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Moorish Morocco: 12 Days - September/October 2018 - SOLD OUT - 2019 TOUR TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON

Price A$4,783


Destination

CasablancaMeknesFesMideltMerzougaDades GorgeAit BenhaddouMarrakechEssaouira


Category
Group Tours

Duration
12 days 11 nights
Tour Details

Morocco: 22 September - 4 October 2018 A$4,783 plus air

Kasbahs rising out of the desert, legendary mountain passes and ancient cities spilling over with a thousand and one sights. This tour will take you on a magic carpet ride through it all, where adventurous days give way to Arabian nights.

Explore the spectacular imperial city of Meknes.

Become a Berber overnight and sleep in a luxury Sahara Desert camp.

Discover the Henna-painters, performers and storytellers on the streets of Marrakech.

Will you join us?

Don’t forget, if you fancy even more adventure, our Portugal and Morocco Tours can be booked as ‘back to back’ tours!

 

SOLD OUT - 2019 TOUR TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON

 

 

Day 13: CASABLANCA DEPARTURE

There are no activities planned for the final day and you can depart the accommodation at any time, saying goodbye to new friends and this spectacular country.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 1: CASABLANCA

Welcome to Casablanca! Upon arrival you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel where you have the remainder of the day at leisure, before our welcome dinner that evening, where you’ll meet your fellow travellers and Tour Host. If you arrive with time to spare, then a visit the art deco Villa des Arts is well worth it. This gorgeous gallery dates back to the 1930s and holds numerous exhibitions of contemporary Moroccan and international art. Or discover a unique and fascinating part of Moroccan history at the Museum of Judaism. 

Optional Activities 

Villa des Arts - art gallery & museum - Free 

Jewish Museum - MAD40 

Accommodation: Hotel Kenzi basma 

Day 2: CASABLANCA - RABAT - MEKNES

After breakfast we set off on a 45-minute guided tour of the Hassan II Mosque. Completed in 1993, this extraordinary monument was the late king’s most ambitious project and his legacy to the city. Its 200-meter-high minaret is the tallest in the world. Hassan II Mosque can accommodate 25,000 worshippers and is one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims. Next we take a drive to Rabat. Rabat’s history is long and colorful, having been host to Roman settlements, pirates and more recently the Moroccan parliament. It contains numerous fine Arab monuments, some dating from the 10th to 15th century Almohad and Merenid dynasties, and others that are far older. The earliest known settlement is Sala, occupying an area now known as the Chellah. Spend a few hours strolling through the city’s old quarter, then walk up to Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoy views over the Atlantic Ocean, before we continue on to Meknes (approximately 2 hours), the sixth largest city in the kingdom, and former capital of Morocco. 

Included Activities 

Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque – Casablanca 

Rabat Guided Tour 

Chellah – entrance 

Kasbah Les Oudayas Rabat 

Accommodation: Hotel Tafilalet 

Meals : Breakfast
Day 3: MEKNES - VOLUBILIS – FES

MEKNES - VOLUBILIS – FES (B,L) 

This morning is free to explore Meknes. In the 17th century Sultan Moulay Ismail turned Meknes from a provincial town to a spectacular Imperial city. Visit his immense Heri es Souani Granary, a mammoth architectural feat, and the city’s now crumbling imperial palaces. Try a camel burger for lunch at friendly local restaurant in the medina. Later we board a private minibus and travel through rolling hills and olive groves to the archaeological site of Volubilis. World Heritage-listed Volubilis was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, and the remains make an undeniably impressive sight. We’ll take a tour around the ruins with a local guide. Don’t forget your camera as the town is filled with fantastic mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus, many of which remain intact. Next we head to Fes, where we’ll spend the next two nights. Fes is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco; vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses – with a huge, well-preserved medieval old city that’s the mother of all medinas. 

Accommodation: Hotel l’escale 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4: FES

Today we enjoy a walking tour of the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali. Step back into the Middle Ages in the labyrinth of the Medina, which is alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries and mosques. Pass donkeys piled high with goods (this is one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world) and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Visit the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, which has recently been restored and is now open to tourists. Visit the splendid Fundouk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th century inn. We’ll also see the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramics factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. In the evening, we’ll enjoy a delicious group dinner of Moroccan specialty - the famous chicken pastilla! 

