Kasbah and Camels

A cultural tour of the central High Atlas




From 0 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Time to explore villages and UNESCO sites with easy walks
  • Experience the Dades Valley - `valley of the thousand kasbahs`
  • Explore Marrakech, magical souks and the colourful Djemaa-el-Fna
  • The idyllic `Shangri La` of the undoscivered Bougmez Valley

Crossing the Atlas Mountains at the Tizi n'Tichka, the first part of this excellent discovery holiday takes us through the Ounila Valley, with its splendid earth-red villages and amazing kasbahs at Telouet and Ait Benhadou. We then traverse the Dades Valley with its 'thousand kasbahs', dense palm groves and farmland dedicated to the growing of roses.  Stopping off to visit the most historic landmarks and taking short walks, for example into the impressive Dades and Todra gorges, we then cross the Atlas into the hidden ‘happy valley' of the Ait Bougmez Berbers. Here, we spend 2 nights at a comfortable eco-lodge and have the chance to appreciate the simple way of life of the local people. Returning to Marrakech, we stay in traditional Moroccan riad accommodation. A super week of exploring and easy walking amongst the many iconic sites of this part of Morocco!

Is this holiday for you?

This Morocco discovery tour is principally a sightseeing and discovery holiday. To enhance the experience we have included a short walk on most of the days. These will include anything from an hour or two's exploration of a historic or cultural site, to a half-day walk on rough paths. The walks should be well within the capabilities of anyone who keeps themselves in reasonably good shape but each of the walks is optional - if you don't want to do the day's walk, there is always the option to stay with the vehicle or to enjoy extra time in the accommodation. There are a few long drives teamed with easy walks.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group riad in Marrakech. Transfers from Marrakech Airport are provided.
  • Drive across the Western High Atlas to Ounila Valley. Afternoon walk to troglogyte caves.
  • Explore UNESCO Ait Benhaddou and the Dades Valley of the Roses.
  • Walk through Todra Gorge before driving through the `Valley of a thousand Kasbahs` to Skoura.
  • Explore the Bougmez `Happy` Valley, the undiscovered Shangri La of Morocco.
  • Day to enjoy the Bougmez Valley with a walking tour through traditional villages and farms.
  • Transfer to Marrakech. Free afternoon to explore the labyrinthine complex of the ‘souk.’
  • Departure Day. Transfers to Marrakech Airport are provided.
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Marrakech Airport, which is approximately 15 minutes drive away from the group hotel in downtown Marrakech. Please refer to the 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' section of the holiday dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Marrakech. These include Easyjet who have flights from London, Manchester & Glasgow, Thomson Airways who have flights from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol & Glasgow and Ryanair who have flights from London. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group riad in Marrakech. Transfers from Marrakech Airport are provided.

    On arrival in Marrakech you will be met by a KE representative. KE group package services begin with a short transfer to the group’s riad accommodation in the city. Riads are traditional Moroccan houses, built around a central courtyard area, often with elaborate gardens, in a style that provides shade and shelter from the heat of the North African sun. Depending on your flight arrival time, after settling in you may have the opportunity to do a little exploration of the central square of the Djemaa-el-Fna and the fascinating labyrinth of souks or markets behind the square. Our evening meal will be taken either at the riad or in a nearby restaurant and during dinner our tour leader will give a trip briefing on the week ahead.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Drive across the Western High Atlas to Ounila Valley. Afternoon walk to troglogyte caves.

    After breakfast we leave Marrakech behind and set off on a drive across the Western High Atlas. Driving southeast across the Haouz Plain we reach a switchback road which climbs through the mountains past Berber villages to the spectacular Tizi n’Tichka (2260m), the highest road pass in Morocco. After a stop to photograph the amazing views we descend more switchbacks down to where the mountains meet the desert. Our destination today is the Ounila Valley, a palm fringed green oasis in the ochre landscape with the magnificent backdrop of the nearby peaks of the Atlas. This was a favoured stopping point on the old caravan routes and we will also stop here, like the ancient caravaneers, in a traditional Kasbah. We stretch our legs with a short walk to the nearby troglogyte caves. The Kasbah also has 4 camels (Stan, Charlie, Ella and Maryline!) and these camels come along to the caves with us. They are happy to give us a lift if we want to experience riding a camel. Please note that these animals can be unpredictable and if you wish to ride, this is at your own risk.

