The Casbah of Telouet Tizi-n-Tichka:
An excursion which follows the route of Tizi-n-Tichka, one of the most beautiful in Morocco, which crosses the High Atlas, the main route between Marrakech and Ouarzazate. One magnificent scene after another leads to the ancient palace of the last Lord of the Atlas. After the green hills of “l’oued Zat” in the plains of Haouz, the peak of Tizi N Ait Imquer, 1470 meters high, offers a breathtaking view of the Djebel Titout which towers above a circle of mountains with numerous casbas and small villages down below.
Crossing through the village of Taddert and the peak of Tizi-NTichka one arrives in the valley of Telouet. This village, an old fiefdom of the Pasha of Marrakech, has become a big agricultural center with a Thursday souk.
Only 2 magnificently decorated rooms (with finely sculpted ceilings and walls) remain of this ancient palace, testimony to the splendor in which lived the great Berber chief.
Lunch is provided in a typically Moroccan inn, Les Lion de l’Atlas. Chez Mustapha
Discover the beauty of the panoramic scenery of the High Atlas and the very diverse natural sites before arriving in the Grand Sud at the foot of the dunes of M’Hamid. In route, one crosses the Tichka pass in the High Atlas, the only means of arriving at Ouarzazate from Marrakech, a stop along the caravan route linking the Sahara and the city .
33 kilometers before Ouarzazate, one visits Ait Benhaddou, one of the best preserved casbahs in all of the south of Morocco, meriting its being listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and often used as the setting of Hollywood movies.
Visit the casbah of Taourirt in Ouarzazate, the sumptuous palace of the Pasha of Marrakech. The casbah is made up of a group of superb earthen buildings, forming a fortified village with a network of alleyways. There one visits the old apartments of the Glaoui (the Lord of the Atlas) which have preserved their decoration of painted stucco and their cedar wooden ceilings. Visit the famous library of the Koranic school Naciri in which Korans and ancient manuscripts on gazelle skin are conserved.
Arrival at M’Hamid, the gateway to the Sahara, situated at 40 kilometers from the Algerian border. M ‘Hamid serves at the point of departure for numerous excursions where one discovers the beauty of the desert landscape.
In 8 kilometers: the Reg Lihoudi, splendid landscape of huge dunes.
In 45 kilometers: the Dunes of Chegaga known for their impressive length (more than 40 km long.)
In 140 kilometers: Foum Zgid, celebrated for its lunar landscape with immense stretches of somber stone as far as one can see –(more than 7 hours of travel to arrive there on the desert track)
A 3 day excursion by 4 wheel drive in search of the beauty of the High Atlas landscape and its greatly diversified natural sites
-Arrive in the Grand Sud at the foot of the dunes of Merzouga.
-Cross the Tichka Pass of the High Atlas in order to arrive in Ouarzazate.
-Succession of landscapes blending casbahs and small villages.
-Visit Ait Benhaddou, 33 kilometers before Ouarzazate, one of the best preserved casbahs in all of southern Morocco meriting its being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
-Background history: the old Ksar (castle) with its prestigious and natural décor has served as the filming location for many films, notably the famous “Lawrence of Arabia.
-Visit the casbah of Taourirt in Ouarzazate, the sumptuous residence of the Pasha of Marrakech, made up of a succession of superb earthen buildings, forming a fortified village with its network of alleyways.
-Visit the historic apartments of the Glaoui (Lord of the Atlas) which have preserved their décor painted stucco and their wooden ceilings of cedar.
-At 30 km of Ourzazate: the oasis town of Koura contains an impressive collection of casbahs.
-50 kilometers further and situated in a valley, the small town of El-Kelaa M’Gouna is known for its production of rose water. (North of the town one can visit the “Valley of Roses” in a round trip of 40 kilometers.)
The Tin-mal Mosque
A 3 day excursion (in a 4 wheel drive) penetrating into the High Atlas while passing along the route of Tizi n’Test≥
-Discover the Valley of Asni, the gorges of the N’Fis river and the celebrated Tin-mal mosque, a true jewel of Muslim architecture.
-In 5 km, arrival at Moulay Ibrahim, a small village famous for its Mousseum which takes place each year on the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet and known to be a site of pilgrimage for women unable to conceive.
-In Asni, you will have lunch in a small Moroccan restaurants where you will dine on typically Berber dishes
-Ouirgane, rest station in which several salt works are exploited in a magnificent alpine landscape: departure point for walks by foot toward the gorges of N’Fis.
-In Tin-Mal, the famous mosque built in homage to Ibn-Toumert, founder of the Almohade dynasty. Classified as a historical monument, its interior architecture presents us with great purity of lines and a deco of worked stucco. It has served as a model for numerous Moroccan and Andalusian mosques. A small museum contains an assembly of stone and wood fragments gathered on the site.
