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Family Atlas Mountain and Sahara Adventure
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Mixed Groups

8 Days / 7 Nights Trip to Morocco

Family Atlas Mountain and Sahara Adventure

Morocco is a country of dizzying diversity. Here, you'll find huge mountain ranges, ancient medinas, sweeping deserts, and warm hospitality.
Led by an expert local guide, this exciting group tour is an excellent way to see the country through the eyes of someone who calls it home. Morocco provides a truly cultural experience. You can explore Marrakech and the imperial cities of Fes, Rabat and Meknes. You can trek across the Sahara on camels. You can learn about folklore and history from almost 2000 years ago. You can also enjoy camping under the stars in the desert!
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  • Duration
    8 Days
  • Starting From
    $912
    /person
    Twin sharing
  • Travel Operator
    Explore
  • Flights
    Not Included
    Flight booking assistance will be provided.

Trip highlights

Visit Marrakech, the imperial city
Highlight #1
Visit Marrakech, the imperial city
The UNESCO-listed medina, Yves Saint Laurent's famous blue gardens, the Jemaa el-Fnaa square and the souk makes your time here colourful and intriguing.
Visit the 2nd most Instagrammed Game of Thrones site
Highlight #2
Visit the 2nd most Instagrammed Game of Thrones site
Explore the UNESCO-listed Kasbah of Ait-Ben-Haddou, where Game of Thrones was filmed!
Video

A magnificent  journey through the breathtaking north African country, Morocco

Visit the blue city, Chefchaouen or the bustling medina of Fez. Take a camelback ride in the Sahara Desert or spend your time in the busy streets of Marrakech. Lots to do and lots to explore in this historic country!

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Itinerary

Join tour Marrakech

Our tour starts today in Marrakech. Depending on the schedule of your flights, you may be able to explore the vibrant Red City independently before meeting your Tour Leader and group at the hotel.

Located just outside the city walls, the hotel is only a 20 minute walk from the main Djemma El Fna Square. The new town is close by and it offers the options of small restaurants and fixed price souvenir shops. The hotel has a swimming pool and a restaurant and all of the rooms have air-conditioning.

Drive to Anmiter and ride mules up to the remote Atlas village of Tighza

Departing Marrakech after breakfast head south, crossing over the Tizi 'n Tichka Pass (2260m) following a meandering course that takes us deep into the towering peaks of the Atlas Mountains.

North Africa's greatest mountain range, the High Atlas presents us with some of the country's wildest landscapes, a region culturally removed from the rest of Morocco and one that has provided a barrier between the northern plains and the pre-Sahara for centuries. This is the land of the fiercely independent Berbers, the 'Lords of the Atlas', whose traditions and ways still hold sway up here in their mountain strongholds far away from the cities below. The Berbers present us with a unique view of a way of life lost to the rest of North Africa, where music and dance, even language and religion, are far removed from their Arab neighbours.

Our morning's journey brings us passed the ruined Glaoui Kasbah of Telouet to the fortified village of Anmiter, lying at the end of the tarmac road. Here we join our mules and, at a more relaxed pace, follow a winding track with stunning views onto the small village of Tighza where we spend the night in a remote, local gite high above the valley.

This family owned village house has many rooms with shared facilities as well as a lovely terrace providing great views of the valley.

Morning valley hike; drive to Ait Ben Haddou for a tour of the historic Kasbah

After breakfast we head out for a hike through the valley in this remote corner of the Atlas. Walking along cultivated fields, we learn about the traditional irrigation used in this arid region with channels built to divert the snow melt waters into the terraces and mud built villages. Heading down the southern slopes of the High Atlas, we reach the trailhead in Anmiter where we are reunited with our vehicle. The total hike duration is between two and three hours.

Our chef will prepare a deserved picnic lunch under the shade of almond trees before we continue our journey.

After one hour driving along the picturesque Ounila Valley with its barren slopes in sharp contrast to the rich green valley floor, we reach our hotel located opposite the famous Kasbah of Ait Ben Hadou.

The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy the swimming pool. Late afternoon when the lights are suitable for the photos we take a guided tour of the UNESCO Heritage Site. Ait Ben Haddou presents us with one of Morocco's most famous locations, a once important stop along the old trading routes between Marrakech and the Sahara during the 16th century and a superb example of a typical fortified ksar.

Bike ride to Ouarzazate; visit film studios and drive to Tamnougalt

This morning we take to the saddle as we cycle from Ait Ben Haddou down towards the fertile landscapes of the Draa Valley and the town of Ouarzazate. Helmets are supplied in two sizes or you can bring your own for a better fit. The total duration is 21km, a support vehicle is also in attendence. In summer months we will set off early to avoid the midday heat.

Known as the 'Doorway to the Desert' this fascinating outpost, lying to the south of the High Atlas and sandwiched between the high mountains and the expansive sands of the Sahara is home to one of the largest movie studios in the world. The Atlas Film Studios boasts an impressive list of productions, including The Mummy, Gladiator, Babel, Kingdom of Heaven and Lawrence of Arabia. We'll pay a visit to the studios today, taking a tour of some of these famous film sets before we depart and continue through the beautiful Draa Valley.

Driving by bus from Ouarzazate we cross a landscape lined with palm groves, Kasbahs and traditional ksours (villages), as we make our way to the village of Tamnougalt to explore what was once the capital of this remote desert region. The village's name translates as 'meeting point' and its history has been interwoven with the ruling qaids (masters) of the Mezguita region for centuries. Even today it hosts an annual festival in October when all the surrounding villages gather for a celebration of the religious and cultural traditions of these hardy people.

