Exciting adventure in the Sahara Desert and High Atlas Mountains
The grandeur of the Sahara Desert is truly experienced on this trip as we
journey from Marrakech across the High Atlas Mountains to the palm groves of
the Draa Valley and the gateway to the desert at Zagora. En route well
enjoy the UNESCO listed 16th-century kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, before
continuing for a camel trek and a night under a thousand stars on the edge of
the worlds largest desert, the Sahara. On our way back to the city, well
stop in the remote village of Tighza and enjoy a peaceful walk and authentic
hamman. Finally there is some free time to enjoy the sights and smells of
Marrakech one of the great cities of the Arabic world.
* Experience varied scenery from the Sahara Desert to the High Atlas
* Journey into the desert Bedouin style, by camel
* Visit Tighza and experience a traditional hammam
* Walk in the magnificent High Atlas Mountains
* Explore Marrakech with its lively souks and peaceful gardens
Fly to Marrakech.
Arrival at our hotel in the evening. Free transfer from any flight
*Hotel Gomassine or similar*
Across the High Atlas to Ait Benhaddou.
With time to explore Marrakech at the end of our journey, we leave the Red
City behind and head into the Atlas Mountains. Our destination for the day is
the well-preserved Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou. This UNESCO World Heritage Site
is one of the most spectacular sights of the Atlas, made famous as the
filming location for several Hollywood films including ‘Gladiator’. The route
takes us over Tizi N Tichka pass, the highest in Morocco, arriving
mid-afternoon. We will then have time for an afternoon walk around the
*Ksar el janoub* *or similar*
Through the Draa valley; camel ride through the desert to our Berber camp
After a short transfer, our adventure begins in Ouarzazate, nicknamed the
‘door to the desert’ because it used to be a crossing point for African
traders on their way to Europe. It is now the site of the Atlas Film Studios,
the setting for many Hollywood films, as well as Game of Thrones and BBC’s
Atlantis. It’s also home to the impressive Kasbah Taourirt. Originally this
kasbah was later owned by T’hami El Glaoui who is better known as the Lord of
the Atlas. The Krupps field gun that secured the Glaoui power is now
displayed outside the kasbah.
We then head south 4,5 hours drive along the Draa Valley, a huge palmery
containing over four million palm trees, bordered by many ksours (fortified
villages). Here we embarkfor 2hours camel trek and venture further into
thedesert, where we spend the night at a simple Bedouin camp for some
spectacular star-gazing. Surrounded by silence and millions of stars lets us
appreciate the immensity of the Sahara Desert.
*NOTE – as we venture into the desert, you are requested to only bring an
overnight bag and leave all your remaining luggage with the vehicle. Please
pack your overnight bag ready for today.*
Camel ride; short drive to Zagora and free time by the pool, optional
After waking in the silence of the desert we take a return camel ride and a
short drive to Zagora. Here there is time to rest, have a shower and enjoy
the pool. Later in the afternoon we can take the optional walk in to the
valley and around this famous desert outpost.
*Htel La Fibule Zagora or similar*
Into the High Atlas Mountains; walk to remote village of Tijhza and visit the
Travelling west through Draa valley to join Ounila valley at theHigh Atlas
Mountains. Start our walk from Animeter on a gentle uphill gradient to
our well-equipped gite at Tijhza where we spend the night.
In the evening we will visit the village hammam, built with money raised by
Exodus clients. This is a truly authentic experience and terrific fun. It is
very much a traditional hammam and you are likely to get the opportunity to
mix with the villagers, which further adds to the experience. A standard
treatment is included, but you will need to purchase a scrubber and soap for
20MAD (£1.50) and pay a customary tip of 20MAD. Refreshed, we return to the
gite for our final dinner in the mountains.
*Tijhza Gite or similar*
Morning walk; afternoon transfer to Marrakech through magnificent mountain
There is time to relax this morning on the riad terrace, which has wonderful
views across the fertile Tijhza Valley. Alternatively, we offer an optional
3-4 hour trek through the villages of this remote area, passing fields
cultivated by the Berber women, with the peaks of the High Atlas as a fitting
backdrop. After lunch, we leave the gite making the scenic drive over the
High Atlas Mountains back to Marrakech, with some stunning scenery along the
way. Once again we cross Tizi’n’Tichka, at 2260m which is the highest road
pass in Morocco. Back in Marrakech we check-in to ourhotel. In the evening
we visit Djemma el Fna, the open-air central square around which Marrakech
revolves. The name literally means ‘place of death’, as the sultans once
displayed the heads of their enemies here. Now, with the food stalls, snake
charmers, juice-sellers and acrobats, it is a place of night time
entertainment for locals and tourists alike.
*Hotel Gomassine or similar*
Explore Marrakech: Djemaa el Fna Square, beautiful gardens, palaces and
Today we set off on foot on a guided tour to see the spectacular sites of
Marrakech. Our city guide will lead us to the Bahia Palace and the Saadian
tombs, which date back to the 16th century. We continue through the
labyrinthine of souks, bartering for souvenirs, or we can visit the largest
mosque in Marrakech, Koutoubia. Alternatively, you may prefer to head off on
your own today and take a calche ride (horse-drawn carriage) to the
peaceful Majorelle gardens, owned by Yves St Laurent and decorated throughout
in indigo blue; or simply enjoy a hammam (traditional Moroccan steam bath).*
*Hotel Gomassine or similar*
Day 8 Fly to London.
Fly to London.