Day 1: Arrival in Marrakech.
You will be greeted and moved to our hotel in the heart of Marrakech when you arrive at the airport. This evening, at 18:00 hrs, there will be a welcome meeting and dinner, after which you are free to discover the delights of Djemaa el Fna, the vibrant marketplace that comes to life at night. In Marrakech, spend the night. (BB)
Day 2: Marrakech – Casablanca – Rabat.
Today we fly to Rabat, stopping in Casablanca to see the exterior of Hassan 2 Mosque, which has the world’s tallest minaret and is the world’s third-largest mosque, with a capacity of 25,000 worshippers. Those who want to learn more about the mosque will take an optional tour inside. We spend the afternoon and evening in Rabat, Morocco’s capital, and visit some of the city’s highlights, including the spectacular Chellah, a necropolis and complex of ancient, medieval ruins. Rabat is where you’ll spend the night. (BB)
Day 3: Rabat – Meknes – Volubilis – Fes.
We go on to Fes today, stopping in the Imperial City of Meknes, which has earned the nickname “Morocco’s Versailles” for its impressive buildings and elaborate monuments. We carry on to the amazing UNESCO-listed Roman ruins of Volubilis, which date back to AD40, after some free time to explore the area. After arriving in the Imperial City of Fes late this afternoon, you have the rest of the evening to relax or explore. In Fes, spend the night. (BB)
Day 4: Fes sightseeing.
Fes’ medina is a cacophony of aromas, sights, and sounds, and it is the world’s oldest and largest medieval settlement. Today, we take a guided tour of Fes el Bali, the old walled city, and visit the dye pits and tanneries before returning to our hotel to get ready for an optional night of Moroccan entertainment and food at a local restaurant. In Fes, spend the night. (BB)
Day 5: Fes – Midelt – Ziz Gorges Erfoud – Erg Chebbi – Camel trek in the Sahara.
After breakfast, we’ll set out on a scenic journey to Ifrane, passing through hills covered in cork oak and giant cedar trees, home to a few Barbary apes. We’ll get our first glimpse of the south’s stunning architecture as we cross spectacular and tranquil passes over both the Middle and High Atlas ranges. Lunch in Midelt was reached through a desolate scrubland and desert plain. The town is set against the dramatic peaks of the High Atlas, which rise dramatically behind it. We’ll descend into a desert plain along the Ziz valley after crossing Tizi-n-Talremt (She-Camel Pass). We’ll then travel south to Erfoud and Rissani, a vast oasis with over six million palm trees and a swath of ksour (fortified villages). When we arrive in Merzouga, we will be greeted with a glass of tea after continuing along a striking route that marks the transition to desert. We have some free time before embarking on a camel ride across the pink sands of Morocco’s highest dunes. Until sunset, we’ll have time to walk the dunes. Dinner is served, accompanied by traditional music and a nomad tent stay for the night. (Handwritten)
Day 6: Merzouga – Ziz oases – Rissani – Todra Gorge – Dades valley.
We will see the sunrise if we get up early enough, as the color of the dunes combines with the play of shadows to create an amazing sight. After a cup of tea, we ride the camels for a couple of hours (or less; it’s up to you), then have breakfast and shower in the Kasbah before departing for Rissani, a fortified village in the Tafilalt area. Rissani, a typical desert village on the outskirts of the Ziz Valley, is home to the impressive Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Sharif, the first ruler of the Alawite dynasty, which flourished here in the 17th century. Travel to Tinerhir Oasis, with its green valley of palms and local villages, through the Todra Gorges and the eastern slopes of the Atlas Mountains, before going on a scenic drive through the Dades Valley, also known as the “Valley of 1000 Kasbahs.” Dades Valley will be our home for the night. (HB)
Day 7: Dades valley – Skoura – Ouarzazate – Ait Benhaddou – Atlas mountains – Marrakech.
We’ll drive through the villages of this charming region after breakfast, passing fields cultivated by Berber women and the peaks of the High Atlas as a fitting backdrop. Then we’ll go on to Ouarzazate, passing through the Valley of the Roses, which is popular for its Rose Festival in May, and the Kasbahs of Skoura oasis. Ouarzazate, a charming oasis resort with an exotic Kasbah, has been featured in many films, including ‘The Sheltering Sky.’ We pause for a visit to Taorirt Kasbah and the cinematographic museum before continuing on to Ait Benhaddou, an impressive ancient fortified kasbah that has been featured in several blockbuster films, including Gladiator and Laurence of Arabia. Later, travel through picturesque villages and rugged mountain scenery to the Tizi-n-Tichkas Pass, which is 7,414 feet high and located in the heart of the High Atlas Mountains, before arriving in Marrakech for two nights. Overnight in Marrakech. An optional evening excursion would be a fitting way to end the day. (BB)
Day 8: Marrakech sightseeing.
We go on a guided tour of Marrakech, Morocco’s fourth Imperial City, and see the sights. A tangle of winding streets and alleys open into verdant gardens and busy souks within the rose-colored medina walls. The city’s exuberant market place, Djemaa El Fna, is at the heart of the medina, and the iconic Koutoubia Mosque, the city’s tallest structure, towers over it. The remainder of the day is yours to spend exploring the area. In Marrakech, spend the night. (BB)
Day 9: Marrakech at leisure – Transfer to airport
Our journey comes to a close with breakfast and hotel check-out, followed by a transfer to the airport.