Morocco is the Northern gateway to Africa and a fascinating country of dizzying diversity, with breathtaking scenery from epic mountain ranges, ancient cities,…
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Morocco is the Northern gateway to Africa and a fascinating country of dizzying diversity, with breathtaking scenery from epic mountain ranges, ancient cities, sweeping deserts – evoking a sense of Romance and Adventure. Its complex history has left behind a very hospitable people and sumptuous food. The best part though is that the birding is fabulous. We shall take time out walk the winding medina maze of Fez to the carnivalesque street-theatre of the Djemaa El Fna in Marrakesh while gaping at the urban design of Casablanca and the picture postcard capital of Rabat.
We will bird from the Saharan dunes to the famous High Atlas and also the Rif and suntanned ranges leading to Saharan oases and touching the craggy coast at Agadir. All the time looking for birds in the stunning vistas. Home to many North African endemics, including Moussier’s Redstart, African Crimson-winged Finch and Levaillant’s Woodpecker, it’s also the last refuge of the very endangered Northern Bald Ibis. Then there are specials in the desert like the rare Houbara Bustard, dainty Cream-colored Courser, Desert Sparrow, African Desert Warbler and larks like Temminck’s, Maghreb, Thick-billed and Dupont’s. We would also scour the coast for Gulls, Shearwaters and Skuas.
5 Day cultural Add-on You could also opt for the cultural add-on that will cover the other part of Morocco, we shall walk the winding medina maze of Fez to the carnivalesque street-theatre of the Djemaa El Fna in Marrakesh while gaping at the urban design of Casablanca and the picture postcard capital of Rabat.
Come and join us on this North African adventure..
Great for Bird, Landscape and Cultural photography
12 Days Birding 12th – 23rd
5 Days Cultural 23rd – 27th Oct 2019
Casablanca – Marrakech – Atlas Mountains – Oukaimeden - Boumalne du Dades – Merzouga – Ouarzazate – Agadir – Rabat – Fes – Chefchaouen – Rif Mountains
Casablanca Airport - MarrakechMeet and welcome you at Casablanca airport. If we have time in Casablanca you will visit the Hassan II Mosque and a panoramic tour of Casablanca and its diverse neighborhoods then transfer to Marrakech (3 hours) then you can see and visit Marrakech "the red city of Morocco". We will ensure you see the most important historical and cultural sites, including the Majorelle Gardens, the Koutoubia Tower, the Saadian tombs and the Bahia Palace and the famous square of Marrakech during the evening (Depends on arrival flight, else we are done on Day 11). Dinner & accommodation in Marrakech
Marrakech - High Atlas Mountains - OukaimedenAfter breakfast, 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, Black Wheatear, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough and Atlas Horned Lark. The majestic Oukaimeden Valley, set inside Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, is a popular day trip from Marrakech. A lush gorge carving its way through a tableau of jagged peaks, the valley is dotted with traditional Berber villages and prehistoric rock art sites, plus it offers year-round outdoor adventures—including wintertime skiing. Dinner and accommodation at the Atlas Mountains.
High Atlas Mountains - Ouarzazate - Boumalne du DadesAfter 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-nTichka 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.
Boumalne du Dades - Tagdilt TrackToday we will start very early, to head to the Tagdilt Track. This is, without doubt, one of the top areas for birding in the south of Morocco. Excellent chances exist for seeing Red-rumped Wheatear, Thekla Lark, Trumpeter Finch, Hoopoe Lark, Temminck's Lark, Short-toed Lark, Trumpeter Finch, 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.
Boumalne du Dades - Todra Gorge - Goulmima - MerzougaFirst, 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 Warbler, 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.
Merzouga - Erg Chebbi Dunes - RissaniToday 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 by 4x4 vehicles. Brown-necked Raven, Hoopoe Lark, Desert Sparrow, African Desert Warbler, Desert Lark, Bar-tailed Lark, Fulvous Babbler, Spotted Sandgrouse, Crowned Sandgrouse, Barbary and Lanner Falcons. Dinner and accommodation in Merzouga.
Merzouga - Tazzarine - Draa Valley - Anti Atlas Mountains - Ouarzazate2 full days to enjoy this wonderful park. After breakfast drive across the Mara plains in search of the big five and other plains game or engage in the optional activities on offer at the Maasai Mara. The early mornings are one of the best times to view the animals as this is when they are their most active before the heat of the day sets in. After a mid-morning of relaxation and lunch, head out into the reserve for a chance to tick off some more animals on your “must see” list. Keep your eyes peeled as you hunt for the last members on your list. Visit the Mara River and ask your guide to show you the regular river crossing routes. Overnight La Maison Mara (Full Board)
Ouarzazate - Anti Atlas Mountains - Souss Valley - Taroudant - AgadirA 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 for 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 Swifts. Finally, after another exciting stop, we arrive at our Hotel in Agadir for three nights. Dinner and accommodation in Agadir.
Agadir - Cap Rhir - Tamri EstuaryEarly 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 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.
Oued Massa - Oued SoussSouth 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, Stone Curlew, Glossy Ibis, Moroccan Cormorant, 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.
Agadir - High Atlas Mountains - MarrakechTransfer day from Agadir to Marrakech through the Atlas mountains with some birding stops in the road. In Marrakech. we 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), before driving to Casablanca. Dinner and accommodation in Casablanca.
Casablanca - DepartureAfter breakfast transfer to Casablanca airport where the birding trip ends.
* Comfortable transport in minivan
* 11 Nights hotel accommodation with half board (breakfast and dinners).
* Day trip in 4×4 vehicles in the Sahara Deserts (day 5)
* Guiding services
* International airfare
* Lunches and drinks
* Travel insurance
* Items of a personal nature and tips