Desert and city tours from Fes
Desert and city tours from Fes
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Top destinations you will visit with city and desert tours from Fes:
With our tours from Fes, there are many things to see and do. Therefore, we list the best places you will visit with our itineraries across the desert. It is always best to have a rich background of the places or the cities you are traveling to.
Have any questions about our top destinations to explore? Do not hesitate to contact us.
Ifrane, little Moroccan Switzerland:
The city of Ifrane is the first city to explore with our tours from Fes. It is one of the Moroccan cities located in the province of Ifrane near the cities of Fez and Meknes. Its population is 13,380, according to the available statistics for the year 2014. Moreover, the city is one of the oldest Moroccan cities located on mountainous heights. As it is located at an altitude of 1,655 meters above sea level. Therefore, it makes it enjoy a harsh climate, and its mountains are often covered with snow during cold seasons.
There are many caves near Ifrane. Therefore, the word Ifrane is an Amazigh word that means caves. Also, the city was called Orti, a word that also has its origins in Amazigh, meaning orchard or garden. While the city is called at the present time the title of small Switzerland Besides the beauty of its nature. Not to mention, it is distinguished by its urban design that is similar to European cities.
History of Ifrane:
The inhabitants resided in the region of Ifrane and its surroundings during the sixteenth century AD in caves and caves dug in limestone in the rock of Wadi Tizkwit. After that, many years the inhabitants moved to rebuild their homes above the ground. Therefore, we find many caves that are underneath the houses and are the shelter for animals. Moreover, places to store belongings Or, agricultural crops and equipment, perhaps.
By the middle of the seventeenth century AD. The city was developed enough to obtain feudalism from Sultan Al-Rashid bin Ali Al-Sharif. Then, they placed pastures at the disposal of the tribal groups, while the tribes in the Ifrane-Azrou region were under the control of French colonialism, while the resistance was preserved until 1922 AD.
Tourism in Ifrane:
Ifrane is considered one of the best tourist places that are characterized by its moderate weather. Therefore, it made it a park for many Moroccan families, whether from the same city, or from residents of hot regions; Such as the cities of Fez and Meknes. Also, wild fishing enthusiasts practice their hobby during the fall season on the outskirts of the city. However, it is not only the people of Morocco but those coming from abroad as well. In winter and autumn, the city witnesses a turnout of foreign tourists to practice snowboarding. Not to mention, there is more than one winter stop for this sport; Such as Michlifen Station, which has resorts and restaurants, and a beginners’ ski service. Furthermore, during the spring the city is covered with its green and bright spring colors. While the city also has beautiful waterfalls.
Most of the tours that start from Fes pass by Ifrane, especially when going to the desert.
Merzouga - the pearl of the desert:
Merzouga is famous for its highest dunes in Morocco, with its peaks enjoying some of the best sunrise and sunset in Morocco. Therefore, it is the highlight attraction you will explore with our desert tours from Fes.
When you leave Rissani or Erfoud, your eyes will see huge golden sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. Also, it is called the Merzouga dunes, which dance on the horizon. It’s a wonderful place full of fascinating colors of nature. The region is dominated by desert landscapes, where the “Ergi” (clusters of sand – dunes) and “Hamads” (rocky dust) are interwoven by dry rivers with oasis. Not to mention, originally nomadic population, today is largely settled in small villages and towns close to and near. The most famous are Merzouga (the most developed of them), Hassi Labied, and Khamlia. The region is inhabited by various tribes of Arabs, Berbers, and Gnaoua, forming a harmonious ethnic mosaic.
Location of Merzouga:
Merzouga is a small Saharian village in south-eastern Morocco, located about 50 km from the border with Algeria. Merzouga lies on the edge of Erg Chebbi’s dunes. Not to mention, Merzouga is located in the province of Errachidia, in the Draa-Tafilalet region. Also, Merzouga is 35 km from Rissani, 45 km from Erfoud, and 128 km from Errachidia.
From Marrakesh to Merzouga there is 560 km and the road runs through the mountains. Therefore, by bus, the trip is about 12 hours of drive and can be tiring. Therefore, it is best to divide the trip into 2 parts with accommodation in Ouarzazate (to visit Ait Benhaddou and film studios), in Boumal Dades or Tinehrir (to admire the wonderful gorges and rock formations). Moreover, Ouarzazate is 360 km from Merzouga (about 5 hours drive). Not to mention, Fez is 470 km away from Merzouga and takes about 7 hours. Overall, the shortest route from Agadir to Merzouga is 670 km and runs through Taroudant and Agdz. On the way, however, it is worth visiting Ouarzazate and Ksar Ait Benhaddou, the only UNESCO monument in southern Morocco (the route will be 725 km).
