This is our most popular circuit through Morocco. Offering insight into its modern imperial cities, ancient history, beautiful Sahara landscapes, and hidden desert oasis. For the first time Morocco traveler, there may be no better introduction to this fascinating country.
In the afternoon, you will be picked up at the airport in Casablanca and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
Casablanca is Morocco's most forward-minded city. It is where modern industry is churning most noticeably, and where Morocco's economy shows the most activity. Commonly used as Morocco's gateway, most international flights arrive and depart from here. Despite most travelers wanting to reach the Sahara or walk in Marrakesh's medina, Casablanca deserves a little more attention. It is where a culture as old as Morocco's gazes onto a modern world, and interprets modern fashions as its own. Much can be learned about Morocco's culture by walking its streets and meeting its people.
Today, you will be taken to Fez, one of Morocco's impressive Imperial Cities. Along the way you can stop in Meknes, one of Morocco's lesser-visited Imperial Cities. Located here is one of Morocco's most impressive gateways, Bab Mansour. Thirty minutes away from Meknes are the Roman Ruins of Volubilis and the sacred town of Moulay Idriss, which sits perched overlooking the ruins. You'll arrive to Fez in the later afternoon.
Approximate Driving Time = 4 hrs (This service is on a private basis.)
In Fez, you will be able to explore the UNESCO protected Fez Medina with a private guided half day tour. Since this can be confusing due to well over 9,000 streets and alleyways, your guide will take you to the most worthwhile parts, including the Fondouk Nejjarine, the tanneries and the various craft souks. Lunch is included today on the tour. (This service is on a private basis.)
An old and noble city, Fez knows that it is the center of culture and intellectualism in Morocco. Many of Morocco's important historic movements began in Fez, and Fez has seen ruler after ruler come and go, and has stood strong for 1,200 years. This history is plain to see as one navigates its medina's narrow passages, smells its smells, and hears its sounds. Tourism money has poured into Fez in the past couple of decades, adding fantastic modern riads to compliment an ancient lifestyle.
You will depart early this morning and head to Ifrane, the gateway into the Middle Atlas Mountains. From this alpine area, you'll continue onward through Midelt and into Tafilalet, a region that includes the expansive Ziz Valley oasis. It's here where you'll meet our local coordinator who will take you on a short walking tour through this rich agricultural area filled with date palms and small farmsteads. Following, lunch will be served at his family's humble home. After a relaxing night in the hotel, you'll be fully rested for tomorrow's desert adventure.
Approximate Driving Time = 7 hrs (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning you'll have some time to relax (or to explore Erfoud and Rissani) before continuing south to Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi region of the Sahara Desert. Once near the dunes, you'll take a 4x4 to meet the camels where a one-hour ride on these local dromedaries takes you into the encampment. If you'd rather not ride camels, you can continue into the desert camp via 4x4. You'll be sleeping in a Bedouin-style tent. This tent area has actual beds/blankets/sheets, carpets aligning the ground, and western-style bathroom facilities. A scrumptious dinner will be served this evening.
Approximate Driving Time = 3 hrs (This service is on a private basis.)
The endless expanse of the Western Sahara feels like a final frontier. One of the world's most sparsely populated regions, the Desert provides beauty in the void of life. Spending a night camping, Berber-style, under the Sahara stars is a unique experience that is difficult to replicate elsewhere. Rise early enough in the morning, and see the sun rise over over an rusted sand ocean.
You'll rise with the sunset to grab some photos before taking a 4x4 (or your favorite camel) out of the dunes. If you'd like to do a bit of exploring before heading out, you can head to the now touristy village of Khemlia to listen to Gnawa spiritual music.
Once in Tinjedad, you'll be able to make a stop at a local Berber-history museum that also serves excellent lunches. Here, we can arrange a guided walk of this lesser-visited palm oasis if you'd like. En route to Skoura, if you'd like to visit the Dades or Todra Gorge (Todra being a bit more touristy), either one will add at least two hours to your transport time today. We do not recommend this in the cooler months with shorter days.
You'll end today in the scenic Valley of Kasbahs on the edge of Skoura. Once at this kasbah guesthouse, you'll have time to relax and enjoy the garden before dinner is served.
Approximate Driving Time = 6 hrs (This service is on a private basis.)
There aren't many tour companies that use Skoura as a base to spend a night, but it definitely deserves more international attention. Its location make it a perfect mid-point between the dunes of the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains leading to Marrakesh. Skoura is small, but charming, quaint and a seldom-experienced window into the lives of locals.
After leaving the palm oasis valley this morning, you can visit Ouarzazate. This relatively new city is home to the Taorirt Kasbah once owned by the Glaouis family, who ruled Morocco. You will also be stopping at the UNESCO world heritage site at Ait Ben Haddou which several famed films have used as a backdrop.
