About Morocco Southern Adventure
An inclusive 4WD trip through Southern Morocco's best bits. Tour includes famous kasbahs, guided hikes, Sahara experience, Todra Gorge & much more.
Activity code: ITCTST01m
Difficulty: GRADE ONE: Walking mostly on trails at lower levels, sometimes rocky, seldom flat, for about 6 hours each day. Good shoes/trainers would do but take boots if you have them worn in. Suitable for anyone who leads a reasonably active life. Hiking always involves some effort.
Duration: 10 Days
This particular trip is a fully-inclusive tour offering you the opportunity to enjoy and explore the South of Morocco's "best bits", travelling with one of our excellent English-speaking trekking guides. We highly recommend this journey if you are looking for a more activity-based exploration holiday to make the most of your time in this fascinating country; it is simply not possible to include this amount of hiking, visiting the desert and general sightseeing on any other tour and certainly not unaccompanied.
We provide an English-speaking mountain guide and a driver/mechanic, all meals and all accommodation (some small hotels, mostly camping).
ACCOMMODATION: hotels are personal suggestions but there is usually a choice of styles and budget at each location; although much of this itinerary involves camping. Please be prepared for chilly nights but we will supply good quality tents and plenty of blankets. All meals are also included. We are also able to tailor-make a holiday itinerary to suit your requirements for UK departure airport, budget, duration, activities, etc.
IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU BRING (depending upon season): good walking boots; sleeping bag (3 seasons); waterproofs and fleece/duvet jackets, hats, balaclavas or ear muffs; gloves; rambler or ski pole; personal toiletries; small First Aid kit, thermal underwear (Dec-May); day pack; filled water bottles; torch and batteries (LED head torches are excellent), penknife (remember not to pack in hand baggage for flight); towel, sunscreen, insect repellent, hygienic wipes, nibbles and/or dried fruit. Drinking chocolate if preferred to tea and coffee, camping mug (otherwise it is small Moroccan tea glasses for everything), energy sweets and toilet rolls could come in handy!
MEALS ARE NORMALLY:
NB: all our prices are for land arrangements only (starting and finishing in Marrakech), please contact us to arrange any additional accommodation in Marrakech or elsewhere such as the High Atlas or Essaouira on the coast as well as flights from your preferred airport.
Our trekking organiser (Andy in the UK) and our Head Guide (Houcine in Imlil) have many, many years of experience of arranging treks in Morocco. We have a wealth of experience in these areas so feel free to contact us to discuss your individual requirements.
Day 1 - arrival in Marrakech and private transfer to your riad. Overnight at Ksar Anika or similar on BB basis.
Day 2 - early morning departure towards the south from Marrakech in a 4WD through the Glaoua countryside and up through exhilarating hairpin bends into the Western High Atlas mountains. Alight at the Tichka Pass (2260m) to take in the vista offered by the Jbel Toubkal - at 4167m the highest peak in the Maghreb - Jbel Siroua (3304m), and the second highest peak in the Maghreb - Ighil M'Goun (4071m) plus the Plains of Jbilit and Tidili and of distant Ouarzazate.
The descent begins with a detour to the Assif Telouet and the Glaoui kasbah, where there is a stop for a visit of this dramatic red-earthen eyrie, fast crumbling under the attacks of wind and sun, a labyrinth of passageways, delicate iron window grilles and finely carved ceilings. Time for a picnic by a spring before continuing on via the quiet Assif Ounila Valley road until you reach the magnificently exotic kasbah and ksour of Ait Ben Haddou, declared a World Heritage Site. Here, you can visit these various kasbahs, so closely-knit that they appear to be but one complete building, backed up against the looming mountain in a stretch of unforgiving hammada. The thick, high, sheer, elaborately decorated pise walls, stepped-up housing, turreted, crenellated ramparts, balustrades and arched 'babs' are a sight not to be missed. Hollywood has shot many of its films here including, "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Gladiator". One of the more spectacular sights in the Atlas ranges, set upon a rock above a reed-strewn assif, commanding the area for miles around, this kasbah controlled the route to Marrakech until the French blasted a road through the Tizi n'Tichka in the late 1920s.
From here continue south to Ouarzazate and dinner and overnight accommodation. Should you feel up to it, you can take a stroll around this town, still echoing with the atmosphere of the French Foreign Legion of the 1930s.
After breakfast around the pool, it's a drive to the 19th century Kasbah Taourirt for a quick visit of this complex of courtyards and richly decorated rooms before setting out towards the east into what can best be described as 'Beau Geste' country and the magnificent Valley of a 1000 Kasbahs [the Dades Valley] the harshest and wildest of the southern valleys, which makes the sudden appearance of palmeraies even more dramatic, hemmed in as it is between the Western High Atlas range and Jbel Saghro. Firstly, there is a stop to visit the fabulous kasbah of Amerhidl before your picnic lunch in an Auberge restaurant in the Skoura oasis, where Nature puts on her show of red earth, yellow sand, blue-green waters, green vegetation and brilliant blue sky.
Continuing along this "Valley of the Roses", through El Klaa des Mgouna, (Citadel of the Mgouna Tribe) where thousands of small, pink roses, first planted by French settlers, are grown to make the rose oil essence - "Eau de Rose" - so beloved of the Berber people. Next you will continue on up to the ksour of Ait Youl and a brief visit of this fortified village, tucked up against the stony slopes with its associated palmeraie.
