Our suggestions for excursions from Marrakesh
Note: We are happy to help clients arrange their excursions and day trips.
The Atlantic Ocean, the Sahara Desert, Atlas Mountains and Berber Villages, river rafting – all are possible as excursions from Marrakech.
The small coastal town of Essaouira is easily done as a day trip from Marrakesh. Supratour buses leave several times a day from the bus station (next to the train station). You can check departure and arrival times from www.oncf.ma . Best to book a day in advance. You cannot book return tickets so buy your return ticket upon arrival in Essaouira. The buses are comfortable and air-conditioned. Essaouira is now a working port – with lots of fishing boats in the harbour. It’s a great place to have a lunch of freshly-caught fish.
You can visit the old Portuguese Skala with its ancient cannons and fortified walls. Essaouira’s walled medina was added to UNESCO’s world heritage list in 2001. Its wide sandy beach is great for walking and Essaouira is considered a great spot for windsurfing.
Surprising as it may sound, you don’t need to travel too far to get a taste of the Sahara. Zagora offers Berber tents and traditionally-built mud and straw huts – naturally environmentally low-impact and wonderfully photogenic. Activities in this part of Morocco include horse and camel riding, mountain biking and desert golf. Zagora is about a five hour drive away so it’s best to overnight (in a Berber tent of course!), rather than to tackle this excursion as a day trip from Marrakech.
The three-tier Ouzoud waterfalls make for a long, but worthwhile day trip of around 10 hours, which allows time for a visit and the drive there and back. The waterfalls are the highest in North Africa and you can also spot the tail-less Barbary apes here, who you might recognise from the main square in Marrakech. The Ouzoud Waterfalls can be found in the Grand Atlas village of Tanaghmeilt, around 150 km northeast of Marrakech.
Imlil and Mountain Views
If you have a whole day spare, head out to the high Atlas village of Imlil, gateway to the highest mountain in North Africa. Here, you can observe the Berbers’ way of life, with farmers tending their fields, and goatherds watching their animals. After, head for an invigorating scrub in a local hammam.
There’s some great, practical information here on Imlil by British mountain instructor, Matthew Low: www.imlil.org
One of the most popular destinations for a day trip from Marakech is out to the Ourika Valley and the waterfalls there. The driving time is just over an hour. It can get very busy in the summer when locals escape the summer heat of Marrakech and to head to Setti Fatma to picnic. It is also a useful starting or finishing point for walkers.
Trek Mount Toubkal
Jebel Toubkal is the highest peak in North Africa at 4,167m. Climbing Toubkal is a rewarding challenge and is doable for the relatively fit as it is a non-technical climb. The drive is two hours, heading south from Marrakech. It is possible to reach it by local transport. If you choose to climb without a guide, make sure you have all the right kit: good boots, sleeping bag, warm clothes as well as food and water. If you follow the standard route and do not attempt it in winter, you don’t need a guide, although you’ll most likely learn more if you are accompanied by a local.
The jumping off point for the Great Moroccan South and known as ‘the door of the desert, the drive to Ouarzazate from Marrakech is around three hours. Here you can learn about Moroccan film and the international movies which have been shot locally at the Atlas Studios. The studios are located around 4km from town centre – both Kingdom of Heaven and Babel were shot there.
A beautifully conserved Kasbah, partly preserved due to it being used for scenes in many feature films (including Gladiator and Game of Thrones). Under Unesco protection, it is located 32 km from Ouarzazate.
Rafting the Grand Canyon of Morocco
"Rafting the Grand Canyon of Morocco" (March-June) or "The Ahansal" River (March-June)
If you're feeling adventurous, try berber rafting
Berber Rafting Adventures is an exciting white water rafting and adventure company with European standards, which can make your trip to Morocco a memorable one! Most of the visitors come for the famous Sahara desert, the ancient cities or for a surf on the coast. You are taken you through the mountains by trekking on Mt "Jebel Toubkal" (4167 m), Africa's second highest peak after Mt Kilimanjaro and rafting on the beautiful Ahansal river. It's the only way to see the pure berber villages. Marrakech is only a few hours from Europe and you are in a different world.
If you have more time and would like the adventure of exploring Morocco's deserts like Lawrence of Arabia or Gertrude Bell, the Queen of the Desert (the film starring Nicole Kidman was shot in Morocco), then we would recommend a trip of at least three-days, two-nights.
We can recommend Your-Morocco-Tour
They can also help arrange different tours, for example
Imperial city tours
Desert camel trekking
Mountain bike adventures
4x4 adventures – off roads
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