-An excursion permitting us to appreciate the permanent contrast between the green valleys and the austere desert of the mountains. To our great delight, we are offered a palette of colors varying from red to rose, passing by mauve.
Visit of Marrakech
A visit accompanied by an official guide to discover the principal cultural and historic sites of the town. You may select which sites and choose the duration of the visit: half day or a full day.
-Jamaa el Fna Square, the most famous tourist site of Marrakech, attracts more than a million visitors who come to witness the animated spectacles: snake charmers, monkey handlers, story tellers, musicians and other popular artists.
-The Ben Youssef medersa (schools), more than 4 centuries a welcoming center for students thirsty for knowledge in diverse sciences, notably in theology
-The Bahia Palace, a masterpiece of Moroccan architecture, constructed at the end of the XIXth century
-The Marrakech museum, a superb palace, established on a parcel of land of 2108 square meters and embellished with a comfortable patio of 709 square meters: typical of Moorish architecture, it was transformed into a private museum and a welcoming place for cultural activities
-The Majorelle Gardens, without doubt the most beautiful garden of the city, originated as a botanical garden by Jacques Majorelle, a famous French painter of the beginning of the 20th century.
The Ourika Valley
An excursion deep into the High Atlas, discovering traditional Berber villages sheltered by a valley, until one arrives at the waterfalls of Setti Fatma.
-At 37 kilometers from Marrakech, you will discover the village of Tafza. A stop in a Berber family offers you a taste of the traditional “the a la menthe” (mint tea) accompanied by bread, honey and olive oil prepared by the mistress of the house in an oven .
-Still in Tazka you will have the opportunity to visit a local pottery and see how an authentic potter’s wheel works.
-Right next to Oulmes one finds a cooperative of women who specialize in the production of argan oil.
-An interesting visit where one discovers the significant example of the role of women in the development of rural commerce.
-Just after the Haouz plain, you will discover, in the valley, a succession of exceptional viewpoints where abrupt gorges dug by the meandering of rivers alternate with little “ douar” with adobe or mud brick houses.
-Several km further, you arrive in the village of Setti Fatma (at an altitude of 1500 meters) known for its 7 cascades and its hundred year old walnut trees. Near the cascades, your lunch is planned in a small local restaurant where you will be served a typical Berber meal.
-After lunch, a guide will lead you to visit the cascades and the village of Setti Fatma.
Asni and Imlil Valley
Debark on an excursion into the High Atlas by the road to Tizi n’Test to discover Djebel Toubkal the highest summit in North Africa. This is one of the most fabulous excursions in the vicinity of Marrakech. Asni, Berber village at an altitude of 1150 meters sits at the foot of Mont Toubkal whose summit reaches 4165 meters. Saturday mornings, visit a souk where bartering is the usual practice. At 5 kms, Moulay Ibrahim, small village celebrated for its Moussem (an annual gathering of nomadic people Sahara) which takes place every year celebrating the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet and known to be a place of pilgrimage for barren women. In crossing the Asni Valley, one descends superb gorges by way of a track with magnificent scenery until one reaches Imlil, departure point for numerous excursions
Into the Toubkal national park and toward Mount Toubkal. In Asni, you will have lunch in a small Moroccan restaurant where you will taste typically Berber dishes.
The Ouzoud Waterfalls
An excursion to discover the Moyen Atlas region and one of the most beautiful natural sites of all of Morocco: the extraordinary waterfalls (110 meter high) in the middle of cedar forests and natural springs. Upon arrival in Ouzoud (which comes from “amazigh izid” or “delicious”), a guide will await you to visit these magnificent waterfalls. Taking the path to the right, above the waterfall, one discovers old water mills. In continuing to descend, on arrives at the so called “Garden of Monkeys” and the base of the waterfall. One can also discover splendid grottos and then climb back up to an olive grove. Close by, from the promontory in the middle of the waterfall, one can watch the waterfall into a greenish cuvette creating, in the middle, an almost permanent rainbow.
In following the river until its source, tortoises side by side with crabs in a superb setting of red cliffs, Berber figs and rose colored oleander trees. At sunset , sometimes one comes upon a family of Atlas monkeys.
Lunch is planned in a small Moroccan restaurant where you can taste brochettes and a traditional tajine.
The following stops: Imi N’Ifi (the “door of the groufre”in amazig) its grottos and its super archway of natural stone and Demnate, a village with chalk white houses where in the past a large Jewish community resided.
Essaouira, the windy city, awaits you for a group excursion full of suprises. Our shared visit in Essaouira will be organized mainly by individual travelers, couples or small groups of travelers with the similar values.
The visit will be animated and economical because the expenses are shared.