ABOUT STAY AT A RIAD: traditional Moroccan house. The term comes from the Arab word ‘ryad’ (meaning ‘garden’) but is applied to townhouses built around an inner courtyard or garden. The windows of each room face into the courtyard in line with the Islamic idea of privacy and inward reflection. Riads provide traditional hotel accommodation but what sets them apart from regular hotels is that your experience is steeped in the culture and history of Morocco. Riads are not large establishments, and many have less than 10 rooms – but each one is unique. What makes them so special is that each room is individually decorated, incorporating intricate Moroccan architecture and beautiful tilework to bring out the room’s beauty and personality. Floors tend to be tiled rather than carpeted, with bathrooms displaying vibrant Moroccan tile work. Expect hanging lanterns, colorful textiles, hand-woven carpets and carved wood as popular style elements.
DAY 1: WELCOME TO MOROCCO – CASABLANCA
Arrive in Casablanca, meeting assistance upon arrival and transfer to Hotel. Rest of the day is free to adjust with time difference. Meet your tour guide this evening for tour briefing. Followed by welcome Dinner. HOTEL ODYSSEE CENTER – Dinner
DAY 2: CASABLANCA – RABAT – MEKNES – FES
Good morning in Casablanca! the economic and financial capital and the second largest port city in Morocco. After Breakfast, visit the Hassan II Mosque, an important religious and cultural site built on the sea and dominated by its 210m high minaret. Continue towards the capital Rabat, where we will visit the Royale Palace, the youngest world heritage site. Next tour through the old town on way to the Hassan Tower, the magnificent mausoleum of Mohammed V and the Kasbah of the Oudaias with its dreamlike Andalusian Garden. Next stop at the Versailles of Morocco `Meknes’, its souks are considered the most beautiful, the tomb of Moulay Ismail, who brought Islam to Morocco, is unsurpassed in its splendor. From the city gate of Bab Mansour to the royal palace, all are a visual feast to the eye. We end our tour at the oldest imperial town of Fes. RIAD SAALAM – Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 3: FES – CITY DISCOVERY & COOKING CLASS
Tour today offers opportunity to wander in the intellectual and religious heart of Morocco. Every house, every door and every stone in Fes will tell you about its fascinating history. Smells of the Oriental spices and more are gathered here. You will find mysterious spices piled up to form decorative cones, and screamingly colorful scented flowers, shops and locals offer unique photographing opportunities. In the souk alleys, you will witness tanning, dyeing, turning, forging, and engraving too. Learn about the royal palace, the Jewish quarter, the Koranic school Bou Inania and the main mosque El Karaouine. Time free to have lunch on your own.
In the afternoon join a local family in the Souk, where we will learn as well as help buying the ingredients and the spices used to prepare traditional dishes. Later in the house of the local family, we will have opportunity to learn the recipes of the traditional cuisine under the supervising eyes of a chef. Participate in the cooking class which also give us opportunity to learn about family life and the local culture. We will learn to make traditional bread and delicious salads. The main meal can be lamb Tagine with prunes, fish, or chicken tagine, Tagine with olives, beef tagine with pears and oranges, couscous with seven vegetables and meats. After the class, we enjoy the cooked dishes and an opportunity to mingle with the family. The dinner is followed by tasting the delicious mint tea and pastries. Return back to our hotel in the evening. RIAD SAALAM – Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 4: FES – MIDELT
Traveling south, today we climb steadily into the dramatic landscapes of the Middle Atlas, through a magnificent cedar forest with possibility to see & photograph wild monkeys enroute. We headfirst towards Immouzer and Ifrane passing near the small mountain village of Azrou, which in the Berber language means ‘The rock’. This is the land of the fiercely independent Berbers, the Lords of the Atlas, whose traditions, and ways still hold sway up here in their mountain strongholds far away from the cities below. The Berbers present us with a unique view of a way of life lost to the rest of North Africa, with music and dance, explaining their language and religion etc. RIAD VILLA MIDELT – Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 5: MIDELT – ERFOUD – MERZOUGA
After crossing the high Atlas at Tizi N’Tairhemt camel pass, we continue via the Gorge du Ziz to Er Rachidia and the Ziz valley dotted with palm trees, fortified villages, and Berber farming communities. Watch the continuous landscape changes until we arrive to Erfoud, known for its precious and unique fossils. Back 500 million years ago, Sahara Desert was under water. On the outskirts of Erfoud you can visit impressive fossil filled marble workshops and other type of fossil varieties such as trilobites and ammonites. Continue through arid desert plains that will bring us to Merzouga at the feet Erg Chebi dunes. RIAD MADU – Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 6: MERZOUGA: JEEP SAFARI – NOMAD FAMILY & CAMEL RIDE
A day of unforgettable moments await us on our excursion to the Sahara today. Participate to bring the largest desert in North Africa alive. An audacious drive on the Jeep will take us around the dunes, discovering different kind of desert. After crossing a dried river, we will search for the solitude of nomadic Berbers and find it among the Gnaoua, whose ancestors were slaves from the south of the Sahara. With barrel drums, longnecked sounds and rattling vessels they have created their own indicative, which was originally intended to drive away evil spirits that sometimes lasted twelve hours. Enjoy Lunch in the village before we take the blue men role and ride our camels from dune to dune in the endless desert before arriving at our Bedouin tents. Evening offers opportunity to enjoy the desert sunset (subject to weather) before returning back to the hotel in Merzouga for another relaxing night! RIAD MADU – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
DAY 7: MERZOUGA – TOUDGHA GORGE – BOUMALNE DADES
Rise early this morning to watch the sunrise. After breakfast we take the road towards Tinjdad where we will visit the Berber Museum of Khorbat that offers:
* Antiquities and objects of traditional use
* 49 explanatory color photographs.
