Tag Archives: Sahara Desert Tours

Morocco New Years Luxury Desert Trip

Arabian Nights, Skoura Palmeraie

Arabian Nights, Skoura Palmeraie

Journey beyond Marrakech for a New Years Luxury Desert Trip. Take the entire family on a Sahara Desert Safari to Morocco’s Great South and experience the highlights of Morocco. Visit Ait Benhaddou Ksar, Lawrence of Arabia was Filmed Here. Explore Morocco’s natural wonder, the grand Dades Valley, sunset camel trek across the Erg Chebbi Dunes as an Arabian Nights Dinner and Berber Music at a Luxury Desert Camp awaits you. Go off road to Mount Mgoun and Sip Tea with Nomads. Have Lunch with a Berber Family in the Saghro Mountain Region and participate in a henna party designed just for you. A Morocco Desert Tour is not without adventure unless you discover the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs in Skoura and stay in boutique, Moroccan riads and guest houses. A Grand Sahara Desert adventure tour to Morocco awaits you.

Travel Exploration’s detailed experiential and family travel itineraries for visiting Morocco are outlined on our website and for desert adventurers who want to take a Sahara Desert Safari to Morocco for New Years our trip is featured here:

Morocco Tea Ceremony, Sahara Desert

Morocco Tea Ceremony, Sahara Desert

Morocco New Years Desert Trip: A Sahara Desert Safari for the entire Family:

Day 1: Journey Beyond Marrakech via the Tizzin’ Tichka Mountain pass to visit Kasbah Telouet – Kasbah of the Pasha Glaoui, and Ait Benhaddou Ksar before driving via the palmeraie to Skoura.
Take the road to Ouarzazate. During your journey to Ouarzazate you will also pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat, as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic influences and desert borders. Along the route you will see panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains as well as sights of fertile valleys, blue and red colored pise villages and other striking mineral environments.

En route stop for lunch and visit the Argan Cooperative where Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics are made with the Argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Have a complimentary tasting. This cooperative is run entirely by women.

Go by piste to visit Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous Kasbahs that is the origin of the Pacha Glaoui Family. Kasbah Telout is hidden among a tiny road in a small village that is 20 minutes outside Tichka. Its history stands alone with its original zellij tile, authentic, preserved silks and grand remnants of the Glaoui family. Telouet was once an important stop on the Southern Caravan route for traders carrying spices, slaves and other commodities. Telouet’s Kasbah also known as Dar Glaoui once served as the royal headquarters and residence of the Glaoui tribe. Until Morocco’s independence in 1956, the Glaoui had power in the central Moroccan and French administration. Continue the road to Ouarzazate. Visit Aït Benhaddou Kasbah. Ait Benhaddou Kasbah is located 32 km from Ouarzazate. Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. Continue to Skoura, the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs. Overnight at a Boutique Riad in Skoura.

Desert oasis with palm trees - Zagora - Draa valley - Morocco

Desert oasis with palm trees – Zagora – Draa valley – Morocco

Day 2: Visit Skoura and the Palmerie of one-thousand Kasbahs before driving through the magnificent Valley of Roses onto the Dades Valley and Dades Gorge.
Visit the Skoura palmeraie and the Valley of 1000 Kasbahs. The “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs” and Skoura palmeraie is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside deserted landscapes. The palm groves were laid out in the 12th century by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el-Mansour and named after its original inhabitants, the Berbers of the Haskourene tribe. The most beautiful kasbahs in southern Morocco can be found here. Many of them are still partially inhabited. Continue towards the perfumed Valley of Roses, just north of El Kelaa Des Mgouna. On the way to the Valley of Roses, your driver will stop for you to view the Capp et Floral distillation factories laid out in the small Kasbah town that manufacture the entire nations products of eau de rose. The rose water and other products such as hand and body soaps, oil, crème perfume and dried flowers are for sale and also popular among Moroccans. The factories produce 3000-4000 petals a year.

