Marrakech, Sahara & Surf - 11 days
Discover Morocco in all its magnificence from colourful Marrakech and Todra Gorge to camping in the Sahara and amazing Ait Benhaddou with its fortified Kasbah, then to top it all off riding the waves in laid back Taghazoute.
Saturday. Welcome to Morocco! A country steeped in history and culture. Arrival transfer from Marrakech airport to our hotel. Be sure to arrive in time for our welcome meeting at 18:00. The rest of the day is free, if time permits explore the rambling souk, local sights and Djemaa el Fna (the main square).
Overnight: Marrakech | Dinner
Marrakech - Dades Gorge. Leaving Marrakech we drive through the Dades Gorge, an awe-inspiring valley which extends from the High Atlas to the Jebel Sarhro range in the south.
The Atlas Mountains span some 2,090km covering vast regions of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The mountain chain comprise of a series of parallel ranges running west to east including the Anti-Atlas, High Atlas and Middle Atlas. With an average elevation of 3350 metres, the Atlas claims the highest peak of North Africa. The Berbers (original inhabitants of North Africa) built many impressive kasbahs on the mountain steep and in the valley gorges for defence purposes. En route to Dades Gorge we pass many of these medieval kasbahs and stop at one of the highest vantage points to enjoy a cup of sweet minted tea and take in panoramic views of the impressive snow capped mountain vista.
Overnight: Dades Gorge | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Dades Gorge – Todra Gorge. After breakfast we head east and discover the stunning Todra Gorge with its 300m high cliffs towering above us. Created millions of years ago, the striking gorge snakes its way through the rugged mountain range. The final 600m of the Todra Gorge are spectacular as the canyon narrows to a flat stony track as little as 10m wide in places with sheer and smooth rock walls up to 160m high on each side. We will have an early lunch at a village co-operative where hundreds of hand made Berber rugs, kilims and carpets are displayed and offered for sale. Then the afternoon is free to explore the gorge, walk through the Palmerie or if you're feel active, try your hand at rock climbing (dependent upon weather conditions, book/pay locally).
Overnight: Todra Gorge | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Todra Gorge - Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Crossing Jebel Sarhro, we enjoy lunch and a swim before travelling down to Erg Chebbi sand dunes, the start point of the mighty Sahara Desert. The Erg Chebbi dunes located near the remote frontier town of Merzouga are renowned for their incredible height and size. In parts the vast sand pile reaches skyward to heights of 150 metres!.
The desert winds ensure this astonishing landscape is forever changing and no two days offer the same panorama. Mounting our camels, we trek across the vast rolling dunes of the Sahara and take in the breath-taking scenery. Arriving at our simple Berber camp, we enjoy dinner and a night under the Saharan stars. Wrap up warm and remember your winter weight sleeping bag.
Overnight: Berber Camp - Sahara Desert | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Erg Chebbi - Ouarzazate. After a stunning sunrise and breakfast we camel trek back to the frontier post where there is time to freshen up before driving to the verdant Draa valley. Besides the natural, historical and architectural wonders that the Draa Valley offers, there are also small villages along the valley where time seems to stand still, so little is the effect of modernity on them. Here, women are fully and always veiled while washing their clothes on the riverbanks and the watchful men seem distant, unaccustomed to foreign visitors. These people, besides speaking Arabic also speak their own dialect of the Berber vernacular, called Tashelhiyt.
Along the route of 1000 Kasbahs, we continue on to Ouarzazate, (pronounced as wazza-zat). Sitting at an altitude of 1160 metres in the middle of a barren plateau, Ouarzazate lies at the cross roads of all routes going north, south, east, and west. Its geographical position has made it a key trading post in both ancient and modern times. Capital of a large province, the towns' northern limits run along the southern aspect of the High Atlas and its southern boundary disappears back into the ever present and mysterious Saharan Desert. Today, the area is still essentially populated by Berber people, who were constructors of the numerous fortified kasbahs and dwellings for which the region is famous. After hotel check in, consider a late afternoon swim.
Overnight: Ouarzazate | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ouarzazate - Ait Benhaddou - Marrakech.This morning you can opt to go quad bike riding or visit the film studio that produced Lawrence of Arabia, Alexander the Great, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Living Daylights.
