Day 1: Oct. 13, Depart the US
Good Reads: You’ve got some time on the plane, in addition to perusing a guide book you may enjoy “A Year in Morocco” by Peter Mayne. Published by Eland, it recounts the author’s experiences as he interacts with the local and foreign inhabitants of Marrakech and is useful for understanding some of the foibles, customs and pitfalls for trying to set up house in Marrakech. The American novelist Paul Bowles spent 52 years in Tangiers and he writes about the city he loved in his collection of travel writing “Travels” published by Sort Of Books. His novels and short stories also often include Morocco and he played an important role in recording Berber tribal music which is now preserved in the US Library of Congress
Welcome to Morocco. Rabat, Morocco’s capital has the grand feeling of an imperial city. It has a fascinating historic center filled with fine sultan’s palaces, stimulating mosques and centuries old ramparts, such as the Mausoleum to Mohammed the 5th and the Hassan Tower. A visit of Rabat would not be complete without viewing the oldest part of the city Chellah Necropolis. Dating from the time of Almohads, here you’ll also find many ruins of the Roman Empire. Our tour will also include Oudaia Kasbah, a heavily fortified town – a medina within the medina complete with mosques and souks.
- Spend the night at the Riad Dar Dar in Rabat.
Tip: Always check with us before you enter a mosque as most of them do not allow foreigners.
Day 3: October 15, Rabat - Chefchaouen
Rabat, Morocco’s capital has the grand feel of an imperial city with a fascinating historic center filled with fine sultan’s palaces, stimulating mosques and centuries old ramparts. Our visit today will include Oudaia Kasbah, a heavily fortified town – a medina within the medina complete with mosques, souks. Then in the afternoon we will transfer to Chefchaouen (B)
- Spend the night at the Riad Lyna in Chefchaouen with Breakfast.
Fun Fact: While Rabat has the distinction of being the capital of Morocco, Casablanca remains the country’s largest city, as well as the largest city in the Maghreb region of Africa. Morocco facts tells us Casablanca flew into the world’s imagination in 1942 when Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman hit the silver screen in the infamous movie of the same name.
Day 4: October 16, Chefchaouen
With its distinctive pale blue, whitewashed buildings and winding alleyways, Chefchaouen is a charming place with strong Andalusian connections. It was here that many Jews and Moors fled during the Spanish Inquisition. Highlights of our tour of the city include a short hike to the ruin of the "Spanish" mosque with its fantastic panoramic view; a visit to the Ras el-Ma, where city's fresh water springs from the mountain; and a stroll through the wonderfully restored kasbah and gardens. Have evening to wander on your own through the medina shopping for handicrafts or lounging in one of the many outdoor cafés. (B)
- Spend the night at the Riad Lyna in Chefchaouen with Breakfast
Tip: Fill your pockets with loose change as tipping is an important part of Moroccan life.
Day 5: October 17, Fes – Volubis – Meknes - Fes
Morning departure to “Versailles of Morocco” Meknes. This city is worth the visit, full of extravagant places, terraced parks and decorated mosques. Our visit of the city will include Bab Mansour, one of the finest ornamented gates in Morocco, Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, resting place of admirer and most prolific builder of Meknes. Haras de Meknes – a huge stable complex, Habs Qara – underground cells that were allegedly used to house the sultan’s army of slaves. After our visit we travel to Volubis, the best-preserved and extensive Roman ruin sites in the world. Then late afternoon arrival in Fes. (B)
- Spend the night at the Riad Maison Blue in Fes with Breakfast.
Fun Fact: While Rabat has the distinction of being the capital of Morocco, Casablanca remains the country’s largest city, as well as the largest city in the Maghreb region of Africa. Morocco facts tells us Casablanca flew into the world’s imagination in 1942 when Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman hit the silver screen in a famous movie featuring the port city.
Tip: Moroccans enjoy a special green tea drink called atai. Atai is a mix of green tea, mint and sugar. Brewing and serving tea is considered an art form in Morocco and holds cultural significance. Guests are often offered tea and it is viewed as rude to not drink the popular beverage.
