Visit the Sahara Desert and Traverse the M’Goun Valley

Moroccan Tours: trek through beautiful Moroccan valleys into the Sahara Desert (June to September).

Travel through Ait Bougmez, the Valley of ‘the people of the man who scratches’ all the way to the Sahara Desert.

 

The name Ait Bougmez is derived from the legend of its first inhabitant, who apparently suffered from an unfortunate condition which he did not want to inflict on others, so he came to the valley to live alone. Ait Bougmez literally translates as ‘the people of the man who scratches’.

French trekkers have nicknamed Ait Bougmez ‘la Valleé Heureuse’: the Happy Valley. It is a great name for this place and this tour is a very beautiful one. The trek will take you through some of the most picturesque villages in all of Morocco and introduce you to its most sensational scenery.

We can offer you an adventure through one of Morocco’s most wild and remote corners with passage through a series of gorges, that include the renowned Achabou Gorge, one of the country ‘s most famous and dramatic.

This trek is available from June to September.

Day 1: Marrakech / Ait Bougmez

This is the first day of your trekking adventure. After breakfast we’ll travel to the Ait Bougmez Valley to visit the stunning Ouzoud Falls (165 km from Marrakech) before making our way to the Happy Valley.

When we get there we’ll set up at the guest house in Ait Bougmez and begin preparations for our trek.

Day 2 : Bougmez souk El Had / Tizi n Ait Imi / Tighremt n Ait Ahmed

After breakfast we start to trek to Tizi n Ait Imi at 2905 metres above sea level (ASL). On the first day, any ascent of over 1000 meters from Tabant is considered even by locals to be a stiff walk.

Our second challenge will be wading through the Assif M’Goun, which is often thigh-deep in the summer.

When we get to the Pass, we’ll descend to Tighremt n Ait Ahmed on the bank of Assif M’Goun.

This can be a hard day and it will be 5 – 6 hours of trekking to get to the campsite.

Day 3: Tighremt n Ait Ahmed / Imi Nirkt

After our breakfast we’ll follow the M’Goun Valley down to a very pleasant and easy stage along the north bank of the upper M’Goun valley. We will trek through a series of beautiful, remote Berber villages so you may wish to build in additional time to respond to inevitable friendly invitations and to pause for glasses of the local mint tea.

Although a recommended route is provided here, please do bear in mind that a number of variants of this trek are possible within the valley. They range from a trail along the riverbed itself to tracks that climb high above the village.

A long the valley we’ll pass through many villages: El Mrabitine, Ait Issa, Tagherft, Ai Tghoudda Ifqirene (meaning ‘old men’), Waouchki, Igherm Izdern and Tisili before reaching Imi Nirkt at 2026 metres above sea level (ASL).

After trekking for 4-5 hours, we will spend the night in this beautiful valley.

Day 4 : Imi Nirkt / M’Goun Gorge / Aguerzaka

In the morning we’ll begin our adventure again. Todays stage involves one of the most spectacular gorge walks in all of Morocco. We will be including the very narrowest section called Achaabou.

Much of the day will involve crossing and re-crossing the Assif M’Goun as you follow its course downwards to the south east.

The trail will continue to switch back and forth across the river until 2 hours from Imi Nirkt we will find ourselves at the entrance to the gorge and the most spectacular section of the entire M’Goun valley.

We will trek through many villages, including Tarzout Tiranimine, Timzerit and Aguuerzaka at 1740 metres.

Our day it’s for 6 to 7 hours of trekking.

Day 5 : Aguerzaka / Igherm Aqdim / Bou Taghrar

After breakfast we’ll follow the course of the river. At this stage, the valley will be wider, but it will still be enclosed by high rock faces.

We will leave Aguerzaka by following the main path through the village towards the south west. Eventually, we will reach a few isolated azibs at Imi n Ouagga.

We will continue trekking down through many villages build in the traditional Berber fashion until we get to Bou Taghrar at 1600 metres ASL.

Today’s duration will 5 to 6 hours hiking before a night in the guest house.

Day 6: Bou Taghrar / Dades Gorge / Todra Gorge / Merzouga

The next morning we continue along the Dades Valley, visiting Dades Gorge, Todra, Todra Gorge and many other interesting sites.

We’ll trek to Merzouga and at Merzouga we’ll explore the village and meet our camels who will take us to the dunes for 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach our desert camp at Erg Chebbi. Each person will have their own camel.

The camel trek is usually just prior to sunset, so you can enjoy the sun setting over the landscape from the top of the dunes. Once we arrive at the desert camp, we are greeted with a cup of delicious hot mint tea and we spend the evening under the stars, on the dunes with the warmth of the fireside. We’ll enjoy a locally cooked meal of tagine or couscous (vegetarians are catered for with vegetable tagine), a drum party and story swapping. The camp has toilet facilities.

Those that wish to can sleep directly under the stars, but bivouacs are available for everyone. It is a great opportunity to see the stars in the desert as there is no light pollution.

Day 7 : Erg Chebbi / Merzouga / Marrakech

The desrt sunrise is beautiful, so today we will be up early to catch it. We’ll then start a 1 hour and 30 minute trek (on our camels) back to Merzouga.

When we reach Merzouga, we can have breakfast and we’ll get the opportunity to shower before we begin our journey over the stony desert and through the Atlas Mountains. There will be plenty of stops for photos and exploring before we stop for lunch.

After lunch, we will return to Marrakech. The usual arrival time in Marrakech is between 17:00 and 18:00.
Day 8 : Marrakech
The last full day of your trekking adventure. You can do as you please in the city of Marrakech.

Day 9 : Marrakech

Transfer to airport.

The prices are as follows :

From 2 people to 4 people 770 Euros p/p
From 5 people to 15 people 740Euros p/p

Questions? Get in touch with Toubkal Adventures

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