Morocco: Northern Africa’s Cultures, Cuisine, & Camels
In this mosaic country at the nexus of the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, experience cultural influences from Berber, Arabian and European influences. On your journey to Morocco, traverse the intricate and colorful contours that shape this kingdom. Get lost in the narrow streets of the old medina in Fes, thick with the smell of spices and freshly tanned leather and wander the still-intact mosaics of an ancient Roman town. Explore the market square of Marrakech, as busy today as it was in the 11th century, as the dissonant chorus of Alahullakbar rolls over the city at sunset. Taste sweet mint tea, eat steaming take in expanses of windblown dunes, and travel with the country’s best guides, artisans, intellectuals, and chefs.
- Get lost in some of the oldest medinas and markets in the world.
- Earthly wonders. From its beautiful ocean border, the vast Sahara Desert, the reach of the High Atlas Mountains to the depths of Todra Gorge, Morocco’s topography will keep your eyes opened wide. Coupled with incredible hospitality, an unforgettable homestay, and charming Bedouin tents in the desert, the topography will feel alive!
- Stay in charming, quaint riads (guesthouses) and interact with locals each night over delicious home-cooked meals.
- Ride camels into dramatic landscapes and spend the night under clear, deep skies learning about the constellations from the perspective of Bedouin astronomy.
- Rock the Kasbah when you explore a partially restored 17th Century Kasbah Amridil or while enjoying dinner served by the fireplace at the family-run Kasbah
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- Upon arrival in Casablanca, meet your private guide and hosts at Mohammed V International Airport.
- Located right on the beach, settle into your coastal Casablanca quarters.
- Take a siesta from the overnight flight or enjoy one of the numerous pools at the hotel, enjoy a walk along the beach, or perhaps enjoy a rejuvenating spa or hammam treatment.
- Hammam culture is an ancient and integral part of Moroccan life, and you’ll learn why water is considered sacred. In a part of the world where family and community are the cornerstones of society, the hammam is deeply rooted in an everyday communal life-setting where people go to socialize, gossip, do business, and even arrange marriages. Your guides will have plenty of suggestions if you wish to explore the neighborhood.
- In the evening, enjoy your first taste of Morocco at Rick's Cafe, a re-creation of the bar made famous in the classic movie Casablanca featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, now a city institution nestled in the walls of the Old Medina. If your preference is to walk a different path, find a traditional Moroccan cafe to experience Casablanca like a local.
- Following dinner, you may prefer to get some rest or explore the lively night scene and the crashing waves amid wafting African coastal tunes. Besseha!
CASABLANCA - RABAT
- After breakfast, take a brief overview tour of the famed city of Casablanca, the chief port of Morocco, where you will be granted access to the Hassan II Mosque, one of the most important and beautiful structures in the country.
- Depart for Rabat (a 1.5-hour drive) to discover a display of Moroccan architecture that spans thousands of years and maintains an authentic and often consistent style. After lunch in Morocco's capital, enjoy a guided exploration of the courtyard the ruins of Chellah, the Mohammed V Mausoleum, and the Hassan Tower.
- The rest of the day is yours to wander the Old Medina or go to a local bathhouse, or hammam.
RABAT - VOLUBILIS - MEKNES
- After breakfast in your Rabat accommodations, head on a two-hour drive to Volubilis, an ancient Roman town built and occupied since the 3rd century BC, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Traverse the abandoned ruins, still dotted with colorful mosaics and glimpses into neighborhood life so many centuries ago. Atop many of the columns, spot black and white storks carefully guarding their nests.
- After a short drive arrive in Meknes. Take a walking tour of Meknes, the second of the four imperial cities of Morocco that you will visit. See the beautiful architectural sites of El Hdim Square, the medina and the city walls, and the imposing and lavish Bab El Mansour gate-the entrance to the old city. Grab an afternoon snack here on your own accord as you enjoy some time to wander this imperial treasure.