Day 6: October 18, Fes
We spend the day exploring Morocco’s oldest Islamic City. We have time to walk in the old city Fes el Bali, the oldest part of the city characterized by maze of lanes, courtyards and alleyways dating as early as the 8th century.
Our visit will include Bab Boujelod, an impressive Moorish gate with beautiful curved arches decorated with calligraphy, Bou Inania Medersa; built by the Marinid dynasty and intricately decorated with tiles, marble and onyx, we will see a 9th century Kairaouine mosque, Nejjarine Fountain and the fortified Jewish quarter known as a mellah. (B)
- Spend the night at the Riad Maison Blue in Fes with Breakfast.
Fun Fact: Fes is the third largest city in Morocco with a population of about one million. It features what may be the largest urban no-car zone in the world. Fes was once the capital of Morocco and is one of its original imperial cities. Fes is also believed to be the most complete medieval city in the Arab word.
Day 7: October 19, Fes - Free Day
Today is your chance to explore and shop. There will be carpets, ceramics, leather, textiles, jewelry, and more. You will be blown away by the quality and variety of these Moroccan products.
We will view many of the souks, such as souk Nejjarine – known for its woodwork, Souk Attarine for spices and medicine and of course Tanners quarter where leather is made and dyed in an array of colors.
- Spend the night at the Riad Maison Blue in Fes with Breakfast.
Tip: Don’t be bashful; Bargain your way through souks as this is an intrinsic part of Moroccan culture.
Day 8: October 20, Fes – Midelt – Merzouga and its sand dunes of Erg Chebbi
The day begins with an early morning departure from the crowded streets of Fes into the quiet and scenic Middle Atlas Mountains. We will stop in Ifrane, the city of flowers, to view the cedar-forested hills of Azrou. The area is abundant with wildlife and we most likely encounter Barbary macaques living in these forest. Apart from the monkeys, the area has an abundance of species of birds. After we pass the city of Midelt we descend into the Ziz Valley created by the Ziz river over millions of years. These carved gorges offer great fertile agricultural land. We pass the garrison town of Erfourd onto Rissani and then we start seeing the first sand dunes of Merzouga, Erg Chebbi.
As evening falls we retreat to the comforts and luxury of our exclusive private desert camp where we will be greeted with mint tea and fresh dates or nuts. The camp is set in a beautiful spot between sand dunes and gives the impression of being alone in the vast African desert while enjoying the comforts of a nomad king. We will enjoy a delicious dinner followed by campfire time beneath the starry African sky. Nothing compares to the millions of stars, silence and peacefulness of the Sahara. We sleep in luxury canvas tents feeling like we have walked into one of the stories from The Arabian Nights. (B,D)
- Spend the night at the Luxury Tented Camp with Breakfast and Dinner.
Fun Fact: Morocco is one of only three countries in the world that is bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Spain and France are the other two countries featuring beautiful beaches from both bodies of water.
Day 9: October 21, Merzouga and its sand dunes of Erg Chebbi
Free Day at leisure to experience the breath taking scenery and chance to slow the pace and appreciate the majesty of your surroundings. (B,L,D)
- Spend the night at the Luxury Tented Camp Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Fun Foodie Fact: Because of the many people who have lived and traveled through Morocco over the millennia, Moroccan cuisine is very diverse. It features dishes from Europe, the Mediterranean, and its Berber roots. One of the most popular Moroccan dishes is couscous. Another famous Moroccan dish is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked, the tagine. Chicken and lamb are the most commonly eaten meat in Morocco and may be served in a tagine, where the meat is cooked with a variety of vegetables in the famous pot. Beef tagine is also a popular meal. Because most of the country is Muslim, pork is forbidden by Sharia law in Morocco.
Day 10: October 22, Merzouga and its sand dunes of Erg Chebbi – Todra Gorge –Ouarzazate
After a sunrise Sahara Dunes photographic session, we will enjoy a first class breakfast, and then be led by a Berber guide, on camel we head off into the vastness of the dunes on a camel caravan. The sturdy camel has been a mainstay of desert life over the centuries, being used to ship precious cargo from Sub Saharan African to the trading ports of the Mediterranean coast. You can ride or walk alongside as you slip into the pace of the caravan led by Berber guides and marvel at the awesome spectacle of the desert and the solitude and the silence that comes with it.
