Lower-Atlas hiking/desert trip Suggestions
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Nov 24, 2012 12:05 PM Last Post By: khamlia
Nov 23, 2012 4:32 PM
Lower-Atlas hiking/desert trip SuggestionsHello all,
This is my first post on ThornTree. I will be visiting Morocco this December, from 02 December to 19 December. I will have approximately 4/5 days to travel south of the Atlas Mountains (from Fez to Marrakech). This area seems like the best place to hike and go on an overnight desert trip.
My rough plan is: Fez-Errachida-Merzouga (overnight desert); Errachida-Todra/Dades Gorge (1-2 days hiking); then Marrakech. I will be using buses.
My questions are:
a) Will I end up spending much of the time travelling/waiting for buses? Or can the 'right' balance, between travelling and relaxing, be achieved?
b) I am flexible, so do you have any suggestions on other (equally stunning) places to hike/overnight desert trip?
I have read on TTree that Tafraoute is warmer and a nice place to hike, but it's outside of my route plan - Or maybe you guys think it's worth it?
c) Do you have any suggestions/advice for travelling in the lower-Atlas mountains? I recognise that it will be cold (especially at night) and have made peace with this inevitability. I am bringing thermal socks+underwear, sleeping bag, fleece+raincoat and decent footwear.
I welcome your thoughts & suggestions, or just links for further reading. Thanks for reading this post.
Nov 24, 2012 3:03 AM
1. My rough plan is: Fez-Errachida-Merzouga (overnight desert)
Supratours runs a bus directly from Fez to Merzouga which will eliminate stopping in Er Rachidia. Reserve your hotel room in Merzouga soon. Your desert experience can possibly be arranged at the time you make your reservations.
2. Errachida-Todra/Dades Gorge (1-2 days hiking)
From Merzouga take a shared grande taxi to Rissani and another to Erfoud, quite short distances. From Erfoud, there is a bus which goes to Tinerhir (Todra Gorge), again eliminating Er Rachidia, which is normally only a stopover anyway.
3. I have read on TTree that Tafraoute is warmer and a nice place to hike, but it's outside of my route plan - Or maybe you guys think it's worth it?
In the mountains, Tafraoute is lovely but it will be cold. Best go there another time.
4. +I am bringing thermal socks+underwear, sleeping bag, fleece+raincoat and decent footwear.+
All good, except you can forget the sleeping bag. All hotels in Morocco, although mainly unheated, provide an amply supply of warm blankets.
Have a great time!
Nov 24, 2012 3:29 AM
2David's suggestions are good. But you not need to take taxi first to Rissani and then to Erfoud. Supratours bus is going from Merzouga, so if you not want to visit Rissani (but there is nice genuine souk) or Erfoud (there is not so much to see) take the bus right from Merzouga so save you time for to see and do other things in Erg Chebbi.
But sorry, you will sit quite much in the bus anyway but there is still balance between traveling and relaxing.
Nov 24, 2012 5:20 AM
3..... where do/can you arrive in Morocco ? .... for the Anti-Atlas and Tafraoute if you can use the Airport in Agadir. South of the High Atlas the weather is better in December, last December (20th.) the weather was like this... http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/GMAD/2011/12/20/DailyHistory.html?req_city=Agadir+Al+Massira&req_state=&req_statename=Morocco, the Atlantic coast here is worth research.... http://www.visitagadir.com/index.php on this site search the drop-downs, find the beaches map, suggested drives/route. Search using the search facility here for Tafraoute, Mirhleft, Sidi Ifni, Aglou Plage, and the town in the centre of the Sous Valley Taroudant from where you can easily travel to the Anti-Atlas Mountains or the Desert via Ouarzazate by public transport.
Nov 24, 2012 5:25 AM
4Khamlia, do you mean that Khaled could buy a Supratours bus ticket taking him from Merzouga to Erfoud (Khaled, it leaves about 8am)? That should cost about the same as taking 2 taxis and would be much simpler, also avoiding touts. In Erfoud he would look for a bus or taxi taking him to Tinerhir (also known as Tinghir) which is at Todra Gorge. Dades is west of there.
Nov 24, 2012 5:52 AM
5No of course not if they not want to go by bus to Tinerhir.
But Khaled will use the bus and in this case I can recommend it also. ZIZ Valley, which is located between Errachidia and Erfoud, is very nice piece at least to look at when it is not enough time to explore it more, and if they will go from Erfoud directly to Tinerhir, they miss this bit.
Nov 24, 2012 7:16 AM
Nov 24, 2012 7:34 AM
7David, if you read good my bad English, maybe you can understand what I mean.
Ie, on the way to Todra Gorge, he may experience from the bus one fine landscape as ZIZ Valley.
Nov 24, 2012 10:52 AM
This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Thank you all.
Daviddaoud, I didn't know about the direct bus from Fez to Merzouga. So this really helps out.
Khamlia, I like having the options! It's great to hear that there is a direct bus from Merzouga to Erfoud (and I'm happy to get up early at 8am!) I have read about the landscape of the Ziz Valley - it is very appealing. I probably cannot spend time both in the Ziz Valley & Todra Gorge so I will decide when in Morocco.
Some more questions:
a) Will the Ziz Valley be less cold than Todra Gorge?
b) I will arrive in Tangier and then fly out of Marrakech. How does the desert experience in Merzouga compare to the "Desert via Ouarzazate" ? Is one cheaper? less touristy? better in some way?
Nov 24, 2012 12:05 PM
9No, you have not time to see both, ZIZ and Todra etc. You have only 4/5 days you say. Because that I wrote about to look at ZIZ from bus anyway. Todra Gorge and Dades are more exciting while ZIZ is nice to look at from the bus, it is as palm river. Even if it is nice there inside too, along the river, peaceful and quiet. Probably it will be warmer there too.
Edited by: khamlia
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