Discover Morocco

♦ Start: Casablanca
♦ Finish: Marrakech

Morocco is a country of many landscapes, as varied as the colors woven into each carpet. It has been overwhelming hapless travelers for centuries. It’s a country diverse with food, religion, language and culture. Experience the energy of the imperial cities of Rabat and Marrakech as you explore the winding streets of the ancient medinas and souks, watch the sun rise above the highest sand dunes, ride camels into the Sahara Desert, and immerse yourself in the exotic colors and cultures that define Morocco.

Duration

11 nights/ 12 days

Physical Rating

Activities

Hiking, Walking, Culinary, Camel Riding, Rock Climbing (optional), Horseback Riding (optional)

Places Visited

Casablanca, Rabat, Chefchaouen, Tangier, Marrakech, High Atlas Mountains, Ait Benhaddou, Dades Valley, Todra Gorge, Merzouga/ Sahara Desert, Ouarzazateh

Highlights

  • Wander ancient medinas and kasbahs
  • Visit the grand Mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca, one of the most impressive in Morocco
  • Practice your photography skills in the blue city of Chefchaouen, one of the most beautiful cities in Morocco
  • Ride a camel into the Sahara Desert
  • Learn how to make traditional Moroccan cuisine in a cooking class
  • Go hiking in the High Atlas Mountains Mountains, home to North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal
  • Journey along the Road of 1000 Kasbahs through the Valley of the Roses to the famous Ait Ben Haddou, where many movies have been filmed

Is this trip right for you?

  • There will be several days which you’ll be on your feet for at least five to six hours, but it will be well worth any weariness at the end of the long day.
  • You will take a camel trek through the Sahara. This is a great way to experience the desert, but if you’d prefer, it’s possible to walk alongside the caravan on the sand for about an hour. You’ll need to walk back the same distance the next morning, but don’t worry, the walk is not very demanding and you can manage with a basic level of fitness.
  • While in the desert, you’ll be sleeping in a standard desert Berber camp. The tents are generally made of wool and inside you’ll find carpets or blankets covering the floor and some type of bedding. Blankets and pillows are provided. There are toilets, but no showers.
  • There’s an overnight train on Day 4 of this trip. The train has 4-berth couchette compartments with upper and lower bunks on each side, so you may be sharing the space with the other travelers on your trip. Overnight trains are a great way to meet the locals and other travelers, as well as ensuring you get the maximum time in various destinations.
  • The drive from Chefchaouen to Tangier can be windy in places, so it’s not for the faint of heart. However, the backdrop of the stunning Rif Mountains makes this a truly scenic journey.
  • October is considered one of the best times to travel to Morocco as temperatures begin to decline from the scorching hot summer. The country is divided into two climatic zones by the High Atlas Mountains. In the High Atlas Mountains, average peak temperatures of 82ºF/28°C are possible in the day with night time temperatures averaging 59ºF/15°C. The north coast (Tangier) and the Rif mountains, Chefchaouen) have a Mediterranean style climate: hot and generally continuous sunshine, warm & sunny days interspersed with rainy periods. The Atlantic coast (Casablanca) sees the most rain and temperatures can be a bit cooler with average temperatures 66ºF/19ºC. Contrastingly, south of the High Atlas, the weather is influenced by the Sahara desert and temperatures can be quite hot, average 86ºF/30°C. Though October is slightly wetter than the summer months that have preceded it, there are still only expected to be 6 days in October that experience any type of precipitation. However with up to 21mm of rain likely to fall during the 31 days of the month, there is a chance of a heavy downpour or a thunderstorm during this time.
  • As Morocco has a tipping culture, travelers are expected to tip small amounts for most services, so please be prepared. Your trip leader and the tipping section of our Trip Dossier will help to provide you with some suggestions as to what amounts are appropriate.
  • Although you shouldn’t expect any aggressive selling techniques in Morocco, please be aware that you may be approached by shop owners and street vendors offering their goods to you on regular occasions.
  • We’ve sourced our accommodations very carefully and choose hotels that are clean and centrally located, but please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may be different to western standards.
  • There are a few long drives on this trip. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery and spend some time getting to know the other members of your group.
1

Casablanca

Arrive in Casablanca at any time. There are no planned activities on this day, but there is lots to explore. Casablanca is a port city and commercial hub in western Morocco, fronting the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s French colonial legacy is seen in its downtown Mauresque architecture, a blend of Moorish style and European art deco. Standing partly over the water, the enormous Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993, has a 210m minaret topped with lasers directed toward Mecca.