Later, leaving the desert behind, we will head up to the Atlas Mountains to the Todra Gorge, a spectacular gash in the hills that surround Tinerhir. The region is dotted with deserted Kasbahs, palmeries and mud-brick villages, creating photographer’s paradise. The cliffs loom above as you approach the mouth of the Todra Gorge. The honey colored hues of the sheer face change constantly as the sun moves across the sky. Local Berber people can often be seen moving their herds through the gorge. Once we are into the gorge you’ll have the chance to stretch your legs on a walk to fully appreciate the beauty of the region. Rejoining the vehicle retrace your steps out of the gorge and follow the remainder of the route des Kasbahs to Ouarzazate. (B,D)
- Spend the night at the Ksar El Kebbaba with Breakfast and Dinner.
Thought for the day: Appreciate the present hour. Sit and hear your own breathing and look out on the universe and be content. One does not have to do something to pass the time; time can pass by itself - Lin Yutang
Day 11: October 23, Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech
In the morning we visit Ait Ben Haddou, the best-preserved Kasbah. With its dramatic walls of red earth, slit windows and crumbling towers, it is a magnificent example of a traditional stronghold. Chosen as location for Hollywood films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Jewel of the Nile and more recently Gladiator, AIt Ben Haddou sits upon a lofty pinnacle of rock overlooking a river. Dating from the 15th century, its importance as a trading post gradually waned, and today’s inhabitants eke a living from farming. Leaving the Kasbah behind we set off on a dramatic drive to cross over the High Atlas Mountains; and the views get more and more impressive. Early afternoon arrival in Marrakech. (B)
- Spend the night at the Riad Sapphire with Breakfast.
Fun Fact: In the middle of World War II, Winston Churchill begged Franklin D. Roosevelt to accompany him on a jaunt to Marrakech following the Casablanca Conference: “You cannot come all the way to North Africa without seeing Marrakech,” he said. “I must be with you when you see the sun set on the Atlas Mountains.” So the two set off on a 1943 journey, driving down from Casablanca. Churchill stayed a day longer, engaged in one of his favorite hobbies―painting. His canvas of the Atlas Mountains’ view ended up being the only artwork he painted during the war.
Fun Fact: Stroll around the streets of Marrakech and you'll quickly discover that there are cats around every corner. Though the felines are rarely kept as pets, they're generally well-fed. Some even take up residence in local shops.
Tip: Feel the unique pulse of Africa in the mythical Djemaa El Fna square of Marrakesh where snake charmers, acrobats and storytellers breathe in the sweet aromas of spices wafting through the air.
Day 12: October 24, Marrakech
There is so much to see in Marrakech. We’ll venture out on a guided walking tour of the old city exploring some of the most impressive palaces and sights of the city. Among them will be El Badi Palace, now mostly in ruins, its walls still give a glimpse of its former magnificence. Bahia Palace – full of color zelij, tile work, marble, fountains and gardens. In Youssef Medersa – once largest university. Our visit will also include a walk through the souks, a view of Koutoubia mosque dominating Marrakech and of course Djema El Fna square. (B)
- Spend the night at the Riad Sapphire with Breakfast.
Fun Fact: The Hitchcock classic and suspense genre masterpiece, The Man Who Knew Too Much, was filmed and set largely in Marrakech. There are actually two versions of the film, one filmed in 1934 and a later re-make from 1956, both directed by the rotund master. The later film is generally considered the better of the two and makes an ideal introduction to the city for anyone planning a trip.
Tip: Look up and see white storks nesting atop the red-tinted ramparts of the El Bai Palace.The majestic structure was built by Saadian sultan Ahmed al-Mansour in the 16th century with money received from the Portuguese after the Battle of the Three Kings. One century later, his successor Moulay Ismail stripped the palace of all its luxuries. Yet even in its stark state, the 426-foot long century courtyard―featuring four sunken gardens separated by pools―still lives up to its name, which translates to “The Incomparable.”
