Morocco - Draa Valley - Palm Oasis and Desert
A fascinating one week journey from Marrakesh, over the Atlas down to the Palm Oasis in the Valley of the Draa River and deep into the Sahara Desert
We begin our journey in the lively heart of Marrakesh’s old Medina. Attracting travellers from all over the world, the “Red City” is one of the most fascinating imperial cities of Morocco. And specially the Medina with it’s labyrinthine alleyways, abundant fragrances and bright colours and even the snake charmers on the famous big square Jemaa el-Fnaa, is one of these places you would not want to miss. But this is only the beginning of a fascinating journey...
Arrival in Marrakesh
Our charming hotel will be right at the bustling center of the Medina, but still is like a quiet oasis with it’s courtyards and flowers, the roof terraces and tea room to relax from your adventure. Since arrival times are different for all participants, our meeting point will be the Hotel, giving you time to explore the city. Airport pick-up can be arranged. In the evening we can have a stroll together on our way to our first dinner together in a restaurant near the main square.
We leave Marrakesh in the morning on a comfortable Mini-Bus, driving on a scenic route over the Atlas Mountains.
Our lunch break is at a famous Ksar Aït Ben Haddou, an ancient fortified village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, where many famous films have been shot, from Gladiator to parts of the TV series Game of Thrones. We visit the film museum and go for a little walk.
From there we continue our journey to the stunning Palm Oasis on the River Draa. The contrast of colours is outstanding, the green of the palms and the red of the mountains behind.
Our beautiful Eco-Hotel is right in the hearth of this Valley, surrounded by palm trees and gardens, the setting and the rooms are just amazing.
Basically a "take it easy day", but with several options to discover the area. After a good night sleep and a delicious breakfast, you can either just go for a relaxed and easy walk from our Hotel along the river through the oasis, visit a nearby Kasbah and enjoy the rest of the day in the beautiful gardens.
For those who want to go on a little longer trip and see more of the area, we go by car to some still inhabited, old cities, Ksours are the most impressive heritage of the Drâa Valley. We walk in the palm grove to discover the history and soul of this Ksours of Agdz, huge garden of cultures and place of life accompany you by an local guide for a walk on the trails of this palm to discover the diversity of crops and agricultural practices. Dinner at the Hotel.
Today is the day for our mountain tour, again you have several options for an easier alternative trip if you prefer.
Our mountain tour takes us up to Jbel Kissane the big mountain with 1600m altitude, located in the Anti-Atlas on the edge of the Draa Valley. It is a very characteristic mountain for this area, and according to the light during the day, it changes colour from pink to dark red. The panoramic views are just stunning. It takes about 3h for the ascent and 2h 30 for the descent, we have lunch up there and come back to the Eco-lodge by the end of the day. Dinner at the Hotel.
We start our adventure from Agdez towards the Sahara, on our way we visit the Kasbah Oulad Outman and Ksar Tissergat, in the village of Tamegroute we stop to visit the Koranic library, the manufacturing location of the unique green pottery of Tamegroute and the underground streets of the village.
From there we continue to Foum Takat and the great oasis of Ktaoua. We have lunch in a familly house and take the off-road to our Camp in the Desert at Erg Chegaga. We can still enjoy the unique and most beautiful sunset on the dunes. Dinner at the camp.
Early birds can watch the sunrise over the dunes near the camp.
After breakfast we will meet our team of cameleers, assist with preparation of the caravan, this is just a brief glance into the daily life of the Bedouins, our guide can tell us more about the history and the todays reality and difficulty these people are facing.
Our trek leads us over desert dunes, we will be walking with the camels and riding on parts of the trek, to an amazing oasis, where we relax in the shadow, have lunch there in the oasis and return to the camp. Dinner at the camp.
There is no better place on earth to watch the stars then in the dark, quiet nights of the desert. In order to be able to understand the universe above and around us better, we get a little introduction to astronomy on a telescope set up in the middle of the dunes.
Amazing off-road trip through the desert, it's 3 hours drive in confortable 4x4's. We start just after sunrise and a traditional nomad breakfast, over the dunes towards Ouarzazate along the track between Erg Chigaga and the old riverbed of the Draa River to Lake Iriqui near Iriqui National Park, then to the village Foum Zguid. Stop for lunch at Taznakht or in the way, Taznakhte is well known for its handmade Berber carpets. After lunch we continued our trip to the Fint Oasis, after a short visit and some tea with a local family we drive to Ouarzazate.From Ouarzazate we go back to Marrakesh in a Minibus.
Our last dinner together at the roof terrace of the famous Restaurant Café Arabe
Travelling back, or continue the journey. Airport transfer/taxi can be arranged. If you like to spend some days on the beach in the beautiful and very charming town Essaouira on the Atlantic coast, we can arrange this for you, just tell us how much longer you can stay and our partners make you an offer.
- Accommodation with breakfast first night in Marrakech
- Accommodation 3 nights in Eco-Lodge in Draa Valley, full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Accomodation 2 nights in desert camp, full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Accommodation with breakfast last night in Marrakech
- All transport (except airport pick-up), Bus and 4x4
- All guided tours on program above, including trekking tour with camels
- Tour guide
- Airport transfer (a taxi pick-up can be arranged from Airport to Riad)
- Dinners in Marrakech for first and last night
- Drinks apart from water and tea offered on tours (Morocco is a muslim country, alcohol is mostly not available)
Please understand that we are staying in very charming small places, no big Hotels for mass tourism, there are no single rooms available, only double, and some triple.
We spend two nights in a desert camp, it is a beautiful camp, a great location in the middle of the desert, comfortable beds, great food, hot showers, but please be aware, this is not a 5 star Hotel, so no private bathrooms, etc. but millions of stars above us.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS - REGISTRATION:
- To participate in this tour it is important to read the full description for each day
- It is not a challenging tour, you have the choice to take part or not in the medium difficult ones and always have an easier option, but some fitness and adventure spirit is required
- Valid passport (not ID card) valid for at least 3 more month at the date of travel
- Health/travel insurance valid in Morocco
- Special health conditions need to be communicated to the tour leader when registering
- Food: There is always a vegetarian option, please let us know if you have any food intolerance