An alternative Sahara Desert experience: Marrakech to Erg Chigaga Desert in a 3- day tour
Want to experience the real remote, rugged desert then a trip to the younger, less visited Erthree-dayg Chigaga dunes must be in your itinerary while in Morocco. This vaste and wild desert in the southeast of Morocco is closer to the Algerian border and 60 km from the nearest town of Mhamid. You’ll have the opportunity to ride a camel, climb the dunes, sandboard, 4×4, and sleep under the star-filled sky. The scenery alone is enough reason to undertake this tour as we’ll drive by mountain passes, lush valleys, Berber villages clinging to the mountain side, dilapidated kasbahs, palm groves and awe inspiring rock formations. This three day tour departs from the red city of Marrakech through the palm lined and rocky Draa Valley, stopping to see the famous kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, and spending a night in Zagora. The next day we will undertake our Sahara Desert experience culminating in a night at a traditional bedouin camp in the desert where you will be well cared for by the locals. The last day we venture back to Marrakech along an alternative route.
What You’ll Do
The tour will depart from your accommodation in Marrakech at 08:00 AM. The first interesting stop will be the gorgeous High Atlas Mountains with its amazing scenery dotted with Berber villages. We’ll drive through the hair-rising Tizi-n-Tichka Pass to reach the World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, Morocco’s most famous ksar (ksar = old village of kasbahs). After exploring this fasicnating site, made famous as a set for a number of movies including Gladiator and more recently the Game of Thrones series, we will have lunch in Ouarzazate. Next we will venture through the Draa Valley with its palm trees and old kasbahs to overnight at a hotel in Zagora.
After breakfast, our desert adventure continues through the palm groves of the Draa valley . Following a short break to enjoy the panoramic view of Draa palmeraie, we will stop in the village of Tamgroute to visit the famous Coranic library (Closed on national and religious holidays), that has an impressive collection of academic books. We will also visit a pottery factory and an interesting underground kasbah in Tamgroute. Venturing further we will arrive in the small village of Mhamid, the gateway to Erg Chigaga, before adventuring into the impressive 300 m tall dunes. Hop on your friendly camel to travel the desert like the original nomadic people. View the sunset atop one of the dunes, before retiring to the fire to enjoy traditional food and music. Overnight in a traditional bivouac.
After breakfast we’ll depart via the old Paris – Dakar race road to Foum Zguid crossing the naturally dry Iriqui lake. Enjoy lunch in the Berber village of Taznakht, where you will have the chance to visit an association of women making the famous Berber carpets. Learn the intensive process of weaving, knotting and embroidering these colorful and durable carpets, a great souvenir from your time in Morocco. We will arrive in Marrakech around 06:00 PM and you’ll be dropped off at your accommodation, ending this epic adventure.
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