3 Days Tour From Marrakech To Merzouga: Marrakech is the most significant of Morocco’s four Royal Cities, and it has been a favorite playground for the rich and famous for nearly a century. Well-known celebrities maintain sumptuous villas here, nestled in the foothills of the great Atlas chain of mountains. The sea, the snow, the desert — all are within easy reach. Madonna, Gerard Depardieu, Kate Moss, and Sir Richard Branson all own residences near Marrakech. Sarah Jessica Parker, José Carreras, Selma Hayek, Elton John, Juliette Binoche, Adrien Brody, Jennifer Aniston, Orlando Bloom, and Paloma Picasso are all frequent visitors to Marrakech and speak effusively of its charm.
Many of this glittering crowd were on hand for the re-opening of Marrakech’s historically important hotel de luxe, La Mamounia. If you have never been treated like royalty and crave that experience (if only for a day or two!) then you should definitely include a stay at La Mamounia when you visit Morocco. It is not expensive. A couple can stay at La Mamounia for something around $250 a night per person, which is today the cost of a mid-range hotel in Manhattan.
While you are in Marrakech, do not fail to visit the famous square in the heart of the medina called Djemaa El-Ena, perhaps the single top tourist attraction in Morocco. The buildings you see lining the central plaza were probably put up a thousand years ago. These acres of land have been continuously teeming with people ever since.
During sunlit hours, the plaza is filled with juice vendors in stalls, mobile water vendors who pour water from leather bags, and troupes of street performers – snake charmers who try to induce tourists to pose with them for a fee and musicians with Barbary macaques, much like organ grinder monkeys, and birds. In the late afternoon snake oil salesmen, street magicians, and poets succeed these. As dark descends, Djemaa El-Ena fills with portable food stalls and red hot charcoal braziers, and this is when the residents of Marrakech are themselves most likely to take in their famous square to enjoy the Moroccan equivalent of outdoor fast food.
For a country of its size, Morocco encompasses many extremes of microclimate and environment. From the heights of the Atlas, where it is as cold and as snowy as on Rocky Mountain peaks, you can also explore on the same day the gigantic burning sand dunes of the Erg Chebbi in the Sahara. These awesome features of the landscape, waves frozen in the sand but shaped by the wind much as the waves of the ocean shaped, are 150 feet tall and made of a thin, pulverized, orange red sand that is the hallmark of the Sahara.
Visits to the Erg Chebbi are typically organized from a little village in southeastern Morocco, about 30 miles from the Algerian border, called Merzouga, a town with the typical blue paint on homes one sees so often in Morocco, the country of sapphire blue. Long thought very dry, in recent years geologists have discovered a huge underground aquifer of fresh water. It will supply water to Merzouga for hundreds of years.