Visit Mount Mgougn and Sip Tea with Nomads in their rural cave. The Valley of Nomads is filled with cave dwellers who have lived in the Mgoun region for centuries. Your journey will then take you through the Dadès Valley, which covers 125 km between Ouarzazate and Boumalne du Dadès in the High Atlas Mountains. Overnight at a Boutique Guest House in the Dades Valley.

Khemlia Musicians, Merzouga Sahara Desert

Khemlia Musicians, Merzouga Sahara Desert

Day 3: Dades Valley morning exploration before visiting the the Todra Gorge and it’s large canyon en route to the Erg Chebbi dunes located in the heart of the Merzouga Sahara Desert.

Take the road to Merzouga. En route visit Erfoud, the capitol of fossils and the town of Rissani. Rissani is a Sahara desert town that is from the ancient Alawi Dynasty and the birthplace of King Mohammed VI, the current King of Morocco. Visit the old Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Sharif, the first King of the Alawi Dynasty. Next visit Maison Taureg House and then the old Ksar of Rissani.
Continue to Khemlia where you will visit Sudanese- Berber Gnaoua Trance musicians, Moroccan village. The Musicians of Khemlia have been living in this remote village for a century and perform 100 year-old Gnaoua Trance music songs. Spend an hour listening to Gnaoua Trance music using old world instruments by these Sudanese Berber Musicians. Tea is served and then there is an option to explore their village.
Arrive in Merzouga’s Erg Chebbi Dunes before sunset, and then go by dromedary at sunset into the Erg Chebbi Dunes to a bivouac camp. Your Tuareg guide will share some of the Sahara Deserts’ secrets. As you glide across humpback on these silent, mystical dunes there will be countless opportunities to photograph the endless rolling dunes. Arabian Nights Dinner and Spend the night in a Luxury Desert Camp.

Day 4: Merzouga Departure for Ait Ouzzine, Nkob Berber Village where you will enjoy lunch with a Berber family, participate in a private henna party and discover how traditional families live in this mountain and desert region.

Aït Ouzzine, just minutes outside Nkob is a Berber village inhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated Kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani. Meet a local Berber family; partake in a cooking lesson of how to make traditional bread and a tajine. Explore and tour the village by foot. Walk in the green fields and see how the traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, livestock, and henna plants.
Sip tea with the Berbers in the Saghro Mountains and enjoy a traditional Berber lunch. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices and a chicken and vegetable tajine or couscous and fresh local fruits for desert.

After lunch, you can have your hands and feet painted with henna or your hair adorned with saffron by a local village artist and relaxes. Experience the tradition of Berber perfume made from musk and amber along with the villages own spices. End the afternoon in Ait Ouzzine with mint tea and almonds. Overnight at a Boutique Riad in Ouarzazate.
Day 5: Drive from Ouarzazate via the Ounilla Valley and Tizzin’ Tichka Pass back to Marrakech.
Visit the Oasis of Fint passing the “Plateau de pierres”. On this road you will find a shining Oasis of palms. Visit the Oasis of Fint that hovers under the Atlas Mountains. Journey on a one-hour walk inside the Oasis where you will have a cup of tea with the headmaster’s family Azziz Ouaziz and tour the surrounding area where date palm oases and dramatic desert scenery are king.
Next journey to the Atlas Film Studios. The studios are flanked by Holly-wood style Egyptian figures and cover 30,000 sq. m of desert. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara. Return to Marrakech.

A Sahara Desert Safari New Years Trip for the entire family.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.
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Family Adventure Vacations to Morocco

Morocco Family Adventure Tour, Sahara Desert

Morocco Family Adventure Tour, Sahara Desert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morocco is the perfect family destination as it offers a unique blend of cultural and adventure experiences for families looking for an educational and active holiday. The combination of Morocco’s grand Sahara Desert, old world souks, and mountain regions offer a pure and relaxed setting. On Travel Exploration Morocco’s Family Adventure Tour you will visit luscious food markets and fanciful bazaars, zip line across Morocco’s High Atlas, camel trek in the Sahara Desert, take a hot air balloon ride, learn how to make a Moroccan tajine and meet a Berber family. Moroccans are wonderful hosts and family oriented which makes the country ideal for family travel.

