Part 1, Morocco: Route Marrakesh- Sahara Desert- Marrakesh- Fes, Destination 2#Sahara Desert (Tour)

The Sahara Desert Tour

I booked this when I arrived in Marrakesh and it was the BEST decision we ever made. The price of the tour me and my brother booked was the cheapest in town, and we changed our booking from its original because Sahara Expeditions completely cocked up our booking. We had been in contact via email for 2 to 3 months before coming to Morocco and arranged and confirmed on many ocassions our journey to the Sahara Desert. We were limited on time and didn’t have time for it to mess up. The morning of the trek, we were not collected from our hostel. They then said that we were booked for the next day which was not the case. (do not book with http://www.saharaexpe.ma/) So we went in search for a different company. They was a little shop on the way to the Medina that did tours and we ended up booking for a day later with them. They picked us up first in light of knowing how we didnt get collected from the last company and it worked out cheaper at £56 for 3days 2 Nights Marrakesh-Merzouga Tour (770 DRM)

Itinerary was as follows:

First day: Departure from Marrakech at 7:00 am by Minibus /View of the Atlas Mountains / visit the Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou/ Moroccan dinner and evening in the Dades Gorge..

Second day: Breakfast at the hotel / Departure for Merzouga, with the highest dunes in Morocco/ stop in Moroccan berber village/ arrival at desert, one and a half hour camel ride at sunset /Berber dinner and sleep under the stars or in tents at a desert camp.

Third day : Views of sunrise in the desert / Return to Merzouga by camel .Ouarzazate/ Valley of the Roses / Arrival at 7h30 or 8h00 pm..

It was the most amazing experience. Day 1 was great because we got to see the diverse landscape of Morocco. We got to see the Atlas Mountains, Gorges and Rivers. It was so beautiful stopping at these sights and also getting to visit an old berber village structure thats seen in so many films.

The Ait Benhaddou is a setting films like The Kingdom of Heaven, The Mummy, Gladiator, and The Prince of Persia. The fortified old city had many occupants still home to 10 families and the fortress citadel hosted royalty when city was under attack. High walls for self defence and close to a harbour, it was a vision of wealth (the water nearby now dried up by the excessive heat). We got to see the rich past of Morocco and the beauty it has left behind.

                                             
             Atlas Mountains
 Monkey Fingers, Dades Gorge, Morocco

                
                 Ait Benhaddou

Ourzazate, Morocco

After all of these sights we headed towards the Dades Valley Gorge where we were staying for the night. Unfortunately, we ran into some problems as the rainfall was so heavy during a 2 hour period that the streets flooded. The high mountainous landscape and claylike sandy environment meant heavy rainfall caused massive issues to roads. We were waiting for a while before we manned up and decided to drive over what looked like a river.

Road Turns to River

After we passed the flooded road we managed  settle into our Hotel. It was lovely and far better quality than I anticipated. When you pay for a package for 3 days, with everything involved you expect the hotel to be very budget. It was nestled in the Dades Valley Gorge so so the view was beautiful from the balcony. We ate a buffet meal followed by musicians for us, it was a lovely evening. We slept early for the next day ahead.

The Second day, we were driven to a lovely Berber Village in the Toudra Valley. The Berber people whilst Moroccan, live a very different lifestyle to the city dwellers of Marrakesh. The Indigenous people of the country vary in culture to other Moroccans in that they do not practice Polygamy and they have a huge attachment to farming, sharing crops with their family. They grow corn, purple flowers for dye, cabbage, Anise, Mint and many other herbs.

A Picture of Me and My Tour Guide, A Berber Local and Farmland

Pictures of the Village: (Starting From the Left) A Village Door with a Symbol of the Family, A berber in the farm, A berber pharmacy

We also saw many different types of landscape on our way to the Desert.

And so we arrived at the beginning of our camel ride into the desert.. Which is unfortunately where my camera died. Some of these images are therefore taken by someone else on our trek. Nonetheless, the view was breathtaking, the pictures just do not do the place justice. We had an amazing evening meal followed by sleeping under the stars. We were going to sleep in the tents but they were VERY hot because of everyone inside that it was cooler and more pleasant outside. We were given a bedsheet and mattress to sleep on and slept looking at the stars.. It was amazing.

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