Day 1: CASABLANCA
Welcome to Morocco. There are no planned activities until your important welcome meeting at 6 pm, if you have time, why not check out Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco. Modelled after Marseille in France, this bustling port city has an eclectic architectural style, a fusion of Art Deco French colonial buildings and Mauresque (Moorish) government institutions, all mixed in with an old medina and the city's modern-day landmark - the Hassan II Mosque. A great way to spend the day exploring Casablanca is to wander around the Old Medina and city walls, then jump in a taxi and visit the Quartier Habous – the new medina full of shaded squares, narrow streets and lined with arcades that lead from one souk to another. This is a great place to enjoy a Moroccan coffee and maybe start working on your bargaining skills. Finish the day with a walk along the Corniche and watch the locals enjoy games of football on the beach during sunset. It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late, please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Day 2: CASABLANCA – MEKNES –MOULAY IDRESS
After breakfast, opt to take a guided tour of the Hassan II Mosque (entrance fee payable locally), more than 6000 craftsmen joined forces to build this beauty in 1993 and it's one of the few mosques in Morocco that foreigners can enter.
Later, we continue to Mekness City exactly to the village of Moulay Idriss (approximately 3 hours). Upon arrival, jump into a taxi and head to the whitewashed village of Moulay Idriss – one of Morocco's most important pilgrimage sites – then go for a stroll and indulge in a rather unusual lunch, a camel burger! However, if you’re a vegetarian, don’t get the hump, there’ll be an option for you too! You’ll also witness a demonstration on the art of mint tea making, this sweet treat is a Moroccan speciality. Tonight, you'll get to hang out with a local family, an experience that’s only been allowed for foreigners since 2005 – lucky you!
Day 3: VOLUBILIS –MEKNES _ CHAFCHAOUEN
Take a drive through the beautiful rolling hills to Volubilis and enjoy a guided tour of these epic Roman ruins, then head back to Meknes where you'll meet your local guide for a tour of the city. and discover the charming streets of the old medina. From the northern gate of Bab Berdaine, walk to the shrine of Moulay Ismail (closed for renovation) – who turned Meknes from a provincial town to an imperial city in the 17th century – then explore the elaborately decorated public buildings hidden in these winding streets, including the granary of Mouly Ismail and the old souk.
Afterward, make the 3-hour drive to Chefchaouen, or the ‘blue city’, which is arguably one of the prettiest places in Morocco. Set against a wide valley and nestled between two peaks in the stunning Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen may take you by surprise. Its medina has been lovingly cared for with striking blue and whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs, and artistic doorways. Much of Chefchaouen was recreated by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquista, so you might feel like you're in the hills of Spain while exploring its streets. Ease into the relaxed pace of life in this rural retreat. Take an orientation walk with your leader through the ancient medina and shop for handicrafts, or simply sit at a cafe and enjoy the pleasure of time passing by. If you're feeling puckish, the goats' cheese on offer is a popular treat enjoyed by many visitors.
Day 4: FES
Enjoy a free morning to further discover Chefchaouen. Take another stroll around the streets and search for your favourite shade of blue. Then perhaps enjoy lunch before boarding our private minibus on a long journey to Fes (approximately 4 hours) for the night. The living museum of Fes has disputable origins, some believe its origins come from ancient Greece, others claim it comes from the Balkans. Nevertheless, the city is the best example of the medieval Arab world, and you are soon to find out more about its past and modern times. After checking in your hotel in the late afternoon, perhaps enjoy a memorable dinner of one of the city’s signature dishes, the salty and sweet pastille.Camp on dunes and palms trees .
Day 5: EXPLORE FES
Today you will discover the city of Fes, the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco – vibrant, noisy, fascinating, and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses. Head into the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali, arguably the world's most fascinating and confounding old city. Medieval Fes was one of the world's great centres of education and culture, both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and libraries are legendary, its mosques of great renown. Walk along the twisting streets and alleyways, passing donkeys piled high with goods, and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Filled with historic khans, madrassas and dye pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs and soups, and where the squawk of chickens, the smell of spice, and sound of hammering of copper fills the air, it’s not hard to imagine yourself back in the Middle Ages. Spend the day exploring the old city, visiting Medersa el Attarine, the tanneries, and the splendid Fondouk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th-century inn. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and perhaps spend the evening relaxing in this calming oasis, away from the buzz of the medina.A very beautiful camp with high dunes .
