(Marrakech, Skoura, Erfoud, Merzouga, Ouarzazate)
Carefully created with support from luxury family travel connoisseur Amie O'Shaughnessy of Ciao Bambino, this customizable adventure showcases Morocco`s surreal deserts, mystical High Atlas Mountains & magical Marrakech in a style and at a pace that`s ideal for families with children or even just those of you who are young at heart!
From sunrise camel rides, a sleep over at a Bedouin camp and biking through an oasis, to cooking lessons with a dada (Moroccan chef), sipping mint tea in ancient mountain Kasbahs and watching the sunset over the otherworldly dunes of Erg Chebbi, this is truly a unforgettable family journey. Led by expert private guide and driver, experience a fusion of cultural encounters, awe-inspiring natural wonders and historical treasures as you tour Marrakech, Skoura, Erfoud, Merzouga and Ouarzazate. Spend your nights relaxing at carefully selected kidtastic hotels (The Four Seasons Marrakech) and exotic Riads that even the adults are sure to love. All will fall under Morocco’s spell as you hunt for treasures in mystical bazaars, dine with a local family, experience traditional village life, delve into history at a fossil museum, tour ancient palaces and much much more.
Kensington Tours offers local support in each region you visit, another reason we deliver unbeatable value. Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Take an airport transfer in Marrakech with a private vehicle and driver.
The Four Seasons Kids Club will go out of their way to make children feel welcome with little gifts, an entertainment room for teenagers and dedicated kids areas and pools. A menu of activates and adventure like treasure hunts, Arabic calligraphy, Moroccan slipper making, sports and henna painting is offered through the Four Seasons Kids Club. There is a dedicated children’s Concierge is always close at hand – to make reservations for a family dinner, help arrange a babysitter and ensure there are child sized and themed extras in the room. Simply provide your destination experts with the names and ages of the children in your party so that we can be prepared to give them the stay of a lifetime.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will be at your disposal for the day.
Your tour usually starts at the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque. This mosque's beautiful minaret dominates the skyline of Marrakech and can be seen from almost every approach to the city thanks to a long-standing planning ordinance that forbids any other building in the old city to rise above the height of a palm tree. You will also visit the El-Bahia Palace. This 19th century palace is elaborate in its decoration and was built over a period of seven years for Ba Ahmed, the son of the Grand Vizier Si Moussa. There are row after row of apartments—that once housed Ahmed's harem—a trapezoidal garden, a huge tiled courtyard, and many hidden treasures, both in the form of antique objects d'art and the palace's convergence of Andalusian and Moorish architecture. One of most visited sites in Morocco is the Saadian Tombs, which were only accessible via the mosque next door. However, in 1917 they were opened to the public and can now be accessed via a narrow passage that leads to an enclosed garden watched over by two mausoleums that include more than one hundred mosaic-decorated tombs. The Koranic School Medersa Ben Youssef is a Theological college founded by the Merenid Sultan Abu Hassan in the 14th century. It was restored in 1564 by the Saadians who made it the largest theological college in the Maghreb and a rival to the important Medersa Bou Inania in Fés.
The legendary restaurant at La Maison Arabe today offers cooking workshops designed for the amateur and professional alike. The workshops are conducted by a dada (traditional Moroccan cook) or a chef from our Moroccan restaurant, and are held either at the hotel or at the Kasbah of our Country Club. Small groups of maximum 8-10 participants work alongside a translator (Arabic/English/French), using easy-to-use modern equipment found in everyday kitchens. At the end of each workshop, participants dine on the meal they have prepared. At a typical half-day workshop, one learns to prepare an appetizer and a main dish, or a main dish and dessert.
Enjoy an afternoon guided tour by horse drawn carriage through the Gardens of Majorelle, a property acquired in 1922 by the painter Jacques Majorelle. In 1980, the ownership of the garden changed and now belongs to the families of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge. Also, enjoy a brief tour of the Gardens of Menara. This garden area extends over a hundred hectares and has in its center an immense pool dating from the twelfth century. At the edge of the water, amongst the various plants and olive trees, is a small Saadien house, which over the last century has been rebuilt and renovated back to its original beauty. Enjoy the remainder of the evening exploring the nearby monuments that surround the gardens. Stroll through the Jardin Majorelle; first cultivated in 1924, the garden is now a psychedelic desert mirage of 300 plant species from five continents
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer between Marrakech and Skoura. During your trip you will pass through Ouarzazate. The approximate travel time is 5 hours.
