Atlas Mountains & Deserts
- 10 Days
- From March 26 to April 04, 2021
- Tour Limit 14
- € 220 SINGLE SUP.
Some key species of this tour
Atlas Long-legged Buzzard, Barbary Falcon, Lanner, Cream-coloured Courser, Crowned Sandgrouse, Spotted Sandgrouse, Bar-tailed Lark, Desert Lark, Thick-billed Lark, Temminck's Lark, Atlas Horned Lark, Hoopoe Lark, Brown-necked Raven, Desert Sparrow, Seebohm's Wheatear, Maghreb Wheatear, White-crowned Wheatear, Red-rumped Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Scrub Warbler, Tristram's Warbler, African Desert Warbler, Trumpeter Finch, African Crimson-winged Finch, Fulvous Babbler, Barbary Partridge, Levaillant's Green Woodpecker, Moussier's Redstart, Laughing Dove, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Common Bulbul, Isabelline Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, House Bunting, Pharaoh Eagle Owl...
The price includes
- Flights Madrid - Marrakech & Marrakech - Madrid with Iberia (you might be allowed to book your own flights but please let us know in advance to be confirmed on our side)
- Ground transport in modern, fully seat-belted, air conditioned 17-seat minibus
- Transfer from Marrakech airport to our hotel on day 1 (if doing with the group)
- Trip in 4x4 vehicles on the Merzouga & Erg Chebbi day
- 9 Nights accommodation in four stars hotels with en suite bathroom
- Half board basis from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 10 (buffets in evenings & breakfast)
- Services of professional birding guide
- Basic travel insurance (we highly recommend to arrange your own travel insurance)
- Bird checklist
- All taxes
Price doesn’t include
- Lunches (we usually stop in local restaurants for lunch, the cost for these meals is around 10-15 € per person / per day)
- Any drinks and other items of a personal nature
A detailed itinerary of this tour
Day 1 / March 26: Madrid (or alternative airport) - Marrakech
Meeting at Madrid airport for our evening flight to Marrakech. Once in the Imperial Town we will be met by our driver who will transfer us to the hotel. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Boutique Dellarosa.
Day 2 / March 27: Marrakech - Tiz-in-Tichka - Ouarzazate
After a hopefully good night sleep and a buffet breakfast we will meet the group at the lobby of the hotel to commence the long journey (with some stops!) to Ouarzazate. Today we are crossing the High Atlas mountains through the Tizi-n-Tichka (the highest mountain pass in Northern Africa with its 2,260 m.a.s.l). Before we will try our luck for Levaillant's Green Woodpecker, African Blue Tit and the africana subspecies of Common Chaffinch. Further ahead we will newly stop to lunch and for some local birding where we might see Moussier's Redstart and Long-legged Buzzard as new birds for us. In the southern section of the Atlas Mountains the vegetation and soils turn into much drier, heading down towards de stony deserts around Ouarzazate where, if time allows, we will do some birding before arriving to the lovely Hotel Dar Chamaa (Ouarzazate).
Day 3 / March 28: Ouarzazate - Al Manssur reservoir - Boumalne Dades
Waking up with the song of the House Bunting is something very special! In the morning we will visit the Al Manssur reservoir where (drought permiting) we should add some new birds to our list. Ruddy Shelduck, Marbled Duck, Black-winged Stilt and Little Ringed Plover are usually possible around while in the surrounding fields we will have good chances for Mahgreb Lark, Little Owl, White-crowned Wheatear, Bue-headed Yellow Wagtail, Spectacled Warbler and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. After a short break in a local cafe we will continue our journey towards Boumalne Dades. We usually dedicate some time before checking in at the hotel looking for Maghreb Wheatear and Lanner Falcon (also chances for Pharaoh Eagle Owl). Before sunset we will arrive to Hotel Ksar Sultan Dades where we will stay the following two nights.
Day 4 / March 29: Boumalne Dades - Tagdilt Track - Dades Gorges
Today we will start early heading to the well known Tagdilt Track before sunrise. This is with no doubt one of the top areas for birding in Morocco. Excellent chances for seeing Red-rumped Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Trumpeter Finch, Hoopoe Lark, Temminck's Lark, Cream-coloured Courser and Thick-billed Lark, which is usually quite nomadic being one of the main targets here. If the heat allows, we will dedicate most of our day exploring this area, with an afternoon trip to visit the Dades gorges where Bonelli's Eagle, Barbary Partridge and Tristram’s Warbler breed. Dinner and accommodation once again at the atmospheric Hotel Ksar Sultan Dades.