    • Accommodation Kasbah

    • Meals bld

  • Explore UNESCO Ait Benhaddou and the Dades Valley of the Roses.

    Just a couple of miles down the road from our Kasbah is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ksar of Ait Benhaddou and after breakfast we will make a visit to this incredible collection of 17th century earthen buildings located inside a defensive wall. The buildings which range from humble dwellings to fortified castles are some of the best preserved examples of sub-Saharan architecture and have appeared extensively as the backdrop in various Hollywood films including Lawrence of Arabia, Kundun, Gladiator, Hideous Kinky and Back Hawke Down to name just a few . Today most people in the this area live in a modern village on the other side of the Ounila River but several families still occupy the Ksar giving it a ‘living museum’ feel. Beyond Ait Benhaddou we reach the town of Ouarzazate, known as the gateway to the Sahara, before driving into the Dades valley which separates the ranges of the High Atlas from the Jebel Sarhro. The initial section of the Dades is known as the 'Valley of the Roses' and is famous for its tens of thousands of roses grown each year, mainly for the perfume industry. We spend the night in a Kasbah in nearby Tinghir a medium sized town located in a vast palm oasis in Wadi Todgha.

    • Accommodation Kasbah

    • Meals bld

  • Walk through Todra Gorge before driving through the `Valley of a thousand Kasbahs` to Skoura.

    Just a short drive from our hotel we visit the Todra Gorge, one of the most dramatic sites in the whole of Morocco and a magnet for rock climbers from around the world. We will take an easy stroll through the gorge, meeting up with our transport towards the end of the morning. We then continue our journey through the ‘Valley of a thousand Kasbahs’ to the sleepy town of Skoura partially hidden in the palm groves established here in the 12th century. Some of the finest Kasbahs in southern Morocco can be found in Skoura whose ochre walls contrasting with the green palms and the intense blue of the desert sky make for superb photographs, particularly in the evening light. One of the most imposing kasbahs is 17th century Amerhidil Kasbah, a strongly fortified former residence of the Glaoui family and now owned by the Sheikh of Amerhidil. Skoura was also famous from around the 7th century onwards for its salt mines which exported this precious substance, once as valuable as gold, to all parts of North Africa. Every Monday in Skoura there is a large souk and we can spend a fascinating hour or two wandering around this market before we settle in to our accommodation which is another traditional Kasbah.

    • Accommodation Kasbah

    • Meals bld

  • Explore the Bougmez `Happy` Valley, the undiscovered Shangri La of Morocco.

    Driving up into the Central Atlas mountains we follow a twisting road which negotiates a way through tall peaks towards the village of Azilal, the gateway to the hidden ‘Shangri La’ valley of Bougmez. Until after the turn of the present century Bougmez was completely isolated from the rest of Morocco. Although a new metalled road has brought Bougmez within 4 to 5 hours drive of Marrakech, there remains an unhurried and timeless feel to this green valley with its well ordered fields and traditional Berber villages. In fact the whole valley carries the nickname of ‘Happy Valley’ on account of the smiles and friendly disposition of its inhabitants. We drive to the village of Tabant at the beginning of the valley where we overnight in a lovely restored Kasbah.

    • Accommodation Kasbah

    • Meals bld

  • Day to enjoy the Bougmez Valley with a walking tour through traditional villages and farms.

    Today we have a beautiful and inspiring walk through the Bougmez Valley from the main market village of Tabant. The trails meander through fields and walnut groves, past small farms and traditional village houses. Above the village of Iwaliwen are some ancient rock slabs containing dinosaur footprints. We will also make a visit to the communal grain store at Sidi Moussa. Perched on top of a low hill, this fortified granary takes the form of a circular tower with four look-out turrets. A spiral staircase inside gives access to the upper floors as well as the roof. Inside the granary is also the tomb of a holy man said to have performed miracles in the area. Today villagers will go to Sidi Moussa to pray and leave offerings at the shrine. We have lunch with a berber family in the mountains. There are several options to shorten today’s walk but if we take the full tour this will be approximately 5 hours walking. Back in Tabant we have some free time to look around the markets and perhaps take some refreshing Moroccan tea.

    • Accommodation Ecolodge

    • Meals bld

  • Transfer to Marrakech. Free afternoon to explore the labyrinthine complex of the ‘souk.’