- In the evening, have an opportunity to explore Meknes. More mint tea and on your own dinner awaits you before you head to bed for some well-deserved sleep.
MEKNES - FES
- After breakfast at your hotel, drive the hour to Fes, one of the oldest cities in Morocco.
- Explore the alluring Old Medina. Start at the Royal Palace Gate, wandering through the alleys and small streets with a local guide, who will give an overview of the expansive maze.
- Enter the old city, Fes el-Bali, which is also the world's largest car-free zone (it's hard to navigate an SUV around 9,400 tiny alleyways). The lofty Blue Gate, known as the Grande Porte Bab Boujeloud, marks the entrance to the inner medina of Fes.
- Peer through the gates of Al Qaraouine University, the oldest known university in the world, which also has the world's oldest working library.
- The most magical part of the Fes medina is getting lost within it. Make sure you know how to ask for directions back to the Grande Porte, set a time to reconvene, and then let you go ahead and get properly lost before you eventually find your way back. Encounter markets, mosques, crafts, foods, teas, and countless other discoveries along the way.
FEZ - MERZOUGA
- After breakfast, make your way to Merzouga, spend the night dusting off your astronomy under the desert stars.
- Experience a wonderful panorama view over the old city of Fes from the hilltop of the Merenid Tombs, the crumbling ruins of Moroccan royalty, quietly gazing out over a modernizing landscape.
- Stop in Ifrane, often referred to as the “Switzerland of Morocco” in its bizarre design as a small alpine village, it seems as out of place as it fits right in.
- Continue on to Merzouga, a village next to the largest natural underground body of water in Morocco. It serves as the last oasis before entry into the desert.
- Arrive among the dunes, swap your wheels for dromedaries, and ride your camels into the Sahara at sunset.
- Dine tonight in a tented camp. Over fresh-cooked food learn traditional music within a community that has survived in the sands for centuries and learn where the term "Berber" originates.
- Sleep snuggled between Saharan dunes and under some of the most spectacular and mesmerizing displays of stars. You can choose to sleep inside the semi-permanent tents or right out directly under the stars.
MERZOUGA - SKOURA
- Catch the sunrise over the Erg Chebbi: glowing, brilliant orange dunes that rise as high as 150 meters.
- Journey to see the lush valleys of Tourong and Tinjdad as the bus navigates the switchbacks through the roads of the Dades Gorge.
- Take in the view of the massive canyon walls of the Todra Gorge, considered one of the most spectacular canyons in the world, as the journey continues on through the Atlas Mountains.
- Arrive in the quaint village of Skoura and explore the partially restored 17th Century Kasbah Amridil.
- That evening enjoy dinner served by the fireplace at the family-run Kasbah.
SKOURA - MARRAKECH
- After breakfast, visit Ait Benhaddou, a majestic and mostly abandoned ancient city. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture, and the city summit offers a 360- degree panorama over the surrounding landscape. Have lunch in the adjacent town, offering terrace views out over Ait Benhaddou.
- Arrive in Marrakech as sunset glints off the city's orange trees and have a free night to enjoy this cosmopolitan city where old meets new.
- Enjoy local delicacies and mint tea over views of the stunning Jemaa el-Fnaa, a bustling square in the center of the city.
- The most magical part of the medina is getting lost within it. Start with an overview tour, making sure everyone knows how to ask for directions, and then get properly lost in the winding streets before making our way home. Encounter endless markets, mosques, crafts, foods, teas, and countless other discoveries along the way.
- Freshen up for a celebratory rooftop feast. After dinner, meet the snake charmers, magicians, and local artisans that populate Jemaa el-Fnaa square late at night.
MARRAKECH - DEPARTURE
- Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the riad, savoring your final sips of coffee and mint tea.
- Go for a short wander and last spin around the medina before departing for Casablanca to catch afternoon and evening flights back to the United States.
Unlike most tour operators, you are not required to choose a fixed date or travel with a group. You can choose to begin your private tour on any date.
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