Journey through the desert – Morocco
JUNE 26: ARRIVAL IN CASABLANCA
Upon arrival at Casablanca, meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel. Depending on the time of arrival, we may be able to enjoy a short tour of the city by car. Afterwards, you’ll have free time to explore the city on your own.
Transfer to Rick’s Café for dinner. Created in the late 90s, this restaurant recreates the atmosphere of Rick’s Café from the movie Casablanca.
JUNE 27: CASABLANCA – RABAT – FET
In the morning, we’ll visit Hassan II’s Mosque. It is the largest functioning mosque in Africa and 7th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s second tallest at 689 ft. Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau under the guidance of King Hassan II and built by Moroccan artisans from all over the kingdom. The minaret is 60 stories high and topped by a laser which directs Muslims towards Mecca. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside ground. The interior is a wonderful work of different marbles, zelliges (Moroccan mosaics), stucco, and cedar wood.
After the visit, transfer by car from Casablanca to Rabat. People fall in love with Rabat for its art and culture. The region’s coastal climate lends itself to the cultivation of beautiful gardens nestled among picturesque houses painted in white. In addition, Rabat has quite a few historical monuments and sites – some dating as far back as the 7th century.
You will visit the beautiful mausoleum of Mohamed V (grandfather of the current king) which features minarets dating from the 12th century, built at the same time of the La Giralda in Seville, and the Koutoubia in Marrakech. Afterwards, enjoy a peaceful stroll in the narrow street of the Kasbah des Oudaias.
After lunch, you will go directly to Fez where you will set up in your hotel. Fez has a wonderful old palace in the middle of the Medina (oldest portion of the city.) Enjoy a great view of the city from the terrace with a refreshment.
Dinner in your hotel.
JUNE 28: FEZ
Your guide will pick you up at 9 am for a city tour to appreciate the monuments and many souks – traditional Moroccan markets where you can shop for souvenirs. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at the Hotel Sahrai.
Fez was Morocco’s capital until 1912 and is still considered the country’s spiritual and cultural center. Over 1,200 years old, it is full of palaces, museums, mosques, fountains, residences, and tiny little alleyways.
You will visit enter the city through the magnificent Bab Bou Jeloud or “Blue Gate”; the fascinating Bou Inania Madrasa, a historic Quranic school; the imposing Mosque Karaouiyn, built by a women in the 8th century; the Zaouia de Moulay Idriss, an Islamic shrine and pilgrimage site; and the Chouara Tannery. You will have lunch in the old city and then visit the Mechouar – the entrance of the palace – and the Jewish Quarter, famous for its beautiful pottery and master artisans. Enjoy dinner at Maison Blanche.
JUNE 29: MIDELT – MERZOUGA DESERT
Early in the morning, transfer by car from Fez to Merzouga Desert. You will have a short visit to Ifrane, a ski resort in the middle of the cedar forest created by the French. Then you will cross the cedar forest and have an encounter with the macaques of the Atlas Mountains. These mischievous monkeys are very used to see visitors and beg for fruit, so be prepared to bring food for them. Afterwards, we’ll cross the Middle Atlas Mountains before a stop for lunch in Midelt.
The road will take you through fascinating desert scenery before you reach the oasis of the Ziz Valley. Finally, you will reach Erfoud, the gateway to the sand dunes and Merzouga. You will switch to a 4×4 vehicle in order to reach your camp, at the foot of the big dunes. Upon arrival, enjoy a ride on a camel and take in the splendor of the sunset. Dinner is served in the camp, where you can enjoy firsthand the charm and hospitality of our Berber team.
JUNE 30: MERZOUGA – TINGHIR – BOUMALNE – SKOURA
In the morning, we’ll take a camel ride (if it is too late to do it upon arrival the day before), then you will go on a 4×4 adventure, visit a Gnawa community, descendants of ancient slaves, and listen to their music before visiting the oasis. After a two-hour car ride, you will arrive in Tinghir and stop to have a view of the imposing oasis. Hidden in a valley in the middle of the arid mountains, this place feels like a fairy tale. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into One Thousand and One Nights. Then you will enter the Todgha Canyon for a short walk and continue your journey.
Arriving at Boumalne for lunch at Chez Pierre, you will have a short visit of the Dades Valley, and then continue to the oasis of Kalaat M’Gouna, also known as the Valley of the Roses, and finally arrive in the oasis of Skooura where you will stay in an ancient Kasbah, a fortified stronghold and signature building of Morocco. Dinner in the garden of the Kasbah.
JULY 1: SKOURA – OUARZAZATE – MARRAKECH
Departure from Skoura to Marrakech. On the way, we’ll take a short stop in Ouarzazate and visit Kasbah Aït Benhaddou and stop for lunch.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, Aït Benhaddou was once a major stop along the caravan route between Marrakech and the Sahara. The striking visage of southern Moroccan architecture is thought to date from the 17th century and contains a mosque, two cemeteries (Jewish and Muslim), a public square, and areas for threshing grain outside of the ramparts. The Kasbah was a set for many international films and TV shows, like Game of Thrones, Laurence of Arabia, and Gladiator.
You will arrive in the late afternoon in Marrakech and enjoy a rest by the swimming pool. Later, we’ll dine out at a local restaurant.
JULY 2: MARRAKECH
Proceed for a walking city tour with your guide for a day in the monuments and souks. Marrakech is a city that sums up all of Morocco’s exotic North African charm. At 9 am, your guide will pick you up for the visit of the main monuments of the pink city. Within the hustle of the medina, you’ll find the city’s main points of interest in a dizzying meld of ancient and new. You will star with the visit of the Koutoubia, the ancient mosque built in the 12th century, and then continue with the Menara Garden that used to be a reservoir for watering the olive trees. Continue with a visit to the Bahia Palace, a 19th-century palace.
Enjoy lunch in Jardins de Bala.
For shoppers, this city is famous as a frenzied hub for bargain hunting. For history-loving tourists, the many museums and monuments are some of the country’s sightseeing must-dos. And for those who just want to dive into local culture, the medina offers Moroccan life in all its hectic glory.
Dinner in Chez Ali with a show.
JULY 3: MARRAKECH – ESSAOUIRA – MARRAKECH
Transfer by car from Marrakech to visit the maritime city of Essaouira. Your guide and driver will pick you up early and on the way you will see the argan trees, found only in this region of the world, and how the goats climb on them. Then have a stop at the cooperative where you will learn how local Moroccan women produce the famous argan oil from the seed of the trees.
Next, we’ll arrive at the beautiful walled city of Essaouira. This coastal city is a cross between North Africa and the Mediterranean. Surrounded by golden-stone city walls, it mixes bright blues and dazzling whitewash with flowing djellabas robes and the smell of spices. Influences from the Arabs, Africans, Romans, and French all blend together to create a mellow, relaxed beach town. You will stroll through its narrow streets, have a view of the sea and the harbor from the walls, and have a delicious lunch at Café Taros.
After the visit, you will come back to Marrakech for dinner at Jad Mahal.
JULY 4: MARRAKECH – DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.