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On your first day, you will be picked up and taken to your
accommodation in to unwind and relax. If you have time to spare, or if
you wish, you can have a free walk, either to do some shopping or to
walk around. This day will be a start of our journey. Accommodation
will be in a hotel or a Riad and dinner will be included.
Your adventure tour in Morocco truly begins with a jump start today.
You’ll be picked up by your personal driver and will travel to
Chefchaouen, or ‘Chaouen’ as it’s known locally. This town is a
visual delight in blue; walls, doors, windows; stairways, alleyways
and archways – everything is a combination of soft pastel sky blue and
deeper, more powerful hues. In the afternoon, you are free to explore
at your own pace or simply relax. Outa el Hammam is the main
square, and a place to watch the world goes by. Walk up the tiny
alleys away from the more tourist orientated areas and you will find
the every-day life of the town.
In the morning, you will be fully ready to discover more about the
‘Blue Town’ on this free day. Meander the mystical medina, which,
despite the number of intriguing shops, is still mainly residential, and
where for every shop selling tourist gifts there are twenty supplying
the neighborhood with its daily requirements; shoe repairs, groceries,
stationery and sweets, a tailor sewing an elegant djellaba, butchers,
bakers (one of the centers of life in each quartier) although candle-
stick makers don’t seem to have survived Moroccan life as lived by
the people of Chaouen. Of course, there is the new town, which has
some lovely examples of Andalusian architecture and a charming park
at the end of Avenida Mohammed V. Your driver is at your disposal if
you would like to make a short excursion into the Rif Mountains.
You say goodbye to Chefchaouen and head south to Volubilis, the
most important and extensive remains of a Roman city in Morocco,
and one of the most distant of the Empire’s domain, thanks to the
powerful Berber tribes who showed themselves to be more than a
match for the conquering legionnaires. Once one of the most
important regions producing grain to feed the voracious Roman
appetite, and wild animals to keep the crowds entertained as they tried
to devour gladiators in the arena, this prosperous provincial city was
home to some 200,000 residents at the height of its glory. The
importance of the city is reflected in the Capitoline temple, the
Basilica, said to be one of the most beautiful in Africa in its day, and
its 1,300 square meter Forum, with sumptuous mosaics still to be seen
in some of the most luxurious homes.
You move on to Moulay Idriss, which, from a distance, looks like a
sitting camel. The oldest town in Morocco, it was founded by Moulay
Idriss I in 789, having fled Mecca because of religious and tribal
conflicts. It was here that the Idrisid dynasty was founded, and the
town has the only round minaret in Morocco. You end today in on of
Morocco’s four imperial cities, Fez, where you can prepare for
tomorrow’s fascinating tour around this delightful medieval city.
Today will be a great opportunity to see UNESCO protected Fez
Medina through the eyes of a local, with your own private guide. Your
tour lasts from 9:30am until 5:30pm with a break for lunch. Before
you head out in the morning, you can discuss with your guide which
sights you would like to see most, it really would be worth your while
to put yourself in his hands and allow him to show you the mysteries
and secrets of the nine thousand streets and alleyways that make up
this amazing historic city. In the evening, you will return to your
accomodatio, where you will have dinner.
Depart early from fez you will begin your ascent. We pass through
Ifrane, a winter ski resort in a totally un Moroccan style built by the
French in the 1930’s to resemble a Swiss village; we then visit the
cedars forest in Azrou, where you will see the monkeys , drive across
the Middle Atlas Mountains. Most of the day will be spent winding
your way through the beautiful forests, springs, jagged rock faces, and
Berber villages as you cross the Atlas Mountains before continuing
ahead to the Ziz Valley. In this oasis valley, you will have lunch with
our local host in his family’s traditional Moroccan home. This is your
chance to learn about Moroccan family life, but not by simply asking
questions, more by just being there – and any children in your group
will have a great time petting the family donkey and goats, and maybe
even feeding the chickens.
Before lunch, you can enjoy a short walk through the date palms and
farms of what is the biggest date-producing region in Morocco. And
you will be surprised to see that not all date palms tower over you,
because there are 283 recognized varieties of date grown in the
country, the most delicious (and expensive) of which are known as
Mejhoul. After a relaxing night in the hotel, you’ll be fully rested for
the next day’s Sahara adventure.
