Morocco Self Drive 5 - The Hidden Heart

City, countryside & open roads

About Morocco Self Drive 5 - The Hidden Heart


A superb new route using recently-opened roads across the High Atlas. Includes Marrakech, mountains, kasbahs & the coast but doesn't stray too far, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the journey.

Activity code: MORFD05

Duration: 15 Days

START / FINISH - Marrakech

This particular itinerary is our recommended self drive holiday exploring the relatively unexplored centre of Morocco, i.e. all four primary compass points from Marrakech but no more than half a day's driving in any direction. The route takes you on new roads across the High Atlas and utilises quiet roads rarely used by tourists. On this trip you will see incredible mountain passes, kasbahs, waterfalls, beautiful coastal scenery and the magical intensity of old Marrakech.

With our many years of experience putting together practical and interesting itineraries for our clients we would like to recommend this journey for you to make the most of your time in this fascinating country. We are, of course, also able to tailor-make a holiday to suit your requirements for any or all of the following - UK departure airport, budget, hotel type/size, duration, activities, etc.

Highlights of the Hidden Centre Fly Drive Holiday:

  • MARRAKECH - Nestled on a large plain at the foot of the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains, it is the perfect city to begin your visit to Morocco. Surrounded by its original fortified city wall Marrakech entices you into its midst to explore the historic and labyrinthine Medina. Today, Marrakech has become a thriving metropolis with chic night spots, top restaurants and a very modern atmosphere in places. All of which emphasises the immense historical context of the Medina and its focal point, the Djemma el Fna.
  • OUARZAZATE: Ouarzazate is the first town most people see after crossing the High Atlas and is the unofficial capital of the south of Morocco. Formerly a Foreign Legion outpost it has been notably used as a location backdrop by many epic films such as Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and Jesus of Nazareth. Ouarzazate has an old town with its maze of narrow streets and a new town where most of the hotels are located. The Kasbah Taourirt is within walking distance of most hotels and is well worth a visit. Alternatively, stay nearby at the oasis of Skoura.
  • OUZOUD: Half way between Fez and Marrakech are the impressive natural waterfalls of Ouzoud, an exceptional site. A 100m drop cuts through the middle of a luxuriant chasm which then takes the river for 2km to the deep gorges of El Abid wadi. Nearby is the Berber town of Demnate and the natural rock bridge of Imi n'Ifri.
  • ESSAOUIRA: Essaouira is a fascinating former Portuguese fishing port; its houses and shops in the medina are white-washed with blue doors and shutters. An expansive sandy beach is located next to the harbour and is shallow enough for safe bathing. Thanks to the ocean breeze, Essaouira benefits from cool on-shore breezes and at the end of the morning don't miss the colourful and lively spectacle of the return of the boats to the port, with their baskets full of fish. En route to Essaouira you will also visit the lovely town of Safi.
  • RIADS: Many treasures, especially the now-famous riads are hidden away in Marrakech and other cities in Morocco, such as Fez and Essaouira. Riads are houses, built around a central courtyard patio, whose outside walls are entirely closed. They are often converted into guesthouses or restaurants and are a symbol of the Moroccan art of fine living. We recommend riads on our holidays where the local staff are integral to the experience and all food and drink and many other materials involved with your stay and the building itself are all sourced from the local area.

Why book with Rediscover Morocco ?

With our excellent prices for car rental, Morocco has opened up to some quite unique holiday experiences. Roads around the country are improving and are actually pretty good in most places, even in the mountains and desert areas they are now mostly asphalted. We do not recommend driving at night though as headlights can be optional and safety barriers on some mountain roads are non-existent. We have all driven extensively around Morocco and will be happy to share our experiences with you if you are at all unsure about self-drive or your chosen routes.

NB: This itinerary can be taken with the services of one of our English-Speaking drivers (or a National Guide). They will drive any type of vehicle at a flat rate per day per vehicle which includes your driver's food and lodging. Hotels are personal suggestions but there is usually a choice of styles and budget at each location.

Accommodation: the hotels in this itinerary are generally small, independent or family-run, properties which add significantly to your travel experience in this fascinating country - in the table below we have included suggestions for upgrades to "boutique" properties and deluxe options (please do not hesitate to request alternative hotels).

Transport: to take the stress out of arriving and departing we offer a private airport transfer service; we can deliver and collect your hire car from your hotel (or riad) at no extra cost. All our vehicles have a/c and come with a full tank of fuel, we provide driving directions and parking information for all accommodation (where relevant). The new highways linking Marrakech, Essaouira, Casablanca, Rabat and Fez will cut down journey times when you wish to get from A to B quickly but this also means that the other roads will be quieter and a pleasant alternative for sightseeing and travelling at a gentler pace. (NB. tolls apply on the highways).

Extra Information: all our holidays have a recommended route with suggestions for sightseeing; we are able, through our local agency, to book activities and specialist sightseeing, particularly in Marrakech - such as cooking, quad bikes, caleche rides, day hikes, etc.

NB. extend this holiday easily by adding nights in any or all of the locations.

What's included in your Fly-Drive holiday?

