This trip is our favourite trip if you have 10-14 days in Morocco. You see an incredible variety of Moroccan life and will bring back memories to last a lifetime. There is a good mix of adventure and travel together with relaxation and luxury. A nice feature is you never travel the same road twice and is dedicated to those who love to travel and we call it the “Moroccan Circle”. You can start it at any point but here it is described starting form Marrakech, going south over the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara desert and the town of Taroudant, then down to the coast to Essaouira. Works perfectly over 12 nights. We have been running the trip for many years but only recently started recommending it to families with children. There are some days with a lot of travelling but there are things to see and do all the way so boredom will certainly not be an issue.
Arrive at Marrakech airport where your driver will meet you and take you straight to Jardins d’Issil located 30mins drive from Marrakech Medina. This is a fantastic place away from the hassle and bustle of the central Marrakech. Plan an evening visit to Marrakech Medina to see the main square at night where you can wander amongst the snake charmers, storytellers and souks before sitting a top a rooftop bar with a chilled glass of wine and freshly squeezed orange juice for the children, watching the action unfold beneath you. Children will enjoy the sleepover in the exotic tents and everyone can relax by the pool. For families with older children or couples we’d recommend being right in the centre of Marrakech in one of the beautiful riads – this can be arranged without affecting the cost.
Spend the days enjoying everything Marrakech has to offer. Take an early morning visit to the Majorelle gardens before it gets too hot and all the bus loads of tourists arrive. Visit the various mosques and historical sites, have a lunch at the Jemaa el Fna and return to Jardins d’Issil for a lazy afternoon. For the adventurers we can arrange a day’s mules trek in the Atlas Mountains complete with lunch in one of the Berber Villages.
You will leave Marrakech early and within 30 minutes be winding your way up the Atlas Mountains to the Tizni-Tichna pass and the gateway to the desert south. A good lunch-time stop is the World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou a rock fortress and village carved into the mountains. In the afternoon you head south to the quiet town of Agdz for the night. Kasbah Azul is a perfect place to unwind after the travelling. The distance to Ait Ben Haddou is around 3 hours, you will stop there for about 2 hours and then there is another 1-2 hour drive to Agdz. The distances are not large and the scenery spectacular.
From Agdz, you travel south along the Draa valley, famous for its oases and pottery until you reach the end of the road at M’hamid. From here it is 4×4’s (and camels) only and you have an hour or so to reach the desert camp in the massive dunes of Chiggaga. You will be assigned sleeping quarters, maybe climb a dune to watch the sunset or try sand boarding – it’s a heart pumping workout and amazing fun. Then settle to watch your nomad hosts prepare dinner and entertain you while you eat. Then to bed under the stars. The drive on this day will take around 4-5 hours. You will of course stop en-route for lunch.
The next morning it is worth waking early for a short camel trek to watch the sunrise and then a leisurely breakfast. Once packed up it is a gentle day’s travelling across the desert and Iriqi dry lake bed to exit the desert at Foum Zguid, where you pick up the road again. On the way the guide will organise a fossil hunt for you. It is possible to push on to Taroudant and have an extra night there but a gentler pace is to stop at Foum Zguid and enjoy the last of the desert scenery. You will stay in Bab Rimal and so have a chance for a swim and a proper clean up.
Today you have around 4 hours driving along the southern flank of the Atlas Mountains. You pass through first Tazenacht which is the centre of the Berber rug making industry so a good shopping point if luggage allowances permit. You also pass the main area for growing Saffron, more expensive by weight than gold and it can be possible to visit one of the farms up in the valleys. You finish for the night in Taroudant, one of the prettiest towns in the south, and you should have a chance for a quick tour before heading to Dar Zitoune for the night.
Travel from Taroudant up the winding roads to Essaouira to relax, with a 5 nights stay on the coast. You can stay in one of the riads in the centre of Essaouira or somewhere like Rebali Riads on the beach some 20 minutes to the south of town. There is loads to do in Essaouira: camel trekking or quad-biking on the massive beaches, loads of watersports and the town itself has fabulous souks and loads of places to eat. You have now seen a big slice of Morocco and Moroccan life and will feel very at home in Essaouira. The trip then finishes with the transfer back to Marrakech airport
Cost for the 12 nights/13 days is £1,100 per person based on 2 people sharing or £785 per person for a group of 4 or more. It includes all transport (private air-conditioned vehicle with English-speaking driver) and accommodation on B&B basis plus half board for 3 nights in the desert and also a short camel ride. All prices correct at the price of writing – please ask for an exact quote and as with all Fleewinter itineraries it is infinitely variable to suit your exact requirements.
All prices correct at the time of writing. Give us a call or email us at email@example.com to discuss your requirements and get a confirmed price.
Please remember this is a sample itinerary and we are happy to modify it to suit your plans. We can add or remove days and look at different places to stay.