April 9 - 20, 2018
Morocco combines truly exotic sights, customs and people. Our trip touches ancient crossroads from the 'Blue City' of Chefchaouen through the Roman North to the Berber Atlas Mountains and ends in the thrilling desert oasis of Marrakech . We travel in April, when the weather is ideal and there is still snow on the mountains. Some nights are spent in authentic Riads: Classic Moroccan homes built around a courtyard and fountain. Special experiences include an optional night in a luxurious Berber tent in the desert. In Marrakech choose between a cooking class, Hammam (A hammam is a dedicated Turkish style steam experience. You will be soaped and scrubbed to perfection) or an excursion to the port city of Essouria . Join us for an African adventure with markets, minarets, and muezzins.
Day 1: Monday, April 9 - Arrive Casablanca / Rabat
Arrive at Casablanca Airport. You’ll be transferred to Casablanca city center. Visit "The White City": and drive through the wide avenues. Later walk through the narrow streets of the Medina. The tour also features visits to United Nations Square, Habous district, Hassan II Mosque (outside viewing), Corniche Boulevard and Morocco Mall. Afternoon travel to Rabat. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel. Overnight Le Diwan by M Gallery or similar (D)
Day 2: Tuesday, April 10 - Rabat / Chefchaouen
Morning panoramic city tour of Rabat. Sightseeing of the "Imperial Garden City" begins with the Kasbah of Oudayas, Hassan Tower and walls of the Mechouar surrounding the Royal Palace. Afternoon travel to Chefchaouen. "Chefchaouen" Hanging like a crescent from twin mountains, the town is a 15th century relic of the Muslim civilization of Andalusia. Check in at your Riad. Overnight at Riad Lina or similar. (BD)
Day 3: Wednesday, April 11 - Chefchaouen - City Sightseeing
Full day city tour of Chefchaouen, which is called also Chaouen, known for the blue-washed buildings of its old town. Founded in 1471 by Moulay Ali Ben Moussa Ben Rached El Alami, Chefchaouen served as a Moorish fortress for exiles from Spain. Over the centuries, the city grew and welcomed Jews and Christian converts alike. Nestled into a fold of the Rif Mountains the walls of the town are painted a pale ochre to diminish the intensity of the sun. The roofs are covered with brown tiles and resemble those found in southern Spain. The alley ways climb to little squares often crossed by Andalusian arches. Visit "Rass El Ma" a waterfall, located on the top hill where local women gather to wash clothes. Then walk to the famous square in the medina. Overnight at Riad Lina or similar. (BD)
Day 4: Thursday, April 12 - Chefchaouen / MoulayIdriss / Volubilis / Meknes / Fes
Departure for Fes, via Volubilis, MoulayIdriss and Meknes. Discover Volubilis, the amazing roman archaeological site excavated in the early 20th century revealing the Roman Empire’s most remote city. Here we will admire the beautiful, well-preserved mosaics, as well as different Roman monuments such as the capitol and triumphal arch. Meknes is one of the Imperial Cities as it was built and became prosperous in the 17th century under the rule of a powerful sultan. Moulay Is mail with tireless passion and an indomitable will, undertook to make this Meknes a capital with its palaces, mosques, fountains, terraces, gardens, stables, and shops. Arrive Fes in the late afternoon. Overnight Riad Yacout or similar. (B)
Day 5: Friday, April 13 - Fes - City Sightseeing
Full day explorative journey of Fes: the oldest cultural and spiritual Imperial City in Morocco. Begin with the medina where you visit the many hidden treasures that only the inhabitants know about. Fes served as the capital of Morocco for more than 350 years and is home to the University of Al Karaouine, the oldest operating university in the world. Your guided tour will take you to the Nejjarine Fountains and the famous Tanneries. Visit countless Souks, including food/spice souks and a communal bakery. Enjoy a short visit to the famous ceramic factory, and then take in wonderful panoramic views over the whole city. In the afternoon, visit the new city and its art galleries. Overnight Riad Yacout or similar. (B)
Day 6: Saturday, April 14 - Fes / Ifrane / Azrou / Midelt / Erfoud
