Desert child of Morocco

Merzouga Excursion

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Merzouga is a village in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, on the edge of Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5km wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 350m high.

The small village of Merzouga is known for its proximity to Erg Chebbi dunes in southeastern Morocco, a Saharan erg, and it is for this reason a part of the itineraries of many tourists visiting Morocco. Most people are here to take a camel safari into the dunes, and to get a taste of remote (tourism-influenced) Berber life.

Quad Excursions In Merzouga

If  you are a fun of out-door sports, you can rent a moto-quad in Merzouga and enjoy the ride in the harsh land of Merzouga as well as on through the dunes, there will be professionals who will guide you and show how to benefit the most from this sort in the desert if you have difficulties.

Camel Trek for 1 night in the Desert

Our camel walks will lead you to the heart of the dunes where you will have the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent sunset of Erg Chebbi. Walk in the footsteps of the Berber and live through a magical experience.

Picnic in the desert

Let us organize your picnic in an oasis of the Sahara – a beautiful place to enjoy a leisurely lunch or take a cup of tea with your friends on the sunset desert.

4×4 Dunes

Enjoy a ride in a 4×4 through the sand dunes, reliving the experience of the famous Paris Dakar rally.

Buggie or Quad Excursions

A fun-filled ride on a quad or sand buggy lead by an expert instructor, the excursion is perfect for thrill-seekers.

Sand boarding

Grab your board and take on the dunes – perfect for thrill-seekers.

Sand baths

The sand bath is an ancient Berber treatment for rheumatism. The hot sand in direct contact with the body is said to be beneficial for the joints, bones, tendons and muscles.

marrakech to fes 4 days desert tour

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We offer three of the most interesting four day trips that take you from city to city in an air conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers and guides who speak many languages.

Day 1 : MARRAKECH – Tizi- N-Tichka- Ait Benhaddou- Ouarzazate- Dades valley

Your unforgettable tour begins when we pick you up at your riad te travel to the Dades Valley via the High Atlas Mountains thru the Tizi n Tichka Pass. You will see dramatic landscapes and Berber villages. Our first stop is at a UNESCO site, Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, the largest in Morocco built by the last Berber chieftain in the 19th century. We will have lunch by the Kasbah and then travel the old caravan route of 1000 Kasbahs to Skoura home of 18th century Kasbah of Ameridhil. Before arriving in the Dades valley we will stop at Kalaat Mgounam known for its annual rose festival in May. Be sure to watch for “monkey toes”. We will overnight in the Dades Gorge.

Day 2 : Dades valley – Todra Gorges- Erfoud- Merzouga

We leave the beautiful gorge and begin out journey to Merzouga. We will make a stop at the Todra Gorge with its 300 meter red walls that beg for climbing or photograpging

We will take a two hour walk on the canyon floor. We will leave for Merzouga after lunch stopping at Erfoud oasis of Tafilalet, the largest date palm grove in Morocco. We will visit a traditional souk in Rissani where you buy everything you need for your daily living in Morocco from food to custom made clothing. We travel on to Merzouga where your hotel awaits you.

Day 3 : Merzouga area – camel trek and overnight in the desert camp

There is much to see and do around Merzouga. A visit to the lake and seeing the beautiful flamingos if it is the correct time of year. See goat hair nomad tents and learn about the nomad life. We will have the opportunity to listen to Gnawa music and learn about their Sudanese culture and lifestyle. In the late afternoon, you will mount your camel for a trek across the Erg Chebbi. You will experience the way of camels traversing the dunes which is never in a straight line. You will enjoy the quiet desert until we reach camp. Sunset in the desert is an event in itself. your evening, meal will be prepared using traditional Berber methods. When you lay on your back under the stars you almost feel as though you can reach out and touch them. You will sleep the night as a nomad in your tent.

Day 4 Merzouga – the Ziz Valley- Tizi n’ Talghamt Pass – Midelt –Azrou – Fez

Your guide will be certain you are awake for an exceptional desert sunrise. We will mount our camels and return to Merzouga. You will fall in love on the trip back as the early morning light changes the colors of the “Golden Dunes”. After breakfast, we continue our journey to Fez by way of the Ziz Valley and Azrou enjoying the vast vistas as we travel through the Tizi n’ Talghamt Pass to Midelt. After lunch we will visit the cedar forest and the Barbary apes before traveling on the Fez where we will leave you at your riad or hotel.

2 Days Fes Desert Tour

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Day 1: Fez – Ifrane – Midelt – Ziz Gorges – Erfoud – Rissani – Merzouga

We will meet you at your riad at 8:0 0am, depart and transport (7 hours) over the Middle Atlas mountains through the cedar forests of Ifrane, Azrou, Midelt and the Ziz gorges towards Sahara, until the Erg Chebbi dunes appear on the horizon. After relaxing a few minutes in Merzouga, we go to the camels waiting to take us for an unforgettable adventure in the sand dunes. We will spend the night in a camp with drum music and supper in the middle of the Sahara. We go to the high dunes to see the sunset and will spend the night in nomad tents.

