Marrakech, Grand Tour of the Desert, Hiking & the Coast – 8 Days
Marrakech, Grand Tour of the Desert, Hiking & the Coast – 8 Days
Discover the diverse beauty of Morocco on this 8-day itinerary. Beginning and ending in the vibrant imperial city of Marrakech, you will spend the night in a Bedouin-style tent under the stars, walk through the narrow alleys of medieval castles, hike through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, and stroll The charming coastal city of Essaouira.
Stroll through Marrakech’s old medina and labyrinthine souks
Explore desert dunes, oases, hidden valleys and ancient castles
Listen to Berber music by a campfire under the stars in the Sahara desert
Hike between small mountain villages at the foot of the Atlas Mountains
Climb the city walls by the sea and enjoy fresh seafood in coastal Essaouira
|Day 1 Arrival; Marrakech: Explore the Red City of Marrakech||Marrakech|
|Day 2 Cross the High Atlas Mountains to Ouarzazate and Boumalne Dades||Boumalne Dades
|Day 3 Desert Town and Camping in Erg Chebbi,||Erg Chebbi|
|Day 4 Date Palms, Alnif and Aït Benhaddou Kasbah||Ait Benhaddou|
Day 5 Return to Marrakech
|Day 6 Trekking through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains||Marrakech|
|Day 7 Essaouira: seaside ramparts, kitesurfing and fresh seafood Essaouira||Essaouira|
|Day 8 Marrakech and Departure||Marrakech|
Day 1 Arrival; Marrakech: Explore the Red City of Marrakech
Welcome to Marrakech! Known as the “Red City” for its 1,000-year-old red sandstone walls and buildings, Marrakech is a major economic center and home to the thriving Medina (Old Town). Orient yourself around the busiest square in Africa, Jemaa el-Fna, and start your day exploring the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque, and relax in a garden surrounded by fountains and palm trees. From there, find the Ben Youssef Madrasa, see the 16th-century architecture, and marvel at the exquisite details: arabesques, Islamic calligraphy and colorful zellij (intricate tiles).
As you wander the alleys of Marrakech, keep an eye out for fondouks – medieval inns along ancient trade routes that provide shelter and supplies for traders and their animals. Today, some have been converted into residences, and the others are in a large shopping areas and workshops that you can explore the great souks of marrakech. You may wish to visit some locations south of Jemaa el-Fna. Some options to consider are the 500-year-old Saadian Mausoleum, the expansive courtyards and sunken gardens of the 17th-century Bahia Palace, or the intricate millwork and painted ceilings of the 19th-century Bahia Palace.
Day 2 Cross the High Atlas Mountains to Ouarzazate and Boumalne Dades
Leaving the busy city, head east to the desert and up the High Atlas Mountains. See if you can see Mount Toubkal, the highest peak at 13,671 feet (4,167 meters). Along the way, you will pass many Berber villages with traditional mud-brick buildings. Enjoy lunch at Taddert and visit a local argan oil cooperative to learn how local women extract the precious oil from argan to make oil for the health, food and cosmetic industries. Follow the winding road to the Tizi n’Tichka pass, stopping for panoramic views.
Continue east to the center of the desert and the filming location of Ouarzazate. Take a movie studio tour and discover that your favorite movies were shot in nearby desert areas. Movie lovers may enjoy visiting the Musée du Cinema. Drive along the Valley of the Thousand Castles towards Boumalne Dades, passing many small towns and you will see traditional farming methods in use. As you pass through the fragrant “Valley of Roses” Kela’a M’gouna, keep an eye out for the nomads tending their animals. You will eventually arrive at Boumalne dades, a major town connected to the River Dades.
Day 3 Desert Town and Camping in Erg Chebbi,
Today, you will continue eastwards to your final destination: the sand sea of Erg Chebbi outside Merzouga. Along the way, stop at Tinghir to admire the river oasis that stretches on either side of the town. The surrounding desert landscape features impressive hills, mesas and plateaus. Nearby, you will have the opportunity to explore the Todra Gorge, a 984-foot (300 m) deep canyon cut by the Todra River. Continue to the desert town of Erfoud. Famous for its figs and fossils, visit a craft workshop to learn how the fossil-rich rocks are ingeniously transformed into practical and decorative objects.
When you’re near the Saharan town of Merzouga, stop at the market town of Rissani and be sure to visit the livestock auction and the “donkey car park”. Leaving Risani, you will begin to see the beginnings of the huge dunes of Erg Chebbi, looming over the horizon. Once in Merzouga, change gears to your personal camel and start traversing the dunes and Bedouin-style camp. Hike to the top of the nearby dunes to watch the sunset, then enjoy a warm meal by the fire and listen to traditional music.
