15 days 14 nights Morocco Imperial desert trip
Day 1 : Casablanca Med V airport – Transfer to (Hotel)
Upon arrival in Casablanca, the biggest city in the country; you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (It depends on your arrival time.
Day 2: Casablanca – Rabat – Fes
Leaving Casablanca the economic capital of Morocco, we then travel to Rabat, where we will see the Oudaya Kasbah and its beautiful gardens, This Kasbah of Oudaya is located at Abou Regreg river. It was built during the reign of the Almohad dynasty in 1150 AD. The Mausoleum of Mohamed V and Hassan II, and Hassan Tower which is the minaret of an incomplete mosque in Rabat was constructed in 1195 AD. The tower was intended to be the largest minaret in the world with the mosque. After we finish our sightseeing tour in Rabat,. we head to Fez on the express road. On the road you will be fascinated by thousands of olive trees and farmlands on the two side of the road . On arrival to Fes, we check into the hotel for the night.
Day 3 : Fes (Sightseeing Tour with your tour guide, Fes Medina)
Here we go for another adventure through the intellectual capital of Fes which was considered Mecca of the west and Athena of Africa.It is the biggest city of the country after Casablanca with a population of approximately 1 million.This city is a the former capital and one of the country’s four imperial cities. Fes comprises of three distinct parts, Fes El Bali which is the oldest part surrounded by a big wall, where there are more than 9000 narrow streets and allies. Fes-Jadid or the new Fes is home of the Mellah, the Jewish quarter and the Ville Nouvelle ( the newest section of Fes ) created during the French occupation.
Fes El Bali is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its medina is the largest in the world. Among its narrow streets and allies is the oldest university in the world . The University of Al-Karaouine was founded in AD 859 and it is still operating nowadays.
Day 4: Fes – Moulay Driss- Volubilis – Meknes
On the way to Meknes we will go back in time to the 3rd century by visiting the most important archaeological site in Morocco . Volubilis, has the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of Northern Africa. This roman ruins were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. A 45 minutes guided tour is scheduled here. From Volubilis we go on our way to Meknes that was named after a Berber tribe which was known as Miknasa in the medieval North African sources. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672,1727). He built it in the ingeniously designed granaries, really fascinating architecture of tiny windows, massive walls where he used to store grain and hay to feed his 15.000 horses not food for humans. We will stop as well to get pictures of the Bab AL Mansour, the Great gate built in the 11th century by the King AL Mansour Adahbi.
Day 5: Meknes – Midelt – Ziz valley – Erfoud – Merzouga
This is a long driving day, where we will meet different colors of the kingdom by leaving the old Moroccan city of Meknes. On the way we will pass through the most modern city in the country, Ifrane. This Berber name of Ifrane means caves and it is nicknamed in Morocco as a little Switzerland since it is a very green town and is a ski resort in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco because of its high altitude at 1665 meters. Ifrane is known as well by The Brotherhood private university, established in 1997 by The king of Morocco Hassan II, and the king of Saudi Arabia Fahd. All classes are taught in English and it is an international university. Lunch will be scheduled in a Berber village called Midelt which is situated on the foothills of the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains. From this plateau we start crossing up tough mountains which are still settled by a big Berber community. The landscapes here include the palm trees oasis at Jbel Ayachi (at 3747 m) . We then drive down the curves to join the pre-Saharan zone, passing by Errachidia and Erfoud, which is famous for its pottery and the interesting fossils quarries. Fossils are a major industry in Erfoud, some 350 million years ago the region around Erfoud was a part of the huge ocean. Heading up to the red colored sand sea dunes of Erg Chebbi at Merzouga, via Rissani, the hometown of the Alaouist dynasty, where Moulay Ali sheriff started to unify Morocco under his red flag at the beginning of the 17th century. From a vast plateau you will be impressed by the huge sand dunes of Merzouga appearing from the horizon. Dinner and night at our hotel.
Day 6: Merzouga – Erg Chebbi (Desert Exploration – Camel Trekking for sunset)
In the morning we drive through the sand dunes passing fabulous landscapes on the edge of the Erg Chebbi, the largest sand dunes in Morocco. We will see plenty of nomadic black tents in the middle of nowhere. We shall stop by a nomadic family to have tea and see what a nonadic life looks like. We go on our drive and discover the nomadic life of Touareg people by visiting Khamlia, a village where nothing has been changed through centuries. Either we lunch here in Khamlia village or we go back to our hotel and have lunch there. After a short break we go on a camel ride to meet one of the most fascinating sights you will ever see, the superb sunset in the middle of the high sand dunes of Merzouga. Tonight we will stay in a Berber tented desert camp and enjoy a wonderful view of the stars.Gran Tour Marocco 15 Giorni.
Day 7: Merzouga – Rissani – Todra gorges
In the morning we will Visit Rissani and the Mausoleum of the founder of the Alaouite Dynasty of Morocco, This silent town was the ancient capital of Tafilalet and its location is at a crossroads between north and south which brought the city to an important status of a former major caravan center. Up to now Rissani remains a major commercial center in the region, with a large souk, particularly lively on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sunday. It was noted for its leather and goat skin trading in ancient times.
127 km from Rissani are the great canyons of Morocco Todra Gorges which are situated beyond the central high Atlas Mountains. Here, the contrasting landscapes remind visitors of the Colorado, with its high plateau, gorges, great canyons, and its peaks sometimes splintered by erosion. Several peaks in this area exceed 4000 m, with Jbel Saghro 2500 m and Jbel Mgoun at 4068 m being the highest peak in this part of the High Atlas. This area is populated by Berbers.Here you can enjoy a hike among those fabulous canyons. Dinner and night in a hotel in the same area.