Day 2: Merzouga – Midelt – Ifrane – Fez

We will wake up early to enjoy a magnificent sunrise on the dunes then take a camel ride back to the hotel. After freshening up and breakfast we’ll leave for Fez. We will travel via the Ziz Valley and the Middle Atlas mountains as we depart the desert region to Fes. We will drive through the cedar forests of Azrou and stop to hand feed the monkeys. We will continue via Ifrane, the ‘Switzerland of Morocco’ to arrive early evening to Fez.

Rabat Morocco

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Rabat is the capital city of Morocco and its second largest city with an urban population of approximately 580,000 (2014) and a metropolitan population of over 1.2 million. It is also the capital city of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra administrative region.

The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. On the facing shore of the river lies Salé, the city’s main commuter town. Rabat, Temara, and Salé form a conurbation of over 1.8 million people. Silt-related problems have diminished Rabat’s role as a port; however, Rabat and Salé still maintain important textile, food processing and construction industries. In addition, tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat one of the most important cities in the country.

Once a reputed corsair haven, Rabat served as one of the many ports in North Africa for the Barbary pirates, who were particularly active from the 16th through the 18th centuries.

Rabat is accessible by train through the ONCF system and by plane through the nearby Rabat–Salé Airport.

The Moroccan capital was ranked at second place by CNN in its “Top Travel Destinations of 2013”. It is one of four Imperial cities of Morocco, and the medina of Rabat is listed as a World Heritage Site.

History

2th to 17th century

Rabat has a relatively modern history compared to the nearby ancient city of Salé. In 1146, the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu’min turned Rabat’s ribat into a full-scale fortress to use as a launching point for attacks on Iberia. In 1170, due to its military importance, Rabat acquired the title Ribatu l-Fath, meaning “stronghold of victory,” from which it derives its current name.

Yaqub al-Mansur (known as Moulay Yacoub in Morocco), another Almohad Caliph, moved the capital of his empire to Rabat. He built Rabat’s city walls, the Kasbah of the Udayas and began construction on what would have been the world’s largest mosque. However, Yaqub died and construction stopped. The ruins of the unfinished mosque, along with the Hassan Tower, still stand today.

Yaqub’s death initiated a period of decline. The Almohad empire lost control of its possessions in Spain and much of its African territory, eventually leading to its total collapse. In the 13th century, much of Rabat’s economic power shifted to Fez. In 1515 a Moorish explorer, El Wassan, reported that Rabat had declined so much that only 100 inhabited houses remained. An influx of Moriscos, who had been expelled from Spain, in the early 17th century helped boost Rabat’s growth.
Corsair republics

Rabat and neighboring Salé united to form the Republic of Bou Regreg in 1627 . The republic was run by Barbary pirates who used the two cities as base ports for launching attacks on shipping. The pirates did not have to contend with any central authority until the Alaouite Dynasty united Morocco in 1666. The latter attempted to establish control over the pirates, but failed. European and Muslim authorities continued to attempt to control the pirates over many years, but the Republic of Bou Regreg did not collapse until 1818. Even after the republic’s collapse, pirates continued to use the port of Rabat, which led to the shelling of the city by Austria in 1829 after an Austrian ship had been lost to a pirate attack.
20th century
French invasion

The French invaded Morocco in 1912 and established a protectorate. The French administrator of Morocco, General Hubert Lyautey, decided to relocate the country’s capital from Fez to Rabat. Among other factors, rebellious citizens had made Fez an unstable place. Sultan Moulay Youssef followed the decision of the French and moved his residence to Rabat. In 1913, Gen. Lyautey hired Henri Prost who designed the Ville Nouvelle (Rabat’s modern quarter) as an administrative sector. When Morocco achieved independence in 1955, Mohammed V, the then King of Morocco, chose to have the capital remain at Rabat.

Post World War II

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Following World War II, the United States established a military presence in Rabat at the former French air base. By the early 1950s, Rabat Salé Air Base was a U.S. Air Force installation hosting the 17th Air Force and the 5th Air Division, which oversaw forward basing for Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-47 Stratojet aircraft in the country. With the destabilization of French government in Morocco, and Moroccan independence in 1956, the government of Mohammed V wanted the U.S. Air Force to pull out of the SAC bases in Morocco, insisting on such action after American intervention in Lebanon in 1958. The United States agreed to leave as of December 1959, and was fully out of Morocco by 1963. SAC felt the Moroccan bases were much less critical with the long range capability of the B-52 Stratofortresses that were replacing the B-47s and with the completion of the USAF installations in Spain in 1959.

