(Fes, Merzouga, Boumalne/Dades, Skoura, Marrakech, High Atlas Mountain)
Explore Morocco in a different way. This adventure not only explores the Imperial Cities, it also takes you to the spectacular Todra and Dades Gorges, the Kasbahs of the south, palm groves and whipped sand dunes. Along with spending a night in your own private camp in the desert you'll also experience the country by foot, camel, bike and four-wheel drive. Get a taste of the lush villages nestled among the cedar forest in the Middle Atlas mountains with a traditionnal bush lunch. Discover the atmospheric old city of Fes wandering with your local guide through the colorful stalls of the markets and visiting artisans workshops where metal and leatherwork are still practised by master craftsmen. Round off this trip with an authentic stay in the middle of the dramatic snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains. Located just 45 minutes outside of Marrakech it's the perfect end to this incredible journey.
A private vehicle with English speaking vehicle will provide a transfer from Casablanca to Fes. The approximate travel time is 5.5 hours.
Explore the cultural and spiritual center of Morocco during this full day tour of Fes. Also known as Fes el Bali, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded in the 9th century, and is home to the world's oldest university. The city of Fes reached its true economic and cultural height in the 13th–14th centuries under the Merinids, when it replaced Marrakech as the capital of the kingdom. Although the political capital of Morocco was transferred to Rabat in 1912, Fes has retained its status as the country's Artisan centre. Artisan workshops in the medina are as active today as they were 100 years ago, and strongly contribute to the city’s industrial economy. Trades such as blacksmithing, leather working, ceramics, silk, tapestries, and sculpting are still practiced in these workshops today. The original ramparts still protect this ancient city and its estimated 9000 narrow passageways and bustling streets.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will be at your disposal for the day.
After breakfast, your local chef will meet you at your hotel with your private car and driver. You will drive southwards towards the foothills of the Middle Atlas to spend the day near to the town of Azrou, nestled amongst the cedar forests for which Morocco is renowned. You will help your chef to prepare a traditional Berber bbq in the forests; this is designed to be a fun, interactive experience after which you will enjoy lunch of your morning’s culinary efforts. After the lesson you will have the chance to explore the forests and the town of Ifrane. Mechwi is an important part of ceremonies in Berber villages. It is the main course at weddings or in ceremonies honoring an important guest. In villages where every family has a herd of sheep and goats, it is deemed an honour if a family slaughters one from his herd. Mechwi may be cooked either over a pit or in an oven under the ground, depending on the region. Ceremonies usually take place at night and while the meat is roasting, the celebration commences. Guests gather around the pit and play drums, sing, dance and talk.
Sit back and relax as a privately driven vehicle, with English speaking driver, provides you with a transfer between Fes and Erfoud. En-route you’ll pass through a scenic forest of cedars and across the Middle Atlas Mountain range to the mineral mining city of Midelt, where a stop for lunch is scheduled. This journey continues along through the dramatic Ziz Gorge, passing en-route the ancient, holy city of Rissani. It is here where the one would find the ruins of Sijilmasa, a once capital and merchant stopping locale for the ancient caravan routings of the 8th century. After an approximate 7 hours of travel you will arrive at your final destination of Erfoud.
Enjoy a traditional Moroccan lunch at the hotel Taddarte in Midelt.
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!
A 4x4 vehicle will transfer you back to Erfoud where your private vehicle awaits for your onward journey.
Continue westwards to the date-palm oasis town of Tineghir, crossing the Jebel Sahro mountain range. Lunch will be taken here at a local home, the ideal opportunity to enjoy famed Berber hospitality and to gain an insight into a way of life far removed from the West’s. Expect to taste a rather special dish of Saharaoui stuffed bread. Just beyond Tineghir, visit one of the most striking natural sights in Morocco, the Todra Gorge. Craggy and pink-coloured rock walls of up to 1,000 feet loom over a lush narrow valley dotted with oasis-like date palmeries and irrigated fields of grain. Walk to explore its depths; it is also a haven for rock-climbers. Continue to overnight accommodation near to the town of Boumalne Dades.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer between Erfoud and the Boumalne/Dades area. The approximate travel time is 3.5 hours.
Travel by a privately driven vehicle westwards to the date-palm oasis of Skoura, via the route of ‘1,000 Kasbahs’, to your overnight accommodation. En route, enjoy a short walk through the Dades river gorge, to the 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. View the ruined splendour of the abandoned Kasbahs perching on vantage points along the gorge.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer from Boumalne/Dades to Skoura. The approximate travel time is 2.5 hours.
Take a two hour exploration of the palm grove and surroundings by horse, bike, or quad. The views of the High Atlas from here are simply wonderful.
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.
Travel today between Skoura and Marrakech in a private vehicle with an English speaking driver.
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.
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer between Marrakech and the High Atlas Mountain region. The approximate travel time is 1 hour.
