Wildlife and Birding Tour in Morocco
This is a leisurely 11-day Birdwatching and Wildlife in Morocco Tour available on request that takes you from the alpine habitats of the Atlas Mountains to the desert landscapes of the Sahara. This diversity of ecosystems makes this north African country a top location for birdwatching.
This birding in Morocco trip begins in the pine forested Ourika valley overlooked by the snow-covered peaks of the Atlas Mountains. Crimson-winged Finch, Rock Sparrow, Horned Lark and Alpine Choughs are some of the species you can hope to see, along with a profusion of alpine flowers. Travelling over the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass at around 2,260m you next take your birding Morocco to El Mansour Eddahbi reservoir for resident and migrant species.
Gradually descending, we arrive at the Tagdilt Track, one of the best areas for birdwatching in Southern Morocco. Species that abound here include Greater and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Cream-coloured Courser, and it is a breeding area for Bonelli's Eagle.
To continue the diversity of this birdwatching in Morocco adventure, the next stop is Erg Chebbi desert with its extensive dune system to experience some fine desert species. There is a chance of finding a daytime roost of Egyptian Nightjars and some interesting lizards and other wildlife among the stony outcrops.
The birding in Morocco tour ends in and around the city of Marrakesh and the chance to enjoy its colourful markets and an evening of Moroccan culture and cuisine.
Birdwatching and Wildlife in Morocco Tour highlights include:
- Northern Bald Ibis, Black-crowned Tchagra, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Egyptian Nightjar and Desert Sparrow
- The contrasting habitats of alpine valleys and desert sand dunes
- The famous Tagdilt Track, one of the best areas for birding to be found in Morocco
- An evening enjoying the vibrant city of Marrakesh
If you don't want to extend this wildlife tour by hopping across the Straits of Gibraltar to southern Spain, take a look at the Iberian Lynx and Wildlife Conservation Tour, Andalucía.
Alternative Tour Name: Morocco Mountain and Desert Birdwatching Tour
After an early breakfast we leave the mountains behind, descend along the wooded Ourika Valley, giving us a second chance of Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker. Red-rumped Swallow, Sardinian Warbler and Great Spotted Woodpecker all occur in the area, whilst we might find migrant warblers in any orchards and gardens. Once on the main road, we head south-east and travel through some of the most spectacular landscapes in Morocco. Our route takes us over the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass at around 2,260m. By the roadside, boys attend stalls crowded with gems and fossils, products of the local mountainsides and valleys. Our journey should provide opportunities to view Common Raven, Thekla Lark and more raptors, including perhaps Short-toed Eagle. Tristram’s Warbler favours the stunted vegetation of the dry slopes and we will search for it, but it can sometimes be a difficult species to locate. We will reach the town of Ouarzazate, then, our journey will continue eastwards along the picturesque Dades valley, aptly named both the ‘Valley of a thousand Kasbahs’ and the ‘Valley of Roses’: the beautiful pink roses are harvested annually to make scented rose water. We should start to notice smart White-crowned Wheatears along the way and have our first opportunity to locate the elusive Maghreb Wheatear, a recent split from Mourning wheatear. Eventually we will reach Boumalne du Dades, our base for the next two nights.
This morning we will start very early, to head on to the Tagdilt Track. This is without doubt one of the top areas for birding in Southern Morocco. Excellent chances for Red-rumped Wheatear, Trumpeter Finch, Hoopoe Lark, Temminck’s Lark, Desert Wheatear, Greater and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Cream-coloured Courser and with a Little bit of luck the highly nomadic Thick-billed Lark. If the heat allows, we will dedicate most of our day exploring this area, with a short evening trip to visit the Dades gorges where Bonelli’s Eagle breed. Dinner and accommodation in Boumalne du Dades. We’ll visit a rocky canyon too, in search of Maghreb Wheatear, Desert Lark and our first chance of Pharaoh Eagle Owl. People live in caves here with flocks of sheep and goats.
After an early breakfast, we will head on to the dunes of Merzouga, through the Todra gorge, with chance for Tristram’s Warbler, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock-thrush, Rock Dove, Crag Martin and possibly Bonelli’s Eagle. We travel eastwards and stop at a scrubby wadi to seek out the elusive Scrub Warblers, maybe also rewarded with Moussier’s Redstart, Trumpeter Finch and Thick-billed Lark. We will arrive late afternoon at our Desert Kasbah in Erg chebbi dunes our base for the next two nights.
Today we will dedicate the whole day exploring the sandy dunes and the nearby stony desert of Erg Chebbi – the largest dune system in Morocco. Brown-necked Raven, Hoopoe Lark, Desert Sparrow, African Desert Warbler, Desert Lark, Bar-tailed Desert Lark, Fulvous Babbler, Crowned and Spotted Sandgrouse, Barbary and Lanner Falcon and different migrant passerines are all possible. In addition, If rains have been plentiful a seasonal lake near Merzouga can be very interesting, with ducks, waders and their attendant raptors. Chances also exist for Egyptian Nightjar at daytime roost, who knows! (more likely from March to September).