Visitors who take their families to Morocco for an Adventure vacation with Travel Exploration always report back saying it was the best vacation ever! Morocco Family Adventure Vacations are ideal for parents who want to have the responsibility for planning a family holiday out of their hands to be passed along to a Morocco travel planner and agent who will take care of the details. At Travel Exploration you are guaranteed to receive a hand curated itinerary that is fit for the entire family.

Morocco Family Tour, Kasbahs

Morocco Family Tour, Kasbahs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our family vacations to Morocco are private tours geared around each family’s interests. A private, English Speaking driver is provided along with luxury transportation for the entire family in 4×4 land cruisers or other comfortable vehicle suitable for Imperial City and Desert travel. Each Morocco family tour also includes stays at boutique riads and hotels that are well appointed in the old cities, family friendly and ideal for travelers to Morocco in all seasons.

Imagine a Morocco Private Tour where your entire family can have an authentic experience in their own private four wheel drive vehicle. Venture through the alleys of Morocco’s ancient medinas (cities) surrounded by exotic smells of the spices, olives, food markets, fresh baked bread and the sound of the muezzin call each day at prayer time. Discover a Souk Tasting Tour in Fez where you will visit a bread oven, try honeys, juices, dried fruits, soups, meats and other exotic flavors found on the streets of Fes. Visit palaces and gardens set inside the walls of UNESCO Fes.

Morocco Family Tour, Quad Biking

Morocco Family Tour, Quad Biking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quad bike across the Sahara Desert Camel Trek across the magnificent Erg Chebb Dunes in the heart of Merzouga, then overnight in a charming Berber Desert Camp with a 1001 Arabian Nights dinner fireside with drumming and desert music. Visit the Skoura Palmeraie and the Valley of 1000 Kasbahs. Explore Morocco’s Oasis of Fint and have Tea at the Head Master’s house just foot steps outside Ouarzazate, the Hollwood of Morocco. Take an adventure ride by piste to the Atlas Film Studios where Kundun, Kingdom of Heaven, Body of Lies, Cleopatra and the Game of Thrones were filmed. Dine on couscous and bread bake with a Berber family in the heart of the Draa Valley, known for over 45 qualities of date. Continue on to more popular regions through snow capped mountain passes. Walk in the footsteps of Morocco’s ancestors to discover Ait Benhadd Ksar.

Morocco Family Tour, Valley of Roses and Skoura

Morocco Family Tour, Valley of Roses and Skoura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drift through the majestic Atlas Mountains and the Tizzin’ Tichka Mountain Pass where Moroccan families Berber and Jewish have lived nestled in Kasbah fortresses and old Ksars for centuries. Then continue onto Marrakech for the a popular city experience and memorable part of a Family Adventure tour where you will witness an evening of acrobats and fire throwers at the medieval carnival in Djemaa El Fna Square under the Moroccan stars. Embark on Tasting all of Marrakech as you enjoy a five course traditional tasting menu guided by locals. End your visit on the Essaouira Coast which is full of blue washed color and seaside views. Horseback ride with views on the Atlantic and Portugese Ramparts.

A Morocco Family Adventure Vacation is the idea tour for families of all ages and sizes. Take an Unforgettable Family Tour to Morocco with Travel Exploration this season.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Morocco’s Great Deserts, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Morocco's Great Deserts, M'hamid

Morocco’s Great Deserts, M’hamid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although, compared to neighbouring Algeria, Morocco has only a fraction of the Great Sahara Desert within its territory, yet Morocco offers the safest and best-organized access to the Sahara of the whole of North Africa. Whether you want a quick glimpse of the magnificent dunes on camelback, the thrill of sand boarding down the dunes, an overnight experience under the vast starry skies in a nomad’s tent, or a longer excursion to explore the expanse of the dune complex and the people who inhabit it, Morocco has it all. There is nowhere else where you could be in some of Africa’s highest snow-tipped mountain ranges and in the depth of the sandy expanses of the desert in the same day. And your trip to Morocco’s Great Deserts will take you through centuries-old oases on route. Along the way, you will meet local nomads and villagers whose families have worked this land and survived its hardships for generations.

