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Atlas Mountains chic hotel - Domaine Malika

domaine de malika main photo

A boutique hotel at the foot of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco is a rare sight. Except for Richard Branson's Kasbah Tamadot there were no choices of staying in the area other than your typical wood- bean country club. And if you are on a private tour of Morocco, you should at least spend a night here, at the heart of the Berber country. When I first discovered Domaine Malika’s website some five years ago, there was something hip and funky about this guest house. No wood beaned ceilings, stuffed animals or wool sofas like most of the guest houses had adopted in the area. I immediately felt the urge to go and visit. And so I did, a few weeks later. And that’s how I met Paul, the host, a young French man who had recently arrived in Morocco and was looking to open a guest house in Marrakech. After a few mishaps, he managed to secure a villa owned by a well-heeled Casaoui and turn it into a 7- suites Atlas Mountains guest house. His enthusiasm and warmth were contagious but I do remember being a little skeptical about him creating something different in the area. And how would a French man in his early thirties cope with living in the Moroccan countryside ?

domaine de malika double room

We kept in touch, seeing each other as much as our busy lives would allow us to. With time it became obvious that not only he knew what he was doing and became a success story but that he was here to stay. In a country like Morocco, quality and consistency don’t often go hand in hand when it comes to guest houses. Not with Domaine Malika though. Even if you wouldn’t care about them securing TA first spot year after year, Domaine Malika only became better with time. With the years, they added a spa, a boutique, they expanded their garden and gave their cuisine a French twist. Rooms are spacious and the views are bewildering even with the most basic of them. Three of the rooms have their own private access to the roof terrace where you are greeted by sun beds and breath taking views on the snow covered peaks of the Atlas Mountains. The 50’s inspired salon accommodates leather armchairs, society games, three fire places and a well packed library – even Nietzsche and Chekov are on hand if you can be bothered. Or if the weather is rainy, which it almost never is...

lounge by evening at domaine de malika

The pool is just what you need after a long summer day or a trek in the surrounding Atlas Mountains and the wine garden accommodates late dinners during those hot summer nights. Like the one I had last night, while the hotel was lantern lit, the cicadas roared and frogs came out, croaking and lolloping by the pool. The place felt chic but not groundbreaking. But then again,  if you wanted a blast, a buzz, a bling, you’d be in Marrakech having cocktails at Djelabar. Here is about breathing in the Atlas Mountains night, enjoying a glass of red on the roof terrace or walking in the gardens, among apples, prunes, figs and oranges by the moonlight. One is such at ease here, it almost feels a sacrilege to only spend one night. Just the perfect spot for someone wanting to relax at the end of a  4x4 tour of Morocco coming from the desert south of the Atlas Mountains. Or someone that wants to escape the Riads of Marrakech. And Paul is as passionate and welcoming as the first time I met him. No wonder he was recently described as ‘ebullient and deeply hospitable’ by Travel and Leisure magazine no less. He kindly agreed to share the secrets behind his innate hospitality.

room terrace at domaine de malika

Sun Trails: I remember your beginnings here in Ouirgane and how your Atlas Mountains hotel was the exception to the rule in the region. We’ve known each other for over 5 years now. Was it hard for you to start this project here in the countryside? Why so far from Marrakech? Young, single, do you not miss the big city?

Paul Goetz: It is true that this was no sure bet since we were not 100% sure that our house would find its target among travelers wishing to discover the Atlas Mountains. The distance that separates us from Marrakech proved to be ideal. We are only one hour's drive from the Red City. This is sufficiently far away to offer our guests a complete change of scenery and a real alternative to the city, yet without forcing them to spend too much time driving.  Living in the heart of the valley is an everyday joy because the conditions here are ideal: tranquility, nature, authentic Berber hospitality.

domaine de malika orchard

ST: The decoration of the house is not your typical ‘mountain lodge’ with wooden beams, wool sofas, etc. What is it? Do your guests love it? Are they surprised or do they know what to expect at the time of arrival?

