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GLOBAL MORROC EXPLORATION SHORTTOUR_ OUARZAZATE
Ouarzazate Haven of serenity
Ouarzazate is located at the crossroads of Draa, Dades and Ziz Valley. It has a remarkable heritage and breath taking natural surroundings. It is just irresistible. Set in the heart of the desert, away from modern life turmoil, where the sand subtly green oases and valleys will give you an impression about how world of fantasy is. Along the way, in the midst of nowhere, fortified villages out of another age appear gleaming out of the bleu, sheltered from the sun by the palm trees that stand relaxing against their walls, and watered by lazily flowing rivers. Time comes to a standstill…
Ouarzazate was first and foremost a trading center for camel caravans from sub Saharan Africa on their way to Fez or Marrakesh. Adobe villages and Kasbahs – lush green oases and lunar landscapes- such phantasmagorical surroundings could not fail to work their magic on those who passed through them, and the town lost no time in becoming a tourist destination for those in search of new worlds – a haven of serenity, generosity and hospitality.
Departure point for the road to the oases, Ouarzazate is also a point of arrival for crafts and cultures. In its souk, henna, dates, roses, spices, and Artemisia are to be found side by side with Berber pottery, artefacts fashioned from stone, blankets, and those Taznaght carpets so famous for their intricate geometrical motifs.
Pick up at Marrakesh and start your journey towards Ouarzazate region to explore its famous Kasbahs-sandcastles beyond the reach of time.
Kasbahs are great rise colored citadels standing proudly on the hillsides, defying anyone who passes to ignore them. These are the far famed kasbahs of the Moroccan south, residences built from adobe, a mixture of clayey earth and straw, their architecture of striking originality and rare elegance. Morocco’s kasbahs retain all of their poetry, serene in their power and living witness to the victory and apogee of the mountain culture that brought them into being. Perfectly adapted to their natural surroundings, they are also an expression of the social life of a sedentary mountain people. Standing eternal, they are southern Morocco’s dearest heritage.
You will pass the olive fields of the Oued Zat as you ascend to the Tizi n’Tichka pass (2260-meter-high) that will take you through spectacular mountainous land. Along the road you will see panoramic sights of the High Atlas Mountains as well as rich valleys, colorful villages, and striking geology.
Explore The majestic Taourirt Kasbah listed as a national heritage monument. It was built in the 19th century and was the Pasha of Marrakesh ‘s largest residence. Its architecture, with its many crenellated towers, geometric motifs, and interior richly attired in painted stuccowork and cedar wood, is a marvel to behold. The Kasbah has just been restored throughout, and now houses exhibition galleries, a library and an Amphitheatre.
3.Visit The Tifoultout Kasbah Built in the 17th century to accommodate the pasha of Marrakesh’s guests, The Tifoultout Kasbah was renovated 30 years ago and is now a hotel and restaurant. It stands beside the village of Tifoultout, near Oued Draa, a spot where tranquility and peace of mind reign supreme.
From its terrace, you can enjoy magnificent views of the city of Ouarzazate below, and of the surrounding mountains while having your lunch
1.Visit Telouet Kasbah whose construction started in 1860, and further buildings were added over the course of the decades. The result is a masterly work of art, fortress, chateau and caravanserai all rolled into one, a marvel of painted woodwork, wrought iron, sculpted stucco and colorful zellij. Legend has it that it took 300 craftsmen three years to sculpt its ceilings and walls.
2.Explore The Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou. A revelation of pure beauty listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah is a stunning work of architecture overlooking the Ounila Valley. A graceful ensemble of adobe kasbahs, this one of the oldest and most impressive ksars in all morocco. The earliest of its buildings, a granary standing on the hilltop, dates back to the 11th century. The village gradually grew up around it over the course of the centuries, adding houses, more granaries, cowsheds, a well, and protective surrounding wall.
Architecturally, this museum village located some 30km from Ouarzazate, is without parallel. Its outer walls sport few shutters and only two doors, making sure that its inhabitants knew who was coming and going =, while inside, a public square, a mosque, a koranic school and the village residences jostle for space. Immortalized in such films as “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Babel” and “Indiana Jones” , this magnificent fortress stands radiant and untouched by time, an uncut diamond shining proudly forth from its rocky setting.
B&B accommodation in a nice riad .
Breakfast at your Riad and drive to explore Skoura oasis and the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs. Skoura is an abundant haven with enormous palm groves that offer gorgeous views of the Atlas Mountains along with desert sceneries. It is well-known for the cultivation of roses. The palm groves were placed in the 12th century by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el-Mansour. The most stunning Kasbahs in southern Morocco can be found here. The Valley of Roses, just north of El Kelaa Mgouna is for certain an enjoyable trip on the way to Ouarzazate. You will stop for a visit of the cooperative producing various products of roses: rose water hand and body soaps, oil, crème fragrance. The annual Rose Festival is a perfect time of the year to visit.
Your journey will lead you to the breathtaking Valley of Nomads located in BouTaghrar. The stunning valley where nomads still live in caves will allow you to travel back in time . The valley is surrounded by Mount Mgoun which is the second highest mountain in Morocco with astonishing views of earthy scenery. A stop to have tea with a nomadic family to see the everyday life of the nomads and observe their weaving of Berber carpets.
Continue to the Dades Valley that covers 125 km between the Todra Gorge and Ouarzazate. The Dades Valley is located in the high valley of Dades that is scattered with Oasis, palm groves and kasbah. Carved through the walls of the High Atlas Mountains by the Dades River, Dades Gorge is an exceptional natural beauty. It has spectacular views which is best seen in the morning when the sun reaches the bottom of the canyon. Driving along you will pass fertile agricultural fields, riverbanks, and several fortified ksours.
Lunch will be served at a local restaurant offering local Moroccan food and a panoramic view. Relax and sip mint tea while contemplating the remarkable valley view. Continue your discovery of the Dades Valley and Gorge after lunch.
Dinner and accommodation at a nice Riad with views of the Dades Valley.
Breakfast at your riad. Your journey to the Todra Gorge, Erfoud, Rissani, and Merzouga starts. You will first visit Todra Gorge which is the canyon of the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains close to Tinghir. Your driver will take you through picturesque roads to reach the Todra Gorge which extends to Tinghir. Todra Gorge is a spectacular site with gigantic red rock walls that changes its color with the effect of the sunlight.
Next, head the road to the scenic Erfoud city where you will visit Borg Est 935 m high above the city which allows you to enjoy gorgeous views. Explore the fossil sites located at 13km from Erfoud to Merzouga where you can see the fossilized stones dating to a very ancient geological era.
You will continue to Rissani, a desert town from the ancient Alawi Dynasty to discover the old Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif, the first King of the Alawi Dynasty. On your way to Merzouga, a stop at Khamlia , the village of Gnawa to enjoy the charming music of Gnawa
Upon arrival to Merzouga, another expedition is waiting for you, a camel trek or drive along the dunes of the golden Sahara Desert to enjoy sunset over the majestic Erg Chebbi Dunes. Once you reach the heart of the Sahara, a warm welcome at your luxury camp where you will spend the night under the huge sky full of bright stars. Dinner and overnight in the camp
Day transfer to Marrakesh after breakfast