- Route Type: Morocco 4x4
- Archaeological sites: The rock engravings of the Valley of Tamanart and the rock paintings of the Region of Tan-Tan in Southern Marocco.
- Location: Sahara, Marocco.
Arqueoroutes crosses the Straits of Gibraltar and opens a new way, a new kind of travelling. Therefore the archaeological Saharan expeditions far away from comercial touristic tours will be organised.
For five years a Spanish archaeological team of the UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) in cooperation with a Moroccan squad under common management of Dr. Marti MAS CORNELLÁ on the Spanish and Dr. Abdelkhalek LEMJIDI on the Moroccan side carries out research in this scientific field – on both the rock engravings from Tamanart and the rock paintings from Tan-Tan. The results will be published in 2017 and will have certainly more than one surprise in store for us. We can say in advance that these prehistoric sites are so far the most important ones in Marocco.
For our part the aim is to arrange the participation in our archaeological expedition to be as easy as possible – a real adventure of more than 3000 km itinery, which takes Algeciras (Spain) as its starting point. After riding through a stretch of the Atlantic coast we enter into the Sahara Desert.
Join our team (perhaps the 4x4 vehicle has to be pushed or dug up with the shovel from time to time)! Our convoy will consist of seven 4x4 vehicles (apart from the driver three passengers will travel in each car), accompanied by experienced medical and mechanical professionals.
We will offer you an all-inclusive trip, so that you can travel with us without a single dirham (Moroccan currency) in your pocket (crossing of the Straits of Gibraltar, clearance and customs duty, board and lodging including breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as drinks).
FEEL THE ADVENTURE, IT WILL BE AN ADVENTURE!!!
Friday (day 1): Algeciras-Asilah
We will leave around 6 p.m. to board the ferry and cross the Straits of Gibraltar from one seashore to another.
Arriving inTánger-Med, we will take the motorway to reach Asilah – a picturesque fishing municipality with one of the nicest medinas (traditional Arab town) of Morocco. We will stay overnight in the Hotel Zelis or in the Hotel Al Alba depending on availability.
Saturday (day 2): Asilah-Essaouira
At 7 a.m. there is breakfast and one hour later we will depart to the direction of Essaouira – another historically significant coastal town – from which 640 km distance with beautiful countryside and beaches separate us, after crossing the Moroccan coast lengthwise to reach our goal between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Once we arrive in Essaouira, we will settle into the Riad Al Zahia hotel, a delightful facility in the heart of the old town. After a breather we will visit the walls of the old Mogador – the former Portuguese colony.
Our visit ends in the area of the fishing harbour, where we will enjoy dinner with fresh fish as a main dish and after that we will return to our hotel.
Sunday (day 3): Essaouira-Tafraoute
At 7 a.m. we will have breakfast and departure is at 8 a.m. On the way, we will make a stop to visit a women's cooperative producing argan oil.
Our itinerary will pass a mountain road between banana and argan trees to open itself once again to the ocean which will follow us until we reach the town of Agadir. Leaving the city behind us, we will take a winding mountain pass which leads us to Tafraoute, an unknown jewel of Morocco, where we will stay for the night. Impressive landscapes and rock formations will accompany us, therefore this region is compared with Turkish Cappadocia.
Afterwards we will stay in the Hotel des Amendiers.
Monday (day 4): Tafraoute-Oukas-Icht
After a good breakfast, we will leave Tafraoute in the direction of Garganta de Ait-Mansour, the anteroom of the oases which we will cross before we reach the picturesque village of Agrd-imlaln rooted in the past. On this day's journey we will leave the paved roads to get to know for the first time off-road.
Our target of this journey is the Site of Oukas, the first incursion in the Valley of Tamanart with its rock engravings.
After we finish our journey, we will spend the night in the “kasar” Borj Biramane (hotel) which is situated in the little village of Icht, a “Berber” enclave, where the Amazigh Culture lives on and where we will establish ourselves for three nights.
Tuesday (day 5): Icht-Azrou Klane-Icht
The fifth day will start with breakfast at 7 a.m. and the departure is at 8 a.m., the object of this journey is the beautiful Site of Azrou Klane. On arrival, we will circle the dry river bed of the River Draa (fast track), ancient stretch of Paris-Dakar.
Azrou Klane is a rock art station, located on a flat stone of 150 metres length and 20 metres width at the foot of the dry riverbed of the River Elmatboaa with thousands of engravings since from the Neolithic era till today, a living site! At the moment a French archaeological team is studying it.
This unique enclave is actually used by the nomads to put their haimas (Chinese cars) there in the summer time to search for grazing for their herds, possibly the new generations will follow to pass on their traditions and the mythology reinforced by their engravings.
Of special interest is the engraving of a ship and certain symbols which are similar to the ones in the Cave of Laja Alta (Spain). We should take into consideration that Azrou Klane is almost 100 km away from the coast.
On this day of the journey, a trekking route to reach Elmatboaa to observe scattered engravings and to enjoy a landscape of deep canyons is all you could wish for.
At the end of our trip, we will return to our base in Icht.
Wednesday (day 6): Icht-Anou el Hadj-Tachoukal-Tiguirte-Icht
We will have breakfast at 7 a.m. and leave at 8 a.m. for the Sites of Anou el Hadj, Tachoukal 1 and 2 moreover in Tiguirte. These four sites contain the highest concentration of panels and rock engravings in the Valley of Tamanart.
In Tachoukal 1 and 2, we will appreciate all the technics and styles documented in the valley.
The journey will be via fast roads on a circular route of 90 km in a landscape which reminds us of the Sahel.
Like always, we will finish the journey by relaxing in our “kasar”.
Thursday (day 7): Icht-Taroudant
After breakfast, we will say goodbye to our base by crossing the Anti-Atlas direction Taroudant, village comparable to Marrakech for its walls and medinas.
On the way, we will stop at Tigezmirt to enjoy its immense palm grove before starting to rise for the twisted roads of the Anti-Atlas.
Incredible landscapes and impossible geological formations will accompany our travel until Taroudant, where will be accommodated in the Hotel Tiout. There will be still time to visit the local medina before dinner.
Friday (day 8): Taroudant-Rabat
We will leave Taroudant in the direction of Rabat. The journey will be a transition, because here we will circle the motorway to the capital of the king.
We will arrive early in Rabat after eating and if there's still time, once we have installed ourselves in the Hotel Yasmine, we will go for a walk to visit its noisy medina or if you prefer, the port of Salé, base of the Berber pirates, who devastated the Spanish coasts from the 17th to the 19th century.
Saturday (day 9): Rabat-Larache-Algeciras
Once we had breakfast, we will leave Rabat in direction of Tangier-Med to cross the Straits of Gibraltar with the aim of Algeciras. But before we take the ship, we will have a stop of two hours in the coastal village of Larache to do the last shopping by taking a short walk in to the Zoco Chico (“Little Market”) or take tea at the ecliptic Liberation Square (before Spain).
Our adventure will bring us finally one more time to the Spanish town of Algeciras at the northern edge of the Straits of Gibraltar.
*this is a journey of Adventures, thus the itinerary and the hotels can change according to the Availability of the rooms, the circumstances and the length of the expedition.