Morocco lies on the northwesterly tip of the African continent with a long Atlantic coast. This coast runs approximately southwest to northeast. Almost parallel to the coast, behind the fertile plains of Morocco’s principal rivers, are the Atlas Mountain ranges (from north to south, the Middle, High and Anti-Atlas). The Sahara desert begins in the foothills of these mountains on their eastern (interior) side. Sandwiched between the mountains and the Algerian border are the principle dune regions of Morocco. Further south, the Sahara meets the ocean where Sahara cities Laayoune and Ad Dakhla are known for their sandy dunes, unique flora, bird life and beaches.

Erg Chebbi Dunes, Merzouga Sahara Desert

Erg Chebbi Dunes, Merzouga Sahara Desert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting in the north, the most frequently visited dune network is at Erg Chebbi, near the towns of Rissani and Merzouga. Erg Chebbi’s dunes are the largest in Morocco, with some reaching around 150m in height. They cover an area of 50km (31 miles) from north to south and are about 5-10 km (3-6 miles) across. This area is easily accessible from Fes (via the Middle Atlas). A longer drive from Marrakech, takes visitors via the spectacular Tiz n’Tichka pass and the city of Ouarzazate or the stunning Dades Valley. This accessibility and the size of the dunes have meant that the infrastructure around the dunes at Erg Chebbi is very well developed, both in terms of desert bivouacs, luxury desert camps and guesthouses and hotels. This is great for those visitors who want a convenient way to see the desert on a tight itinerary, but those with more time or who seek to explore the Sahara in greater depth may prefer a more remote destination.

Further south, and also reached via Ouarzazate (but this time via the beautiful Drâa Valley and its date palm oases and ancient defensive kasbahs) are the desert areas around Zagora and M’Hamid. At Zagora, you can see the famous sign indicating “TOMBOUCTOU 52 JOURS,” (“52 days to Timbuktu”), which gives an indication of the importance of the desert and this region in particular for the camel caravans and trade routes of the past. Today, Zagora is a popular starting point for trips on camelback into the Sahara. The landscape here is flatter, although there are dunes at Tinfo, and near the town agriculture is relatively well developed, giving a different desert experience.

Erg L’Houdi (meaning the Dunes of the Jews) and Erg Ezahaar (the Screaming Dunes) are respectively one or four days’ camel ride from M’Hamid, which is itself around 100km (60 miles) further along the Drâa Valley towards the Algerian border. The paved road ends here. M’Hamid feels much more like a nomadic outpost. Being much more remote, this area is considerably less visited and many of the local sites of interest, such as sacred springs, ancient zaouias (sites of religious pilgrimage in honour of saints) and local Berber and nomadic villages are more easily (and comfortably) accessed in a 4×4 vehicle with an experienced guide. Being such an important region for trade and artisans, the area between Zagora and M’Hamid features some interesting historical and cultural sites, such as the village of Amezrou – base of former Jewish silversmiths with an Ancient Jewish Mellah – and Tamagroute, with its pottery cooperative, zaouia and Koranic Library.

Erg Chegaga Sahara Desert

Erg Chegaga Sahara Desert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last of the four main dune networks is Erg Chegaga, between M’Hamid, 50km (30 miles) west of the town towards the settlement of Foum Zguid. After Erg Chebbi, these are the second most popular dune destination. Erg Chegaga has the highest dunes in this southerly area, but they are still considerably lower than the dunes at Erg Chebbi to the north. A favourite activity is to scramble to the top of the dunes in time for sunrise over the Sahara. Running uphill on sand is not an easy task, so this is an activity for early risers only!

