Our Heart of Atlas Mountains Tour (Fes, Khenifra, Imilchil, Amellago, Dades, Ouarzazate, Marrakech) takes you deep into the heart of the Atlas Mountains and the culture of the Berber people who live there. You will travel from the ancient Imperial city of Fes, through the Middle Atlas Mountains, into the Berber heartlands of Khenifra and Imilchil, on to our home village of Amellago, and through spectacular gorges, valleys and kasbahs as you make your way to Marrakech. This tour is perfect for the summer months when it is too hot to visit the desert and just perfect for escaping to cooler higher regions.
Our Heart of Atlas Mountains Tour can be modified from 7-12 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.
DAY 2: Fes
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, with its never-ending labyrinth of narrow lanes which are alive with markets and souks, craftsmen plying ancient trades, and 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.
Depart Fes for Khenifra, the heart of the Middle Atlas. On your way take some time to explore Ifrane, the Switzerland of Morocco; Azrou, an important centre for Berber artisans; and the majestic cedar forests. Khenifra is rich in Berber history, with vivid handmade rugs and carpets a speciality of this city. Overnight in Khenifra.
DAY 4: Khenifra – Imilchil (181kms)
Depart Khenifra for the small village of Imilchil, crossing the Middle Atlas into the High Atlas mountains. This journey passes through many small Berber villages, giving you an unique look into the daily lives of the people in this region. Imilchil is perhaps most famous for its annual betrothal festival in September. Explore Imilchil, visit the lake and nearby villages in the valley, or sit back and absorb the daily life of village locals. Overnight in Imilchil.
DAY 5: Imilchil – Amellago (154kms)
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. Tour ends in Marrakech.
Suggestions for amending your Heart of Atlas Mountains Tour:
- Add extra days in Fes to explore Fes, take a cooking class, or a day trip to Meknes and Volubilis.
- Add extra days in Marrakech to explore Marrakech.
- Add a day or overnight trip from Marrakech to the relaxed coastal city of Essaouira to your Heart of Atlas Mountains Tour.