(Fes, Marrakech, High Atlas Mountain)
Impersonating shades of scarlet and crimson, the Atlas Mountains rise up from the desert floor like something not entirely real; clay Berber villages hugging the valley sides while walnut groves thrive against all odds.
Morocco has fascinated Westerners for centuries and taken visitors back to a slower time of mint tea sipped in tiled courtyards and sun-drenched bazaars selling hand-knotted carpets. An exotic gateway to the African continent, Morocco’s stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage make it a tailor-made destination for even the well-seasoned traveler. From winding narrow alleyways through bustling medinas, to the towering cliff faces of the Atlas Mountains, your customized journey will introduce you to the splendid highlights of this astonishing country. In the evenings, relax in a mixture of dazzling riads and fine hotels that offer extraordinary surroundings and Moroccan charms.
Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fez with your private vehicle and guide and visit the many blacksmithing, leather working, silk and tapestry workshops that have been in existence for over 100 years. As you make your way to Marrakech, explore the rugged terrain of the Middle Atlas Mountain range and stop in at the Berber village of Immouzer de Kandar. Continuing on to Marrakech, explore the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque, the El-Bahia Palace, and the famous Saadian Tombs. Experience an off-road adventure through serpentine, non-graveled roads to one of the highest perched villages of the range, some 2,000 feet high. After marveling at the breathtaking vistas, head back down to a picturesque village and watch the light play on the red clay structures as the sun slowly dips behind purple jagged peaks.
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.
Welcome to Morocco! Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by our local representative.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer between Casablanca and Fes. During the transfer, enjoy some brief touring stops including a visit to Meknes, the famed Ismailia capital known for its 40 km long walls and numerous gates. Next, visit Bab Mansour, the Royal stables, the amazing markets and also the popular Jewish quarter. Before arriving in Fes, explore the ruins of the ancient city of Volubilis and the holy city of Moulay Idriss. Upon arrival into Fes, a hotel drop-off is provided.
Renovated from ruins, Riad Maison Bleue, the sister property to La Maison Bleue, is an elegant hotel that successfully combines traditional Moroccan influences with modern sensibilities. The 18 suites, comfortable restaurant, private spa and hammam, well-equipped gym and intimate bar exude an air of discreet luxury. The main courtyard, with its swimming pool and lush garden is surrounded by three guest rooms and a Moorish salon. Here you will be welcomed upon arrival with a bowl of orange-blossom scented milk and almond-stuffed dates. Six of the suites overlook this courtyard, where the palm trees, mandarin trees and pool combine to create an oasis of calm. The hotel offers a choice of two ‘a la carte’ menus comprising traditional Moroccan cuisine or international dishes. There is also a room service menu available.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will be at your disposal for the day.
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.
Travel in a privately driven vehicle from Fes to Marrakech, making a lunch stop en-route. Explore the rugged terrain of the Middle Atlas Mountain range, boasting towering cliff faces, and incredible passes. Drive by the scenic berber villages of Immouzer de Kandar and the university town of Ifrane for a glimpse into rural living in Morocco. Explore the Kasbah of Ras El Ain and mingle amongst the merchants to find the perfect gift. The approximate travel time is 7.5 hours.
La Maison Arabe, a legendary hotel located in the romantic medina of Marrakech, includes 26 rooms and suites, three restaurants, a swimming pool, spa and cooking school.
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 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.
For those of you who are interested we can arrange a cooking class for you. After the tour you will head to one of the traditional riads where you will meet up with your personal chef. You will have an orientation where you will look at the recipes together, then divide up the tasks before you start cooking. All of this takes about 4 hours and than of course it’s time to try your own creations.
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.
The High Atlas Mountain region boasts a wide variety of trekking possibilities, and is suitable for visitors of all ages. For those unable to meet the physical demands of trekking with equipment, mule support for transporting bags or travellers can be provided. An experienced guide will accompany each trek, and will provide historical information about the area`s visited. During the trek, a picnic lunch is provided.
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 4 hours.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
Irene Saurwein ,
April 21, 2014
"I thought that both Raymond and Mike were outstanding guides. Our trip was wonderful. The only point I want to make that the food at the Farm House was not very good. Pretty disappointed. Our stay at the Serena in both locations was great. Overall great trip that we will never forget."
Francis Quinn ,
April 21, 2014
"The Mbugani Camps were nice but the beer was warm and they don't have ice. The owner was a great guy. Enjoyed Mara West. The staff and food were great. The second evening the loud mouth owner conducted a business meeting on the front porch disrupting a peaceful cocktail hour. It was totally inappropriate since he was very loud and discussed his business dealings with Kensington with others. They also need an ice machine. They ran out every night. Albert is probably the best guide I have ever had. Very knowlegeable. Mike was great too. Fabulous trip. You guys did a great job. We had a wonderful time."
Shayna Maislin ,
April 21, 2014
"Our party of 4 believe that we were given incorrect information regarding the type of suitcase that we should purchase for this trip. We were advised to buy a suitcase that was soft sided and no wheels. We arrived in Africa to see many others going on Safari with suitcases that had wheels. It was difficult for us to manouever our bags. I would highly recommend the tour guide that we had in the Serengetti . He was extremely knowledgeable, very helpful and courteous. We learned a great deal from Wasari . Our tour guide in the Mara was just ok . It would have been great to have the tour guide that we had in Serengeti for the complete trip. We understood that he could have crossed over from Tanzania into Kenya to get us . There was one flight within the country that we felt we may have been better off driving. We all believed that our Sales consultant could have spent more time with us on the phone going over the itinerary and guiding us through some of the decisions that we were making. For example Lake Manyara was not really necessary and perhaps we could have used that extra day in Zanzibar . These are some of the decisions that we felt our consultant could have assisted us with . 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!"
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
Frank Manna ,
April 21, 2014
"Our guided transfers were exceptionally accommodating even though our flights were considerably delayed. The Annavillanas Jungle Lodge was spectacular for location, accommodations and food. The Rio Carnival experience was unique and unforgettable and our seats were wonderful. Loved the location of our hotel in Rio.......right on the street of Copacabana Beach.......fantastic. The only negative during our entire trip was the routing of the airline flights. Was there no way to avoid the flight from Rio to Manaus and then Manaus to Rio for our flight home. We seem to have travelled 2000 miles to the same starting location. Next time I would appreciate a more thorough exploration of all possible routes that would be more expedient and less strenuous for the travelers. I realize that there are limitations but I rely on Kensington to assist me in making the best decision for my wife and me."
Michael Melvin Marsh ,
April 21, 2014
"The trip was very special and i credit Sunita Singh for helping to make it such. We worked on the itinerary for three months and she was very helpful, knowledgeable and present."
Lucy Gilkes ,
April 21, 2014
"The whole trip was wonderful but the guides were what made it for us. They were knowledgeable and thoughtful a pleasure to spend time with."
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!"
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