1 day: Marrakesh –Kasbah Ait Ben Hadou / Skoura / Roses Valley / Dades Gorge
Morning departure at 8 o’clock from your hotel or riad in Marrakesh to cross the High Atlas Mountains. After the Tichka pass, you leave the main road and take a side road to the Telouet Kasbah, which belonged to the Lords of the Atlas, the Glaoui family, and which now stands in ruins after the last Pasha fled the country following the departure of the French. From there you continue for lunch at Ait Ben Haddou along the newly asphalted connecting road. This is the most famous Kasbah in Morocco and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which we visit after lunch. The road continues through the Skoura Oasis, where numerous ancient kasbahs, some sadly in ruins, stand amongst the palm trees. From here, the route takes us through Kela’a M’gouna, the Valley of Roses, with a stop to see cosmetic articles locally-made from the valley’s abundant roses. These products are well-known throughout Morocco and are highly valued. An off-road route leads to the Dades Valley, where you will spend the night with a Berber family, or for the more intrepid, with Berber nomads in their caves. This is recommended more for the spring, summer and autumn, as the nights in winter can get very cold.
2 day: Dades – Draa Valley - Agdez
After breakfast, we travel south, across the Tizi-n-Tazzazert pass in the Saghro mountain range to the village of N’Qob for lunch. This road is spectacular and is mostly off–road. From N’Qob, we join the Dra’a Valley and travel as far as Agdez, the head of the Dra’a Valley, to spend the night in a Kasbah there. Here you can visit Kasbah Tamnougalte, built in the 16th century, which is the most famous Kasbah in the Dra’a Valley where you can visit the privately owned area too. It is typically built in mud and straw with interior court-yards.
3 day: Agdez – Zagora - M’hamid
After breakfast the route continues to M’hamid following the ancient caravan route between the mountains and the river. We stop in a riad in Zagora for lunch before continuing the journey. M’Hamid marks the end of the paved road and the beginning of the Sahara. Here a two-hour camel ride leads to the highest dune to enjoy an unforgettable sunset and to spend the beauty of the night in a nomad tent close to the dunes of Erg Lihoudi.
4 day: M’hamid – Erg Chigaga
The return to M´hamid for lunch is on camel back and, in the afternoon, is the departure for the Erg Chagaga dunes (300m) with 60km of off-road. This route passes different features of the desert; ‘erg’, ‘reg’, ‘hammada’, oases. These dunes are far away from civilization, in the desert proper and the silence and the expanse of the sand are overwhelming. Dinner and a night’s sleep are in a bivouac of nomad tents.
5 day: Erg Chigaga Chigaga – Fint oasis
After breakfast, the road takes us through another 90km of desert with varying scenery; Lake Iriqui, the mountains and fossils. Lunch will be in Foum Zguid, the first village after the desert, where it is also possible to freshen up with a shower. From here the drive back north is along paved roads via the village of Taznakht, famous for its Berber carpets and rugs. Before we reach Ouarzazate, we turn off the main road and head for the mountains to the hidden oasis of Fint, which was once the head of the caravan route, where the caravans converged before their goods, slaves, gold and salt were distributed across Morocco. Here the night is spent in a traditional auberge.
6 day: Fint oasis – High Atlas - Marrakesh
After breakfast, we drive back to Ouarzazate to Kasbah Taourirt, once owned by the Pashas of Marrakesh, the Galoui family. From here the road goes north again to Marrakesh, stopping for lunch in the mountains and reaching Marrakesh by the early evening