Adventure into the desert on this 10-itinerary. After wandering the medinas of Fes, you'll embark on a camel trek into the Sahara. Traverse the Dades Valley, taking in the impressive gorges and other landscapes via hikes and guided tours, and visit some of Morocco's highest waterfalls at Ouzoud before you wrap it up amid the bustle of Marrakech.

Highlights

  • Tour the winding medinas of Fes and Marrakech
  • Take a camel trek into the dunes of the Sahara
  • Hike some of the most scenic spots in the Atlas Mountains
  • Swim under Morocco's highest waterfalls at Ouzoud

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Fes Fes
Day 2 Guided Tour of Fes Fes
Day 3 Fes to Merzouga Camel Trek Merzouga
Day 4 Merzouga to Dades Valley Boumalne Dades
Day 5 Day with the Locals in the Valley of Roses Boumalne Dades
Day 6 Dades to Ait Bouguemez Ait Bougumez
Day 7 Ait Bouguemez to Demnate Demnate
Day 8 Demnate to Marrakech via Ouzoud Marrakech
Day 9 Guided Tour of Marrakech Marrakech
Day 10 Depart Marrakech  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Fes

Fes from above
Fes medina

Welcome to Morocco! You'll meet your transfer at the airport in Fes to head to your hotel and settle in.

Fes is home to the largest old town in the world within its medina, whose meandering, narrow stone pathways and blue tiles have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. At the center of the medina, you’ll find the Qarawiyin Mosque and University, as well as 14th century schools, a museum of woodcut art, and more. It’s best to follow a guide through the maze to make sure you can learn about all the history surrounding you and cut down on your potential time spent getting lost.

Day 2: Guided Tour of Fes

Tannery of Fes
Tannery of Fes

Set out for a guided tour of the city with a local expert today. You'll start at the Royal Palace and walk through the old Jewish Quarter, up to one of the Borj towers for a panoramic view of the medina. Next, you’ll head to a mosaic house where you will have a demonstration of the traditional pottery methods utilized by Fassi artisans. You’ll see every step of the process, from the formation of the clay to the piecing together of the mosaics.

After the demonstration, the tour will take you into the medina of Fes where you will discover the ancient streets and neighborhoods, visit the various artisan sections (including the tanneries), and see the important historic monuments, including the tomb of Idriss II and the Al-Qarawaiyin University, the oldest continually operated university in the world. Your tour will end after lunch, at which time you’ll have the rest of the afternoon and evening free to explore the medina. Don’t worry if you get lost—that is all part of the experience.

Day 3: Fes to Merzouga Camel Trek

Riding camelback

Leave Fes to head into the desert. On the way, you will travel through the largest cedar forest in Africa, which is also home to the Barbary apes (aka Atlas Monkeys), which are sure to entertain. You’ll cross the Middle Atlas Mountains to Midelt, on the high plains between the Middle and High Atlas Mountains, where you will stop for lunch.

Continue into the High Atlas Mountains via the Ziz River Gorge to the large dunes of Erg Chebbi. Take some time to explore the area around the dunes before meeting your camels and trekking into the heart of the dunes to your luxury camp for the night.  (If camels aren't quite your style, you can opt for a 4x4 instead.) Once you arrive, you can climb the nearest dune to watch the sun go down and the stars come out. Enjoy dinner, traditional music, and stargazing into the evening. 

Day 4: Merzouga to Dades Valley

Kasbah in Dades Valley
Kasbah in Dades Valley

Get an early start to watch the sunrise over the dunes before you hop back on your camel and ride back to the edge of the dunes. From there, it's time to get on the road to the Dades Gorge.

Along the way, you’ll stop to visit the ancient irrigation system that once brought water to the desert from the distant Saghro Mountains, as well as a visit to the oasis town of Tinghir where you will have a guided walk of the palmeraie and old Jewish area. Next, you’ll visit nearby Todgha Gorge where you will walk through the most impressive part of the canyon, before you reach the Dades Valley.

Day 5: Day with the Locals in the Valley of Roses

Desert views

Make the short drive to the “next valley over” to the heart of the Valley of Roses.  On the way, you can visit a local market if your trip aligns with market day, and then go to the home of a local family, where you can help to prepare lunch (or just relax) and then join the family for a traditional couscous lunch. After lunch (and a little more relaxation), you can explore a little more of the Valley either by car or by foot before heading back to your hotel in time for dinner.

