The Sahara desert within reach of Jeep
The Kingdom of Morocco is rich in contrasts. After visiting the cosmopolitan Casablanca, the cultural capital Fez and the medina of Meknes, you will surely be tempted by the Atlas Mountains and the captivating Sahara. Although some tourist circuits aimed at the desert leave from the ocher city of Marrakech, Ouarzazate remains the main starting point for 4x4 excursions, 4 hours from Marrakech, it is nicknamed “the Gate of the Desert”, where private guides will offer you their expert services as well as safe and all-terrain vehicles. You can discover this mode of motorized and exhilarating tourism for the day or over several days, with bivouacs under nomadic tents and trekking in the middle of the dunes. With your private guide, enter the world of Berber peoples and nomads. Did the unique sensations that such a trip provides already make you dream? Let's see how many possibilities this region offers for an excursion by Jeep, 4x4, when not by motorbike or camel.
A dive out of time for a day
Many day or half-day excursions are offered from Ouarzazate. 4x4s will be able to help you discover the surroundings of the city and its wonders classified as World Heritage by Unesco. Ask to show you the Kasbah of Taourirt which is a national monument of Morocco and an excellent example of a village ksar, the Berber citadels. The fortress of the Kasbah of Tifoultoute, further west of Ouarzazate was a filming location for the film Lawrence of Arabia and is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the valley. If you are aiming for the heights, head for the Tichka pass and the Kasbah of Télouet, known to have been the imposing residence of the Pashas, including the famous El Glaoui. You will also stop at Aït-ben-Haddou, an essential ksar in the region and in the history of nomadism. For contact with a miracle of nature, the oasis of Fint is a must, as are the magnificent waterfalls d'Ouzoud where you enter a green valley populated by Berber macaques. These day trips often provide meals but not sleep. For a real discovery of nomadic tents, choose a guided tour over several days.
Unique sensations over several days of excursion
To see the big picture and immerse yourself in the desert, opt for a guided excursion over several days in a bivouac. In addition to allowing you to admire the wonders of the Atlas and the Sahara, you will enter a nomadic and exotic world, where the oases take on all their value. Leave for 2-3 or even 8 days depending on the circuits offered by private guides. These guided tours are full board and offer accommodation in a more or less luxurious or typical hotel or bivouac. A popular circuit is the one connecting Ouarzazate and Merzouga crossing the thousand Kasbahs of the Valley of Dadès, Todra, and Drâa. This is an opportunity to admire the Tafilalet palm grove, the Bougafer mountain, and the Erg Chebbi dunes. Arrive at Merzouga, the sand desert is omnipresent and you have the choice to continue your journey in the heart of the Sahara. And why not take the opportunity to discover the Jurassic fossils of the mines of Galena and the rock engravings of Taouz? You might walk away with a trilobite or a tyrannosaurus rex tooth! In another direction, you can aim for the dunes of Chegaga which are among the largest in Morocco while being less frequented than Erg Chebbi. This trip will take you to Zagora, its orchards, and the oasis of M'Hamid El Ghizlane. Finally, the Iraqui National Park and its 123,000 hectares of Saharan desert have a jewel of strangeness: the dry lake of Iriqui, overlooking the Draa Valley. This park is a high wintering place for migratory birds and you come across hyenas, gazelles, and Barbary sheep.
Mix Jeep and other travel modes
All these circuits will be offered to you by Jeep for your greatest pleasure. Do not shy away from the joy of testing other ways of coming into contact with the desert of Morocco. Some stages of your journey can be made on the back of a dromedary, in the style of nomads, in the form of a camel trek, these caravans in single file, traversing the Sahara. This mode of travel will leave you breathless before the majestic immensity of the dunes. For this, the city of Merzouga is an ideal starting point. Similarly, if you opt for trekking or hiking to complete a stage or to climb one of the many peaks of the Atlas such as Djebel Saghro with its valley of birds, Djebel Sirwa and its green valley, or, for more seasoned, the Djebel Toubkal which culminates at 4167 meters. Get escorted by local guides and muleteers to ease your burden. Finally, another way to travel the dunes with thrills remains the enduro motorcycle and the desert mountain bike. On your 2 wheels, trace your furrow in the sand for a unique moment!
Morocco is a country that will remain anchored in your memory and as long as you have a good camera, it will be the scene of magnificent shots immortalizing your jeep trip in the dunes of the Sahara. The region offers a multitude of wonders within reach of 4x4 or camel. Let yourself be guided by a local expert and you will experience breathtaking moments in the desert.
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