Included Activities 

Guided walking tour Fes 

Optional Activities 

Fondouk Nejjarine 

Medersa Bou Inania - Entrance - Fes 

Guided walking tour Fes 

Accommodation: Hotel l’escale 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: MIDELT

Today we leave the intensity of the city behind for the simplicity of the High Atlas Mountains. We drive south, inland through a variety of spectacular scenery – fertile valleys, cedar and pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes – to the small town of Midelt (approximately 3.5 hours). Midelt is a market town, originally built as a base for mining in the area, and is nestled between the Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains at an elevation of just over 1,500 meters. It’s a perfect spot to break up the journey to the Sahara, and is a great base for some easy walks. Many of the locals are Berber, and the town can offer an insight into their way of life. After lunch, stretch your legs for a few hours on an easy hike in the nearby hills. Be prepared for some astonishing views of the Atlas Mountains, with snowy peaks almost touching the sky. Wander through plantations of apple trees on the way back to your accommodation for a relaxing evening. 

Accommodation: Hotel Taddart 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6: MERZOUGA DESERT

This morning there’s time to haggle for carpets (mainly Kilims), take another refreshing walk, or visit a nearby Franciscan convent where local girls and women learn weaving, tapestry and embroidery before we set off on our journey to Merzouga. With a backdrop of the orange-colored Erg Chebbi sand dunes, the charming Saharan village of Merzouga feels wonderfully isolated, like the modern world has left it behind. The Erg Chebbi dunes are the most stunning in the country and an essential part of any visit to Morocco. An erg is a vast sea of shifting wind-swept sand that’s formed into picturesque, undulating crests and valleys. The Erg Chebbi is one of the world’s iconic landscapes, with towering dunes up to 150 metres in height. Located at the end of a sealed road and just 20 kilometres from the Algerian border this really feels like frontier country. You will leave your gear at a simple auberge and then ride camels into the edge of the Sahara Desert, enjoying a spectacular sunset along the way. The dunes are stunning, especially as the evening light plays across them and sets off the colours. Tonight, we’ll camp in traditional style, with the chance to try some fantastic local cuisine while we sit around an open fire, enjoying lively music, drumming, Bedouin stories and some dancing under the stars. 

Notes: The camp is set up for private use of our group. We’ll enjoy the comfort of private tents, with proper size standing 

beds, coffee table and chairs. Each tent has a private shower and toilet provided. While there is also a dining tent provided, most travelers prefer to dine outside, under the stars and sitting around an open fire. Blankets and mattresses are provided, however, during the cold winter months from November to March, you may consider bringing your own sleeping bag for extra warmth and comfort. The entire camp is set up by our crew while you relax and enjoy the mighty Sahara Desert. 

Accommodation: Caravanserai Camp 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7: TODRA GORGE – DADES VALLEY – M’GOUN VALLEY

Enjoy a real Lawrence of Arabia moment this morning with a sunrise camel ride across the desert on the return journey to the auberge. Next we drive to Todra Gorge (approximately 4.5 hours), a massive trench that rises over 250 metres to form one of the most dramatic and spectacular natural sights in Morocco. The limestone stacks make a perfect area for trekking, and so today we’ll take a short walk through the sheer cliffs, before continuing on to the beautiful Dades Valley, where we’ll stop for a break and have some time to take in the remarkable scenery – sprawling green valleys and rocks sculpted into stunning formations by the wind. Then we head inland to M’goun where we’ll have a chance to observe the customs and lifestyle of the Berbers. 

Accommodation: Ksar Kaissar 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: AIT BENHADOU

Today we head to Ait Benhaddou. The scenic drive will take us past ancient kasbah ruins, former colonial military outposts, austere mountains and valleys of palm trees and irrigated fields. We stop for for lunch in Ouarzazate, where productions such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Sheltering Sky and Black Hawk Down were filmed. Then we head to Ait Benhaddou. Centuries ago, this was an important stop for caravans carrying salt across the Sahara. Today its grand kasbah, a fine example of clay architecture, has been listed as a World Heritage site. In the late afternoon, why not enjoy a cooking demonstration to learn the secrets behind Morocco’s most famous cuisine: couscous and tagine. 

Optional Activities 

Atlas Movie Studios - MAD50 

Kasbah Taourirt - MAD20 

Accommodation: Riad Ksar Ighnda 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: MARRAKECH

Today we drive through the winding roads of the Atlas, bound for Marrakech, an ancient, exotic city wrapped in European modernity. The scenery through the High Atlas Mountain passes is magnificent, and there’s plenty of oprtunity to grab a photo along the way. This evening, we head to the great square of Jemaa el Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. When night falls it transforms into a hive of activity. Henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies. Enjoy a dinner on this magical square with your new friends on one of the outdoor street food vendors and then finish your day with a cup of tea on one of the roof-top restaurants overlooking the square. 