With the USAF withdrawal from Rabat-Salé in the 1960s, the facility became a primary facility for the Royal Moroccan Air Force known as Air Base Nº 1, a status it continues to hold.

2 Day Desert Trip From Marrakech

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This Kasbah trail and the Sahara desert tour lets you experience wonderful scenery, magnificent Kasbahs and a camel trek into the desert over 2  days.

Day 1: Marrakech –  Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah-Zagora desert

We’ll meet you in Marrakech and drive to Ouarzazate through the dramatic Tizi n Tichka pass (2260m), over the High Atlas Mountains, You will appreciate the beauty of the landscape along the twisting road. We arrive at the famous Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah; the largest Kasbah in Morocco and now a UNESCO historical site still housing many Glaoui family members. Lunch is by the Kasbah before continuing to Zagora where your camel awaits you. You will be welcomed with a glass of mint tea and a turban (desert scarf) and meet your experienced camel guide. You’ll explore the mysterious sea of sand. Here you’ll also spend the night under the stars or, if you prefer, in a traditional Berber nomad tent.

Day 2:  Zagora desert – Ouarzazate  – Marrakech

After breakfast with the Bedouin family you’ll peacefully camel trek back to your hotel base. Enroute you won’t fail to appreciate the unique beauty of the spectacular sand dunes that change with the light as the day progresses. Arriving late morning back in Zagora and after a shower in the hotel guesthouse, we’ll leave for Ouarzazate and Marrakech, once again over the Tizi N Tichka pass arriving in Marrakech in the evening. The tour ends at your accommodation.

3 Days Desert Tour From Marrakech To Fes

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We offer three of the most interesting four day trips that take you from city to city in an air conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers and guides who speak many languages.

Day 1: Marrakech – Tizi-N-Tichka – Ait Ben Haddou – Ouarzazate – Dades valley

We will meet at your hotel at 0800 and travel through \the Dades valley and the Tizi- N-Tichka pass (2260m) in the High Atlas Mountains. From Marrakech to Ouarzazate, there are spectacular vistas awaiting you.with varied colorful Berber villages along the way.

You will have free time to visit the old Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou. a the World Heritage site. where many films including “Gladiator” “Indiana Jones” and “Lawrence of Arabia”.were filmed. Enjoy a walk to explore the traditional Moroccan architecture. After your walk and lunch, you go further south east to the green Dades valley and the city of roses via the fascinating Skoura palmary. Dinner and overnight will be in the beautiful Dades valley.

Day 2: Dades valley – Todra Gorges – Erfoud – Merzouga Desert

We depart early taking the road of 1000 Kasbahs around the Berber villages of the Dades valley. We arrive in Tinegher with its beautiful palm grove and Jewish quarter. From there, we continue to Todra Gorges (Todgha), where you will have free time to walk along the canyon floor. With walls about 300m high, it is a favorite place for rock climbers.. We will have lunch on the way before arriving in Erfoud. Then we’ll head for the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Around 16.00 we will ride the camels on an adventure in to the Sahara Desert, see a magnificent sunset. When we arrive at the camp, dinner and fire with drum music and singing. This is a great opportunity to take lovely pictures. We will spend the night in nomad tents

Day 3 Merzouga – the Ziz Valley- Tizi n’ Talghamt Pass – Midelt –Azrou – Fez

Your guide will be certain you are awake for an exceptional desert sunrise. We will mount our camels and return to Merzouga. You will fall in love on the trip back as the early morning light changes the colors of the “Golden Dunes”. After breakfast, we continue our journey to Fez by way of the Ziz Valley and Azrou enjoying the vast vistas as we travel through the Tizi n’ Talghamt Pass to Midelt. After lunch we will visit the cedar forest and the Barbary apes before traveling on the Fez where we will leave you at your riad or hotel.

INCLUDED :

Comfortable vehicle with A/C

Experienced private tours driver /Guide

Hotel accommodation and desert camp overnight stay

Breakfast and dinner

Camel ride into desert camp

NOT INCLUDED :

Lunches, drinks

Dades Gorges

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The Dadès Gorges are a series of rugged wadi gorges carved out by the Dadès River in Morocco. The river originates in the High Atlas range of the Atlas mountains, flowing some 350 kilometres (220 mi) southwest before joining the Draa River at the edge of the Sahara. The many-colored walls of the gorges range anywhere from 200 to 500 meters (650 to 1600 feet).

Formation

The area which now forms the Dadès Gorges lay at the bottom of the sea millions of years ago. Great quantities of sediment were deposited around giant coral reefs, and over time this material became compacted into a variety of sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and limestone. Eventually, the movement of the earth’s crust caused the region to rise above the sea, forming the Atlas Mountains and surrounding landscape.