Enjoy lunch in the mountains at one of the best restaurant with great views (not included in tour price).
You will be visiting the fantastic old fortified kasbah Ait Benhaddou protected by UNESCO, Taourirt Kasbah which is the old fortified town of Ouarzazate and the famous Ouarzazate's Cinema Studios.
Ait Ben Haddou has been used in numerous Hollywood film productions for its distinctive architecture. In 1987 this famed location was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will be at your disposal for the day.
Depart at around 10AM for a morning off road excursion through the Palm grove Oasis around Skoura. Marvel at the mud architecture of the Kasbahs providing amazing views of the Atlas Mountain range. The palm groves of the area were laid out in the 12th century by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el-Mansour and named after its original inhabitants, the Berbers of the Haskourene tribe. Skoura is often referred to as the “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs” and boast some of the most famed kasbahs in Morocco. The Ben Morro Kasbah stands on the left of the road above Skoura. It was built in the 17th Century, completely restored, and converted into a guest house. The most imposing of the kasbahs in this area that you will tour is 17th Century Amerhidil Kasbah. This fortified residence once belonged to the most powerful family responsible for protecting the village and its lands called the Glaoui. Today it is owned by the Sheikh of Amerhidil. Finally, the Kasbah of Aït Abou, built in the 1800’s and the oldest Kasbah in the palm grove, is six stories with walls 25 m high. Its surrounding buildings have been turned into a garden filled with pomegranate, apple, pear, fig, quince and olive trees that provide the necessary shading for growing crops.
Enjoy lunch at leisure (not included in tour price).
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
Travel today between Skoura and Erfoud in a private vehicle with an English speaking driver. En-route, stop in the Dades Gorge located just southwest of Tinerhir, some 110 kilometers away from Ouarzazate. The beauty of the Dades River is most evident in the mid-spring through early summer, giving the valley an unprecedented amount of greenery. In the valleys along the Dades Gorge, grows a variety of argan (nut) trees opposed to the palmeries that grow and surround the Todra Gorge. Upon arrival to the top of the gorge, prepare for slightly cooler temperatures and truly amazing views. Located just Northwest of Rissani and Northeast of Ouarzazate, near to the city of Tinerhir are the Todra Gorges. Experience the unbelievable might of the massive canyon walls reaching some 300 meters high.
En route enjoy a short walk in the Dades gorge, via the pretty village of Ait Youl. Marvel at the natural beauty of the unusual rock shapes and colours that enclose the lush farmland on the banks of the river. Explore the splendour of abandoned kasbahs perching on vantage points along the Gorge.
After breakfast, departure by private car to visit a local fossil museum and collection in the town of Erfoud. The ‘hammada’ region is home to abundant findings of fossils and beautiful rock formations. With a sharp eye, it is quite possible to walk in this region and stumble across many unusual treasures within a few footsteps, examples of which will be displayed in Erfoud.
A 4x4 vehicle will be waiting for you to continue your adventure by heading towards the dunes of Erg Chebbi, possibly the largest dunes in the Sahara desert. The dunes of Erg Chebbi are a strikingly strange natural formation. On the top of the flattest area you could imagine, suddenly a long mountain of sand rises. This mountain is surrounded by flat and desolate nature on all sides, and you could end up wondering if it really is real. But so it is, even if its existence is so weird that it has given rise to legends and myths among the locals. Upon arrival at the camp you will witness the sunset from over the desert dunes and be astounded by the peace and calm as well as the changing colours of the landscape. If you're up to it you can also ride a camel!