* 33 historic photographs.
* 17 maps and sketches.
* 14 scale models and reproduction.
Enjoy lunch with a family inside the Kasbah before continuing towards the mysterious Kasbahs, ghost routes and rose gardens. We will arrive at the Todra Gorge which is 300 meters high and seem to have collapsed above us as we take the walk. HOTEL XALUCA DADES – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
DAY 8: BOUMALNE DADES – KELAAT M’GOUNA – OUARZAZATE
Today we will get lost in the beautiful Valley of Roses, famous for its beautiful rose gardens and adobe villages. Explore the village of Boutaghrar, known as the little “Moroccan Colorado” located at the foot of the high Atlas. Stroll through the village and meet the Berbers who will be happy to share with you family like moments and may even invite you for a meal. We will discover some beauty secrets in a cooperative in Kalaat m’gouna that prepares products as soap, Rose extracts, rose-based mask, rosebuds that comes from the plantations of the oasis and many other products like the Baldi couscous. Witness the rose festival before continuing to the gate of the desert Ouarzazate. RIAD DER CHAMAA – Breakfast & Dinner
Attend Rose festival: Celebrations include traditional Berber food, music and dancing, as well as a street-parade with brightly colored floats covered in paper roses. The elected Rose Queen of the festival travels on one of the floats and the parade includes Berber dancing with female dancers being accompanied by male drummers as they proceed down the main street.
DAY 9: OUARZAZATE – AIT BEN HADDOU – MARRAKECH
After an early Breakfast or box breakfast we will revisit the Rose festival before continuing to our next destination that you probably have already seen in a dream or in the Hollywood films, shot here the likes of “Sodom and Gomorrah”, “Lawrence of Arabia” or “Gladiator”. Visit the castle named Ait Benhaddou! From the middle of the castles, we drive along the Ounila valley with its small Berber villages built down the cliffs. On the way to Telouet, we will see some cave dwellings that have been carved into hillside. The existence of the caves proved fortuitous for the Berber tribes; who for centuries have used them to hide from invaders. Enroute to Telouet, visit the Kasbah and continue through the snake road “Tichka” crossing at 2260m of altitude before arriving in Marrakech. RIAD LES TROIS PLAMIERS – Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 10: MARRAKECH TOUR
Breakfast at Hotel and enjoy a morning of leisure at our Riad. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before embarking on a guided tour to explore a city that has been for centuries a meeting place for the mountain Berbers and the desert peoples of the south like many North African towns, Marrakech is divided into two distinct parts, the Gueliz (the modern French built city) and the Medina (the Old City). We start our tour visiting the Koutoubia Mosque, largest mosque in Marrakech Next on the tour is a visit to the fascinating Saadian Tombs and Bahia Palace and museum built to be the most impressive palace of its time, capturing the essence of both Islamic and Moroccan style architecture. We end tour in the Djamaa el Fna where the town becomes a maze of bustling bazaars, palaces and mosques with the food stalls, snake charmers, water sellers and acrobats, it is a place of nighttime entertainment for both local people and tourists. Transfer back to Hotel after tour or stay at the Bazaar and return on your own after dinner at local restaurant. RIAD LES TROIS PLAMIERS – Breakfast & Lunch
DAY 11: MARRAKECH
Enjoy leisurely breakfast at Hotel. This afternoon, we will travel by caleche (horse and carriage) to one of Marrakech’s most splendid gardens. The painter Jacques Majorelle laid out his famous garden in 1931 with exotic plants, bougainvillea, cacti and ornate fountains. He painted the walls of his art deco villa a vibrant ultramarine to match the Marrakech skies. The property now belongs to the estate of the late Yves Saint Laurent and houses a museum of Islamic art. RIAD LES TROIS PLAMIERS – Breakfast & Lunch
DAY 12: DAY AT LEISURE
Full day of leisure to explore the city on your own. This evening join fellow tour members to share stories and experiences over farewell dinner. RIAD LES TROIS PLAMIERS – Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 13: DEPART MOROCCO
Time free until departure assistance and transfer to the airport for your flight. – Breakfast
LAND TOUR PRICE: 2022 & 2023
$2,598.00 per person sharing.
Single room- $3,538.00
CASH/CHECK DISCOUNT PRICE:
$2,460.00 per person sharing.
Single room- $3,362.00
CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL AIRFARES FROM YOUR HOME CITY. Low discounted fares are available in Economy, Premium economy, Business & First class.
Note: Itinerary subject to change in the event Rose festival dates are changed by organizers.