DAY 1: OUARZAZATE – MERZOUGA
►Breakfast with fresh fruit, apricot jam, bread and coffee then depart fromOuarzazate.
►With our final destination being Merzouga 480km away, the route ahead, often referred to as “the road of one thousand kasbahs” will be full of exciting scenery.
►When traveling to Morocco’s Sahara – Merzouga – we will first pass the sleepy town of Skoura and admire its impressive palm groves and ruined kasbahs surrounded by palm trees, fig, birch and tamarisk. We will also pass El-Kelaa M’Gnoua and surrounding valleys, open up your window to inhale the strong scent of Persian roses permeating through the mountain air. In spring we can make a pit-stop to take pictures of the spectacular landscape overlooking El-Kelaa M’Gnoua whose two distillation factories use 3000 to 4000 of the rose petals produced by the town each year. Other sights to look for include lovely stretches over the fertile Dadès Valleyand a dramatic backdrop of rocks framing the slender towers of the Tamnalt Kasbahs.
►Beyond the Draâ Valley and the village of Tafilalt, we will arrive in Tinehir a lively town built on a rocky outcrop.
►Stop in Tinerhir for lunch and try Madfouna, southern Morocco’s version of pizza: griddle- fried wheat flour bases topped with onions, tomatoes, olives, minced lamb and cheese.
►Continue the journey passing the Todra river, oases of impressive kasbahs, valleys lined with date palms, olive terraces, pomegranate and almond and fruit trees. Back on the main road, look for signs for Er-Rachidia. Here the palm groves of the Ziz and Tafilalt begin and you can catch a glimpse of the Er-Rachidia’s administrative and military center built by the French in the early twentieth century.
►Stop to cool off at the Source Bleue de Meski, a blue spring of water that flows from a cave at the foot of a cliff. Admire views of the oasis and the ruined ksar of Meski then drive towards Erfoud and Rissani taking in sights of the Ziz valley, oases of Oulad Chaker, the Palm grove of Tafilalt and the famous Rissani Souk. If you wish stop to browse, the stalls are lined with animals, pyramids of dates, jewelry, daggers, carpets and other artisan crafts. Upon leaving the Draâ valley enter Merzouga.
► Arrive in Morocco’s Sahara – Merzouga, have dinner and spend the night in a Berber biouvac tent near the Erg Chebbi Dunes.
DAY 2: MERZOUGA – N’KOB
►Wake up early and head out to an Oasis by camel to trek across the Erg Chebbi Dunes before dawn. Watch the sunrise over the dunes and then head back to your tent.
►Enjoy breakfast on fresh fruits, natural squeezed orange juice and bread.
►After breakfast spend the next few hours riding through the desert then drive in Travel Exploration’s 4×4 to the Dayet Srji.
►Depart Merzouga and stop in the center of Rissani to purchase Berber jewelry with iconic designs of the desert. Stock up on dried fruits and other snacks at the local souk to enjoy a relaxing ride back to Ouarzazate.
►Enjoy a late lunch in the Berber village of N’kob. Have a tajine on the terrace of a renovated kasbah hotel overlooking the valley in N’Kob. Try a tasty kalia, a spicy stew of mutton or kid, flavored with over forty spices and served in a tajine with vegetables, egg and parsley.
►Spend the night at a local riad in N’kob village.
►N’kob is a village in the Middle Atlas Mountains which boasts prehistoric rock-carvings to explore. If geology is your passion then stopping in Tazzarine, Alnif and Rissani to explore the rocks, fossils and minerals found in shops along the roadside is a priority. Trilobites are the areas main export. Besides fossils, you will also have a chance to see a circuit of ksour- Asserehine, Zaouiet el Maati, Irara, Gaouz, Tabassant, Tinrheras and Ouirhalne.
DAY 3: N’KOB – OUARZAZATE
►Rise early and take the road through the Draa Valley, passing the Skoura Palmary back to Ouarzazate.