Our kasbah style accommodation is located in the middle of the Draa Valley with its green palm groves. It has a swimming pool and easy access to the valley for nice walks in the fields. The rooms are air conditioned.

Drive via Zagora to Ouled Driss in the desert; afternoon camel ride

Turning south today we follow the course of the Draa River, spending the morning driving through the ever-changing scenery as we make our way towards the vast oasis of Zagora, referred to by many as 'The Gate of the Desert'. Once a major outpost along the caravan routes, it takes 52 days by camel from here to Timbuktu, or so a nearby sign indicates! We continue on to Tagounite, which lies at the outer fringes of a line of undulating sand dunes that provide a taste of the immense grandeur of the Saharan Desert beyond. Amidst this seemingly inhospitable landscape the desert heat causes the air to blur and quiver, creating mirages that shimmer in the soaring temperatures, the ideal setting to explore in the time honoured manner of the Tuareg nomads.

Taking to camels, we form our own caravan, to reach the oasis of Ouled Driss (the camel ride may take place in the late afternoon on summer departures). The Arabian camel is ideally suited to these conditions and has long been highly prized by the nomadic peoples of the desert. Living for up to 40 years, they are not only valued for their endurance as beasts of burden, but also for their fur, skin and dung, all of which can be utilised for tents, leather and fuel for the fires.

Stopping to enjoy the quiet desolation of the setting and to learn something of desert life, we reach our overnight camp to enjoy a late afternoon of bread making, before settling down under a desert sky for the evening. After a hearty Berber style meal we enjoy a night under the twinkling blanket of the African sky. Rather than sleeping in tents, you may choose simply to sleep out in the open, enjoying the rare majesty of the setting and watching out for shooting stars racing across the horizon. Please note a sleeping bag is required for this night, these can be hired locally at an extra cost of 160 Moroccan Dirham (approx £13) per person and need to be requested in advance of travel.

Visit Tamegroute; drive to Ouarzazate

Retracing our steps this morning we head north once more by camel for a couple of hours back to the road. We will make a stop at the settlement of Tamegroute to visit its famous 17th century zaouia, one of the most important in the Moroccan Sahara. This was once a centre of great learning and the base of the Naciri Brotherhood, who for centuries held sway over the tribes of the Draa Valley. The holy leaders of Tamegroute were traditionally (up until quite recent times) the arbitrators of desert disputes, settling differences amongst the residents of the surrounding kours and the traders that passed through these lands on the great camel caravans that journeyed through Zagora. We'll also pay a visit to the local potters' cooperative, before continuing back to Ouarzazate later this afternoon.

Located in the main avenue of Ouarzazate and close to the main market, the hotel has a swimming pool and the rooms are air conditioned.

Drive to Marrakech; afternoon city tour

A morning drive takes us northwest back to Marrakech, where we'll have the rest of the day to explore a city that has for centuries been a meeting place for the mountain Berbers and the desert peoples of the south. This afternoon there will be an opportunity to explore something of its rich heritage with a sightseeing tour of Morocco's fascinating Red City, a city that can boast a staggering array of spectacular architecture and wonderful facades. Like many North African cities, Marrakech is divided into two distinct parts, the Gueliz (the modern French-built city) and the Medina (the Old City), a place where trade and barter amongst the colourful souks still has at its ancient heart a glittering cacophony of noise and colour.

Journeying into this vibrant city with a local guide affords a chance to discover some of its most enthralling sites. The city's beating heart is the spectacular Djemma-el-Fna, a site not to be missed and a scene straight out of the pages of the Arabian Nights. Here you will find the streets and alleys alive with storytellers and musicians, jugglers and acrobats, snake charmers and clowns. You can wander past vendors selling doughnuts and fried grasshoppers, meander through native markets where Muslim women, their hands and feet dyed with henna, call out to sell their wares, and enjoy the sounds and the smells of the exotic.

After our tour you may like to take some time to enjoy more of the remarkable Medina, haggling for a bargain or two, or simply sit at one of the local cafés and watch the street tableaux unfold before you. Do remember that many of the mosques may be forbidden to non- Muslims and be careful of photographing women, as this may be unacceptable, it is always best to ask.

Tour ends Marrakech

The tour ends today in Marrakech after breakfast. Depending on the schedule of your flights, you may be able to spend some additional time wandering the souks before returning home. Note; on the summer departures, the tour leader may adjust the timing of when the activities take place based upon daily temperatures on the day.

Inclusions

 Meals - Breakfast: 7, Lunch: 4, Dinner: 2

 Trip staff - Explore Tour Leader, Driver(s)

 Transport - Bus, Minibus

 Accommodation - 1 nights simple camping, 1 nights simple gite, 2 nights premium hotel, 2 nights comfortable hotel, 1 nights comfortable kasbah

Not Included

 Additional 5% GST

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Dates and prices

Start date

26 Sep 2020

End date

03 Oct 2020

4+ Spots left

8 Days / 7 Nights

$1,030

$912

Byond Postpaid starting at $216/month! Enquire with us now!

Frequently asked questions

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Our travellers are friendly and open-minded. They come from countries all around the world. At the end of your trip with our multicultural groups, you will return with new friends, memorable experiences and incredible stories.

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This Trip Is Operated By Explore

At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Our authentic travel experiences explore the sights and culture of a country, with hand-picked accommodation that balances comfort and location. Our average group tour size is just 12; perfect for meeting new people and getting to the heart of our destinations.

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