The Dadès River established its course quite early in this upheaval, and the flowing water began to erode away the porous sedimentary rock of the mountains. For the majority of the year, the Dadès has a relatively weak flow, owing to the dryness of the area’s climate. However, during the storm season, enormous quantities of water can be forced into the river at once, creating raging torrents with enormous erosive power. These torrents carry large amounts of debris from the source all the way down to the end of the river’s source, and each piece scrapes away at the softer rock in the gorge walls, gradually enlarging and deepening the gorge with every flood season.

Flora and fauna

The southernmost gorges are known for extensive production of roses, used in the production of rose water. There are also groves of palm and almond trees.

Erg Chebbi Merzouga

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Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco’s two Saharan ergs – large seas of dunes formed by wind-blown sand. The other is Erg Chigaga near M’hamid.

Description

The dunes of Erg Chebbi reach a height of up to 150 meters in places and altogether it spans an area of 50 kilometers from north to south and up to 5–10 kilometers from east to west lining the Algerian border.

The nearest sizable town is Erfoud, about 60 kilometers further north. One other city is Rissani, around 40 kilometers from Merzouga, and from the 8th to the 14th century there was a separate kingdom, known as Sijilmassa, which was prosperous owing to former caravan routes.

Although rainfall is very brief and uncommon, in 2006 flooding adjacent to the dunes destroyed many buildings and killed three people.

Tourism

Merzouga, the local tourist center, is located near the edge of the dunes………….. A number of companies offer camel trips from Merzouga and into the desert, taking tourists on overnight trips several kilometres into the erg, which is enough to bring the village out of sight. Erg Chebbi’s proximity to the tourist center has led to the Saharan erg sometimes being referred to as “dunes of Merzouga.”

During the warmest part of the year, Moroccans come to Erg Chebbi to be buried neck-deep in the hot sand for a few minutes at a time. This is considered to be a treatment for rheumatism.

Midelt City Morocco

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Midelt is a town in central Morocco, in the high plains between the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountain ranges. With a population of 55,304 recorded in the 2014 Moroccan census, Midelt serves as the commercial center of a large agricultural hinterland. It is also one of Morocco’s principal cities for the mining of several minerals.

Geography

Midelt is situated on the main road between Fes and Meknes to the north and Errachidia to the south. Geographically, it is situated in the high plains surrounding the Moulouya River, between the Middle and High Atlas mountain ranges.

The city’s elevation is 1,508 metres (4,948 ft), making it one of the highest large towns in Morocco.

Climate

Midelt features Alpine climate. The elevation of Midelt and its relative proximity to the North Atlantic Ocean cools the daily temperatures to make Midelt one of the most temperate of the inland towns. However, many coastal towns have milder temperatures, warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Every winter, when a cold damp air coming from the north west influence Western Europe and Morocco, temperatures can fall dramatically well below -10 degrees Celsius in Midelt. However, these extreme conditions don’t last for more than 5 continuous days.

Temperature averages, from the years 1961 to 1990, yield daily maximum/minimum temperatures for January as 12.3 / 0.6 degrees Celsius and for July as 32.6 / 16.3 degrees Celsius. Snow is common in winter, and precipitation continues throughout the year at moderate levels. However, the principal water source of the region is a spring at the foot of Jbel Ayachi, 10 kilometres (6 mi) south of Midelt.

A dam moderating the flow from the spring was destroyed by a flood in early 2006 following heavy snows the previous winter, damaging the nearby village of Tattiwin.

Zagora , Morocco

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Zagora ‎ is a town in the Draa River valley in the Drâa-Tafilalet region of southeastern Morocco.

It is flanked by the mountain Zagora from which the town got its name. Originally it was called ‘Tazagourt’ the singular of plural ‘Tizigirt’ , Berber for ‘twinpeaks’, referring to the fortress of the Murabitun, or Almoravid, people. In old European maps the mountain Zagora is already indicated but the town itself was only built in the 20th century. On the top of the Zagora mountain the remains of an Almoravid fortress can still be seen. The exact location of the former Almoravid mosque is still a matter of dispute. Each year the moussem (festival) of the Sufi saint moulay Abdelkader Jilali is celebrated at Zagora. Languages spoken in the city include Moroccan Arabic, Tachelhit and Tamazight. A sign at the town border states “Tombouctou 52 days”, the supposed time it takes to get to Timbuktu, Mali on foot or camel. The original sign have been replaced by a mural painting.

Culture

Zagora is also noted for international events such as the Zagora Marathon and the Nomads Festival in M’Hamid.

Zagora is home to famous Moroccan writer Charifa Lemouir