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Parc national de Khnifiss

Parc national de Khnifiss

Embarcadère pour une sortie en barque

Dromadaires près de Sidi Ifni

Dromadaires près de Sidi Ifni

Maroc immuable

Arche de Legzira

Arche de Legzira

Curiosité naturelle à ne pas manquer au matin de la deuxième étape.

Lagune Naïla

Lagune Naïla

Au Parc national de Khnifiss



Un gros bourg en bord de mer

Gorges d'Aït Mansour

Gorges d'Aït Mansour

Défilé d'une rare beauté



Rochers roses

Tafraout pink granite

Deep South: sublime sea and other secrets

Here is a magical six-day journey from the Jardin aux Etoiles to Tarfaya, in the Great South of Morocco.Nearly 1,400 km to discover the fantastic coasts of the Atlantic but also some secrets hidden in the mountains. You can't imagine all the discoveries you can make there. The main roads are generally good. A 4 x 4 type vehicle is nevertheless recommended.



Leave the riad very early in the morning, in order to make the most of the first day. There are several routes to get to Resmouka (also spelled Rasmouka or Rasmoka). We recommend going through the large town of Biougra, then continuing due south to the very beautiful artificial lake of Youssef Ibn Tachfin. From the dam, drive another seven kilometres.

A small  Sahara


One hour and forty hours after your departure from the Jardin aux Etoiles, you will arrive at an unexpected little gem:the small Sahara of Resmouka. These few square kilometers of fine sand give the impression of suddenly being fascinateddunes of M'Hamid and Chegaga which require a full day of travel, and which people who do not wish to be stressed can reach in two days.

Tourist operators offer camel rides. One of them even organizes a bivouac. But don't Don't be disappointed if, on the spot, you will not find any of this. In Morocco, the difficult management of offers of this kind is random.

The new heart of Tiznit


Count less than 30 minutes to Tiznit, not to be confused withTifnit. This Berber city surrounded by walls dating from the 19th century deserves a stop. She was known for her silver jewelry. It becomes so thanks to the rehabilitation of its historic heart, signed by the architect Salima Naji.Read our page "Tiznit: the city with walls and a rehabilitated heart" and you will know almost nothing about it.

A good  address to eat in Tiznit in a friendly and authentic setting:  In the shade of the fig tree.


Six addresses


Let's continue our journey, largely by the ocean, through Aglou, in 50 minutes to our destination for the night. The coast is magnificent, still wild, apart from a few constructions of more or less successful holiday villages.

A Mirleft and in the surroundings, four addresses can be recommended, either to sleep there, or to eat there. The first one we meet requires climbing to the right, following the signpost (if it has not disappeared in the meantime...), to reach theEyrie, world famous departure base for paragliders, from where you can enjoy a maximum view of the ocean. As a bonus, for thrill seekers:first flight offered at 50 euros.


The second address has a nice name:A tea at the end of the world, facing a beautiful beach. The hotel-restaurant Les 3 O has unfortunately closed down. On the other hand,The Three Camels, installed on the height, on the site of a former fort, are still present (hotels only).

Immediately at the exit of Mirleft, a little gem:Dar Najmat. This waterfront hotel is in the "three star" category. It is a wonderful haven of peace. We go up another level with our sixth address:Kasbah Tabelkout, which is in the realm of luxury, at least for the prices.

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From Mirleft, it will only take you 25 minutes to reach the unmissable and admirable site of the ark ofLegzira. A walk by the ocean is absolutely essential!We are devoting an entire special page to it.


You will then quickly go throughSidi Ifni, which deserves a look. It's about aformer Spanish enclave which was only returned to the Kingdom 13 years after independence in 1956. The traces of the Spanish occupation are still clearly visible. The most beautiful buildings in Sidi Ifni date from this period... An edifying observation.

Guelmim and Tighmert oasis


Return for 210 km and about three hours inland. The landscape is enriched with date palms and prickly pears. If we heard to avoid the pizzerias ofGuelmin, we will be well advised to take the direction ofTighmert Oasis, pure wonder of natureabout twenty minutes of this city of 200,000 inhabitants.The Nomad guest houses reaches out to you. It is at the same  time a restaurant and a charming, simple stopover to sleep there. By eating there at noon, you may be able to reserve this enchanting setting for the conclusion of the return leg the following evening. Other recommended address:The House of the Blue Man, in the same register.


Every Saturday, camel market in Guelmim, which is held in an enclosure adjoining the main market. They sell camels but also some cattle, sheep and goats. Picturesque scenes! Nobody will come to ask you what you are doing there if you take pictures.


From Guelmim, called the Door of the desert, the vegetation becomes rarer. The landscape sometimes borders on destitution, which is however enlivened by herds of dromedaries.Attention: it may happen that the road is partially covered with sand!

