Under the eye of a local guide during a walking tour, feel like you’ve travelled back to the Middle Ages in the labyrinthine medina of Fes.. Trek through scenic countryside and traditional villages in the Atlas Mountains and stay in a traditional Berber homestay to better understand the customs of this nomadic community.. What could be more ‘Morocco’ than a Sahara camping experience? A camel trek through the dramatic red dunes at sunset as well, of course.. Kick back in the coastal town of Essaouira, perhaps enjoying a fresh seafood barbecue on the waterfront and strolling the charming seaside laneways.
Meet a new travel crew on a solo traveller-only adventure through Morocco, visiting the hotspots from Casablanca to Marrakech. Travel from the Atlas Mountains to the endless sands of the Sahara, the medieval old town of Fes to the spice markets of Marrakech and out to the Atlantic coast at Essaouira. Admire the colourful mix between old and new, learn about ancient fallen cities and cross paths with nomadic Berber communities. You’ll travel and stay the local way, and with a leader to get you straight into the action, discover the many mysteries hidden within these majestic lands.
Breakfast Included: 14 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 4
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins today with a welcome meeting at around 6 pm. As there's little free time included in Casablanca on this trip, why not arrive a day earlier and discover the art deco buildings and modern-day masterpiece of the Hassan II Mosque. You could wander the old medina and the city walls then jump in a taxi to visit the Quartiers des Habous (new medina). Finish the day with a walk along the Corniche, watching the locals play football on the beach, or take it easy with a glass of sweet mint tea in one of the many great cafes.
Rabat – Meknes
This morning take a 1-hour train to Rabat. The town's history is long and colourful, including Roman settlements, pirates and, more recently, the Moroccan parliament. Store your luggage at your accommodation, then head out for a walking tour of the city's Old Quarter and the Kasbah des Oudaias. Catch your breath and enjoy views over the Atlantic Ocean from this prime spot. Next, board another train for the 3-hour journey to Meknes. After getting settled into your hotel the rest of your evening is free. The imperial city of Meknes was built when Sultan Moulay Ismail (a contemporary of Louis XIV) set out to create his own version of Versailles, using over 25,000 slaves to construct walls, gates and over 50 palaces.
Volubilis – Fes
This morning, there's free time for you to explore Meknes independently. Your leader can give you advice on where to grab lunch or explore. Later, board a private vehicle and make the 1-hour drive through rolling hills and olive groves to the World Heritage-listed archaeological site of Volubilis. On arrival, take a guided tour around the ruins of the Roman capital. Afterwards, make the 2-hour drive to Fes, where you'll spend the next two nights soaking up this vibrant, noisy and fascinating city. On arrival in Fes, the rest of your time is free.
Begin exploring Fes today with a guided walking tour of the Old City, known locally as Fes el Bali. Step back into the Middle Ages in the labyrinth of the medina, which is alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries and mosques. Pass donkeys piled high with goods and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Visit the Belghazi Museum, Medresse el Attarine and splendid Funduk Nejjarine – a beautifully restored 18th-century inn. You'll also see the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramics factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. In the evening, choose whether you would like to partake in an optional group dinner of Moroccan specialities.
Board a private vehicle and leave the city behind for Midelt in the scenic Middle Atlas Mountains (approximately 4 hours). Drive south through a variety of spectacular landscapes including fertile valleys, cedar and pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes. Nestled in a valley, Midelt is a market town, originally built as a base for mining in the area and surrounded by farmland and orchards. On arrival, stretch your legs with a visit to the nearby village of Berrem and take a closer look at local farming life.
This morning make a 5-hour drive towards the mighty Sahara Desert, with stops en route to admire views of Kasbahs and palmeries. Pass by frontier towns like Erfoud and Rissani before reaching the end of the road at the small Saharan settlement of Merzouga. Drop off your luggage at your overnight camp on the edge of the desert and mount a camel for a 1-hour sunset ride into the dunes. Spend the night in a camp under the stars, sitting back and relaxing while our local friends prepare your small group a hearty feast.
This morning you can choose to wake up early and take a walk up a nearby dune for a spectacular sunrise over the desert. Return to camp for a traditional breakfast and then make the 5-hour drive to Todra Gorge. On the way, visit the oasis museum of El Khorbat. Arrive at your accomoodation in the late afternoon or early evening. The rest of your night is free for you to take in the epic scenery – sprawling green valleys and rocks sculpted into stunning formations by the wind – where you will be based for the next few nights.
Today you have have free time to explore the Todra Valley, which you can do at your own pace or on a guided hike. There are a couple of circuits to choose from, but the most popular choice is a ten-kilometre circuit that takes about 4 hours and travels through Amazigh (Berber) villages for a chance to meet locals. For lunch, choose whether you would like to join some local ladies in their mud-brick kasbah – a great opportunity to see local lives in action. Otherwise, lounging by the hotel pool with views over the palmeries and cliff faces is also a good option.
Travel south today on a 4-hour drive to Ait Benhaddou, travelling past ancient kasbah ruins, former colonial military outposts and valleys lined with palm trees. Grab lunch en route in Ouarzazate – a popular filming location. Time permitting, you can take a tour of the local Atlas Movie Studios before you continue to Ait Benhaddou. Centuries ago this was an important stop for caravans carrying salt across the Sahara. Today its grand kasbah – a fine example of clay architecture – has been listed as a World Heritage site. Your time is free on arrival, but you might want to attend an optional cooking demonstration in the afternoon to learn the secrets behind Moroccan specialities like couscous and tagine.
Travel by private vehicle over the spectacular Tizi n'Tichka Pass to Toubkal National Park (approximately 5 hours). At the end of the road in Imlil, store your main luggage and load a daypack onto a pack mule. Walk into traditional mountain village life with a 1-hour trek to the peaceful village of Aroumd. If you don't feel comfortable with the walk, you can ride a mule instead. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the remote village of Aroumd offers stunning views across the High Atlas Mountains and a unique opportunity to experience traditional Amazigh (Berber) culture. Spend the night in a family-run mountain gite. Surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, meet the host family and enjoy some traditional hospitality and food.
Take a morning walk through the valleys and trails of the stunning Atlas Mountains. Afterwards, head to the Atlantic coast and the old fishing town of Essaouira (approximately 5 hours). Sandstone walkways contrast with whitewashed houses, bright blue sky and the sand of the surrounding beaches and dunes. It is one of North Africa's most attractive places, and you will soon find yourself slipping into the easy-going rhythm of this Moroccan town with a European seaside twist. Arriv your leisure. Your leader will guide you through some options for the rest of the day, such as observing a daily catch and seafood auctions or just to sit back and relax at a seaside cafe.
Today, join a local guide for a walking tour through Essaouira’s old medina, Jewish mellah, port and skala (sea wall). The rest of your day is free for you to explore at your own pace. Maybe head back to the port for a freshly cooked plate of today’s catch. Or you could browse the shops and art galleries that give this town its charm. If you’d prefer to relax, perhapsd indulge in a hammam.