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This morning we drive out of the city. From the flat plain of Haouz, the route climbs southwards and up to the passes of the High Atlas mountains. Along twisty roads with marvellous views and over the high point before descending to the rocky red foothills near Ouarzazate. En route to Ouarzazate we visit Ait Benhaddou, an ancient fortified city, boasting beautiful examples of Kasbahs, some of which remain inhabited today. Granted UNESCO World Heritage Listing, the site has been the setting for many films including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. Overnight in the Ouarzazate, the film capital of Morocco.
The journey continues along the valley of the Roses and the Skoura oasis, passing Amerdhil Kasbah. Stop for lunch in the scenic gorge du Dades before continuing towards the Sarhro mountains and the first signs of the Sahara. Along the route there are Khettara , the ancient wells dug by the nomads to find water, now dry. Finally we reach Merzouga at the foot of the great sand dune Erg Chebbi. Time to watch the sun set and the sand change colour as night falls at our remote desert camp.
Leaving the desert, we travel to Todra Gorge. This 1000ft gorge is surrounded by towering vertical limestone cliffs and is known as Morocco’s Grand Canyon. The charm of Todra lies in its changing colours as the sun slowly moves from east to west. There’s time to explore the gorge on a leisurely hike before we continue on to scenic Dades Gorge, where we spend the night.
We return to Marrakech today via the Red Valley which takes you through some wonderful scenery. We will stop to explore Imi-n-Ifri (‘Grotto’s Mouth’ in Berber), a natural bridge over a gorge that looks like a monster’s yawn. You can clamber down into the gorge and have a wander then continue to Damnate where you will have time for lunch before driving back to the city.
We will collect you this morning from your hotel and transfer you to Essaouira --- 3rd October -- A return transfer from your hotel in Essaouira to the airport in Marrakech is included for you according to your departure flight time.
Ouarzazate originally was a small trader town enroute to Europe and northern cities in Morocco and was a garrison town ...