From Morocco’s famous blue city of Chefchaouen to the historic leather tanneries of Fez and the bustling squares and markets in Marrakesh, you’ll experience a good cross-section of North African urban culture. There will also be time to relax among Morocco’s most spectacular sand dunes, Erg Chebbi. Plus, a bonus excursion to the tranquil seaside city of Essaouira makes this guided tour of Morocco complete.
During the first day of your trip we will meet you in the port and drive through the Rif mountains and Tetoun city to enjoy the beautiful views until we get to Chefchaouan, one of Morocco’s most picturesque cities. Chefchaouen medina has a Spanish-style square surrounded by many funky arts and crafts stores, roof-top restaurants and cafes. We’ll spend the night here in the blue city in a local riad.
After your breakfast in the riad our authentic journey will start towards Volubilis crossing via Wazan and other rif villages. At Volubilis we will discover the Roman ruins and learn about this archeological site of Moroccan history. We will then make our way to Meknes, a city with much 17th-century heritage, where we will stop for lunch, hang around the historical walls of the medina, see the bab el mansour and enjoy a visit of Moulay Ismail shrine. Finally, our journey takes us to Fez where we will spend the night.
After breakfast in your riad, you will start exploring the oldest city in Morocco, walking in its alleys and small streets with a local guide. Our visit starts by visiting the Royal Palace gate and the Jewish quarter, the first Mellah ever built in Morocco, built during the 16th century. We will ensure that you visit all sites with cultural and historical interest including the famous Al Qaraouine University, the oldest in the region, the Tanneries, the Attarine museum and Moulay Idriss mausoleum. After lunch, you will visit the tiles cooperative and then experience a wonderful panoramic view over the whole Medina of Fez.
After breakfast in your hotel you will travel to Merzouga via Errachidia and Erfoud. You will be travelling through the fascinating Tiz Ntalghamt pass and the Ziz Gorge, taking in views of the High Atlas plateau, you’ll notice how the scenery changes to reveal hints of the desert. We’ll stop to see the wild monkeys and to have lunch along the way. We will snake our way along to Erfoud and Rissani as we get closer to the desert, arriving in Merzouga village in the afternoon. You’ll be welcomed with a glass of mint tea before your checking into your desert hotel. In this tranquil and friendly town, you can venture out on your own to see the community garden or to explore the dunes a little on foot.
After breakfast in your riad, your driver will take you on a desert tour around the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. You will hear the music of the Gnawa people – originally from Mali, Senegal and Sudan – in Khamlia village. later, we will meet nomad families to explore their way of life. Today our lunch will be a traditional berber meal (Berber pizza). In the afternoon, we will return to the desert hotel in Merzouga where you will meet your camels and your camel guide. Hop on the caravan and head into the heart of the dunes until you reach our desert camp. Here, dinner will be served in front of the traditional nomad tent where you will spend the night.
Early the next morning, you’ll hop back on the camel caravan and return to the desert hotel where breakfast awaits. Take some time to shower at the hotel if you wish. Depending on whether it is market day, your driver may suggest a visit to the old city of Rissani – the foundation of the Alaouite dynasty – the current ruling royal family in Morocco. Rissani is surrounded by about 360 ksar (a fortified village with many towers) and has a big souk (an open market), held three times a week. Once called Sijilmassa, this was the meeting place for the salt caravans, coming from Timbuktu in Mali. Here you’ll see merchants selling spices, vegetables and cloth. Next we’ll continue to the mountains where we’ll see the steep rock walls of Todra Gorge and also the peculiar geological formation known as the “monkey fingers.” We’ll spend the night in the peaceful Dades Valley.
After breakfast, we will travel through the Dades Valley towards Kalaa M’gouna and Ouarzazate. The route through Dades Valley is the way of the thousand kasbahs – providing numerous opportunities to take some of your best photographic shots of the trip. We will stop at Ait Benhaddou Kasbah for lunch, the largest Kasbah in Morocco, built by T-hami El Glaoui, one of the last Berber chieftains. Now the kasbah is a UNESCO heritage site. After that we will shift the way to cross high atlas mountains full of panoramic views and attractive Berber villages all along the way until Marrakesh, where we will spend the night in a traditional riad.
After breakfast in the riad, we will start exploring Marrakesh, the red city of Morocco. We will ensure that you see the most important sites of historical and cultural interest, including the Majorelle Gardens, the Koutoubia Tower, the Saadian tombs and the Bahia Palace. After Lunch at a restaurant near the square, you will walk through the souks and view hundreds of handicrafts. On the afternoon, you will have some free time to wander by yourself near the main square.
Seaside day trip! After breakfast in your riad, you will start travelling to the coastal city of Essaouira. Getting there after about a 2 and a half hour drive to start exploring the city. You’ll visit the Skala Fortress; see Thuya wood carved by artisans; walk through the alleys of the medina and view hundreds of handicrafts. This “City of the Wind” attracts surfers from all over the world. Essaouira knew many civilisations – including the Portuguese occupation, which affects much of its architecture – however, it remains a small village with much history. Because of its size and its characteristic blue doors and washed walls, it is also regarded as Morocco’s “Jewel of the Atlantic.” Lunch will be done the Moroccan way – fresh fish from the seafood market. In the afternoon you will travel back to Marrakech. Overnight at your riad.
After breakfast your driver will take you to the airport for your flight home or transfer you to another location in Marrakesh if you wish to extend your stay.