Day 1 - Sahara Desert Trip from Marrakech, Morocco

Merzouga Travel Blog

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Inside Medina of Marrakesh. Founded in 1070–72 an old fortified city packed with vendors and their stalls

There is absolutely nothing like the pleasures of going up a soaring Sahara desert sand dunes at sunset to see the sundown, or to experience the tranquility when strolling for a whole day without seeing another person. An expedition in the desert is more like a subjective experience than it is a journey to see a new place in the world.

Best Time To Visit Sahara Desert

The best time to visit the desert is from December to February since the sun is not as intense as other months of the year. During this time period, the daytime temperatures are comfortable ranging from 68º F - 80º F ( 20º C - 26º C)

Spring is a terrific season as well to enjoy the fantastic view of flowers and plants in the desert and around sand dunes. 

Our 4 days 3 nights desert trip Marrakech to Merzouga  Day 1 Marrakech – Ait Ben Haddou – Dades Gorge

Day 1 Marrakech – Ait Ben Haddou – Dades Gorges

This morning Journey to my dream destination Sahara desert will start from our accommodation Riad Mouna located in old Medina, Marrakesh.

Tizi n’Tichka - High Atlas Mountains Pass a gateway to the Sahara desert
In case you are wondering what Riad is, it’s a traditional Moroccan house with a garden on the inside and surrounded by beautiful Moroccan architecture with telework. Perfect place to experience authentic Moroccan lifestyle.

Quick Stop At The Tizi N’Tichka Pass

Tizi N'Tichka is a mountain pass is located in the high Atlas mountains a gateway to the Sahara desert linking the south-east of Marrakesh to the city of Ouarzazate. It should took us about two hours to get to the mountain pass from Marrakech. 

The view from the lookout point is so beautiful, so it’s good idea to have enough time to relax and to explore at an elevation of 2,260 meters (7,410 ft) instead of just photo ops.

Next stop in Berber village

We visited a village, took some great pictures, had a glass of mint tea and took it easy to enjoy the beautiful landscape before continuing on the twisted road through the Berber villages towards our final destination.

Tizi n’Tichka - At the elevation of 2,260 meters (7,410 ft) there are shops and restaurants to explore!

Visit Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou 

We arrived at Aït Benhaddou an UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Qunila Vally of Ouarzazate around 1 pm. Since it was lunch time already so we decided to have our lunch first before heading to the Ksar right across the street. 

We had delicious es gilled meat with traditional spices and Chicken Tagine with vegetable at a local restaurant.

If you are in Morocco then you can’t miss one of their popular dish called Tagine such as Chicken, lamb, beef, vegetable, egg tagine. Here we tried streaming hot chicken Tagine. 

After lunch we crossed the Ounila river by jumping the stepping stones tp get to Ait Benhaddou, this  Kasbah (a fortified village in English or ksar in Arabic) is one of the largest in Morocco. It was great to see how local leaders used to live in old days and defended when their city was under attack.

Having a glass of mint tea and enjoying the beautiful landscape in the Morning!
Many hit moves were shot here like Gladiator, Indiana Jones, Games of Thrones, Prince of Persia, King Tut and many more.  

Next Stop Ouarzazate (pronounced war-zazat)

It took us less than an hour to get to Ouarzazate from Ait Benhaddou. Ouarzazate is a famous tourist town for it’s proximity to Ziz, Draa and Dades valleys, and the 19th century Kasbah Taouirirt is not far from the town which was used as a base to controlled the caravan route through the region at the time.

This small town with a backdrop of the magnificent mountain landscape and the fascinating Sahara desert is known as gateway to Sahara desert.

Overnight Stay at Dades Gorge

Driving distance from Ouarzazate to our hotel in Dades Gorge was about 2 hours (82 miles / 132 km) The Dadès Gorges are a series of rocky canyon carved out by the Dadès River in Morocco.

Mix Grilled Meat with rice and vegetables!
The river begins in the High Atlas chain of the Atlas mountains, flowing some 220 miles (330 km) southwest before meeting the Draa River at the border of the Sahara.

Accommodations in Dades Gorge

Auberge Panorama Dades, Gorges de Dades, 45150 Aït Ben Ali, Morocco

Location of this hotel was great with a beautiful view of the rolling mountains and the valley. As this was part of our package tour so breakfast and dinner was included with our stay. 

For more information read my travel blog on 4 days - Sahara Desert trip from Marrakech

Ils1976 says:
sounds like an incredible day!
Posted on: Feb 08, 2018
starship1 says:
Sounds like an exciting start to your trip in Morocco! Great photos!
Posted on: Jan 29, 2018
chefwar says:
Well written indeed,it brings back memories of my experience.
Posted on: Jan 29, 2018
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Inside Medina of Marrakesh. Founde…
Inside Medina of Marrakesh. Found…
Tizi n’Tichka - High Atlas Mount…
Tizi n’Tichka - High Atlas Moun…
Tizi n’Tichka - At the elevation…
Tizi n’Tichka - At the elevatio…
Having a glass of mint tea and enj…
Having a glass of mint tea and en…
Mix Grilled Meat with rice and veg…
Mix Grilled Meat with rice and ve…
Chicken Tagine with Vegetables coo…
Chicken Tagine with Vegetables co…
A View of Ait-Ben-Haddou through t…
A View of Ait-Ben-Haddou through …
Beautiful view of Taourirt Kasbah …
Beautiful view of Taourirt Kasbah…
Auberge Panorama Dades Hotel in Da…
Auberge Panorama Dades Hotel in D…
photo by: vvicy1