Souks to the Sahara

Best time to go: February, March, April, May, September, October, November
Best for: Adventure & Off-the-beaten track, Cultural & Immersive, Repeat Visitors, First Time Visitor

There is something impossibly romantic in delving into the great dunes of the Saharan Desert. Nights under canvas, sunsets and camel rides; experiences that undoubtedly make you feel like you have escaped. A desert adventure in Morocco is undeniably one that genuinely takes you off the beaten track. Pass through frontier towns and villages, past palm-fringed oases and into the dunes. You can still see Morocco’s highlights, such as Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, but a trip deep into the desert adds the spice that truly offers you the outstanding Moroccan experience. 

Casablanca is your starting point, unquestionably Morocco’s most cosmopolitan city with flight links to most European and North American cities. You start here because there are direct flights down to Zagora in the deep, far south of Morocco. This tiny frontier town acts as a base camp to explore the great dunes of the Erg Chigaga. We suggest that you are driven straight into the desert for your night under canvas after flying into Zagora. The final 90 minutes in your 4×4 is off-road, heading over dunes into the great unknown.

That evening, you’ll take camels out at sunset to witness the fantastic views before returning to the camp for traditional camp dinner. You won’t be roughing it. The tents have their own en-suite with hot showers and almost impossibly comfortable beds with crisp linen. In the morning, head out to your deck and admire the views – the golden sands changing colour as the sun slowly rises.

Your driver will then take you back to Zagora for a stay at the Azalai Lodge. You might like the idea of a quick swim in the pool when you arrive. The town itself is a throwback to times gone by – and once housed a sizeable Jewish community. We suggest a three-hour climb of Jebel Zagora for incredible views over the surrounding countryside for the more active guest.

After your time in Zagora, you are driven north along the Draa Valley. You firstly stop at Tinzouline, known for its beautiful dates (perfect from September to November). Afterwards, stop at Timidarte, where you’ll stop at Timarine Tijara – an artisan producer of excellent date jam and syrup. Next, stop in Agdz for lunch, a classic caravanserai oasis. You can see the Caid’s Kasbah and Glaoui Kasbah before having lunch at Kasbah Azul. 

Skoura was where the goods from the camels coming from the Sahara used to be offloaded and placed on more hardy mules to traverse the high peaks of the Atlas Mountains. The town has a vast palm-fringed palmeraie and is known for its picture-perfect mud-brick kasbahs. It’s worth a few nights here if only to break the journey to Marrakech. You can walk, relax, or make longer day trips into the nearby Dades Gorge.

You then head into the Atlas Mountains and pass the stunning Ait Benhaddou. This red mudbrick ksar hangs onto the mountainside, as seen in countless Hollywood films. You drive over the Atlas takes about four hours, where you spend the next two nights at Bab Ourika. Here, you can head out on a day walk, visiting local villages.

Finally, it’s just an hour’s drive down to Marrakech. Marrakech is where those merchants from the Sahara came to sell their goods and rest up in a traditional caravanserai before returning to Timbuktu. Your final two nights explore a little more of this – such as seeing the Fondouks where these traders stayed and Maison Tiskiwan, which focuses on the Sahara to Marrakech trading route. You will, of course, have time to delve into the souks for some shopping and have plenty of time to relax before flying home.

Of course, any element of our Desert Adventure to Morocco can be tailored to match your individual interests.

Guide Pricing

Starting At

  • LOCATION:
  • £1760
    Price per person including all accommodation, private transfers, unique experiences and excluding international flights. We can arrange international flights should you wish.

    Highlights

    • A desert adventure to Morocco is a perfect way to delve into the hidden parts of the country
    • Explore the great sand dunes of the Sahara
    • Drive along fertile valleys seeing ancient Kasbahs on historic trading routes
    • Spend time in the Atlas Mountains experiencing Berber culture
    • Have your own private driver and personal guides
    • Most importantly, stay in fantastic boutique camps and hotels throughout
    Days Location Hotel
    Day 1 Casablanca Four Seasons Casablanca
    Day 2 Erg Chigaga Dunes Azalai Camp
    Day 3-4 Zagora Azalai Lodge
    Day 5-6 Skoura Les Jardins De Skoura
    Day 7-8 Ourika Valley Kasbah Bab Ourika
    Day 9-10 Marrakech Dar Zemora
    Day 11 Marrakech Airport Fly Home

    Suggested Hotels

    Day 5-6
    Les Jardins De Skoura - Pool

    Les Jardins De Skoura

    $ $ $ $ $  

    Les Jardins De Skoura is a beautiful boutique bolthole located in the pretty village of Skoura, about 45 minutes from Ouarzazate. You generally stop here for a couple of nights on the way back from a stay in the Sahara Desert.  

    View hotel
    Day 9-10
    Pool - Dar Zemora

    Customise Your Itinerary

    We can tweak and change any element of this itinerary and you can depart on any day you want, add nights here and there, and we can fully customise your day-to-day experiences depending on your interests. Here are just a few ideas of many that we can look at and discuss when we come to plan your tailor-made itinerary.

    Extend your time

    Firstly, we can certainly extend any element of our Desert Adventure to Morocco. For example, some guests like to continue onto the beaches of the Atlantic Coast to conclude their time in Morocco. Secondly, you can include the great city of Fez and also the dunes around Merzouga in the itinerary. In other words, any variation of this itinerary is possible!

    Further Itinerary Suggestions

    Marrakech, Atlas and Atlantic Coast

    Atlas Mountains - Marrakech Medina - Atlantic Coast  

    Explore the bustling souks of Marrakech, the breathtaking scenic beauty and Berber villages of the Atlas Mountains and the sleepy fishing town of Essaouira. In short, this brief taste of Morocco is an ideal first visit to this vibrant country. 

    10 days from £1795 p. p.

    Fez, Marrakech & Atlas Mountains

    Fez - Marrakech - Atlas Mountains  

    Fez and Marrakech are undeniably Morocco’s most iconic and evocative cities, packed with all the magical charm that makes Morocco so mesmerising. This itinerary allows you an immersive experience of both, and additionally, some gentle R&R in the mountains to conclude your trip.

    9 days from £1895 p. p.

    Marrakech & Atlas Mountains

    Marrakech Medina - Atlas Mountains - Marrakech Palmeraie  

    Combine the bustling souks of colourful Marrakech before experiencing the timeless Berber culture and stunning views in the High Atlas Mountains. 

    8 days from £1228 p. p.

    A long weekend in Marrakech

    Marrakech  

    Marrakech makes for a beautiful long weekend from any European city. With five days, you will have plenty of time to both explore and relax. The weather is perfect in the winter, and you can also immerse yourself in a fascinating culture.

    6 days from £1095 p. p.

    Trekking Holiday in the Atlas Mountains

    Marrakech - Ouiigane Valley - Ait Aissa - Imlil - Ourika Valley - Oumnass  

    A trekking holiday in the Atlas Mountains allows you to walk through timeless Moroccan Berber villages and along dramatic scenic valleys overlooked by the towering peaks. You’ll be staying in the best possible lodges and boutique hotels.

    10 days from £1650 p. p.