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Embark on our most extensive trip through Morocco, an immersive 16-day tour into the heart of this fascinating country. Travel from the mighty mosque of Hassan II to the immense Sahara, experiencing local hospitality along the way. Wander the charming Meknes medina, discover the high plains market of Midelt, walk the cliffs of the Tadra Gorge and travel to each destination in the comfort of an air-conditioned private vehicle. In addition, this tour includes a jaunt to Essaouira - the seaside resort town on Morocco's Atlantic Coast.
Day 1: Casablanca
Welcome to Morocco! On arrival at Casablanca Airport you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting with your leader and fellow travellers this evening at 6 pm. If you arrive with time to spare, then a great option for your limited time in Casablanca is to visit the Villa des Arts. This 1930s art deco gallery holds numerous exhibitions of contemporary Moroccan and international art. If you are looking for a different type of cultural experience then you may want to learn about a fascinating part of Moroccan history at the Museum of Judaism.
Day 2: Casablanca — Rabat – Meknes
This morning you will visit one of the most impressive sites in Casablanca – the massive edifice of the Mosque of Hassan II. Opened in 1993, and second only in size to the great mosque at Mecca, the huge building is part on land and part on sea and can accommodate 25,000 worshippers. It is also one of the only mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims. Later, you will leave Casablanca and drive north along the coast to Rabat (approximately 1.5 hours), the elegant capital of Morocco and its first Imperial city. It contains numerous fine Arab monuments from the Almohad and Merenid dynasties of the 10th to 15th centuries and others that are far older. The earliest known settlement is Sala. Walk through the medina and souks, then explore the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoy an included local drink. Afterwards, continue to Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the huge minaret of the Hassan Mosque. In the late afternoon, continue to Meknes (approximately 2 hours).
Day 3: Meknes — Volubilis — Fes
This morning you will discover the charming streets of Meknes’ medina. Enter via the northern gate, Bab Berdaine, and walk to the shrine of Moulay Ismail who, in the 17th century, turned Meknes from a provincial town to a spectacular Imperial city. Visit Moulay Ismail Mausoleum. This peaceful resting place of Sultan Moulay Ismail is one of the few sacred sites in Morocco open to non-Muslims. Constructed during his lifetime, Ismail chose this location as it had once housed Meknes's Palais de Justice (courthouse), and he hoped in death to be judged in his own court by his own people. Take some time to soak up the atmosphere of this place before driving out of the city to the ruins of Volubilis (approximately 45 minutes). Volubilis was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, and the remains make an undeniably impressive sight. Take a tour around the ruins with a local guide. Have your camera or phone at the ready as the town is filled with picture-perfect mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus. After time spent imagining Volubulis as the bustling city it once was, continue to the living museum of Fes (approximately 1.5 hours). Check in to your hotel in late afternoon, and perhaps spend the evening relaxing in your elegant, riad-style accommodation.
Day 4: Fes
Fes is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco; vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses. Today head into the Old Town, known locally as Fes el Bali. 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 through the twisting streets and alleyways, passing donkeys piled high with goods, and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Filled with historic khans, medresses and dye-pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs and soups, and where the squawk of chickens, smell of spice and sound of hammering of copper fills the air. Spend the day exploring the old city, visiting Al-Attarine Madrasa, the tanneries and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th-century inn. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy a memorable dinner of one of the city’s signature dishes, the salty and sweet pastille.
Day 5: Midelt
Today, leave the intensity of the city behind for the simplicity of the High Atlas Mountains. Drive inland through a variety of spectacular scenery – fertile valleys, cedar and pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes – to the small town of Midelt (approximately 5 hours). Midelt is a market town, originally built as a base for mining in the area and is nestled in the high plains surrounding the Moulouya River, between the Middle and High Atlas mountain ranges 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 6: Sahara Desert
This morning there's time to take another invigorating walk before the drive 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. Leave your gear at your overnight camp and then mount your camel and ride to 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.
Day 7: Todra Gorge – Dades Valley — M'Goun Valley
Enjoy a real Lawrence of Arabia moment this morning with yet another camel ride, this time for unforgettable sunrise across the desert. After breakfast 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 you will take a short walk through the sheer cliffs. Then continue to the beautiful Dades Valley (approximately 1 hour), where you will 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. Continue your journey inland to the M’Goun Valley (approximately 1 hour) where you will have a chance to observe the customs and lifestyle of the Berber people.
Day 8: M'Goun Valley
You have a full day to explore the beauty of this largely untouched Moroccan backcountry and the best way to do way to do it is on foot. There are a couple of circuits in the area, but the one you’ll tackle today is a 10-kilometre circuit that will take about 4 hours. Take a short transfer to the start of the trek, then set out with a local guide. The trail undulates and can be challenging in sections but is accessible to everyone with a basic level of fitness. Stop in a village en route and enjoy tea with a local family. This is a fantastic opportunity to share stories and learn a little about the way of family life in the M’Goun Valley. The surrounding mountains and the famous Rose Valley make a sensational setting.
Day 9: Ait Benhaddou
Leaving the Dades Valley today, set off on the Road of 1000 Kasbahs. Your first stop is Skoura Oasis (approximately 1 hour), home to several privately owned kasbahs, including the Kasbah Ameridhl, with its extravagant decorations and mud-brick fortifications. Continue to Ait Benhaddou (approximately 2 hours) – a hilltop site almost unchanged since the 11th century. Its grand kasbah is one of the most beautiful in Morocco and fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture. 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. Walk through the winding streets of the Old Town, making your way to the top of the hill for some scenic views. Afterwards, visit Tawesna – a local teahouse on the river – for afternoon tea. This community-run establishment provides women with a small income to support themselves and their children. These women use natural ingredients sourced from local cooperatives to prepare tea and pastries, taking great pride in sharing their stories and giving visitors an authentic Berber experience.
