South Morocco Civilization and Sahara Desert

South Morocco Civilization and Sahara Desert

By Ruby Zhao | Updated Aug. 2, 2022

8-day Private Tour: Marrakesh – Zagora – M'Hamid – Erg Chegaga – Ouarzazate

Explore south Morocco… From the colorful chaotic medinas of Marrakesh, venture on a journey to explore the depths of local civilization, and then enjoy the golden sandy landscape of the Sahara Desert in a wild area — Erg Chegaga.

Days

8

Price

US$1,469 p/p

Best For

Adventurers

Best Time

Nov. to May

Tour Highlights

Ride a Horse-Drawn Carriage Inside and Outside Marrakesh's City Wall
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Ride a Horse-Drawn Carriage Inside and Outside Marrakesh's City Wall

If you want to submerge yourself in the historical and cultural side of Marrakesh, the medina (old city) is a must-see place. The best way to explore it is by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride inside and outside the city wall.

Discover the Architectural Highlights of Marrakesh
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Discover the Architectural Highlights of Marrakesh

Admire the splendor of Bahia Palace, and visit Koutoubia Mosque, which is considered to be a true masterpiece of Islamic architecture.

Drive over the Atlas Mountains to Enjoy Contrasting Views
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Drive over the Atlas Mountains to Enjoy Contrasting Views

You will cross the magnificent Tizi n'Tichka Pass and the stunning Draa Valley on the way from Marrakesh to Zagora, as well as a succession of oases and impressive kasbahs (citadels).

Meet a Local Family in a Small Village
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Meet a Local Family in a Small Village

Visit a local family in their home on the way from Zagora to the Sahara Desert, sit back to enjoy some tea and coffee, and learn more about Moroccan life in the countryside.

Enjoy a Dinner and Overnight Camping under the Stars in the Sahara
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Enjoy a Dinner and Overnight Camping under the Stars in the Sahara

Experience a Bedouin tent camp. Enjoy an evening dinner under the starry sky with candle light and music performed by local desert musicians.

Visit Morocco's Most Impressive Kasbah Complex at Aït Benhaddou
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Visit Morocco's Most Impressive Kasbah Complex at Aït Benhaddou

Built around 1,000 years ago, the UNESCO-listed Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou is one of Morocco's most famous historic landmarks. Many famous movies and TV series including "A Game of Thrones" were filmed there.

 
 
 

8 Days South Morocco and Sahara Desert Tour map

Itinerary Details

The itinerary below is only one of many possibilities that is offered as an inspiration. We can tailor-make your trip based on your needs. Send us details of your preferences, and our travel experts will customize this trip to suit your interests, tastes, and budget.

Day 1
Marrakech Arrival and City Exploration

Once you land at the airport in Marrakech in the morning local time, we will drive directly to your hotel and check in.

Take a stroll through the Medina of Marrakesh. You will get a good introduction to the city there, perfect for your first day in Marrakech, as you take a horse-drawn carriage ride inside and outside of the city walls.

On your journey, you can enjoy the beautiful Majorelle Garden, which until 2008 was maintained by the internationally-renowned stylist and fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

After a long day with an early morning start, we expect you will be ready to return to your hotel in the afternoon, where you can enjoy warm service during a relaxing evening with a special welcome dinner.

Day 2
Discover Marrakech — a Feast for the Eyes

To start your day, there is a visit to the famous Koutoubia Mosque. Its majestic silhouette can be seen for miles around.

From there you will be driven to the Saadian Tombs. They were built in the 1700s on top of the remains of former dynasties' burial sites.

Then go on to Bahia Palace, which is considered one of the grandest palaces in the Morocco. You will be mesmerized by the 150-room citadel.

Continue to explore the unique Jemaa el Fna Square with its lively folklore. The place is a true showcase for Moroccan traditions and is on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites. From Jemaa el Fna, venture into the traditional markets which have a colorful array of items from for leatherware to spices.

Day 3
Marrakech to Zagora | Capture Atlas Mountain Views on the Way

After breakfast, your day will start with a visit to the small town of Zagora. You will cross the magnificent Atlas Mountains, across Tizi n'Tichka, which with its 2,260 meters (7,420 feet) altitude traverses the highest mountain chain in North Africa. The road over the pass was built in the 1920s by the French colonial empire.

Then drive through the Draa Valley, where you will experience fortified villages, where the people live as if time stood still a hundred years ago. The road south of Ouarzazate leads us across the desert plateau of Jbel Tifernine.

After a short break at the small Berber town of Agdez — angular and pale red, jutting out of the desert, and located at the edge of an idyllic palm-filled oasis, you will continue south towards Zagora.

