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ERG CHIGAGA IN 4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

 

 

DAY 1

 

MARRAKECH - HIGH ATLAS - KSAR AIT BEN HADDOU - OUARZAZATE - PALM GROVE OF SKOURA - VALLEY OF THE ROSES - DADES GORGES (approx. 360 km - 6h)

We will leave Marrakech early in the direction of the High Atlas. We will cross landscapes of forests and small villages with adobe houses before reaching the port of Tizi n'Tichka at 2,260 meters above sea level. It is the highest mountain pass in North Africa and offers stunning views over the winding roads that wind between the peaks of the High Atlas.

 

Leaving the mountains behind, we will stop at the famous Ksar Ait Ben Haddou, the best preserved fortified city in Morocco. It served as a filming set for films such as Gladiator or Babel and is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We will have time to walk through its alleys and enjoy the panoramic views from its highest point.

 

We will have lunch in Ouarzazate and continue towards the magnificent Skoura palm grove, an immense green expanse dotted with dozens of adobe kasbahs, some restored, others demolished, but all with a particular charm. If one must be highlighted, it would be the Kasbah of Amridil, which houses an exhibition of agricultural instruments and objects of Berber daily life.

 

Next, we will follow the Dades River towards the fortified village of Kelaat M'Gouna, which marks the beginning of the Valley of the Roses. There we will find a landscape of hundreds of hectares dedicated to the cultivation of roses that are in great demand by the cosmetics industry. An economic activity that gives work to many families in the area. Spring is the best time to see the valley in bloom, but the cooperatives offer their products all year round.

 

Finally we will arrive at the Dades Gorges, the narrowest area of the valley of the same name that stands out foror its excavated route in the middle of impressive canyons. Palm trees are rarely seen in this area because a cold microclimate prevents their growth, unlike other nearby valleys. We will have dinner and spend the night in a hotel overlooking the gorges.

 

DAY 2
 
DADES GORGES - JBEL SAGHRO - NKOB OASIS - ZAGORA - TAMEGROUTE - M'HAMID (approx. 360 km - 5h)

 

Today we will leave in the direction of Jbel Saghro, the eastern extension of the Anti Atlas. Magnificent landscapes of stones, plateaus, peaks, canyons and valleys await us that have nothing to send to the American West. To highlight the peaks of Bab n'Ali that we can observe from a terrace with panoramic views.

 

We will continue to the town of Nkob, an oasis full of kasbahs and surrounded by the hamada, a stony desert of singular beauty.

 

We will cross Zagora, the capital of the province of the same name, and in the afternoon we will stop at Tamegroute, a craft center known for its green ceramics typical of the area and its famous Koranic library, one of the most important in Morocco and which still preserves manuscripts of great value such as a gazelle skin Koran from the 11th century.

 

After this cultural stop, we will continue to M'hamid El Ghizlane, the last town before the desert that was for a long time a commercial stage for nomadic caravans. Dinner and overnight in M'Hamid.

 

DAY 3
 
M'HAMID – ERG CHIGAGA (60 km track - 2h)

 

In the morning we will have time to discover the old town of M'hamid, an old ksar where some families still live.

 

Then we will take the track to enter the real desert. We will let ourselves be guided in a 4x4 through the dunes, enjoying the sensation of freedom that it offers.

 

We will stop at an oasis to share our food with nomads and learn more about their secular way of life.

 

We will finally arrive at the imposing Erg Chigaga, the highest dune in this part of the desert. We will have welcome tea in the bivouac and we will go for a ride on a dromedary during which we will be able to enjoy the magnificent spectacle of the sunset over the dunes. We can also go sandboarding, go for a quad ride or simply climb the fine sand of the dunes barefoot to enjoy the panorama and the silence.

 

We will have dinner in the bivouac taking advantage of these privileged moments of peace in this place so far from civilization.

DAY 4

ERG CHIGAGA - LAKE IRIKI - FOUM ZGUID - TAZNAKHT - MARRAKECH (approx. 60 km track + 315 km - 7h)

Early risers can enjoy the sunrise and see how the sun's rays light up the immense sea of sand.

 

After breakfast in the bivouac we will return to civilization crossing the immense Lake Iriki, now dry. Following the horizon line we will surely be able to observe some mirage.

 

We will cross the town of Foum Zguid and continue to Taznakht where we will stop to eat. We will arrive in Marrakech in the evening.

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