Depart by way of the Atlas Mountains, Berber villages and the ski towns of Ifraneand Azrou look (more like Bavaria than Morocco!) to Erfoud, with a stop in Midelt and Errachidia along the way. Visit the Blue Meski, an oasis in the desert. Continue to Erfoud. Overnight at Kasbah Chergui or similar. (BD)
Day 7: Sunday, April 15 - Erfoud / Rissani / Merzouga
Enjoy the morning at leisure. This afternoon travel to Rissani: The capital of the Tafilalet where the Alaouites dynasty ancestors are buried. Visit the 17th century Kasbah and the imposing ruins of KsarAbbar. Proceed to the golden sand dunes of Merzouga, one of the unforgettable sights in Morocco. Switching to camels, trek into the vast and silent Sahara to watch the sunset. We then return to Erfoud, or
OPTIONAL overnight at a deluxe Berber-style camp: Luxury Gold Sand Desert Camp-those that do not wish to overnight in tents will stay in the hotel in Erfoud. (BD)
Day 8: Monday, April 16 - Merzouga / Todra Gorge / Ouarzazate
Early in the morning, witness the unique sunrise: watch the pink disc of the sun appearing over the gigantic dunes of Merzouga. Mid-morning departure via Tinejdad and Tinghir, on the "Road of 1,000 Kasbahs". Stop at Todra Gorge - the highest, narrowest gorge in Morocco. Here you will have the opportunity to hike for an hour within the valley, where you will meet locals and learn about the culture and geography. Continue to Ouarzazate via El Kelaa and M’Gouna. Overnight at Berbere Palace Hotel or similar. (BD)
Day 9: Tuesday, April 17 - Ouarzazate / Marrakech
Morning visit to Kasbah Taourirt, which was the capital of the local dynasty in the early 20th century when the French foreign legion built their base here. Travel to Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and served as a backdrop for filming international movies. This afternoon continue to Marrakech traveling across the Tichka Pass (7.730 ft.). Overnight Riad Bahia Salam or similar. (B)
Day 10: Wednesday, April 18 - Marrakech - City Sightseeing
Today we will start exploring Marrakech "the red city of Morocco". Your guide will ensure that you see the sites of historical and cultural interest. Begin the city tour with a visit to the garden and the pool of Menara, a famous summer residence of Sultan Abderrahmane. The area is surrounded by orchards and olive groves, some of which are more than 100 years old. View Koutoubia Tower, landmark of the city, then visit the Saadiens Tombs dating from the 16th century, a necropolis richly decorated and discovered in 1917. Bahia Palace built in the 19th century, consisting of rooms decorated with stunning paintings and mosaics. This afternoon, explore the botanical treasures of Marrakech. Visit the famous Majorelle Gardens, designed by the French Artist, Jacques Majorelle in 1924, and purchased by Yves St Laurent in 1980. It contains some 300 species of plants from 5 continents. Late afternoon, visit the New City Gueliz and its different art galleries. Overnight Riad Bahia Salam or similar. (B)
Day 11: Thursday, April 19 - Marrakech - Essaouria, Cooking Class or Hammam
Choose to spend the day at leisure to explore the city on your own or choose from one of these three options.
- Full day excursion to Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast (approx 2 ½ hour drive each way). Tour of the medina, the ramparts, the Skala, the marquetry craftsmen carving "Thuja" wood inlaid with ivory; the fishermen's port, the silver jewelers, the Mellah Jewish quarter, the art galleries and Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdullah museum. Enjoy some time by the golden beach before returning to Marrakech in late afternoon.
- Moroccan Cooking Class at La Maison Arabe. Morning half day workshop where you will learn to cook a few traditional Moroccan dishes. You may learn to prepare an appetizer and main dish, or main dish and desert. We then enjoy our meal for lunch. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
- Enjoy an upmarket Hammam experience at one of the top rated Hammams in town or at your hotel. This is an approximately 2 hour experience with the remainder of the day at leisure.
The farewell dinner will be at the authentic Moroccan restaurant, DAR YACOUT, including select wine and soft drinks Overnight Riad Bahia Salam or similar. (BD)
Day 12: Friday, April 20 - Marrakech / Depart Casablanca
Transfer to Casablanca International Airport for your departure flight. (B)