10-Day Classic Morocco – April 2023
Uncover the exotic and magical country of Morocco on this 10-day authentic small group active tour. We’ll visit cities of history and architectural heritage such as Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Meknes, Volubilis, Marrakech, and Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou. We’ll discover the natural sites and diverse landscapes of Morocco’s breathtaking lakes, majestic cedar forests, tranquil Atlas-Mountain Springs, spectacular Sahara Desert Sand Dunes, dramatic Gorges of Dadès, and beautiful Valley of Roses.
Let the charm of Morocco captivate you as each day unfolds and titillates your senses.
Casual and Comfortable for Hiking.
Tours (see tour details)
International and internal flights
Casablanca. A warm welcome as we meet our driver at the airport and take private ground transportation to our hotel. We’ll have an afternoon walking tour of the city: Mohamed-V Square, which separates the modern city from the old medina of Casablanca, the Habbous district, the Marhalma du Pacha (external visit), a regional court designed like the old palaces, and a view of the Hassan-II mosque, the largest after that of only Mecca. Airport to Hotel Transfer: 45 min Walking: 90 min Overnight at Moroccan House or similar. (D)
Casablanca – Rabat – Meknes. We take the road to Rabat, a former stopover for Phoenician and Carthaginian sailors, now the city of modern Morocco. The Udaya kasbah is a reminder of the time when the city was the capital of the pirate republic, which Arabs and Andalusian refugees forever marked with their seal. We will then head towards the Hassan tower, Almohad minaret and emblem of the city, visit the Mohammed-V mausoleum. Then on to Meknes, the third Moroccan imperial city. We discover the great gate of Bab Mansour, Lahdim Square, the mausoleum of Moulay Ismaïl, the Agoudal basin next to the royal palace. Ground Transfer: 4 h Walking: 2-3 h Overnight at Hotel Swani or similar. (B) (D)
Meknes - Volubilis – Fes. Today we visit Volubilis, a wonderful open-air museum in a Roman city, the largest archaeological site in Morocco, and classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterwards, we move on and discover Fes, the oldest of the imperial cities, steeped in history, a true cultural and intellectual center of Morocco, with its astonishing Hispano-Moorish architecture: ancient residences of incomparable charm, monuments of the Merinids dynasty, districts reserved for traditional crafts (tanners, weavers etc.), and mazes of the medina. Ground Transfer: 2 h 30 m Walking: 2-3 h Overnight at Fes Inn or similar. (B) (D)
Fes - Moyen Atlas – Midelt. The Middle Atlas, the green heart of the country, is totally different from the Morocco we know. On the northern slope of the massif, the Atlas cedar is the king of the great forests, maritime pines and holm oaks are not to be outdone; green is the dominant color. We’ll walk along the shores of Lake Dayet, in the heart of the desolate high plateaus, then under the tall cedars to access the Gouraud cedar. Our only companions are the monkeys from North Africa that bring an exotic touch. We pass to Ifrane, a climatic resort built in a clearing in the middle of the great cedar forests, which evokes a kind of Swiss mountain village more than a Moroccan village. There are sloping roofs where storks nest, hotels called Le Chamonix, Le Perce-Neige, lakes and waterfalls and its surrounded by cedars. It’s considered one of the cleanest places in the world. The place was called Ourtanes ("gardens" in Berber); the city was created from scratch in 1929, on a forest clearing, and changed its name to Ifrane ("caves" in Berber). Our route then continues through green landscapes and century-old cedar forests to Midelt, the eastern part of the High Atlas dominated by the impressive pyramid-like of the Gebel Ayachi (12,260 ft.). The villages are very isolated, the way of life has remained traditional. The Beni m'Guild nomads roam these high-altitude lands with their large herds of sheep and their black khaimas (tents). Ground Transfer: 4 h Walking/Light Hiking: 3 hours. Overnight at Hotel Taddart or similar. (B) (D)