  • Private round trip airport transfers.
  • 14 nights accommodation at a choice of small hotels.
  • 11 days fully-inclusive car hire with a/c
  • Private guided half day city tour in Marrakech.
  • Sightseeing suggestions and driving directions
  • All taxes, full 24 hour representative services.

NB: Flights available to book through us with a range of airlines, from various UK airports.

Our recommended hotel choices for this fly drive:

[Classic Hotel, Classic Riad, Boutique Hotel/Riad, Deluxe Hotel]

  • Marrakech: - Hotel Kech, Riad Mur Akush, Riad Hikaya, Les Jardins de la Koutoubia
  • Ouarzazate area: - Dar Daif, Kasbah Ellouze, Les Jardins de Skoura, Ksar Ighnda
  • Atlas Mountains: - Riad Cascades d'Ouzoud, Kabsah Tizouit
  • Essaouira: - Riad Mimouna, Riad l'Oussia, Madada Mogador, Hotel Mogador Golf & Spa

Click on the location to view our whole selection.

Contact us now to book this self drive holiday for any date.


  • Days 1 to 3 - Arrival and stay in Marrakech

    Arrival into Marrakech and private transfer to your chosen hotel or riad.

    • stay at Ksar Anika, Riad Hikaya, Riad el Zohar - 3 nights B&B basis

  • Day 4 - Marrakech - Tichka Pass - Ait Ben Haddou - Skoura

    The hire car will be delivered to your riad. Head south over the High Atlas (suggest a detour at the Tichka Pass to visit the Kasbah of Telouet). Continue down the "back road" towards Ait Ben Haddou or return to the main road for Ouarzazate via Tisselday. Pass through Ouarzazate as you have time to return over the next couple of days, continue east along Dades Valley a short distance to Skoura to visit the beautiful Palmeraie and Amerhidil Kasbah, located amongst the palm trees.

    • stay at Les Jardins de Skoura - 3 nights HB basis.

  • Days 5 & 6 - Skoura - Ouarzazate, Draa & Dades Valleys

    A visit to the beautiful Palmeraie and the Amerhidil Kasbah, located amongst the palm trees in Skoura, then a short drive back to the town of Ouarzazate with its kasbahs and the famous film studios. You now also have plenty of time to explore the dramatic Draa Valley and the Dades with its gorges, kasbahs and traditional villages, perhaps even as far as the Todra Gorge.

  • Day 7 - Skoura - Tizi n'Outfi - Demnate

    Drive along one of Morocco's new mountain roads via Tizi n'Outfi and the natural rock bridge at Imi n'Ifri en route to Demnate.

    • stay at the fabulous Kasbah Tizouit - 3 nights HB basis.

  • Days 8 &9 - Demnate - Cascades d'Ouzoud - Demnate

    A couple of full days to take a walk in the local area (guided hiking available) and to visit the incredible waterfalls at Ouzoud, Berber town of Demnate and explore this lesser-visited area of the country.

  • Day 10 - Demnate - El Kelaa-des-Sraghna - Safi

    Choice of roads to El Kelaa-des-Sraghna (e.g. via Tannant and Bzou) and then head west along quiet roads to the coast at Safi (route is signposted from Ben Guerir).

    • stay at Riad du Pecheur - 1 night BB basis.

  • Day 11 - Safi - Essaouira

    Relax in Safi for the morning and then take the quiet and stunning coast road (once you've past the sardine factories) all the way to Essaouira.

    • stay at the excellent Riad Mimouna (recommend sea view rooms), Madada Mogador or Hotel Atlas & Spa - 3 nights BB basis.

  • Days 12 & 13 - Essaouira

    Free day in Essaouira to enjoy the old town, the beach, play golf or take a drive down the coast a little way.

  • Day 14 - Essaouira - Marrakech

    From Essaouira you could visit the Atlas Mountains again by driving off the main route up towards Lalla Takerkoust or Amizmiz or even over the Kik Plateau to Marigha and Ouirgane (ask us for a quote that includes an extra night or two and an optional guided day hike). This particular fly-drive takes you back to Marrakech for one last night (and maybe some shopping).

    • stay at Ksar Anika, Riad Hikaya, Riad el Zohar - 1 night B&B basis.

  • Day 15 - departure Marrakech

    Private transfer (or drop off hire car) at airport for flight home.

  • Prices & Departure Dates

    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.


"We were looking for an ethical choice for our holiday this year, and think we found it with your company. The itinerary organised was very good thank you. The hotels in Ait Ben Haddou (Ksar Ignnada), Skoura (Jardins des Skoura) and Demnate (Tizouit) were exceptional. The hotel in Safi, Riad du Pecheur, was the one low point in the holiday - it looked nice from the outside, but was dated inside, and felt quite dirty and we were glad to only be there 1 night - we appreciate the need to stop in Safi to break up a long drive, and the town was interesting, but it would have been much more preferable not to have had this hotel on our holiday! The car (Dacia Logan) performed very well, but a 4WD wouldn't have gone amiss on some of the roads, given the low quality of the road surface and winding roads. Overall we had a wonderful holiday and really enjoyed getting to see some of the under-explored parts of Morocco. Thank you!"

C Rossi, August 2017


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