Morocco Uncovered


Morocco is an intoxicating fusion of cultures, with a history as diverse and varied as the colours woven into each carpet sold on the street. Uncover the essence of this enticing country on a two-week adventure through ancient cities, medieval bazaars and high mountain villages. Admire the impressive Roman ruins of Volubilis, go behind the scenes of a film makers heaven in Ait Benhaddou, discover the dramatic red dunes of the Sahara Desert and stroll through the blue streets of Chefchaouen. Journey into Morocco’s heart through its food, religion, language and culture to better understand this exciting nation and passionate people.

13 days, from

$1,636

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: XMKC
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Morocco
Accommodation: Desert camp (1 night), Gite (2 nights), Riad (3 nights), Hotel (6 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Taxi , Camel
Included Meals:

  • 12 breakfasts
  • 5 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Travel by camel across the dramatic red dunes of the Sahara Desert and spend the night camping under North African stars.

  • Spend time in two of Morocco’s most picturesque towns – the 11th century kasbah of Ait Benhaddou and Chefchaouen with its striking blue and whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs, and artistic doorways.

  • Tuck into a memorable dinner in Fes and dine on one of the city’s signature dishes, the salty and sweet pastilla, one of the best pies you’ve ever tasted!

  • Join expert local guides to explore medinas, Roman ruins and rural areas and gain a deeper understanding of significant sites in Rabat, Volubilis, Fes, M’Goun and Marrakech.

  • Visit the Tawesna teahouse, a community-run establishment that provides local women with an income to support themselves and their families.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Casablanca

Salaam Alaikum! Welcome to Morocco, and the great city of Casablanca, the perfect place to acclimatise to the culture. Your adventure begins today with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, if you arrive with time to spare, then perhaps visit the art deco Villa des Arts, this gorgeous gallery dates back to the 1930s and holds numerous exhibitions of contemporary Moroccan and international art. If you are looking for a different type of cultural experience, then you can discover a unique and fascinating part of Moroccan history at the Museum of Judaism.

Day 2: Rabat - Meknes

After breakfast, Casablanca exploration beckons. Tour the Hassan II Mosque which is one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims and can accommodate 25,000 worshippers. Next, drive to the capital of Rabat where you’ll meet an expert local guide. Rabat's history is long and colourful, having been host to Roman settlements, pirates, and more recently the Moroccan parliament. It contains numerous fine Arab monuments, some dating from the 10th to 15th century Almohad and Merenid dynasties, and others that are far older. Discover the city’s medina and souks, then explore the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoy a glass of mint tea and some local sweets. Afterward, continue the walk to visit Mohamed the 5th Mausoleum and the vast minaret of the Hassan Mosque. You’ll have some free time to explore Rabat before driving to Meknes, the former capital of Morocco, where you’ll spend the night.

Day 3: Meknes - Volubilis - Chefchaouen

Join your leader and explore the winding streets of Meknes’ old medina and their elaborately decorated public buildings while the shrine of Moulay Ismail is closed for renovation. Next, drive to the nearby archaeological site of Volubilis, the remains of which make an undeniably impressive sight as they come into view on the edge of a long, high plateau. Tour the ancient hilltop ruins with an expert local guide, and discover the town’s elaborate mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus, many of which remain intact. Afterward, travel to Chefchaouen, or the ‘blue city’, which is arguably one of the prettiest places in Morocco. Set against a wide valley and nestled between two peaks in the stunning Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen has been lovingly cared for with striking blue and whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs, and artistic doorways. Take an orientation walk with your leader through the ancient medina and shop for handicrafts, or sit at a cafe and enjoy the pleasure of time passing by. If you're feeling peckish, the local goats' cheese is a popular treat.

Day 4: Fes

Enjoy a free morning to further discover Chefchaouen and perhaps enjoy lunch before boarding your private minibus for the journey to Fes. The living museum of Fes has disputable origins, some believe its origins come from ancient Greece, others claim it comes from the Balkans. Nevertheless, the city is the best example of the medieval Arab world, and you are soon to find out more about its past and modern times. After checking into your hotel in the late afternoon, join your group for a memorable dinner of one of the city’s signature dishes, the salty and sweet pastilla.

Day 5: Fes

Today you will discover the city of Fes, the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco – vibrant, noisy, fascinating, and occasionally overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses. Join an expert local guide and head into the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali, arguably the world's most fascinating and confounding old city. Walk along the twisting streets and alleyways, passing donkeys piled high with goods, and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Filled with historic khans, madrassas and dye pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs and soups, and where the squawk of chickens, the smell of spice, and sound of hammering of copper fills the air, it’s not hard to imagine yourself back in the Middle Ages. Spend the day exploring the old city, visiting Medersa el Attarine, the tanneries, and the Fondouk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th-century inn. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon for a free evening.

