Fes via Erg Chigaga

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PACKAGE PRICE STARTS FROM:

€725 per person (Berber camping)
Prices based on two people travelling by private vehicle.

*upgrades to private camp at higher cost

Difficulty rating

Key: on a scale of 1-5
1 = short driving days and / or short overall distance
5 = sustained driving days and / or long hours in the car

When to tour?
Try to avoid the height of summer and depth of winter

Temperatures not only in the Sahara but also in Marrakech, Ouarzazate & Anti-Atlas are in the 40s °C in summer. In winter (typically January) snow in the mountains can close the high passes at times, or lead to unexpected delays and route changes. The weather conditions in the desert are prone to change quickly and never predictable. However windy conditions in the desert are common, this is not the same as a sandstorm.

Going the extra mile

Don’t underestimate geographical distances and travel times. Although Morocco is smaller than Spain, traveling in the South can lead to long driving hours due to the nature of the terrain here (mountains, desert, valleys). Be prepared to travel on average 5-6 hours per day. It’s far better to miss out a couple of places to maximise time elsewhere and to enjoy the journey. You can always come back!

Dromedaries

Camels in Morocco are known as Dromedaries – camels with a single hump on their backs. These are very gentle creatures that are highly intelligent and extremely patient, the exception being the leaders of the herd, which can become aggressive if the herd is in danger. They have long thick eyelashes and very hairy ears as a protection from the sand. Full-grown camels can stand at a height of between 6 / 7 feet and their lifespan ranges between 25 to 50 years of age. Owners and locals respect them for their natures and their ability to survive in the desert with very little food and water. That amazing ability to survive the desert heat comes from being able to increase camel’s own body heat.

DESERT SAFARI TO FES THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS, VALLEYS & REMOTE MOROCCAN SAHARA

Avoid the crowds and travel between Fes and Marrakech on a desert safari through the remote Moroccan Sahara and southern oases. Driving hours are well paced and enable you to take late afternoon walks out from the guest houses. You may extend the trip by (i) spending an additional night in the desert camp, and/or (ii) spending an additional night on the Draa Valley.

With two nights desert camping at Erg Chigaga dunes, allow yourself a full day to enjoy a longer camel-trek or hike with picnic lunch. With two nights on the Draa Valley, walk with a guide to explore some of the palm oases and beautiful kasbah ruins.

The Berber desert camp is located at the foot of the tallest dunes in the Erg Chigaga. There are just 10 tents. The nearest village is 60km away, and the 4×4 desert safari trip through the Moroccan Sahara is a complete circuit (west to east).

Click on the images to enlarge / © Images courtesy of A. Disaro & Wild Morocco

THE ITINERARY

Day 1 / Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou

Transfer from Marrakech by 4×4 vehicle with driver-guide towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the fortified village of Ait Ben Haddou. Traverse the High Atlas Mountains via the highest main road pass in Morocco (at 2260m), offering some exhilarating driving via lush valleys and traditional Berber villages. Take the route to Telouet (for the Kasbah Glaoui) and then follow the course of the beautiful Ounila Valley to reach Ait Ben Haddou.

Ait Ben Haddou is essentially a living museum, comprising a ksar and has been used as the backdrop in many international movies. You will overnight just outside this village in a restored kasbah guest-house, with evening meal & breakfast included.

Day 2 / Ait Ben Haddou to Erg Chigaga

Drive from your guest-house near Ait Ben Haddou to the Berber desert camp in the Moroccan Sahara, at the great dunes of Erg Chigaga. The route passes through the town of Taznakht and then Foum Zguid, where you leave the tarmac road behind to drive off-road for 3 hours, via arguably some of the finest remote scenery in Morocco (including the dried salt flats, at Lake Iriqui). Arrive at your desert camp with chance to camel trek & climb the nearby large dunes. Watch the sunset from a vantage point. Overnight at camp with evening meal & breakfast included.

Day 3 / Erg Chigaga to Agdz

Another opportunity to walk amidst the dunes after breakfast. Then drive Erg Chigaga dunes to Agdz. Drive off-road for 2 hours, to join the tarmac road at M’hamid El Ghezlane, then follow the course of the Draa Valley northwards via Tamegroute and Zagora (the Draa is Morocco’s longest river, flanked by vast palm oases & crumbling kasbahs). Overnight in a kasbah guest-house at the palm grove of Agdz, with evening meal & breakfast included.

Day 4 / Agdz to Todra Gorge

After breakfast, you will have time to walk in the palm groves and to explore the old settlements on the banks of the Draa River (this is optional). Late morning, travel via the Anti-Atlas region of the Jebel Saghro (an other-worldly, volcanic mountain range) to eventually reach the palm oases of Tinghir. From Tinghir, travel north along the Todra River to enter the Todra Gorge. Overnight at the Todra Gorge, with breakfast and evening meal included.

Day 5 / Todra Gorge to Fes

Drive to Fes this morning, expecting to arrive by late afternoon. Cross the High Atlas mountains and descend via Midelt and the cedar forests outlying Fes.

The itinerary includes:

  • 4×4 vehicle with driver for 5 days, with collection in Marrakech and return in Fes (or vice versa);
  • 3 nights guest-house accommodation (with breakfast and evening meal at each);
  • 1 night Berber desert camp tented accommodation (with breakfast, evening meal, drinking water/hot drinks);
  • guided camel-ride before sunset (to the tallest dune in the Erg Chigaga), shared sand-boards.

Please contact us for a tailor-made price quotation for 5 days or longer.

THE ROUTE