INCLUDED:

— Airport Transfer

Overnight at Moroccan House Hotel or similar

2

Casablanca/ Rabat (B)

This morning, we’ll spend some time visiting the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco and the 13th largest in the world. We’ll also visit the Marche Central de Casablanca (Central Market) located along the busy shopping street of Mohammed V Boulevard. Crammed with locals, the daily market is a fascinating place to get a taste of local culture.

This afternoon, we’ll hit the road to Rabat, Morocco’s capital. Rabat rests along the shores of the Bouregreg River and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for landmarks that speak to its Islamic and French-colonial heritage, including the Kasbah of the Udayas. This Berber-era royal fort is surrounded by formal French-designed gardens and overlooks the ocean. Also, the Chellah Kasbah is a medieval fortified Muslim necropolis located in the metro area of Rabat. After a guided tour of both landmarks, we’ll visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, which contains the tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. On the opposite side is the city’s iconic Hassan Tower, a 12th-century minaret that soars above the ruins of a mosque.

INCLUDED:

— Guided city tour of Casablanca

— Guided city tour of Rabat

— Meals: Breakfast

Estimated Travel Time: 1.5 hours driving

Overnight at Hotel Oscar or similar

3

Souk El Arbaa/ Ouazzane/ Chefchaouen (B)

After breakfast, we’ll leave Rabat and drive through the port city of Kenitra on the way to the Blue City of Chefchaouen, one of the most beautiful cities in Morocco. Along the way, we’ll also make stops in Souk El Arbaa and the holy city of Ouazzane.

The mountain town of Chefchaouen is often skipped when traveling the standard route around Morocco, but it is truly one of the most special places to visit. Set in the Rif mountains, this town’s white-washed buildings with blue accents make it one of the most picturesque places in the country. The distinctive blue color of the city was added by the Tizi city’s Jewish population who lived as refugees in the 1930’s. The main square is lined with cafes and shops selling a multitude of handicrafts, often not available elsewhere in the country.

Upon arrival, we’ll have lunch in the Chefchaouen medina and you’ll have the rest of the afternoon free to explore. If you’ve never experienced a traditional Moroccan Hammam, or bathhouse, this is a great place to do it!

Optional:

Traditional Moroccan Hammam

INCLUDED:

— Meals: Breakfast

Estimated travel time: 4.5 hours driving

Overnight at Hotel Madrid or similar

4

Chefchaouen/ Tangier (B)

Today, we’ll leave the blue city of Chefchaouen and make our way to Tangier. Located on the Strait of Gibraltar where Africa meets Europe, Tangier is a modern city, similar to other European, Mediterranean cities. Year round, the climate is pleasant with the ocean breeze always around each corner.

A popular tourist destination because of its proximity to Europe, Tangier offers delicacies found nowhere else in Morocco. Until 1956, Tangier was part of Europe and the spoken language was Spanish. The Spanish are now gone but their influences can still be felt. Nowadays, many people in Tangier speak French or Arabic, with a minority speaking Spanish.

Upon arrival, we’ll have lunch in the Medina and explore the Kasbah. The ancient fortifications are impressive amidst the modernized buildings that have sprung up inside the fortress.

At the appropriate time, we’ll transfer to the train station for the overnight train to Marrakech.

INCLUDED:

— Guided Walking Tour of the Tangier Medina & Kasbah

— Overnight train from Tangier to Marrakech

— Meals: Breakfast

Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours driving/ 10 hours by train

Overnight on a Sleeper Train

5

Marrakech (B, L)

We’ll arrive in Marrakech at approximately 8am by train. Marrakech is the fourth largest city in Morocco and is a feast for the senses. The “Red City” is a magical place, brimming with markets, gardens, palaces, and mosques. Upon arrival, we’ll check into a day use hotel where we’ll have breakfast and take a shower.

