Leave your base in Marrakech and be whisked off to visit the Erg Chebbi dunes on this three-day Sahara Desert Tour. You’ll ride camels at sunset, sleep under the stars in the desert and visit the World Heritage site of Ait Benhaddou.
South East Morocco has just two areas of classic Saharan Sand Dunes, or 'ergs'; Erg Chegaga and Erg Chebbi. Folklore has it that the latter was sent by God to the townspeople of Merzouga as a punishment for turning away hungry travellers. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the range, measuring around 22km long by 5km wide make for an impressive site. With the highest dunes measuring approximately 150m high, the sight of the undulating Ergs appearing out of the rocky desert is guaranteed to leave you breathless.
This three day Sahara Desert tour departs from Marrakech from where you will head out over the High Atlas Mountains on the Tizi-n-Tichka mountain pass. The road reaches up to about 2,600m, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. Once over the other side of the mountains, you will stop for lunch and a chance to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Benhaddou. This is an ancient fortified city containing countless kasbahs and has been the atmospheric subject of numerous hollywood movies (The Mummy, Gladiator, Alexander, Lawrence of Arabia...) Heading deeper into the rocky plateau, you will spend the night at Dades Gorge, a spectacular deep-sided canyon.
The following day of your tour sees you heading into the rocky desert, stopping off en-route to explore another geographical phenomenon - Todra Gorge. Once you arrive at the desert gateway town of Merzouga, you will pause to pick up supplies and will then drive a further hour to meet your camels and guide. You will then mount your camels and trek across the dunes for an hour and a half to the desert camp, where you will spend the night enjoying a traditional Moroccan meal and dining under the stars. The next morning, you will get up very early and trek by camel to watch the sun rising over the dunes. After a hearty breakfast, you will get back into the car and drive back to Marrakech.
Drive to the World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, crossing the spectacular Tizi n’Tichka Pass of the High Atlas mountains. You’ll pass through lots of Berber villages, and once you’re in the desert, you’ll see riverside oases and barren hillsides dotted with kasbahs (fortified dwellings that house families and their livestock). Ait Benhaddou is an ancient fortified city containing countless kasbahs and has been the atmospheric subject of numerous hollywood movies (The Mummy, Gladiator, Alexander, Lawrence of Arabia...) You will be able to walk amongst the old buildings and walk to the top of the fortification if you have the energy. Later on, you’ll head through the Valley of the Roses to Dades Gorge where you will enjoy a Moroccan dinner and evening at a small hotel with beautiful views of the Dades valley. Overnight in Dades. (Total driving time approx. 7-8 hours)
Transfer from the Dades Valley to Todra Gorge - a massive fault dividing the High Atlas mountains, rising up 300 metres in a narrow valley with palmeries and Berber villages. After lunch you’ll head further into the desert to the gateway town of Merzouga to pick up supplies for your desert trip. You will then drive on to a kasbah to pick up your camel. At sunset, you’ll trek for an hour-and-a-half by camel to a Berber camp where you will enjoy a traditional Moroccan dinner, and sleep under the stars or in tents at a desert camp. (Total driving time approx. 5-6 hours)
You will then have a chance to freshen up and enjoy a breakfast. You will leave for Marrakech travelling across the High Atlas Mountains. You’ll arrive in Marrakech in the evening, normally around 6.00pm. (Total driving time 10 hours)
Transfers to/from Marrakech, half-board accommodation, 4x4 with driver with limited English, camel ride and overnight camping in sand dunes.