3 days Sahara desert tour from Fes to Merzouga
Table of contents:
Highlights of our tour:
This tour is customized for 3 days from Fes to the Sahara desert, Merzouga, a full experience of the nomadic life.
The trip itinerary starts from Fes, the cultural city with beautiful sceneries on the way to Merzouga. Therefore, different stops will be made for exploration and photos. To start with, we will stop at Ifrane, where there is a statue of the extinct atlas lion. Second, we will stop at the cedar forest in Azrou, we will visit the Barbary macaque monkeys.
Along the way, we will pass through the Atlas Mountains, from a city to a town, and to a village. Then, we will arrive in the Merzouga desert, the first day doesn’t include any activity in the Sahara. Therefore, we will check-in at a hotel/Riad around Erg Chebbi dunes.
The second day of our 3 days desert tour will be the full experience of Merzouga. We will start by visiting the Gnaoua people at Khamlia. Then, we will head to the Berber nomads who live in tents. There, we want to explain to you about their lifestyle because later you will experience the same thing. Eventually, we will take you to experience the camel ride and the feeling of an overnight at Berber bivouac.
Overall, we plan this 3 days desert tour from Fes to Merzouga is to provide you with an experience of camel trekking and camping at Erg Chebbi.
Day 1: Fes to Merzouga across the Atlas Mountains
After we agree on where to meet you in Fes, one of our drivers will come to pick you up. There are many things you will see on the way to Merzouga. First, we will visit Ifrane, our driver will explain to you about the statue of the extinct lion of atlas while you take some pictures. Then, after 30 minutes, you will arrive at the Azrou cedar forest. Here, you will be able to discover the Barbary apes, take some pictures, and continue the tour. There are other places that worth the stop like Ziz valley, one of the sources of dates palm trees.
Late afternoon, you will arrive at Merzouga desert, we will take you to check your rooms and to get ready for the second day.
Day 2: Merzouga desert tour
On this day, we will explore Merzouga and do the best activities. Firstly, we will start the tour journey by visiting Morocco National 4×4 Auto Museum, old and unique cars. Then, we will visit Khamlia, a village about 5km from the center of Merzouga. Here, we will take you to visit one of the Gnaoua families, they will entertain us by playing their music. Third, we will drive off-road to visit one of the Berber nomadic families, we will show you their lifestyle, tell you different stories about them, and more. After that, we will drive to Hassi Labied, another village, you will visit one of the small oases, agriculture of the area.
Later, we could do ATVs if you are interested, if not we will take you to a camel trek. Our camel men will be waiting for you around the dunes of Erg Chebbi for your adventure. Next, it depends on time, you could either watch the sunset on the way to the camp or at the camp when you arrive. At night, to make the night special, the camel men will play drums and set fire to entertain you. It is recommended to climb up the dunes for a magnificent view of the stars.
Day 3 : Merzouga back to Fes
In the morning, our camel leaders will take you back on camels where you started the previous day. Then, we will take you back to Fes, the same road. However, we will make a quick stop at Erfoud, we will visit one of the mineral fossils museum and a Souk of dates fruit. Eventually, our driver will take you to your accommodation or to the airport. That’s the end of our 3 days Sahara desert tour from Fes.
Book your 3 days Sahara desert tour from Fes now!
In order to book our Fes desert tour for 3 days, please fill in the name of the tour in the subject field. Also, if the itinerary we suggested is missing some of your needs please let us know, we will make sure to answer you within 24h.
Related Morocco tours:
We have customized different tours itineraries from Fes, desert tours, and city tours. However, if the plans below do not match what you are looking for, please fill in our contact form with your needs.
Our 3 days desert tour from Fes to Merzouga is full of beautiful places and sceneries to see. Therefore, we want to give you an overview of the things you will see and experience during your travel with us.
The first city we will make a stop at is Ifrane. This beautiful city is the cleanest city in Morocco and the 2nd worldwide according to Morocco World News.
Ifrane is a Berber word that means caves, singular Ifri. It took the name after the cave in Tizguit valley that is about 7 km away from the center of Ifrane.
Our stop at Ifrane is special, you will get to know why it is classified as the cleanest city in Morocco. Also, you will know about some of its histories. For instance, we will stop at the statue that not only represents Ifrane but also Morocco, the atlas lion statue. The latter is at the center of Ifrane, a German prisoner carved it in the Second World War in order to gain his freedom from the French. This lion used to live in the forest of Cedar before it extinct years ago. Not to mention, the Moroccan football team is named the Atlas lions after this historical animal. Also, the team takes its training here in Ifrane, the climate helps them for getting their exercise and training.
Azrou forest is the second place we will stop at, it is the forest of the High Atlas Mountains where you will meet some of its animals.
The forest is full of Cedar trees, they are native to the Himalayas and the region of the Mediterranean. Also, they are tall and can reach up to 40 meters. Many animals live here. However, with our 3 days desert tour from Fes, we will see only the Barbary Macaque monkeys.
These monkeys are very friendly, not all of them steal stuff from people like what we expect from the other monkeys. Also, these Magots live together in families, they do not usually live in groups especially the ones who have families. Actually, they attack other monkeys that are not related to them, and many times when we visit them we find some of them blooded and sometimes we see them directly fighting.
The forest of cedar is where most of the animals of Morocco live. However, when we tour there we only find the monkeys and sometimes little squirrels. There are other animals who live here. For instance, there are wild pigs, deers, and many more.
The Atlas Mountains:
The Atlas Mountains are a big range of mountains in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia about 1,600 miles/2,500 km long. The most interesting thing about these mountains is that they block the clouds to pass from the west to the south and west. Therefore, on our 3 days trip, you will travel from green to the Sahara where it doesn’t rain because of these mountains.