Optional Activities 

Marjorelle Gardens - MAD70 

Palais Badi - MAD10 

Saadian Tombs - MAD10 

Medersa Ben Youssef - MAD40 

Museum of Marrakech - MAD40 

Accommodation: Opera Plaza

Meals : Breakfast
Day 10: MARRAKECH

After breakfast we set off on a morning tour of the old medina, through the bustling souks that are the lifeblood flowing through the city. Explore tranquil courtyards filled with the scent of orange blossom, and the many salons and chambers that make up Bahia Palace. This splendid mansion was built in 1866 for a former slave who rose to power within the government. Stop by the Koutoubia Mosque; its famous minaret is the prototype for others of its kind around the world, including La Giralda in Seville. Then walk back through the streets of the old medina to the Jemaa el Fna. The rest of the day is free to explore further or shop in the bazaar. Perhaps visit the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle or check out the ruins of the Palais Badi, once one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. Or head back into the medina and watch skilled artisans perfect their craft, practice your haggling skills or take a break from the hustle to sip on tea or share a tajine, filled with the pure scent of Morocco. 

Included Activities 

Marrakech - Guided walking tour 

Marrakech - Palais Bahia 

Accommodation: Opera Plaza 

Meals : Breakfast
Day 11: ESSAOUIRA

Today we head westwards towards the Atlantic Coast and the old fishing town of Essaouira, a city where the medina brushes up against the Atlantic Ocean. Sandstone walkways contrast with whitewashed houses, bright blue sky and the sand of the surrounding beaches and dunes. This artists’ town was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations, and its charm has seduced people like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix. It is one of North Africa’s most attractive places, and you will soon find yourself slipping into the easy-going rhythm. Join a local guide for a walking tour through the old medina, Jewish mellah, port and skala (sea wall). The narrow streets of Essaouira are ideal for casual exploration. Their size discourages cars, and on a walk through the town it feels as though little has changed since the days of sea pirates. The fishing port is a serious commercial operation and there’s much fun to be had observing the daily catch and its subsequent auction. Your riad is beautifully designed and decorated in traditional Moroccan style, cozy yet historical and has a great vue. This is likely to be one of the most memorable stays of your journey! 

Included Activities 

Guided tour of Essaouira 

Optional Activities 

Hamam (public baths) - MAD200 

Berber massage - MAD350 

Horse riding - MAD250 

Seafood Market Lunch - Essaouira - MAD80 

Accommodation: Riad Minmouna

Meals : Breakfast
Day 12: CASABLANCA

This morning there’s time for a walk by the beach or to admire the medina before departing to Casablanca where you’ll spend your last night on this magical journey. 

Accommodation: Kenzi Basma 

Meals : Breakfast

Hotel Kenzi BasmaA 10-minute walk from Station Place des Nations Unies (train station), this contemporary hotel is 2 km from Hassan II Mosque and 6 km from Plage Lalla Meryem. Decorated in neutral tones, the casual rooms have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minifridges, as well as balconies with city views. Bi-level suites come with separate living areas, and a breakfast buffet at no extra cost. Room service is offered 24/7. Parking is complimentary. Amenities include a bright buffet-style eatery and a hip bar/restaurant.

Hotel Tafilalet: Offering an indoor and outdoor pool, Hotel Tafilalet & Spa is located in Meknès. Free Wi-Fi access is available. Rooms here will provide you with a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and a minibar. Featuring a bath, private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer and free toiletries. You can enjoy a mountain view from all the rooms. Extras include satellite channels. At Hotel Tafilalet & Spa you will find a restaurant. Other facilities offered include meeting facilities, a shared lounge and luggage storage. The property offers free parking. Saïss Airport is 52 km away.

Hotel l’escale: A 10-minute walk from a sandy beach and 13 minutes' walk from the cliffs of Cap Blanc Nez, this relaxed hotel is 14.1 km from Calais. The rooms come with en suite bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. Free Wi-Fi is available in most rooms. A continental breakfast buffet is served in the bright restaurant, which features seafood on its lunch and dinner menus. There's a children's play area in the garden, plus a terrace, a tennis court and free off-street parking.

Hotel Taddart: Off the N13 highway, this relaxed hotel is 7 km from the town of Midelt. The warm rooms feature free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. Suites add sitting areas and separate bedrooms, as well as minibars. There’s a bar, plus a restaurant serving international and Moroccan fare. Amenities include a pool, a steam room and a fitness center, as well as a spa with a sauna and a hot tub. There's also a garden and a terrace. 

