Should you wish to book a full or half-day tour of Marrakech with a qualified guide or take a chauffeur driven excursion by minibus or 'grand taxi', perhaps with a picnic lunch (available on request), we will be happy to make the arrangements for you.
This entrance corridor to the High Atlas is a fertile green valley situated some 60 kms (just an hour) south of Marrakech where picturesque Berber villages cling to steep slopes above a rushing mountain torrent. In summer, the cool of the mountains marks a welcome contrast to the fierce heat of Marrakech (so the valley is very popular during summer weekends) while, in winter, the snowcapped summits of the Atlas range provide a truly breathtaking spectacle.
Before the end of the valley the road peters out at the little village of Setti Fatma, at 1500m, where a pretty walk can be enjoyed beside the river to a series of seven waterfalls tumbling down the mountain in the shadow of the highest peaks. Take a picnic for the trip but, if not, you'll find a good choice of inexpensive eating places along the way.
The village of Ourika itself lies at the foot of hills where the road begins its climb up into the Atlas. Famous for its pottery and semi-precious minerals, its exhilarating berber souk (a large country market, one of the biggest in the area), on Mondays, is not to be missed.
This long day excursion takes one across the High Atlas on an impressive mountain road which winds its way up the picturesque valleys, past numerous Berber villages and sellers of semi precious stones, to the 2260m Tizi n' Tichka, the highest mountain pass in the Atlas. Looking south beyond these impressive mountains, snow-capped from November to April, a different landscape emerges of semi-desert punctuated, alongside the river en route to Ouarzazate, by kasbahs and small houses of mud and straw vividly conrasting with the emerald green fields around them. A modern garrison town built by the French on the edge of the Sahara, Ouarzazate's visits include the old residence of the Pacha El Glaoui, the Taourirt kasbah and Ait Benhaddou, an ancient, picturesque hill village popular with film-makers. The Atlas studios just outside town make for another most interesting visit.
About an hour from Marrakech, this is a magnificent green valley tucked away at the foot of Mont Toubkal, at 4165m the highest point not only of Morocco but North Africa. Visit the souk in the village of Tahanaout (Tuesdays and Saturdays) and drive through the gorges of the river Ghezaia en route to Asni, famous for amethysts, where a good choice of eating places can be found, unless you'd prefer to enjoy a picnic contemplating the splendid mountain scenery. On, finally, to Ouirgane in what is known as the "Happy Valley".
After an early start and a 3 hour drive you will reach the ancient port of Mogador, built by the Portuguese on a narrow peninsula beside a vast crescent of fine sand. Nestled securely within its impressive, French built, 18th century ramparts, the largely pedestrianised town is divided into different quarters by its grid system layout. From the top of the Scala one has a magnificent view over the colourful fishing harbour to the defensive buildings and Spanish canons.
Essaouira is also famous for its refined craftmanship, especially woodwork (objects in thuya) beautifully inset with lemon wood, ebony, mother of pearl or threads of either copper or silver.