Day 1 : Marrakech – Ait Ben Haddou– Ouarzazate
We leave Marrakech in the morning and travel over the High Atlas mountains via the Tizi‘n’Tichka pass, the highest in North Africa, admiring the breath-taking views along the way.We stop to visit Kasbah Telouet, and imposing palace and ancestral home of PachaGlaoui, also known as ‘Lord of the Atlas’, before continuingour journey south, passingseveral Kasbahs, including Anmiter, another old Glaoui stronghold and one of the best-preserved fortified villages in Morocco, before reaching the tranquil Ounila valley.From here we follow the simple track which once served as the main route over the Atlas, to the kasbahs of Tamdakhte and Ait BenHaddou. This beautiful fortified city of terraced kasbahsis a UNESCO World Heritage site, and mayfeel strangely familiar, as several well-known films have been shot there, including epics such as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Gladiator”. Here we will have a tasty lunch before continuing on to Ouarzazate.The town of Ouarzazate is sometimes known as ‘the Hollywood of Africa’ because it is home to Atlas Studios, where the films mentioned previously were made. We have dinner here and spend the night in a hotel.
Day 2 :Ouarzazate -Taznakht – Taliouine–Taroundant
In the morning we say goodbye to Ouarzazate. From here we travel to Taznakht, a small village renowned for its fine Berber carpets, before crossing the Anti-Atlas (or Lesser Atlas) mountain range to Taliouine, a small village surrounded by hills, and famous for its saffron production.
Nearby are forests of Argan or “goat trees”. These thorny trees have twisted gnarled trunks which goats can climb to eat the fruit (which resemble olives). The fleshy part is digested but the nut remains, and farmers collect them to make oil. A single Argan can support a whole community.
We then cross the citrus-rich Soussplain to Taroundant, sometimes called the “Grandmother of Marrakech” because its surrounding ramparts make it look like a small version of Marrakech. Here we have dinner and spend the night in a hotel.
Day 3 :Taroundant – Agadir – Essaouira
In the morning we have breakfast then travel to Agadir, on the Atlantic coast, the largest seaside resort in Morocco. It was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1960, and rebuilt by European architect (with mandatory seismic standards), meaning the city now has a unique continental feel. We stop for a while to explore the city and enjoy the beach.
Next travel northwards along the coast to Essaouira(or Mogador). This beautiful fortified port town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and enjoys spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Here we have dinner and spend the night in a hotel.
Day 4 :Essaouira – Marrakech
We spend the morning exploring the city of Essaouira, whose beautiful and eclectic mix of architectural styles reflects the many cultures to have had influence here over the centuries, and is famous around the world.
There is something for everyone here: a fascinating history, colorful shops and markets, a picturesque fishing harbor, a temperate climate, a beautiful coastline and lovely beach, opportunities for windsurfing and hiking, not to mention delicious seafood. The city is also a thriving center for marquetry – working work with ebony, mother-of-pearl, and silver threads.
We will stop several times for photos opportunities of the glorious scenery before arriving back at Marrakech and your hotel in the evening.