Draa Valley Travel Guide

For there literally is something beautiful on the horizon around every Moroccan twist, bend and corner!

Draa Valley Travel Guide

4:02pm, 13th March 2018

The Great South

Nothing North of the Atlas prepares you for ‘Le Grand Sud’. The Great South, a vast expanse of desert and mountains, there is hardly a road in this region that cannot be described as spectacular. It is a filmmakers dream, with wide valleys studded with palm packed oases, red mud castles, appearing to emerge directly out of the earth‘s crust, and jagged mountains stretching across every vista.

Travelling southeast from Marrakech over the Atlas Mountains toward the palm oasis town of Ouarzazate, on the main route between the mountains to the north and the Sahara to the south, is to travel through a gateway into a mild adventure. To the discovery of another Morocco, one of peace, charm and simplicity with immense landscapes and desert-scapes.

The Atlas, River Deep, Mountain High

Life in the south centres around the three great ‘wadis’ (riverbeds) The Draa, The Dades and The Ziz. These rivers have created stunning landscapes, carving majestic and dramatic gorges and canyons out of the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas mountains and support the beautiful and towering date palm groves and ancient agricultural communities, established around the many Kasbahs.

These ochre red-walled villages are still inhabited today, although many are slowly crumbling, an ageing process that appears only to enhance their mystical quality.

Date Palm Oases

The great palm groves between the towns of Agdz to Zagora stretching out as far as the eye can see down the valley are broken only by high thick red earth walls that shelter small green plots with wheat and fruit trees bearing figs pomegranates and apricots, accounting for the regions wealth.

Biblical Berber Villages

This is a Morocco where hundreds of ancient Kasbahs and fortified villages punctuate the palm groves and a landscape consisting of Berber villages, mountaintop cafes with panoramic views and where brightly coloured patterned carpets and blankets washed in the river, dry in the sun on terraced hillsides and alongside river beds.

The Erg Lihoudi & Erg Chigaga Dune Sets

Into The Lihoudi Dunes And Chigaga Dunes.

Importantly, The Draa valley comprises two of the great entrance routes into the Sahara. Heading south from Ouarzazate, takes you to the town of Zagora and beyond to the Lihoudi dunes. Heading due South from Zagora, takes you to the town of M’hamid, the last small oasis village, prior to entering the Sahara and to the Chigaga dunes.

The River Valleys of the Southern region embrace and support in their own unique way, spectacular and dramatic landscapes prior to arriving at the Sahara. As you journey it will certainly not enter your mind to raise the question “Are we there yet”?

For there literally is something beautiful on the horizon around every Moroccan twist, bend and corner!

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