PG: Domaine Malika is a designer house setting itself apart with its Art Deco/ Art Nouveau décor, offering a striking yet unostentatious contrast with its surrounding environment. The spacious rooms, with their pristine white walls and the large windows create a bright atmosphere and allow guests to enjoy the nature that surrounds the house. Most of the time, people who decide to reside here have fallen for the style of the house, having discovered through the photos or video available on our web site the true reflection of the identity of Domaine de Malika.
Hence, before arriving physically at the location, they are already under the spell of the domain.

domaine de malika room

ST: Kasbah Tamadot (belonging to Richard Branson) is a few kilometers away. He (Richard Branson) is not often present, but do you not feel some sort of pressure having such a famous neighbor?

PG: On the contrary, I believe that such a beautiful hotel can only push all guest houses in the region to become more competitive. Kasbah Tamadot is an example of good taste, quality of service and excellence. We have a great relationship with their team and our guests are always delighted to go and have lunch at Kasbah Tamadot

domaine de malika terrace

ST: Your guest house is situated on one of the most picturesque routes in Morocco, but most visitors are not aware of it. Starting in Marrakech, through beautiful valleys before passing by the village of Tinmel and its 12th century mosque. It then rises to cross Tizi n Test pass at 2000 meters above sea level from where it descends into the ‘great south’, Taroudant and the Sahara desert. Are many of your guests coming from the desert or Taroudant as part of a tour of Morocco or are they rather people who just want to spend a few days outside Marrakech?

PG: Well, we kind of have both scenarios. Although located only an hour from Marrakech, Ouirgane Valley is a popular stop for travelers during their stay over this majestic pass that connects the north and south.
We also have many guests who combine city, sea and mountains in the course of a week's Morocco tour. Located 7 km from the National Park of Toubkal, Ouirgane is right in the heart of the High Atlas. This privileged location makes it a prime destination.

pool at domain de malika

ST: What is there to do and see if we wanted to stay more than one night?

PG: There is plenty of choice in terms of leisure of activities that our valley offers. In general, our guests make the right choice when deciding to stay 3-4 days with us. The main activities have to see with nature and culture. Our mountains are a great opportunity to discover the Berber culture through trekking in the Atlas Mountains by foot or mule or horse riding. Travelers can sample real immersion into local culture during a lunch or through learning the secrets of local cuisine by following one of our Moroccan cooking classes. But people are above all here to rest, recharge their batteries, so they are particularly fond of our hammam and the spa treatments dispensed by Hanane, our masseuse.

view on the atlas mountains from domaine de malika

ST: What is the typical profile of your guests? What makes Domaine de Malika unique ?

PG: Our clients are mostly couples from the United Kingdom, in search of tranquility and fresh air. Domaine de Malika is for them the icing on the cake as they can immerse themselves in the heart of Berber country without losing on the comfort.

ST: Knowing that you have 7 rooms and average rates of 160 euros per night, was it difficult to train staff to be able to deliver the service expected at this level, knowing that most of them are just locals from the nearby village?

PG: Our team is by far our biggest asset. Without their love of what they are doing and their innate sense of hospitality, the soul of Domaine Malika would not be what it is. We started from scratch with them and we built everything together. Mutual respect is the foundation of our relationship. This enabled us over the years to build a strong relationship and to cultivate in each pleasure of a job well done. Guests often tell us they can feel this positive atmosphere throughout the house and that it greatly contributes to their well being during their stay at Domaine Malika.

pool and sun beds at domaine de malika

ST: I had the pleasure of trying your home made couscous the other night, followed by a rather French cake - a nice surprise indeed. Do you often blend these two cuisines ? Can you give some examples of unusual dishes made at Domaine de Malika ?

PG: Agnes, Fouzia and Hafida are behind this fine reputation surrounding our restaurant. During a trip to Morocco, people want to also travel through the local cuisine and thus discover the country in a different way. However, way too often the guest houses and local restaurants offer them the same typical and ubiquitous dishes. We wanted to go further by creating an unpretentious yet rich culinary identity and merging our French roots and Moroccan culinary traditions. Some examples are: ‘beet soup with apples and spices’, ‘fresh goat Aumonières with dates’, ‘fillet of sea bream in foil with orange and anise seeds’, ‘quail stuffed with couscous and onions’, ‘strawberry mousse with fresh coriander’. People appreciate our simple and crafted cuisine made with love and fresh products coming largely from our garden and the orchard.

room detail at domaine de malika

ST: I walked in your garden and I was surprised to see every imaginable fruit: apples, quinces, figs, plums, grapes, oranges, lemons. Is there a fruit you do not grow? What becomes of the harvest?

