haut atlas

Marrakech to merzouga desert tours

It is a stunning road winding the mountains of the High Atlas offering a contrast of landscapes and experiences unparalleled in the heart of Amazigh land in southern Morocco. In a few days, on the passage of the highest snowy peaks of the kingdom to its most fertile palm groves, through douars, ksars, and kasbahs frozen in time, to finish on the mythical dunes of the Sahara. On the way from Marrakech to Merzouga desert tours!

CROSSING THE HIGH-ATLAS

mont toubkal telouet kasbah

day trips from marrakech to atlas mountains

atlas mountains marrakech

Starting from Marrakech, we will have to cross the atlas mountains marrakech range which is home to the highest peaks in North Africa. The mont Toubkal, the highest point in the Maghreb at 4,167 meters, is snow-covered for most of the year. It is said that the panorama of its summit extends to the edge of the Sahara. The winding road climbs the steep reliefs of the High Atlas. On the slope of the mountains, small Berber villages cling to cubic houses rise in tiers among terraced crops. Shepherds leading their flocks of goats and sheep sometimes cross our path. We stop for a moment at the highest road pass in Morocco, the Tizi Tichka pass at 2260m altitude where the air is cooler. From there, it is a zigzagging road to the Telouet valley and the valley of Ounila through contrasting landscapes of Kasbahs, green plateaus lined with cliffs, and gorges with crystal clear waters. The road is beautiful but the turns will test those who, like me, suffer from transport sickness. A small tablet of Dramamine would not hurt.

MANDATORY STOP AT AIT BEN HADDOU

Marrakech to merzouga desert tours

Marrakech to ait benhaddou

Ait Ben Haddou, a majestic ksar classified world heritage of humanity by UNESCO is an old fortress placed at the top of a hill. If the panorama sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because the site has been the location of several movies including American blockbusters Gladiator, Laurence of Arabia, Prince of Persia and even Game of Thrones.

OUARZAZATE: THE HOLLYWOOD BERBER

Ouarzazate desert tours

ouarzazate desert toursAt the confluence of the Draa and Dades valleys rises the charming town of Ouarzazate. The region around Ouarzazate offering incredible desert scenery, the Berber city has become a small Hollywood star, attracting great producers and filmmakers from around the world. Three major Kanzaman movie studios, Atlas Studios and CLA Studios have settled here and are open to the public. Apart from visiting the studios for great moviegoers and a stroll in the charming Kasbah downtown.

 

PALMERAIE AND KASBAH OF SKOURA

We continue our roadtrip by borrowing this time the path known as the road of 1000 Kasbahs dotted with traditional villages, old douars, and of course ancient Kasbahs. So many opportunities to stop and explore this rural world. The next stop is the small village Skoura drowned in a vast palm grove with cultivated crops, an oasis in the middle of the desert. One gets lost in its 50km ² of labyrinths of palms, olive trees and almond trees maintained by the population which formerly mixed Berber, Jews and Arabs. At the turn of the roads, we discover Kasbahs and restored mansions dating back to some of the seventeenth century. The place is enchanting.

…..To be continued