Day 4 Date Palms, Alnif and Aït Benhaddou Kasbah
Wake up early to witness the Saharan sunrise, then explore more of the desert: rent a sandboard, take an Erg Shibi tour (around the dunes) or a quad ATV tour. Head south to Khemliya to discover this traditional Saharan village. You will have a second chance to stop in Rissani to visit Maison Tuareg, a warehouse selling traditional rugs, jewellery and leather goods. From there, walk through the umbrella-like trees of the Acacia Forest, and then arrive at Al Nif for lunch. Continue through the Draa Valley with lush date palms and a chance to take a box of dates for a drive.
Continue west to the medieval Aït Benhaddou. Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO-protected site, is Morocco’s most famous kasbah (fort or fortification), which once occupied an important position on the trans-Saharan trade route between Marrakech, Ouarzazate and the southern desert. Spend the night in the old town and hang out in the empty alleys after the daytime crowds leave. Pay a nominal fee to enter some kasbahs, then climb to the roof for a beautiful view of the surrounding ksours (single kasbahs) and Ouarzazate valley.
Day 5 Return to Marrakech
Explore the narrow passages and alleys to get a real feel for this 11th-century fortified city before the crowds pour into the old castle. Depart Aït Benhaddou and head back to Marrakech for the last time through the High Atlas Mountains, through the Tizi n’Tichka pass. As you descend the northern slopes of the High Atlas Mountains, you will notice dramatic changes in climate and landscape. After the tranquility of the mountains and desert, you will soon arrive in lively Marrakech.
You may want to spend the rest of the afternoon at a slower pace. In the evening, Jemaa el-Fna is filled with musicians, performers, snake charmers and games. As the square is the best experience at night, stroll through its stalls and vendors to admire the spectacle. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many food stalls, or if you want to enjoy a meal from afar, choose one of the cafés around Jemaa el-Fna for a mint tea and a meal. Take a short walk in the evening to admire the floodlit Koutoubia Mosque before returning to your accommodation.
Day 6 Trekking through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains
Today, you will venture south of Marrakech to Amizmiz (about an hour away), a small town at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains. Take some time to explore the small markets of the old town, then join your mountain guide as you trek the narrow roads and mule trails in the surrounding hills. Hike between small Berber villages and observe local farmers and shepherds tending their animals and landscapes. You may even see children on their way to or from school, often shared between several nearby villages.
As you learn how to make homemade bread, stop for lunch with a local family and gain insight into their day-to-day life. Continue the hike until the afternoon before returning to Marrakech. There is an option to spend the night with a local family and hike the next day.
Day 7 Essaouira: seaside ramparts, kitesurfing and fresh seafood Essaouira
After breakfast, head west to the Atlantic coast and the charming seaside town of Essaouira. The route along the way takes you through vast rolling plains and characteristic argan forests. If you’re lucky, you might see goats in the trees eating argan fruit, a sight to see when pastures are limited or unavailable. Along the way, you can choose to stop at an argan oil cooperative to see how the precious and expensive oil is extracted from the nuts.
Arrive in the laid-back port city of Essaouira, contrasted with frenetic Marrakech, and spend the rest of the day as you choose. Stroll along the coast at the Skala de la Kasbah (18th-century seaside city wall). Designed by European engineers, ancient brass cannons line the walls and provide viewing passages over the Atlantic Ocean. Explore the UNESCO-protected medina before heading to the windswept beaches. Fans of Jimi Hendrix might want to take a taxi to Diabat at the end of Essaouira Beach, where he reportedly spent some time. Walk back to Essaouira for a meal of freshly caught seafood.
Day 8 Marrakech and Departure
Essaouira, known as the “windy city” for its crescent-shaped beaches, hit by the mighty Alizee trade winds, is a popular kitesurfing destination. Spend the morning watching windsurfers and kitesurfers, or for the more adventurous, take a lesson before saying goodbye and heading back to Marrakech.
Depending on your flight details, explore the only surviving Almoravid monument, the 12th-century Almoravid koubba, then spend some time at the Marrakech Museum. Housed in the 19th-century Dar Mnebbi Palace, the museum features large exhibitions of modern and traditional art, including artifacts from Berber and Moroccan Jewish and Islamic cultures.
- include Private tour
- Daily breakfast Hotel accommodation and all transportation in Marrakech
- Airport Full transportation with air-conditioning,
- gas and driver English speaking guide and driver Overnight in Dades valley, Erg chebbi, Ait benhaddou & Marrakech
- Tour Guide in Marrakech
- including breakfast & Dinner, in dades valley, sahara desert, Ait benhaddou
- Daily including breakfast, free time to explore scenic spots, take photos, etc.
- Customized and flexible stops
- Travel insurance
- Entrance tickets to monuments
NOTE : At Traveling Morocco Agency we offer Luxury & Standard accommodations Tour from Casablanca to Marrakech via Meknes, Chefchaouen, Fes, Dades valley, Ait Benhaddou, Sahara Desert & Marrakech .
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