Oued Chbika


We find the Atlantic at Tan-Tan beach (El Outia). If you are thirsty, stop atRiad Essadia, inn-restaurant. A little further, mandatory stop, in  roadside, at the Chbika wadi: sand and water createa visual symphony of almost surreal beauty.  Magnificent beaches, cliffs, fine sand dunes, breathtaking landscapes. As a bonus, if you're lucky: flamingos, great cormorants, black scoters andtwisted penguins. However, watch out for salt spray and strong winds! However, these difficult climatic conditions come to an end, in principle, between the months of September and November. A tourist resort was planned here. Fortunately... or not, it didn't finally see the light of day,contrary to what was announced in 2010.

The evening halt is approaching. In Akhfennir, we recommendAt Eric's. Notice to amateurs: this inn offers fishing trips.

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Akhfennir is the gateway to Khnifiss National Park. Here we have broken into the treasure trove of nature! A magnificent marriage of sand dunes and the sea! Garbage left by criminals (barely) spoils the fun. You have to walk along the Naïla lagoon. Un path and a pier lead to the local fishermen, trained as guides, to take a boat trip.

An information center has been opened there for visitors wishing to discover this treasure of nature.. You will have the choice between several formulas. The full day excursion (400 dirhams, less than 40 euros) allows you to observe birds and stop for a fishing session. In this case, plan a second night at Akhfennir, which will extend your journey by one day!  The blue zone is reserved for bird watching. The white zone gives the opportunity to witness the exploitation of salt. The yellow zone is the hiking zone through the desert hinterland and the cliff. Possibility also of  local 4x4 rides with a guide.

Unique in the world


Huge - its area reaches 185,000 hectares - the Khnifiss National Park, one of the largest in the Kingdom, is a unique protected area in the world, combining three major ecosystems in a single space: the coastal strip, the lake zone and a vast desert portion. The park is composed of fertile land, called "lakrair", and low sea levels, called "sabkhat", as well as coastal plateaus.

The desert part is inhabited by an incredibly rich fauna. You can observe fennec foxes, porcupines, foxes, red foxes, as well as Cuvier's gazelle. Scientists have identified 82 plant species, 15 endemic species and 14 rare and endangered species. During the coldest months, the Khnifiss Park brings together 20,000 birds of 211 species, including the flamingo, which is king there, the seagull, the gull, the spoonbill, the marbled teal, the  black-tailed or red-tailed godwits, knots and oystercatchers. To your binoculars!

For migrating birds, crossing the Sahara represents an impossible barrier to overcome. Khnifiss is for them a place  of vital rest and food, to accumulate the necessary fat before continuing their journey south.


The memory of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


In half an hour you will arrive in Tarfaya. This small town is the last before the border which separates Morocco from Western Sahara which the Kingdom considers as belonging to it. There would be nothing extraordinary about it if it weren't intimately linked to the memory of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The aviator, who was then only a writer in the making, spent 18 months there, in 1926 and 1927, as station manager of the future Aéropostale. Tarfaya was then called Cap Juby.

In his work"Saint-Exupéry or the power of images", Geneviève Le Hir reports a  correspondence of the aviator  to his mother. "What a monk's life I lead, he writes. In the most remote corner of all of Africa, in the middle of the Spanish Sahara. A fort on the beach, our hut that leans against it and nothing more for hundreds of kilometers and hundreds! […] The planes pass by every eight days. Between them, it's three days of silence." 

Saint-Exupéry shared his "house" with four French mechanics and ten natives, all employees of the company  Latécoère, who had just hired him. Drawing inspiration from his experiences as an aviator, the loneliness and the desert that surrounds him and that  help him understand the human dimension, he wrote his firstnovel,South mail, at Cape Juby. The publication comes in1929. night flight follows in1931, and met with great success.

Museum, air rally and raid


The most widely read and translated work of French literature in the world after the Bible, "The Little Prince" began to be written during the writer's exile in New York.Saint-Exupéry's stay in Tarfaya clearly inspired him to write his masterpiece, since it tells the strangeencounter between an airman who has broken down in the Sahara and a young boy.


A modest Saint-Exupéry Museum was opened in 2004 in Tarfaya, with the help of the "Mémoire de l'Aéropostale" association. The heritage preserved there threatened to disappear with the last mechanic-guard of Saint-Exupéry, who died in 2011.


The life of this city of 10,000 souls is also marked, in September, by the passage of theAeropostale Toulouse/Saint-Louis air rally (Senegal). Also every year, at the end of October,the Courrier Sud raid from Agadir, combining running and mountain biking. AsEssaouira or Taghazout, Tarfaya is a windy site. A wind farm was naturally built there. It has 131 turbines. It is the largest park in Morocco after the giant one ofOuarzazate


Way back 


It is high time to return in the direction of Agadir, by National 1, already used for the outward journey, to Guelmim. Just over five hours away, the  longest stage of the course!


