Raod of the Thousand Kasbahs is a tour with a very suggestive name that does not disappoint: with it, you will discover an area of special interest south of the Atlas where countless Berber fortresses are still standing after centuries of history. In addition, there will be time to travel to the dunes and the whimsical rock formations of the desert. And on the way back, we will make time in the program for you to discover the fascinating city of Marrakech.
Morocco’s road of the Thousand Kasbahs is one of the most fascinating road journeys in the country. The N10 is a large road with various branches that runs south of the Atlas Mountains for several hundred kilometers. It connects this mountain range to the core of the Sahara desert in Moroccan territory, in a sense. Our journey begins in Ouarzazate and ends in Merzouga, passing through a variety of scenery, including valleys covered in palm groves and rocky gorges with quirky formations.
The kasbahs, however, are the true stars of the Route of the Thousand Kasbahs: adobe strongholds built centuries ago by the Berbers who live here and required to secure their caravan routes from any threat. Ait Ben Haddou, Skoura, and Tineghir are three of the most impressive kasbahs, but they are far from the only ones, as you will see during the journey.
Unlike other tours of Vacations In Morocco in shorter duration, in this tour we dedicate one day of the program to visiting the fascinating city of Marrakech. It will be at the end of the trip, after having toured the city and discovered the dunes of Erg Chebbi in the desert of Merzouga. On this day tour of the city, you will be able to enjoy amazing places such as the Jemaa el-Fna square, declared World Heritage by Unesco, the Badi Palace, the Bahia Palace, and the Saadian tombs, or the Koutoubia mosque (only externally). Therefore, this tour is ideal for those who can devote a week of their time to this trip and do not want to miss the opportunity to see the Red City.
Depending on your arrival time, you may go sightseeing in Marrakech if you arrive early. The following day will be spent touring Marrakech with a native guide. On the other day, you’ll travel to Boumalne Dades, passing through Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate, where you can explore the ancient kasbahs and enjoy the cinematic landscapes. Following that, you’ll embark on a journey to the Merzouga desert, where the night will be spent in a Berber camp under the starry desert sky, providing a unique and unforgettable experience. On the fifth day, you’ll engage in an exploration excursion to delve deeper into the desert and its surroundings, which may include camel trekking and interactions with local nomadic communities.
Finally, on the penultimate day of your adventure, you will return to Marrakech, often referred to as the “red city” due to its distinctive red buildings and city walls, wrapping up your captivating Moroccan journey.
Your 6-day tour from Marrakech to the Merzouga desert promises an immersive and unhurried adventure. You’ll explore the desert’s enchanting landscape, learn about the nomadic way of life, and revel in the natural beauty. Below is the detailed schedule:
This first day of the journey will be dedicated to getting to know Marrakech, regardless of when you arrive. Our crew will greet you at the airport (or at the Marrakech railway station if you travel by train) and transport you to your lodging: a charming riad where you will check-in upon arrival. This hotel will not only accommodate you for the night but will also provide you with food.
After a hearty breakfast at your riad in Marrakech, your adventure on the 6-day desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga begins. Your friendly driver will be waiting at your doorstep to whisk you away to the southeast. If you’re traveling between October and spring, you may catch a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains.
Your first stop of the day will be the iconic Ait Ben Haddou. Nestled among Berber communities and offering panoramic vistas, this massive adobe castle isn’t just a teaser on the famous Route of the Thousand Kasbahs; it’s one of the trip’s standout highlights. This UNESCO World Heritage site has a rich history and is a magnet for tourists from all walks of life. You’ll recognize its breathtaking landscapes from famous film and TV series, including Game of Thrones.
Once we explore this grand kasbah, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter many smaller but equally charming ones along the way. Some will invite you to get up close and personal, while others will captivate you from a distance, creating a picturesque road trip experience. Taourirt and Skoura are just a couple of examples. The Route of the Thousand Kasbahs capitalizes on the picturesque layout of two valleys: the Valley of the Roses and the Dades Valley, offering eye-catching landscapes at every turn. Your accommodation for the night will be in the Dades Valley at a traditional riad, where you’ll also savor a delicious dinner.
