Morocco Atlas & Sahara 4WD

Discover Morocco's Road Less Traveled

Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime among Morocco’s scenic mountains and vast desert as we explore Morocco ‘off the beaten path’ and make our way through the Atlas mountains and Sahara Desert by 4 wheel drive, all-terrain vehicle.

Bask in the luxury of the Valley of the Roses and visit a factory to learn about the famed rosewater in the area. Explore the chaotic souks and get lost in the colors and smells of the enchanting maze-like markets. Visit amazing communes that are carved into the sides of mountains and cliffs. Spend the night in a luxury desert camp on one of the largest dunes in the Sahara Desert. The adventures don’t stop there! Join us on this fantastic journey to discover the best of Morocco.

Day 1 : Marrakech Arrival

Welcome to Morocco! After you arrive, you will settle in at your hotel and have the first evening free to immerse yourself in the vibrant life of Marrakech. You can opt to view the impressive and iconic Koutoubia Mosque, shop for aromatic spices and vibrant ceramics at one of the many souks throughout the city, visit the seductive Majorelle Gardens, or just relax in your hotel to get ready for your epic adventure!

Included :

  • Activities : Free time
  • Meals : None
  • Accommodation : Hotel

 

Day 2 : Marrakech – Tizi N’Tichka – Ait Ben Haddou (Travel time approximately 4 hours including stops)

After breakfast in the morning, we will transfer over the highest road winding through the Atlas Mountains, Tizi N’Tichka (2260m), to the Berber village of Telouet and visit the Kasbah of el Glaoui, the former Pasha of Marrakech. Next, we will drive along the original trade route over Tizi N’Telouet to the World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, a ksar (fortified village) that once stood on the route of the trans-Saharan caravans. It is also one of the best preserved kasbah (citadel) in the Atlas region. In the evening, we will settle into our hotel, which offers spectacular views of the earthen clay architecture very highly associated with Morocco.

Included :

  • Activities : Transfer to Telouet & Ait Benhaddou; Kasbah of el Glaoui visit; Ait Benhaddou ksar visit
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
  • Accommodation : Kasbah boutique hotel

 

Day 3 : Ait Ben Haddou – Foum Zguid –  Erg Chigaga (Travel time approximately 4.5 hours including stops)

After a relaxing night in Ait Ben Haddou, we will drive towards the Sahara Desert. We will cross the dry lake of Iriki and drive on a dirt track to the elevated town of Foum Zguid where we will have lunch. Along the way, we will be able to admire stunning landscapes with spectacular colors. After lunch, we will drive on a dirt track until we reach the magical sand dunes of Erg Chigaga where we will stay in a luxury nomad desert camp between the high sand dunes which offers jaw-dropping views of the beautiful sunset.
Included :
  • Activities : Transfer to Foum Zguid & Erg Chigaga; Free time in the Sahara Desert
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : Luxury desert camp

 

Day 4 : Erg Chigaga & Camel Trekking

You will have the option of spending a day relaxing at the pace of desert life or walking in the immediate dunes or exploring the area with your driver. You will also have the option of visiting a family of nomads and learning how they survive in this harsh environment. Later in the afternoon, you will meet your guide and head out on a camel trek or climb one of the nearby sand dunes in Erg Chigaga at sunset.

Included :

  • Activities : Free time; Nomad family visit; Camel trekking or high dunes climb at sunset
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : Luxury desert camp

 

Day 5 : Erg Chigaga – Draa Valley – N’kob (Travel time approximately 5 hours including stops)

After two magical nights in the desert, we will turn back to civilization via M’Hamid where we will return to the paved road and travel through the Draa River Valley among verdant palm groves and Berber villages to N’kob where we will spend the night. On the way, we will stop in the village of Tamegroute where you can visit the Koranic library, the underground kasbahs and a cooperative of pottery workshops.

Included :

  • Activities : Transfer to M’Hamid & N’Kob; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : Kasbah boutique hotel

 

Day 6 : N’kob – Tizi N’Tazazert – Todgha Gorge (Travel time approximately 2 hours including stops)

Transfer to the city of Tinghir across one of the most fabulous off-road mountain passes in the mountainous Jebel Sarhro – the Tizi N’Tazazert, with far reaching views, stunning rock formations, Berber settlements and fertile valleys. After lunch in Tinghir, we will take a short walk in the beautiful palm oases, refreshing rivers and some traditional kasbahs. Thereafter, we will check into our accommodation for the night.

Included :

  • Activities : Transfer to Tinghir & Todgha Gorge; Walk in the green palm valley of Todgha; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : Kasbah boutique hotel

 

Day 7 : Todgha Gorge – Tamtatouchte – Dades Gorge (Travel time approximately 5 hours including stops)

After visiting Todgha Gorge, the highest gorge in Morocco, we will get back on the off-road piste towards the commune of M’semrir where we will witness the nomadic way of life as we pass through the rugged beauty of these mountains and stop to drink mint tea with a nomad family in their thick wool tent. At M’semrir, the tour will continue by road to the stunning Dades Gorge, followed by a night surrounded by the giant gorge walls.

Included :

  • Activities : Transfer to M’semrir, Tamtatouchte & Dades Gorge; Nomad family visit and afternoon tea; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : Kasbah boutique hotel

 

Day 8 : Dades Gorge – Rose Valley – Tisselday Village (Travel time approximately 4.5 hours including stops)

Via a road in Dades Valley and through a beautiful off-road circuit where we will see nomads on the move (if we’re lucky), we will join the capital of the Rose Valley : Kelâa M’gouna. It is here where a magical rose festival takes place in the beginning of every May. Here, we will visit a rose factory to where heaps of rose petals are taken to the factory to extract their oil. Then, we will continue to Ourzazate via Skoura where we will visit the Kasbah Amridil, which dates back to the 17th century and is a living museum showing kasbah life over the centuries. After that, we will head to Tisselday Village where we will stay the night.

Included :

  • Activities : Transfer to Kelâa M’gouna, Skoura, Ourzazate & Tisselday Village; Rose water factory visit; Kasbah Amridil visit
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : Kasbah boutique hotel

 

Day 9 : Tisselday Village – Marrakech (Travel time approximately 3 hours including stops)

Today we will transfer back to Marrakech. We will pass through the villages of Agouim and Ighrem as well as the Tizi N’Tichka pass. We will arrive in Marrakech in time for a guided tour of the Djemaa El Fna and the bustling souks. The contrast between the pace of life in the desert and Marrakech could not be more extreme, so why not take a day or two to explore before heading home?

Included :

  • Activities : Transfer to Marrakech; Tour of Djemaa El Fna Square & souks
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel

 

Day 10 : Marrakech Departure

Depending on your flight time, you will have free time on your own in Marrakech before heading back to the U.S.

  • Activities : Free time; Departure
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : None


*Itinerary is subject to change. 

 Regular Season 10-day Tours

$2300 – Trip cost (See below for inclusions and exclusions)

I’m a single traveler. Will I be charged a single supplement?

If you would like to be paired up with someone of the same gender on the trip to avoid paying the single supplement, we can arrange this for you. If there is no one with whom to pair you up, you WILL have to pay the single supplement. Pairing with another person of the same gender comes on a first-come, first served-basis. After you reserve your spot, we will send you a questionnaire pertaining to this. Please return it to us immediately, so that we may try our best to accommodate your needs.

If you want a single room throughout the tour, you can purchase the “single supplement”.  The single supplement fee for this trip is $450. If you would like your own room, you can buy the additional supplement at check-out.

What is included :

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • Ground transportation
  • Local guide + Professional driver
  • Activities and excursions as indicated
  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners

What is not included :

  • Optional excursions and activities
  • 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Beverages
  • Gratuities
  • International flight
  • Insurance
Group Size 

Our tour groups have a maximum of 12 travelers plus one local guide and one to two professional drivers. We prefer small group travel because based on our experience, large groups are less easily able to integrate into a society and generally have less authentic contact with the locals. The more people in the tour group, the more the group experiences their own “group culture” rather than the one of the country that they are visiting. 

A small group number also means that tour group members will receive more personal treatment by the tour guide who can more thoroughly attend to the needs of each person. Small tour groups are also more mobile and can be easily integrated into a social scene. In this way, the traveler is more likely to be treated as an individual rather than a tourist ready to be exploited for his or her money.

Small tour groups are more flexible as travel plans can be more easily changed or altered en route. If the group discovers a special event or festival in Morocco that they would like to attend, and it is not covered in the original tour itinerary, it is possible to change the itinerary. As a small group, it is easier for the group to come to an agreement and for the tour guide to alter the reservations.

Small groups are low-impact because they don’t introduce a large number of foreigners to a local scene where they can have adverse impacts on the local society and other travelers. For example, a large tour group can take up all the seats on a local bus, or book out an entire restaurant forcing locals and other travelers away from their preferences. 

 

Physical Difficulty

This tour is rated 4.5/10 in terms of physical difficulty with 10 being the most difficult. During most of the trip you will be escorted around in 4WD vehicles, so you won’t have to exert yourself physically very much while traveling. You may find that some hikes in more mountainous areas may be more difficult depending on your level of fitness. You may also find walks through the desert on hotter days to be a bit exhausting. Other than these things, this trip is pretty accessible for everyone. Remember, if you’re not feeling up for a particular activity, you don’t have to do it!

 

Currency 

Morocco uses the Moroccan dirham (MAD). Approximately 10 MAD equal just over 1 USD depending on the current exchange rate. For the sake of convenience, many travelers think of 10 MAD = 1 USD.

Please note that the Moroccan Dirham is a closed currency and cannot be exchanged outside of Morocco. When purchasing MAD, foreign currency should be in good condition with no tears or ink marks. Be sure to save any receipts of currency exchange as you will almost always be asked for them if and when you wish to exchange MAD to a foreign currency upon departure. If you want to exchange your remaining MAD before you leave, you must do so in Morocco.

Debit and credit cards are mostly accepted only at upscale restaurants, hotels, and shops. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted whereas Amex is not as popular. It is generally most convenient to carry cash as you will make many of your purchases at small restaurants, shops, markets, etc.

  • Be prepared to pay a foreign transaction fee depending on your credit/debit card. Check with your bank to find out what their foreign transaction fees are. Also, many places of service will require you to enter a PIN when using a credit card. You can set this up with your bank at home prior to your departure. When using any kind of card, we recommend obtaining a receipt.
  • ATMs are becoming more widespread in Morocco, so you can conveniently pull out money. We suggest always taking out money from an ATM attached to a bank for security purposes and because these ATMs generally offer better rates along with lower withdrawal fees. Some banks may include a surcharge for each withdrawal. Because of this, pulling out a larger sum at a time might be a good idea.
  • Most ATMs will dispense larger bills, which may be problematic when buying small items. Additionally you may find that the ATMs are not stocked with sufficient amounts of cash over the weekends. Keep this in mind when budgeting your funds for your trip.
  • There are several places at which you can exchange USD for MAD in Morocco, especially at the airport and in Marrakech. These currency exchange offices are called bureaux de change and the fees and rates do not vary too much in each place, so it is up to you to decide where and if you would like to exchange your money. It is also very important to note that currency exchange is only legal at the bureaux de change and not with someone you meet on the street. You can also exchange currency at designated banks.

Once you arrive in Marrakech, you will need to have some cash if you plan on taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel. You may want to withdraw some cash at an ATM at the airport. You can also exchange your USD at an exchange office there. Please be aware that airport ATMs generally have higher fees and withdrawing MAD may be more expensive there. We recommend withdrawing a small amount of money at the airport (maybe $25-$50) because of this. You can go to a bureau de change or bank and exchange a larger amount of money at a much better rate later.

We recommend calling your bank before departure to let them know that you will be traveling so that your card is not put on hold. It is also a good idea to contact your bank to get any other information about international usage fees and your card while you will be traveling. It also might be a good idea to consider getting a second card just in case you lose your primary one or it gets demagnetized, stolen, or eaten by an ATM.

 

Souvenirs

Buying souvenirs for friends and family back home during your travels can always be difficult. Like most travel destinations, Morocco does not lack in its offerings of unique items. You will be visiting a lot of really fantastic places that offer unique gift items that you might deem suitable for friends and family back home. Here are just a few things to consider. Beni Ourain rugs, woven flat rugs with intricate diamond patterns that can be found all over the medinas of Morocco; colorfully embroidered silk tunics or cotton threaded table linens; funky geometric-shaped lanterns that will reflect the light in dazzling designs on your walls and ceilings; fragrant rose water for cooking or emitting a sweet aroma in your living space; the possibilities are endless!

 

Communication

If you have a smart phone, it will likely work in Morocco except in the more remote mountain and desert areas. Be sure to check with your provider to get informed about data and call roaming while abroad.

Wifi 

Almost all hotels and cafes will be equipped with wifi and as a guest, you shouldn’t have any difficulty connecting to a network. However, please be aware that it might not be as fast as you’re used to. Additionally, as of early 2016, Skype/WhatsApp/Viber and other VoIP apps have been blocked in Morocco.

 

What to Bring 

Temperatures in Morocco in the beginning of May will vary depending on the region, but are generally are warm to hot during the day and cooler at night. On average, the days are in the 70s-80s and the evenings can drop to 50 or below, especially in the desert (Fahrenheit). However, in more mountainous regions and those right next to the sea, expect cooler weather due to the winds and/or higher altitudes. A coat or pullover and layers will come in handy, especially after sundown or even something thicker if you tend to run cold. This being said, layers are key. Remember that you’ll be traveling to regions of different altitudes, so at higher altitudes, weather tends to be a lot cooler. We recommend packing a warmer fall jacket, lightweight sweaters, and long or short-sleeved t-shirts. Comfortable shoes or even hiking shoes are of utmost importance as you’ll be doing a significant amount of walking. It is important to remember that in rural areas and even some cities, covering up modestly is highly appreciated by the local population. This means sleeves over the elbows and longer pants.

Below are a few things that we suggest bringing to make your trip more comfortable :

  • Compact sleeping bag
  • Walking boots or shoes
  • Appropriate clothing to fit the season
  • Day pack to carry extra snacks and water
  • Rain jacket
  • Fleece jacket
  • Warm and light clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • First aid kit
  • Warm pajamas
  • Head torch

Morocco’s electrical outlets, like most European countries, are Euro plug-type round pin sockets with 220-240 volts (V) and 50 Hz frequency. Be prepared to pack the necessary adapters and converters if you plan on bringing electronic devices. A comfortable and securely closable bag is also a good idea if you have a camera or other travel items while out and about on excursions. Finally, it is advisable to avoid flashy, expensive accessories and/or jewelry that are valuable or precious to you.

Please be aware that if there is rain, snow, wind or any other weather conditions that nature decides to throw at us, all activities and excursions will continue as planned unless the weather is deemed unsafe for any reason.

 

Laundry 

While there are not many self-service laundromats in Morocco, there are plenty of laundromats in the bigger towns and cities. They are often not labeled, so it would be best to ask your guide or hotel concierge where a conveniently located one can be found. We would advise bringing clothes that you are OK with wearing for a couple of days in a row and enough clothes as well as under garments to last you for your 10 day trip. A couple of the hotels on our trip have laundry services for a fee, so you may opt to use them, time allowing.

 

Food & Drink 

Moroccan cuisine is quite varied and is comprised of equally various ingredients. Beef, lamb, poultry, and seafood are common staples of a typical meal with a side of bread or couscous. Because its citizens are primarily Muslim, pork is not commonly offered. Fresh olives as well as seasonal, local fruits and vegetables are also found in nearly every meal. A few traditional dishes of Morocco include tajine (various slow-cooked savory stew with meat, poultry or fish, a variety of vegetables which are usually spiced with ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, and/or paprika), couscous (steamed balls of semolina often accompanying tajine), and pastilla (a savory pastry-like pie shaped into a bowl with various meats, vegetables and spices).

You will also find that Morocco has a very prevalent tea culture. The most popular drink is probably mint tea served chilled with milk along with a spoonful or two of sugar. The tea culture here is so refined that there is even a special way to pour it!

A final note on Moroccan food and beverage culture : learn to do everything with your right hand! The left hand is usually used for bathroom-related issues, whereas the right hand is used to eat, shake hands and do pretty much everything else. Doing such things with your left hand is seen as unhygienic and disrespectful. So, even if you’re left-handed, you’re going to need a bit of ambidexterity while in Morocco!

 

Transportation 

While traveling throughout Morocco, most transport will be arranged for you with the exception of your time in Marrakech. You will have some free time in Marrakech, so in terms of transportation, you have a couple of options. There are horse drawn carriages called calèches that travel down set routes starting at approximately 20 MAD per person. Each carriage should have its rates and routes posted inside. Alternatively, you may opt to take a taxi if your destination is too far to be reached on foot. They are cream colored and are generally older models. For a standard trip from point A to B, you might expect the fare to be around 10-20+ MAD per trip depending on the distance. There is a 10 MAD surcharge at night. Most taxi drivers will set the meter, but to make sure that you don’t get ripped off, it’s better to insist that they start it at the beginning of your journey.


Safety

Most areas of Morocco that you will visit in this trip experience less petty and violent crimes compared to the bigger cities such as Casablanca, Rabat, and Marrakech. During your time in Marrakech, it is suggested to travel in groups of two or more. While you are not likely to face any violence, you may very well be aggressively approached by panhandlers. As in any travel destination, it is important to be aware of your surroundings with a secure over the shoulder day pack that closes tightly. This way your belongings won’t easily become the property of any purse snatchers or pick pockets. Situations such as those just mentioned are most common in larger cities at famous attractions where large numbers of Moroccans and tourists tend to congregate. The United States State Department offers general travel information about this country. See below for more information.

U.S. State Department Travel to Morocco

 

Guides

Your guides are handpicked for their expertise and are an excellent resource for questions about Moroccan society, history, and culture. Your guide will work to ensure that each individual has the most rewarding experience possible. Like local friends, our guides show you the best of both countries by providing direct access to the people and places less traveled. It should also be noted that it is standard practice for each traveler to tip the guide 30~50 USD or more, especially if you like your guide and you thought that he or she helped you have the trip of a lifetime!

 

Drinking Water

Most will agree that the drinking water in Morocco is not safe for consumption. Due to the plastic waste epidemic, many hotels have switched to offering filtered water to their guests to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced. They will usually include a notice that explains the filtration process, so you can be sure that your water is safe to drink. That being said, it is always suggested to avoid drinking tap water. Remember to be sure to drink the recommended 2~3 liters or more of water per day in order to stay hydrated, especially when hiking in the mountains or desert.

 

Medical Facilities

Should you fall ill during your trip, there are pharmacies that can be easily located during your stay in Morocco. If you have specific medical requests, the brand names may be different, but knowing the ingredients’ chemical names would be helpful as most pharmacists worldwide will know these names. Be aware that many medicines that are over the counter in the U.S. may only be by prescription in Morocco. If you have prescriptions, bring them with you in the original bottle with the prescription from your doctor and in your name. In case of any emergency, your consulate or embassy will be able to direct you to good standing and proper health care service providers.

 

Tipping

Tipping is a standard in Morocco, but there is no set of rules defining how much should be given for various services. Many locals, especially those working in the service industries, are quite poorly compensated for their work, so tipping helps them earn decent wages. Generally 10~15% of the total bill is acceptable as a tip unless you feel that the service exceeded your expectations. It is a good idea to keep spare change in a coin purse as these will come in handy in situations where you leave a tip. Below is a basic guide of who and how much to tip. 

  • Bellhops : 10 MAD depending on how heavy your luggage is and on what floor you’re staying.
  • Taxi : Round up to the next 5 MAD. (i.e. If the fare is 17 MAD, give 20 MAD.)
  • Hotel maid : 5~10 MAD a day daily or at the end of your stay in cash in the pillow case on your bed.
  • Waiter : 10~15% of the bill at restaurants unless it is already included.
  • Tour guide/bus driver : 300~500 Mad or more, especially if you feel that your trip was enhanced by the guide’s and/or driver’s services.

