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Ait Benhaddou

A fortified settlement (ksar) housing some of the best conserved Kasbahs in Morocco and a backdrop to many films.


The gateway to the Sahara reached via the magical Draa valley, a string of palmeries in a scenic mountain setting.


An oasis with magnificent Kasbahs and lovely off-the-beaten-track guest houses for a relaxing retreat.


The gateway to Morocco for most visitors. One of the four Imperial Cities, it is an exciting city with true Moroccan soul and culture.

15 Marrakech & the Sahara

Experience The Splendour Of The Sahara

This exciting adventure goes off the beaten path to experience the beauty of the south of Morocco, the High Atlas Mountains, the World Heritage site at Ait Benhaddou, the desert oases and the splendour and peace of the Saharan dunes at Erg Lihoudi.

This journey begins and ends in Marrakech, heading over the spectacular Tiz n Tichka Mountain pass in the High Atlas Mountains and through Skoura, the gateway to the Sahara.


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Our recommendations

Season: September to June (the desert region is very hot in peak summer months).

Length: 7 nights recommended but longer itineraries make a more leisurely journey or can include other places.

Flights: Marrakech (if taking the trip outlined below) or Agadir (if taking a southerly loop circuit through Taroudant, taking in the dunes at M'Hamid).

Pricing: See Details tab - from £805 pp for 7 nights based on 2 persons sharing (B&B in Marrakech, half board elsewhere), excl. flights. Price varies by room, season and exchange rate.

Transport options: Car (self-drive or with driver). All travel times are approximate.

Extension options: Ouarzazate, M’Hamid or travel south west to the traditional Berber town of Taroudant via the Tiz n Bachkoum mountain pass (1700m), Tazenakt (home to carpet making) and Taliouine (home to Saffron harvesting).

Activity options: Longer camel treks from Zagora or M’Hamid, visit to Kasbah Tamnougalt, a 16th century Kasbah near the small town of Agdz or the Ancient Koranic Library in Tamegroute (south of Zagora).

Weather: Please have a look at our 'Weather' page with further details and an average temperature guideline in various locations throughout the year.


Marrakech and the Sahara Holiday Suggestion

A holiday to the Sahara is an adventure to remember but the distances involved are large so the more time you have the better, we suggest a minimum of 7 nights, for example:.

Prices from per £805 per person (7 nights) excluding flights*

Day Nights'Stay Typical itinerary for illustration
1 1 Taxi transfer Marrakech airport to the City. Evening dinner at a restaurant at Place Jemaa el Fna or a relaxing evening meal at your riad.
2 2 Transfer** from Marrakech to Ait Benhaddou (4 hrs) over Tiz n Tichka pass in the High Atlas Mountains, via Kasbah Telouet and Ounila valley.
3   Visit the World Heritage site of Ait Benhaddou whose ancient Kasbahs date back to the 16th century and are some of the best conserved in Morocco. Its location is on the former salt, gold and ivory carrying caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech.
4 1 Transfer** from Ait Benhaddou to Zagora (3 hrs) via some spectacular scenery of the Draa Valley, Ait Saoun Mountain pass (1700m) and amazing rock formations.
5 1 From Zagora, travel to the Saharan sand dunes of Erg Lihoudi near the small remote town of M’Hamid (1.5hr) to meet your camels for a 2 hour trek into the desert camp. Watch the sunset, enjoy the night sky, watch the stars and have dinner. Sleep in your own private tent (tents for 1, 2, 3 or 4 people) with shared toilet facilities and showers. Wake to see the sunrise, return to Zagora for 11am.
6 1 Transfer** to Skoura (4 hrs). The area has superb Kasbahs on its doorstep, including the ruins of the magical Kasbah Amerhidil.
7 1 Transfer** to Marrakech (5 hrs), afternoon visit to the souks and evening visit to the main Place Jemma de Fna, a caleche ride around the city or shop for Moroccan handicrafts in the medina or souks.
8   Depending on flight departure times time to explore Marrakech - visit the historic sites Saadian Tombs, Badii Palace, Bahia Palace and museums Maison Tiskiwine and Musee de Marrakech, take lunch in the main square (a guide can be arranged) and taxi transfer to airport.

Pricing: *Based on 2 persons sharing (B&B in Marrakech, half board elsewhere), chauffeur driven tour including fuel and driver, airport transfers, excl. flights. Price varies by room, season and exchange rate.

Staying at Kasbah Ellouze (Tamdaght, nr Ait Benhaddou), Riad Lamane (Zagora), desert camp at Erg Lihoudi dunes (nr M’Hamid), Les Jardin de Skoura (Skoura) and Riad El Borj (Marrakech). Naturally Morocco can offer a range of alternatives if required.


Ait Benhaddou

A striking fortified settlement (ksar), renowned as a backdrop to many films (including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator), and deservedly designated as a World Heritage Site, it houses some of the best conserved Kasbahs in Morocco.


Zagora is reached via the magical Draa valley, a string of palmeries in a scenic mountain setting, stretching from Ouarzazate south east for around 125 km. It is the gateway to the Sahara and the most convenient stopping off point before travelling on to the sand dunes.


An oasis settlement 45 minutes' drive to the north east of Ouarzazate, it boasts magnificent Kasbahs such as the magical Kasbah Amerhidil and significant palmeries with lovely off-the-beaten-track guest houses.


Marrakech is the gateway to Morocco for most visitors, and understandably so. One of the four Imperial Cities, it is an exciting city with true Moroccan soul and culture, a feast for the senses that caters well for visitors. From the atmospheric souks of the medina, to the villages of the High Atlas Mountains a short drive away, Marrakech offers a vast range of options for the visitor either on a short trip or as part of a longer adventure.

7 nights/8 days