History of Merzouga:
The village itself of Merzouga has a rather recent past, but the region has been inhabited since old times. In the region, there are many ancient fortified villages. Merzouga was built in the 19th century by French troops after winning the battle at Tafilalet in 1916-1932.
The story about a legend:
There is a legend about the dunes of Erg Chebbi, which is passed orally through generations, that there was once a real jungle here.
According to the legend, it was God himself who transformed this place into a desert after the local people refused to accept and feed a poor and hungry woman, while they themselves flattened in wealth, mistaken their hands with milk, and played with the handful of the couscous.
The divine punishment fell upon these families, turning the flowering jungle into a desert, where the heat, lack of water, and sand storms hit.
Interestingly, the 1,000-year-old epical art that you can find in this region is represented by animals like elephants and giraffes, living in lush green landscapes.
Whatever you think of this legend, the fact is that Erg Chebbi dunes are among the most beautiful places in the world.
Merzouga is the main tourist attraction of this part of Morocco, due to the proximity of the magnificent dunes Erg Chebbi.
When in 2002 a hardened road was built to Merzouga itself in the region, tourism began to develop intensively. Both in Merzouga and in nearby Errachidia and Erfoud, the hotel industry has developed significantly, although the effects of construction arbitrary are felt.
Unsustainable camping tourism on dunes has resulted in over-exploitation of water resources and failure to comply with the rules on wastewater treatment. The Moroccan government has taken the appropriate steps to stop further environmental damage and has ordered, among other things, the removal of all the whips from the dunes. Legal camps can only be located at the bottom of the dunes – support sustainable tourism and do not accept illegal accommodation in the midst of dunes. Camps at dunes offer the same fascinating experience.
Merzouga has the largest body of groundwater in Morocco. They have been used by residents for decades thanks to special underground khetteras channels.
Merzoug Sand is the perfect scene for films and was used in the famous film “Lawrence of Arabia” of 1962 with the unforgettable roles of Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. The film “Mumia” (1998) with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weish, “Legionist” (1997) with Jean Claude Van Dame was also made here. In the nearby Rissani landscape, scenes were shot from one of James Bond (“Specter”).
Festivals in Merzouga and nearby:
- The Festival of Dates in Erfoud – celebrated every year in October, it is a colorful show of Berberian tradition where you can buy the latest dates, syrups from dates, and other products.
- Merzouga International Music Festival – a music festival held in spring, a musical meeting of local and international artists.
- Rally 4L Trophy Rally – French Rally, known as the largest rally in the world for people under 28 years. For more than 10 years it has attracted young fans of the old, good Renault 4L (acceptable age 18-28 years). More than 1000 cars are involved in the rally! The rally takes place in late February and early March takes 10 days and covers 6000 km.
- Rally Afriquia Merzouga Rally – Rally Merzouga Rally takes place in late March and early April. This Rally is an unusual event for all motorsport fans and is treated as excellent preparation for the Dakar rally. Our Polish racing drivers are also taking part.
- Titan Desert Bike Race – Garmin Titan Desert is a stunt race for all mountain bikers, focusing on orientation and endurance. An exceptional experience for fans of mountain driving, among the fantastic landscapes of Morocco. Time consists of 6 stages for 6 days and covers over 600 kilometers of routes.
- Marathon Merzouga – marathon takes place in March. The route of the Trail du Soleil marathon offers a true route in the heart of the Sahara desert. The mission of the marathon is to preserve form and health through activity and running.
- Marathon de Sables Maraton of the Sands – the heaviest ultramarathon in the world, takes place in late March and early April. Its route is divided into 6 stages and has more than 200 km. The exact route is only revealed a few days before the race.
How to prepare for your stay in Merzouga:
While in the desert, no matter what time of year, cover your head with you to avoid sunstroke. It is necessary to protect from the sun to avoid burns – use creams with filters and sunglasses.
The best protection against sun and dehydration. However, is the shielding of the body, in the desert will be light shirts and long-sleeved pants and bright colors.
We recommend to take the scarf, it is very universal, if necessary it can serve as a covering of the arms (for women) or head, and even as a carrier for a bottle of water or a towel.
If you are going to the desert in winter pack lighter things for the day, and very warm things for the night: wool socks merino, warm sweater. Not to mention, keep a bottle of water with you.
Remember the camera too! Eventually, you’re going to see Morocco’s most beautiful sand dunes. Consider that the sand will squeeze everywhere. Therefore, unless you have a camera or a dust-resistant phone, get a tight case.
Weather in Merzouga:
The weather in Merzouga is characterized by dryness and high temperatures.
In July and August, daily temperatures in Merzouga can reach 45°C, or higher in the middle of the dunes, and rarely fall below 24°C during the night. Even in the summer, a long sleeve will be useful, because the higher you are on the sand, the cooler.
In winter, daily temperatures are between 10 and 18°C, but at night the temperature falls below zero. You need a warm jacket and a hat.
