AGAFAY DESERT & HIGH ATLAS EXPERIENCE
Based for 2 nights at Nkhila Lodge in the Agafay Desert and 2 nights at Dar Assarou in the High Atlas at Imlil, this unique short break combines escapism in a desert wilderness with Berber village life and walks in Toubkal National Park.
Transfers, all meals, accommodation and three activities are included in this great value package.
Nkhila Lodge is set in a remarkable wilderness location with a backdrop of the Atlas mountains, and with a choice of activities available. In the High Atlas mountains, at Imlil, Dar Assarou enjoys a wonderful location in the centre of the Imlil Valley. A homely Berber retreat, it offers exceptional views of the entire valley from its roof terrace with Mount Toubkal in the distance. There is also a seasonal rooftop plunge pool and apple orchards surrounding the guesthouse. This 4 night short break combines both properties, creating a unique experience for guests. At Nkhila you'll stay in a tented ‘stargazing’ room built on stilts, on the top of a white dune. At Dar Assarou you'll sleep in a superior room with private balcony and High Atlas mountain views.
Day 1 – To Nkhila Lodge in the Agafay Desert
From Marrakech medina it takes just under an hour to reach the Agafay Desert and Nkhila Camp (45 minutes from Marrakech Menara airport). As we leave the bright lights of the city behind and enter the rural province of Al Haouz, the landscape changes from olives groves to the rolling barren hills of the Agafay Desert. Eventually we leave the asphalt behind and follow desert tracks to reach Douar Nkhila village on the eastern edge of Agafay. Our final approach is spectacular: we twist around arid hillsides until reaching Nkhila Lodge, perched on stilts, with the High Atlas mountains looming in the distance. On arrival at camp we will be greeted with a refreshing glass of mint tea and briefed by our host. Depending on your arrival hour there may be time for a short desert orientation walk. Alternatively, relax and soak up the views. Dinner tonight will be served in your choice of location – either in the privacy of your tent, on the balcony, in the dining tent, or under an outside canopy-covered dining spot. Depending on when you stay, the lodge may be illuminated at night by the moon or experience an amazing dark sky full of stars. Try out one of Nkhila’s telescopes and enjoy some stargazing. Lunch and dinner is included today.
Day 2 – Included activity: Morning desert walk or camel ride
This morning you can choose your included activity – a desert walk or camel ride! At Nkhila one of the most popular walks is along the river canyon below camp to Nkhila village. On this scenic walk we descend from camp to the dry riverbed to the west, then walk along the riverbed passing beneath sandstone rock walls to reach an oasis of palm trees and Nkhila village. We return to the lodge following the 4x4 track in time for lunch. In the afternoon there is the option to join a desert cooking workshop. Moroccan cuisine is exciting, appealing to look at, delicately spiced with subtle blends of flavours, full of fresh ingredients and delicious to eat. At Nkhila Lodge you can learn to cook some traditional Moroccan dishes under the guidance of the professional local chef. If cooking’s not your thing, you could visit the local Berber market in the nearest local town of Tamesloht (Friday is market day) or just relax in the comfort of your tent, read a book and enjoy the view! Lunch and dinner is included today.
Day 3 – To Dar Assarou in Toubkal National Park via Kik Plateau
This morning, if you are feeling active, there is an option to join a quad-bike adventure and ride desert tracks over rolling hills and along river valleys close to Nkhila. Alternatively, choose to ride around the shores of Lake Takerkoust on an optional quad bike adventure en route to Dar Assarou. It is also possible to ride a quad from Nkhila to Lake Takerkoust, then continue by 4x4 to Dar Assarou. From Lake Takerkoust, in the foothills of the Atlas mountains, head up to the Kik Plateau for amazing panoramic views of the Agafay Desert and beyond. Try and spot Nkhila Lodge on the east side of the desert! Next, cross the Kik Plateau passing fields and farms with a backdrop of High Atlas peaks. We descend the Plateau and drive into the Mizane Valley to reach Imlil in Toubkal National Park. Lunch and dinner is included today.
Day 4 – Included activity: Imlil Valley walk
This morning take a short guided circular walk to explore the Imlil Valley and the dramatically located Berber village of Aremd (1,967m). This 3 hour guided walk offers many scenic contrasts as we complete a circuit following ancient footpaths on both sides of the Imlil Valley. From Dar Assarou (1,761m) we walk down to the river and cross the bridge that leads into the main street of Imlil village. We then follow a trail above the valley until joining the road that leads to Aremd village. Next we follow the road and eventually descend to the wide floodplain and riverbed to the south of Aremd. After crossing the bridge we hike up into the village and take a break for mint tea in a local Berber house. We continue through the village and follow a dirt road back to Imlil on the opposite side of the Imlil Valley, passing cherry orchards and a waterfall. The views of the valley and surrounding Atlas peaks are wonderful as we slowly descend to arrive back at Dar Assarou. The afternoon is free to explore Imlil and enjoy the views. Lunch and dinner is included today.
Day 5 – Transfer back to Marrakech. The experience is over!
Your transfer today can return you to your choice of accommodation in Marrakech, to our Moroccan Hideaway, Riad Africa, or directly to Marrakech airport.
HOLIDAY PRICE PER PERSON
SHARING A DOUBLE OR TWIN ROOM/TENT
Private transfers by 4x4 vehicle from Marrkech to Agafay and then to the High Atlas and back to Marrakech; three activities as detailed in itinerary with English-speaking guide; accommodation in a double or twin Dar Assarou superior room & Nkhila Lodge stargazing tent; four breakfasts, four lunches, four dinners; local tourist taxes; use of binoculars, telescope and Planisphere.
Tips, beverages, optional activities and items of a personal nature.
Standard: 05 January to 28 February, 01 June to 30 September, 21 November to 20 December.
High: 01 March to 31 May, 01 October to 20 November, 21 December to 04 January.
It is possible to book this package at any time of the year subject to availability.
Bring walking shoes if planning to walk some of the many excellent trails around Nkhila Lodge and Imlil. We also recommend a camera, sun hat and sunglasses.