This 7-day tour (which can be extended – see Customise your Tour below and Tour 5 ) is an ideal introduction to the best of Morocco, from bustling cities to breathtaking nature. The tour starts and finishes in Marrakech, and takes you to Fez, the Sahara Desert and through the Atlas Mountains.
Please note our tour prices rise each year on 1 July so book your tour before then!
Day 1: Airport pick up from Marrakech airport and first evening at your riad, if required (small additional fee)
Day 2:Marrakech – High Atlas – Aït Ben Haddou – Ouarzazate – Dadès Gorges
We pick you up from your accommodation at 8am and leave for the Dadès Gorges via Ouarzazarte across the High Atlas Mountains, crossing the Tiki n’Tichka Pass, at 2,260 metres one of the highest in North Africa. You can stop frequently to take in the panoramic views and photograph the Berber villages that merge harmoniously with the warm ochres of the landscape. The first stop will be the ksar or fortified village of Aït Ben Haddou, where the Kasbah is UNESCO World Heritage-listed and famous for many films such as The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Babel (2006) and Prince of Persia (2010).
After visiting that Kasbah, there’ll be time for lunch before going to Ouarzazate to visit the Kasbah of Toaurirt – one of the most spectacular in Morocco and the old residence of the powerful and fabulously wealthy Thami El Glaoui (1879-1956), Pasha of Marrakech. You then take the aptly called Road of the Thousand Kasbahs towards the Dadès Gorges via the oasis of Skoura with its swathes of palm groves, and then the Roses Valley, which is named for the fragrant damask roses grown here to make rose water, and famous for its annual Rose Festival.
After the Roses Valley and lower reaches of the Dadès River, you drive up slowly to Boumalne Dadès (alt. 1500m), stopping to see the curious vertical rock formations called the Monkey Fingers or Toes. Then on to your riad in the Dadès Gorges for dinner and the night, or to Kalaat M’Gouna in the heart of the Roses Valley. Early booking is advisable for May each year, due to the annual Rose Festival.
(Approximate travel time Marrakech to Dadès Gorges, excluding stops: 6 hours)
Day 3: Dadès Gorges – Todra Gorges – Erfoud, the gateway to the Sahara
After breakfast, the journey to Erfoud, Morocco’s capital of fossils and dates, begins at a mountain lookout with one of the most beautiful views of the Dadès Valley and its countless kasbahs. Coming back down to rejoin the upper reaches of the valley you head towards the breathtaking Todra Gorges, where the Todgha and Dadès rivers have carved out steep canyons with sides up to 400 metres high. There will be time to walk through the gorges and enjoy their incredible beauty before continuing to the date-palm groves of Tinejdad and Touroug, and lunch.
The next stop, and where your accommodation is located for that night, is Erfoud, to check out its famous marble and fossils, and perhaps the giant art installations in the desert nearby. Then you drive to Rissani, circa 20km from Erfoud, to visit the souk, which is particularly lively on market days — Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays — and the medina where, even on non-market days, you can usually find interesting locally-made souvenirs, and pieces from farther afield in the Sahara. If you have time, see also the dilapidated Ksars (like mini palaces) and the mosaic-embellished Mausoleum. If more convenient, at least some of these activities can be done on the following day. Return to your accommodation at Erfoud for the night and for dinner.
(Approximate travel time Dadès Gorges to Erfoud, excluding stops and camel trip: 4.5 – 5 hours)
Day 4: Erfoud – Merzouga Desert – Tissardmine Oasis – Khamlia Village – Erg Chebbi
Today you journey 60km from Erfoud to Merzouga, at the side of the desert dunes. On the way you may stop at Rissani again, to do some of the activities first mentioned in the itinerary for yesterday. In addition, you may visit an abandoned Arab village between Rissani and Merzouga and walk through it. It is amazingly well preserved and you can feel the ghosts of yesteryear as you wander through. You may also visit Khamlia, a village inhabited in the main by descendants of victims of the former Moroccan slave trade, with a strong music tradition. Perhaps you will visit Chez les Artistes, a cafe run by husband-wife artists and see the portraits painted by Johanna and the strange creatures made of car parts created by Lahcen.
With the pre-desert landscape of acacias giving way to the desert, you arrive in Merzouga, where an experienced camelier will take you by camel to a camp at the foot of the Erg Chebbi dunes for dinner under the stars and a night in a tent. (Or you can swap the camels for a 4WD if you prefer).
