Table of contents:
Highlights of our tour:
Join our Travelling In Morocco team for an unforgettable 2 days desert tour from Fes to Merzouga. Driving from Fes to Merzouga is full of wonderful sceneries. Therefore, we will make a few stops on the way. For example, we will stop at the cleanest city in Morocco, Ifrane. There, we will take you to see the statue of the extinct atlas lion, and a panoramic view of the forest in the atlas mountains.
The second place where we will stop is in the forest of cedar trees, where many wild animals live. For instance, the animal that is courageous and not frightened to come across the street to meet people is the monkey. It is one of the atlas and African animals that are still living in the forest of Azrou. Here, our driver will stop for you to get to know them, feed them, and also take pictures.
After lunch, we will drive to make another stop near the dam of Hassan Addakhil in Errachidia, where the Sahara gets the source of water.
Finally, we will arrive at Merzouga. There, you will experience the camel trekking and overnight at Berber tents.
Day 1: Fes to Merzouga with beautiful sceneries :
We will start our 2 days tour from Fes to Merzouga desert from your accommodation. Our driver will come to meet you at your Riad/hotel after you send us your location. Then, we will drive across the Atlas Mountains, our first stop will be at Imouzar for a panoramic view of the Mountains and maybe for breakfast. After that, we will drive to arrive at Ifrane, the cleanest city in Morocco, and 2nd in the world after Calgary in Canada. Here, we will stop to visit the statue of the Atlas lion, a German prisoner curved it during world war II to gain his freedom from the French.
Next, our stop will be at the Cedar trees forest, Azrou forest. There, you will have some free time to get to know the Barbary Macaque monkeys, ones of the alive animals in the atlas. We will feed them take some pictures before we leave for Midelt and Errachidia.
At Errachidia, you are free to stop at a panoramic view of the Dam, it’s where Merzouga and the cities around get the source of water.
Our next stop will be at the fascinating town of Merzouga. There, our camel’s leaders will be ready and set with the camels at the tip of the dunes. Then, you will start trekking on the Erg Chebbi sand dunes, a stop for the sunset can be made if you are not at the camp early.
When you arrive at the camp, you will find your luggage in your tents. After dinner, our team of Berbers will play drums and set fire for a wonderful view under the starry sky.
Day 2: Merzouga back to Fes :
In the morning, it is recommended to wake up early for the sunrise. After that, you can either take the 4WD or the camels back where you started. Then, we will take you back on the same road back to Fes. Before that, we will make two quick stops in Erfoud. First, we will stop at the market of dates to see different types of fruits. Second, we will head to the museum of the mineral fossils.
Eventually, we will arrive at Fes, and that’s the end of our 2 days desert tour to Merzouga.
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Travelling from Fes to Merzouga is full of amazing and stunning places to discover. Therefore, we list for you the best to them with our itinerary of 2 days from Fes to the Sahara desert, Merzouga.
Ifrane, little Switzerland:
Ifrane, Morocco’s Little Switzerland, the first city you will discover with our 2 days Sahara desert tour from Fes.
We can’t talk about Ifrane without talking about Tizguit, the valley of the cave, it is about 7 km away from the center of Ifrane now. Ifrane or Yfran is a Berber plural word that basically means caves.
With our Morocco tours from Fes, we usually stop to discover the statute of the extinct atlas lion. During World War II, there was a German prisoner who was dying to get his freedom from the French. Therefore, they asked him to carve the statue of the lion that was extinct. Ifrane is a modern city with European architecture. Also, it is the cleanest and the most expensive city in Morocco.
Many students from different countries come to Ifrane to get an education at Al Akhawayn University. That’s to say, it is one of the best universities we have in Morocco. Moreover, the current king of Morocco has 12 palaces, and one of them is in Ifrane facing the university.
The Moroccan football team (The atlas lion) takes its training here at Ifrane as the high climate helps them. For that reason, Ifrane has become expensive to stay at or to spend only a vacation.
Azrou forest is one of the biggest forests in Morocco where many wild animals. Therefore, to make the 2 days tour from Fes special, we will stop to discover the Barbary Macaque monkeys.
These creators have different names among them the magots, and the barbary apes, and they live in Morocco, Algeria and some of them in Gibraltar. Once we are here, we will discover how they live in families, how they manage to take care of their babies and also we will feed them and take pictures.
Around the forest of cedar is a station where Moroccans come for the skiing as it snows a lot around there. Therefore, if you come in winter, it is possible that we make a quick stop to snowboard with locals.
The Atlas Mountains:
Driving from Fes to the Sahara desert, you will have to pass by the High and the Middle Atlas Mountains. This range of Mountains divides the Atlantic coastlines and the Mediterranean from the Sahara desert. Furthermore, they are about 1,600 miles/2,500 km crossing Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest point of this range of Mountains is in Toubkal, about 4,165 metres 13,665 feet. Also, they are about 180km away from the red city of Marrakech.
Errachidia dam and Ziz valley:
Errachidia is at the edge of the Atlas Mountains, it’s the gate to the Sahara desert. Errachidia is named after the brother of Mohammed V, the Prince Moulay Rachid. However, the origin names are Imtghern in Berber and Ksar Souk in Arabic.
The dam of Hassan Addakhil is the biggest source of water of Errachidia and for the regions around like Merzouga. The Alaouiet dynasty thought well and stored the water that is coming from the mountains by building a dam. Now, the cities around can have water 24/7 despite before when they could use fountains only once a week.