Breakfast at the camp and continue to Ouarzazate. En route, visit Rissani, the holy city where Moulay Ali Cherif, ancestor of the Alaouite dynasty, is buried. Visit the ruins of Sijilmassa, a famous capital of the old caravan routes in the 8th century. Continuation to Tineghir via the Tinjdad road and stop to view the Todgha canyons ; a massive fault in the plateau diving the High Atlas from the Jbel Saghro, with a crystal-clear river running through it, the gorge rises to 300m at its narrowest point. Arrival in Tineghir we will visit its Mellah gateway and the ancient and colorful Jewish quarter. Tinghir is believed to have one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Morocco. Departure to Ouarzazate via El Kelaa des M'Gouna and optional visit of Tiliit (5 miles from El Kelaa Des M'Gouna), known as the Ancient City of the Jews of the Dades. A really interesting day, all one valley to discover, the most beautiful valley of all the Moroccan south, cultivated mountain, population more than smiling, then valley of Dades, valley of roses, valley of the 1001 Kasbahs. Arrival to Ouarzazate late afternoon.
Relax as a private vehicle with English speaking driver provides a transfer to Marrakech, for a visit to the village of Ait Ben Haddou. Located approximately 60 kilometers from Skoura this fortified village (or ksar) is ideally positioned along a once frequented, ancient caravan route linking the Sahara and Marrakech. Ait Ben Haddou has been used in numerous Hollywood film productions for its distinctive architecture. In 1987 this famed location was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, travel to the village of Telouet, located approximately 1 hour north of Ait Ben Haddou. Telouet hosts one of the area's most recognized structures, the palace of the 'Lord of the Atlas.' This palace was the residence of the once Vizier of Marrakech, back in the early 20th Century. An evocative relic of the time when the Glaoui clan ruled over the Atlas and Marrakech, the palace was the family’s Headquarters and was situated in a dramatic location, on a broad mountain valley, providing sweeping views of the peaks on all sides. Continue from here back onto the main road back to Marrakech, crossing on the dramatic Tizi n'Tichka passage through the High Atlas Mountains range on the way. Whilst passing take time to notice the many beautifully-terraced valleys and adobe villages perched precipitously on the hillsides.
Welcome to the Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech. An easy walk from the ancient ramparts of the Medina and across from the Menara Gardens, the rose-hued walls of this new resort enfold a decadent resort and spa in 40 acres of sunlit gardens. With specialized facilities and services for every type of traveler, this luxurious property is perfect for everyone from small groups and couples on romantic getaways to families of any age.Lofty views of the Atlas Mountains and sun-filled Marrakech. Luxury hotel rooms as calming and secluded as they are inspiring and open. Five outstanding resort restaurants, bar and trendy lounges. Four Seasons brings you best of old and new.
Ideally located 45 minutes from Ouarzazate City (international airport) towards the Dadés & Todra Gorges, Merzouga’s desert. This exclusive ‘maison d’hôtes’ of a typical and traditional architecture, is nestled in a palm grove, 6 kilometers from the village of Skoura stretching towards the High Atlas Mountains.
Kasbah Hotel Xaluca is located in Arfoud, a city known as “the Door to the Desert”. The hotel is a truly exotic experience and it is listed as unique in Morocco due to its distinctive characteristics. It was built with adobes, the traditional Moroccan building bricks, and it is a great place to relax and enjoy the moment. Kasbah Hotel Xaluca offers 134 spacious rooms decorated with regional materials, as well as 8 bungalows. It is a fantastic place, situated among the dunes and palms, where you will be able to enjoy unique picturesque landscape.Kasbah Xaluca Maadid has a distinctive structure rising from the sands, palm trees swaying in the wind; a place of adventure and relaxation.
Enjoy your special night under the stars at this beautiful Oasis in a premium tented camp. Experience a camel ride at sunset and sunrise from the top of the dunes. Your desert experience includes an authentic Moroccan dinner under the stars and breakfast in the morning.
On the edge of the desert at Ouarzazate where the stunning light shines on a setting of natural beauty, Hotel Riad Ksar Ighnda opens its doors for you onto the Atlas Mountains: a rendezvous for discerning lovers of luxurious sensations and relaxation.