At 11am, we’ll have a cooking class in a riad in the old medina and then visit the Majorille Garden, a two-and-a-half-acre botanical garden and artist’s landscape garden. It was created by French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle over almost forty years.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit the medina to really get a taste of everyday life in Marrakech. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating back to the Berber Empire. We’ll explore the Saadian tombs, which were discovered in 1917 and date back to the time of the Saadian dynasty sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). We’ll next take a walk through the Jewish quarter, visit Bahia Palace, and then finish our tour at Jemaa El Fna, the main square in Marrakech.

INCLUDED:

— Cooking Class

— Visit the Majorille Garden

— Guided tour of Marrakech Medina

— Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Overnight at Goumassine Hotel or similar

6

Imlil/ Armed (B, L, D)

Today, we’ll take a drive up the towering High Atlas Mountains, home to North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal. It’s also home to many indigenous tribes living in mud huts scattered along the mountainsides, and even nomadic and semi-nomadic families throughout the valleys.

We’ll arrive in the village of Imlil (1,740m/5,708ft) where we’ll store our main luggage and load daypacks before walking through the traditional mountain village and past the nearby waterfall for our one-hour trek up to the peaceful village of Armed (1843m/6056ft). Armed is the largest village of the Mizane Valley, an extraordinary looking place, built on a huge moraine spur above the valley, which offers stunning views of the High Atlas Mountains. Spend the rest of the day exploring the village and the surrounding farmlands. For those looking for a bit more activity and weather permitting, there will be a chance to hike to the pilgrimage shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (2300m/7545 ft; approximately 8km/4 hours). Sidi Chamharouch attracts pilgrims from all corners of Morocco and is known for its power to cure infertility in women and rheumatism, but the spiritual disease is the specialty of this saint. Rumors and legends say he was the King of the Djinns and that a sacrificed animal can cure mental diseases. The shrine is guarded by the tribe of the Ait Mizan and it is forbidden to non-Muslims.

We’ll spend the night in a family-run mountain home (gite) in Armed with a unique opportunity to experience traditional Berber culture.

INCLUDED:

— Trek to Armed Village (1 hour, easy)

— Optional trek in the High Atlas Mountains (2300m/7545 ft; approximately 8km/ 4 hours)

— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours driving
Overnight in a Homestay (Gite)

7

Ait Benhaddou (B)

Our journey today takes us along mountain roads and over Morocco’s highest pass, Tizi n’Tichka (2,260m/7,415ft) to Ait Benhaddou. Perched on a hilltop and unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco’s most iconic sites. Located on the edge of the Sahara, it was once an important stop for caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold, ivory, and slaves. Today, its grand kasbah has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its fortified village being a fine example of clay architecture. You may recognize the place from the many movies and TV shows that have been filmed here over the years, including Lawrence of Arabia, Jewel of the Nile, Jesus of Nazareth, Gladiator, and Game of Thrones.

Upon arrival in Ait Benhaddou, you’ll have a guided tour of what is considered to be one of the most extraordinary kasbahs in Morocco. The giant fortification, which is made up of six kasbahs and nearly fifty ksars (a group of earthen building surrounded by high walls), is a great example of pise clay architecture.  We’ll also visit a women’s cooperative for weaving berber carpets and then hit the new town of Ait Benhaddou for dinner.

Horse lovers will also have the option of exploring the landscape around Ait Benhaddou on a guided horseback riding tour. Rest assured, the horses here are well taken care of and the guides are very knowledgeable.

