• On arrival, we drive out of Marrakech to the scenic Ourika valley in the snow-capped mountains of the High Atlas. As we ascend, we might see both Seebohm’s wheatear and crimson-winged finch.
    • Accommodation: Ourika, 1-night on full board basis.
    • Our morning is flexible depending on the weather and sightings, meaning we will either go birding in Oukaimeden or in the Ourika valley for Levaillant’s woodpecker, the first of severl species that are endemic to this part of Africa. 
    • Later in the morning we cross the dramatic pass of Tizi n’Tichka (2,260 metres), the gateway to the Sahara Desert. We make stops during our drive to spot different species that live on both sides of the Atlas and may take a detour to Telouat, following the course of the Ounilla valley towards Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. In the late afternoon we arrive to the oasis torn of Ouarzazate.
    • Accommodation: Ouarzazate, 1-night on full board basis.
    • This morning we spend time birding around Al Mansour Edahbi Lake before driving east along the southern slopes of the High Atlas towards the rocky gorges of Dades. The peaceful valley under the dominating mud built Kasbahs attracts various species of birds and we enjoy time at the entrance of the gorge for some birding before continuing to our hotel.
    • Accommodation: Boumalne du Dadès, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • This morning we experience our first taste of desert birding at Tagdilt, where there are larks a-plenty, and we may find both sandgrouse and cream-coloured courser.
    • We spend the majority of our day birding in the vicinity of the Gorge du Dadès and neighbouring Gorge du Todra, in the eastern part of the High Atlas.
    • We head east and further into the desert via Erfoud to Derkaoua, Errachidia. An exciting excursion by Landrover will carry us out to Merzouga, where we will search for the African desert warbler, brown-necked raven and the declining desert sparrow.
    • Accommodation: Marzouga, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • Retracing our steps to Ouarzazate, we leave the weathered hills and wadis of the interior behind and drop down towards the Moroccan coast.
    • Our itinerary is flexible today and we will either visit the Mansour Barrage to look for migrant waterbirds with the long-billed race of crested lark is frequently found feeding in nearby fields. Alternatively, we head southeast along the River Draa valley to the oasis of Tamnougalt. The desert oases along the valley hold many common migrants and we may spot the beautiful blue-cheeked bee-eater which returns here annually to breed.
    • Accommodation: Tamnougalt, 1-night on full board basis.
    • Today we leave dusty interior of weathered hills and dry wadis as we make our way to the Atlantic Coast. Breaking our journey at Taliouine, which marks the transition between the stony deserts of the high steppe and the broad plain of the Oued Souss, this area is known for being the centre of Morocco’s saffron production. It’s also a good area for migrants and breeding species seen here include red-rumped swallow, black-eared wheater and woodchat shrike. It is also good for raptors and we may even have the chance to spot a dark chanting goshawk.
    • Along our journey today we will be on the look out for black-winged kite along with little swift, spotless starling and African blue tit as we near the ancient walled city of Taroudant.
    • Accommodation: Ouled Berhil, 1-night on full board basis.
    • Making our way west across the plain of the Oued Sousse en route to Agadir, we stop at an oasis near Taroudant where birdlife is plentiful in the surrounding argan forest. Here we may see fulvous babbler, cirl bunting, and spotless starling, whilst the cornfields are filled with colourful wild flowers along  Montagu’s harriers and flocks of Spanish sparrows overhead.
    • South of Agadir along the Atlantic coastline, the broad estuaries of the Souss and Massa Rivers along with the surrounding agricultural land are extremely rich in birdlife and offer a contrast to the other species we have seen up until now with an abundance of waders, wildfowl, and other wetland species. Here we have the opportunity to see the critically endangered bald ibis as well as Barbary partridge, Audouin’s gull, red-necked nightjar, rufous scrub robin and black-crowned tchagra.
    • Accommodation: Agadir, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • This morning, before transferring to Marrakech for our flight back to London, there will be more time for morning birding along Morocco’s Atlantic coast.

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

Hotel standards do vary across Morocco, but overall are good. All rooms offer private facilities.

Meals

All main meals are included in the price. Dinner and breakfast will be taken at the hotels. Most lunches, and the occasional breakfast, will be picnics with some taken at local restaurants.

Birds

Timed to coincide with the northward migration, our tour gives us the best birding in North Africa. Amongst the many, many species, we look for bald ibis, cream-coloured courser, Black-crowned tchagra, Moussier’s redstart and the fast disappearing desert sparrow.

  • Levaillant’s woodpecker
  • Pharaoh eagle owl
  • Egyptian nightjar
  • Blue-cheeked bee-eater

Scenery

A constantly changing back accompanies our birdwatching trip as we explore deserts, snow capped mountains, weather hills and wadis and forests.

Climate

Expect mostly warm and sunny weather with temperatures between 10°-30° Celsius. However, it can be cold at night and first thing in the morning. Rainfall is not usual at this season, but it is possible, especially at higher altitudes where it can be cold with some snow on the ground.

Altitude

Maximum elevation is 2,600-3,000 metres at Oukaimeden, for a few hours on one day only.

Walking

Easy, short walks – approximately 1-3 kilometres – over easy-moderate terrain. Walking shoes or lightweight boots, with sturdy, corrugated soles, are recommended for this tour.

To avoid the heat of the day in the desert, we will make some early starts.

Flights

Price includes return scheduled flights London – Marrakech – London.

Ground transport

Ground transportation will be by coach or minibus, with driver, switching to 4 wheel drive excursions in the desert at Merzouga.

Please be aware that Morocco is a big country and our tour does involve a fair amount of travelling, but the ever changing scenery and frequent stops for birds make this worthwhile.

  1. March 2018
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