Many visitors to Morocco manage to fit in an overnight stay under canvas or in a Kasbah-style hotel at one of the main dunes areas of Erg Chebbi or Erg Chegaga. However, for the more adventurous or those wishing really to escape the distractions of the modern world, the trip down to south to Morocco’s Great Deserts and also to M’Hamid and beyond is certainly worthwhile. For those with less time, however, the larger dunes still offer the chance to get away from it all. And while a journey on camelback is certainly not the most luxurious in terms of comfort, it is unlike anything else! Climb aboard the “ship of the desert” and image the great trains of camels, which once crossed this magnificent sandy expanse, transporting gold, silver, and salt across the African continent!

Written by Lynn Sheppard 

Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.

For more information about Morocco’s Great Sahara Desert Tours

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.  We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Nkob, Morocco’s Ait Atta Berber Treks and Travel

Nkob, Sagro Mountain Region

The Sagro Mountain region and Ait Ouzzine is the ancestral village of the Ait Atta a Berber tribe which resisted the French up until a treaty was concluded 1933 and never submitted to Thami El Glaoui Pacha of Marrakech during the French protectorate 1912-1956. The Ait Atta belong to the Ait Atta Confederation which covers Ouarzazate, Errachidia, and Azil Provinces. The tribe existed prior to the Arab Islamic conquest in the 7th century and was the leading Berber tribe between the 15 and 19th century. Fiercely independent, their stronghold was the Saghrou Mountains which surround Nkob and its villages. A trek in the Sagro Mountain region includes a five day treks tarting from the Dades valley via the Saghrou Mountains to Nkob. You can also visit the Valley of the Roses on the high plateau of El Kelaa MGouna when visiting this region as well or arrange a home stay with a Berber family through a reputable Moroccan travel agency that specializes in travel in Morocco’s Berber villages, the Draa Valley and the great South.

Nkob has 45 kasbahs, a tribute to its ancestral importance and its key role in the caravan trade route with Timbuktu. It reveals much about Berber life and culture in southern Morocco as well as being a tranquil haven and a staging post for trekking in the region and the Saghrou Moutains. The Saghro Mountain region was also once known for having a significant Jewish population. The Jews co mingled with the Berbers and lived side by side and intermarried, prior to the 7th Century Arab invasion.

Nkob is located on the road between Ouarzazate and Tazzarine. This is on the southern road which connects Marrakech (340 kms from Knob) with the Erg Chebbi Dunes in Merzouga. Ouarzazate is 136 km from Nkob.

As well as investigating the village of Nkobs’ Kasbah’s there are two surrounding oases. There is a Friday animal market and a Saturday and Sunday Market for local produce. The Nkob souk is the 2nd biggest in Zagora Province. Items include handmade leather shoes and sandals at the Ait Atta Shoes shop. Nkob also specializes in high quality henna as Nkob located in the Zagora region of Morocco where henna grows. Nkob is also known for its organically grown almonds. Other items include berber cosmetics and clothing such as caftans and colorful berber dresses.

Restaurants include the Kasbah Ennakhile with home cooked Berber food serving lunch time from 12pm to 3pm and dinner from 8pm to 10pm. At the Restaurant Merzouga you can eat traditional Moroccan fare cooked on a real wooden fire. It is a great chance to taste authentic Berber cuisine .

Hotel Kasbah Ait Omar View

There are a number of hotels and bed and breakfast accommodations in Nkob including:

Hotel Kasbah Ait Omar, a charming five star well-restored Kasbah located in Nkob with views of the palmeraie and luxuries equivalent to those provided in Imperial City Riads. This quaint restored Kasbah is owned by a German couple who bought the Kasbah from a family and restored it to its original glory. Fitted with a Roman style swimming pool, a glorious hammam, floor heating and charming Berber decor, this Kasbah Hotel is the place to stay in Nkob. A Travel Exploration favorite and the best in the region. Excellent amenities, service, food and location.

Ksar Jenna is 2km before Nkob on the road to Ouarzazate and just across from the village Ait Ouzzine. This lovely Riad has a garden setting and rooms built around a center courtyard. Boutique and charming with a small view, the Riad has an Italian tiled and Moroccan decor. It serves as a wonderful place to stay. No swimming pool yet the food and atmosphere make up for it. Midrange traveler option for the region. Excellent food, service and location.