    After breakfast we drive back to Marrakech arriving there in time for a late lunch. After checking in to our riad accommodation, the rest of the day is free to explore and enjoy this famous North African city. A must-do is to wander through the labyrinthine complex of the ‘souk’, the biggest such market in Morocco. Here, amongst veiled women, laden donkeys, vibrant colour and pungent aromas you can browse and barter with the stallholders. Each type of goods has its own quarter, with alleys and squares devoted to copper beating, tanneries, slipper makers, spices, hand-woven rugs and many more. It is easy to spend a whole afternoon here. For the brave, a visit to a 'hammam' (steam bath) is one of the most genuine of Moroccan cultural experiences. A relaxed way to get around the city is to take a ‘caleche’ or horsedrawn carriage. Marrakech has some interesting gardens, such as the Agdal, Majorelle (Yves St.Laurent) Gardens and the Menara Gardens and these are a great place for some relaxation and shade on a hot afternoon. As the sun goes down it is well worth visiting the central square of the Djemaa-el-Fna. At around 4 pm each evening this large open square becomes the focus of activities for local people and tourists alike. Troupes of Berber acrobats and musicians, together with snake-charmers, water sellers and story tellers begin their evening performances which become more and more animated as the sun sets. As dusk comes on dozens of amazing food stalls spring up as if by magic in the centre of the square, illuminated by strings of electric lights and offering all manner of mouth-watering delicacies. Later in the evening we will gather for our farewell dinner which may be taken at the riad or a local restaurant.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure Day. Transfers to Marrakech Airport are provided.

    KE group package services end after breakfast. For those clients with evening flights the remainder of the day is free to further explore the streets, souks and colourful sights of Marrakech. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An experienced professional local leader
  • Marrakech Airport transfers (on first and last day of itinerary)
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • Meals as per the Meal Plan
  • Camel ride at Kasbah Ellouze
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - souvenirs and drinks etc
Moroccan cuisine is amongst the best in the world and we will take our meals in a range of restaurants and other eateries. A typical Moroccan menu begins with a simple selection of mezze, which might include a bowl of olives or a selection of cooked vegetable salads dressed with olive oil, sprinkled with cumin and served with a dip and flat bread. The tagine or roast meat (or vegetable) dish comes next, served with couscous and often a salad. A simple plate of prepared fresh fruit or dessert marks the end of the meal, before mint tea is served.
All meals are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8.
All clients arriving on day 1 and departing on day 8 will be provided with an airport transfer free of charge. You MUST provide your full flight details and should let us know if you do NOT wish to have an airport transfer . Clients intending to make their own transfer arrangements at Marrakech Airport should note that taxis are available outside the arrivals hall at all times. They are equipped with meters but most taxi drivers are reluctant to use them and you should either insist on a meter or agree the fare before setting off. The standard fare to the city in a "petit taxi" should be no more than £7 though you may have to pay a little more if arriving late at night. The airport is approximately 4 miles from the city and the journey takes 10 - 15 minutes.
During this holiday, the group will spend 2 nights at a riad in Marrakech. Riads are traditional Moroccan houses, built around a central courtyard area. Converted into chic and intimate little guesthouses these are the best places to stay in the city mixing traditional charm with modern comfort. While on tour we will have a total of 3 nights staying in traditional Kasbahs converted to modern hotels with private bathroom. Some of these Kasbahs have swimming pools as well. All other accommodation is based on twin share. If you are travelling alone you will be paired with another single traveller of the same sex. Depending on availability, single accommodation may be available at supplementary cost. Additional hotel nights in Marrakech are also available. For hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The group will be led by an experienced professional English-speaking Moroccan guide.
Approximately £100 (or equivalent in US dollars or Euros) changed into local currency, should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses. This amount will cover tips for the local staff, soft drinks, snacks etc. Marrakech is a great place for souvenir buying and all major credit cards are accepted. If you are intending to buy expensive items, you should budget accordingly. It is not necessary to purchase Moroccan currency (Dirham) outside the country. You can withdraw money in local currency from ATM’s in Marrakech or your travel money can be carried in the form of cash (Sterling, Euros and US dollars are easily exchanged). Please note that it can be difficult and time-consuming to exchange travellers cheques at banks in Morocco, and commission payments are often very high.
Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ for good service. Tips do not form part of the wages of your holiday staff but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. Normally tips are given at the end of your stay and this is best done as a group. As a guide, we recommend that each group member contributes around £25 (in dirhams) to these tips.
There is no weight restriction on this trip other than imposed by your international carrier. However, we ask you to restrict your luggage to one main bag (your KE trek bag) and a small daypack. Your main baggage will be transferred between hotels by vehicle. Travel clothes can also be left at the group hotel in Marrakech.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

