9 Day Tour to Imperial Cities + Sahara Desert Tour
Day 1- Arrival Day
Arrive in Casablanca with your included airport transfer you can get settled in and ready to head out in the morning. If time permits you can tour Hassan II Mosque.
Day 2 – Casablanca to Fes
Depart after breakfast on your 7 day tour starting with a journey to Fes. Fes is home to the worlds’ largest medina, thought to be the biggest urban car free zone in the world. First you will head through the political capital of Morocco, Rabat, for a short city tour.
You will take the highway from Rabat on to Meknes, enjoying a sightseeing tour of Volubilis, ancient Roman ruins just outside the city.
In the afternoon you will then head to Fes where you will enjoy dinner in the medina where your Riad is located.
Day 3 – Fes
Today is a busy of touring Fes. This 1200 year old city has made a huge impact on history as an important and self confident city, where new and old live in perfect harmony.
With a local guide you will be treated first to a panoramic view of the cities sprawling old medina, tucked between rolling hills and the many city gates.
With over 900 named streets you will be thankful for your guide as soon as you enter the delicious sense-assaulting medina.
Walk through the narrow streets of the souks, past artisans, food stalls, lighting stores, and mosques. Visit the worlds oldest continuously operating university, Al Qarawiyyin, founded by a woman in 859.
Tour the cities famous tannery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Bou Inania Madrassa founded in 1351. Enjoy the sights and sounds. Witness the restorations that are happening all around you with scaffolding rising up to restore old homes and new riads.
Spend the night in Fes.
Day 4 – Fes to Sahara Desert
Today you will leave the city of Fes and the north of Morocco and travel south to the Sahara Desert. You will notice an incredible change in landscape along the way, and by the end of the day, you can reflect on the vast difference between the north of Morocco and the south.
Through the cedar forest and a national park keep your eyes open for a chance to see Barbary apes (Macaque) and Berber horses. You will pass by beautiful pastures and nomad houses that give way to increasingly high mountain peaks and deep valleys.
You will come upon Midelt and its vast collection of fossils at lunch time and then continue on through the High Atlas Mountains.
Travelling along the Ziz Valley you will see the Tafilalt Oasis which is the largest palm grove in Morocco before heading into the flatter and stonier planes leading up to the desert.
After a stop for tea you will board your camels for a ride into the desert where you will enjoy the evening at a camp with dinner prepared for you by nomads.
Day 5 – Sahara Desert to Todra Gorge
Today you will leave your Sahara camp and travel along a spectacular route called “ The 1000 Kasbahs Valley” where there are literally thousands of kasbahs, some in ruins and some still in use. Heading through Erfoud towards Tinejdad, the landscape is still very dry and you will see mounds of the old irrigation system called “khettaras”.
The Todra Gorge is a trench of gigantic rock walls run through the High Atlas Mountains creating an absolutely magnificent sight. Today you will visit the Todra Gorge after you travel through the ‘Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs’, en route from Erfoud. The Gorge is breathtaking and easy hike by foot with many places to stop for photos along its well-maintained dirt road. Part of the spectacular scenery includes an opportunity to see how the local Berbers live as nomads; as they stroll through the gorges many winding roads.
During the drive there are thick palm groves and Berber villages. What ever direction you begin your journey, the route that brings you to the Todra Gorge should be taken slowly as it is truly remarkable.
Once you arrive to the gorge, you will be eager to explore it. In recent years, the Todra Gorge has attracted a lot of attention from serious climbers. The rock formations vary between 25 to 300 m and there are over 150 routes to explore.
Day 6 – Todra Gorge to Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah
Leaving Todra Gorge after breakfast you will travel along the “Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs” to the thriving town of Ouarzazate for a lunch stop. This town is home to Atlas Film Studios, where many films have been shot over the years, including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. It is also an important town in the south of Morocco and home to the new solar park recently opened in 2016.
Continue on to the fascinating and beautiful Aït Ben Haddou, one of the best example of a working kasbah. A UNESCO World Heritage site and the active home of 5 Berber families who still live in the Kasbah, you will have an opportunity to wander the streets of this ancient city, viewing the arid river bed as well as the stunning views from atop.
Day 7 – Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah to Marrakech
Enjoy a morning walk around the fortified village of Ait Ben Haddou this morning. Ait Ben Haddou is a large kashah and famous as being the back drop for many modern movies including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. Wander the streets and enjoy the amazing architecture while making your way to the top for a stunning view of the surrounding valley.
Then you will cross the High Atlas Mountains, across the highest pass, Tizi n’ Tichka at 2260m above sea level, and back to Marrakech with some rest stops along the way and plenty of opportunity to take some amazing photos, dropping you back at your Riad in the early evening.
Day 8 – Marrakech
Today will enjoy your choice of activities in Marrakech. Based on your ideas and our recommendations you can choose to see any number of local museums, monuments and points of interest, or take a walking tour of the medina with some shopping and exotic street foods along the way.
You may choose to take a bicycle tour of the medina, spend the day golfing at a local resort, or visit the new town of Gueliz. We can also arrange for a hammam visit, cooking class or one of many other fun activities. The choice is yours.
Day 9 – Departure Day