadès in Boumalne du Dadès.
Meals included: Dinner
Day 2: Boumalne du Dadès – Merzouga – Erg Chebbi
After breakfast at your hotel, hop back aboard your minivan and travel out along the famous ‘Road of 1000 Kasbahs’ to nearby Tinghir. Stroll through the oasis to the mighty Todra Gorge, where a deep crevasse in the orange limestone provides spectacular views, then sit down to lunch at your leisure (own expense) in one of the local cafes.
In the afternoon, visit the holy town of Rissani — birthplace of Morocco’s ruling royal family and the age-old capital of the Tafilalt region. Continue on to Merzouga, a small village sitting on the borders of the Sahara Desert. Meet your camel caravan and, with the sun slowly moving across the afternoon sky, set off toward Erg Chebbi and your camp in the heart of the desert.
With traditional music from local nomads to entertain you, enjoy dinner and an evening under the stars before retiring to bed.
Overnight: campsite in the Sahara Desert.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3: Erg Chebbi – Ouarzazate – Marrakech
Following an early-morning stroll before breakfast to enjoy sunrise among the sand dunes (optional), ride your camel back to Merzouga and meet your driver for the start of your return journey to Marrakech.
Stop for lunch in Ouarzazate (own expense), then head onward through the spectacular scenery of the High Atlas Mountains. Arrive back at your Marrakech accommodation in the mid-evening to conclude your tour.
Meals included: Breakfast
Please note: There are two different accommodation options for this tour:
Standard accommodation: You will stay a standard en-suite room at Hotel du Vieux Chateau du Dades (or similar) with air-condition not being guaranteed; the desert camp will be in a shared tent with camp beds and basic washing/toilet facilities (no shower). Private accommodation is not guaranteed, it might be double, 3-bed or 4-bed room and tent.
Deluxe accommodation: You will stay in an en-suite room Western standard bathrooms and air-condition at Auberge Ait Oudinar (or similar). In the desert, a private tent with a bed is guaranteed and there are Western-standard bathroom facilities (hot shower).
After the ride back to Merzouga on day 3 you will have the opportunity to take a shower and freshen up at a private room in the hotel.