On the third day of your journey, you’ll begin with a satisfying breakfast at the riad, preparing for another exciting segment of the Road of the Thousand Kasbahs. Along the way, you’ll encounter the breathtaking Todra Gorges, where nature’s artistry is on full display. Here, a humble river has sculpted the terrain over millennia, creating towering rock formations that reach heights of over 200 meters. You’ll have the chance to admire this natural wonder both from the comfort of your vehicle and up close as you explore its most characteristic corners on foot.
Continuing your journey, you’ll pass through Tinerhir, another charming village along the Route of the Thousand Kasbahs, and arrive at two noteworthy palm groves: Tinjdad and Touroug. These palm groves offer insights into the local way of life and the vital role that oasis agriculture plays in the region. As you approach Erfoud, renowned for its wealth of fossils dating back millions of years, you’ll head southward, nearing your ultimate destination, Merzouga.
In Merzouga, a unique experience awaits as you transition from 4×4 vehicles to camels. Each traveler will be paired with a camel and accompanied by their respective guides as you embark on a camel trek into the mesmerizing dunes of Erg Chebbi. Nestled within this “sea of golden sand” is your tent camp, where you’ll spend the night. From this enchanting location, you’ll have the privilege of witnessing a captivating sunset over the dunes, followed by a night sky that shimmers with stars as if by some magical spell. Dinner will also be served at this secluded camp, ensuring you have all the comforts needed for a restful night’s sleep under the desert stars.
The fourth day of your journey promises a special awakening in the Merzouga Desert. You’ll be treated to a truly spectacular sunrise, a breathtaking display of colors, and an unparalleled sense of tranquility that can only be found in the heart of the desert. After savoring this magical moment, you’ll make your way back to Merzouga, riding on camels once again. Upon your return, you’ll have the chance to cool off, whether it’s in the refreshing pool at the desert camp or a nearby hotel, depending on the package you’ve chosen.
As your adventure continues, you’ll embark on another day of exploration along the Route of the Thousand Kasbahs. This time, you’ll journey east-west on a more southerly path compared to the previous days. Your first stop will be the city of Rissani, known for its charming medieval medina and various historical structures that harken back to its past as the capital of the Alaouite dynasty. Following your visit to Rissani, you’ll continue your journey through the picturesque Tafilalet palm grove and visit other charming villages like Alnif, Tazarine, and Nkob, where traditional adobe structures define the landscape.
The final stretch of the Route of the Thousand Kasbahs will take you through the Draa Valley, the Berber village of Agdz, and once again, Ouarzazate. After leaving Ouarzazate behind, you’ll begin your ascent through the southern face of the High Atlas Mountains, ultimately making your way back to the vibrant city of Marrakech. By day’s end, you’ll arrive in Marrakech, where a beautiful riad awaits you, and a delicious dinner will be served, providing a comfortable and fitting end to another day of exploration and discovery.
One of the benefits of this 6-day Marrakech to Merzouga Desert Itinerary through the Thousand Kasbahs Route and the Merzouga Desert is that you will have time to see Marrakech. On the sixth day, in particular. After breakfast at the riad, you will have the entire day to organize as you desire, including guided tours to monuments (consult), shopping in traditional souks and the Jemaa el-Fna marketplace, sampling local food, and so on. In any case, dinner and the night will be spent in the same lovely riad.
On the sixth and final day of your memorable journey, you’ll have some free time to make the most of your last moments in Marrakech. Whether you choose to indulge in some final shopping or opt for a leisurely morning stroll, you’ll have the opportunity to soak in the city’s unique charm one last time. As the agreed time approaches, your dedicated driver will be ready to pick you up at the designated location. You’ll be transferred by a private vehicle to the airport, marking the conclusion of your unforgettable adventure through the Route of the Thousand Kasbahs, the mesmerizing desert landscapes, and the vibrant city of Marrakech.
While this trip comes to an end, it’s not a farewell but rather a “see you again” as you part ways with Morocco, looking forward to the prospect of future adventures and journeys together.
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Morocco is a diverse country that serves as a gateway to Africa. Epic mountain ranges, ancient ruins, vast deserts, and kind people can all be found here.