The best time of year to visit Merzouga is spring (between March and May) and autumn (between September and November). During this time the weather is optimal, neither too hot during the day nor too cold in the evenings.
The Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou:
Camouflaged on a huge mountain of stones, Ksar Aït Ben Haddou is one of Morocco’s most impressive and important buildings.
Making a difference with the Sahara Desert, the Ouarzazate province is an important historical region of Morocco. The district is filled with sites that demonstrate the way of life of the people who inhabited this region for thousands of years, hosted in the midst of desert landscapes that combine dunes, oasis, and rocky mountains. These attractions are usually open for visits and shelter the impressive kasbah’s, buildings such as palaces and Ksours, fortified cities of Berber origin, made from clay, wood, and straw.
The importance of Ouarzazate spread among historians, tourists, and curious people, transforming this region into one of the most tourist areas in the country. Among the most visited attractions is the fascinating Aït Ben Haddou, just 25 km from the city, a village with countless houses, Ruelas, watchtowers, mosques, squares, terraces, and kasbah’s, protected by an immense fortress. Today, full of small-scale shops and Moroccan art workshops. The city can be accessed by a bridge that passes over the Ounila River and its facade can already be observed from afar, extremely well conserved, the construction seems to come from a charming oasis located on the flume edge.
Founded in 757, Ksar Aït Ben Haddou was an important post for the old caravan routes and nomadic groups that passed between Marrakesh and the Sahara Desert. Today, the pastel streets of Aït Ben Haddou are gaining color with the handicraft tents installed in the city’s buildings. Carpets, ceramics, garments, and traditional specialists from Brazil can be found in the various tents and shops spread throughout the city.
When entering the fortress, it is possible to understand the historical value of the construction for the Moroccans. Narrow and sinuous streets appear every few steps walking, mirroring and roofing give room for wonderful views. Widescreen views arise on each slope, with imposing constructions in a symmetrical format and well preserved. These characteristics show the charm, details, and rustic beauty of the typical architecture of this Moroccan region.
Walking through the streets and alleys of the historic site, the visitor arrives at the top of the mountain where the city is installed. From the top, it is possible to check an unmissable view of Aït Ben Haddou with the new city further ahead, an ideal place to enjoy the sunset at destiny.
It would be nice to comment that Aït Ben Haddou possesses cinematographic landscapes, the historic site “ground color”, has a unique beauty and picturesque. The landscape has caught the attention of many filmmakers who have used the landscape as the background of several Hollywood, European, and series films such as Gladiator, Indiana Jones, and Game of Thrones. Today, Ouarzazate’s most visiting attraction is receiving tourists from the four corners of the world, who are traveling through the narrow and sinuous streets of the city looking for traces of local history and having the possibility of walking inside one of the most important archeological sites in the world.
Marrakech, the red city:
Marrakesh is Morocco’s third-largest city, giving way only to Rabat and Casablanca. The city lies in the south-western part of the country, at the foot of the majestic Atlas mountains. Also, Marrakesh has a population of just over one million, and it is interesting that the name of the state – Morocco – is a distorted name of the city. In Iran, Morocco, until now, is not spoken differently than Marrakech.
Besides our desert tours from Fes. We also customize trips from Marrakech.
History of Marrakech:
Marrakesh’s builder was a ruler named Jusuf ibn Tashfin, the first of the Al-Murabitins dynasty. This was relatively late in 1062. The city flourishes at the time of the rule of Jacob Al-Mansura (1184-1189), with a special taste for monumental buildings. During his time, Kutubija and El-Mansuria mosques were erected in the city. The height of the minaret at the Kutubija Mosque is 70 meters. In the thirteenth century, Marrakesh is under the control of the Marynide dynasty, in the sixteenth century – the Saadi dynasty, which moved the capital from Fez to Marrakesh. One of the main historical attractions of the city is the El-Badi Palace built by the Saadi, as well as a complex of their native tombs.
In 1912 Marrakesh is won by the insurgents, headed by Al-Hiba, and at the same time, the city is quickly coming under the control of the French who established their protectorate over the country.
Most of Marrakesh’s attractions are located in the so-called Medina, the historic part of the city, which was listed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in 1985. Glinobite buildings and reinforcements of the medina have a reddish shade, which is why it is often called a “red city”. One of the most interesting places in the medical world – Jamaa al-Fina Square – is famous for its acrobats, cartoons, dancers, musicians, and all kinds of craftsmen. It’s Marrakech’s heart.
Also, Marrakech is famous for its gardens and parks – the tourist must necessarily visit the Menara olive grove, the picturesque Agdal gardens, and the large palm grove starting immediately after the old town.
There are many other attractions and cities to explore with our tours from Fes, we hope to discover them with you in of our tours.