Day 10: Ourigane
Leave Ait Benhaddou after breakfast and drive for several hours through the winding roads of the Atlas Mountains. We can take our time as the scenery is magnificent and keen photographers may call for a few photo stops! Our destination today is Ouirgane, small town and rural commune in Al Haouz Province of the Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz region of Morocco. Nestled in the tranquil foothills of the High Atlas Mountains lays this pretty Berber village that provides visitors with an alternative and lesser-visited base for walking. With its gentle winter climate and moderate summer, it is a great place to stroll around the nearby red-earth hills and pine forests, watch a wide variety of bird life or just sit back and relax at an invigorating altitude of 1000 metres – all with the amazing view of Jebel Toubkal in the background.
Day 11: Ourigane – Marrakech
Today you will drive for couple of hours through the winding roads of the Atlas, bound for Marrakech. There’s no rush as the scenery is magnificent and there will surely be calls for several photo stops along the way. On arrival in Marrakech, check in to your beautiful riad, which is beautifully decorated and cosy. This evening why not head to the great square of Djemaa 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 bite of famous Moroccan pastries with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and then finish your day with a cup of tea on one of the roof-top restaurants overlooking the square.
Day 12: Marrakech
After breakfast today, meet your local guide and 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. Onward, stop by the Koutoubia Mosque; its famous minaret is the prototype for others of its kind around the world. Then walk back through the streets of the old medina to Djemaa el-Fna. The rest of the day is free to explore further or shop in the bazaar. Perhaps visit Le Jardin Secret, a traditional medina garden revived for the 21st century. Once owned by a powerful local chief, U-Bihi who was poisoned by Mohammed IV. This historic riad has one of the most beautiful courtyards in Marrakech, combining exotic and traditional Islamic gardens that are fed by original khettara, an underground irrigation system. Visit a pavilion with exhibits on the riad's history including a documentary on the restoration process, then climb its tower for views across the medina. Other possibility is to visit the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques. Otherwise, head back into the medina, where every step brings a new smell, a new sight or a new gift to buy. 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. Join your group tonight and dine on Moroccan specialities with your friends in one of the traditional riads in Marrakech.
Day 13: Marrakech – Essaouira
After breakfast leave for Essaouira (approximately 2.5 hours), a city where the medina brushes up against the Atlantic Ocean and where you will spend the next two nights. The narrow streets of Essaouira are ideal for casual exploration. Their size discourages cars, and on walk through the town it feels as though little has changed since the days of sea pirates. Sandstone walkways contrast with whitewashed houses, bright blue sky and the sand of the surrounding beaches and dunes. It is one of North Africa's most attractive places, and you will soon find yourself slipping into its easy-going rhythm of this Moroccan town with a European seaside twist. The fishing port is a serious commercial operation and there’s much fun to be had observing the daily catch and its subsequent auction. Elsewhere there are numerous shops and several fine art galleries to distract a visitor, along with a wide variety of restaurants. Your tour leader will help guide you through the maze of options. This evening you might like to indulge in a luxuriating massage and hammam in a spa.
Day 14: Essaouira
The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it's such a picturesque town. This artists' town was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations, and its charm has seduced people like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix, who (according to local legend) spent much of his time here in the 1960s. On this free day perhaps grab a traditional Moroccan breakfast and wander the streets, giving way to the cart-haulers calling ‘ballak, ballak’, pass the harbour filled with colourful boats which go out early every morning for the day's catch, see camels and surfers sharing the beach, and perhaps explore the fish souk. Here you will choose a catch of the day and take it to a local-filled restaurant – follow their lead and hand over your market purchase for it to be grilled for the freshest of meals. Your leader will also take you to the fresh vegetables markets where you will choose your salads and veggies to accompany your seafood lunch. Enjoy delicious meal together with the rest of your group. Take day to search the less hectic medina, discover the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum and its collection of artefacts, woodwork, carpets and stringed instruments, enjoy cafe life on the main square, or sit back and watch the kitesurfers ride the crashing waves. You can also discover the taste of Morocco in a cooking class, or head outside of the city to the beautiful surroundings on a daytrip.
Day 15: Essaouira – Marrakech
The morning is free for you to explore further, and in the afternoon drive back to Marrakech (approximately 2.5 hours). Once you have settled in to your hotel, you will likely be drawn back to the Jemaa el Fna, and its surrounding medina. Eating out at one of the many outdoor restaurants lining the square is a great way to finish your adventure.
Day 16: Marrakech
Your trip ends today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around midday and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring here. Speak to your leader about the wealth of extra activities to do around Marrakech.
- Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
- Casablanca - Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque
- Rabat - Kasbah Les Oudayas
- Rabat - Kasbah Oudaya Local Drink
- Rabat - Hassan Tower
- Rabat - Mausoleum Mohammed V
- Rabat - Mausoleum Hassan II
- Volubilis - Entrance and Guided Tour
- Meknes - Guided Walking Tour
- Mausoleum Moulay Ismail visit
- Fes - Medina guided walking tour
- Fes - Fondouk Nejjarine Visit
- Fes - Medersa Attarine Visit
- M'goun Valley - Guided Half Day Hike
- Tea making demonstartion with Berber family
- Skoura - Kasbah Skoura & Oasis Visit
- Tea time in Tawesna association
- Marrakech - Guided Walking Tour
- Koutoubia Mosque and minaret
- Djemma el Fna fresh orange juice
- Marrakech - Palais Bahia
- Seafood Market Lunch - Essaouira
15 Breakfast(s) Included
1 Lunch(es) Included
8 Dinner(s) Included
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