Hotel Riad Ksar Ighnda: On the edge of the desert and just a few kilometres from Ouarzazate, the Ksar Ighnda hotel provides a luxurious and authentic setting, ideal for a relaxing holiday. Rooms are spacious and locally designed with modern comforts including private bathroom, air conditioning, satellite TV, DVD/CD player, minibar. After relaxing with a cocktail in the hotel bar, enjoy a delicious meal made from fresh local produce in the hotel restaurant. The Ksar Ighnda hotel offers a unique spa experience with a hammam and a hot tub, amid a peaceful landscape setting.

Hotel Opera Plaza: Well-placed in the shopping, restaurants, sightseeing area of Marrakech city. Facilities include 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi in all rooms, Wi-Fi in public areas, car park, room service. Rooms include television LCD/plasma screen, internet access, air conditioning. The hotel offers fantastic facilities, including hot tub, fitness center, sauna, outdoor pool, spa, to help you unwind after an action-packed day in the city. 

Hotel Riad MinmounaA 4-minute walk from the stalwart city walls, this refined waterfront hotel is also a 7-minute walk from Moulay Hassan Square and an 11-minute walk from the Essaouira Citadel. Featuring ornate furnishings and panoramic sea views, the polished rooms come with free Wi-Fi, TVs and sitting areas. Suites add fireplaces. Free breakfast is served in a rooftop restaurant that has a terrace with sea views. There are also relaxed lounges. A spa offers a hammam and massage treatments.

 

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Weather

While the coastal areas have a pleasant Mediterranean climate year-round, inland the temperature is hotter, drier and continental in nature. From October to April it averages 30C during the day and 15C at night in the lowlands. The southern desert areas are extremely hot and dry most of the time, though the nights can get very cold. The mountain regions are cool to cold in summer and it usually snows from December to March.

Currency

Morocco’s basic unit of currency is the dirham (dh). It is divided into 100 centimes (c). Centimes exchange hands at market places more often than dirhams. This money is available in 10c, 20c, 50c, 1dh, 5dh, 10dh (all coins) and 10dh, 20dh, 50dh, 100dh and 200dh (all notes). There are usually foreign exchange shops in the seaports and airports of Morocco. Traveler's checks can be quite useless as they can only normally be exchanged at the bank which makes them an inconvenience for the average person in Morocco. Many of the classier hotels support credit cards and most major banks have ATM machines.

Electricity

The current in most of Morocco is 220v. Sockets have two round pins so bring an adaptor for your laptop, mobile phone chargers etc.

Visas

Australians and citizens of the United States, Canada and New Zealand, require a passport but no visa for entry into Morocco, and can stay as a tourist for up to ninety days. However your passport must be valid for at least 6 months before your date of entry. Visa requirements do change, and it’s always advisable to check the current situation before leaving home. 

In Morocco, entry formalities are fairly straightforward, though you will have to fill in a form stating personal details, purpose of visit and your profession. In the past, Moroccan authorities have shown an occasional reluctance to allow in those who categorize themselves as “journalist”; an alternative profession on the form might be wise.

Customs

It is very important to observe the customs of Moroccon culture. For more information please follow this link: Travelling to Morocco - what you need to know

 

Let us handle your travel arrangements 

Remember we are a full service travel company. We can provide a competitive quote on your airfare and book your air travel and arrange travel insurance. Just leave it to us. 

 

TOUR INCLUSIONS:

  • 12 nights accommodation in your own room — always!

  • Qualified English speaking local guides for all your sightseeing excursions.

  • Two’s a Crowd tour host from Australia.

  • All transfers in a chauffeur driven air-conditioned vehicle, which is private to your travelling party.

  • All sightseeing and excursions as per your itinerary, completely private for your travelling party unless otherwise stated.

  • Representatives, drivers or guides assistance for check in to hotels/trains/flights, where applicable.

  • Entrance fees to the sites that are listed as included on your itinerary.

  • All meals specified as included on your itinerary (12 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners).

  • All currently applicable taxes.

  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance underwritten by CHI Travel Insurance (Underwritten by Allianz) or QBE. Additional premium may be payable if over 69 years, have an existing medical condition or wish to extend your travel dates. Refer to the CHI or QBE PDS for more information on policy terms and conditions.

TOUR EXCLUSIONS:

  • Any international or domestic airfare including any relevant airport tax, unless otherwise specified.  

  • Any meals not specified on your itinerary. 

  • Increases in any included transportation sector such as train tickets or domestic flights where applicable, between time of quote and time of travel. 

  • Any expenses of a personal nature such as hard/soft drinks, laundry, phone/fax calls or camera fee if levied at certain sites. 

  • Tips for your guides and drivers. 

  • Any item not mentioned as included on your itinerary. 

  • Visas and any associated visa fees. 

     

  • Supplements resulting in unforeseen changes to hotel accommodation between time of quote and time of travel. 

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