Tour 2: Birding trip to the Atlas Mountains & Sahara Deserts
(8 days / 7 nights)
Tour dates 2021-2022:
Any dates from September till April, please let us know your arrival and departure dates!
Tour Cost: The price is depends on number of participants on the tour, for the price please contact us!
Group Size: Max 7 people, if you are a tour company or big group please let us know!
Tour starting/ending: Marrakech airport, Morocco
* Comfortable transport.
* 7 Nights hotel accommodation en-suite rooms and Half-board
* Guiding services and general assistance where and when required.
* Day trip in 4×4 vehicle in the sahara deserts ( the day 5)
* International airfare
* Lunches & drinks
* Travel insurance
* Item of a personal nature and tips
Target Birds on this trip: Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Marbled Duck, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Barbary Falcon, Lanner Falcon, Cream-coloured Courser, Spotted Sandgrouse, Crowned Sandgrouse, Laughing Dove, Egyptian Nightjar at daytime, Little Swift, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker, Desert Lark, Bar-tailed Lark, Thick-billed Lark, Hoopoe Lark, Desert Wheatear, Desert Sparrow, Red-rumped Wheatear, Maghreb Wheatear, White-crowned Wheatear, Scrub Warbler, Tristram’s Warbler, African Desert Warbler, Saharan Olivaceous Warbler, Common Bulbul, Fulvous Babbler, Alpine Chough, Brown-necked Raven, Alpine Accentor, Trumpeter Finch, Crimson-winged Finch, House Bunting, Temminck’s Lark, Atlas Horned Lark, Moussier’s redstart,…etc!
Fantastic 8 days birdwatching tour to Morocco. From the spectacular Atlas mountains to the barren Sahara Desert, but this Trip goes further than a simple birdwatching tour, the culture and history of the region will amaze you, and the landscape will take your breath away. We will be covering most of the southern part of the country, including all the most amazing and incredible birdwatching places: the Atlas Mountains, the dunes and oases of the Sahara Desert. All these places are of great importance to millions of birds during the spectacle of spring migration from Africa to Europe. Morocco has bird specialities and near-endemics found only in the southern part of the Western Palearctic, and this country provides amazing opportunities for birding that seem to have been put together for this purpose alone. The variety of habitats visited during this tour includes oases, stony deserts (hammada), dunes, lakes, rivers, estuaries and high mountains, where we will drive up to around 2,600 metres.
Day 1: Marrakech Airport – High Atlas Mountains – Oukaimeden
Meet and welcome you at Marrakech airport or hotel in Marrakech, we will drive up into the High Atlas Mountains and visit Oukaimeden (2600m). As we drive along the cultivated fields, we should find a good mix of resident species such as Southern Grey Shrike, Little Owl, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, Moroccan Magpie, Moussier’s Redstart and House Bunting. Slightly higher up, among the rocky slopes, we will search for Blue Rock Thrush and the endemic Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker. When we reach the ski resort at Oukaimeden, we will check the snowline for the handsome Crimson-winged Finch. Other species here include Rock Sparrow, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough, Black Wheatear and Atlas Horned Lark.
Dinner and accommodation at the Atlas Mountains.
Day 2: High Atlas Mountains – Ouarzazate – Boumalne du Dades
After an early breakfast we leave the mountains behind, perhaps pausing again en route for Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker. From the flat plains of Marrakech we turn back uphill, and drive to Boumalne du Dades via the Tizi-n-Tichka pass (2260 meters), a spectacular and long drive. On the Pass we’ll try for yet another endemic “Tristram’s Warbler”. This species has very specific habitat requirements away from its wintering grounds and not always easy to find. As the road climbs into the hills, we may start to see some raptors such as Long-legged Buzzard and Bonelli’s Eagle both possible. Before reaching Boumalne du Dades we’ll stop in Amerzgane to look for the rare Wheatear “Maghreb Wheatear”.
Dinner and accommodation in Boumalne du Dades.
Day 3 : Full day birding Tagdilt Track and around
Today we will start early, to head to the Tagdilt Track. This is without doubt one of the top areas for birding in the Southern of Morocco. Excellent chances exist for seeing Red-rumped Wheatear, Thekla Lark, Trumpeter Finch, Hoopoe Lark, Temminck’s Lark, Short-toed Lark, Cream-coloured Courser and the highly nomadic Thick-billed Lark. If the heat allows, we will dedicate most of our day to exploring this area, then we visit a rocky canyon searching for Maghreb Wheatear, Desert Lark and our first chance of “GAYUIN” Pharaoh Eagle Owl where the people live in caves here with flocks of sheep and goats.