Fun Fact: The 230-foot-tall Koutoubia Mosque tower isn’t just Marrakech’s most symbolic landmark. Five times a day, the call to prayer, or “adhan,” rings from the tower as the predominantly Muslim population pauses to worship. Legend has it that the original mosque wasn’t properly alligned with Mecca, and had to be rebuilt by the Sultan Yocoub el-Mansour in the 12th century.
Day 13 October 25, Essaouira
We have a morning departure to the coastal town of Essaouira. The former pirate’s lair of Essaouira, is one of Morocco’s most attractive coastal cities. Portuguese, Berber and French battlements encircle the maze of narrow lanes with tiny cafes looking out onto small squares. Two of the fortresses look out over the ocean, and on an offshore island stands another, even larger castle. As befits a seaport, the pace of life is more relaxed here, and the whitewashed streets lend a truly Mediterranean air to the city. Enjoy your afternoon without a fixed schedule, get a coffee or tea, relax and take in the sites.
- Spend the night at the Riad Dar Maya in Essaouria with Breakfast.
Tip: Go Fly a Kite – Well…go kite surfing, anyway. Essaouira is known as North Africa’s wind capital and rightly so. Days of wind are as common as grains of sand and just south of the medina are several locations to rent surf equipment or to set up surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, or kitesurfing lessons. The latter is the latest draw to this ocean side town as near-perfect conditions can be had every day of the year.
Day 14: October 26, Essaouira
We recommend a stroll around the lively old port that is full of color and interest. The early morning is the best time – when fishermen can be seen bringing in their catch or mending their nets. The harbor was once the lair of pirates who sailed out to plunder richly laden ships that passed along the coast; after all, this was the main trade route round the Cape of Good Hope to Western Europe. It later became a free port, and it was at this point it developed a small international community of merchants. The cosmopolitan mixture of different influences makes it a wonderful place to explore – and it is full of visual surprises. Take a leisurely stroll along the ramparts; visit the little workshops that specialize in ornate inlaid work using thuya wood – a local conifer, although it should be pointed out that the thuya tree is fast becoming endangered from over exploitation. The low-key markets and twisting backstreets of the medina are fantastic and for those wanting a bit more space, there is a long sweeping beach on which to stretch your legs. (B)
- Spend the night at the Riad Dar Maya in Essaouria with Breakfast.
Tip: Most people come to Essaouria to enjoy its picturesque beach. A series of ruins about a 1.5 kilometers to the far end of the beach make a worthy stop. You can walk, swim or ride a camel or horse to explore the ruins. On less windy days, Essaouira is one of the more relaxed beaches in the country. Beach chairs can be rented for 25dh per day; relax, watch kite surfers, soccer players, read a book and work hard on that tan (or wind burned look).
Day 15: October 27, Essaoura - Free Day
- Spend the night at the Riad Dar Maya in Essaouria with Breakfast.
Tip: Made of junk you might find in a garage, the artist who goes by his first name, Rachid, creates some funky statues. These make a great gift or centerpiece for your house. Rachid’s workshop and store is about a hundred yards after Bab Marrakesh in the west side of the medina. Some of his recycled sculptures include snails, fish and ants playing violin. You are guaranteed to find something that will make you smile.
Fun Fact: if you are a “Game of Thrones” fan, you will recognize Essaouria as the backdrop from where Daenerys Targaryen purchased her army of Unsullied soldiers.
Fun Fact: Dromedary Camels - Ships of the Moroccan Desert. People expect camels to have two humps on their backs but camels in Morocco have only one and are therefore known as Dromedaries, which are a part of the camel family. Dromedary camels (Camelus dromedaries) are rarely found in the wild and most of those seen walking around the landscape are domesticated and have owners.
Day 16: October 28, Essaouira – Cassablanca
After breakfast we will drive from Essaouira to Casablanca via Safi and El Jadida, a road offering stunning views of the Atlantic. We’ll stop for lunch in Oualidia, a picturesque town known for its oysters. When we reach the city of El Jadida, we’ll have some time to walk in the old town that is UNESCO protected. We will visit the old cisterns that are the most famous sight in El Jadida and then transfer to your hotel in Casablanca.