Enjoy a half day of canyon climbing around the High Atlas Mountain region today. This experience requires some strenuous movements but can be done even those with very little canyon climbing experience. All equipment, including footwear, is provided for. Begin this vertical tour as the team leader guides a downhill journey through the canyons and narrow streams, boasting some fantastic perspectives.
Prepare for a day of exploration and cultural enrichment as you head out aboard a 4-Wheel Drive vehicle into the picturesque surroundings of the High Atlas Mountains Ranges accompanied by a local expert guide. Depart in the morning from Asni to the hamlet if Imlil where the off-road adventure begins. Enjoy the view as you'll be driven along the serpentine, non-graveled roads to one of the highest perched villages of the range, some 2000 feet high. En-route, marvel at the many terrace-lined towns and small mud-brick houses. Make a stop along the way to the local old hydraulic and olive press which to this day is still in use. A visit to the Takherkhort Reserve is also scheduled where you can enjoy a walk through native flora and fauna, stopping along the way to take some photos of the Barbary sheep and the over 150 species of birdlife. Upon your arrival to the Mountain Lodge you will feel the greatest sense of homeliness and comfort by the welcoming scent of freshly baked bread, as the local woman demonstrate Berber hospitality at its finest. As the ancient oven continues to bake, you will be seated on a panoramic terrace and served local delicacies and of course some of that freshly baked bread as you admire the almost surreal surroundings. From here, you will be driven to the town of Tahanoute, a picturesque village set amongst a variety of olive groves, and citrus trees for an opportunity to admire the red clay structures built according traditional Berber construction techniques. A local resident will prepare a home-cooked meal for your enjoyment, with a special "table-setting" atop their roof. This opportunity allows you to experience the everyday life of these mountain people.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer from the High Atlas Mountain region to Casablanca. The approximate travel time is 4 hours.
Riad Le Calife is located in the middle of the Medina (old city) of Fez. It is the historic home of the last century (1933), recently converted into a charming guesthouse. Accommodations at Riad Le Calife include three prestigious suites and four charming rooms. Three lounge areas overlooking the patio are available to guests for their leisure: a lounge-bar, a dining room and a reception-lounge–library. The Riad also has two terraces (the pergola bar and the Caid’s tent), which offer a stunning panoramic view of the Medina.
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.
At an altitude of 1612m, surrounded by majestic mountains at the very spine of the Atlas range, whose impressive ravines sketch out to the winds in the sky, the Xaluca Dades Hotel, enjoys a panoramic view of the Dades Valley, sprinkled with friendly Berber villages and snowy peaks. Hotel Xaluca Dades offers 110 beautifully designed, welcoming rooms, exquisitely decorated with materials from different African countries. It is a true paradise in the middle of the mountains.
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.
Riad Amina invites you to discover the welcoming atmosphere of an authentic aristocratic household. A veritable haven of peace and tranquility deep inside the vibrant old city of Marrakech, this luxury guesthouse keeps alive all the traditional style, warmth, and comfort for which the great houses of Marrakech were once so famous. True to its centuries of history, and in keeping with the way of life of the rich and noble families who used to inhabit it, Riad Amina continues to marry modern luxury with a traditional atmosphere.
The Kasbah du Toubkal is an extraordinary venture, the product of an imaginative Berber and European partnership. There is a shared belief that the beauty of the Toubkal National Park should be accessible to all who respect it. To this end the Kasbah has been transformed using traditional methods, from the home of a Feudal Caid into an unprecedented haven; one that provides a variety of accommodation and event possibilities to meet differing requirements.
Shayna Maislin ,
April 21, 2014
"I would highly recommend the tour guide that we had in the Serengetti . He was extremely knowledgeable, very helpful and courteous. We all agree that Kensington has first class staff working for them in Africa. All the camps that we stayed at were absolutely beautiful except perhaps for the one in Lake Manyara. All in all it was a spectacular trip!"
Janine Chey ,
April 21, 2014
"Our trip to Masai Mara via Kensington ran very smoothly. We stayed at the Mara West Lodge. Beautiful location atop a ridge overlooking the Masai Mara plains. Our luxury tents were quite comfortable and the staff/service at the lodge were great. Meals were very nice especially the daily soups. Our guide, Steve, was also great...so knowledgeable and eager to show us many interesting things. He planned our daily game drives and took us on a nature hike one afternoon. He clearly knows and understands this ecosystem. He has an amazing eye, finding animals in fields of tall grasses. Our entire family had an amazing time, trip of a lifetime...would love to go back!"
Justin Yax ,
April 21, 2014
"Once again, a perfect trip. From Elizabeth's planning to Godfrey's guiding, we could not have asked for a more thorough and well planned safari. I can't wait to come back and do it again, this time with a Kilimanjaro climb added onto the trip!"