The Kasbah Imdoukal is in the centre of Nkob. It is family owned, has traditional decor and a swimming pool. This Kasbah is for those traveling on a mid-range budget and want comforts not provided by for example Kasbah Baha Baha. Good food and location.

Kasbah Baha Baha is a restored 10 room Kasbah with a restaurant and swimming pool on the road to Saghrou. It is family owned and reasonably priced for those traveling on budget. There is an option to sleep in a standard room within the Kasbah or a Berber tent. Good Budget traveler option in the region. Good food and location.

For More Information on the Nkob Region of Ait Atta and Berber Village Travel

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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The Guelmim Camel Festival, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Guelmim Camel Festival

Guelmim, famous for its blue people and as the gateway to the Sahara is in the South west of  Morocco. It is the capital of the Guelmim-Es Semara region which includes Southern Morocco (south of the Souss-Massa-Draa region) and northern Western Sahara. It can be reached easily by road from Agadir.

It’s  a walled town with houses built of red clay and is encircled by date palm groves. It was a  camel caravan trading centre linked to Timbuktu in ancient times and in the 19th century, and it remains a commercial gateway to Mauritania.

Guelmim is home to the biggest camel market in Morocco which is held every Saturday at daybreak. Nomadic camel herders are still common.

Guelmim Camel Festival July

There are a number of tribes at the event including the Regeibat , Aït-Moussa-Ali, Aitoussa, Azwafits, Aït-Yassin, Aït-Lahcen, Aït-Baamran,Sbouya. The “Blue Men of the Desert”  or  Tuareg are so called because they wear indigo colored robes and a long blue scarf or tagilmust they use to swathe their heads and faces. The indigo is pounded, instead of boiled, into the cloth. There are also, of course, people pretending to be blue men to attract tourists.

As well as the weekly Camel Fair, the people of Guelmim hold an annual Camel Festival  every July. The festival is more of a tourist attraction than an actual market, due mainly to the decline in camel transport and the rise in 4x4s. The festival  offers the opportunity to witness the ancient dance ritual known as the Guedra, which is associated with Guelmim. The dance is performed by a woman to the beat of a drum made from a kitchen pot (guedra) and the chanting and clapping of onlookers. The dance often induces a hypnotic state. There is a festive atmosphere and meshwi, a whole roasted lamb, is cooked.

 When in Guelmim, a good place to visit is Fort Bou Jerif, which is the remains of a Foreign Legion fort. This  is located in miles of undulating hills and sandy shrubbery, halfway between Guelmim and the Atlantic coast.

 It can only be reached by tracks and a tour guide with a 4×4 is essential and should be arranged beforehand. As if from nowhere, the Fort will appear, with lovely looking buildings, including a hotel, a motel, a restaurant, a shop, and a camping site.

A short drive away is Plage Blanche, a large and virgin  sandy beach. An alternate  location to visit is at the former Spanish enclave of Sidi Ifni, it has an excellent beach and art deco buildings. Taghazout which is being developed as a major tourist resort is on the road back to Agadir.

For More Information on Guelmim Camel Festival & Sahara Travel 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Merzouga Gateway to Morocco’s Sahara Desert, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Merzouga, Morocco

Merzouga, Morocco

Merzouga is a small dusty town in Morocco about 450 miles from Marrakech and close to the Algerian border. Ouarzazate is the closest large town. Merzouga is 50 km from the town of Erfoud and Rissani. It is the gateway to the Moroccan desert.

Merzouga lies in the heart of of Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5km wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 350m. The landscape constantly changes with the wind sweeping the dunes into new formations and the sun changing the colour of the sand at different times of the day turning from pink to gold to red. The Erg Chebbi is like the great Ergs accross the border in Algeria. The largest dunes are near Merzouga and Hassi Labied. At night, you only have to walk a little wayout into the sand, away from the light, to appreciate the immensity and clarity of the desert sky and the brilliance of the stars.

