Morocco (April 2020)

A$4,799
NOW A GUARANTEED DEPARTURE - HURRY TO BOOK YOUR PLACE
A$4,799
NOW A GUARANTEED DEPARTURE - HURRY TO BOOK YOUR PLACE

At the crossroads of Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Morocco is a melting pot of culture and custom.

You can feel it in the bustle of the crowded souqs and you can taste it in every aromatic tajine. It’s floating in the air above the High Atlas Mountains and it’s caught in the grains of the endless Sahara. It’s a vibrancy, an urgency, an assault on the senses.

It is the essence of Morocco. Play it again, Sam.

Will you join us?

Day 1 – Thursday 16th April 2020

CASABLANCA (D)

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 to 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: Your own room at ‘Hotel Barcelo,’ in Casablanca (4 star)

Day 2 – Friday 17th April 2020

CASABLANCA – RABAT – MEKNES (B)

After breakfast Casablanca beckons and we set off on a 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. 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: Your own standard room at ‘Hotel Swani,’ in Meknes (3.5 star)


Day 3 – Saturday 18th April 2020

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 a 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: Your own standard room at ‘Hotel Across,’ in Fes (4 star)


Day 4 – Sunday 19th April 2020

FES (B,D)

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
  • Splendid Fundouk Nejjarine Entrance
  • Medersa Bou Inania Entrance

Accommodation: Your own standard room at ‘Hotel Across,’ in Fes (4 star)


Day 5 – Monday 20th April 2020

MIDELT (B,D)

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 walk 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: Your own room at Hotel Taddart (4 star)


Day 6 – Tuesday 21st April 2020

MERZOUGA DESERT (B,L,D)

This morning 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. We will have the option to either ride camels to the edge of the Sahara Desert, or take a 4WD, 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.

PLEASE NOTE: 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 for warmth and comfort. The entire camp is set up by our crew while you relax and enjoy the mighty Sahara Desert.

Accommodation: Your own private accommodation at ‘Caravanserai Luxury Desert Camp’ in Merzouga


Day 7 – Wednesday 22nd April 2020

AIT BENHEDDOU (B,D)

Today travel south for four hours 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, we will experience a cooking demonstration to learn the secrets behind Morocco’s most famous cuisine: couscous and tagine.

Accommodation: Your own room at ‘Riad Ksar Ighnda,’ in Ait Benhadou (3.5 star)


Day 8 – Thursday 23rd April 2020

MARRAKECH (B)

After breakfast today we will have the opportunity to haggle for carpets (mainly Kilims) where local girls and women learn weaving, tapestry and embroidery in Ait Benhaddou. Next 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 pass is magnificent, and there’s plenty of opportunity to stop for photos along the way. On arrival in Marrakech we will check in to our hotel. 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. Perhaps enjoy dinner on this magical square with your new friends at one of the outdoor street food vendors. 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: Your own room at ‘Mogador Opera,’ in Marrakech (4 star)


Day 9 – Friday 24th April 2020

MARRAKECH (B)

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: Your own room at ‘Mogador Opera,’ in Marrakech (4 star)


Day 10 – Saturday 25th April 2020

ESSAOUIRA (B)

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 view. This is likely to be one of the most memorable stays of your journey!

Included Activities

  • Guided tour of Essaouira

Accommodation: Your own room at ‘Riad AL Madina,’ in Essaouira (3.5 star)


Day 11 – Sunday 26th April 2020

ESSAOUIRA (B)

Today is at your leisure. Relax at the beach, wander the shops or check with your tour leader for the optional activities that can be organised for your enjoyment. Optional Activities • Hamam (public baths) – MAD200 • Berber massage – MAD350 • Horse riding – MAD250 • Seafood Market Lunch – Essaouira – MAD80 §§Accommodation: Your own room at ‘Riad AL Madina,’ in Essaouira (3.5 star)


Day 12 – Monday 27th April 2020

CASABLANCA (B,D)

This morning you may take time to have a walk by the beach or admire the medina one more time before returning to Casablanca. Upon arrival we will check-in to our hotel. Later this evening the group will meet for a farewell dinner and merriment and we enjoy our last night on this magical journey.

Accommodation: Your own room at ‘Hotel Barcelo,’ in Casablanca (4 star)


Day 13 – Tuesday 28th April 2020

CASABLANCA DEPARTURE DAY (B)

After breakfast our tour ends as we transfer to the airport for our flight home, or onwards for further adventures. Alternately we can organise for you to stay for a night or more longer in Casablanca if you wish. Departure transfer to the airport is included.

 

TOUR PRICING $4,799 PLUS INTERNATIONAL AIRFARES AND TAXES

TOUR DATES: 16TH – 28TH APRIL 2020

Hotel Barcelo: This contemporary hotel, set on the modern Boulevard d’Anfa, lies a 9-minute walk from the skyscrapers of the Casablanca Twin Center, a 15-minute walk from Casablanca Cathedral and 2 km from the Hassan II Mosque. The polished rooms come with satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, safes and minifridges, plus 24-hour room service. Some have views of the Hassan II Mosque. Suites add whirlpool tubs and living areas. There’s a refined tea room and and airy restaurant serving Moroccan and Spanish fare.