Optional:

Horseback Riding (1 hour)

INCLUDED:

— Guided Tour of Ait Benhaddou Kasbah

— Visit a women’s cooperative for weaving Berber carpets

— Meals: Breakfast

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours driving

Overnight at Rose Du Sable Hotel or similar

8

Roses Valley/ Dades Valley (B)

Our drive continues as we travel through the Roses Valley, an area as lush and fragrant as it sounds. Our hotel tonight is in the Dades Valley, which has been described as a smaller version of the Grand Canyon. The vividness of the colors will stop you every few steps for a picture. The soil is a deep earthy red that actually becomes a deeper red the further into the valley you go. The mountain walls, carved by the Dades River, range anywhere from 200 to 500 meters (650ft to 1600ft) tall as they twist and dance in an endless pirouette.

This is a great place for hiking. After settling into our hotel for a bit, we’ll put on our hiking boots and discover the unusual rocky outcrops known as “monkey fingers.” This geological curiosity is particularly enchanting at sunset.

INCLUDED:

— Hiking in Dades Valley

— Meals: Breakfast

Estimated Travel Time: 2.5 hours

Estimated Hiking Time: 3 hours

Overnight at La Perle Du Dades or similar

9

Todra Gorge/ Merzouga (B, D)

Located about an hour from the Dades Valley is the Todra Gorge, recognized around the world as one of the most spectacular canyons. Wedged between massive cliff walls that have been carved by the Todra River, the gorge is filled with a green oasis of palm trees. This serene spot is great for hiking, relaxing on the edge of the river or sampling some local Berber delicacies.

If you are more adventurous and the words rock climbing or Via Ferrata catch your attention, this is also an option here. The Todra Gorge cuts through a mountain, getting as thin as thirty feet at some points, while you can look up the sides of sheer rock faces that reach almost 1,000 feet high. Several of these cliffs are limestone, and there are many climbing routes.

This afternoon, our journey towards the Sahara continues as we make our way to Merzouga, known as the gateway to Erg Chebbi, a huge expanse of sand dunes north of the small Moroccan town. Here, we will leave our big bags, taking only our day packs with us for the evening and we’ll ride a camel to our desert camp deep in the sand dunes. We’ll learn how to mount and dismount the camel as well as other safety-related tips. Our guide will also teach us how to tie a turban to keep the desert sun off our face and add a little flare to your photos.

From your first cup of mint tea, you’ll enjoy a warm welcome at our desert camp. A traditional dinner under the stars, cooked by our hosts awaits. In the evening, there will be time to hear stories about life in this region, and perhaps, if we’re lucky, we might be treated to some traditional music on the drums.

Optional:

Half-Day Rock Climbing (Top Rope – minimum 4 people)

Half-Day Via Ferrata (minimum 4 people)

INCLUDED:

— Free time in Todra Gorge

— Sahara Camel Trek (1 hour)

— Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour (Dades Valley to Todra Gorge); 3 hours (Todra Gorge to Merzouga)

Overnight at Sahara Berber Camp

10

Sahara Desert/ Ouarzazate (B)

We will rise early to watch the sunrise over the dunes before returning by camelback to Merzouga where we will shower and have breakfast. Our journey today will take us through the Draa Valley and the seas of sand to the township of Ouarzazate. Known as the “door of the desert” Ouarzazate is home to Atlas studios, one of the largest movie studios in the world, in terms of land area.

Here, we’ll spend some time exploring the town and visit the Taurirt Kasbah, a citadel set against the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains. As far as fortifications are concerned, this is one of the most impressive of its kind. With almost 300 rooms and a true maze of passageways, steps, and key lock doors, it’s easy to feel lost within the immense structure that only connects to the outside world through a narrow entrance doorway.

INCLUDED:

— Sahara Camel Trek (1 hour)

— Visit Taourirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate City

— Meals: Breakfast

Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours driving

Overnight at Perle du Sud Hotel or similar

11

Marrakech (B, D)

Today, we’ll continue our journey back to the red city of Marrakech. You’ll have the rest of the afternoon free. This evening, we’ll celebrate the end of our adventure with a final dinner at Chez Ali, a restaurant and fantasia show with belly dancers, acrobats, riders, fireworks, and folk music. It’s an enchanting show that will be the perfect end to our memorable adventure!