Ziz valley expands for 282 km from the south of Morocco from Errachidia to Algeria. It’s one of the biggest valleys in Morocco that floods from the Atlas mountains. Therefore, many locals around there took the valley as a chance to make agriculture, about 30km full of agriculture, especially the dates palm trees.
Erfoud, also written Arfoud is the second nearest city to Merzouga, desert. It was built by the French in 1912 and named Erfoud after the plant that exists in the river, Ounfoud. Not to mention, there is also another story about the name, they say that two Berbers one of them got into the river to see how deep it is, the other one asked him and he said Ar Afoud, which means to the knee in Berber.
Erfoud is famous for the international festival of dates, they make it every October for a three-day carnival. Also, Erfoud is famous for the mineral fossils, like Trilobites, Goniatites…
During our 2 days Sahara desert tour itinerary from Fes to Merzouga, we could make a stop at one of the fossils museums if you are interested. Furthermore, we can stop at the Souk of dates fruits, you can try the taste of different types and also its cereal.
For Jewish, there is one of the Jewish cemeteries, many people from Israel come to visit it. Therefore, if you are Jewish, you should go there.
Merzouga, Erg Chebbi desert:
Merzouga, the Sahara desert, not only the highlight of our 2 days tour from Fes but all of our Morocco desert tours. To start with, there are two theories about naming it Merzouga. First, some people say that the Erg Chebbi sand dunes made it wealthy and many visitors from around the world come to discover it. Therefore, it took the name Merzouqa which means wealthy. Second, other people say that the original name is from the family name of an Arab who was Merzouq. This family is actually still living here in the center of Merzouga.
Merzouga is a big town where you can find many tribes and roots. For instance, you can find Arabs, Berbers, and also Gnaoua people (dark skin people). However, the Gnaoua live mostly in a village called Khamlia, the Berber and the Arabs live at the center of Merzouga and the small other villages around like Hassi Labied and Takojt.
Merzouga is famous for Erg Chebbi, big golden sand dunes that reach up to 150 meters, 22km long and 5km wide. Also, these dunes change their color depending on the atmosphere. For instance, it becomes yellow to white in winter, and reddish to orange in the summer. Not to mention, the shapes of the dunes change during the summer a lot because of the wind.
Merzouga is in the southeast of Morocco, it is about 50 km away from the border of Algeria. The two nearest cities are Erfoud and Rissani, Tafilalet. Many tourists locally and around the world come to Merzouga to experience its fascinating activities.
Top things to do in Merzouga :
- Camel trekking: You shouldn’t visit Merzouga without experience the camel ride on Erg Chebbi dunes. There are many ways to do it. Firstly, you can book only a camel for the sunset, camels will be ready and set next to the dunes after you reserve them with locals. Second, you can book the camels for the sunrise, this option usually works for those who are staying in a hotel in Erfoud or Rissani. Third, the best is to fully experience them. That is to say, you reserve the camels to spend a night at Berber tents. Then, you will have camels with you for the sunset and the sunrise. Not to mention, our 2 days tour from Fes includes the full experience.
- Camping at Berber tents: Many tourists come to Merzouga in order to experience the nomadic lifestyle. In other words, they want to live as the Berber nomads who live in the mountains, those who have tents and herd and they travel from a place to another looking for better living conditions. This experience is also included in our Fes desert tour for 2 days. However, you have the option to spend the night in standard or luxurious tents, bivouacs.
- Erg Chebbi at night: when being on the Erg Chebbi dunes at night, it is just fascinating to enjoy the stars, the Milkyway, and the shooting stars. Also, for spiritual purposes, the quiet dunes are a perfect place where to practice Yoga.
- Sandboarding: another funny and joyful thing to do on the dunes is skiing. At the camps of Berbers, we offer you that experience, we have boards and near the camp is a fine sand dune where you can do that experience.
Other activities not included in the trip:
- Nomads visit: if you have more than two days from Fes, we recommend you stay for two days in Merzouga for a full experience. As a result, you will be able to have a tour around the dunes to the Berber nomads. There, you will see how the Berbers actually manage to stay alive even in the hard situation they live in. Also, you will stay with this family, they will show us how they cook, how they sleep in the tent, and where they keep their herd. Even more, we could stay with them and they will cook for us in order to eat like them and live the moment like them.
- The lake of Srij: Hopefully it is full, another fascinating place to see around Merzouga is the lake where camels go herding. Here, during the day, you will find mostly all the camels of the area and immigrant flamingo birds.
- Oasis of Hassi Labied: to make the trip of Merzouga complete, we would love to take you to discover the agriculture of the locals, what they plant, and where they get water for that.
- Gnawa Khmalia: the people of Khamlia, Gnawa are originally from Sahelian, it is said that Berbers brought them in order to make them as slaves. Most of our trips from Fes starting from 3 days include a visit to this village, Khamlia. Here, we will take you to one of the families, they will play music for you using Krakebs and special drums. Also, depending on time, we could set with one of the old men there to tell us stories about them.
- The mine of Mifis: During the power of the French, they used to extract slat and mascara at this mine of Mifis. Now, it is a place that attracts many visitors to explore its mystery.
There are many other places that you will see with our Fes desert tour for 2 days. However, if you have more days to visit the Sahara desert, we recommend you do more than two days because driving from Fes to Merzouga is almost 7h. Therefore, the trip will be more driving than exploring.