The journey of a lifetime awaits in Morocco on this exhilarating two week adventure. From the sights and sounds of Marrakech, the ancient Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou and the vast Sahara Desert, to the history of Fes, Rabat and Meknes, there’s plenty to amaze. Plus top off your trip with a relaxing few days by the coast in breezy Essaouira.
Saturday. Upon arrival at Marrakech airport you’ll be met and transferred to our hotel in the centre of town. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to explore Marrakech - why not head to the medina and discover the delights of Djemaa el Fna, the exuberant market place, which is a hive of activity, sights and smells at both day and night. Later on there will be a welcome meeting at the hotel at 19:30hrs.
After breakfast we head over to the beautiful Majorelle Gardens just a short drive from the hotel. These botanical gardens were designed by the French Artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s. He used a distinctive shade of cobalt blue for the majority of the garden and although a lot of his other work has largely been forgotten – this garden is seen as his greatest master piece. The garden has been owned by Yves Saint Laurent since 1980 and his ashes were scattered here after his death in 2008. The garden contains an extensive collection of exotic plants and trees and is home to 15 species of bird. There is also a Berber Museum representing the various indigenous tribes of Morocco including over 600 artefacts. The newly opened Yves Saint Laurent museum nearby is also well worth a visit - this museum was opened in 2017 and is dedicated to the life and works of Yves Saint Laurent himself. Please note entrance into the YSL museum is not included and costs 100 MAD per person if you would like to go in. <br/><br/> This afternoon you will meet up with the rest of the group who are coming in from Casablanca before embarking on a guided tour of Marrakech. Inside the rose coloured medina walls is a tangle of winding streets and alleys that open onto verdant gardens and bustling souks. At the heart of the medina is Djemaa El Fna, the city's exuberant market place and towering over it, is the famous Koutoubia Mosque, the tallest building in the city.
Marrakech - Ait Benhaddou - Ouarzazate. Departing the city this morning we travel across the plains of haouz and reach the great High Atlas mountains. Climbing over the pass of Tizi n Tichka, we stop for lunch and then continue onwards with great views over the Mountains and valleys to Ait Benhaddou. This incredible ancient fortified Kasbah was built for defence purposes high on a hill and is a stunningly well preserved medieval city which has famously featured in many blockbuster movies, including Gladiator and Laurence of Arabia as its beauty is unequal to any other fortified kasbah in south Morocco. Carrying on we continue south to the Hollywood of North Africa – Ouarzazate (pronounced war-zazat). Ouarzazate is famous for being the filming location for many other Hollywood blockbusters and famous TV shows including James Bond – The Living Daylights, The Mummy and more recently Game of Thrones.
Ouarzazate - Todra Gorge - Merzouga (Sahara). This morning we begin our journey into the Sahara with a medley of palm trees, rose fields and magnificent gorges. Travelling from Ouarzazate, there is a possibility of visiting the kasbah Amherdhil in Skoura before seeing the rose fields and reaching scenic Todra Gorge. Surrounded by towering vertical limestone cliffs reaching heights of 1000ft, it is known as Morocco’s Grand Canyon. The charm of Todra lies in its changing colours as the sun slowly moves from east to west. After time to wander through Todra we hit the road again for Merzhouga – our base before we head into the Sahara. Depending on the time of year, spend the afternoon relaxing and swimming before climbing aboard our camels for an incredible trek into the Sahara Desert to watch a beautiful sunset and spend the night at our remote Berber Camp, nestled amongst the towering dunes of Erg Chebbi. We enjoy local food, music and an amazing night camping in the Sahara. <br/><br/> If you would prefer the comfort of a hotel with en-suite facilities this evening, opt for our Sahara hotel alternative at no additional cost. Please do let us know your preferred option at the time of booking.
Merzouga (Sahara) - Fes. Departing early, we climb back on our camels disembarking for a truly stunning sunrise. After freshening up and breakfast in Merzouga we’re back on the road heading for Fes. It’s a long drive today however there is a lot to see on the way. We’ll pass through cedar forests full of Barbary Macaque monkeys on our way through the Moyen Atlas mountains. Just before Fes we stop at Ifrane – a beautiful town often likened to a Swiss Alpine resort. Along the way we also start to see our first glimpse of Morocco’s nomadic Berbers – travelling across the mountains and often staying in make shift tents as they head to their next destination. We arrive into Fes in the early evening.
Fes is the oldest and largest medieval city in the world and its medina is a cacophony of aromas, sights and sounds. This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Fes el Bali - the old walled city. This fascinating medina is a veritable rabbit warren of 9400 alleys that often finish with dead ends – so be sure to stay close to the group! We also visit the dye-pits and tanneries before lunch in the medina. The remainder of the day is at leisure – why not take part in an optional Tagine Making Class or a night of Moroccan entertainment and food at a restaurant in town (both payable locally).
Fes - Volubilis - Meknes - Rabat. Departing Fes this morning we visit the fascinating UNESCO listed Roman ruins of Volubilis, which date back to AD40. Continuing on we stop at the Imperial City of Meknes, which became known as the Versailles of Morocco due to its impressive buildings and elaborate monuments. After lunch and some free time our final stop of the day is Rabat – Morocco’s capital where we overnight.
Rabat - Casablanca - Marrakech. This morning we take a guided tour of Rabat and visit some of the capital’s highlights, including the impressive Chellah - a necropolis and complex of ancient, medieval ruins, the Royal Palace and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. After lunch we continue to Casablanca where we visit the Hassan II Mosque, which has the tallest minaret and is the third largest mosque in the world - it can hold 25,000 worshippers at any one time. After our visit to the mosque we say goodbye to our fellow passengers leaving us in Casablanca and continue on to Marrakech for the night.
Marrakech - Essaouira. Today we have a leisurely morning before starting our journey to Essaouira on Morocco's Atlantic Coast via private transfer, and upon arrival enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure. Why not find a restaurant in the charming old town and try the local cuisine.
Essaouira – Marrakech. Spend the next three days exploring the sights and delights of Essaouira at your own pace. Set on the rugged shores of the breezy Atlantic Coast, this charming seaside city offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. While away the days here exploring its winding streets lined with whitewash houses, picking your way through the shops in its ancient medina, or by sitting at an ocean-facing restaurant sipping on a cup of coffee. During the warmer months why not try some water sports too, as the windy shores here offer ideal conditions for wind and kite surfing. Early evening of day 12 we return to Marrakech for the night.
Our amazing tour of Morocco ends today after hotel check out. An included onward departure transfer to Marrakech airport will be provided.
From a first foray into Egypt in 1998, On The Go Tours have expanded their operations to more than 60 countries, offering award-winning small group tours to destinations around the world. Their Middle East and North Africa portfolio now includes Jordan, Israel and Morocco, whilst other regions include Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Indian Subcontinent. From Machu Picchu in Peru to the extravagant Taj Mahal in India, On The Go Tours get you to the main sights of whichever destination you choose to visit. There’s also a range of special festival tours, Christmas and New Year adventures and much more, from overland adventures to luxury cruises. They always uncover some hidden gems too, be it canoeing to a local home for lunch in Sri Lanka or riding a rickshaw around the maze of Hutongs in Beijing, China.
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