After Breakfast at your hotel and transfer, you to the airport of
Casablanca or Marrakech according to your flight schedule. End of
Rise with the dawn to watch the sun beginning its daily arc with a cool
blue morning sky as it illuminates the desert shadows before
becoming a glowing ball of fire. You will return to a local hotel,
where a welcome hot shower and breakfast awaits. Your first stop en
route is Tinjedad where lunch is available. If time allows, we will visit
Ksar El Khorbat, a roofed-over town whose dark streets are streaked
with intermittent patches of sunlight, and which houses a delightfully
worn-at-the-edges cultural museum. Tonight, you will be staying in
the Skoura palm grove, known as the Valley of Kasbahs.
On your second day in Skoura, you will have the day free to relax in
this garden oasis, enjoy a walk, and reflect upon the experiences you
have had this far. An extra day in this off-the-beaten path bit of
paradise comes highly recommended!
When you leave Skoura your road takes you in the direction of
Ouarzazate, the Hollywood of Africa, where the Atlas Studios is
reputed to be one of the largest movie studios in the world. Although
many of our travelers opt not to visit the film studio, the Kasbah de
Taorirt in town is worth a stop. It was once owned by the Glaoui
family, one of the richest and most powerful in the area, whose vast
wealth came in part from levies charged on the camel trains that
passed through their territory carrying gold, spices and slaves from
Timbuktu on their journey to the markets of Marrakech and beyond.
Your most vivid memory from today will be of your visit to Ait Ben
Haddou, a UNESCO world heritage site, which, as well as being the
best extant example in the area of a walled town protected by
Kasbahs, the homes of the wealthy and powerful, has been the
backdrop to many Hollywood blockbusters and major historical
television programs, including Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia. If
you are a fan of A Game of Thrones you will recognize Ait Ben
Haddou from the final scene of series three. (The series has used a
number of locations around Morocco.)
From Ait Ben Haddou, you may wish to continue to the lesser-visited
(and possibly more impressive) area of Telouet. Here, you can
meander about the former palace of the Glaoui family and even enjoy
lunch with a private local (once celebrity) Berber singer chanting of
days gone by. The last leg of today’s journey is over the High Atlas
Mountains on the impressive zig-zag of Tiz n Tichka pass, eventually
to arrive in Marrakesh where you may have time to explore the famed
Jemaa el-Fnaa Square before dinner is served in the riad.
This is your discovery day in the Red City, aided by your private
guide who will meet with you in the morning at your riad to discuss
the day’s possibilities. Leave the everyday behind as you dive into the
souks, the markets that have provided Marrakschis with all their needs
for over one thousand years. Vibrant colors, rich aromas, cat-calls and
music, merchants in djellabas, street chefs in white hats, whatever
your image of the exotic is you will find it in Marrakech. A visit to the
Museum of Photography or the Majorelle Gardens are also highly
recommended.. The tour lasts from 9:30am until 5:30pm and includes
From Marrakesh, you will head to the most laid-back beach town in
Morocco. In addition, whatever you may have heard to the contrary,
Jimi Hendrix did not write Castles Made of Sand in Essaouira,
because it was written two years before he visited in 1969.
Nevertheless, a good story anyway, and one that the locals play on to
the most. Essaouira has only recently been discovered by the tourist
trade, so it’s still life as lived by the locals, so follow their lead by
taking a stroll along the ramparts.
You will have the day free to explore Essaouira. The beach is a nice
place for a stroll or run. It is also a great spot to enjoy a horseback ride
at sunset. Some locals do offer camel rides on the beach as well. For
the sports-oriented traveler, Essaouira is home to some fine wind and
kitesurfing schools. Beyond the beach, you can spend hours in the
medina – artisans, little shops, hidden vistas, and other gems are worth
exploring. Tonight might be a great time to enjoy a local fish dish
should the catch of the day be tempting.
At your leisure, you can travel up the coast to the town of El Jadida
for an overnight before tomorrow’s departure. El Jadida is our new
cove for Casablanca airport departures since its quieter, more relaxing,
offers a wonderful guesthouse stay with scrumptious dinner and is
relatively the same distance to the airport as Casablanca.
Your Morocco adventure will be coming to an end today. We truly
hope you enjoyed your journey.