Golden Years Tour
Day 1: Casablanca – Essouria
The first day of trip will begin in Casablanca by visiting the largest Mosque in Africa, the Hassan ll. The Hassan ll Mosque took 7 laborious years to build. The Mosque can hold up to 25,000 for prayer inside, and 80,000 on the Mosque’s grounds outside. After touring The Hassan ll Mosque you will begin your drive to the city of Essouria. Upon arrival you will rest in your Riad/Hotel for the evening.
Day 2: Essouira
Good morning! Today you will explore Essouira, also known as the “Wind City of Africa”, excellent for wind surfing and sailing. You will visit many fascinating sites, including the sea port where the seamen reel in the catch of the day. Stroll the sandy beach that stretches way to the south. Essaouira is a laid-back atmosphere. The dramatic ramparts and the sandy beach have together created an attraction for artisans and hippies for years. Essaouira has a bohemian feel quite different from the rest of the country. Back in the 1950’s Orson Wells stayed at the Hotel des lles during the filming of “Othello”. This hippie town was the home of many other film productions. Jimmy Hendrix’s song “Castles Made of Sand” was written two years prior to his visit to Essaouira. Again, this is a wonderful place to stroll, shop, sip tea and just watch the people pass by. Enjoy the day!
Relax in your Riad or Hotel for the evening.
Day 3: Essouria -Taroudant
Following breakfast, you will drive to Taroudant for the evening. Taroudant is east of Agadir and known as “Grandmother Marrakech”. The name comes from the similarity of Marrakech in the mini version. Taroudant is a caravan route to the desert. Many artisans sell handmade crafts in the market in the village. Jewelry and carpets are a couple of the amazing arts found in Taroudant.
Day 4: Taroudant – Ouarzazate
Good morning kids! Following breakfast, you will journey to Ouarzazate, “Door of the Desert”, in south-central Morocco. This town is the Moroccan Hollywood so to speak. It’s a tourist destination with many noted film-making locations. Many films such as “Lawrence of Arabia”, “The Mummy”, “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Game of Thrones” were filmed here, as were many others. Ouarzazate was a hub for African traders until the French expanded the village for administrative and customs outlets. Many attractions to visit in Ouarzazate, Ksar Ait Ben Haddou, Atlas Film Studios, and Skoura Oasis are a couple of my favorites. After touring you will relax for the night in your Riad/Hotel.
Day 5: Ouarzazate – Merzouga
Oh, what a day you have in front of you. Following breakfast, you will make your way to the Sahara Desert. The route to the desert has many interesting sites, one stop we will make will be The Valley of Roses. The first or second weekend in May this village celebrates with a festival of roses. The streets are alive in festivities and flowers adorn every nook-n-cranny. Fruits, nuts, dates and figs are all in arms reach at every turn. Most importantly the Rose Queen will be inducted for the next exciting year. The celebration roars with the beat of Berber music late into the evening. Throughout the year the streets are lined in shops with an abundance of rose infused items, cremes, oils, perfumes, sachets, rose water, rose infused tea and the list goes on. After a rose extravaganza we will move forward to the desert. When reaching your Riad/Hotel you will relax for the evening.
Day 6: Merzouga
Good morning Friends! After breakfast you will hop in the 4x4 to explore villages around Erg Chebbi’s dunes, such as Hassi Labied, Merdani, Khamlia, M’fis. In Khamlia, you will be greeted with a warm cup of tea (aka: Berber Whiskey) while enjoying live, spiritual Gnawa music. Leaving Khamlia our next stop is a panoramic view of the golden dunes near the Algerian border. Time permitting, we may stop for a picnic lunch in the desert or sample a Berber pizza in one of my favorite spots in Khamlia, before visiting a nomad family. You will be introduced to family members and learn about their way of life, and most likely enjoying another cup of tea and nuts. The next adventure will begin in the afternoon. It all begins from your hotel near the dunes. Your camel will slowly carry you through the dunes in the heart of the Erg Chebbi. While riding through the peaceful, breathtaking and mysterious dunes of the Sahara, you will have the opportunity to take some spectacular pictures. Photos for the professional and amateur photographer alike. The dunes stand tall with the highest elevation of 150M. After we arrive at the desert camp, we will grab the sand boards and walk to the highest dunes for a bit of fun. From the dunes you will get to watch the sunset over the picturesque backdrop of the seemingly painted dunes. After the sun settles in for the evening you will have dinner at the desert camp and enjoy Cultural Berber Music around the fire. When the evening closes you will spend the night in your tent.
Day 7: Merzouga – Midelt
Today’s adventure will begin with a drive to Midelt. We will stop in Rissani for a bit of souk shopping, if you are here on souk day, you can find many vendors lining the streets selling their goods. Check out the donkey parking lot while strolling the souk. After a shopping expedition in Rissani we will head towards Mildet, where you will spend the evening in your Hotel/Riad for a little R & R.
Day 8: Midelt – Fez
Today will begin your journey through the Middle Atlas Mountains and through the Cedar forest of Azrou, which is 3940 feet in elevation. Here you will have the opportunity to feed the endangered Barbary (Macaque) Monkeys. Try to remember a snack for the monkeys and have your camera ready. After you are done monkeying around you will continue to travel the scenic roads through the Atlas Mountains. You will pass through the city of Ifrane, which is considered the Switzerland of Morocco because of its housing architecture and snowfall. Ifrane is also the coldest city in Morocco, also a great place for skiing. You will continue this beautiful drive until we reach the medieval town of Fez. Upon arrival in Fez you will settle in your Riad/Hotel for the evening.
Day 9: Fez
Good Morning! Today you will explore Fez, the oldest and largest medieval city in the world. A local licensed historical guide will accompany you as you discover each of the two old Medinas. The largest which is Fes El Bali. In 1981 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The second, Fes El Jedid, is the oldest city, which was built by Merinids. You will find many fascinating historical sites such as: Al_Qarawiyyin, which dates to 859 AD, and is the oldest continuous functioning madrasa (Old School) in the world. The Ancient Tanneries where you can see the tanners incredible labor of making Babouches (Moroccan Slippers) as well as wallets, handbags, and a host of leather goods. This medieval labyrinth has something exciting around every corner. You are sure to enjoy the culture, food, and artisans of Fez
Day 10: Fez – Marrakech
Good Day Friends! Today we will drive to Marrakech. You will make stops along the route for a bite to eat. Reaching Marrakech, you will relax in your Hotel/Riad for the evening.
Day 11: Marrakech
After breakfast you will explore the city of Marrakech. The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words MUR (n) AKUSH which means “Land of God”. Marrakech lies at the foothills of the breathtaking Atlas Mountains. You will visit some of the most fascinating sites of Marrakech, starting with the Tombs of Saadians, Palais Bahia, Garden Majorelle, the Kotoubia Mosque, and ending the day in the square of Jamaa Lafna and the Souks. The square of Jamaa Lafna is overflowing with shops, crafts, snake charmers, narrators, minstrels, fortune-tellers entertain amid the stalls of food, fresh orange juice and a host of restaurants. You will find Marrakech a fascinating day. In the evening, the center of the Djemâa El-Fna Square, is swarming with life. Rest well, see you in the morning.
Day 12: Marrakech – Casablanca
Good morning! After breakfast, you have time to do any last-minute shopping or touring you would like to do before we head for Casablanca. We will leave between noon and 2:00 depending on what you would like to accomplish before leaving.
Day 13: Casablanca Departure
Transfer to the Airport to catch your flight home. After spending 12 days together, the farewell is usually a heartfelt one. Until we meet again……Inshallah!