Although you will cross some moderately high passes during this holiday there is no significant time spent at altitude.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Comfortable shoes or boots for walking

  • Socks

  • Trainers or sandals

  • Trekking trousers

  • Underwear

  • Shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper (for evenings outside)

  • Lightweight waterproof jacket

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Small daypack

  • Water bottle

  • Torch

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Small padlock (to lock your KE kit bag)

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Shorts

  • Swimwear

  • Waterproof over-trousers

  • Camera

  • Travel clothes

  • Toilet roll

  • Books / kindle

  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)


For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:


Although there is no strenuous hiking on this holiday, there are a number of optional walks and several sights which are best explored on foot. It makes a lot of sense to get some additional exercise before coming on any active holiday. Walking, jogging, squash and swimming are all good for developing fitness and stamina. Some of the days it will get quite hot and you should be prepared for this. Before departure, we suggest that you do some reading about the country, its people and culture.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

It is usually very hot in Morocco during the summer months. In July and August temperatures in Marrakech and in the Dades Valley can reach 40ºC. Outside of these months we are more likely to encounter temperatures closer to 30ºC in Marrakech and the southern foothills and around 20 - 25ºC in the Bougmez valley. In November and December it will be several degrees cooler and even chilly once the sun goes down. The weather is usually dry at the time of any of our scheduled departures. However, weather especially in areas close to great mountain ranges such as the Atlas is notoriously difficult to predict and rain or even short-lived storms can occur at any time of the year and you must be prepared for extremes of climate.
Lonely Planet Guide – Morocco. The Rough Guide to Morocco. The Atlas Mountains. Karl Smith. (Cicerone Press).

Extend Your Holiday

Golden Tulip

From $55 per room per night

Riad Villa Harmonie

From $91 per room per night Located in the heart of the historic medina and just a short walk from the Djema El Fna, Riad Villa Harmonie is a beautifully restored riad. Built around 2 patios, with palm and orange trees, banana plants and roof-top terrace, this is the ideal place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but close enough to explore the souks and medina on foot. Rooms are decorated in traditional Moroccan style with modern comforts and private bathrooms. There are 3 different grades of room available depending on size, facilities and location.

Riad Slitine

From $157 per room per night Riad Slitine is in the heart of the medina, close to the Bahia and Badi Palaces, the Tombs of the Saadian Kings. The building dates back to the 17th century and has been recently refurbished in style. The house, built around four patios, has a swimming pool ideal for cooling off in the heat of the Moroccan summer. Complete with hammam, beauty treatments and jacuzzi, the Riad Slitine is truly luxurious. Riad Slitine has 16 luxury, air-conditioned rooms and suites, all with modern comforts including mini-bar, hair-dryers and wifi. Prices are reflective of room size, location and facilities.

Riad Petit Prince

From $113 per room per night Situated in the heart of Marrakech between the central Djema el-Fna and the new town of Gueliz, this family-run riad offers a serene and cosy atmosphere in the middle of bustling Marrakech. Riad du Petit Prince is comfortable and stylish with its leafy terraced seating areas and refreshing plunge pool in the shade of the courtyard. The restaurant serves both Moroccan and European meals. One advantage of staying here is that you are just as close to the shops, restaurants and clubs of the modern French quarters as you are to the Djema el Fna Square. There are 3 grades of room available. Massages are available (additional cost).

Riad Aladdin

From $122 per room per night Backing on to the Badi Palace in the medina, Riad Aladdin consists of three riads linked by a beautiful terrace where you can watch storks gliding to their nests in the Palace ramparts. With its terraces and comfortable lounges, there are many inviting nooks and crannies to escape the busy day. The 17 rooms are spread around the patios, each with its own Moroccan style. In summer you will appreciate the cool of the patio with its shady shutters, and in winter, the warmth of the hammam and the gentle breeze on the terrace. All rooms have air-conditioning and there are 3 different grades available.

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