Morocco-Exceptionnelle with Colin Reader


DEPARTING 20th May 2022

Morocco landscape
Cafe view

From Marrakech through the High Atlas

Morocco landscape

Visit historic Kasbahs on ancient trade routes


With stunning geology en route

Morocco landscape

Search for fantastic fossils and ancient rock art


To the fringes of the desert


Bask in the colours of Morocco

Learn about the Berber lifestyle

And so much more…

Colin Reader,

In the company of expert, Colin Reader


And drink lots of Moroccan tea!

Day 1 - Friday 20th May 2022

Fly London to Marrakech and on arrival we take our private transfer to the Meridien Hotel in the Menara District of the city. We check in for two nights on room and breakfast basis.

Day 2 - Saturday 21st May – Marrakech the fortified city

This morning we head in to the city centre where we visit the ruined El Badi Palace built in the sixteenth century. We climb the ramparts allowing for great views across the city, Next to Bahia Palace built in the 1860’s where we see beautiful carved stucco work and well preserved painted wooden ceilings. On to Maison Tiskiwin which houses a private collection of Moroccan and Saharan artefacts. We enter the famous and hectic Jemaa el Fna square where we can take lunch or wander back to the hotel for a more relaxing afternoon.(B)

Day 3 - Sunday 22nd May – The High Atlas

Our four wheel drive vehicles will collect us after breakfast  and we begin our road trip by crossing the High Atlas Mountains. We leave the plain and cross the Pre-Cambrian strata of the mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka pass, at a height of 2260 Metres, the highest in North Africa. We head to Telouet on the old caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakech pausing at the Kasbah of Telouet, which once served as a palatial residence and the headquarters of the powerful Glaoui tribe, we will stop at the salt mines to view the salt pans. Then we cross the Ounila Valley and head to Ouarzazate for the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, the oldest and most famous Kasbah in Morocco and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we have lunch before exploring the Kasbah. We overnight in a local Riad.(BLD)

Day 4 - Monday 23rd May – The Dades Gorges

This morning we set off for the Dades Gorge passing the Oasis of Skoura, where numerous ancient kasbahs, some sadly in ruins, stand amongst the palm trees. We leave the road behind and drive to Ait Mraou via Boutaghar. Once we pass the village of Boutaghar, we come to caves where nomads live and tend their goats. We will stop to take tea with them. Finally, we reach the main road again in the Dades Valley and turn north to the gorges. Here we plan time to walk and discover more about the multicoloured layered Jurassic rock sequences that are exposed in this deep gorge which has been eroded by the Dades River. Later we return along the valley to our overnight accommodation. (BLD)

Day 5 - Tuesday 24th May – Todgha Gorges

After breakfast we travel back to the main road and head towards the High Atlas mountains to visit the Todgha gorges. The steep sides are sheer, 300 metres high formed once again by a river cutting down through the orange Jurassic limestone. We walk through the gorges and our drivers meet us and continue our journey to Tamtattouchte. We overnight in a local Riad. (BLD)

Day 6 - Wednesday 25th May – Erfoud

This morning we follow the river downstream and just before Tinjdad, we stop at a spring, Lala Mimouna. Here the water is acid and we find an unusual type of stone which is used in incense burners. After Tinjdad we pass Goulmima, a mining town, and on to Asfla where we can take another walk through the very productive fossil-bearing formation.  We will see fossil specimens being excavated before stopping for a local lunch. After lunch we head south and follow the fault of the Ziz Valley and leaving the main road we stop to search for fossilised shark teeth and also part of their vertebrae.  At Ain El Aati we see a geyser shooting acidic water high into the air and then we continue to Erfoud for the night.(BLD)

Day 7 - Thursday 26th May – Desert Dunes

Erfoud is the most famous area for its fossil finds and we will go to the area where large slabs of rock are being quarried out of the mountains ready for craftsmen to skilfully work the stone. In the workshops we will be given an explanation of the different fossils  found in the rock and the techniques used to work the stone. South of Erfoud lies Rissani, the seat of the current Alouite dynasty of kings in Morocco. After lunch we pass the Erg Chebbi dunes and head to the lead mines of Mifis where kohl is worked. Next, to Tamerdanit where we have tea as guests of local nomads. We spend the night in a luxury desert camp with private bathrooms, king-sized beds, beautiful Moroccan furnishings tastefully arranged to enhance the enjoyment of the silence and beauty of the dunes.(BLD)

Day 8 - Friday 27th May – Dra’a Valley

A chance this morning to watch the spectacle of the desert sunrise before breakfast. At Messici we will see colourful piles of minerals mined from the distant hills at the side of the road awaiting collection. We head south to Ait Ouazik to view some incredible ancient rock art dating back to 5000BC. Polished boulders scattered over a large area reveal finely carved engravings of oryx, antelope, rhino, giraffe, geometric designs, spirals and hoop nets. We have lunch in Nkob, the capital village of the Berber Ait Atta tribe. Later our journey takes us to Tansikht to drive along the ancient caravan route, where we discover the real Dra’a Valley with its huge palm trees and ancient villages. At the end of the afternoon, we stop in Agdez for the night.(BLD)

Day 9 - Day 9 Saturday 28th May – To Marrakesh

We travel along the mountain pass of Tizi-n-Tinfifte (1660m) at Ait Saoun before making a stop to explore an extensive stromatolite field. Next a stop at Taourirt Kasbah, originally the residence of the Pasha of Marrakech and a symbol of the feudal period of the Lords of the Atlas. Passing through Ouarzazate we head back to Marrakech along a route that provides striking views of the High Atlas mountains. On arrival at the Meridien Hotel we say goodbye to our drivers and check in for one last night in Morocco.(BL)

Day 10 - Sunday 29th May 2022

Today we take our private transfer to Marrakech Airport for our homebound flight.(B)

Expert: Colin Reader is a chartered geologist  who has been studying the geology of North Africa and the Levant to understand its influences on the region’s  early cultures. The Moroccan landscape is fascinating – with wonderful geological formations and a wealth of incredible fossils

B = Breakfast BL = Breakfast and Lunch BD = Breakfast and Dinner BLD = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

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