Highlights Of Morocco

Feature Image

Highlights Of Morocco! For sheer diversity, Morocco is the perfect destination. Where else is it possible to explore ancient cities, take a camel ride to the desert, walk in the mountains and stroll along a sandy beach. During this tour we explore Marrakech, Meknes and Fez, with their crowded bazaars.

Activities Camel Trek
Village Walk
Train Ride
History & Culture

Arrive in Fez

imagesDay 1: On arrival in Fez, you will be met by tour representatives and transferred to your hotel. This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive at any time. Note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. The balance of the day is free to explore your surroundings and your tour leader may make contact in the evening.

Fez

imagesDay 2: We dive straight into our Morocco experience with a full day's tour of Fez, which is the intellectual and religious centre of Morocco. Founded over a thousand years ago, Fez has many mosques and medersas (theological colleges) including the 9th century Karouine University, whose architecture is very similar to that seen in Moorish Spain. The medina in Fez is one of the largest in the world. In its immense and confusing warren of souks are thousands of craftsmen with their tiny shops opening onto the narrow alleyways. Noisy and pungent, hot and claustrophobic, the medina of Fez is a totally absorbing and unique experience. Our city guide shall walk us through different sections of the souk - from the dyers souk to the brass and copper souks. And of course, no visit to Fez is complete without a visit to the tanneries. Outside the medina we shall visit the Jewish District (mellah), the exterior of the Royal Palace and drive to a panoramic viewpoint over the medina. We shall also visit the potteries where the famous mosaic tables are made from the grey clay of the Rif Mountains.

Fez - Volubilis - Rabat

imagesDay 3: Today, we leave Fez, travelling through rolling fields and past the occasional lake. This northern plain is one of the most fertile areas of Morocco and is also the main wine-growing region of Morocco. Our first stop is the historical Roman site of Volubilis which is situated near the most holy town in Morocco, Moulay Idriss. Volubilis nestles in a beautiful green valley and this Roman site is the largest and best-preserved in Morocco with superb mosaics. Our next stop is Meknes, the capital of the gruesome 17th Century Sultan Moulay Ismail. The old buildings and impressive city gates reflect the historical significance of this city (it was once the heart of the Moroccan sultanate). Moulay Ismail's mausoleum is situated here. However, you will find it a far more compact and navigable Imperial City than Fez! Our final destination for today is Rabat that is the diplomatic and government capital. Although second to Casablanca in importance and, although mostly modern, it does have an excellent old quarter, and we shall fit in a visit to the beautifully situated Mhd V Mausoleum and Tour Hassan.

Rabat - Casablanca - Essaouira

imagesDay 4: We leave Rabat for Casablanca, a modern, commercial seaport - and in complete contrast to the Morocco we have so far experienced. We shall have a brief orientation tour, by bus, including a photo-stop of the exterior of the third largest mosque in the world - the Hassan II mosque, before continuing along the coast via El Jadida where we stop for lunch, and Safi to the picturesque town of Essaouira.

Essaouira

imagesDay 5: A free day in Essaouira which is a charming old Portuguese fishing port on the Atlantic Coast. The settlement dates back to the fifteenth century, but the present town was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, the town is extremely relaxed and its whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan's workshops, boatyards and fishermen provide a marked contrast to the cities we have visited so far on this trip. There is time for some shopping in the medina, or for a walk along the long sandy beach. Check out the ramparts overlooking the Ocean, and the charming fishing harbour full of bobbing blue boats. There are lots of pleasant cafes and some outstanding seafood restaurants for our evening meal. The town is perhaps at its best in the late afternoon and early morning when the day visitors have yet to arrive or have already left.

Essaouira - Marrakech

imagesDay 6: In the morning, we head inland to our next Imperial City, Marrakech, briefly stopping off for a look around the Terre des Jeunes project on the outskirts of the city. It's here, in Marrakech, that we shall enjoy two nights of luxury accommodation, as our hotel is a charming Riad with individually decorated bedrooms and a beautiful courtyard and roof terrace. The afternoon is free for you to relax, or to start on your exploration of this busy and atmospheric city. Don't miss an evening visit to the Djemma el Fna, the open-air central square around which Marrakech revolves. With its food stalls, snake charmers, water-sellers and acrobats, it is a place of night-time entertainment for both local people and overseas tourists.

