The all-inclusive package I purchased for me and my mom included several site visits, a camel ride, and camping in the Sahara Desert. Our trek to the Sahara was ten hours long, and we frequently stopped thus we got to see a good amount of the country.
Visit Tinghir & Ouazazate
Located approximately four hours from Marrakech and considered “the door to the Sahara Desert, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the southern Morocco. Known for its spectacular sunsets and desert scenery, surrounded by breathtaking valleys.
Tour Ait Benhaddou
“Ksar of Aït Benhaddou, the most famous ksar in the Ounila Valley, is made up of six kasbahs and almost 50 smaller kasours. Situated in Souss Massa Draa along the Ouarzazate River it is the most striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. Once a significant stop, serving as one of the many trading posts linking ancient Sudan to Marrakech by the Dra Valley and the Tizi-n'Telouet Pass. It contains a mosque, two cemeteries (Jewish and Muslim), a public square, and areas for threshing grain outside of the ramparts and individual houses still inhabited by the ten remaining Berber families that live within the ksar.”
The most striking part of the tour was experiencing the Berber culture. Berber. Not Arabic, a distinction that was quickly made. They identify as the indigenous free people of the Sahara Desert region. A passportless people of what is now Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Their customs were alive and thriving, and it was beautiful to experience. Within the walls of the Ksar, there are vendors, chanting, Berber history, art and authentic hand-woven rugs.
The site is particularly popular for filming; Ksar Aït Benhaddou can be seen in scenes most recently Game of Thrones and Queen of the Desert. Notably, Orson Welles used it as a location for Lawrence of Arabia; 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.
World Heritage UNESCO Site since 1987
Hours of operation: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Visit the Toudra Gorge Canyon
In the heart of the Todra Valley, between the High Atlas Mountains and the Jebel Sahro, extends the magnificent palmeraie of Tinghir. The city, an old French garrison, is built around a rock outcrop and dominated by the ruins of the ancient Glaoui palace.
Take a Camel Ride and camp in the Sahara Desert
Finally, the best part of the entire trip! A camel ride and overnight stay with nomadic the Berber people. It was completely worth the 10-hour journey. Before our adventure, we stopped at Nasser Palace, put away our luggage as we were only allowed to take what we would need for the night and tied our heads to cover our faces from the desert sand. Next, we were all assigned a camel. I made sure to send love vibes to mine. If I was going to ride him for an hour and a half, then we needed to be friends. My mom insisted on riding as well, and she almost gave me a heart attack. She has a few health concerns, and I was worried that if something happened, it would take forever for medical attention. I should have been concerned about myself; Mom was fine. In fact, she led our caravan. Meanwhile, for the first 15 minutes, I was in low-key panic mode. Once I calmed down it became a serene experience, and I became overcome with gratitude. Me. In the freaking Sahara Desert! It was unreal.
Finally, we made it to camp and my mom, who is more of a luxe traveler shall we say, was quick to note that it was not the glamping situation I’d described to her. Our overnight stay was interesting. On the one hand, sleeping on a sandy bed and using a makeshift toilet with cats in heat screaming all night long wasn’t the most comfortable thing I’ve ever done. On the other hand, I got to stargaze and a chant the night away and watch the sunrise as we made our way back the next morning.
Morocco was breathtaking. I give TravelBird a solid four stars. Our travel crew was awesome. We bonded over our shared discoveries and had a blast together. Watching my mom enjoy herself was worth it every penny. I’d love to go back, perhaps next time to Fez and Blue City.
Til next time, travel light Travel bugs!