October 7, 2015
Written By Admin
17 Days / 16 Nights – on the basis of 2 persons
A hiking tour through the Atlas Mountain Range
The South Moroccan Atlas Mountain Range; mysterious Berber country
The extensive landscape of the south of Morocco with its many beautiful oases and palm forests; a protected civilization where many century-old traditions have survived…it stimulates our desire to discover and explore this extraordinary country and its hospitable population.
This is a journey of 16 days, including a hiking tour through the spectacular High Atlas Mountain Range (where several encounters will take place with the original mountain population) as well as a tour through the impressive Sahara desert. You will discover the traditions and culture of the original mountain population as well as the beautiful diverse landscapes full of loam buildings and forts, from the Draa Valley to the coastal area in the vicinity of the romantic fishing village of Essaouira.
Day 1: Marrakech
Arrival at the airport of Marrakech and transfer to your beautiful Riad. Free evening.
Day 2: Marrakech – National Toubkal Park (a hiking tour of approx. 4-5 hours)
After breakfast we will depart for d’Oukaimden ski-station where we will meet our guide. He will guide us through our exploratory expedition through the Toubkal National Park. We will continue our tour through several small villages that are situated at different heights and in different meadows (sheltered by rock walls) where we will be able to admire some very beautiful prehistoric engraved wall paintings. Afterwards we will continue our tour in the direction of the Tizi n’Addi mountain pass (2900m) where we will have lunch. Here we will have a magnificent view of Mount de l’Angour. Afterwards we will descent in the direction of Valley d’Imenane towards the villages of Ouaneskra or Tachederte where we will spend the night at a Moroccan host family (2200m).
Day 3: Ouaneskra – Col Tamatert (2300m) – Imlil (1750m) (a hiking tour of approx. 4 hours)
We will continue our tour along a footpath that will lead us through the beautiful d’Imenane Valley with its many villages consisting of traditional brick houses that seem to be stuck to the mountain sides of the l’Akswal Mountain (3900m). We will be able to oversee the villages of Tamguiste and Tineghrine, and we will have a fantastic view from the Tamatert Mountain of the d’Ait Misane Valley. Through a pine forest we will descend to the village of Imlil. During the tour we will stop at a nice location for lunch. Tonight we will spend the night with a host family at a small Bed and Breakfast.
Day 4: Imlil – Talaoule – Aguersioual – Matate – Toudat Mountain (2400m) – Id Aissa (a hiking tour of approx. 5 hours)
We will depart early this morning and we will follow a trail towards the Tizi Mzik mountain pass (2400m). This winding path follows the many curves of the ravine. Beyond the mountain pass we will be able to admire the beauty of the d’Azaden Valley and the village of d’Aissa. We will enjoy a picnic underneath old juniper bushes and we will continue our tour towards the d’Aissa Valley where the landscape consists of a palette of colors; from ocher, grey to red. We will spend the night with a host family in d’Aissa where the houses are build upon rocks.
Day 5: Id Aissa – Azaden Valley – Tacht Mountain Pass (2000m) – Imioughlad (1450m) – Marrakech (a hiking tour of approx. 4 hours)
We will cross through the Azaden Valley, walk towards the heart of the National Park and then cross the Tacht mountain pass (2000m). Afterwards we will descend for 1 ½ hour along a path of green oak trees and juniper bushes. We will eventually end up in Imi Oughlad where we will find our car. Picnic on the way to Marrakech, and free evening. Overnight stay in charming Riad.
Marrakech – Djemaa el Fna
Day 6: Marrakech – Ouarzazate – Oasis of Agdez (approx. 280km)
In the morning we will depart for Ouarzazate. Our journey today will pass along one of the most beautiful mountain passes of Morocco, the famous Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass (2600m), and partly through the mountains of the High Atlas. Eventually we will arrive in the city of Ouarzazate. This red desert city has developed into an important tourist center on the edge of the Sahara desert and is the ideal starting point for camel tours through the desert. As the centre of a fascinating and contrasting landscape, this city that is located between snowy mountains amazes every visitor. In Ouarzazate you will also find various film studios where many masterpieces, such as ‘The man who knew too much’, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Astérix’ were filmed.
We will continue our tour along the Draa Valley to reach our destination of Zagora (a desert city). We will arrive at the Tamnougalt Oasis with its beautiful Kasbah. This monumental building was made out of clay in the 17th century. Here we will drink a nice cup of mint tea. The Tamnougalt ‘Ksar’ (fortified village), located upon the Saghro Mountain, was the capital of the Mezguita Berber tribe. At the food of this fortified place, you are able to visit the Jewish quarter ‘the Mellah’, which has been beautifully preserved. The village has a beautiful architecture and many Berbers from the original tribe still live in Tamnougalt. We will have lunch or enjoy a picnic along the way; dinner and overnight stay at the Kasbah.
The Draa Valley consists of a series of oases and palm groves. The valley follows the pattern of a mountain river that is situated between the first Anti-Atlas mountains and the beginning of the desert. From Ouarzazate to Zagora you will be able to admire many palm groves and several groups of ‘Skours’ (fortified villages) that remind us of the many tribal wars that took place. These wars finally came to an end in the 1930’s. After this period, a fierce battle took place against the French, ‘the battle of Bougafer’. The Aït-Atta tribe bravely persisted, thanks to the help of the many women who fought alongside their own men. Because of their help, these women earned the right to get a tattooed beard as proof of their courage.
