Awesome Tangier to Merzouga (2024)

Traveling from Tangier to Merzouga is an extraordinary journey that spans the length of Morocco, offering a deep dive into the country’s rich tapestry of cultures, landscapes, and history. This adventure will take you from the bustling streets of Tangier, through the rolling hills and cities of the interior, over the majestic Atlas Mountains, and finally into the heart of the Sahara Desert at Merzouga. Viajando en Marruecos aims to provide you with a detailed overview of what to expect on this journey, including highlights and tips for your experience.

Tangier to Merzouga

Begin your journey from Tangier to Merzouga in the city which sits at the crossroads of Africa and Europe, boasting a unique blend of cultures. Before you depart, take some time to explore the Kasbah, the Medina, and perhaps enjoy a final view of the Strait of Gibraltar from Cap Spartel. Set off towards Chefchaouen, the Blue Pearl of Morocco, nestled in the Rif Mountains. The drive takes approximately 2 to 3 hours but is filled with scenic views of the lush landscape.

Arrive in Chefchaouen and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the blue-washed buildings. Wander through the narrow streets of the medina, visit the Kasbah Museum in the main square, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this charming town. Stay overnight in Chefchaouen. This gives you the chance to capture the town as it transforms under the evening lights, providing a magical backdrop for dining at one of the local restaurants. Depart Chefchaouen and head towards Fes, the cultural and spiritual heart of Morocco.

The journey takes around 3.5 to 4 hours, passing through diverse landscapes. Midway from Tangier to Merzouga, upon arrival in Fes, explore the ancient medina, Fes El Bali, one of the world’s largest urban pedestrian zones and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the Bou Inania Madrasa, the Tanneries, and the bustling souks. Spend the night in Fes. Take the opportunity to savor traditional Moroccan cuisine at a local riad, where you can also experience genuine Moroccan hospitality.

The journey continues southward from Fes to Midelt, a town situated in the high plains between the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountain ranges. This leg of the trip introduces you to the Middle Atlas, with stops possible at Ifrane, known as the Switzerland of Morocco, and the cedar forests near Azrou where Barbary macaques live. Arrive in Midelt, which serves as a commercial center for a large agricultural hinterland. It’s also known for its minerals and rocks. The town offers a quiet respite before the journey continues into more arid landscapes.

Overnight in Midelt. This provides a break from the long drive from Tangier to Merzouga, and a chance to prepare for the desert ahead. Travel from Midelt towards Merzouga. This segment of the journey unveils the dramatic shift from the Atlas Mountains to the gateway of the Sahara Desert. The Ziz Valley and the town of Errachidia offer breathtaking views of palm groves and ancient kasbahs. Upon reaching Merzouga, prepare for an unforgettable experience in the Erg Chebbi dunes.

These dunes are among the highest in Morocco and offer an iconic Sahara Desert landscape. A camel trek into the desert is a quintessential part of the Merzouga experience. Time your arrival for a late afternoon departure, allowing you to witness the sunset from atop the dunes. The tranquility and vastness of the desert provide a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Tangier. Spend the night in a desert camp under the stars, and enjoy a traditional Berber meal, with music and perhaps even some storytelling.

The journey from Tangier to Merzouga offers a deep dive into the cultural heritage of Morocco’s nomadic people, but also covers various climates and elevations. Pack accordingly, with layers for the mountains and desert. The desert leg of the trip, in particular, can be dehydrating. Ensure you have ample water for the journey. Morocco is a country with deep-rooted traditions. Dress modestly, especially in rural and conservative areas, and be respectful of local customs.

Consider hiring a guide from Viajando en Marruecos for parts of your trip from Tangier to Merzouga, to gain deeper insights into the history and culture. Finally, this journey from Tangier to Merzouga is more than a simple trip from point A to B, but an exploration of the soul of Morocco. From the verdant hills and unique culture of the north to the timeless sands of the Sahara, each leg of the journey offers new sights, sounds, and experiences, making it an unforgettable adventure through the heart of Morocco.

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