Day 5: Merzouga Desert – Ziz Valley – Ifrane – Fez
After breakfast we’ll set off to the north, driving through the Tafilalt Oasis, the largest in Morocco, and the Ziz valley, which is kept lush by the river running down from the High Atlas to the valley. You’ll stop for a photo opportunity from an impressive viewpoint, and enjoy sweeping views of the valley and the town of Aoufous.
We’ll continue the drive north, making another stop in Midelt, in the heart of the Atlas Mountains, where you´ll have free time for lunch and to relax. In the afternoon we’ll continue through the Cedar Woods, towards the town of Ifrane, situated on the north-western slope of the Middle Atlas, at 1630 meters above sea level. With its broad, clean avenues, lush green forest and European-style architecture, it’s no wonder that this quaint town and ski resort has been dubbed the “Switzerland of Morocco”.
You’ll arrive in Fez by around 6pm, where you’ll check into your riad (home for the next two nights).
(Approximate travel time from Merzouga Desert to Fez, excluding stops: 7 hours)
Day 6: Full day in Fez
You’ll start the day with breakfast in the riad, before setting off on a walking tour of the famous medina, exploring the many hidden treasures it has to offer. Fez served as the capital of Morocco for more than 350 years and is home to the University of Al-Karaouine, the oldest operating university in the world.
Your guided tour will take you to Moulay Idriss Mausoleum, the Nejjarine Fountains and the famous tanneries, to name a few spots. After lunch you’ll admire the exterior of the Royal Palace, before wandering through the famous Jewish quarter or ‘mellah’, with the opportunity to visit one of the few synagogues still running in Morocco.
The tour will conclude with a visit to an artisanal ceramic factory located outside the medina, followed by a stop at a lookout, boasting panoramic views over the Fez medina, before returning to your riad.
Day 7: Fez – Azrou – Beni Mellal – Middle Atlas – Marrakech
After breakfast at the riad, we’ll say goodbye to Fez, heading south towards our final destination of Marrakech, taking the scenic route through the Middle Atlas, where you’ll pass through Ifrane, Azrou and Beni Mellal.
After lunch, you’ll stop to visit a UNESCO World Heritage cedar forest, before hitting the road again, aiming to arrive in Marrakech in the late afternoon. Dinner will be provided in your riad that night, where you will be staying for 2 nights.
(Approximate travel time from Fez to Marrakech, excluding stops: 7 hours)
*Optional extra and alternative lunch suggestion ~ a side-trip to Boujad, near-ish Béni Mellal and circa 260km from Fez; a picturesque artisan’s town and rarely visited by tourists, for lunch and a look at their wares. It will however add about an hour’s driving onto your trip and an extra couple of hours to have lunch and look around; making for a very long day for you and your driver. Then again it is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Let us know what you think.
Day 8: Full day in Marrakech
Your local guide will meet you after breakfast in your riad. The tour will start at the iconic Koutoubia Mosque, descending down into the Saadian Tombs, followed by a visit to the Bahia Palace. You’ll visit the fabulous Majorelle Garden and recently-opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum (for the fashion buffs amongst you).
The evening will be yours to explore all that Marrakech has to offer, to practise your bargaining skills or enjoy the views from a rooftop café overlooking the bustling Place Jemaa el-Fnaa, before enjoying dinner and a final night’s stay at the riad.
Day 9: Airport drop-off at Marrakech airport, if required (small additional fee)
We hope you will have made the most of the opportunities on this tour to meet local people and learn about their traditions and customs.
Tour 1 Prices*
|Group size||Price per person (AUD)|
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*3-star plus (which we think is very nice). For an upgrade to luxury 5-star accommodation there is an additional fee.
Customise Your Tour
We can easily customise this tour for you. You may wish us to:
- Arrange the tour in the opposite direction
- Arrange airport pickup and an extra day and night for the day of arrival in Morocco, to settle in
- Add an extra day and night in the Sahara, to spend more time exploring and to take an extended break from travelling
- Add an extra night at Midelt to break up the journey between Merzouga and Fez (recommended)
- Add an extra day and night in your final Moroccan city to do any last minute shopping and to ready yourself for your flight
- Arrange airport transfers
Interested in this tour?
Simply send a booking enquiry, call or email us to find out more.
What an amazing company! Unparalled customer service and responsiveness. Cara is knowledgeable and passionate about Morocco. She has put together the most amazing itinerary for us. Unlike our experiences with other operators in the past Cara truly strives to understand your specific needs. Looking forward to our adventure!
ADVICE: After a long-haul flight from Australia, we suggest you recuperate for a couple of days in Marrakech before starting the tour.