Day 6: FES– IFRANE - MIDELT
After breakfast we will leave Fes to start the trip south. The journey from Fes is an amazing immersion in the diversity of the Moroccan landscape. The road south takes you into the Middle Atlas Mountains with its huge cedar forest where the indigenous Barbary Monkeys live, through Little Switzerland; the alpine towns of Azrou and Ifrane which are blanketed in snow during the winter and then we continue to Midelt where you will spend the night. 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 1500 metres. 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, resting up before the Sahara tomorrow.
Day 7: MIDELT - ERRACHIDIA - ZIZ VALLEY - MERZOUGA
This morning there's a little bit of time to relax before hitting the road again. Drive through changing scenery, from barren mountainsides to fertile valleys, on the journey to Merzouga. With a backdrop of the orange-coloured 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 your overnight camp set next to a simple hotel 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 you will camp out in traditional style, with the chance to try some fantastic local cuisine while you sit around an open fire, enjoying lively music and dancing under the stars. Night in desert camping with swimming pool and nomad tent
Day 8: TODGHA GORGE – M’GOUNE VALLEY
Enjoy a real Lawrence of Arabia moment this morning with yet another camel ride, this time for an unforgettable sunrise across the desert. After breakfast drive to Todra Gorge (approximately 4 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 you will take a short walk through the sheer cliffs. Continue your journey inland for tonight’s destination, M’goun (approximately 2 hours). You will get closer to the customs and lifestyle of the Berber this evening with the night spent in a traditional Berber house called a gite.
Day 9: M’GOUNE VALLEY
We have a full day to explore the beauty of this largely untouched Moroccan backcountry. On foot is the best way to discover the natural and man-made landscape and the rural way of life. There are a couple of circuits to choose from, but the most popular choice, and the one we recommend, is a 10-kilometre circuit that will take about 4 hours. Accompanied by a local guide, you’ll walk a trail that undulates slightly here and there, but isn't too challenging if you have a basic level of fitness. On the walk you'll pass Berber villages, meeting local Berbers along the way and perhaps having a chance to share a cup of mint tea with some of them. The surrounding mountains and the famous Rose Valley make a sensational setting.
Day 10: SKOURA – AIT BEN HADDOU
Leaving the M'goun Valley today, set off on the fabled ‘Road of 1000 Kasbahs’. The first stop is at Skoura Oasis (after approximately 2 hours), home to several privately owned kasbahs. Here you’ll visit the Kasbah Ameridhl, with its extravagant decorations and mud-brick fortifications before continuing on your journey to Ait Benhaddou (approximately 2 hours). Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco's most iconic sites. If you think you recognise the place, you probably do, as the town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Enjoy a walk through the winding streets of the old town, making your way to the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy the views across the surrounding plains. Pay a visit to the Tawesna teahouse on the river, a community-run establishment that provides local women with an income to support themselves and their children. Using ingredients sourced from local cooperatives, the women prepare delicious tea and pastries while sharing their stories with those who pop in to visit. After heading to your nearby hotel for the night, maybe sit back on the rooftop terrace and watch the sun setting over the magical kasbah.
Day 11: AIT BEN HADDOU – MARRAKECH
Today you will drive for several hours through the winding roads of the Atlas, bound for Marrakech, an ancient, exotic city wrapped in European modernity. There’s no rush as the scenery through the High Atlas Mountain passes is magnificent, and there will surely be calls for several photo stops along the way. After checking in to your hotel, you might like to 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 finish your day with a cup of mint tea on one of the roof-top restaurants overlooking the square.
Day 12: EXPLORE MARRAKECH
After breakfast we will explore the magical mystical city of Marrakech with the help of a local knowledgeable guide. We will see the most important sites of historical and cultural interest; the Majorelle Gardens, the Koutoubia Tower, the Saadian tombs, the Bahia Palace and the Ben Youssef Koranic School. After Lunch at local restaurant near the main square, we will walk through the souks and view hundreds of handicrafts. In the afternoon, you will have free time to discover Marrakech by yourself.
Day 13: MARRAKECH – AIROPORT
There are no activities planned after breakfast so, if you have time, why not immerse yourself in a cooking masterclass with a local guide. Journey through the souks of Marrakech and shop for the best ingredients before learning the insider tricks on how to create a deliciously authentic tagine in a classic riad setting, while getting to know the family that lives there. Take home the recipe and recreate your memories of Morocco at the dinner table.