Three Day Tour High Atlas Tichka
Duration: 9:00am – 6:00pm Daily
Morocco Travel: In Luxury 4x4
English, French Speaking Driver, Guide
Starting & Finishing Point: Your Hotel In Marrakech
Travel to Morocco's High Atlas Mountains and through the Tichka Pass. Visit Ouarzazate, Morocco's "door" to the Sahara Desert. (Book a Tour or call (800) 787-8806. Let us be your guide to Morocco Travel.
DAY 1: MARRAKECH – OUARZAZETE
After breakfast depart from Marrakech and drive through the High Atlas Mountains, the largest mountain chain in North Africa that is an ideal place for anyone who enjoys hiking, mountain climbing or breathtaking natural scenery.
Heading south of Marrakesh you will pass Aït Ourir, a charming Berber village where you can stop to take pictures of the Atlas foothills. On road P31 you will pass the Grouka hunting reserve and Forestry Department Buildings that are a reminder that the French presence was once felt in the High Atlas.
During your journey to Southern Morocco you will also pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat, as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic influences and desert borders.
Along the route you will see panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains as well as sights of fertile valleys, blue and red colored pise villages and other striking mineral environments. The higher up you drive you will notice the mountains becoming more rounded and the crops turning into bare red soil.
For lunch we will stop in the village of Tadart where you will dine in a local restaurant with incredible views and enjoy a tajine made with fresh local olive oil or grilled sheep.
After lunch you will continue the road toward Ouarzazate passing the town of Amerzgane where ruined Kasbah Telouet sits. Once home to the Pasha El Glaoui, the Kasbah Telouet has a rich history that is intertwined with the French and is located in a fertile valley surrounded by palm, fig and olive trees. We will make a short stop at the kasbah for a brief tour whereby you can see the kasbah’s painted wooden ceiling and low level corridors leading to two well preserved Andalusian style reception rooms engraved with stuccowork and colorful zellij tilework.
Afterwards, we will go directly to Ouarzazate where you will unpack at your hotel. Ouarzazate has many different sleeping options ranging from two to five star hotels. For dinner, relax with a traditional Moroccan meal at one of Ouarzazate’s local restaurants run by a Berber family.
DAY 2: OUARZAZATE
After breakfast at your hotel, we will depart Ouarzazate and take the pise (windy road) towards the Oasis of Fint passing the "Plateau de pierres".
On this road you will find a shining Oasis of palms. Visit this Oasis of Fint that hovers under the Atlas Mountains. Journey on a one-hour walk inside the Oasis where you will have a cup of tea with the headmaster’s family Azziz Ouaziz and tour the surrounding area where date palm oases and dramatic desert scenery are king.
After visiting the Oasis of Fint we will take the road to Kasbah Tifoultoute which stands majestically on the banks of Oued Tifoultoute. From a distance this old Kasbah is impressive with its castle-like architecture. In the 1960’s the Kasbah was converted into a hotel for the cast of Lawrence of Arabia. Tour the Kasbah and have lunch at its restaurant which is known for delicious mint and herb teas. See panoramic views from the rooftop.
After lunch, continue your tour by heading to the picturesque village of Aït Benhaddou. Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River and was once a significant stop for traders carrying gold, salt and slaves along the famous Southern Caravan route moving through the Sahara. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices.
Your guide will lead you on a private tour through this Berber village of towered and crenulated kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas Mountains. Explore the kasbahs by foot with the option to ride a donkey across a river.
Make sure to bring along your camera and photograph this spectacular site and the stunning views that surround this Kasbah and its crenellated towers and dark red pise walls.
For dinner enjoy a traditional Moroccan tajine, couscous and fruit as you relax on a terrace with clear views of a sunset over Aït Benhaddou. Drive back to Ouarzazate to rest and prepare for the following day’s adventures.
DAY 3: OUARZAZETE – MARRAKECH
After breakfast, visit the Atlas Film Studios. The studios are flanked by Holly-wood style Egyptian figures and cover 30,000 sq m of desert. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s.
Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara. Most of the filming takes place in the desert in the south however you can view the Tibetan monastery featured in Scorese’s Kundun and an Egyptian temple from Cleopatra.
Have lunch in Ouarzazate then take the road back to Marrakech. This ends your Morocco Travel experience.