Day 5 / March 30: Boumalne - Tohdra Gorge - Er Rachidia - Ziz Valley - Erfoud
After a quick morning visit to the dramatic Todhra Gorges (Bonelli's Eagle, Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush and House Bunting amongst others) we will take our lunch in our usual restaurant in Tinejdad. The birding in its grounds is sometimes very rewarding with chances for migrants such as Bereber Warbler, Common Redstart and Wryneck... a good spot to see our first Blue-cheecked Bee-eater of the trip. After lunch we will drive towards the town of Er Rachidia in order to try for Scrub Warblers, Cream-coloured Courser and Bar-tailed Desert Lark. The journey will then cross the fertile valley of the Ziz river and its wonderful Date Palm oasis. We will arrive Erfoud late in the evening to sort out rooms and a well deserved dinner. Accommodation at Hotel Chergui in Erfoud.
Day 6 / March 31: Erfoud - Erg Chebbi dunes (4x4 excursion)
Today we will dedicate the whole day exploring the sandy dunes and the nearby stony deserts of Erg Chebbi dunes in several 4x4 vehicles by the hand of the expert local knowledge of Hamid, who will show us some of the most sought-after birds of this part of the world. Egyptian Nightjar, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Brown-necked Raven, Hoopoe Lark, Desert Sparrow, African Desert Warbler, Crowned and Spotted Sandgrouse and a selection of migrant passerines will be all possible. In addition, we might visit the Dajet Srj, better knwon as the Merzouga lake, where we could see Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, Marbled Duck… this later visit will depend on how much water the lake will have since it is usually dry after periods with no rain. By the end of the day we will be transferred back to our hotel in Erfoud. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Chergui in Erfoud.
Day 7 / April 1: Erfoud - Alnif - Agdz - Ouarzazate
The plan for this morning will highly depend on how well we did the previous day in the desert. So we might again try for some of the birds we missed... if any! So likely birding around Rissani where we might see Laughing Dove, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Fulvuous Babbler, Lanner Falcon, White-crowned Wheatear... then a long journey back to Ouarzazate with some stops in or near Alnif and then Agdz. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Dar Chamaa (Ouarzazate).
Day 8 / April 2: Ouarzazate - Aïd Benhaddou - L'Ourika Valley
If there is a famous Ksar (walled town in bereber) in Morocco this is Aït Ben Haddou. Our travelers would not forgive us not stopping to admire this wonder declared part of UNESCO World Heritage. Travelers will have some free time to visit on their own its narrow streets and wonderful adobe buildings or perhaps, will dedicate to do some shopping in their multiple souvenirs shops. After the time in the ksar (usually 1,5 hours visit) we will start our journey back to cross again the Atlas Mountains newly through the Tiz-n-Tichka pass. After our usual lunch in the restaurant Tichka we will start our journey down to turn into the wonderful L'Ourika valley, still in the foothills of the Atlas. We might dedicate time before dinner to bird in the grounds of our hotel where we might find Tristram’s Warbler, Moussier’s Redstart and Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Kasbah Aurocher (L'Ourika Valley).
Day 9 / April 3: L'Ourika Valley - Oukaimeden - riparian forests of Ourika river
We will dedicate our last full day in Morocco mainly to bird in the Atlas Mountains, and more precisely in the well-known Oukaimeden ski resort. This is the most reliable site in the country to see the hard-to-find African Crimson-winged Finch!. There are some other attractive species for us such as the rare Seebohm's Wheatear, Barbary Partridge, Horned Lark, Alpine and Red-billed Choughs plus a few Rock Sparrows... which is maybe the most ubiquitous species in Oukaimeden. Beautiful Moussier's Redstart and Misttle Thrush also breed here up in the mountains, while the extremely rare Lammergeier has been sometimes seen patrolling the nearby valleys. Said this, the birding here is just outstanding! After a lovely lunch down in L'Ourika we will dedicate the afternoon to visit the lower parts of the mountains looking for migrants in the riparian vegetation of the rivers traveling back to our hotel in order to finish our packing and enjoying our last dinner in this amazing country. Accommodation at Hotel Kasbah Aurocher.
Day 10 / April 4: L'Ourika Valley - Marrakech - Madrid
After an early breakfast at our hotel we will transfer to Marrakech (around 1 hour journey by road) having free time in the city for some sightseeing and then travel to the airport to catch our flight back to Madrid or any other alternative destination.
This itinerary might change according weather conditions or at discretion of our guide