Leave the city behind and set out across the rugged terrain of the High Atlas mountains, catching glimpses of river valleys and mountainside villages as you cross over the Tizi n’Tichka pass and drop down to Ouarzazate, nicknamed the Door of the Desert. Stop in the old part of the city for lunch at a local restaurant, and then continue on to the Skoura oasis, where palm trees and silvery olive groves cluster around the ruins of ancient kasbahs. Pass through the Valley of the Roses, stopping en route to peruse the beauty products made from these delicate flowers, and spend the night in a typical guesthouse in Dadés Gorge.
After breakfast, drive to Todgha Gorge, where you can stretch your legs with a hike through the canyon before continuing on. Pass by the Berber villages of Tinejdad and Erfoud, and spot the vast oasis of Tafilalt, which is famous for its dates. Arrive amid the golden dunes of Merzouga and trade your wheels for a ride on a camel to strut across the sands in this dreamy desert locale. In the evening, settle in at a comfortable nomadic camp for a drum performance, sunset views, and a good night’s sleep in a traditional tent.
Situated in the vast desert region of the Saharan Morocco, dividing Morocco and Algeria, Erg Chebbi is one of two Moroccan ‘ergs’, which are a sea of dunes. What it lacks in size- compared to the deserts of Algeria, Libya and Namibia- it makes up for in its extraordinarily scenic golden landscape. The dunes of Erg Chebbi span over 30 kilometres and rise up to 160 metres. Merzouga is the tourist centre of Erg Chebbi, where the camel trips into the desert depart from. Visitors can look forward to staying overnight in a desert oasis called a Moroccan bivouac, camel riding or quad biking through the sea of dunes and watching the dunes change colour as the sun sets.
Get up early to watch the sunrise over the windswept dunes, and then get back on the road, passing by the pretty town of Tazzarine on your way into the Draa Valley. Have lunch in Nakob, and visit the 16th-century kasbah of Tamnougalte, near Agdz. Arrive in Ouarzazate for the night.
Start your day with a visit to the Taourirt Kasbah, a historic site that’s been partially restored by UNESCO. From there, drive to Ait-Ben-Haddou, a massive red ksar of 6 interconnected kasbahs that rises from the desert and has been featured in numerous Hollywood films. After exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site, drive through the Ounila Valley to Telouet, where you can have lunch and visit the ruins of this once-opulent kasbah before the final leg of the drive back to Morocco.