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

Mirleft

Mirleft

Un gros bourg en bord de mer

Gorges d'Aït Mansour

Gorges d'Aït Mansour

Défilé d'une rare beauté

Tafraoute

Tafraoute

Rochers roses

Granit rose Tafraout

Great 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. Almost 1,400 km to discover the fantastic coasts of the Atlantic but also some secrets hidden in the mountains. You cannot imagine all the discoveries that can be made there. Main roads are generally good. A 4 x 4 type vehicle is nevertheless recommended.

La lac Youssef Ibn Tachfin
La lac Youssef Ibn Tachfin

La petit désert de Rasmouka se trouve à proximité

Rasmuka dromadaire
Rasmuka dromadaire

Un petit air de Sahara

Nouvelle source bleue
Nouvelle source bleue

Un réaménagement réussi

Tiznit
Tiznit

Le quartier de la Source bleue situé au coeur de la médina.

Palmiers près de Mirleft
Palmiers près de Mirleft

Une nature authentique, ou presque

Dar Najmat
Dar Najmat

Très bel hôtel les pieds dans l'eau

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 beautiful artificial lake of Youssef Ibn Tachfin. From the dam, drive another seven kilometers.

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A little Sahara

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

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

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The new heart of Tiznit

Allow less than 30 minutes to Tiznit, not to be confused with Tifnit. This Berber city surrounded by walls dating from the 19th century is worth 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.

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

Six addresses

We 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.

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In and around Mirleft, four addresses can be recommended, either for sleeping or for eating. The first one that you meet requires climbing to the right, following the signpost (if it has not disappeared in the meantime ...), to reach the Eagle's Nest , a starting point known worldwide 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 pretty name: A tea at the end of the world , facing a beautiful beach. The hotel-restaurant Les 3 O has unfortunately put the key under the doormat. On the other hand, The Three Camels , installed on the height, on the site of an old fort, are still present (hotels only).

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Immediately out of Mirleft, a little gem: Dar Najmat . This waterfront hotel is in the "three star" category. It is a wonderful haven of peace. We are still climbing a step with our sixth address: Kasbah Tabelkout , which is in the luxury sector, at least for the prices.

 
Legzira
Legzira

Petit village menant aux arches

Arche naturelle
Arche naturelle

A couper le souffle

A proximité de Tan-tan
A proximité de Tan-tan

Peu après El Ouatia, là où l'oued Chbika rejoint l'océan

Embouchure de l'oued Chbika
Embouchure de l'oued Chbika

Flamants à foison

La Courbine d'argent
La Courbine d'argent

En bordure de mer

Chez Eric
Chez Eric

Maison d'hôtes à Akhfenir

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

You will then pass quickly through Sidi Ifni, which is worth a look. It is a former Spanish enclave which was not returned to the Kingdom until 13 years after independence in 1956. The traces of the Spanish occupation are still clearly visible. The most beautiful buildings of Sidi Ifni date from this period ... An edifying observation.

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Guelmim and Tighmert oasis

Return for 210 km and about three hours inland. The landscape is enriched with date palms and prickly pears. If one intends to avoid the pizzerias of Guelmin, one would be well advised to take the direction of the oasis of Tighmert, a pure wonder of nature about twenty minutes from this city of 200,000 inhabitants. The Nomade s guest house is open to you. It is at the same time a restaurant and a charming, simple stopover to sleep in. By eating there at noon, you may be able to reserve this enchanting setting for the conclusion of the return leg the following evening. Another recommended address: The House of the Blue Man , in the same register.

Every Saturday, Guelmim camel market , which is held in an enclosure next to the large market. They sell camels but also some cattle, sheep and goats. Picturesque scenes! No one will come and ask you what you are doing there if you take pictures.

From Guelmim, called the Gateway to the Desert, vegetation becomes rarer. The landscape sometimes borders on destitution, which however comes to animate herds of camels. Please note: it can happen that the road is partially covered with sand!

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Oued Chbika

We find the Atlantic at Tan-Tan beach (El Outia). If you're thirsty, stop by the Riad Essadia , an inn-restaurant. A little further on, there is an obligatory stop, along the road, at Wadi Chbika: the sand and the water create a visual symphony of almost unreal beauty . Grandiose beaches, cliffs, fine sand dunes, a breathtaking landscape. As a bonus, if you're lucky: flamingos, great cormorants, black scoters and twisted penguins . Be careful, however, of salt spray and strong wind! These difficult climatic conditions end, however, in principle, between the months of September and November. A tourist resort was envisaged here. Fortunately ... or not, it did not finally see the light of day, contrary to what was announced in 2010.

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The evening stop is approaching. In Akhfennir, we recommend Chez Eric . Notice to amateurs: this inn offers fishing parties.

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Parc national Khnifiss
Parc national Khnifiss

Mer, flamants, sable

Lagune de Naila
Lagune de Naila

Trésor naturel au sein du Parc national de Khnifiss

Musée Saint-Exupéry
Musée Saint-Exupéry

A Tarfaya

Cap Juby
Cap Juby

Saint-Exupéry y fut chef d'escale durant 18 mois

Hommage à Saint-Exupéry
Hommage à Saint-Exupéry

A Tarfaya (Cap Juby à l'époque de l'aviateur)

Au Musée Saint-Exupéry
Au Musée Saint-Exupéry

La puissante figure de l'aviateur-écrivain

Fortin à Tarfaya
Fortin à Tarfaya

Ouvrage datant de l'occupation espagnole

Oasis Palm Hotel
Oasis Palm Hotel

A proximité de Guelmim et de la source d'Abaynou

Maison d'hôtes Nomades
Maison d'hôtes Nomades

A l'oasis Tighmert

Akhfennir is the gateway to Khnifiss National Park. Here we are, broke into the treasure 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. A path and a pier lead to local fishermen, trained as guides, to take a boat trip.

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

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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 area and a vast desert portion. The park is made up of fertile land, called "lakrair", and low sea levels, called "sabkhat", as well as coastal plateaus.

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The desert part is inhabited by fauna of incredible wealth. You can observe fennecs, porcupines, foxes, red foxes, as well as Cuvier's gazelle. Scientists have identified 82 species of plants, 15 species of endemic species and 14 rare and endangered species. During the colder months, the Khnifiss Park brings together 20,000 birds of 211 species, including the flamingo, which is king there, the seagull, the golean, the white spoonbill, the marbled teal, the black-tailed godwit or red, the Maubèche sandpiper or the oystercatcher. To your binoculars!

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For migratory birds, crossing the Sahara represents an impossible barrier to overcome. Khnifiss is for them a place of rest and vital nourishment, 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. It would have nothing extraordinary if it were not closely 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.

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In her work "Saint-Exupéry or the force of images" , Geneviève Le Hir reports a correspondence from the aviator to his mother. “What a monk's life I lead,” he wrote. “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 for hundreds of kilometers. and hundreds! […] The planes pass every eight days. Between them, it's three days of silence. "

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Saint-Exupéry shared his "house" with four French mechanics and ten natives, all employees of the Latécoère company, which had just hired him. Inspired by his experiences as an aviator, the loneliness and desert that surround him and which help him understand the human dimension, he wrote his first novel , Courrier sud , at Cap Juby. The publication took place in 1929. Vol de nuit followed in 1931 , and was a great success.

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Museum, air rally and rai