One highly recommended (and off-the-beaten-path) location you might also consider stopping at is Telouet. This impressive kasbah was once the stronghold of the Glaoui family as they ruled the entire southern region of Morocco. Choosing this option will add one hour of transport to today's total. Following, you'll head over the Tiz n Tichka pass, which winds over the High Atlas Mountains and to Marrakesh.
Approximate Driving Time = 5-6 hrs (This service is on a private basis.)
In Marrakesh, today will be devoted to a private guided visit of the Marrakesh Medina. Our head guide in the region will meet you in the riad to discuss what you might be most interested in seeing and doing. You can explore the Saadian tombs, Bahia Palace, Ali Ben Youssef Koranic School, and walk through the various souks. Lunch is included on the tour today. (This service is on a private basis.)
This is the maze of shops, street performers, smoky haze, foreign spices and street vendors that Morocco is known for. This is the quintessential Moroccan travel experience. The imperial cities all have their own medinas, but foreigners know about Marrakesh's version for a reason. Where berber tribes once traded their gold and ivory, vendors now sell trinkets to tourists, but the atmosphere remains the same as it has been for centuries. The churning of commerce can be felt here like in no other place, and the result is pretty magical.
Today, you can do any last minute shopping or sightseeing before heading to Casablanca at your convenience.
Approximate Driving Time = 3 hrs (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Casablanca and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
Locasted in the heart of Casablanca, this old private mansion was built in the 30's by an Italian contractor. The legend tells that is was built as a gift to his wife, whom he met in Morocco. Nestled in the city center, the hotel is shrouded in the peaceful Art Deco district of Casablanca. This jewel of a hotel has witnessed the ups and downs of Casablanca, and remained proud throughout. It was recently renovated to preserve the authenticity and to safeguard the architecture.
The Riad Laaroussa- Guest House is a beautiful 4-star accommodation located in the town of Fès, in northern Morocco. Housed within a former 17th century palace that has been renovated by area craftsmen, this hotel features high ceilings, arched doorways, lovely traditional décor, and beautifully detailed tile work. After a long day of travel, you can unwind to the sounds of water fountains on the patio beneath the shade of orange trees. Later, get scrubbed down with traditional black soap in the hammam then get a massage with jasmine or orange flower oil amidst candles, aromatherapy, and soothing music. When you get hungry, dine on delicious Fassi cuisine on the patio or the terrace, which offers an amazing view, or in winter next to the cozy fireplace.
Kasbah Hotel Xaluca is located in Erfoud, a city known as “the Door to the Desert”. The Kasbah is listed as unique in Morocco due to its distinctive characteristics. It was built with adobes, the traditional Moroccan building bricks, and it is a great place to relax and enjoy the moment. Xaluca Erfoud offers 134 spacious rooms decorated with regional materials, as well as 8 bungalows. It combines tradition with modern amenities, where installations are adapted to the stringiest standards. It is a fantastic place, situated among the dunes and palms, where you will be able to enjoy unique emotions.
Jaimus Madus offers luxury in the Sahara Desert. Comprised of well-equipped tents, hot water, beds, bathroom and showers. This camp is sure to keep you comfortable in what can be the most uncomfortable place on Earth. However, the attentive and friendly staff are what really make this place an oasis in the desert. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the sunset from the dunes!
Les Jardins de Skoura is located in the heart of the Skoura palm grove, renowned for its many kasbahs. Surrounded by a magnificent garden featuring a number of different trees and fragrances stand five spacious, air-conditioned bedrooms and three suites. In the summer, you can enjoy relaxing comfortably on one of the terraces, lay by the poolside under the olive trees, or stroll along the vegetable gardens. On winter nights, the convivial dining room is warmed up by the atmosphere of a lovely chimney fire. The restaurant features refined Moroccan and Mediterranean specialties. Les Jardins de Skoura combines the experience of the true Moroccan countryside with the comfort that visitors are seeking when looking for a peaceful and quiet place.
Riad Siwan is a stylish and beautifully renovated riad down an unprepossessing alley near Djemaa El Fna. The Dutch owners Cees and Maryk have not just given this former ruin new life, but have put a serious sense of style into every element from the stunning lighting to the individual beds and bathrooms. Ornately-carved columns tower over the plant-filled courtyard, while the rooftop has amazing views and plenty of space to soak up the sun, while at mezzanine level there is a discreet narrow plunge pool. There are seven spacious suites, each individually designed with a flourish of fabrics and bold design, and a wonderful dining room which makes you want to dine in for the stylish interiors alone. The riad can also arrange massages on request.