Midelt - gorges du Ziz - Erfoud – Merzouga. Crossing the eastern part of the High Atlas by the Tizi n'Talghoumte (6,250 ft.), one of three passes crossing the mountain range. The road leads quickly into the Ziz gorges and the palm grove of Tafilalet. From Erfoud, the first dunes of the eastern desert appear. We arrive in Merzouga in the early afternoon and can climb on the large dunes of erg Chebbi, the most majestic in southern Morocco, from where we can watch the sunset: a guaranteed life-long memory! This evening we sleep in a traditional Berber Camp (comfortable and full-service) deep in the desert dunes, which we’ll arrive by camel ride. We’ll eat our dinner by starlight, sitting in rugs around a low table while traditional music is played for us by the Berbers. Ground Transfer: 4 h Walking/Light Hiking: 3 hours Overnight at Mohayut Desert Camp or similar. (B) (D)
Merzouga - Vallée du Dades - Vallée des Roses. Maybe (well surely!) we can enjoy the sunrise at the top of a large dune today. Then we’ll head back to the kasbah for breakfast. Afterwards, we’ll visit the palm grove of Tinerhir and its perched villages and its rocky ridges. Now it’s a complete change of scenery: here we are among the villagers of Aït Atta. The Dades Valley and the Roses Valley offer a rather magical contrast between arid mountains and lush gardens carpeted in the bottom of the wadi. This region of the Atlas bears witness to the richness of Berber culture, which has remained intact for centuries. Ground Transfer: 4 h Walking/Light Hiking: 3 hours. Overnight at Kasbah Tizzarouine or similar. (B) (D)
Vallée des Roses - Skoura – Ouarzazate. Before reaching the palm grove of Skoura, we enjoy the Valley of Roses during a very beautiful walk between red granite cliffs, villages and roses. Rosa damaskina is distilled and used for essential oil, rose water and other extracts, and is sought after by all the world's leading perfumeries. Then it’s on to Ouarzazate, the film capital of Morocco, which houses major studios and enjoys significant potential in this field. Ground Transfer: 4 h Walking/Light Hiking: 3 to 4 hours Overnight at Club Hanane or similar. (B) (D)
Ouarzazate - Aït Bennhadou - Telouet – Marrakech. Today we discovery the ksar of Aït Benhaddou, one of the most famous in southern Morocco. It is now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its exceptional setting has inspired many filmmakers, including David Lean for the film Lawrence of Arabia. We’ll continue on by the very beautiful valley of Ounila featuring kasbahs and greenery, taking a beautiful walk in the valley by crossing villages in red adobe, on the tracks of Jacques Majorelle. Then we visit the fortress (Kasbah) of Telouet (5,800 ft,), citadel of Glaoui and its tribe until the end of the 1950s. From these mountains, the power of Glaoui, who was once the most powerful man in Morocco, spread throughout the country and even shook Europe - greatness and decadence. By the Tizi n'Tichka (pass at 7,400 ft.) and its tortured mountain landscapes, we drive North, to Marrakech. Gradually, we feel the approach of the red city. Ground Transfer: 5 – 6 h Walking/Light Hiking: 2 hours. Overnight at Hotel Racine or similar. (B) (D)
Marrakech. Marrakech is a city that fizzes with life and today we’ll explore it on a half-day morning tour by visiting the medina (old part of the city) and all the important landmarks that symbolize its rich history and culture including the Saadian Tombs, Medersa Ben Youssef, and Bahia Palace. Lunch is on our own today while we explore the alleyways and shops of the colorful and bustling souk (traditional marketplace). This evening our farewell dinner is on the terrace of a ryad near Djemaa el-Fna Square, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking: 2-3 hours Overnight at Hotel Racine or similar. (B) (D)
Marrakech - Casablanca. Breakfast at hotel & check-out. Perhaps some free time in Marrakech according to flight schedules. Private transfer to Casablanca airport (2 hours 30 min.) for return international flight home. (B)