PG: We are far from having all the fruits and vegetables we’d like but we are fortunate to have a nice variety! Just like in the old times, we prepare our dishes accordingly. We also fill our pastries with them and include them in our jams for breakfast. Our customers enjoy visiting the gardens and see that all this can be found in their dish when they are having dinner.

ST: The surrounding music blends very well into the atmosphere of the house and is present in the restaurant, the garden or the living room. You prefer jazz, I noticed. In fact, I would not have been able to hear more jazz these two days if I attended a jazz festival. I must have heard three different versions of ‘Summertime’ only over dinner. Where did you find the soundtrack and why this choice?

PG: We are first and foremost fans of this music that fortunately fits perfectly with the style of the house and helps create that cozy atmosphere we wanted to wrap our guests in.

reception at domaine de malika

ST: Did you contribute in any way to the local community? I remember you telling me about a Moroccan actress who helped build a bridge across the river for the children to be able to attend school.

PG: This project is for us a memory that will stay with us for a long time. Initially, we were not responsible for the initiative of this great project launched by Nadia , one of our regular guests and friends, but we were fortunate to be able to make a small contribution. Contributing to the well-being of the inhabitants of the valley in which we operate is a true source of satisfaction. By motivating a handful of people around her, she managed to conclude the construction of the bridge, allowing people in general, but in particular little children, to cross the river during rains and avoid several hours of walking, which deprived them too often of attending school.
Our clients often cross this bridge without always knowing the story behind it.

domaine de malika suite

ST: I've known you for almost 5 years, but I noticed that your passion has remained intact. How do you manage? Do you see yourself here in 5 years from now ?

PG: What will our lives become in 5 years from now, Cristian ?! I have trouble answering you this, but what is certain today is that I love this country that has given me so many opportunities. I love the Moroccans who welcomed me with generosity and, above all, I love my job that allows me to share all this with people from around the world.

Domaine de Malika is currently offered on the Privilege level of our Caravans Dust tour and some other bespoke tailor made tours. 

© Sun Trails. All rights reserved. No part of this interview may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

 

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Marrakech, Atlas and the coast (5- 7 days)

headerWith the summer round the corner, you may wonder where is best to spend your summer holidays. If you have set your eyes on Morocco, well, you got plenty good reasons to. While the Sahara desert may be a little too warm this time of year, Morocco offers quite a choice when it comes to sites and activities, even in summer. Unspotted beaches and to-die-for sea food, imperial cities filled with secret palaces and Islamic architecture or the majestic Atlas Mountains home to the unique Berber culture and a trekker’s paradise. You may also want to see our article about Morocco for Families with Children .

[ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE]

And so we have imagined a tour that blends the sensory overload of the imperial city of jemaa el fnaa by night Marrakech with a few days up in the Atlas Mountains and some relaxing time by the Atlantic beach, trying out some to-die-for sea food or simply enjoy the waves and unspotted beaches around Essaouira or Oualidia. Culture, adventure and plenty of relaxation time. Not necessarily in that order – that one is up to you. If you travel as a family, quite a few hotels accept children free of charge ( for all accommodation options please scroll down to the bottom of the page) and some even offer dedicated babysitting, if you want to escape for a tete – a- tete candle- lit dinner outside your hotel. We have adapted to the time of year and chosen guest houses with lots of character outside Marrakech with pool and lush gardens to guarantee the freshness and shade so crucial during those long summer afternoons… Yet close enough to quickly get dropped off inside the domaine de malika atlas mountains - outdoor pool Medina and have a good bite of culture and/ or shopping. Up in the Atlas Mountains you can trek or hike around, get to know the Berbers and the children can get friendly with the local animals. Some places cater especially for them, such as Kasbah Tamadot where they can ride the resident mules, venture off on a Moroccan treasure hunt, participate in nature walks, go on a horse and cart ride or partake in Moroccan tea party, learn how to make delicious local dishes oualidia lagoon and splash around in the indoor or outdoor infinity pools. The Atlantic coast equally offers plenty of possibilities, from surf and kite surf to quad biking, fishing lessons, camel riding or simply swimming. Essaouira, if you want bohemian ambiance, a Medina full of character and camel or quad bike riding in the nearby dunes. Oualidia, if you are looking to get away from the crowds and just swim, relax and soak up the sun as the loudest sound is the lug and suck of the sea muttering as it turns over against the shore.