Dinner and accommodation in Boumalne du Dades.
Day 4 : Boumalne du Dades – Todra Gorge – Goulmima – Merzouga
First we visit a Todra gorge for Tristram’s Warbler, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock-thrush, Rock Dove, Crag Martin and possible Bonelli’s Eagle! Next we travel eastwards and stop at a scrubby wadi to seek out the elusive Scrub Warblers, maybe also rewarded with Thick-billed Lark and Trumpeter Finch. Finally after another exciting stop we arrive at our Desert Hotel for two nights.
Dinner and accommodation in Merzouga.
Day 5 : Merzouga – Erg Chebbi Dunes – Rissani
Today we will dedicate the whole day to exploring the sandy dunes and the nearby stony desert of Erg Chebbi – the largest dune system in Morocco. Brown-necked Raven, Hoopoe Lark, Desert Sparrow, African Desert Warbler, Desert Lark, Bar-tailed Lark, Fulvous Babbler, Spotted Sandgrouse, Crowned Sandgrouse, Barbary and Lanner Falcon, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Saharan Olivaceous Warbler and different migrant passerines are all possible. In addition, If rains have been plentiful a seasonal lake near Merzouga can be very interesting, with ducks, waders and their attendant raptors. Good chances also exist for Egyptian Nightjar at daylight (March – September).
Dinner and accommodation in Merzouga.
Day 6 : Merzouga – Tazzarine – Draa Valley – Anti Atlas Mountains – Ouarzazate
Transfer day from Merzouga to Ouarzazate. Drive through the Anti-Atlas Mountains, a series of rocky hills, cliffs and deep gorges of volcanic formations. Roadside birding could produce plenty of White-crowned Wheatear and Southern Grey Shrike. Before reaching our hotel in Ouarzazate we’ll stop to explore the Barrage at Mansour Eddahbi. Here we have the chance of seeing Marbled Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Black winged Stilts and Maghreb Lark, as well as Cormorants and Herons and a selection of waders.
Dinner and accommodation in Ouarzazate.
Day 7: Ouarzazate – High Atlas Mountains – Marrakech
A long journey back from Ouarzazate to Marrakech. We will drive through the High Atlas Mountains, stopping at the scenic and impressive Tizi `n’ Tichka Pass (2260 Meters) to admire its fabulous geological rock formations, We will do some birding stops in the road. Late in the afternoon we arrive to Marrakech. Free evening to visit the old quarter of Marrakech and the impressive Jema-el-fna square which is an unbelievable experience for any visitor – musicians, water sellers and spice stalls plus the charm of bargaining in the Souk (OPTIONAL).
Dinner and accommodation in Marrakech.
Day 8: Marrakech – Airport
If time allows some more birding in the Marrakech area, then transfer to the airport where the trip ends.
NOTE: This is a flexible itinerary which may be adjusted to allow for changes in arrival and departure times, weather conditions and other related factors.
Accommodation: We stay in a selection of comfortable hotel, all rooms are en-suite.
Food: All hotels provide a simple breakfast typical of Morocco, consisting of fresh bread, butter, honey and jam. Fruit juice and tea or coffee is also available. For lunch we will have picnic lunches when out in the field. Evening meals will be a mixture of local and international dishes.
Walking: The tour is not strenuous. Leisurely walking, very occasionally over moderately rough terrain, is the only physical requirement on most days. Most birding is done close to our vehicle, though we will need to walk to see mountain species, and some exertion will be required in mountain environments. There will be the option to stay close to the vehicle, should anyone wish to go back.
Weather: Typical temperatures. Changeable and sometimes cold, windy or wet weather is very possible on the Atlantic and the Atlas Mountains, so bring a warm jacket, gloves, warm layers and adequate rainwear.
Group size: Max 7 people, if you are a tour company or big group please contact us!
YOUR LOCAL EXPERT BIRD GUIDE:
Hamid Mezane (brother of Brahim): 32 Years, was born in the sahara desert of Morocco, having a Berber father and mother. He is an enthusiastic birder and expert guide in the deserts. Hamid is been working for us since 2014 and he is been a hugely successful leader in many of our Atlas mountains & Sahara birding tours and also desert day trips in Erg Chebbi dunes, Merzouga and Rissani areas, Hamid speaks French, Arabic, Berber and some english and spanish.