Along the way, the drive will pass a row of oases and impressive kasbahs, such as the elegant and well-preserved Timed Kasbah. Upon arriving at Zagora, where you will stay, a hearty dinner will be prepared for you.

Day 4
Zagora – M'Hamid – Erg Chegaga | Sahara Desert Adventure

After breakfast, head out for an adventure in the desert. Here you head south along the road past the fortified little village of Tamegroute, where a group of Islamic scholars founded a school back in the 1800s. This school and its library are still in use, although it's in no way comparable to the greatness of the past.

Later, pay a visit to a local family in their home in another small village called Tagounite. This is a highlight for many clients, as you will have an opportunity to see and experience the life of Moroccans in the countryside.

After the family visitation, you will travel on to the Sahara, where you will experience the amazing sand dunes of M'Hamid.

After lunch (optional), you will travel further into the desert by jeep. Spend the night in a real Bedouin tent camp. There you will experience dinner under the open and starry sky, surrounded by candlelight, where you can sit back, relax, and be entertained by local desert musicians.

This is a real and authentic One-Thousand-and-One-Nights-style adventure!

Day 5
Erg Chegaga – Zagora – Ouarzazate | See a Desert Sunrise and Aït Benhaddou

Rise early in the morning to soak in the awesome sunrise before breakfast. Afterward, you will continue to Ouarzazate, originally founded by the French Foreign Ministry in 1928.

On the way, you will visit Morocco's most impressive kasbah complex at Aït Benhaddou, where scenes for numerous Hollywood productions, from "Laurence of Arabia" to "The Jewel of the Nile" and "Gladiator" were filmed. The Aït Benhaddou kasbah, which is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites, is set on a bright reddish sandstone hill overlooking the Mellah River.

After lunch (optional) at a local restaurant with panoramic views of the Aït Benhaddou Kasbah, you will continue to Ouarzazate, where you will stay the night. Dinner will be served at your hotel.

Day 6
Ouarzazate – Marrakech | Free Afternoon

After some enriching days in Morocco's "Great South" you will return to Marrakech over the beautiful Tizi n'Tichka Pass. There, you could rest at your hotel or explore some more sights or markets. Your tour guide can give you some suggestions on how you can spend your evening.

Day 7
Marrakech Free Day | Farewell Dinner

Day 7 is a free day for you to discover again the colorful markets and do any last-minute souvenir shopping.

In the evening a farewell dinner has been arranged. You will be picked up and taken to an old 19th-century palace, which has been transformed into a traditional Moroccan restaurant. There you will be treated to a sumptuous meal and the lively entertainment of traditional dance and music.

Day 8
Marrakech Departure

After breakfast at your hotel, your transfer to the airport awaits.

Hand-picked Hotels

Atlas Medina Hotel & Spa
Atlas Medina Hotel & Spa
La Petite Kasbah
La Petite Kasbah
Caravane De Sud Desert Luxury Camp
Caravane De Sud Desert Luxury Camp
Dar Chamaa
Dar Chamaa
 
 
 

Price Includes

Price from: $1,469 (Tour code: gh-mr-2)

One-to-one consultancy
One-to-one consultancy
Knowledgeable local guides
Knowledgeable local guides
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Hand-picked hotels
Hand-picked hotels
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Transportation as listed
Transportation as listed
A 24/7 helpline while traveling
A 24/7 helpline while traveling

Trip Notes

These trip notes give more information about the tour details. Every element of the tour can be tailored. Feel free to tell us your ideas and we will be happy to make adjustments for you.

1) English-Speaking Driver

Your English-speaking driver will meet you with your name sign and see you off at the airport, as well as drive for you between the cities of Morocco. Since some places are too small to have a local guide, your driver will provide enough explanation about them — places like at Zagora, Erg Chegaga, and Ouarzazate.

2) Private City Guides

In Marrakech and Aït Benhaddou, you will have a private English-speaking guide who will guide you to discover the city and share their local knowledge and perspectives with you. Feel free to ask questions as our guides are able to provide you with insights into their local culture, history, and life.

3) Breakfasts and Meals

Breakfasts are included in the tour. Usually, buffet breakfasts are available in hotels. A packed breakfast and set meals for dinner are offered in desert and mountain areas.

4) Transportation between Cities: Views along the Way

A private vehicle is the main transportation tool for getting between cities in Morocco. Some days you may have a 3–5-hour drive to the next destination. Your private driver will make some stops along the way to help ease your journey and to soak in the views.

5) Accommodation

We've chosen our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels with a taste of local flavor. Please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may differ from Western standards. The comfort of the camp is reasonably high, with separate toilet and bath tents. The sleeping areas consist of 2-person tents with ample space and comfortable foam mattresses.

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