[Although tempting, we do not recommend including the Sahara desert in your tour of Morocco in July or August. Temperatures may soar over 40 degrees Celsius easily and there is no air conditioning in the tents, no matter how luxurious they may be. This July is also a time when most Moroccans will refrain from eating and drinking until 7- 8 in the evening with the occasion of the month of Ramadan. If you are really set on seeing the desert this time of year, the best compromise is being accommodated in a Kasbah by the dunes where you will have a camel ride inside the dunes very early next morning. Naturally, the Kasbah comes with a pool and air conditioning in the rooms.]

DAYS 1-2: MARRAKECH (if collection in Casablanca, forecast a 2 and a half hour transfer to Marrakech).

maison de la photographie terrace Your English speaking driver- guide will be there to meet you at the airport with a sign and swiftly take you and your luggage to your guesthouse. Once you have settled in and freshened up or gotten some rest, venture out in the afternoon and discover some of the sites the red city holds. Perhaps a good place to start is the Medersa Ben Youssef, a koranic school taking its name from the sultan Ali Ben Youssef, son of the founder of the city and architect of its impressive walls back in 12th century, still standing nowadays. Once through the doors, a symphony of zellij, marble floors and noble cedar wood awaits you. The first floor student rooms overlook the marble tiled patio and pool. Next door, the Almoravid Qoubba, the most ancient structure of the city, a small simple marrakech souk domed structure most likely used for the ablutions by the people praying in the nearby mosque. The nearby Museum of Marrakech is perhaps more interesting for its architecture, plaster honeycombs and intricate mosaic designs than for its collection of Berber rugs and objects, which are probably best found inside the souks. Where you are likely to end up getting pulled in sooner or later by mere fascination if not by shopping crave. And how can one resist ?... Dozens and dozens of hole- in- the- wall or otherwise expansive Ali Baba caves succeed each other, one more glittering than the other.

Further on, Maison de La Photographie showcases a unique collection of photos of Morocco taken between 1870’s and 1950’s, some of them by the French photography pioneers that regularly had to board the ships from Europe with a truckload of equipment. No formal museum ambiance here – second floor accommodates a small projection room where you can sit and watch the first documentary on Berber people and the roof terrace serves fresh orange juices and tagines, if not the best 360 degree- view terrace this side of the souks.

les deux tours suite with pool As lunch time approaches it is wise to return to your guest house, have lunch and snooze by the pool. Just before dusk, make sure to return into the old town to witness the most fascinating site in Marrakech, Jemaa El Fna , a fair best thought of as a mashup between a county fair and freak show… albeit with an authentic Moroccan overlay. The square mostly deserted during the day, suddenly comes alive at sunset with musicians, acrobats, snake charmers, witch doctors and food stalls as if they never left the place. This is the city at its most essential, a place where people from everywhere mingle, perform and people- watch. Among the snake charmers, acrobats, henna tattoos and various showmen/ charlatans, try to identify the story – teller counting century old tales to a crowd of hypnotized children and adults alike, a tradition perpetuated for centuries.

Next day, you may want to wander inside the opulent Saadi Tombs , but not before entering the gardens of 19th century Bahia Palace, an epitome of Islamic art of the era and residence of the grand vizier. Uncovered by chance in 1917, the nearby Saadi Tombs hold the remains of the sultans responsible for the last golden age of the city, the 16th and 17th century. The Carrara marble stands witness to the wealth of the dynasty and so do the nearby ruins of the Badi palace, the most extraordinary building of its time in North Africa.

Late afternoon, you would perhaps care to have a cocktail or coffee on the terrace of the legendary La Mamounia hotel , also home to the most romantic gardens in Marrakech. Dinner can be had back at the guest house, although it would be a shame to not try at least one of the many superb restaurants in the new town, whether you prefer Moroccan or French, Italian or Asian food- our staff is always on hand for suggestions and booking.

