- Camel trekking over Saharan dunes at sunrise. Participating in hands-on workshops in Moroccan cuisine, traditional crafts (mosaic, zellij gypsum carving) and/or musical instruments… Listening to the lyrical call to prayer of the muezzin. Hiking through the picturesque Berber mountain village of Imlil. Strolling through the narrow alleys of Fez’s 9th century medina, the world’s oldest intact medieval city. Listening to private lectures on Moroccan history, religion and society. Exploring Marrakech’s souks and main square, where you'll see snake charmers, belly dancers, Gnawa musicians, astrologers, acrobats, henna tattoo women, jugglers etc. Drinking tea with a Berber family after hiking along the verdant Ourika Valley. Dreaming of which riad in coastal Essaouira you will rent on your return journey to Morocco
- You will be met and privately transferred to your hotel, where you may relax after your flights.
Originally settled by the Berbers in the 7th century, Casablanca became a modest trading post before finally mushrooming under French influence into one of Africa’s four largest cities. As Morocco’s commercial capital, Casablanca is an enigmatic meeting place of western modernity and Arabic tradition. This afternoon, you’ll enjoy a private tour of Casablanca, including a visit to the King Hassan II Mosque. The mosque is remarkable in terms of its dimensions, advanced technological features and the topnotch quality of its artistry and craftsmanship. The interior of the mosque holds up to 25,000 worshippers while an additional 80,000 persons may worship in the outside plaza! Hyatt Regency - Deluxe Room (5 stars)
- Your day begins with a drive to Rabat, an inviting capital city with lush green parks, tree-lined boulevards, a charming medina (old walled city) and superbly preserved relics of Rabat’s Moorish past. You’ll stop to admire the massive 12th century minaret of Hassan, which towers over Rabat, before proceeding to the nearby Mausoleum of Mohammed V. One of the great monuments of modern Morocco, the mausoleum is replete with exquisite traditional Moroccan craftsmanship and is surrounded by elaborately dressed royal guards.
After lunch, continue on to the cliff-top Kasbah (fortress) des Ouadayas. It was the Almohad citadel of medieval Rabat, and is guarded by an impressive arched gate built around 1195. Inside the Kasbah are the palace and Andalucian gardens, as well as a broad terrace where you can enjoy the beautiful views of the river and sea.
Finally, visit Chellah, a notable historical and nature setting. Once the thriving Roman port city of Sala Colonia, it later became the holy necropolis for the distinguished Merenid Dynasty in the 14th century. Visit the medersa (Koran school), admire the tall minaret and observe the many black storks, herons, egrets and ibises that inhabit the dense vegetation that surrounds the ruins. After sightseeing, you will be privately transferred to Fez. You will stay in luxury Riad or 4 or 5 stars hotel
- Today you’ll take a step back in time to the Middle Ages when you visit Fes El Bali (Old Fez), the world’s largest living medina (walled city) and the cultural heart of Morocco. The city dates back to the 8th century, when Moulay Idriss II moved from Volubilis to found the capital of Morocco’s first independent Islamic Kingdom. Over the centuries Fez prospered due to successive waves of skilled Muslim and Jewish immigrants from Andalucia and Tunisia. The city also benefited from wise sultans who expanded the caravan trade with West Africa and built many medersas (schools). In fact, both Moses Maimonides and Pope Sylvester II studied at Fez’s Al-Karaouine, the oldest, still-functioning university in the world!
Your private tour will explore Old Fez, New Fez (14th century) and the French-built Ville Nouvelle (20th century). Highlights will include the Bou Inania Medersa, Bab Bou Jeloud, Dar Batha ethnographic museum and Nejjarine Square with its beautiful fountain, elaborate mosaics and nearby Fondouq, now converted to a museum of carpentry artifacts. In New Fez, built by the Merinid Dynasty, you’ll see the Royal Palace, mosques, medersas, souks (markets) and the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter notable for its Andalucian architecture and two synagogues.
Tonight, you'll head to Riad Al Kantara where you'll enjoy either a private lecture or a hands-on workshop on traditional Moroccan crafts (mosaics, gypsum carving) or traditional music/instruments (Aoud, Hajhouj, Quanun, Rebad). Another option is to visit an upscale hammam (public bath). Lecture choices: Five Pillars of Islam; Jewish Historical Experience in Morocco; Moroccan Society (family structure, role of women, recent changes in family law); The Most Influential Leaders in Moroccan History; Similarities & Differences between the Arab & Berber people
- This morning you'll be privately transferred to Meknes, another imperial city of Morocco. You'll tour the palace, granaries and stables of the great Moulay Ismail, who ruled Morocco for 55 years and who managed to expel the British, Ottoman Turks, and Spaniards with the help of his highly-trained army of 150,000 slaves from West Africa. Moulay Ismail 's palace was meant to equal French King Louis IV's palace at Versailles. The city walls of Meknes stretch for 16 miles and are interspersed with ceremonial, fortress-style and utilitarian gates. The most spectacular gate is Bab Mansour, named after the architect, a Christian slave, converted to Islam. Also peer into his lavish mausoleum.