Marrakech

imagesDay 7: In the morning, we have a guided tour (on foot) to help us find our feet and soak up the atmosphere of this amazing city. Our city guide will walk us from the exterior of the Koutoubia Mosque through the souks and old streets of the medina to the Koranic School and the Museum of Marrakech, finishing up in the Djemma el Fna. The town is a maze of bustling bazaars, palaces and mosques and a great place to pick up some souvenirs. The afternoon is free for you to spend more time in the labyrinthine souks or to visit the Badia or Bahia Palaces or the Saadian tombs. Why not relax by taking a ½ hour Calèche ride (a bright green horse-drawn carriage) to the Majorelle Gardens? These tranquil gardens are decorated throughout in Indigo Blue and there is a small museum of Islamic Art in the grounds. A final treat would be to have a hammam, a traditional Moroccan steam bath.

Marrakech - High Atlas Mountains - Telouet - Anmiter

imagesDay 8: Today we have an early start as we drive over the flat, arid plains of Marrakech before starting to climb up a zig-zag road on our drive towards the High Atlas Mountains. We cross Tizi'n'Tichka, which at 2,260m, is the highest road pass in Morocco. The scenery is spectacular and there are some wonderful views of the mountains. Shortly after the pass, we branch east along a reasonable road through a wide flat mountain valley, briefly stopping to take a look at Telouet, the home of the feudal lords of the Atlas, the Glaoui clan. This palace now stands abandoned and crumbling so we are no longer able to go inside this labyrinthine, fairy-tale structure. 10km further, we arrive at the road head at Anmiter and here we leave our bus. We take an hour's picturesque walk on a gentle uphill gradient to our simple but welcoming mountain gîte (our overnight bags will be transported to the gîte for us). The late afternoon is free to relax with a book and enjoy the mountain views, or to take a stroll through this beautiful landscape and learn a little more about the lives of the hardy but friendly Berber people.

Anmiter - Tinerhir - Todra Gorge

imagesDay 9: Leaving the gite, we walk back to the bus and continue our journey south towards Ouarzazate. Our route today takes us along the 'Route of a Thousand Kasbahs' to the silver-mining market town of Tinerhir. From here, we head into Todra Gorge for the night. Our hotel is located within this impressive gorge with its vertical cliff walls rising up to 400m and in the evening, we can watch the rocks change colour with the setting sun.

Todra Gorge - Sahro Mountains - Zagora - Nakhla

imagesDay 10: We leave Todra Gorge and drive alongside the Sahro Mountains on a small (and very recently tarmacked road) to the village of Alnif which is in typical pre-desert countryside. We continue through Tazzarine towards Zagora through stony desert, palm groves and past small cultivated fields, arriving at the oasis town of Zagora. Situated right on the edge of the Sahara, this town was formerly a starting point from which traders set off on their arduous journey across the desert to Timbuktu. In the late afternoon we experience a genuine Saharan experience - a two-hour camel trek out of Zagora to Nakhla, on the edge of the desert. Here we spend the night at a simple Bedouin camp and we may get the opportunity to see how desert bread is made. As an alternative to sleeping in a Bedouin-style tent, why not spend a night under the stars?

Nakhla - Zagora - Draa Valley - Ouarzazate

imagesDay 11: After sunrise and breakfast we return, by camel, to Zagora. We head north along the Draa Valley, a huge palmery containing over four million palm trees, edged by many ksours (fortified villages). Leaving the shattered orange and brown-coloured rocks of the Jebel Sahro behind us, we arrive at Ouarzazate in time for lunch. In the afternoon, we visit the well-preserved kasbah of Ait Benhaddou. This 16th Century UNESCO site is one of the most spectacular kasbahs in Morocco and has been made famous as the location of several Hollywood films, including 'Gladiator'. We spend the last night of our incredible trip in Ouarzazate.

Ouarzazate

imagesDay 12: Your trip ends today, after breakfast. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time.

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