If you're visiting while the roses are in bloom, you can head into the fields to try your hand at picking the flowers and seeing how much you would earn from your work. Pay a visit to the local rose cooperative to observe the distillation process involved in creating the valley's signature rose products, or see a different sort of creative process at the Azlag Cooperative, where they craft ceremonial Berber daggers. Linger in a coffee shop with views of the valley or stop for a steam in a traditional hammam.

Day 6: Dades to Ait Bouguemez

Boumalne Dades in the High Atlas Mountains
Boumalne Dades in the High Atlas Mountains

This morning, lace up your shoes for a hike near M'Goun Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the region. You'll make your way through the M'Goun River Valley, passing local Berber villages and kasbahs in the hills below the mountain's peak. Once you've worked up your appetite, enjoy lunch at a local home before you begin your trek into the High Atlas.

Using one of the less-traveled mountain roads, you'll head into the High Atlas, including nearly 50 miles (80 km) of off-roading along the way over M'Goun Peak.

Day 7: Ait Bouguemez to Demnate

Verdant slopes of the High Atlas mountain range near the Tizi n'Tichka pass

Start your day with a morning hike in this mountain region. There are multiple hikes available for different levels. If you'd like a challenge, summit the peak known as the Cathedral for its church-like shape, which takes about three hours and is a highly technical hike. If you'd prefer something simpler, head for Happy Valley through its terraced agriculture and rock kasbahs, which can be customized to your preferred length.

Then head to Demnate and a local eco-lodge for lunch, followed by an interactive carpet-weaving workshop. Carpets are one of the crafts most associated with Morocco, and you'll get to try your hand at creating one.

Hit the road to your evening lodgings, but finish your day with one more hike over a nearby natural bridge before you turn in. You'll head to some fossilized dinosaur tracks to admire the footprints of these ancient creatures and then cross the natural bridge for a total hiking time of about 2.5 hours.

Day 8: Demnate to Marrakech via Ouzoud

Ouzoud waterfalls

Make your way to Ouzoud this morning, home to one of the highest waterfalls in Morocco.  This multi-step waterfall is 330 feet high (100 m), and also home to the Atlas monkeys, who you may spot frolicking in the trees. Meet your guides and set out on a two-hour hike along the Ouzoud River to the top of the falls. Then head down to their base, where you can swim, take a boat ride under the falls, or just enjoy the view from one of the many terraces.  

After your lunch, you'll head to Marrakech, where you'll spend the evening at your leisure. The colorful oasis city of Marrakech offers up an old town tangle of bazaars with oriental lamps, woven carpets, and scents of spices, alongside Moorish riads and palm trees against colorful surroundings. Make your way through the alleys of the medina, where woven carpets, ceramics, parchment lamps, and huge spice stalls in all colors are stored up to the roof in the narrow, winding alleyways characterized by stairs and vaults.

Day 9: Guided Tour of Marrakech

The towering minaret of Koutoubia Mosque
The towering minaret of Koutoubia Mosque

After breakfast, meet your local private guide who will lead you through the old city of Marrakech. As you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will come across lively souks and maze-like alleys. You're sure to be dazzled by displays of djellabas, brightly colored babouches, intricately-pierced lanterns, conical mounds of exotic spices, and the intense hubbub of medina life. Along the way, your knowledgeable and energetic guide will regale you with the history and stories of the medina, the souk, and the Mellah neighborhoods of the Red City.

In the afternoon you'll continue your private tour, exploring places like the Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia and El Badii Palaces, and the Saadian Tombs.

Your tour will end by mid-afternoon, giving you the rest of the day to explore on your own. Do some retail therapy in the souks, sit down to a delicious traditional meal in one of Marrakech's fantastic restaurants, or wander the stalls of Djemaa el Fna Square, where you can feast on incredible street food as you watch musicians and snake charmers perform for the crowds. 

Day 10: Depart Marrakech

Classic Moroccan tile designs

Spend the morning scouting out any spots you missed in Marrakech before you head to the airport to catch your flight home or onto your next adventure.

Map

Map of Moroccan Adventure from Fes to Marrakech: Fes, Merzouga, Boumalne Dades,  Marrakech & More - 10 Days
Map of Moroccan Adventure from Fes to Marrakech: Fes, Merzouga, Boumalne Dades, Marrakech & More - 10 Days