Nancy Frierson ,
April 21, 2014
"The entire trip was superb - all the transfers, the lodging and the food, the safari experience and the knowledgeable guides. The guide's ability to spot an animal and identify it at a great distance allowed us to see and photograph all the animals on our list and then some. The lodgings were even better than we had hoped and the staff could not possibly have been better. Our trip of a lifetime turned out to be just that."
Avi J.Moskovitz ,
February 03, 2014
"We finally returned from the most magical vacation in Morocco and we cannot thank Lily and Kensington Tours enough!! This trip was beyond amazing and we are so appreciative for everything done to make this trip happen last minute for us!
We had a spectacular tour guide that spoke 8 languages, Ismail, and the friendliest and warmest driver, Said, whom made the experience absolutely phenomenal! Not only did we learn and see, but we laughed, danced, ate like pigs, kissed camels and snakes, ran in the Sahara desert under the stars, and enjoyed life - the best gift of all!
Ebony Hoskins ,
October 18, 2013
"I am so happy that I used Kensington Tours to help with my dream trip to Cape Town South Africa. I was looking for a well respected tour company that planned private guided tours that was not going to cause me my leg, lol. I begin searching companies by reputation and value. I narrowed it down to Kensington Tours because of the quality and value. I felt taken care of prior to my departure due to the detailed itinerary.
From the time of got off the plane to the time I headed back to the states, I was in excellent hands. The service was EXCELLENT! I will definitely use Kensington again. Certainly, a trip of a lifetime!"
Hanne Jones ,
October 24, 2013
"I have travelled all my life. I've combed much of Europe, from The arctic north in Norway to the streets of Seville in Spain, the beaches of Cannes and Nice in France and the medieval heart of Bologna in Italy. I've been on two African safaris (one tented, one not), both "luxurious." I've been on more than a dozen jaunts to India, some guided, others not. Over the years I have discovered that I had rather be lost and disoriented in a foreign country than submit once again to the unbending schedule of a guided tour. Hence I had given up tours of any kind, until Molly Kelly, an American Express travel agent, suggested I might want simply to list the places my friends and I wished to see in Morocco then let Kensington Tours make accessing them in an orderly way not only possible but thoroughly enjoyable as well. And this Kensington Tours did. They pulled our disparate destinations together and designed a far, far better route than we could ever have done on our own. They satisfied all our requests and threw in delicious additions, areas of interest we had never considered or even heard of. Our accommodations were well within our means and wonderful. Our guide and driver, not to mention our Mercedes SUV, could not have pleased us more. In other words, thanks to Molly and her recommending Kensington Tours, we had a sensational holiday. "
Anthoula Korina ,
September 05, 2013
"Africa had always been a myth in mind since I was child that was up until a week ago. I just returned from an epic safari adventure! Kenya, Tanzania and the Maasai are sorely missed.
Words cannot fully express the magic of this ever-flowing journey. It was awe-inspiring, breathtaking, free and powerful. My mind keeps playing tricks on me; thinking rather hoping that I'm going to see a giraffe cross a busy NYC street :)
The memories will resonate for a lifetime. To boot, I went on this trip solo; female traveler. Not sure any of it would have been possible w/out Kensington Tours!!! Thank you..."
July 12, 2013
"I had a wonderful trip visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda. We were able to get really close to the gorillas and watched their interactions with each other. The local people are so gracious and made every minute a delight. The accomodations were great. I loved waking up in the morning to the sounds of the forest. The added luxury of a massage was a great way to end the trip!"
July 26, 2013
"Our family of 6 traveled to Morocco for a 9 day Imperial cities discovery, I was absolutely amazing. Our guide Lahcen Zaaim was the best guide we have EVER had and we have traveled to many countries. There was not one subject that he was not knowledgeable about. He made the trip sooooo memorable. He was so flexible and when he picked us up in the mornings to head out, he was talking nonstop to tell us soo much about everything we were seeing. There was soooo much to see in Morocco and he made sure we saw it all.. He truly has a gift in the touring business, you feel as if your leaving your best friend when the trip is over. When we got to the airport in casablanca, he spotted us before we saw him and of course, we asked him, how did you recognize us? He even went as far as to get the King of Moroccos artist to meet us at our riad the night before we left to return home late to do our names in moroccan arabic to frame, They were beautiful, He showed us a picture of the Kings Face he had done for the Palace! Lily Baffour from Kensington planned our trip and she was amazing, planning everything as she thought we would like based on what I told her. She did an Outstanding job and literally sent our Iteniaries by next day air in a beautifully done spiral bound personally book for each family that was going on the trip, SOOOOOO IMPRESSED and she even got the guide we requested!!!! I cant say enough about this trip and Kensington, we will definitely use again!!! We experienced a VERY different culture in going to Morocco and thats what we wanted, a Very different exotic trip and thats what we got!!!! Again our accomodations we Top Notch, staying in the TRuly authenic Riads, they were SOOOOO Luxurious, Plan on taking another suitcase or buying one there because you will buy more things to bring home than any other trip because of all the Handicrafts there, especially in Fes!!!
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