Marrakech to the Sahara: Morocco road trip

Thinking about an awesome road trip for when you visit Morocco? Then you have come to the right place, this route starts in Marrakech and brings you along both the Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert. This Morocco road trip even takes you to places like: Ait Ben Haddou, Tinghir, Dades and the Todra Gorge.

Still nog sure what to do in Morocco? Then read this post about our Three-day road trip and start to plan your own.


Road Trip through Morocco

Day one: Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou

The beginning of our GetYourGuide journey brought us along Tizi n' Tichka wich is a pass in the Atlas Mountains. Here we experienced highlights at various levels. This piece of Morocco provides you with breathtaking views and miles of rock formations. In between the mountains you will see a lot of greenery and even snow. In the Atlas Mountains you will experience a variety of temperature which makes the road trip even more special.

Along the way you will meet local people who sell souvenirs on the side of the road. They usually sell natural stones/minerals for quite a good price compared to what they ask in the cities.

Unfortunately we did not have any cash with us, otherwise we had bought that rough amethyst from the lovely lady merchant on the side of the road.

Tip: Bring cash to buy a souvenir which also helps the local people!

Morocco road trip
atlas mountains morocco

Ait Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou is a medieval city known for its Kasbahs built against a hill. Surrounded by a stony desert that almost stretches into infinity you will be treated with stunning sceneries. From the vantage point at the highest point of the Kasbah, you will be surprised with an incredible view over the palm grove that lies at the foot of the village.

The climb to the fort and loft at the top can be really tough in the heat, gladly the kasbahs are made of natural material which control temperature.

The kasbah is reinforced by walls with corner towers combined with narrow alleys in between. A typical example of Southern Morocco architecture. Ait Ben Haddou is well known as the filming set for : Game of Thrones, The Mummy, Gladiator, Alexander and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Read more: The ultimate guide to Ait Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou

Day two: Tinghir, the Todra Gorge
and arriving in the Sahara

Early in the morning of day two we visited the small oasis village: Tinghir which is also known as ‘‘the Jewish Quarter’’. When arriving try to get a local guide that shows you the surroundings and beautiful nature. Our guide learned us about how the families maintained the Kasbahs with local materials that were available at that time. He also told how they lived. Although they have electricity, they are self-sufficient in terms of water, food and clothing.

Tinghir: with her thousands of palm trees, olive trees and other fruit trees and many paths to follow. Walk through the fields and see how the irrigation and cultivation systems work.

Find hotels in Tinghir

Todra Gorge

Later that day, we drove to the Todra Gorge, a deep ravine with steep rock walls and definitely worth the visit. The orange limestone rocks go straight up and there is a small river running through. The Todra Gorge area is perfect for a hike.

During our visit there were many people, so the better alternative is to visit this place early in the morning or walk further among the steep rock walls.

todra gorge

The Sahara desert

Once you drive towards Merzouga you will be rewarded with a vast and spectacular landscape. One of the main reasons why you should vist Morocco lies in front of you. Let a 4x4 or camel take you into the heart of the desert and stay a night amongst the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

During the day we walked through the Sahara and saw mounds of golden sand combined with a blue sky.

Once the sun went down we got treated with a tasteful tajine while enjoying the local berber drums.

While the drums continued in the tent we walked barefoot among the desert dunes to find a spot to sit down. With sand covering our feet, insignificant in the universe, we were surrounded by the brightest sky we ever experienced. In almost complete silence we witnessed a sea of bright stars in the night sky.

An out of this world experience.

Read more: The Sahara desert in Morocco

what to do in morocco

Day three: back to vibrant Marrakech

The next morning we saw the golden light reflect on the beautiful desert landscape and realized that waking up early isn’t that bad. Heading back to the civilized world by camel while enjoying our last glimpse of Sahara beauty is an experience worth waking up early for.

On our way back to Marrakech we passed Tizi n'Tichka one more time. The high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.260 metres (7,410 ft) above sea level.

Bare, but pure beauty!

Now it’s your time!

This Morocco road trip is perfect if you want to escape vibrant, but chaotic Marrakech. It also reveals the beautiful nature Morocco has to offer. Imagine yourself back in time for years, perhaps even centuries.

See how the local villages are almost self-sufficient even tough the modern world around them.

We really had a stunning road trip. Now it’s your time to explore authentic Morocco!

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