INCLUDED:

— Final Dinner at Chez Ali

— Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours driving

Overnight at Goumassine Hotel or similar

12

Marrakech (B)

Today is departure day and there are no planned activities. Depending on the time of your flight, you’ll have some free time to knock off any shopping you haven’t finished or possibly an optional activity.

At the appropriate time, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure from Marrakech. Please let us know at the time of booking if you’d like to extend your stay here.

INCLUDED:

— Airport Transfer

— Meals: Breakfast

Depart

2018 Dates & Pricing

If your dates are flexible, why not join other like-minded Adventure People on an exciting small-group adventure? Below are our set departures for this itinerary. Group trips are perfect for the solo traveler; ideal for friends. All are welcome!

Our custom small-group tours offer the opportunity to feel like you’re exploring a destination with a group of friends — because that’s what they’ll be after your trip! Our groups range in size depending on the destination and the activities, but are generally no more than 16 people.

All Scheduled Departures for 2018:

11 nights/ 12 days
USD $2350

Tour price is per person (excluding flights) and is based on double/triple occupancy.

Due in Full by July 12, 2018
+ Single Supplement $350 (Optional)

Starts in Casablanca:  October 10, 2018
Ends in Marrakech: October 21, 2018

Status: AB (Available to Book)
Trip Leader: Stacey

SIGN UP WITH NO RISK Your deposit is fully refundable or transferable

When you travel with us, you’ll become a member of the #AdventurePeopleTravelClub after your first trip and earn discounts on all future trips with us! To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/2j26vmf.

Ready to Book?
Use the booking form to the right and submit your information along with a deposit to secure your spot. Need assistance? Call us at (800) 953-5538 or email adventurepeoplebookings@gmail.com and one of our tour consultants will be happy to help.

Gather your favorite people to share this adventure on the dates of your choice.  Pricing available for individuals and 10% discount for groups of 8+!

***Pricing Available Upon Request***

All prices are per person in U.S. dollars based on double occupancy.

NOTE: All quotations are based on the current rates of park fees, VAT, other government taxes, and current exchange rates. Should any of these be increased or a new tax introduced, these increases will be added on even if your trip has already been paid for.

Not finding what you’re looking for? We can tailor your adventure to fit your travel style, time frame, budget, and interests. From different styles of lodging to your favorite adventure activities, we’ll create the best custom itinerary for you. Feel free to call one of our travel specialists for information on custom trips. Let us plan your next adventure of a lifetime!
WHAT’S INCLUDED
English, French speaking Berber Guide All meals indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L= Lunch, D=Dinner)
Accommodations (8 nights hotel, 1 night sleeper train, 1 night homestay (gite), 1 night Sahara Berber tent) All transfers listed in itinerary
Guided tour of Casablanca (Hassan II Mosque, Mohammed V Boulevard, Marche Central) Guided tour of Rabat (Kasbah of the Udayas, Chellah Kasbah, Mausoleum of Mohammed V, Hassan Tower)
Guided tour of Tangier Medina & Kasbah Hiking tour in High Atlas Mountains
Guided tour of Ait Benhaddou Cooking Class in Marrakech
Visit to Majorille Garden Visit women’s cooperative for weaving Berber carpets
Guided tour of Marrakech Medina (visit Saadian tombs, Bahia Palace, Jewish quarter, Jamaa El Fnaa Square) Camel ride through the sand dunes at Erg Chebbi, overnight in desert camp
Visit Todra Gorges, Dades Gorges Guided tour of Taourirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate City
Final Dinner at Chez Ali Entrance fees for all monuments
NOT INCLUDED
Airfare Airport taxes and excess baggage fees
Travel Insurance Gratuities for your guides & drivers
Personal Expenses Optional Activities
Beverages & Meals not specified Accommodations before and/or after tour
Chefchaouen
ait benhaddou
camels
casablanca
marrakech
marrakech
marrakech
merzouga
moroccan spices
hassan II mosque
rabat
todra gorge
via ferrata
rock climbing
tangier
high atlas mountains
majorille garden

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