Arriving at nearby fortified city of Ait Benhaddou - built for defence purposes high on a hill with a bubbling steam within it shadows, the stunningly well preserved medieval city is a true highlight of our tour. Famously used as a backdrop in the film 'Gladiator', its beauty is unequal to any other fortified village in south Morocco.
Overnight: Marrakech | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Djemaa el Fna
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of old Marrakech. Set within the rose-coloured walls of the medina and a tangle of winding streets lead to bustling souks, the focal point is the central square, the Djemaa el Fna, an extraordinary gathering and market place. Full of colour, spicy aromas and traders it is best seen in the evening when overflowing with food stalls, dancers, acrobats, fortune tellers, musicians and henna artists. Towering over all this is the Koutoubia mosque, the tallest building in the city and a reminder of the importance of Islam to the lives of the city’s residents.
Spend the afternoon at leisure, pamper yourself at the local hammam or further explore the city your own way.
Overnight: Marrakech | Breakfast
Marrakech - Taghazoute. After breakfast we transfer to Marrakech Bus Station to board the public bus to Agadir. We journey south to the Souss Valley and the Agadir Coast, arriving into Agadir at midday, where we'll be met and transferred to a surf lodge in Taghazoute, which is our base for the next two nights. Taghazoute is a small fishing village with a beautiful beach which has been popular with hippies since the 60's. Surfers soon discovered its world class point breaks, making it the surf Mecca it is today.
Upon arrival have a quick tour of the lodge before walking into town for lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, we grab our boards and wetsuits and head out for an afternoon surf session in the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Dinner will later be served on the lodge rooftop terrace overlooking the ocean.
Overnight: Taghazoute | Breakfast, Dinner
Taghazoute. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the lodge terrace before an action packed day of surfing! Head out to catch the early morning surf, then be rewarded with a packed lunch on the beach. Once revitalised, it’s time for another surf lesson with the team. A well-earned dinner will be served at the lodge this evening, so relax and absorb the breathtaking views.
Overnight: Taghazoute | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Taghazoute - Marrakech. How you spend this morning is up to you! After breakfast at the lodge, choose from one of our optional activities or just chill out on the beach. If you just can’t get enough of surfing, why not take an optional surfing session in the morning? Or if you’d rather stay on land, you can choose to go horse riding down the Atlantic coast!
This afternoon we travel back to Marrakech by public bus and make our own way back to the hotel to check in, and then why not explore the Djemma el Fna? With hundreds of food stands and entertainment, this is the perfect location to spend your final night on tour!
Overnight: Marrakech | Breakfast, Lunch
Marrakech. Tour arrangements finish after breakfast and hotel checkout.
Prices & Dates
Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
El Andalous Hotel & Spa, Marrakech
Just 10 minutes from the airport, the El Andalous Hotel and Spa offers a welcome respite from the hubub of the city. Evoking the golden age of Arab-Andalusian culture; exotic and romantically rich. Guest rooms are well furnished with excellent en suite facilites as well as private balconies. The hotel pool is great place to relax by and enjoy a tasty beverage or two. The medina is just a 20 minute walk from here or a cab can get you there in a few minutes!
Kasbah de la Vallee, Dades Gorge
Kasbah de la Vallee is decorated according to the Moroccan tradition, with patterns and colours typical of the south. The rooms are comfortable, with private bathrooms. Homemade Moroccan delicacies are served at the restaurant and created using local produce. Situated at the entrance of Dades gorge, the hotel has a fantastic view over the river Dades that runs between the high cliffs. The hotel is in front of a small stony creek where the nomads regularly come to water their herds.
Les Jardins , Ouarzazate
A fairly new hotel in Ouarzazate, the Hotel les Jardins is in the traditional style of a Moroccan kasbah, with spacious rooms. The hotel is set in exquisitely manicured gardens, which provide guests with a much needed breath of fresh air. The experience is complete with a pool and restaurant, where visitors can while away the hours in the warm, starry evenings. The hotel is on the outskirts of Ouzarzate and has numerous restaurants and shops nearby.