Transfer day from Merzouga to Ouarzazate. Drive through the Anti-Atlas, a series of rocky hills, cliffs and deep gorges of volcanic formations. Roadside birding could produce migrants and plenty of wheatears. To the east of Ouarzazate lies the El Mansour Eddahbi reservoir, we will stop for birdwatching in this place, it is a magnet for both resident and migrant species including Ruddy Shelduck, Marbled Duck, Eurasian Spoonbill, Squacco and Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron and Gull-billed and Whiskered Terns. Good numbers of hirundines hawk over the ever-expanding cultivations whilst White Storks nest in the nearby villages. Dinner and accommodation in Ouarzazate.
A long journey from Ouarzazate to Agadir, over the Anti Atlas mountains, into the Souss Valley and on to Agadir. We will keep our eyes open for larks by the roadside and for wheatears. In the Souss Valley we could see Black crowned Tchagra, Laughing Dove, Cirl Bunting, Spanish Sparrow. Over the town of Taroudant there may be Little and Pallid Swifts. Finally after another exciting stop we will arrive at our Hotel in Agadir for three nights.
We will head North early in the morning. Our first stop at a beach will provide a chance for Lesser Black-backed Gulls (two races), Audouin’s Gulls and Yellow-legged Gulls, later at Cap Rhir will look for shearwaters and skuas. We will continue North to Tamri nature reserve, where is to be found the largest Northern Bald Ibis colony in the world. Late in the afternoon we will travel back to Agadir. Dinner and accommodation in Agadir.
South of Agadir is to be found the legendary Massa river. After breakfast, we will spend the morning in search of our target birds: the secretive Black-crowned Tchagra, Marbled Duck, Moussier’s Redstart, Sardinian Warbler, Little Owl, Stone Curlew, Glossy Ibis, Moroccan Great Cormorant, Laughing Dove and Brown-throated Martin.
Later we’ll visit the river Souss mouth – an excellent area for Flamingos, shorebirds and large numbers of roosting gulls and terns.
Dinner and accommodation in Agadir.
Transfer day from Agadir to Marrakech through the Atlas mountains. Birding en route. Late in the afternoon we’ll arrive in Marrakech. Free evening.
You have chance to visit the old quarter of Marrakech and the impressive Jema-el-fna square which is an unbelievable experience for any visitor – snake charmers, water sellers and spice stalls plus the charm of bargaining in
If time allows some more birding in the Marrakech area, then transfer to the airport where the trip ends.
Some of the wildlife expected to see on this trip are:
Woodpecker, Moussier’s Redstart, African Blue Tit, Common Crossbill, African Chaffinch, Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker. Red-rumped Swallow, Sardinian Warbler, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Ruddy Shelduck, Marbled Duck, Eurasian Spoonbill, Squacco and Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron and Gull-billed, Whiskered Terns, Red-rumped Wheatear, Trumpeter Finch, Hoopoe Lark, Temminck’s Lark, Desert Wheatear, Greater and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Cream-coloured Courser, Thick-billed Lark, Maghreb Wheatear, Desert Lark and Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Moussier’s Redstart, Trumpeter Finch, Thick-billed Lark, Brown-necked Raven, Hoopoe Lark, Desert Sparrow, African Desert Warbler, Desert Lark, Bar-tailed Desert Lark, Fulvous Babbler, Crowned, Spotted Sandgrouse, Barbary, Lanner Falcon
What is included?
- 10 Nights accommodation with private facilities
- 4x4 transport during the tour
- Use of quality optical equipment
- Full-time guiding and interpretation in English
- All meals, bottled water
- Airport transfers
What is not included?
- Travel & contents insurance
- Extra food/drink to normal meal times
- Alcoholic drinks
- Item of personal nature
- Anything else not mentioned in “What is included”
Iberian lynx Land is an Ecotourism Registered Company. Along with RESPONSIBLE NATURE TOURISM, Iberian Lynx Land’s pivotal values include EDUCATION and CONSERVATION of Nature and Natural Resources. We are also an Environmental Consultant Company.
A valid passport is required to enter into Morocco. No visa is required for European tourists staying in the country for less than three months.
Comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended and should include full health cover and repatriation in case of serious medical emergency.
It is recommended the use of comfortable clothing. Bring a jacket and/or a fleece, as it could be cold early in the morning and evening. Walking shoes or hiking boots, a hat and sunscreen.
We reserve the right to amend the itineraries according to circumstances, but will strive to maintain the advertised standard of the tour.