We selected three addresses on arrival.The Oasis Palm Hotel is at the exit of the city, at the edge of the road  main. You will appreciate its (too?) modern comfort. The second  destination is therea nomadic guest house, at the oasis of Tighmert,already mentioned in the context of the second step above. You will appreciate its charm!Watch Brahim tell you about his family home converted into a riad.  Third good address:The House of the Blue Man, still in Tighmert.

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Leaving your choice of the night, if you feel like it, take a look at the Abaynou hot spring (30 minutes). However, the salubrity of the basin is not maximum. A bath is not recommended.

mountain oasis


The road to Amtoudi is shorter than those of the two previous stages. You will be at your destination in less than two hours. Amtoudi is a mountain oasis, bordering on paradise. You will appreciate its fresh gardens irrigated by a system of well-maintained seguias.

Two equivalent addresses, to eat there and for the night:Tigmi Bulbul AndThe shadow of argan tree (formerly Looks like the South), with a preference for the former. These are simple stops, endowed with a certain charm.



Perched on its rocky peak, the fortified attic (agadir) of Id Aïssa creates a visual shock and strikes the visitor. About ten kilometers further, it is the same for the Agadir of Aguelly. Our pageAmtoudi the unique tells you everything (or almost) about the two igoudar (plural of agadir) which survived and were successfully rehabilitated.



Recommended: Igoudar circuit, guide, picnic and mint tea at the bottom of the circus and, if it is warm enough, swimming in the wadi near the spring.An eight-kilometre walk, which must be carried out by a guide, provides access to the source, then climbs to the plateau which dominates the wadi, and finally descends to Amtoudi. Warning: two sections are difficult.

Rock engravings of great historical value are visible south of Amtoudi. They notably show elephants and giraffes. Ask for a guide!

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From Amtoudi, we suggest you reach the Aït Mansour Gorges. It is a fairly long journey, with bends, but admirable from the point of view of nature. The route by road 107 requires a good three hours to reach the luxuriant gorges, populated by date palms of rare density. 

Upside down route


You are going to complete in reverse the route that we tell in detail in the pagePainted rocks in Aït Mansour. A parking awaits you almost at the end of the gorge. An invitation to stroll, listening to the birds, having fun following the chamaleons clinging to the date palms and oleanders, not failing to admire the red ocher cliffs, which change in intensity during the day.

Do you have a dry tongue and a stomach that is starting to cry out for hunger? We are not here at the Champs-Elysées. No restaurant on the horizon, exceptgeneral food which took the name of Massoud or Guy de Maupassant. Find out why... Still, the Berber omelet and mint tea served there can be a popular snack, in the shade of the date palms and almond trees, just before the entrance to the gorges, in Tamsaout.

Elmalara and painted rocks

Tafraoute is only about thirty kilometers away. The best address isof riad Elmalara, a new guest house run by a French couple,  builtoutside Tafraoute.

The painted rocks of Jean Verame are absolutely worth seeing, as much for the interest of this successful expression of land art as for the beauty of the landscapes, in particular the glance on theJebel Lkest, to the North, which magnifies this high plateau.


Then a tour of Tafraout is essential to discover the superb pink rocks which surround this town, the heart of the Berber region at 1,000 meters above sea level, and which cannot be missed, as they can be seen from afar.

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Our sixth and last step! If you didn't have time the day before, head for the painted rocks and the pink rocks! Otherwise to regret it.


Ammeln Valley


As soon as you leave Tafraoute, the landscape, already formidable, becomes downright grandiose. On the granite walls of Jebel Lkest, which culminate at 2,380 meters and stretch for about twenty kilometres, the rocks form a giant lion's head. This is more visible at certain times than at others.


We arrive in the valley of the Ammeln tribe, fertile thanks to the irrigation fed by multiple springs and torrents. No less than 27 villages cling to the foot of the steep slopes, including that of Oumesnat and its famoustraditional house, three or four centuries old,  that we visit and which also offers rooms and table d'hôtes.

In 45 minutes, we arrive atTizourgane. Mandatory stop! The fortress built on this rocky peak has been perfectly restored. The art of the stone of the Anti-Atlas finds here a beautiful illustration. RestaurantKasbah Tizougane is a pleasant table: panoramic view and tajine from behind the bundles.

The way back continues to Aït Baha. For lovers of organic cuisine, we recommend the organic restaurant Asdim, set in a garden, simple and typical. A tourist complex has been built at the exit of the town, along the road. We can take a look at it.

In Biougra, you will go directly to the Jardin aux Etoiles, unless you still want to make a detour via theOrganic plant garden which produces vegetables and fruits, but also plants such as mint, thyme and sage.

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Next to1,400 km from the Garden to the Stars at  Tarfaya in six days, with return loop
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