(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 4 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.
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.
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.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer between Fes and Erfoud. Travel through the scenic cedar forest and across the Middle Atlas Mountain range to Midelt, where a lunch break is scheduled. Continue onwards towards Erfoud through the Ziz Gorge passing en-route the ancient, holy city of Rissani and the ruins of Sijilmassa, a once capital stopping locale for the old caravan routings of the 8th century. The approximate travel time is 7 hours.
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!
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.
After breakfast, departure by private car to visit a local fossil extraction sites near the town of Erfoud, a short drive from Merzouga. 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. You will end the tour with examples of which will be displayed in the Fossil Museum.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer between Erfoud and the Boumalne/Dades area. The approximate travel time is 4 hours.
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.
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.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer from Boumalne/Dades to Skoura. The approximate travel time is 2 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.
Take a two hours exploration of the palm grove, or of the environs by horse, bike, or quad. The views of the High Atlas from here are simply wonderful.
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.
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.
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, our luxury guesthouse keeps alive all the traditional, stylishness, warmth and comfort from which the great house's of Marrakech were once so famous for. True to its centuries of history, and in keeping with the way of life of the rich an noble families whom used to inhabit it, Riad Amina continues to marry modern luxury with a traditional atmosphere.
After breakfast you will be met at your hotel and taken on a full day guided tour of Marrakech. Your tour usually starts at the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque but you can discuss all of the options with your guide. The mosques 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 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 which is a Theological college founded by the Merenid Sultan Abu Hassan in the 14th century, and 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.
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.
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 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Depart from Casablanca International airport - end of itinerary.
VISA/PASSPORTTravelers to Morocco must have a valid passport. Visas are not required for American or Canadian tourists traveling to Morocco for fewer than 90 days. No vaccinations are required to enter Morocco.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of Morocco for the most up to date visa information.
HEALTHHealth insurance is essential. Medical facilities are poor quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/morocco.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Rabat. Government: Constitutional monarchy since 1956, when Morocco gained independence from France. Language: The official language is Moroccan Arabic, and Berber languages are spoken by a large minority. French, Spanish and English is also understood, particularly in the major tourist destinations. Religion: Predominantly Muslim with Jewish, Christian and Hindu minorities. Time: GMT. Electricity: 110/220 volts AC, 50Hz, depending on age and location of building. Telephone: Country code +212. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is mainly available in the cities in the west of Morocco. Internet: Access is widely available in business centers, hotels and in Internet cafes.
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