- Spend the night at the Riad Sofitel with Breakfast.
Day 17: October 29, Transfer to the airport Depart for US
Thought for the day: You’ve been pulled from this chapter in your life’s story. If you keep a journal, write down a few thoughts. Sometimes returning from a trip is harder than when you took the risk to leave. Bottom line, it’s all good. Enjoy the rush of emotions. Smile at what you’ve seen. Refresh. Recharge. And perhaps start thinking about where you’d like to go next.
Traditional 5 Star Luxury Accommodations For An Authentic Journey
A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. The word riad comes from the Arabian term for garden, “ryad”. The ancient Roman city of Volubilis in Morocco is where riad architecture during the rule of the Idrisid Dynasty first appeared. As you travel with Biotrek you will have the opportunity to stay in a variety of types of Hotels & Riads – from those with majestic Andalusian and Islamic gardens to cottage style settings .
Morocco is one of Biotrek’s favorite places on earth! Irresistible to painters, writers and especially photographers, it is a land of mystique, vibrant colors, textures and exotic fragrances. Our small group escorted tour visits bustling imperial cities, towering sand dunes, sleepy coastal towns, High Atlas Mountains and unique Berber culture. Moroccon food is outstanding especially the famous typical Tagines. Some of the many attractions you will experience on your guided tour are:
- Casablanca – Amoung the sites we visit are The residential area of Anfa, the Corniche of Ain Diab,the esplanade of mosque Hassan II and the Mohamed V square.
- Rabat is the modern capital of Morocco located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg.
- Oudaïa Kasbah
- Musée de Oudaïa
- the Hassan Tower at the Royal Palace
- Mausoleum of Mohammed V
- Fezis the oldest of Morrow’s imperial cities and is regarded by many as the cultural and religious center of Morocco. A crucial crossroads, it too has a many-faceted history of foreign dynasties, but today retains its distinct Arab identity and cosmopolitan character. A small sampling of the many important monuments in the city are:
- The Bou Inania Medersa – It is widely acknowledged as a major example of Marinid architecture.
- Al-Attarine Madrasa
- University of Al-Karaouine
- Zaouia Moulay Idriss
- Fes el-Bali, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the old medina often referred to as a “live museum.”
- Seffraine Square – Place el-Seffarine – this kisseria is the most important center for the production Fasiss style ceramics, brass-ware and silverware in Morocco.
- The Tannery – The Chourara or the Tanner’s Quarters is the most lively and picturesque souks in Fès.
- Weavers Cooperative – The workshop specializes in weaving the finest jellaba fabric, made of silk and wool threads imported from Italy.
- Pottery & Zellij Tile Cooperative – A cooperative where old techniques of how zellij and pottery is made.
- Roman Ruins of Volubilis – UNESCO as a World Heritage Site
- Imperial City of Meknes
- Merzouga and the legendary dunes of Erg Chebbi – Arrive in Merzouga before sunset, then go by dromedary camel, at sunset into the Erg Chebbi Dunes to camp overnight at a luxury Biouvac tent at an oasis. The Sahara is the world’s largest desert. As you glide across humpback on these silent, mystical dunes there will be countless opportunities to photograph the endless rolling dunes.
- Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery.
- Meet a local Berber family, partake in a cooking lesson of how to make traditional bread and a tajine.
- Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous Kasbahs that is the origin of the Pacha Glaoui Family
- Marrakech – The country’s second Imperial city after Fez, Marrakesh is a city of drama.
- Majorelle Gardens, a magical and lush small garden estate designed by Jacque Majorelle and maintained by Yves Saint Laurent.
- 19th Century El Bahia Palace and its eight-hectare gardens. The Bahia offers a perfect example of a palace garden and courtyards surrounded by grandiose architecture.
- 16th Century Saadian Tombs and El Mansour mosque.
- Essaouira a lovely sea-side medieval town boasts lovely white-washed and blue-shuttered houses, colonnades, thuya wood workshops, art galleries and mouthwatering seafood. Take a stroll along the town’s sunlit pedestrian main square, Place Prince Moulay el Hassan and the Skala du Port, the fishing harbor, offers breathtaking views of the Portuguese ramparts. Explore the ramparts and the spice and jewelry souks of the medina. Your guide will take you to the old Jewish Mellah and explain the entire history of Essaouira.