DAYS 3-4: ATLAS MOUNTAINS ( IMLIL/ ASNI)

atlas mountains camel Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, your tour of Morocco will take you through lush countryside and Berber villages at the foothills of the Atlas and then up into the mountains. Maybe not as dense as the ones in the Middle Atlas, the forests of the High Atlas provide sufficient shade to make them a heaven for trekking and create their own climate where temperatures rarely exceed 30 Celsius. A mere one hour trip from the city, you will arrive at your guesthouse to leave your luggage and sip a mint tea while taking in the views.

In Imlil, at 1800 meters high, you are blessed with some of the Trekking around Sidi Fers1 best views and trekking routes south of Marrakech. You can choose to tour the mountains by foot up to the local waterfalls past Kasbah Toubkal , a couple of hours walk and stop for a coffee taking in the jaw- dropping view from their roof terrace. Or, if you are more serious about your trekking, we can arrange the services of a local guide which will adapt to your level. Furthermore, you can choose to spend a night in a gite ( cottage), at over 3000 meters altitude and descend the next morning back to the village. Once the night has fallen and you’re having dinner, the only soundtrack is the song of the cicadas.

If you didn’t have enough trekking the previous day, today is the time to catch up. Or you may choose to let your driver- guide take you on a driven tour of the surrounding area, whether it means having tea in a local Berber house, discover the nearby still waters of Ouirgane or Lalla Takerkoust lakes , freshen up under the waterfalls of Sidi Fatma in the Ourika Valley or visit the 12th century mosque of Tinmel . Whatever your choice, make sure your camera is handy and the battery full as the day will be filled with great photo opportunities.


DAYS 5-6: ATLANTIC COAST (ESSAOUIRA/ OUALIDIA)

A 4 hour trip from the Atlas Mountains (3 hour drive) from Marrakech, essaouira view the Atlantic coast is quite popular in the summer with locals on holidays, but you can still manage to find wild beaches if you know where to look for. Essaouira, once Morocco’s main port was most importantly famous for being the exit point of all the gold, feathers, ivory, ostrich and slaves coming from across the Sahara along the caravan routes and exported into Western Europe and United States. Jews, Arabs, Berbers and English were sharing the profitable trade and left behind a very cosmopolitan, yet laid back town with fortified walls and bastions, white washed houses and dozens of art galleries. Centuries of trade, plunder, slavery and empire have left their prints here.

madada mogador The Europeans came back two centuries later albeit not as traders, but as art gallery or Riad owners, seduced by the farniente ambiance and all- year- round sun. No longer a best- kept secret and recently added to the very select UNESCO world site list , Essaouira still feels like you travel in time to, perhaps, Mykonos or Ibiza of the 1970’s. At night, it is as eerie as a tiny Fez and perfumed like a shell of Zanzibar by cinnamon, cats, fish and the ocean. Nearby dunes are ideal setting for riding a camel or a quad bike, while the strong wind attracts an all- year- round crowd of surfers and wind surfers. Although the best spots for swimming are south of it, the beach in Essaouira is worth an evening walk to take in the sunset or have a horse ride. Accommodation can be arranged within a charming Riad or out in the countryside.

If you want to keep away from the crowds, Oualidia is your best bet. oualidia beach On the way to El Jadida, this remote fishing village, built around a wide lagoon midway up Morocco’s Atlantic coast, is a quiet, slightly out-of-time place. For much of the second half of the 20th century, the Moroccan bourgeoisie decamped here in the summer on their weekend holidays, eschewing the urban fug for their modest white-and-blue vacation houses. Today, well-heeled Moroccans come for the clean air, the tranquility and the best oysters in the country, which are served tableside on the terrace at L’Hippocampe or the opulent 12- room Sultana Hotel . The most you can do here, besides leaving the world behind, is wander, stare and beachcomb or take a boat ride around the lagoon.

Accommodation:

Dreamers: MAISON DES OLIVIERS/ JARDINS DE ZYRIAB – DOUAR SAMRA – DAR LIOUBA/ RIAD BAOUSSALA
Privilege : LES DEUX TOURS/ DAR SABRA – DOMAINE DE MALIKA – MADADA MOGADOR
Divine: KSAR CHAR BAGH – KASBAH TAMADOT – LA SULTANA OUALIDIA

Rates: starting from 915 € ( 755 £/ 1265 $) per person for a 7-day tour sharing a double room. 

