Our Atlas Mountains & Desert Tour (Fes, Erfoud, Amellago, Dades, Ouarzazate, Marrakech) takes you from the ancient Imperial city of Fes, through the Middle Atlas Mountains, into the vast Moroccan Sahara for a night under the desert stars, on to our home village in the High Atlas, and over the mountains to Marrakech. Combining spectacular and diverse landscapes of cedar forests, mountain passes, valleys, gorges, kasbahs, Berber architecture, village crops of olives, almonds and wheat, and palmeries with opportunities to experience real Moroccan life in the south, this is one of our most popular tours. Get a wonderful insight into the diversity of Morocco in a short space of time.
Our Atlas Mountains & Desert Tour can be modified from 5-12 days or more depending on your time and what you would like to see. A similar tour can also start in Marrakech and end in Fes.
DAY 1: Fes
Upon arrival in Fes, you will be met and transferred to your Riad. Relax and settle in. Overnight in Fes.
After breakfast explore Fes, the most ancient and holy of the Imperial cities. Your cultural and historic tour will take you through the 2000 year old living medina; a labyrinth of narrow lanes alive with markets and souks, craftsmen, donkeys and mules transporting their loads. Visit the Attarine and Bou Anania Medersas (Islamic universities), the Nejjarine fountain, the Moulay Idriss Mausoleum, and the Karaouine Mosque. Finish your tour with a visit to Fes Jdid, and the revered Merenid Tombs for a spectacular panoramic view of Fes. Overnight in Fes.
DAY 3: Fes – Ifrane – Azrou – Midelt – Erfoud (410kms)
After an early breakfast, set off for the Middle Atlas Mountains, passing through the towns and villages of Ifrane, Azrou and Midelt. Continue on the road following the spectacular Ziz Valley and watch as the scenery evolves from mountain to the rocky desert-scape of the Sahara. Overnight in Erfoud.
After breakfast explore the small desert town of Erfoud and Rissani. Head to Merzouga, the Erg Chebbi region of the Sahara desert, and take a camel to begin your Moroccan desert adventure! Watch the sunset over the majestic Sahara dunes, and spend the night in an oasis in a Berber tent. Overnight in the desert oasis.
*If a camel trek is not really your thing, you can still experience the magic of the dunes by staying in a hotel right at their edge.
DAY 5: Merzouga – Goulmima – Amellago (214kms)
Wake up in the early morning to watch the sunrise over the dunes. After returning by camel to Merzouga, head to Amellago through Gris Valley, the Heart and the Soul of Imazighen (Berbers), to meet our family. Time it right and see traditional harvests of the wheat, olives or almonds. Overnight in Amellago, Gite Haut Atlas.
DAY 6: Amellago – Todra – Boumalne Dades (169kms)
Continue your adventure through the High Atlas Mountains on route to the towering Todra Gorges. Picturesque river valleys make for a beautiful journey. After exploring Todra, continue to Boumalne Dades, through its snaking road lines, amazing rock formations, small cultivated fields with silver birch along the river bed, and pass dozens of predominantly seventeenth century kasbahs made from the local red mud. Overnight in Dades.
Drive through Kelaat M’Gouna where a rose festival is held every May. Drive on to Skoura, a small village on the north side of the road which probably has the most beautiful palm grove in southern Morocco with dozens of inhabited and uninhabited kasbahs. This whole region is called The Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs. Overnight in Ouarzazate.
Day 8: Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech (203kms)
After an early breakfast, set off to Marrakech via the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site, used for more films than any other location in Morocco; including, Lawrence of Arabia and The Gladiator. Continue to Marrakech, via the stunning Tichka Pass (2260m) which offers dramatic panoramic views in the heart of the Atlas Mountain chain. Your tour ends in Marrakech.
Suggestions for amending your Atlas Mountains & Desert Tour:
- Add extra days in Fes to explore Fes, take a cooking class, or a day trip to Meknes and Volubilis
- Omit sightseeing in Fes and leave directly for Erfoud.
- Break the journey from Fes-Erfoud by stopping overnight in Midelt. This will shorten the day’s driving time and allow you to take more time on your journey, maybe taking some time to explore the cedar forests of Ifrane and Azrou. An overnight stop in Midelt is a good option in the warmer months (June-Sept), while continuing to Erfoud is a better option in the winter months (Nov-May).
- Add extra days in Marrakech to explore Marrakech.
- Add a day or overnight trip from Marrakech to the relaxed coastal town of Essaouira.
- End your Atlas Mountains & Desert Tour in Fes instead of finishing in Marrakech.
This was one of the best vacations ever – I have done nothing but rave to my friends! FesCookingtravel arranged a wonderful trip for us. The FOOD was the best !!ayayay as lahcen says, The guides were all knowledgeable, the accommodations were all great and we saw everything we wanted to see. We felt safe at all times and really felt that we got to “know” Morocco. It is a fascinating and beautiful place. We’d love to go back. And if we do, we would definitely use FesCookingtravel again. The trip was totally magical!