Welcome to Morocco! Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Casablanca for the start of your trip. They'll help you settle in and introduce you to the local area.
We start our tour early today with a visit (from the outside) to the impressive Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. We then head to Morocco's nearby capital, Rabat. We'll enjoy a tour of the old city including visits to the Royal Palace, Ouadaya Garden & Kasbah and the Hassan Tower Mosque. Next is the ancient Roman city of Volubilis. Recently listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and dating back as far as AD 40. Finally we visit the Berber town of Meknes. Formerly the capital of Morocco, constructed of intricate gateways, beautiful gardens and at 40m the largest ramparts in the country. Our days ends with the short drive to Fez where we spend the night.
We have a tour of the city encompassing the Moulay Idriss mausoleum, Nejjarine fountain and the Bou Anania Medersa and also spend time confusing our senses in the cacophony of noise surrounding the heady alleyways of the Medieval Medina, home to a labyrinth of souks, mosques, spice filled streets, tanneries, carpet shops and local restaurants before heading to Fez Jdid to explore the cities many varied souks.
We start to discover some of Morocco's beautiful mountainous landscape today as we leave Fez and follow ancient caravan routes up into the hills. Along the way we'll stop at Ifran, known as the "Switzerland of Morocco" and a huge contrast to some of the other more Arabic feeling cities you'll see in Morocco. Next we head on through the hills to the town of Midelt where we check into our hotel and in the afternoon enjoy a fun cooking class where we learn how to prepare and cook Morocco's classic dish of cous cous.
We'll continue through the scenic Ziz Valley this morning as we descend to Erfoud on the edge of the Sahara Desert. We'll make the short trip to Rissani and the birthplace of the Alaouite Dynasty - Morocco's current royal family before driving in 4WD vehicles through the desert to Merzouga and the famous Erg Chebbi sand desert. Here we transfer to camels and take a sunset camel ride through the sand dunes to a traditional Berber camp nestled right on the edge of the dunes. You can enjoy a hearty Bedouin meal and a campfire this evening, often with local musicians helping enhance the atmosphere. You spend the night sleeping in comfortable Berber camel-hair tents.
We leave the desert reluctantly this morning and finish our safari before driving to the oasis town of Tinghir. The nearby Todra Gorge is our next stop where we walk through its narrow canyon beneath huge rock walls that change in colour as the light moves during the day. We'll also drive through the Dades Canyon with its steep winding access road with numerous switchbacks providing great views of the steep cliffs and the river below which rushes dramatically through the gorge. Finally we continue along the 'Road of a Thousand Kasbahs' through the scenic Draa Valley to Ouarzazate, or 'place of no noise'.
While in Ouarzazate we include a tour of the movie studios that have taken advantage of the amazing scenery in the area. Today's main highlight though is a tour of Morocco's most well known Kasbah at the UNESCO world heritage site of Ait Benhaddou. Finally we head up into the Atlas Mountains again to cross the Tizi N'tichka pass which at 2260m is the highest pass in Northern Africa. As we descend to Marrakech we'll make a stop in the beautiful Ourika Valley with its beautiful river, pools and waterfalls.
Today's tour of Marrakech begins with a trip to the iconic Koutoubia Mosque, home to the minaret which has become a symbol of the city. We then visit the Mausoleum and Bahia Palace which both host intricate and beautiful Arabic craftsmanship. Then we head to the lively souks and bazaars in Marrakech's famous medina. Home to many different types of traders these narrow and winding streets are bustling with activity and full of sights sounds and smells uniquely Moroccan. Today's tour ends at the lively Djemaa El Fna Square, a perfect place to finish our tour of Morocco.
Your day is free today to explore Marrakech further, and perhaps do some final souvenir shopping and sightseeing before we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight.