Day 1: Fez – Ifrane – Cedar National Park – Erfoud – Merzouga Desert
The starting point of this tour is usually the airport of this city, although we can arrange any other place, such as a hotel. In any case, our staff will pick you up punctually to start the route at that very moment. It will be a Spanish-speaking driver at the wheel of a comfortable and private vehicle.
This way we will head south, and soon the Middle Atlas Mountains will appear before our eyes. This mountain range, with peaks exceeding 3,000 meters above sea level, is home to places worth visiting and admiring. For example, the city of our first stop: Ifrane. At a glance we will understand why it is known as the Moroccan Switzerland, because its green surroundings and its buildings with gable roofs evoke places typical of other latitudes, such as the European Alps.
The next point of interest of the route is the Ifrane National Park, which also receives two other popular names: the Park of the Cedars or the Forest of the Monkeys, as both are numerous here. And very representative of the country, by the way: these trees confirm a dense and huge green spot in the landscape and provide the perfect habitat for Barbary macaques, the only primate species north of the Sahara.
After getting to know this protected natural area, we will cross the Middle Atlas and, descending the southern slope, we will see how the landscape becomes more arid. It is the announcement that the desert is near, which we will reach by crossing the Ziz Valley. Following the natural route, which runs parallel to this small sheet of water, we will disembark in Erfoud, a small desert town that has gained international fame for the important fossils discovered here, some of them of dinosaurs.
And about 40 km beyond Erfoud, our road from Fez to the desert leaves the asphalt: in the town of Merzouga we will get on the back of camels for an excursion through the dunes of Erg Chebbi, which are among the most symbolic of the Sahara Desert. A ride of a couple of hours that will be unlike anything you have experienced before and will end at our tented camp.
Upon arrival, we will be welcomed with a Berber tea, as tradition dictates. And as night falls, an army of stars will appear in the sky, shining like nowhere else in the world, given the absence of light pollution and cloud cover. Undoubtedly, an unbeatable way to go to sleep, as you will spend the night in Berber tents in total comfort.
Day 2: Merzouga Desert – Khamlia – Desert Nomads – Merzouga Desert
On the second day of this circuit from Fez to the desert, we will live several experiences to remember. The first of them, the majestic sunrise over the dunes of Erg Chebbi, a spectacle of light and silence that is impossible to find elsewhere in the world.
After sunrise, we will have breakfast in the tents camp and move to Khamlia, better known as ‘the village of the blacks’.
In this village we will discover first hand an ancestral tradition: that of Gnawa music, performed by descendants of slaves from Sudan, brought here centuries ago. In their genes they carry, therefore, the percussion rhythms and the sensitivity for a tribal music that has received the distinction of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco. An honor that will be easy to understand when we witness live one of their performances.
Once the experience is over, we will get on our SUVs to travel along desert tracks used years ago by the racers of the Paris-Dakar rally. In this itinerary, we will pass through uninhabited French and Berber villages, as well as khol mines exploited decades ago to extract this precious raw material for the cosmetics industry. In addition, we will stop at a strategic and high point, from where we will observe the immensity of the dunes of Erg Chebbi.
There will still be time to visit a community of desert nomads who, despite being in the process of sedentarization, maintain uses and customs of their ancestors. We will make contact with them to tell us about their way of life in such an inhospitable terrain.
At the end of the day, we will return to our accommodation in a hotel in the desert of Merzouga, where dinner will be included and where the same sky shining with stars will bid us good night before going to sleep.
Day 3: Merzouga Desert – Fez
The third day of this circuit begins with the magic of waking up in the middle of the desert, in a unique accommodation where breakfast is included. And after that and after living two unforgettable days in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, it’s time to take the road back.
We will do it by the same route taken on the first day, in which we travel from Fez to the desert, but in this case in a more direct way, with the intention of reaching this Imperial City as soon as possible. In this way, you will have the afternoon free to take a first contact with it, in what will be a foretaste of the guided tour the next day. In the evening, you will sleep in a charming riad in the heart of the city center, where you will have all the monuments and places of interest close at hand.
Day 4: Fez – Airport
One of the advantages of this 4-day tour from Fez to the desert is that it offers plenty of time to visit this spectacular city, whose historic medina was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. So, after breakfast, you will meet our official local guide for a guided tour of the historic center.
Among the places that can be part of the itinerary are the Karaouine Mosque and University (considered one of the oldest in the world), the Nejjarine Square and its fountain, the Bou Inania Madrasa and other charming corners. In fact, it is one of the largest medinas in North Africa, so it has different neighborhoods, each with its own personality. In particular, the tanners. And the Mellah (Jewish quarter) or the Royal Palace, whose gilded bronze doors stand out, are other common stops for travelers with more stamina.
The itinerary will be adapted to the group and, in particular, to the time of the flight back home, normally scheduled for the afternoon. At the agreed time, our driver will pick you up for the transfer to the city’s airport. Our services will end at the terminal, although we will say goodbye in the hope of accompanying you again on a new tour of the country, either starting in Fez or in other cities such as Marrakech, Tangier or Casablanca.
TOURIST PACKAGE INCLUDED
- Pick up and drop off at the airport
- Comfortable private transportation with air conditioning
- English speaking driver / tour guide
- Sandboarding in the desert
- Camel ride
TOURIST PACKAGE EXCLUSIONS
- Plane tickets