Check our short imperial cities tour for 7 Days starting from Casablanca and finishing in Marrakech going through the Sahara Desert.
You will be met on arrival at Casablanca airport or at your hotel and then driven the short distance to Casablanca, Morocco's largest city and the modern, economic capital. here you'll be welcome to enter the impressive Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the world and one of only two in the country that allow access to non-Muslims. In the afternoon, you will travel west towards Fes, stopping off at Meknes and Volubilis. Meknes, surrounded by vineyards and rich arable land, is an important, historic, Imperial city of the Sultan Moulay Ismail of the 17th and 18th centuries. Here you can see the mausoleum of Moulay Ismail himself, the Bab Mansour gate with its beautiful zellij mosaics and marble pillars, and the Sahrij Soanni Bassin, a huge reservoir that supplies the city and the Imperial gardens. Next, are the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis dating from the first century BC and you'll be able to walk through the Triumphal Arch and see many beautifully preserves mosaic floors depicting scenes from the Roman myths. Then onward to Fes, through fertile valleys in the foothills between the Rif and Atlas Mountain ranges. arriving in the early evening to check into your traditional riad in the heart of the ancient, medieval medina where you will stay in B&B overnight.
After a traditional breakfast in your riad, it will be time to explore the cultural capital of Morocco, the ancient medina (old city) of Fes, passing though its narrow, winding alleyways among the hustle and bustle, donkeys and horses, the exotic sights and smells of a working, medieval city; the largest urbanized pedestrian area in the world. Here you can see the delicious fresh fruit piled high, mountains of aromatic spices and intricate. You will visit the famous traditional tanneries and to the Al Qaraouine university which is the oldest in the world. In the afternoon, after a satisfying lunch in an authentic Moroccan restaurant in the heart of the medina, Your journey will continue with a visit of the Jewish quarter, the King's Palace, ceramic factory and the Merenid Tombs, perched on a hillside overlooking the medina and providing a breathtaking panoramic view of the old city. Then you will return to your riad home for the night.
Following breakfast, it's off to Ifrane, a charming Alpine-styled, chalet filled town, nestling prettily in the mountains and known as the " Switzerland of Morocco", Catching tantalising glimpses of both the Middle and High Atlas mountains as you yourselves ascend into them, you'll next stop at Azrou, "The Rock" in the local Berber language, a lovely village in the heart of the magnificent cedar forests, the most extensive in the country. Here live the Barbary Apes, actually a type of macaque monkey, who may steal your lunch. As you get nearer to Merzouga, your destination for the night, you will see a gradual change in the landscape as the desert begins to creep in. On we go, through the mountain pass of Tizi Ntalghamt to Midelt and then through the verdant Ziz valley, carved by a river through volcanic rock. There will be plenty of stops for photo opportunities along the route. Passing through quaint Berber mountain villages and then the larger settlements of Erfoud and Rissani you will come to the village of Merzouga during the evening to spend the night in a Kasbah/hotel where dinner and breakfast are provided as well as delicious, hot, sweet, mint tea on your arrival. Very refreshing.
First, a sumptuous breakfast and then a chance to visit the village of Khamlia and interact with the Gnawa, the local people who are descended from slaves brought to Morocco from the Sudan. They have a unique lifestyle and they will play their delightful, traditional music for you. Later you'll get the chance to explore Rissani, the original home of the Alaouites who created a dynasty and are still the ruling royal family in Morocco to this day. Rissani is a walled town, or ksar, with numerous high towers and has a large open nomad market. Then you will be driven back to Merzouga, where your camel awaits! An experienced professional guide will take you on an unforgettable ninety minute camel trek through the shifting desert sands and ergs (dunes). After you arrive at your desert camp you will have the opportunity to watch a spectacular sunset over the glittering desert dunes. It's the wonder of camping in the desert tonight, where the stars are so numerous and so bright that you really feel that you could just reach out and touch them. Dinner and overnight in a berber camp.
An early start, as you are awoken to experience the splendour of the sun rising over the sand dunes, then you will ride your camel gently back to a hotel for breakfast, during which ride, you cannot fail to notice the shifting and changing of the shadows cast by the dunes, lengthening and shrinking as the day progresses. After breakfast, the journey to Ouarzazate begins with a drive through the 300 metre deep canyon of the Todgha Gorges cut through the easternmost tip of the High Atlas Mountains where you can enjoy some hiking around the pretty village of Tinghir. The Tinghir and Todgha gorges are the highest and narrowest in Morocco and, some would say, the most beautiful. The next stop is "Rose City" the Berber town of Kelaat Mgouna, where every year, usually in mid-May (though the times may vary), at rose harvest time, there is a celebration of the Festival of Roses. This provides an opportunity for the local growers to meet up ans sell their wares, most notably rose water which will leave your clothes, body and bed linen smelling sweetly long after it is applied. After this you will travel on to the fertile oasis of Skoura, surrounded by huge groves of palm trees with stunning views of the mighty Atlas mountains. Finally, you'll finish your day with an evening arrival in Ouarzazate where you will enjoy your dinner and stay overnight in an hotel.
After a hearty breakfast explore the film sets and studios of Ouarzazate, "Africa's Hollywood" whose astonishing scenery and topography have lured some of the world's leading film-makers and directors to make use of the landscape. These are the most famous and largest film studios in all of the African continent. You may visit the studio museum where you can see props and other items of interest from films such as "Gladiator", "The Mummy" and "Indiana Jones" as well as parts of the popular TV series "Game of Thrones". Afterwards, you will visit Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, the biggest in Morocco. Take a stroll to explore the traditional Moroccan architecture that composes the kasbah, home to the Glaoui people, descendants of one of the last great Berber chieftains, Et Hami El Glaoui who ruled in the 18th century. This central region of the country is vibrant and exciting and surely one of the most romantic areas of Morocco, huddled between fertile, green river valleys with their extensive palmeries and burnished red mud-brick houses, roasting under the blazing Moroccan sun in dazzling colours beneath an azure sky. Then it's time to continue on your journey, through the astounding Tizi n'tichka Pass, over two and a half kilometres above sea-level, along twisting, turning mountain roads dotted with picturesque Berber villages until you reach Marrakech. The tour ends when you are safely deposited at your hotel or riad.
|Transport in a comfortable A/C vehicle (a 4x4 or Mini Van).|
|Overnight stay in a berber camp.|
|Dinner and Breakfast.|
|Pick up and drop off at your accommodation.|
|Camel trekking in the Sahara Desert.|
|Sightseeing and photo opportunities at the Sahara Desert|
|Lunch and drinks.|
|Small admission charge for some monuments.|