Hotel Swani: A 13-minute walk from Meknès train station, this relaxed hotel close to shops is 5 km from both the 14th-century Bou Inania Madrasa and the Royal Palace. Unfussy rooms feature free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Upgraded rooms add balconies. Breakfast is complimentary. Other amenities include a restaurant and a coffee shop.

Hotel Across:LocaSet off the N8 highway, this informal hotel is 2 km from the Garden Jnan sbil, 2 km from the Complexe Sportif and 1 km from Fes Station. The simple rooms include flat-screen TVs, minifridges and sitting areas, plus balconies. Suites add living areas with sofas. Some suites add terraces. Amenities include a restaurant, 2 bars and an outdoor pool, plus a hammam, a fitness room and massage services. There’s also a terrace and a garden, both with seating.

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.

Ksar Awayou: Set a 1-hour drive from Boumalne Dades and a 40-minute drive from Kalaat M’Gouna, offering a traditional Berber design, a garden and a terrace with a view of the Atlas Mountains. The guest rooms at Hotel Awayou are simply decorated and include a wardrobe. Most of the rooms include a private bathroom with a bath or a shower. Guests are invited to relax in the lounge areas or in the Berber tent in the garden. A continental breakfast is served every morning at Hotel Awayou and local cuisine can be enjoyed in the dining area.

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.

Opera Mogador: This upscale hotel is a 9-minute walk from Marrakech railway station and 3 km from Majorelle Garden. Refined rooms come with free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. Suites add separate living spaces. There are 2 restaurants (1 is buffet-style) serving Moroccan and international cuisine. Other amenities include an outdoor pool, an exercise room, and a spa with a sauna, an indoor pool and a traditional hammam.

Hotel Riad Mimouna: A 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.

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

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 private, comfortable and air-conditioned vehicle.
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and excursions as per your itinerary
  • Representatives, drivers or guides assistance for check in to hotels/trains/flights, where applicable.
  • All meals specified as included on your itinerary (B= breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • All currently applicable taxes
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance with CHI (underwritten by Alliance). Additional premium may be payable if over 69 years, have an existing medical condition or wish to extend your travel dates. Please refer to the CHI PDS for more information on policy terms and conditions.

Tour Exclusions:

  • International airfares and taxes
  • Visas
  • Any services, meals or drinks not mentioned as ‘included’ in the itinerary
  • Drinks with included lunches and dinners
  • Expenses of a personal nature, such as souviniers, laundry and phone calls
  • Any touring activities listed as ‘optional’

At the crossroads of Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Morocco is a melting pot of culture and custom.

You can feel it in the bustle of the crowded souqs and you can taste it in every aromatic tajine. It’s floating in the air above the High Atlas Mountains and it’s caught in the grains of the endless Sahara. It’s a vibrancy, an urgency, an assault on the senses.

It is the essence of Morocco. Play it again, Sam.

Will you join us?

Day 1 – Thursday 16th April 2020

CASABLANCA (D)

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 to 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: Your own room at ‘Hotel Barcelo,’ in Casablanca (4 star)

Day 2 – Friday 17th April 2020

CASABLANCA – RABAT – MEKNES (B)

After breakfast Casablanca beckons and we set off on a 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. 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: Your own standard room at ‘Hotel Swani,’ in Meknes (3.5 star)


Day 3 – Saturday 18th April 2020

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 a 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: Your own standard room at ‘Hotel Across,’ in Fes (4 star)


Day 4 – Sunday 19th April 2020

FES (B,D)

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
  • Splendid Fundouk Nejjarine Entrance
  • Medersa Bou Inania Entrance

Accommodation: Your own standard room at ‘Hotel Across,’ in Fes (4 star)


Day 5 – Monday 20th April 2020

MIDELT (B,D)

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 walk 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: Your own room at Hotel Taddart (4 star)


Day 6 – Tuesday 21st April 2020

MERZOUGA DESERT (B,L,D)

This morning 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. We will have the option to either ride camels to the edge of the Sahara Desert, or take a 4WD, 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.

PLEASE NOTE: 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 for warmth and comfort. The entire camp is set up by our crew while you relax and enjoy the mighty Sahara Desert.

Accommodation: Your own private accommodation at ‘Caravanserai Luxury Desert Camp’ in Merzouga


Day 7 – Wednesday 22nd April 2020

AIT BENHEDDOU (B,D)

Today travel south for four hours 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, we will experience a cooking demonstration to learn the secrets behind Morocco’s most famous cuisine: couscous and tagine.

