Morocco Desert Tour

 

Day 1 – Marrakech to Rabat

Today you begin your Morocco desert tour. Depart from Marrakech after breakfast and take the highway towards Casablanca and Rabat, the political capital of Morocco and home of the King.

Both Casablanca and Rabat, while filled with a great deal of history, also represent enormous efforts put forward by the Kingdom to modernize Morocco and to attract foreign investment for future growth.
You will see many signs of this along the route, including modern and well maintained highways, vast crop fields and modern buildings. In Rabat you will take a city tour, seeing the fascinating contrast between modern day Morocco and its past.
Tonight you will sleep in Rabat.

Day 2 – Rabat to Tangier

Leaving Rabat in the morning, you will head to Tangier, the northern most point in Morocco and just 13 km from Spain. This is the point where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. In Tangier you will see also the contrast that exists between this exotic and storied port city and the modern day Morocco. You will tour the medina and spend the night here.

Day 3 – Tangier to Chefchaouen

Leaving Tangier you will begin your journey into the Rif mountains towards the “Blue Pearl” of Chefchaouen. On the way you will stop in Tetouan, at the foot of the Rif mountains and just a few short kilometres from the sea. Once the capital of the French Protectorate from 1912-1956, this is one of the few towns in Morocco where you will see a distinctly Spanish influence in its ancient walls and medina. This will be your first real glimpse at a more rustic and history city.

After a tour of the Tetouan, you will head off to the blue city with your first glimpse of the town, cradled at the base of two mountains. Once in Chefchaouen you will find yourself surrounded by a relaxing and calm medina, beautiful scenery and a “resort” location like no other.

You will spend two nights in Chefchaouen.

Day 4 – Chefchaouen

Today is a day at leisure and yours to relax and enjoy this gorgeous town. You can have a day to shop the medina for handicrafts and artisanal goods. Meet some weavers making blankets or stop in a visit artists in their galleries for tea. If you would like a more active day your guide will get you set for a 4 hour hike in the local mountains for some stunning vistas and exploration of the natural surroundings.

Enjoy any of the local eateries for lunch and dinner, or relax in your hotel with a good book and watch the day drift by in this beautiful setting.

Day 5 – Chefchaouen to Fes

Leaving your mountain retreat in the morning you will head towards Fes today. Along the way you will make a stop outside the city of Meknes at Volubilis, the site of beautifully preserved Roman ruins dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD and believed to be home to over 20,000 people at its peak.

After your tour with an expert local guide, you will be welcomed to Moulay Idriss for lunch. Settled by the Moulay Idriss, who brought Islam to North Africa, in 789, it has only been open to tourists for a few short years. Having been considered a holy place, it is small and virtually untouched by the carpet sellers and shops that you find in other towns throughout the country.

Following a peaceful lunch you will set out towards Fes, your destination for the day. Get settled in for a 2 night stay in this fascinating city of artisans and commerce.

Day 6 – 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 largest urban car free zone in the world. 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 7 – Fes to Midelt

After breakfast, you’ll start travelling southeast to Midelt. Your first stop will be at Ifrane, called “the Switzerland of Morocco”. During this journey you’ll experience glimpses of the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountains. Stopping at the famous cedar forest, the largest in Morocco, where you may well sight Barbary Macaque (monkeys) and Berber horses.

You’ll notice how the scenery changes along the way as the roads get steeper with green pastures and nomads tending their sheep and goats on the roadside.

You’ll enjoy a short walking tour of the Berber Village in Midelt and relax here for the night.”

Day 8 – Midelt to the Sahara Desert

Today you will really start to notice the changing terrain of Morocco as you head over the High Atlas mountains and into the Sahara Desert.

Driving over the mountains along twisting roads and into the arid Ziz Valley where you will notice a thick canopy of date palms that go on as far as the eye can see under striated mountain plateaus.

The valleys eventually start to flatten out as you get even farther south and the landscape begins to turn to the rocky terrain of the desert flats.

Stop in Erfoud and visit the fossil factory where they process enormous slabs of fossil dating back to the Jurassic period.

You will soon arrive at Erg Chebbi, the largest dunes in Morocco and indisputably one of the greatest sites the country has to offer. Once thought of a barrier to travel the dunes run along the border with Algeria and offer a mere entry to the vast Sahara beyond.

After a stop of tea, you will climb aboard majestic camels and enjoy a ride into the desert camp were you will spend the night and enjoy dinner cooked by nomads.

Day 9 – The 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 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.

If you want to see traditional Berber villages, ask your guide take an offbeat route so you can stop to visit a local Berber family for couscous and tea.

Day 10 – Todra Gorge to Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah

Leaving Todra Gorge after breakfast you will travel along the “Valley of 1,000 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 11 – Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah to Aroumd Village

After a traditional Berber breakfast, you will have the opportunity to tour the site of the Ait Ben Haddou kasbah. Climb from the riverbed to the top of the kasbah through the winding streets of the old structure for a wonderful view of the valley for miles in every direction.
You will then go to Armed today, where you will hike through forest and trails to a Berber Village (1 hr – fairly easy although steep. Mules are available for those who would prefer). Tonight you will enjoy dinner in the gite prepared by Berbers who live in the village.

Day 12 – Aroumd Village to Essaouira

After breakfast you have the option to enjoy a 4 hr mountain hike, to relax in the guesthouse, or take a tour of the village.

After lunch you will hike down the mountain to join your driver and head to  to the coastal city of Essaouira. This afternoon you will pass by an argan forest and have a chance to spot goats in argan trees eating nuts if they are indeed nearby. You will also visit a women’s cooperative to see how they process the argan nuts in order to make coveted and authentic argan oil products.

Day 13 – Essaouira

You’ll enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel in Essaouira, then start your journey to explore the city. You’ll visit the Skala Fortress; see Thuya wood carved by artisans; walk through the alleys of the medina and view hundreds of handicrafts.  Visit the harbour and see the fishermen as they come back in with their daily catch and if you choose you can enjoy lunch of freshly bought fish ‘cooked to order’.

In the afternoon, you will have some free time to wander around, go to the beach and enjoy time on your own.

Essaouira is also referred to as The “City of the Wind” and it attracts surfers from all over the world. Essaouira has known a great deal of history, including a Portuguese occupation, which affects much of its architecture and it is even rumoured that some major rock icons of the 60’s and 70’s have spent time here.

Day 14 – Essaouira to Marrakech

Enjoy a morning at leisure, whether its a sleep in, a quiet trip to one of the cities charming cafes or a walk along the beach. Or some last minute shopping. You will head back to Marrakech after lunch. Tonight you will have the choice of restaurants or perhaps you will enjoy an evening in Jmaa El Fna Square with dinner in the famous food tents and a walk past the street performers, snake charmers and all sorts of other oddities that occupy the square on any given evening.

Day 15 – 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.

This day is yours to consumer this amazing city in the heart of Morocco and we are happy to help you create it.

Day 16 – Departure Day

Today is your last day with Roaming Camels Morocco. We will happily make arrangements for you to enjoy more sights in Marrakech, visit a hammam, or tour the city. We will also provide you complimentary transfer to the airport in Marrakech or the train station in order to continue your travels, or help you to secure extended accommodations in Marrakech or beyond.

 

 

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  • 15 nights accommodation
  • breakfast every day
  • 3 dinners
  • airport transfers
  • air conditioned vehicle
  • professional driver
  • English speaking guide
  • camel trek
  • guided tours in major cities
  • mandatory travel insurance
  • all lunches
  • gratuities
  • airfare
  • extended stays before and after the tour dates