Please note that in bigger cities in particular, you may find yourself in a medina (neighborhood/quarter) trying to navigate your way to a certain destination. These can be tricky to find your way around and you will more than likely be approached by a stranger or “unofficial” guide who may rather aggressively offer to show you the way. If you would like to take him up on his services, then an acceptable amount would be about 10 MAD. However, if you decline the services for whatever reason, you are not obligated to pay that person. It is strongly recommended to use caution when approached by these “guides”. It is almost always safer and more reliable to find a professional local guide or a taxi at just a little extra cost to you.

 

Arrival

In your pre-departure notes you will receive the name of the hotel in both the local language and English as well as pertinent phone numbers. 

Visa :

Americans traveling to Morocco for less than 90 days in each country DO NOT need a visa. You may also be required to show proof of exit of Morocco in the form of a departure ticket. While it is not required, we do recommend having at least 6 months validity on your passport.

Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other European Union passport holders also only require a passport to travel as a tourist and if only staying less than 90 days in Morocco.

Vaccinations :

Below is information from the CDC and its recommendations regarding vaccinations for travel to Morocco.

CDC Morocco

Flights :

We recommend departing on a Saturday especially if leaving from the west coast of the USA, in order to arrive in Marrakech, Morocco by Sunday. Return flights should be from Marrakech for 10 days later, on a Tuesday, to be back in the USA on the same day or one day later depending on your flight.

Your tour will begin on a Monday when you meet that morning as a group in the hotel lobby to be on your way to Tizi N’Tichka. You will be given the guide’s number on the pre-departure notes, so if you have any urgent issues, you can call the guide from the hotel phone.

All of this information will be included in great detail in your pre-departure notes, which you will receive approximately 1~2 weeks prior to your trip start date.

*Please do not book any flights until you receive a confirmation from us, which will be sent to you 24 hours after paying your deposit.

 

PEAK Season :  July to September – Summers in Morocco can get very hot, even up to 37 degrees Celsius (almost 99 degrees Fahrenheit)! There are also a lot of Moroccan tourists in many of the more popular destinations due to the amount of locals traveling to their hometowns, especially in the month of August.

SHOULDER Season : April to June and September to October – Shoulder season is right before and after peak season and is a great time to experience this country as the weather is good, but there are less crowds. It stays relatively warm during the days and cools off considerably at night.

LOW Season : November to March – Morocco enjoys a very mild winter with averages in the 50s to 60s (Fahrenheit) during the day. While this is not a particularly bad time to visit Morocco, it can get quite cold, especially in the mountains and the desert.

The hotels and accommodations in which you will be staying in Morocco are hand-picked by us. They are also locally-owned and run hotels, not big chains with hundreds of rooms and big crowds of tourists. We try our best to select accommodations with impeccable service as well as old world charm and that are centrally located.


Marrakech

 


Ait Benhaddou


Desert Camp


N’Kob


Todgha Gorge


Dades Valley

Hotel babylon dades (11)_0

hotel-babylon-dades-boumalne-dades-000

hotel-babylon-dades


Skoura

 


Tisselday Village

 

Insurance :

We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trip. We work with Travelex as our insurance provider. You can click on the link below to get a quote.

travelexbanner4

 

You can also shop around on the internet for a provider that fits your needs.

Once you obtain any insurance, please print out your policy and bring it with you on the trip.

Vaccinations :

There are no required vaccinations that Morocco requires you to have prior to visiting. Below is a link to the CDC website with more information about what vaccinations the United States recommends for travel to Cuba.

CDC Website

Trip Date

MAY 7
MAY 16
SOLD OUT
Book
USD $2300

Total price per person on a twin share basis. Single Supplement is $450.

OCTOBER 15
OCTOBER 24
RESERVE YOUR SPOT
USD $2300

Total price per person on a twin share basis. Single Supplement is $450.


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