An exotic taste of Africa, Morocco offers a wealth of experiences beginning with an astonishingly rich architectural tradition and deep cultural history. Medieval cities, Roman ruins, Berber Kasbahs and beautiful Islamic monuments await you on out small group tour. Morocco congers up a sense of mystery, intrigue, and Bogart movies. Bring those senses with you and see it all in person – you won’t be disappointed on our small group vacation! Morocco is one of Biotrek’s favorite places on earth. Irresistible to painters, writers and especially photographers, it is a land of mystique, vibrant colors, textures and exotic fragrances. Our excorted tour visits bustling imperial cities, towering sand dunes, sleepy coastal towns, High Atlas Mountains and unique Berber culture. Moroccan food is outstanding especially the famous typical Tagines.
Casablanca is the economic capital of Morocco and our small travel groups arrival destination. Among the sites we visit are the residential area of Anfa, the Corniche of Ain Diab, the esplanade of mosque Hassan II and the Mohamed V square.
Rabat is the modern capital of Morocco located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. It is a comparatively quiet city, reflecting its Muslim, Roman and French influences. One of Rabat’s most famous landmarks is the Tour Hassan, located on the same site as the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the present king’s father. The tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah is considered a masterpiece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture, with its white silhouette, topped by a typical green tiled roof. Its construction was completed in 1971. Hassan II was buried there following his death in 1999. The Mosque Hassan II, dramatically sited at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. was built by the late King Hassan II at the end of his 40-year reign. This astounding edifice is larger than Saint Peter’s in Rome and capable of holding 80,000 worshippers.
Fezis the oldest of Morrow’s imperial cities and is regarded by many as the cultural and religious center of Morocco. A crucial crossroads, it too has a many-faceted history of foreign dynasties, but today retains its distinct Arab identity and cosmopolitan character. In addition to fantastic dining and shopping in the countless souks and the famous tanneries Fez offers amazingly varied examples of “zellij,” the plaster and woodwork so characteristic of Arab art. The narrow cobbled streets are filled with ancient mosques and towering green – glazed minarets. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site its medina, is believed to be the world’s largest contiguous car-free urban area. Al-Qarawiyyin, founded in AD 859, is the oldest continuously functioning madrasa in the world. The city has been called the “Mecca of the West” and the “Athens of Africa”.
A small sampling of the many important monuments in the city are:
- The Bou Inania Medersa – is a madrasa founded in AD 1351–56 by Abu Inan Faris, who also founded the Madrasa Bou Inania in Meknes. It is widely acknowledged as a major example of Marinid architecture. “Bou Inania” comes from the first part of the sultan’s name “Abou Inan”.The madrasa functioned as both an educational institute and as a congregational mosque at the same time. It is the only madrasa in Fes which has a minaret. According to history, religious leaders of the Karaouine Mosque advised Abu Inan Faris to build this madrasa. The madrasa became one of the most important religious places of Fes and Morocco, gaining the status of Grand Mosque.The madrasa was renovated in 18th century.
- Al-Attarine Madrasa was built by the Marinid sultan Uthman II Abu Said (r. 1310-1331) in 1323-5. The madrasa takes its name from the Souk al-Attarine, the spice and perfume market. Its layout, architectural design and decorative motifs make Al-‘Attarin Madrasa one of the most beautiful buildings erected during the Marinid dynasty. The building was constructed in a narrow space in a very densely populated district. Its layout is not complex and is adapted to the topography of the site. The building is entered through a large wooden door covered with bronze pieces.
- University of Al-Karaouine was founded in 859, this university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world.
- Zaouia Moulay Idriss – A zaouia (shrine) dedicated to and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fès for the second time in 810.
- Volubilis once occupied by the Romans, Volubilis has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and gained international acclaim when Martin Scorsese made it a feature location for his film,The Last Temptation of Christ. Discover the fascinating Roman ruins adorned with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. The ruins are spread out across several green acres revealing how the Roman Empire transformed the original Carthaginian settlement into a typical Roman city complete with mansions, a town center, a triumphal arc and temples devoted to the Roman gods.
