A trip to southern Morocco is a journey through stark gorges and palm-studded oases. And is the birthplace of two Moroccan dynasties, Saadian and Alawite. Spend the night in a kasbah, a castle of sorts. Tour a ksar, a fortified village. Explore the Sahara by camel, jeep or foot. Learn about khettara, ancient underground canals. Discover the local culture. Or simply take in the beauty of a very different Morocco.
Southern Morocco may be remote but it is well worth the journey. Easy Jet and RyanAir fly to Marrakech, Tangier, Fez and Agadir. Royal Air Maroc services ErRachidia and Ouarzazate. Travel to all points further a field requires a vehicle. There is no train service in southern Morocco. Marrakech is the best place to begin a road trip to Ouarzazate and Zagora. Rissani and Merzouga are best visited overland from Fez. (The trip from Marrakech to Merzouga takes nearly 12 hours and, unless you are traveling on an organized tour, will prove difficult to reach in a single day.)
The best time of year to visit southern Morocco is late fall (October-November) and early spring (February-March). December and January are ideal months for cultural touring but often too cold for multi-day desert safaris as warm days turn to cold nights. The average daytime high exceeds 40°C (104°F) from June to August making travel to the south in summer an exhausting experience.
Dysentery is the most common ailment afflicting travelers to Morocco. Heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunburn are the most common ailments afflicting travelers to the south. Pack high factor sunscreen and apply it to all exposed areas - including your child's nose, ears, and toes - before you set out and repeat applications throughout the day. Encourage the children to drink regularly but take care about what they swallow. Drink bottled or sterilized water only.