Tours in Morocco: Marrakech, Desert & More
Morocco is an exotic country on Europe’s doorstep, one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Changing fascinating landscapes, royal ancient cities, UNESCO heritage sites, colourful souks, welcoming people, dunes, camel caravans and Berber and Arabic culture await for you to be discovered. It is a vast country with many different facets. A network of a well maintained roads, with many scenic spots, will bring you to any remote location where you can experience authentic life style like 1000 years ago.
The cities of Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh and Rabat are collectively known as the imperial cities. At some point in history all three were a capital city. The oldest is Fes, with many lovely buildings with Arabic architecture. Famous photo spot is Fes tanneries, the oldest in North Africa, where animal skins are treated and dyed before being made into bags, jackets and belts. The main attraction is medina where horses and donkeys have right of way in narrow alleys. Meknes is a fortified city containing several palaces, mosques, royal staples and gardens. Rabat highlights are the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the Tour Hassan. Another ancient corner of Rabat is a fortification, overlooking the coast. Another famous place to visit is a Chefchaouen, a blue houses city in Nord Morocco close to Tetouan and Tangier.
The major place to discover in Marrakech is medina surrounded by red walls. Behind old doors called Bab, that served as entrance for caravans in the past, you will enter bustling labyrinth of narrow streets, souks and squares which can be discovered by foot. Walking in souks is a festival for all senses. A smell of exotic spices and mint is mixed with food prepared by locals. In the medina you can immerse yourself in history by visiting ancient mosques, palaces, Almoravid monuments and museums. An evening program may include visit of a hamam, a restaurant with a local food and music, and perhaps a lively Jemaa el Fna Square.
Beyond Atlas the scenery is dominated by red mountains with stunning canyons and red traditional houses made from the clay (kasbah and ksar). One site not to be missed is a fortified village AïtBenhaddou, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continuing more to the South there are countless oases with date palms in Draa Valley. You may visit a Berber family in typical ksar for a mint tea. This is exciting place to discover Berber traditions alive. In the Sahara desert you can enjoy the sunset on big sand dunes, ride a camel and stay in the desert camp. Red coloured dunes are in the village of Merzouga. Golden sands with big dunes, are close to M’Hamid village situated on the former camel caravan road to Timbuktu. You will be impressed with night sky scenery during star glazing in your camp. Millions of stars and the moon seem to be so close. For people who like activities, there is a plenty to choose from (quad, sand boarding, biking etc.).
Morocco is a year round destination, however most popular months for travelling are March-June and September-December. Summer can be very hot in the desert, however many hotels have pools for refreshing dip. All our 4×4 cars are all with air condition. In the winter, in South of Morocco there is a pleasant temperature during the day. However, it drops during the night, so you will need warm clothes.
Many travellers are interested in sand desert with dunes, which can be visited in two locations in Morocco.
First option is near village of Mhamid, which is 8 hours drive from Marrakech, with many scentic stops on the way. Dunes are few hudred meters high and they are reachable only by 4×4 car. It takes on average 1.5 hours off-road drive from village Mhamid to the camp on the dunes (60 km). This is a remote location, for people that would like to enjoy silence and nature. However there are plenty of activities for active holiday.
The second main location to see dunes is in Merzouga. They are not so high as in Mhamid, but they are closer to the main road. The transportation takes 20 min to 30 min from the road to the camp. Merzouga is very popular among tourists, and this is for people who enjoy very lively places. Merzouga is 10 hours drive from Marrakesch, however almost all tourists make 1-2 stops or more on the way to explorte magnificent sites on the way.
It is possible to get a taste of the desert by staying in Zagora. This village with big oasis is 6-7 hours drive with stops from Marrakech, and it is located in the stone desert. Nearby there are few sand dunes with desert camps, however a real desert can be experienced only in Mhamid or Merzouga.
Please note that categorisation of Moroccan hotels and camps differ from Europe. We offer three types of hotels.
The standard basic accomodation * is the cheapest option.
Second hotel type are charming riads, dars, kasbahs, ksars and guest hourses. We offer very comfortable, stylish and well designed mid-range accomodation ** and ***.
For travellers looking for affordable luxury we choose a number of different hotels and riads in local Moroccan style ****.
The fourth category of hotels are ultra luxury with all amenities and services for demanding travellers *****.
There are three main types of camps. A basic camp is a budget option with shared bathroom.
A luxury camp have a private shower and a toilet in the tent and are tastefully decorated. Ultra luxury camp pay attention to design, quality furniture, excellent service with trained personal and usually offer a free trip to oasis and a free flow alcohol included in the price.
For entry in Morocco you do need a passport which must have at least 6 months validity and minimum one blank page. For Swiss nationals and most European citizens, visa is not required for stay up to 90 days. For more details about visa and passport requirements please contact the Maroccan Embassy in your place of residency. Sahara Colours GmbH does not provide visa services should visa be required, this is the sole responsibility of a guest. A useful link to check visa requirements is www.iatatravelcentre.com.
If you are resident of Switzerland but passport holder of another country, you can check visa requirements and obtain visa by yourself in Moroccan Embassy in Bern or Geneva.
For the most up to date information about safety, please check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country of residence or of the Moroccan Embassy. You will find there travel advice and a safety recommendation for Morocco. For Swiss citizens please refer to www.eda.ch.