Merzouga, Sahara Desert Bivouac

Merzouga, Sahara Desert Bivouac

Tourists come to Merzouga to go camel trekking and to experience the quiet stillness and immensityof the desert and the stars at night followed by the sunrise and sunset which is an amazing experience. Local berber tribesman can peform dances and their traditional music and tourists can spend the night in tented camping areas sampling traditional Moroccan cuisine and music by the camp fire.

Make sure you get a turban before setting out into the desert as protection from the heat and the dust.Carry a water bottle and ensure you secure the best bargains for your trips into the desert and pay attention to what is and is not provided.

Merzouga has a number of guest houses and riads if spending the night in a bivouac is not your choice. There are about 50 guest houses of varying categories along the sand dunes, and most of them own camels and can arrange for an extended trek, bird watching and other Sahara activities.

Other activities include trips into the desert by4X4 ,quad biking,hot air ballooning and sand skiing. You can bird watch around the Dayet Srji where there is a lake with flamingos. The Dayet Srji is a salt water lake and offers excellent bird viewing with lots of Egrets, Storks and Shelducks.

The summer months from June to September Merzouga can very hot during the day,, temperatures average around 115 Fahrenheit (45 C) during the summer and it’s obviously very dry. Nights in the desert do get much colder however and you’ll need a good jacket and pullover even if it is swelteringly hot during the day. If you do visit Merzouga during summer months find a hotel with a swimming pool.In March and April there are sandstorms as the Sirocco whips up. The best time to visit is from October to February.

For More Information on a Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour 

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Ouarzazate Then & Now, A Growing Berber City in Southern Morocco, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Portrait of Writer-Journalist John Gunther

Ouarzazate has one main street, about fifty yards long, and two thousand people, of whom two hundred are French.  The temperature can reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. ”  So says world-renowned journalist John Gunther in 1952, of his visit to Ouarzazate, during the reign of the Pasha Glaoui, whose honored guest he was.

“The sight I enjoyed most,” he says, “next to the kasbahs, was the general store, run by a Greek.  It resembles closely the general store in Twin Corners, Montana, or Greensboro, Vermont.  The frigidaire has cold beer, ham is sliced by a machine made in Toledo, and you can buy anything from a can of sardines to a monkey wrench.”

Ouarzazate Main Square at Dusk

“From Ouarzazate, two roads stretch out which are among the most interesting in all Africa, one going southeast to Zagora, along the celebrated Valley of the Draa, the other projecting eastward through an equally celebrated valley, that of the Dades, which is solid with crumbling kasbahs.  We chose the latter.  Five minutes after we were on the road, it became clear to us–if we needed to know it–that indeed Africa is a continent of contrasts.  We passed first a long line of camions (heavy trucks) carrying manganese, and then a stately camel caravan.”

Ouarzazate today has grown into a city of over 60,000. One of the most popular places to go at dusk is Place Al Mohadine which is home to Ouarzazate’s largest, local outdoor market that sells everything from spices to rose water and a charming cafe named Habous.

Modern Town of Ouarzazate

Inhabited by Berbers, in the past Ouarzazate was a point for African traders passing in and out of Morocco.  During the French era, it was a garrison town.  Ouarzazate today is the center of the Moroccan film industry,  and the starting point for most Sahara Desert tours, as well as being the closest city to the kasbah Ait Benhaddou.

Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, Ouarzazate

Some famous films that were shot at Ait Benhaddou Kasbah include the Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara.

Main street in Ouarzazate today

For more information about Ouarzazate Tours or to Contact a Ouarzazate Travel Agency

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Ouarzazate Tour, Ait Benhaddou Kasbah Tour, Authentic Moroccan Tours, Moroccan History, Americans Traveling to Morocco, Ancient Medinas in Morocco, Atlas Mountains Morocco, Berber Life, History of Morocco, History of Ouarzazate, Moroccan Film Industry, Ait Ben Haddou, Ouarzazate, Kasbahs in Southern Morocco, Sahara Desert, Sahara Desert Tours, 4 x 4 Sahara Tours from Ouarzazate, Morocco private tours, Morocco Holidays, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

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