Day 8 : Todra Gorges – Dades Valley – Ouarzazate
From the great canyons of Todra we travel the road of 1000 kasbahs. There are enormous Kasbahs on both sides of the road. Some of those old fortified houses are restored but unfortunately a lot of them are ruins. A visit to one of those kasbahs is scheduled by seeing Amarhidil Kasbah. We pass a town called Boumalne situated on the edge of Dades valley which rises in the High Atlas Mountains, giving life to a huge Berber community by its rich agriculture. Along this valley, another valley, called valley of roses appears with the green colors of its Alfalfa plants, olive trees, fig trees and grapes. This valley gives birth to a rose from which locals produce different cosmetic products like soap, perfumes and skin creams. Locals here celebrate this rose by organizing a national festival at the end of April.
Getting to Ouarzazate (Hollywood of Africa, The door of the desert). This is a city situated in the middle of a bare plateau, south of the High Atlas Mountains. It is mainly inhabited by Berbers, who constructed many of the prominent kasbahs and buildings for which the area is known. One of those building is Taourirt Kasbah created in 17th century.
This town is nicknamed as Hollywood of Africa because it has been noted as a film-making location, with Morocco’s biggest studios inviting many international film companies to shoot their movies like: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Martin Scorsese’s Kundun (1997) and Babel (2005). Dinner and Night in a hotel.
Day 9: Ouarzazate – Ait Benahddou – Taroudant
35 km from Ouarzazate there is the fortified Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, which was built in the 11th century. Once up on a time this Kasbah was the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. It is situated on a hill along the Ounila River and has some beautiful examples of kasbahs, which unfortunately sustain damage during each rainstorm and windstorm. Most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; however, around five families are still living within this Kasbah..
After Ait Benhaddou Kasbah’s visit , we will drive via Taroudant city for the accommodation in a hotel.
Day 10: Taroudant – Agadir – Essaouira
About 70 kms from Taroudant, is the city of Agadir . The capital of Berbers since it is the biggest Berber city of the kingdom. Agadir is also a very modern city that is located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, near the foot of the Atlas Mountains. It has the most important fishing and commercial port of Morocco, it is the first sardine port in the world, (exporting cobalt, manganese, zinc and citrus). It is also a seaside resort with long sandy beaches. Because of its large buildings, wide roads, modern hotels, and European-style cafes, Agadir is not a typical city of traditional Morocco, but it is a modern, busy and dynamic town and very famous for its sea food.
Along the ocean we drive for almost 200 kms towards Essaouira. On the Atlantic ocean this town has white painted houses with blue windows and doors, a well-designed picture. Since the 16th century, Essaouira has also been known by its Portuguese name of Mogador. The Berber name means the wall, a reference to the fortress walls that originally enclosed the city. Dinner and night in a hotel in Essaouira.
Day 11: Essaouira (Explore Essaouira at your own pace)
A day of your own leisure . You can explore and enjoy Essaouira is it is well renowned for its kite surfing and windsurfing, with the powerful trade wind. Horse riding, camel riding along the beach, quad biking are activities that you can enjoy while staying in Essaouira. It is known by the delicious seafood too.
In Essaouira, several small art galleries are found all over the town. Since 1998 Essaouira is getting known by its Gnaoua Festival of World Music, normally it is scheduled in the last week of June. It brings artists from all over the world. Although focused on Gnaoua music, it includes rock, jazz and reggae. In early 1952 the film director and actor Orson Welles made his movie Othello. Now there is a square named Orson Welles.
Or you could just spend the rest of the day relaxing in your hotel.
Day 12: Essaouira – Marrakech
About half way between Essaouira and Marrakesh you will see enormous Argan trees on both sides of the road. These Argan trees are frequently climbed by goats. Argan oil is produced by several women’s cooperatives and it is used to prepare couscous, salads, and is traditionally used as a treatment for skin diseases before being founded as good enough for cosmetics by European manufacturers. A stop at one of these cooperatives is worthy to see how Berber women squeezed the Argan fruits between hands to extract this precious oil. We arrive to our hotel in Marrakesh and if time permits we will go out for a walk.
Day 13: Marrakesh
In the morning a full guided tour will be scheduled to discover Marrakesh which is known as the “Red City”. Marrakesh is the most important former imperial city in Morocco’s history. It is situated near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountain. Like all the old cities, Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city, The Medina, and a very modern city called Gueliz, built during the French occupation. Marrakesh has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Jamaa el Fna. The square is full of story-tellers, water sellers, dancers, snakes charmers and musicians. During the night the square turns into a huge open-air restaurant.
During our visit we will see The Koutoubia Mosque, built in the 12th century in the reign of Almoravid Dynasty. We will go through narrow streets and allies in the ancient city. We will pass by “seven saints” which during the reign of Moulay Ismail, the festival of the seven saints was founded by the request of the Sultan. The tombs of several renowned figures were moved to Marrakesh to attract pilgrims. Walk back to the hotel for dinner and night.
Day 14: Marrakesh (Explore Marrakesh Markets at your own pace)
After the full guided tour, you will be able to discover more of this Red City of Marrakesh on your own and become familiarized with the alleyways of the medina. You may go on a shopping tour on your own in a local market and the scattered shops by the Square or spend your last night enjoying the traditional moroccan facilities of your hotel.
Day 15: Marrakesh – Casablanca Med V Airport
A private transfer from Marrakesh to Casablanca Med V airport according to your flight details will be aranged.
PLAN OF TOUR :
. Air-conditioned Transportation (4*4 jeep, mini-bus, bus)
. English or Spanish speaking driver/guide
. Breakfasts in your accommodation
. Camel ride in the dunes
. Entances/activity fees
For more informations, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to hearing from you.