This desert tour from Ouarzazate takes you to the fullest and closest Saharan dunes – to Erg Lihoudi near M’hamid. To reach them you need to cross part of the Anti-Atlas Mountains range, barren and spectacular with its rock formations. You travel via Agdez and the ancient Kasbah Tamnougalte, which you will visit with a local guide. It is the oldest in the Dra’a Valley. You will discover the Dra’a Valley with its palm groves, adobe housing and green oases with a felling that in many ways you have traveled back on time. Following the ancient route of the caravans plying their goods up through the Sahara is an amazing experience, especially when you look up to the watch towers overlooking the route. The workshops of the green glaze pottery, well-known throughout Morocco and the Qoranic Library in Tamgroute village with its exquisite manuscripts are other highlights of this desert tour from Ouarzazate. You pass through Zagora, the largest town and largest oasis before the desert.
In the desert, you will experience the excitement of a camel ride. And why not take photos of your group wearing blue turbans the nomad way with the spectacle of the sunset as the back-drop? Dinner under the Milky Way in this magic, peaceful atmosphere is unforgettable. And the evening ends by sharing nomad music round a camp fire. Your luxury desert camp offers you a comfortable private tent to lie and absorb the day’s adventures and experiences before drifting off to sleep in the calm and magic of these desert dunes. In truth, the silence and majesty of the Erg Lihoudi Dunes outside Mhamid El Ghizlane.
Desert Tour 2 days Departure from Ouarzazate
Morning departure at 08.30 takes you south over the Tizi-n-Tinfifte pass to Agdez. Descending from the pass you will be amazed at the view of the extensive oasis and the number of palm trees, all indicating the beginning of the Dra’a Valley. This valley has thousands of date palms, producing an amazing 44 varieties of dates. The date harvest starts in September and lasts a couple of months, so that is the best time to stop in Agdez for the freshest ones. After a short tea break here, we continue by driving away from the main road along the ancient caravan route
Soon after the police checkpoint in Tansikht, we come to the village of Tinsouline. Here you can drive just a kilometre or so off-road to the fascinating rock carvings of animals long extinct in Morocco at Foum Chenna. They are about 4000 years old. Zagora is the largest town in the whole area and where we shall stop for lunch. As you leave the town, you can look back from a small pass to marvel at the extent of the Zagora oasis.
In the afternoon we drive further south still, to M’hamid, the very gate to the desert and the end of the paved road. This is where the Sahara starts. Here a one-one and a half-hour camel ride leads to the highest dune to enjoy an unforgettable sunset. After dinner, nomad music enhances the exoticness of the desert as you listen round a camp-fire. Overhead the stars twinkle down on you and you feel you can pull them out of the sky. A star-gazers’ app on your phone will help identify them
You have dinner and spend the night at an authentic desert camp with shared bathroom facilities, and a private tent with beds, mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows and carpets.
If you wake up early enough, you can watch the spectacle of the sunrise, when the colour of the dunes and the play of shadows are an awesome sight. After breakfast, there will still be time for a long walk in the dunes.
The return trip brings us back through Tamegroute for a visit to the potteries. They are famous throughout Morocco for the green glaze, which you may have already seen in Marrakech. Tamgroute has a small medina of covered desert streets and an ancient Quranic library with exquisite hand-written Arabic texts.
From here the road leads north again to Tamnougalt Kasbah (one of the most ancient Kasbahs in the south of Morocco and the oldest in the Dar’a Valley) for lunch. We arrive back in Ouarzazate, at the end of the afternoon.