Tour 3: Birding tour to the Atlas Mountains & Atlantic Coast
(8 days / 7 nights)
Tour Dates 2022:
01 – 08 November 2022 (Spaces Available)
10 – 17 November 2022 (Spaces Available)
18 – 25 November 2022 (Spaces Available)
NOTE: If you have a specific date 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 contact us!
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.
* International airfare
* Lunches & drinks
* Travel insurance
* Item of a personal nature and tips
Target Birds on this trip: Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Northern Bald Ibis, Marbled duck, Black crowned Tchagra, Long-legged Buzzard, Little Swift, Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker, African blue Tit, Moussier’s Redstar, Desert Lark, Thick-billed Lark, Hopooe Lark, Trumpeter Finch, Alpine Chough, Desert Wheatear, Red-rumped Wheatear, Maghreb Wheatear, White-crowned Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Tristram’s Warbler, House Bunting, Temminck’s Lark, Atlas Horned Lark, Moussier’s redstart, Audouin’s Gulls,…etc!
This tour takes place in the triangle formed by three western Moroccan cities; Marrakech in the north of the Atlas mountains, Agadir in the west and Boumalne du dades in the south. Agadir lies on the Atlantic coast, far enough south to enjoy a reasonably warm winter climate. There are excellent areas, rich in bird life, holding large numbers of wintering European birds as well as an interesting resident population that includes several Moroccan specialties. Agadir lies in the westernmost part of the Atlas mountains where this huge range submerges into the Atlantic ocean. Around the city there are many different habitats; sandy and rocky seashores, scrubby estuaries, humanised valleys, solitary hidden mountains valleys, and rocky semi-desert. During the tour we will explore the best habitats for a combination of desert, mountain and coastal birds, including the best Bald Ibis colony in the world, not far from Agadir.
Day 1: Marrakech Airport – High Atlas Mountains – Oukaimeden
Meet and welcome you at Marrakech Airport then we will drive up to the High Atlas Mountains. 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, Black Wheatear, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough 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 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 way 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 Ouarzazate 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 Boumalne du dades.
Day 3: Boumalne du Dades – Tagdilt Track – Dades Gorge – Ouarzazate
Today we will start early, to head to the Tagdilt Track before sunrise. This is without doubt one of the top areas for birding in Southern Morocco. Excellent chances exist for seeing for Red-rumped Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Maghreb Wheatear, Trumpeter Finch, Thekla Lark, Temminck’s Lark, Short-toed Lark, Cream-coloured Courser and with luck the highly nomadic Thick-billed Lark. If the heat allows, we will dedicate most of our day to exploring this area, very good chances also exist for the Pharaoh Eagle Owl “GAYUIN“. Early in the afternoon we will visit the Dades gorges where Bonelli’s Eagle and Tristram’s Warbler breeds then we travel back to Ouarzazate.
Dinner and accommodation in Ouarzazate.
Day 4: Ouarzazate – Anti Atlas Mountains – Souss Valley – Taroudant – Agadir
A long drive to the west will take us over the Anti Atlas mountains, into the Souss Valley and on to Agadir. Initially we will keep our eyes open for various larks by the roadside and wheatears. In the Souss Valley we could see Black crowned Tchagra, Laughing Dove, Cirl Bunting, Spanish Sparrow. Over the town of Taroudant there may be Little and Pallid Swifts. Finally after another exciting stop we arrive at our Hotel in Agadir for three nights.
Dinner and accommodation in Agadir.
Day 5: Agadir – Cap Rhir – Tamri Estuary
Early in the morning We will head north, stopping firstly at a beach where there will be Lesser Black-backed Gulls of two races, Audouin’s Gulls and a few Yellow-legged Gulls, and then at Cap Rhir for a seawatch, primarily for shearwaters and skuas. We will continue north to Tamri to search in the scrub and fields adjacent to the coast for the Northern Bald Ibis. Late in the afternoon we travel back to Agadir.
Dinner and accommodation in Agadir.
Day 6: Oued Massa – Oued Souss
South of Agadir is the famous Oued Massa. We have an early start to Oued Massa on the Atlantic Coast. Target birds: the secretive Black-crowned Tchagra, Marbled Duck, Moussier’s Redstart, Sardinian Warbler, Little Owl, Glossy Ibis, Moroccan Cormorant, Stone Curlew, Laughing Dove and Brown-throated Martin.
Later we visit the Oued Souss – an excellent area for Flamingos, shorebirds and large numbers of roosting gulls and terns.
Dinner and accommodation in Agadir.
Day 7: Agadir – High Atlas Mountains – Marrakech
Transfer day from Agadir to Marrakech throught the High Atlas mountians with 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 – snake charmers, 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:
Brahim Mezane was born in the sahara desert of Morocco in 1986, having a Berber father and mother. He has been an enthusiastic birder since he was 15 years old and has been bird watching all over Morocco. He has been working a several years of guiding for other companies and has led many very successful tours to all over Morocco. In 2013 Brahim created a bird guide company in Morocco called Gayuin Birding Tours to be able to offer his own tours and activities. He speaks English, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Berber.