Accommodation: Your own room at ‘Riad Ksar Ighnda,’ in Ait Benhadou (3.5 star)


Day 8 – Thursday 23rd April 2020

MARRAKECH (B)

After breakfast today we will have the opportunity to haggle for carpets (mainly Kilims) where local girls and women learn weaving, tapestry and embroidery in Ait Benhaddou. Next 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 pass is magnificent, and there’s plenty of opportunity to stop for photos along the way. On arrival in Marrakech we will check in to our hotel. 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. Perhaps enjoy dinner on this magical square with your new friends at one of the outdoor street food vendors. 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: Your own room at ‘Mogador Opera,’ in Marrakech (4 star)


Day 9 – Friday 24th April 2020

MARRAKECH (B)

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: Your own room at ‘Mogador Opera,’ in Marrakech (4 star)


Day 10 – Saturday 25th April 2020

ESSAOUIRA (B)

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 view. This is likely to be one of the most memorable stays of your journey!

Included Activities

  • Guided tour of Essaouira

Accommodation: Your own room at ‘Riad AL Madina,’ in Essaouira (3.5 star)


Day 11 – Sunday 26th April 2020

ESSAOUIRA (B)

Today is at your leisure. Relax at the beach, wander the shops or check with your tour leader for the optional activities that can be organised for your enjoyment. Optional Activities • Hamam (public baths) – MAD200 • Berber massage – MAD350 • Horse riding – MAD250 • Seafood Market Lunch – Essaouira – MAD80 §§Accommodation: Your own room at ‘Riad AL Madina,’ in Essaouira (3.5 star)


Day 12 – Monday 27th April 2020

CASABLANCA (B,D)

This morning you may take time to have a walk by the beach or admire the medina one more time before returning to Casablanca. Upon arrival we will check-in to our hotel. Later this evening the group will meet for a farewell dinner and merriment and we enjoy our last night on this magical journey.

Accommodation: Your own room at ‘Hotel Barcelo,’ in Casablanca (4 star)


Day 13 – Tuesday 28th April 2020

CASABLANCA DEPARTURE DAY (B)

After breakfast our tour ends as we transfer to the airport for our flight home, or onwards for further adventures. Alternately we can organise for you to stay for a night or more longer in Casablanca if you wish. Departure transfer to the airport is included.

 

TOUR PRICING $4,799 PLUS INTERNATIONAL AIRFARES AND TAXES

TOUR DATES: 16TH – 28TH APRIL 2020

Hotel Barcelo: This contemporary hotel, set on the modern Boulevard d’Anfa, lies a 9-minute walk from the skyscrapers of the Casablanca Twin Center, a 15-minute walk from Casablanca Cathedral and 2 km from the Hassan II Mosque. The polished rooms come with satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, safes and minifridges, plus 24-hour room service. Some have views of the Hassan II Mosque. Suites add whirlpool tubs and living areas. There’s a refined tea room and and airy restaurant serving Moroccan and Spanish fare.

Hotel Swani: A 13-minute walk from Meknès train station, this relaxed hotel close to shops is 5 km from both the 14th-century Bou Inania Madrasa and the Royal Palace. Unfussy rooms feature free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Upgraded rooms add balconies. Breakfast is complimentary. Other amenities include a restaurant and a coffee shop.

Hotel Across:LocaSet off the N8 highway, this informal hotel is 2 km from the Garden Jnan sbil, 2 km from the Complexe Sportif and 1 km from Fes Station. The simple rooms include flat-screen TVs, minifridges and sitting areas, plus balconies. Suites add living areas with sofas. Some suites add terraces. Amenities include a restaurant, 2 bars and an outdoor pool, plus a hammam, a fitness room and massage services. There’s also a terrace and a garden, both with seating.

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.

Ksar Awayou: Set a 1-hour drive from Boumalne Dades and a 40-minute drive from Kalaat M’Gouna, offering a traditional Berber design, a garden and a terrace with a view of the Atlas Mountains. The guest rooms at Hotel Awayou are simply decorated and include a wardrobe. Most of the rooms include a private bathroom with a bath or a shower. Guests are invited to relax in the lounge areas or in the Berber tent in the garden. A continental breakfast is served every morning at Hotel Awayou and local cuisine can be enjoyed in the dining area.

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.

Opera Mogador: This upscale hotel is a 9-minute walk from Marrakech railway station and 3 km from Majorelle Garden. Refined rooms come with free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. Suites add separate living spaces. There are 2 restaurants (1 is buffet-style) serving Moroccan and international cuisine. Other amenities include an outdoor pool, an exercise room, and a spa with a sauna, an indoor pool and a traditional hammam.

Hotel Riad Mimouna: A 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.

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

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 private, comfortable and air-conditioned vehicle.
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and excursions as per your itinerary
  • Representatives, drivers or guides assistance for check in to hotels/trains/flights, where applicable.
  • All meals specified as included on your itinerary (B= breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • All currently applicable taxes
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance with CHI (underwritten by Alliance). Additional premium may be payable if over 69 years, have an existing medical condition or wish to extend your travel dates. Please refer to the CHI PDS for more information on policy terms and conditions.

Tour Exclusions:

  • International airfares and taxes
  • Visas
  • Any services, meals or drinks not mentioned as ‘included’ in the itinerary
  • Drinks with included lunches and dinners
  • Expenses of a personal nature, such as souviniers, laundry and phone calls
  • Any touring activities listed as ‘optional’
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