These mountains during the wintertime is an attraction for the Moroccans, they come here to do skiing and to admire the view of the snow. We hope your vacation with us to these mountains so that you spend experience of many things like snowboarding. Not to mention, the highest point of these mountains is in Toubkal, it reaches up to 13,665 feet=4,165 metres, it is not far from the city of Marrakech, about 180km.
The dam and Ziz valley in Errachidia:
Our trip from Fes to Merzouga will be across the Atlas Mountains. Then, the first city after that is Errachidia, it’s at the tip of the mountains. Therefore, some locals call it the gate to the Sahara desert, that’s of course besides Ouarzazate. Errachidia is a province, most of the documents, like passports, driving licenses, cars papers…, are made here as there are many government buildings.
There are many dams in and one of them is here in Errachidia, the Ksar Souk city. Hassan Addakhil constructed the dam from May 1968 to March 1971. Now, during the wintertime, it rains a lot in the Atlas mountains. Therefore, building a dam here is intelligence from the Alaouite dynasty to store water.
Not to mention, this dam is the only source of water for the Sahara desert and the around regions like Erfoud, Rissani, Taouz…. Nowadays, people can have water all year round, that’s not like before when people used to get water from the wells.
It’s one of the longest rivers in Morocco, it expands from Errachidia crossing the Sahara desert to Algeria in 282 km. However, the most important part of it is only about 30km, it’s where the locals make agriculture. That’s to say, they plant many things like olives, bamboo, and dates palm trees. This later is the most used, when you get there you will see many of them in the river. Later, when we arrive at Erfoud, there is a market if you want o try some dates fruits.
The next city is Erfoud, the city that has a lot to represent, especially the dates fruits, and mineral fossils. The French built this city in 1912 when they colonized Morocco. However, it was the Berber who gave it the name, they say that the name is given after the plant Ounfoud that is in the river. On the other hand, they say that the name is given by two Berbers who were crossing the river, one asked the other about the depth he replied: ” Ar Afoud” which means to the knees.
Each year in October, Arfoud gets thousands of tourists locals, and foreigners, they make an international festival of dates there. The festival is 3 days carnival, they sell different local things like the dates, Beber clothes…. Also, they make concerts at the main square, music, theater…
For geology purposes, we will visit one of the mineral fossils museums. They have different types of fossils like trilobites, goniatites, ammonites, and also crinoids…
Furthermore, Erfoud was home for the Jewish, they used to live here with the Berbers. Therefore, they have a cemetery on the way to Rissani, so if you are Jewish, we can surely take you to visit there.
Merzouga, the desert:
The purpose of our three days tour from Fes is to travel to experience the Sahara desert of Merzouga. It’s not only the highlight of our tour from Fes but our whole Morocco tour packages.
Merzouga is said to be named after a family name Marzouq, and the family stills lives in Merzouga. There is another story that some locals tell is that Merzouga is named after the word Merzouq which means wealthy in Arabic, they say it’s the dunes that attract many visitors that make it wealthy.
Merzouga is famous for the Erg Chebbi sand dunes that are about 23 km long and 5 km wide. The biggest and tallest dune is Lala Merzouga, it’s about 150 meters=500 feet. These dunes are here because there was a lake and because it is a desert it gets windy a lot especially during the summertime. Therefore, it gathers here. There is another theory about the existence of the sand dunes, some locals claim that millions of years ago, there were some people who were fighting using couscous as a weapon. Therefore, God punished them by sending a sand storm on them.
Merzouga is a town with many small villages around, it’s where there are many different roots and tribes. For instance, at the center you will find Berbers and Arabs, in another village called Khamlia, you will find dark skin people who are named Gnaoua which were slaves.
Let’s take a look at the best things to do in Merzouga, our included activities in our 3 days tour from Fes.
The best thing you will experience with us is the camel tour on Erg Chebbi dunes. It will be on the second day of our trip, our staff will set them near the dunes, you will ride them for about an hour and a half, you can ask the leaders to make stops for pictures. Also, depending on the departure time, it’s possible that you will stop on the way to watch an imaginary sunset if you are early, you will see it from a dune near the camp. Not to mention, the camel ride is organized for two times in the afternoon and in the morning when you want to camp from the camp.
Camping at Berber tents:
Camping at Erg Chebbi is a dream for many tourists, they come to Merzouga to experience the nomadic life, the Berbers lifestyle. As we are your travel agency, we will help you experience that, we will take you to one of the luxury or standard camps to spend the night. There, our Berber team will make entertainment by setting up fire and playing Berber music.
Visiting the Berber family:
Before you do the camel ride and camping at Berber tents, we will take you to visit one of the families of the Berber who live behind the dunes in an actual tent. This excursion will make you experience how the Berbers manage their life to travel searching for food for themselves and their herd. These families expect help from visitors, we usually take some clothes for them or some house needs like vegetables and fruits.
Music with the Gnaoua:
In the morning of the second day, we will visit the village of Khamlia. There, we will take you to one of the families where they have a cooperative and produce music they call it Gnaoua.
The lake of Srij is an interesting place to head to, it’s where the camels go herding during the day because they are not used for work. Also, the immigrant flamingo birds come here each year and many tourists come to discover them and take pictures.
To make the trip to Merzouga a full experience, the other best thing to do is to visit the small oasis of Hassi Labied. Here, you will see how the locals get water from the wells to water their agriculture, the water is served through tunnels.
Reading about a place is not like actually visiting it. Therefore, we invite you to join us on this 3 days Sahara desert tour from Fes.