Day 1: Fez – Ifrane – Monkey Forest – Middle Atlas – Ziz Valley – Erfoud – Desert of Merzouga
This 3 days tour from Fez to Marrakech starts at the place we agree. It can be a hotel in the city of Fez or even its airport, if you wish to leave as soon as you arrive in the country. Whatever the option is, you will be picked up by our English speaking driver with a comfortable and private vehicle for the whole circuit.
On this first day we will head south and that means heading towards the Middle Atlas. On the northern slopes of these mountains we will discover amazing places. For example, Ifrane, a city located at an altitude of more than 1,700 meters that is striking for its gabled buildings. The reason for this unusual resource in Morocco is the high frequency of rain and snowfall in winter. And all this has earned him the nickname of ‘the Moroccan Switzerland’.
Shortly after we will discover a protected natural area of enormous ecological value: the Ifrane National Park, also known as the National Park of the Cedars or the Monkey Forest. This is one of the few natural habitats where the Barbary macaque, the only primate species north of the Sahara and one of the most representative animals of the Moroccan fauna, survives in the wild. And also the only one accustomed to the cold climate, by the way. In fact, the large branches of the cedars are their best refuge in adverse weather conditions.
The next step of the day is to cross the Middle Atlas and, since the road begins its descent, we will cross the Ziz Valley in a very different environment: the aridity of the desert is already evident, with a landscape dominated by the stony hamadas. In this way we will reach Erfoud, a town famous for its rich heritage in fossils, and a little further on to Merzouga, which gives its name to the beautiful portion of the Sahara that we are about to enter.
Precisely in Merzouga we will take our dromedaries (replaceable by 4×4 vehicles) and head for the dunes of Erg Chebbi, embarking on a different and unforgettable excursion through this sea of fine golden sand. After a couple of hours drive, we will arrive at our tent camp in the middle of the desert, where we will be waiting with a Berber tea, as the local tradition dictates.
At nightfall, a spectacle difficult to see in other parts of the world will open above our heads: a sky sparkling with stars thanks to the lack of clouds and the non-existent light pollution. After that, dinner will be served at the camp and we will spend the night in traditional tents in the style of the desert nomads, but with all the comforts.
Day 2: Merzouga Desert – Rissani – Todra Gorges – Dades Valley
If the beauty of the sunset in the desert and the starry sky of the previous night were not enough, in the morning of this day you will have a third chapter of the beautiful light that characterizes the Sahara: the dawn. Getting up early to see it will be worth it and, after that, you will have breakfast in the tents camp. Then we will get back on the camels (or the jeep) to return to Merzouga and continue the route. We will also reserve time for a restorative shower in the camp or in a hotel in Merzouga according to the package contracted.
Back on the asphalt, the attractions are numerous on the second day of this 3-day circuit from Fez to Marrakech. The first of them is the peculiar town of Rissani: not only its beautiful medina is attractive, but also the popular atmosphere that surrounds it, with a busy local market and a donkey parking available in its surroundings.
After leaving Rissani behind, the route leads us towards the Dades Valley, between small villages, hamadas, arid elevations and palm groves that provide a pleasant greenery from time to time. One of the humble watercourses of this stretch is precisely the cause of the next natural area where we will stop: the Todra Gorges, a spectacular rocky canyon famous among climbers for its vertical walls, which in some points reach 200 meters high.
After admiring this unique environment, we will travel through the aforementioned Dades Valley, as well as the Valley of the Roses, where the cultivation and harvesting of this flower is the way of life of a large part of its population. The Berber fortresses are also part of the landscape in this section, as we are on the so-called Route of the Thousand Kasbahs. And in one of the small villages in the area we will stop our march to have dinner and spend the night in a charming riad
Day 3: Dades Valley – Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – High Atlas – Marrakech
After starting the day with a good breakfast at the riad, we will continue the route by road on what will be the last day of this 3-day circuit from Fez to Marrakech. After leaving the Dades Valley, two Berber monuments worthy of being visited await us. The first, the kasbah of Taourirt, in the city of Ouarzazate, which until the twentieth century was the residence of the Sultan of the Atlas, of the powerful El Glaoui tribe. This will be easily understood by visiting its rooms, richly decorated in some corners of its interior.
And the second, even larger and more spectacular: the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, a fortified village that was key in the caravan routes in the desert, between Marrakech and Timbuktu. Its contemplation from the surroundings is impressive, and so are the panoramic views from inside. It was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco for being one of the best examples of Berber architecture in adobe. And fans of the Game of Thrones series will recognize it because scenes from the third season were filmed here.
After visiting Ait Ben Haddou, the road will begin to gain altitude, as we will head to the Tizi n’Tichka pass, the main pass to cross the High Atlas, at about 2,200 meters altitude. From this point, we will begin our descent through a landscape of special beauty, between humble mountain villages and great panoramic views in which snow-capped peaks stand out most of the year.
And after covering the last kilometers of this road, we will put an end to this 3-day tour from Fez to Marrakech: our driver will drop you off at the agreed place, which can be a point in the center or the international airport, if your return flight is scheduled for that afternoon. Our services will end here, but with the hope that the farewell will be a ‘see you soon’ to meet again in another of the many tours we organize in Morocco.
TOURIST PACKAGE INCLUDED
- Pick up and drop off at the airport
- Comfortable private transportation with air conditioning
- English speaking driver / tour guide
- Sandboarding in the desert
- Camel ride
TOURIST PACKAGE EXCLUSIONS
- Plane tickets