May 11, 2015
"We were a group of 5 to Morocco. We were impressed at how seamless our private guided tour went. Accommodations were five star, the choice of family run hotels, beautifully appointed with Moroccan furnishings and large breakfasts, contributed to our experience. Our guide, Ishmail and driver, Abdul, made us feel like family. Ishmail showed off his country with pride, listened to our needs and was flexible to our style and speed of travel. We couldn't be happier with our Kensington experience beginning with the pre-planning in the US with Lily Baffour. Thank you very much for a memorable experience! "
May 12, 2015
"Our guide, Chakim, was fantastic, and our driver was excellent. We were very pleased with our accommodations. Only negative comments would be the villa in Essaouira (room, food, service not good although people very nice), and, while probably not an issue for other travelers, we were disappointed that we could not relax over a glass of wine at the end of our journey because Hotel Le Doge did not offer alcoholic beverages. We are currently scheduled with Kensington Tours for India in November and we are now planning on scheduling with Kensington for all our trips - right now that would be Thailand to Mynamar, and Egypt with Dubai extension. We are extremely happy with Kensington Tours and their travel agents. We would recommend Lily Balfour to anyone. "
April 08, 2015
"Kensington and its partners did not miss a single deadline, appointment or function to our total satisfaction. The result, no stress and total enjoyment."
April 08, 2015
"Christine was absolutely superb both in helping us frame and develop a custom tour as well as in constant follow up until we left. Inevitably things will change on the ground when trips are planned in advance and Christine was consistently on top of the changes and advised us accordingly. As first time travelers to Kenya and Tanzania Christine's advice and guidance was simply excellent. Rose, in Kensington's Nairobi office was likewise superb. Totally responsive to our needs, she helped make a few final adjustments while we were there. Once again, an exceptional experience made possible by Kensington."
Sachi Gowda ,
December 15, 2014
"We are extremely happy with your service from beginning to end and we had very a memorable trip."
Ronald Jones ,
December 12, 2014
"I cannot express how fabulous our trip was!! I know it was made that way thanks to ALL the kind, knowledgable, and helpful people that you all placed in our path. Many went above and beyond to make our experience even more positive. From drivers, to guides, to hotel staff---we met some wonderful people that we can now call friends. Thank you Christine and Kensington tours for this once in a lifetime African adventure!"
December 15, 2014
"Christine, our family trip was ALL we wanted it to be. The hotel accommodations in the cities were GREAT. We needed to make some room assignment adjustments but that's to be expected with a large family with children and same names.
I don't know where/how ya'll got those guides but...KEEP'EM! In both Cape Town and Joberg the guys knew their cities and environs excellently. Their English was very good...so good in fact that several got the sarcasm and even joked some. I do apologize if we over-tipped. I relied on each family to tip their own driver but, I wasn't sure of their "sense of what was right" so I followed up with something for each.
Simbavati was "PERFECT". As much as Glenda and I really liked Ngala, I do not think they could have handled a family as well...UNLESS, they had accommodations we did not see.
Please rest assured when ever I plan to travel on a multi-dimensional trip in the future, for sure with a group, or maybe just Glenda and I, I'll be calling Kensington... Christine and Donna specifically. And most definitely, anytime I can recommend a travel professional, your company and you two will be mentioned by name!
Thank you again Christine...you presented us the exact trip we dreamed about for our family and your folks on the ground made it happen! I sincerely hope you, Donna and everyone else involved have a most Blessed Christmas and a wonderful, successful New Year!"
Bruce Lundstrom ,
December 15, 2014
"Morocco has a lot to offer. Food, historic sites, craftsmen (rugs, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, etc.), natural beauty, roads and infrastructure, and a reasonably safe environment. Both Guide (Abdel) and Driver were excellent. Service-oriented, timely and easy going. Abdel was not afraid to speak his mind, offer suggestions and give us feedback on ideas. We enjoyed their company."
December 09, 2014
"A truly wonderful trip......first class accommodations and service in each venue....the guides were knowledgable and went out of their way to insure that we could see and understand Africa. Capetown is a fascinating city, Sabi Sands an extraordinary private game preserve, and Zimbabwe with Victoria Falls and the Victoria Falls Hotel a once in a lifetime experience. For those who want to visit Africa we enthusiastically recommend Kensington Tours. And Jolene Plant stayed with us in every step during the planning of our trip and itinerary. We saw as much of Africa as much as anyone can during our two weeks vacation."
Belinda Skelton ,
December 12, 2014
"This was one of the most amazing trips that I have ever had. The custom tours and activities exceeded my expectations. I was traveling alone but felt safe and in good hands. The process of booking the trip with Lily Baffour was so easy and personal, especially with the constant communications from her up to my departure. Thank you Kensington Tours for an awesome experience. I will definitely use you for my next adventure!"
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