Rates include: private (sole) use of the English fluent driver- guide & modern air- conditioned Toyota 4x4; boutique hotel accommodation for 6 nights; 6 three- course- meal dinners and 6 breakfasts for 2 persons; airport or hotel pick- up/ drop- off; refreshing drinks inside the vehicle all along the itinerary; admission fees to all local sites and attractions; 24 hour travel assistance; gasoline and highway tolls; transport insurance, VAT and visitors tax.

 

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Picnic in the Atlas

picnic in the atlas moutains

A DAY OUT PICNICKING IN THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS (or how you don't need a grill when having a barbecue)  

 

yep, it's going up ! terrace view kasbah toubkal

Driving: 1 hour and a half each way.

Trekking: 1 hour.

Day dreaming: most of the day.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE:

1. Wake up relatively early errr... 10 AM- ish. Bring your loved one breakfast in bed. While she (he)

the feast is enjoying that, prepare a salad, place it in a plastic bowl and seal it well. Don't forget the vinaigrette - pack that separetely. Other items: forks, knife, tissues, loose aluminium foil, blanket. 

2. Head south of Marrakech and drive past Tahnaoute to stop in Asni, a 40 minutes drive. Smile when passing the police road check. Buy lamb chops at the local butcher and ask him to have them grilled for you next door. 

berber village Pack them in the aluminium foil. Ask the butcher for a pinch of cumin - goes quite well sprinkled over the ribbs. Buy bottled water - Sidi Ali is best and freshly baked bread- it is sold by the road. 

3. At the road fork after Asni, take left and drive past Richard Branson's past kasbah tamadot Kasbah Tamadot to then reach Imlil 30 minutes later. Park the car and head towards Kasbah Toubkal, a 15 minutes walk. Step through the gate at the Kasbah and enjoy the oh- my - God view from the roof terrace. Have mint tea and dates - both with scientifically proven benefits for your glutes.

4. Leave Kasbah Toubkal and follow the water source until reaching the small bridge, 10 minutes later. Follow the path up by the river course. At some point brave your way down to the right until reaching the riverside. 

by the river  Spread out the blanket, place the salad bowl under a rock in the fresh water. Go for a dip in the river, pick some berries or just catch your breath.

5. Take out the ribbs, sprinkle them with cumin. Salad should be cool by
now, just mix in the vinaigrette. Have a hearty lunch and listen to the butterflies.

6. Live happily ever after.

If you don't feel like organizing it yourself let Sun Trails take care of it.

kasbah toubkal view from terrace

  picnic by the river kitens cuddling at kasbah toubkal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Desert and the Lake

camel agafay desert

Our day trip from Marrakech into the nearby desert is ideal for those short on time to get to the Sahara.

Agafay desert, Lalla Takerkoust lake, the Atlas Mountains, Berber villages and hospitality all make up for a great day tour. If you have 3 days or more, you may wish to consider a tour to the Sahara desert

DETAILED ITINERARY

Our day trip out of Marrakech drives us past the airport and before you know it, the route is shaded by lush vegetation, olive and orange orchards past the occasional village. Off the tarmac and onto off road, the scenery is completely different - barren light brown plateaux, a true stone desert. The locals call it Agafay desert:  this might as well be the Sahara as the feeling of solitude and complete isolation is similar. The land seems to stretch out forever as the impression of being completely disconnected from civilization takes shape. For the next couple of hours, we are submerged in this immensity undisturbed by any sign of life. Civilization finds us again under the shape of a few adobe houses, where we can sample a tea with the locals or experience trekking by camel. 

A few hours later, our excursion from Marrakech skirts past swaths of vegetation and not long after, we are back on the tarmac, sidelined by old eucalyptus trees. We arrive on the edge of Lalla Takerkoust lake built as a dam, where Marrakech gets its electricity from. A great spot for lunch or a tea break, with a superb view over the lake and for those looking for a rush of adrenaline, quad biking or jet skiing can be arranged locally. 