- Meraouga and the legendary dunes of Erg Chebbi are considered by desert aficionados to be perhaps the largest dunes in the Sahara, they are constantly shifting due to the considerable desert winds. From here, our escorted small group can climb, or camel ride the dunes to watch the glorious sunset.
- The Sahara is the world’s largest desert. Only a small part of the Sahara is fertile and it is here that corn, dates and other fruits grow. These parts are fed by underground rivers and oases. The Sahara can be an inspirational experience at night, with the air being crisp, clean and clear and the stars being so close you can almost touch them.
- Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once the crossing point for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. Film buffs may be surprised to learn that Ouarzazate was the setting for dozens of movies from David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia to Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky. Our travel group will visit the Kasbah Taouirit and the UNESCO restored Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou.
- Marrakech – Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravid, Youssef Ben Tachfine, several dynasties followed. The country’s second Imperial city after Fez, Marrakesh is a city of drama. Set against the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains, its famous Djemaa el-Fna square provides perhaps the world’s greatest open-air spectacle. The medina’s also offer plenty of entertainment, with souks, terrific restaurants, great shopping for rugs, arts, crafts, rugs and, of course, people-watching.The defining landmark of Marrakesh is the 12th century tiled minaret of the Koutoubia mosque, and there is no better place to begin your journey into this entrancing city. From here, our small group will begin to explore the ancient pink-walled Medina. Explore the colorful and diverse souks each trading its own goods, spices, carpets, jewelry, brass and cedar, carpets and hand-made rugs. Continuing we discover the Bahia palace, the Saadian tombs and the medieval medersa ben Youssef, one of the finest Islamic monuments in North Africa, the Menara Basin and many other hidden treasures.In the early evening we head towards the frenetic Djemaa el Fnaa, the greatest square in all of Africa and perhaps the world, designated as a UNESCO world heritage cultural space, it provides ever- changing entertainment for Moroccans and foreigners alike, reaching its climax at sunset when the square is alive with storytellers, healers, snake charmers, acrobats, and countless food stalls. Walk through the square to experience its intensity and then perhaps enjoy the view from the terrace of a rooftop café is the best Morocco hospitality.En route to Essaouira we visit the Argan Cooperative where argan oil, butter and cosmetics are made with the Argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. This cooperative is run entirely by women. Our travel group will visit the village of Tadarta UNESCO World Heritage site and while it appears in parts to be in ruins on the exterior, its interior is one of true splendor.
- Essaouira a lovely sea-side medieval town boasts lovely white-washed and blue-shuttered houses, colonnades, thuya wood workshops, art galleries and mouthwatering seafood. The Arabic name of the town means “wall” or “image” and invites one to stroll through its tiny, winding streets, enjoying the many intriguing blue and white windows, seasonal festivals, and artwork of many cultures. Essaouira has been a trading base for well over 1,000 years, dealing in everything from slaves and rare purple dye to tea and sardines, and its medina, fortified by the Portuguese in the 15th century, is still a thriving commercial centre, full of tiny shops selling beads, carpets and handmade shoes. But it’s most famous for the friendly, laid back vibe which since the 1950s has inspired artists, musicians and filmmakers.
- Luxury Transport
- 4/5 Star Combined Accommodations For 11 Days/ 10 Nights National Licensed Historical Guide
- Local Licensed Historical Guides in Each City
- Breakfast Daily at your Hotel
- Camel Trek in the Sahara Desert
- Merzouga. 13 Meals Total: Breakfast & Dinner in the Sahara Desert Region
- Footbath at Nectarome Gardens Museum & Monument Fees
- 10 People Maximum
- International Air Travel Booked Separately; Call for Quote
Travel with tour guide Sunny Reynolds, who has been showing the world to travelers since 1992. While this is not exclusively a photo tour, Sunny Reynolds as a professional photographer is happy to help all levels of photographers take better photos of their adventures.
- Rates Based on Double Occupancy
- Single Supplement Applies
- Subject to Availability
- All Prices subject to change