Having chosen to make this comprehensive and somewhat "off-the-beaten-track" journey in a 4WD, you now get to experience a hike which few have made - a hike from the Dades Gorge to the Todra across the High Atlas. After a typical Moroccan breakfast, set out upwards for a 45 minute drive via a superb grouping of ksours at Ait Arbi, past a region known by the local Berber people as the "Hills of a Thousand Bodies", as the rock formations look like human feet. From here there is a further climb over a little Tizi to Ait Oufi where the red cliffs of the gorge narrow quite dramatically. You are now driving through a small canyon with zigzagging bends and an even narrower gap to reach Taghia n'Dades to arrive, some 63km from the mouth of the Gorge, at Msemrir (1700m).
This is the starting point to begin a 5-6 hour hike eastwards along the Tizgui n'Ouadda Valley's rocky outcrops up to the Tizi n'Ouano (2800m) where you'll have your picnic amidst impressively craggy surroundings - and the occasional golden eagle, rock thrushes and ground squirrels. After your break continue down to the village of Tamtatoucht at the end of the Todra Gorge where you rejoin your 4WD. Now there is a short drive for some 90 minutes down this fault in the plateau - giving all the appearance of the earth having being savagely split open by a great force -making several photo stops along the way, for in the evening these magnificent rock formations are coloured in bands of pinks, reds and purples, whilst the ruins of kasbahs and ksours stare silently down. The last part of today's journey is down a dusty and bumpy ride past mini gorges in an amphitheatre of red-ochre and pinkish-grey cliffs to the Source Des Poissons Sacrees - a pool where the Berber womenfolk come to bathe, seeking a cure for sterility - to the palmeraies of the Oued Todra and the main village of Tineghir.
Breakfast tucked away, set out further east along the Tinejdad Valley - the stamping grounds of the Berber warriors of the south, the highly-independent Ait Atta tribe - through palmeraies and stark hills along a well-surfaced road, occasionally covered with blown sand to leave the oasis at Mallaab and continue alongside the hammada until you reach the vast palmeraie of El Jorf. En route you will see parallel lines of strange, conical humps, which are really man-made entries to old underground irrigation channels, and long fields of piles of pointed stones, which are, in fact, Berber cemeteries covered to prevent the bodies being raided by the desert jackals and foxes.
From El Jorf continue to sandblasted Erfoud, a Berber village at the end of the Assif Ziz Valley and enter the desert via stone and sand pebble tracks for a picnic with some dromedary breeders before setting out for a hike through the desert to the undeniably impressive high dunes of Erg Chebbi. The hike will take you into a sunset to take your breath away; the changing colours from yellow to purple and then black to a sky resplendent with a myriad of stars is Nature's Son et Lumiere show without a sound.
Should you prefer to ride a dromedary instead of walking, you may arrange through your guide to pay for one directly.
After a typical Touareg breakfast, set out northwards to the quiet village of Rissani, where a quarter of the population still live in the 17th century ksar of the Alaouite dynasty, and the last stop of the caravan routes south to Timbuktu. Here there is a visit the Zaouia of Moulay Ali Cherif, the original stronghold of the Alaouite, and the 19th century Ksar Akhbar, a grandiose ruin which was once a palace for exiled rebellious family members and for the wives of the dead sultans. The access to many of the pise houses is through underground passageways.
From here head west between the Jbel Ougnat range and the Chorea Hammada, passing through Tikkert n'Ouchchane, and the natural ford at Ainif before turning south until you reach Ait Saadane, with its small ksar. Here turn west to the village of Tazzarine, set in a grassy oasis surrounded by stark mountains, and on through several small palmeraies until you reach the pleasant small sand-coloured town of n'Kob, set in the foothills of the starkly beautiful chaos of volcanic peaks and black rock of the Jbel Saghro (2554m). Jbel Saghro, in Berber, means "Dry Peak." Here your picnic lunch will be prepared prior to visiting the waterfall and the kasbah set amongst the palmeraies.
After a typical Moroccan breakfast set out for a 6 hour hike up into the Jbel Saghro through a forest of basalt columns to visit the Berber village of Hann Dour (1200m) whose pise houses seem barely anchored to the cliff, and a surprisingly beautiful palmeraie. Continue along the Assif Taoudach through banks of barley, corn and potato and fruit trees growing in the shade of date palms up to the village of Trif d'Assine where your field picnic will be prepared under the shade of palm trees. The afternoon is spent hiking up to the impressive "gate" in the Jbel - Bab n'Ali - two sandblasted basalt pillars amidst basalt columns in the stony Oussdidene Valley and then back to Er Assoun.
After an early breakfast and camp struck, set off back to n'Kob to rejoin your 4WD and drive towards the south-east and the village of Tansikht, then northwards up through the Draa Valley to the blood-red village Agdz (pronounced Ag-a-dez) to visit its simple yet solidly-designed kasbah and stop for a picnic between the starkly-eroded tajine pot shaped Jbel Kissane and a beautiful palmeraie.
After lunch continue towards the north via the Tizi n'Tinififft towards Ouarzazate and up over the Tizi n'Tichka (2260m) to arrive finally at Marrakech around 8 in the evening.
Final day in Marrakech for sightseeing and/or shopping in the souks.
Prices depend on your chosen accommodation and room availability as well as time of travel. Please take this into consideration when comparing prices; we always aim to match a high quality experience with exceptional value for money. Please note that discounts will apply if there are 4 or more people in your travelling party as fixed costs such as transportation and guides will be shared equally between the group.
NB: Flights available to book with us through a range of airlines, from various UK airports.
Fully-inclusive guided tour of southern Morocco's "best bits" with trekking, sightseeing and a fantastic Sahara Adventure included. NB. Also includes 3nts in Marrakech and airport transfers.
Date range: , Option: Inclusive Southern Adventure
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All prices are per person