After the lake, our itinerary takes us up into the Atlas Mountains. Ruins of Kasbahs once property of the local Pasha border the road. Kik Plateau is 1800 meters high and offers spectacular 360 degrees views and, in the spring, a marvellous spread of alpine flowers. Scattered Berber hamlets greet the view and it feels like you travelled back in time, perhaps to the age of the spaghetti western. The driver can arrange for a visit of a Berber house for you to witness the  day to day life of these mountain people.

On the other side of the plateau, lies the picturesque village of Moulay Brahim with its shrine where women from all over the area come and light candles, praying for the much coveted baraka. By the river, camels and restaurants await their clients either for a Berber tagine or a camel ride. Further on lie the peaceful village of Asni and Kasbah Tamadot, Richard Branson's Morocco's retreat, in the heart of this lush area covered with apple, cherry and plum orchards sending out their harvest into the city. A very important Berber market is held on every Saturday where producers bring fruit, vegetables and livestock to sell. If you are interested in seeing a Berber souk, almost every village has one on a specific day of the week. Lunch at Richard Branson's can also be arranged but it is best accommodated with our Atlas and the Lake day trip, especially when building a serious appetite after some trekking in the High Atlas. 

On our tour back to Marrakech, small villages with their mud- brick adobe houses greet your eye sight, stacked into the hillside or lining the water course shaded by the palm grove. The river gives place to the canyons and gorges and the local Berber granary towers over the landscape, a quiet sentinel guarding the silence of the valley. Past Tahnaoute, the tarmac road follows its course among olive or orange orchards and golf courses to reach Marrakech soon after.

You are free to choose your time of departure. However, in order to make the best out of your day out, we recommend leaving no later than 9 AM. Forecasted return time in Marrakech is 5 PM.

PRICE.............................................................................................. 65 EUROS PER PERSON ( BASED ON 2 PERSONS SHARING THE VEHICLE). DISCOUNTS APPLY FOR 3 OR MORE PERSONS.

The rate includes: private ( sole use) of the modern air conditioned Toyota 4x4 and the English fluent driver- guide, entrance fees to all sites and monuments, refreshing drinks inside the vehicle, pick up and drop off from/ to the hotel/ Riad and transport insurance.

Better still, why not make staying one night in Agafay desert part of a 2- day private 4x4 tour and discover the diverse area just south of Marrakech ? The desert, the High Atlas, the Kik Plateau, the local waterfalls, Lalla Takerkoust lake – so much variety covered in only two days. Perhaps start along the Ourika Valley, hike up into the High Atlas, have lunch with a Berber family. Walk up to and refresh by the local waterfalls, witness how the argan fruit is turned into oil into a local cooperative. Discover the 12th century mosque of Tinmel, have a tea break by the lake, lunch at Richard Branson's High Atlas retreat or trek in the Atlas mountains. And, after all the lushness of the High Atlas, take in a little bit of desert. Arrive in Agafay desert by the afternoon and, after settling in, have the most romantic dinner by candle light under the starriest sky, out in the open. Spend a night inside a private white canvas tent and explore the surroundings next day by foot, camel, horse of mountain bike. In the afternoon get taken back to your riad in Marrakech or the airport. To arrange such a private tour and find out rates and details, send us an enquiry .

 



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Contact Get in touch with us

Sun Trails

14 Avenue Hassan Seghir

Casablanca 20000

Phone : +212 638 636 719/ +212 666 915 384

Skype: sun_trails_morocco

We are open 7 days a week from 9 AM to 5 PM local Morocco time. For any last minute enquiry feel free to call us on the number(s) listed above.

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Boutique tours of Morocco

What better place than Morocco for a private tailor made tour ? It can be a day trip from Marrakech into the Atlas Mountains. Or a 14 day private luxury Morocco tour. And everything in between. With such a different culture and language, a boutique 4x4 Morocco tour with an English speaking local driver- guide guarantees the best holidays in Morocco. Choose one of the many 4x4 tours from Marrakech or another imperial city and you will discover the off the beaten track Morocco. Much more than excursions from Marrakech or Morocco desert tours, our 4x4 custom tours travel all across Morocco, covering Berber villages, majestic Kasbahs, enchanting palm groves or Touareg desert camps. From Ait Benhaddou to Chefchaouen, from Erg Chebbi to Taroudant and from camel rides in the Sahara to hardcore trekking Morocco can only offer. Browse among our 4x4 boutique tours of Morocco and book your favorite today !