Day 7: Agdz – Zagora – sand dunes of Cheggaga (approx. 130km)
We will leave this fantastic authentic Skour and drive in the direction of Zagora to the town of Tamgroute. We will stop at the Koran Library where some very beautifully decorated manuscripts can be found, of which some date back to the 11th century. We will visit this Saharan town with its small streets that is famous for its potteries. These potters are famous all over Morocco. Lunch or picnic. Afterwards we will continue our journey to the oasis of Mhamid; a outpost of the Sahara desert. Dinner and overnight stay in traditional Berber tents.
Zagora was once the starting point of caravans who undertook the 52-days journey to Timbuktu in Mali. The city was made famous for its sign that reads: ‘Timbuktu 52 Days’.
Day 8: Sand dunes of Cheggaga
Today we will get up early to experience a legendary desert sunrise. The view of the desert with its beautiful orange-colored sand dunes and palm grove is truly overwhelming. After lunch we will return to our tents. In the afternoon we will make a camel tour of approximately 2 hours. Dinner and overnight stay in traditional Berber tents.
Day 9: Erg cheggaga – Ouled Berhil – Taroudant (approx. 280km)
Today we will leave this huge sea of sand dunes and will travel through the dried-up Lake Iriqui, a location where many migratory birds overwinter. We will climb up the Anti-Atlas mountains through a succession of valleys and mountain passes (carved out of limestone) in order to eventually arrive in Tazenakt (the city of Berber carpets). Here we will meet the women who produce the knotted carpets and who have united themselves in several women’s cooperatives. They have the reputation of making the most beautiful traditional carpets of the Atlas. After our lunch or picnic we will continue our tour along a winding road through some very small mountain villages with giant agadirs (fortified granaries) and through forests of Argan trees. We will eventually arrive in the village of Ouled Berhil where we will have dinner and spend the night at the beautiful Palais Hida Riad.
Day 10: Taroudant – Agadir (approx. 74km)
Today we will visit the city of Taroudant, also called ‘Little Marrakech’. It is the main commercial city of the Sous Region and has a large market. We will be able to enjoy Taroudant’s quiet and warm atmosphere and to admire its city walls and central market. Taroudant is also known for its Argan oil; a special kind of oil produced from the kernels of the Argan tree. After lunch we will travel to Agadir, a modern city on the Atlantic coast where we will have dinner and spend the night at a 3-star hotel.
Day 11: Agadir – Essaouira (approx. 165km)
Today we will travel to the beautiful coastal town of Essaouira. During the first part of this journey we will drive along the coast, where you will be able to enjoy some very fine views (especially at Cap Rhir and at the tower of Iguin n’Tama). During the second part we will drive along several different olive groves. We will have lunch on the way. Upon arrival in Essaouria we will leave the car at one of the gates of the old Mogador. Overnight stay in charming Riad and free evening.
Day 12: Essaouira
The ´White City´ of Essaouria is a very charming and authentic city, situated on the Atlantic coast, where you can still find many traces of the past. The city already played an important role in antiquity, since the city produced the special purple color that was used for the clothes of the Roman Emperors. Essaouria has a fine climate with pleasant temperatures in the summer as well as in the winter. The best way to explore Essaouria is by strolling through the city centre while admiring its secret pass ways, beautiful gates, little streets and extraordinary riads and houses. The city contains a mix of Arabic, Berber, African and European influences. This melting pot of cultures has been beneficent to the city, where many people started to develop themselves artistically (in fields of local crafts, sculpture, painting, music and weaving). The city of Essaouira (which used to be called Mogador by the Portuguese) is the perfect location for people who would like to escape the big city bustle, who enjoy wandering around an authentic medina or who would like to get into contact with the local population. Overnight stay in a charming Riad, and free evening.
Day 13: Essaouira – Imi N’tlil
Today we will visit and explore the hinterland of Essaouira. We will visit an Argan farm where a group of women (a cooperative) produces the famous Argan oil by squeezing the oil out of the nuts of the Argan tree. This oil is used for both culinary as well as cosmetic products. The purpose of this association is twofold: 1. to pay attention to the preservation of the Argan trees and the environment in which this particular tree grows, 2. to give an opportunity to a group of very poor women (often single) to build a financially independent life for themselves. Afterwards we will make a walk through the Argan forests where we will eventually arrive at the house of our Berber friend Hassan where we will enjoy a delicious lunch. At the end of the afternoon we will return to Essaouira. Overnight stay in a charming Riad, and free evening.
Day 14: Essaouira – Marrakech (approx. 175km)
Today you will have the morning off in order to wander around the medina for the last time and/or to visit the fishing port or local souk. In the afternoon we will travel to Marrakech where you will have the rest of the afternoon and evening off. Overnight stay in a charming Riad.
Day 15: Marrakech
Marrakech is situated at the foot of the giant Atlas Mountain Range and is just as Fes, Meknes and Rabat, one of Morocco’s imperial cities. Together with Fes, its competitor that was founded 250 years earlier, Marrakech forms the historic heart of Morocco. The country owes its name to this city (Marrakush in Arabic). In the heart of Marrakech you will find the famous Jemaa el Fna square, a center full of entertainment for both tourists and Marrakchis, especially after sunset. Behind it lies the medina, a maze of alleys and souks, surrounded by thick walls of mud brick. It is one of the most unique venues in the world. By day it is a gateway to the souks but by night the show starts when locals and visitors gather to listen to old tales of storytellers. This outdoor theatre, with its surrounding restaurants is a unique place, so unique that UNESCO gave it a new category. It is now the first ‘Intangible Heritage Humanity’.
Day 16: Marrakech
Free day/evening. Overnight stay in Riad.
Day 17: Marrakech – airport
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