Day 6: Midelt

Today, leave the intensity of the city behind for the simplicity of the High Atlas Mountains. Drive south, inland through a variety of spectacular scenery – fertile valleys, cedar and pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes – to the small town of Midelt. Originally built as a base for mining in the area, this market town is nestled between the Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains at an elevation of just over 1500 metres. It's a perfect spot to break up the journey to the Sahara and is a great base for an easy walk through the valley to one of the local villages. Your leader will choose a route based on the group and the weather that makes the most of the astonishing views of the Atlas Mountains, with snowy peaks almost touching the sky. Wander through plantations of apple trees on the way back to your accommodation for a relaxing evening, resting up before the Sahara tomorrow.

Day 7: Merzouga - Sahara Camp

Drive through changing scenery, from barren mountainsides to fertile valleys, on the journey to Merzouga this morning which takes in the Erg Chebbi with its towering dunes up to 150 metres in height. Located at the end of a sealed road and just 20 kilometres from the Algerian border this really feels like frontier country. You will leave your gear at your overnight camp next to a simple hotel and then ride camels into the edge of the Sahara Desert, enjoying a spectacular sunset along the way. The dunes are stunning, especially as the evening light plays across them and sets off the colours. Tonight you will camp out in traditional style, with the chance to try some fantastic local cuisine while you sit around an open fire, enjoying lively music and dancing under the stars.

Day 8: Todra Gorge - M'Goun Valley

It’s worth getting up early to catch the sunrise before the drive to Todra Gorge, a massive trench that rises over 250 metres to form one of the most dramatic and spectacular natural sights in Morocco. Explore the towering limestone stacks on a short 45 minute walk through the sheer cliffs. Continue your journey inland for tonight’s destination, M’goun. You will get closer to the customs and lifestyle of the Berber this evening with the night spent in a traditional Berber house called a gite, a simple yet charming abode made from mud-bricks.

Day 9: M'Goun Valley

You have a full day to explore the beauty of this largely untouched Moroccan backcountry. On foot is the best way to discover the natural and man-made landscape and the rural way of life. There are a couple of circuits to choose from, but the most popular choice, and the one we recommend, is a 10-kilometre circuit that will take about 4 hours. Accompanied by a local guide, you’ll walk a trail that undulates slightly here and there, but isn't too challenging if you have a basic level of fitness. The surrounding mountains and the famous Rose Valley make a sensational setting.

Day 10: Skoura - Ait Benhaddou

Leaving the M'goun Valley today, set off on the fabled ‘Road of 1000 Kasbahs’. The first stop is at Skoura Oasis, home to several privately owned kasbahs. Here you’ll visit the Kasbah Ameridhl, with its extravagant decorations and mud-brick fortifications before continuing on your journey to Ait Benhaddou. Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco's most iconic sites. If you think you recognise the place, you probably do, as the town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Enjoy a walk through the winding streets of the old town, making your way to the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy the views across the surrounding plains. Pay a visit to the Tawesna teahouse on the river, a community-run establishment that provides local women with an income to support themselves and their children. Using ingredients sourced from local cooperatives, the women prepare delicious tea and pastries while sharing their stories with those who pop in to visit. After heading to your nearby hotel for the night, maybe sit back on the rooftop terrace and watch the sun setting over the kasbah.

Day 11: Marrakech

Today you will drive along the winding roads of the Atlas, bound for Marrakech, an ancient city wrapped in European modernity. There’s no rush as the scenery through the High Atlas Mountain passes is magnificent, and there will surely be calls for several photo stops along the way. After checking in to your hotel, you might like to head to the great square of Jemaa el Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. When night falls it transforms into a hive of activity. Henna painters, performers, and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies. Perhaps finish your day with a cup of mint tea on one of the roof-top restaurants overlooking the square.

Day 12: Marrakech

After breakfast today, meet your local guide and set off on a morning tour of the old medina, through the bustling souks that are the lifeblood flowing through the city. Explore tranquil courtyards filled with the scent of orange blossom, and the many salons and chambers that make up Bahia Palace. This splendid mansion was built in 1866 for a former slave who rose to power within the government. Stop by the Koutoubia Mosque, its famous minaret is the prototype for others of its kind around the world, including La Giralda in Seville. Then walk back through the streets of the old medina to the Jemaa el Fna to enjoy a refreshing glass of fresh orange juice. The rest of the day is free to explore further or shop in the bazaar. Perhaps visit the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle or check out the ruins of the Palais Badi, once one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. Otherwise, you might like to head back into the medina, where every step brings a new smell, a new sight or a new gift to buy. Watch skilled artisans perfect their craft, practice your haggling skills, or take a break from the hustle to sip on tea or share a tajine, filled with the pure scent of Morocco.

Day 13: Marrakech

There are no activities planned after breakfast so you are free to leave your accommodation at any time. It’s worth adding a night or two in Marrakech so you can do some extra activities like cooking classes and cycling tours, exploring nearby towns or visiting a hammam. If you wish to spend more time here, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).