After stopping for lunch at Relais de Meknes, you'll take the short drive to Volubilis, the site of the largest and most well preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. The capital of the Roman province of Mauritania, Volubiis was a key Roman outpost that sent vast quantities of olives, wheat and lions to Rome (lions were used in gladiator games in the Coliseum). The evocative ruins include a Roman olive factory and the luxurious House of Orpheus; however, the greatest treasures are the superb mosaic floors, which have been excellently preserved.
Free evening in Fez
- Today's journey to the desert will take you through the popular mountain retreat (and seasonal ski resort) of Ifrane, across the Middle Atlas and High Atlas Mountain ranges and through the incredible Ziz Valley. Thanks to its resident stream, the Ziz valley is a veritable river of lush vegetation (an estimated 2 million date palm trees) that cuts through an otherwise dry region of desert canyons and tepui-like plateaus. The valley is dotted with a string of photogenic kasbahs (fortresses) built to protect families in what remained a lawless land until the 1930s.
Upon arrival in Erfoud, you may relax and/or swim in the pool. Enjoy the starry nighttime desert, sky. Camel trek for a sunset through the dunes this evening 1H to reach the camp berber tents where you will spend the night (dinner and berber folklore music) .
- After breakfast , you begin to explore the area before your camel trek and overnight at the desert camp . Today you will visit the Gnawa , originally slaves brought from Sudan , you will discover their music and lifestyle. Not far away , there is the lake of Merzouga, with its bird and you can also visit the home of nomadic thread where many Berber handicrafts are cheaper than in the big cities people.
The afternoon involved in your camel trek . Guided by an experienced camel , you can explore the sea of golden sand of Merzouga and dinner in front of the tent where you spend the night .
-Early this morning, you'll be transferred in a 4x4 vehicle to the dunes, where you'll embark on a camel trek. Your Berber guide will use all manner of inducements -- clicking sounds, digging steps into the dune, etc -- to motivate the sometimes independent-minded camels in the desired direction. Sit atop a huge, wind-shaped dune and take in the silence and ever-changing hues as the sun comes over the horizon.
After your camel trek, you'll visit a Gnawa village before traveling overland to the oasis city of Ouarzazate, strategically located on routes leading throughout Morocco and into Europe. En route, you'll stop at a small private museum which houses excellent exhibits showcasing the local art, culture and history. You'll also visit the impressive Todra Valley and Gorge (985 ft. high, 165 ft. wide), with Berber villages on either side of the lush palmeraie that slices through the brown rocky desert. Stop for a tasty lunch and then travel along the southern slopes of the High Atlas range and through the Dades Valley, known for its roses, until you reach Ouarzazate .
--leisurely sightseeing in and around Ouarzazate, a town that for centuries was the main trading center for people residing in the Atlas, Draa and Dades valleys. The modern town was built by the French in the 1920s as a garrison town to protect its commercial interests. Since the 1960s, Ouarzazate has been a major movie-making center.
You’ll tour the Taourirt Kasbah, built by the Glaoui brothers, who were the region’s most powerful tribal leaders at the turn of the century. Then continue to Ait Benhaddou, an 11th century fortified village and kasbah that is one of the most scenic sites in the country. Perched on a steep slope, the stronghold protected the clans’ highly-prized supplies of grain and helped them control the caravan route to Telouet. More recently, as the most exotic and best-preserved Kasbah in the Atlas region, Ait Benhaddou has played a major role in motion picture history, featuring in “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Jesus of Nazareth”, “Gladiator” and “The Mummy”. Stroll around the village and perhaps pick up a pyro-aquarela (fire-burned watercolor) painting. (On your way back to Ouarzazate, you may visit the Atlas Film Studios if you are interested. After the visit of the kasbah countinue through the highest mountain pass in Morocco, Tichn’Tichka (7,400 ft), built by the French to replace the main caravan route connecting the north and south. Lying at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains, and framed by the red desert, Marrakech is an enchanting ochre-colored city that is a marvel of sights and sounds, with its minarets, labyrinthine souks, lush green gardens, palaces and honeycombed alleys.
This afternoon you’ll visit the Jardin Majorelle. Originally owned by an acclaimed landscape painter, Jacques Majorelle, the electric-blue villa and garden were bought and expanded by Yves Saint Laurent in the 1960s. Enjoy the impressive garden and small museum of Islamic art.
- Your private tour of Marrakech begins with a visit to the stunningly beautiful Ben Youssef Medersa, a former Koranic boarding school where 900 students also studied algebra, law and astronomy. Originally founded in the 14th century by the Merenids, this medersa was once the largest in North Africa and remains one of the most beautiful. The exquisite zellij patterns and cedar carvings exemplify the Islamic emphasis on decorative arts, not representational art, to inspire reflection.
You’ll then take a walk through the old medina and labyrinth of souks. This maze of colorful alleys and small squares is home to a bewildering number of stalls and ateliers devoted to specific crafts. Emerging, you find yourself in the famous Djemaa el Fna, the city’s main square. No one is really certain how it came into being, but over the last 1,000 years the square has become the heartbeat of Marrakech, where fire eaters, mime artists, snake charmers and street musicians perform at every turn.
Just opposite the square you’ll find the Koutubia Mosque. Built in the 12th century, the very impressive Koutoubia minaret served as inspiration for the architects of the Giralda in Seville and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. Continue on to the Maison Tiskiwin, which features the highly educational and beautifully presented private art collection of Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint. Take an imaginary journey throughout Morocco and southward to Timbuktu, learning about the clothing, art, jewelry, carpets, leatherwork and other artifacts of Berber and Touareg tribes in each region.
Other highlights will include the Saddian Tombs and the Bahia Palace, with its lush green courtyards, incredible painted woodwork ceilings and exquisite gypsum zellij carvings. Tonight, you’ll dine at Palais Souleiman, where you can also enjoy listening to classical/Andaluz and Gnawa music. The palace once belonged to one of Marrakech’s last great chiefs, Caïd Layadi, and its extraordinary architecture has been well-preserved
- Today you’ll enjoy a full day private excursion to the Atlas Mountains, North Africa’s greatest mountain range. You'll stop at the picturesque village of Asni before continuing on to the lovely Berber village of Imlil, where you'll enjoy a short hike or mule ride to Kasbah Toubkal, from which you'll enjoy wonderful views of Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. You'll then proceed to the Ourika Valley for a scenic hike and tea with a rural Berber family. Return to Marrakech
- Morning transfer to Essaouira, a charming port city with warm, engaging people, a rich art and music scene, a laid-back, attractive medina and wide sandy beaches. The city’s colorful history has featured the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Portuguese and French. Essaouira’s free-trade status and the influx of European, Jewish, Arab, Berber and ex-slave West African immigrants helped the city prosper. The varying origins of Essaouira’s inhabitants created its unique character, as evidenced by its folk traditions and art. Even today, the most famous of Morocco’s artists, musicians and intellectuals originate from Essaouira!
This afternoon, you’ll enjoy a private tour of the port, souks and French-designed medina. Stroll along the narrow winding streets lined with artisan workshops, whitewashed houses and colorful shops. You’ll also come across the Mellah, the sizeable old Jewish quarter, as well as the 16th century fortress built by the Portuguese to protect their commercial base of Mogador.
Ramble through the captivating souks and peruse an art gallery or two to see the highly distinctive Gnawa paintings. Then head to the large working port to see the brightly painted fishing trawlers and look out to the îles Purpuraires (Purple Islands), named for the much-prized purple dye that was extracted from the islands’ mollusks by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. Grab a tasty seafood or tagine dish and stroll over to the lovely beach to watch windsurfers. In the Afternoon we will drive back to Marrakech
- If you have late flight the you may visit souks for last minute shopping or more colorful photos. Private airport transfer for your return flight .
- PRIVATE CUSTOMIZED TOURS FOR INDEPENDENT TRAVELERS & SMALL GROUPS (CHOOSE YOUR OWN TRAVEL DATES)NB: Price differed depends on the number of the person in the trip
|Land Cost ;||12 Days 11 Nights|
|4 star hotels / Luxury Riads||0000€ per person|
|5 Star hotels||0000€ per person|
-Easy. This tour is primarily a cultural tour; therefore, all included “soft” adventures are elective and low intensity. Activities include easy hiking, a camel trek, and sightseeing by car and on foot. Soft adventures may be replaced at travelers request with cultural excursions. Because the trip ventures into remote areas, some discomfort may result from the elements, cultural differences, rough roads and schedule changes .
-Accommodations for 12 nights (or 9 nights if you choose that option) in either first class 4 star hotels/riads or 5 star deluxe hotels/riads, based on double occupancy; 20 meals as indicated in itinerary (16 meals with 9 night option); mineral water during sightseeing; private touring with English speaking guide and driver; all included "soft" adventures (easy hiking, camel trek); two informal lectures/seminars; all vehicle transportation and transfers as stated in the itinerary; entrance/park fees; service and handling charges .
- Accommodations are based on double occupancy in either 4 star (first class) or 5 star (deluxe) hotels and riads .
- Morocco can be comfortably visited throughout the year except for the months of July and August, when the average high temperatures in Marrakech and the desert exceed 40 °C. Overall, the very best times of year to visit Morocco are Spring (late March through May) and Fall (Spetember, October and November). Rainfall is generally highest between November and March but it is unpredictable as there are frequent droughts .