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HELP ! Advice Requested - Car Journey within Morocco using Marrakech as Start and Finish

My wife and I will have 10 nights in Morocco.

After some research, I came up with the following "areas to explore"

Using Marrakech as a starting and ending point ( we will be arriving in and departing from Marrakech by plane ).

We enjoy the less "commercial" / tourist oriented sights with an emphasis on the outdoors / culture / people.

We would like to travel over the High Atlas Range via the # 9 highway (Tizi n Tichka Pass) and in addition, try to see the following areas Taroudannt / Essaouira / Erg Chebbi / Todra Gorge.

I was intrigued by a paragraph in the "Man in Seat Sixty-One" website:

"If you've a few days to spare when you get to Marrakech I highly recommend hiring a car and driving south over the High Atlas Mountains via the absolutely incredible Tizi n Tichka Pass, perhaps the most amazing road I've ever driven. Stay the night at the Kasbah at Tifletout (now a hotel) and visit the Gorge du Dadès, Todra Gorge, and the remarkable mud-built town of Aït ben Haddo"

***I am having some difficulty coming up with a 4 to 5 night trip to accomplish this goal - originating and ending in Marrakesh.*

Any advice / recommendations are greatly appreciated... Be brutally candid - If you feel that other options are better or this can not be accomplished, let me know !! The # of days are flexible ( by 2+ days).**

Many Thanks in Advance !!

Posted by
5572 posts

On my last visit to Morocco (a few years ago), we rented a car in Marrakech and drove over the High Atlas via Tizi n Tichka Pass, to Ait Benhaddou. Once I got out of Marrakech itself, the driving was easy and fun (in Marrakech, it was challenging, stressful, and fortunately brief). The mountain crossing was easy (although LOTS of switchbacks!), just watch out for guys standing on the road shoulder (and the road itself occasionally) selling geodes. I got a chance to stop and make a snowball in Africa, something I hadn't expected. Ait Benhaddou is incredible, one of the most amazing sights I've seen anywhere. We stayed at a nice inn there. I had wanted to continue on to Erg Chebbi and come back via one of the Gorges but we were tight on time and had to save that for another trip. Everything I've head and read about these places sounded fantastic. I would say, estimate your driving times honestly (use viamichelin.com), be cautious (bring plenty of water!), exercise common sense, and try to extend your trip if you can to allow enough days to do these places.

Essouaria is an outlier - a long way to the west. It's a pleasant seaside town, but not easily included in a "loop". You may have to drop it.

With 10 days, you might have just enough time to do most of the others. You may not be able to do both gorges. Fly in to Marrakech, grab the car, drive over the High Atlas to Ait Benhaddou (spend the night), then out to Erg Chebbi, a night out on the Grand Erg, back up via one of the gorges, return the car in Fes, a day in Fes...then fly out. Might be doable,

One thing to consider: rather than using Marrakech as both your arrival and departure point (not efficient), look into flying in to Marrakech, then do your trip over the mountains, into the desert, and back via a gorge, end in Fes. Fes is just as interesting as Marrakech IMHO (maybe more so). There are lots of cheap flights out of Fes, so you can return (presumably to somewhere in Europe) from there (we flew from Fes to Paris for something like $75, crazy cheap).

Quite an adventure there. Good luck!