Dodge the donkeys, discover the dye pits and embrace the smell of spices as you navigate the mystical alleyways of Fes under the guidance of your expert leader.. Share a cup of sweet mint tea with Berbers and enjoy a local lunch in a mudbrick kasbah as you explore the unchanged culture and stunning scenery of Todra Gorge.. Ride a camel over windswept sand dunes at sunset and spend an evening camped under the Sahara’s starry night sky.. Witness Morocco’s changing landscapes from the comfort of your private minivan – from fertile valleys and lush pine forests to ancient kasbah ruins and the rocky Atlas Mountains.
Embrace your family’s sense of adventure, without forgoing comfort, on this ten-day tour through the mystical and mesmerising land of Morocco. Explore the French-infused port city of Casablanca, wander the labyrinth of tanneries and spice souks in Fes, discover the rocky landscape of the Atlas Mountains, camp under the starry night sky of the Sahara desert, sip mint tea with Berbers in Todra Gorge and join the nightly carnival of fortune tellers, snake charmers and acrobats in Marrakech. From ancient kasbah ruins to colourful bazaars, and all the couscous and tasty tagines in between, your expert guide will ensure you uncover all the highlights while allowing for plenty of free, family time to create treasured memories at your own pace.
Breakfast Included: 8 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 4
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. You and your family will be met at the airport and taken to the starting point hotel. There are no activities planned until your important welcome meeting at 5 pm. As there's little free time included in Casablanca on this trip, to fully explore the city consider coming a day earlier. Modelled after Marseille in France, the city is famous for its art deco buildings and the modern-day masterpiece, the Hassan II Mosque. A pleasant way to spend the day exploring Casablanca is to wander the old medina and the city walls, then jump in a taxi to visit the Quartiers des Habous, the 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.
After breakfast, take a guided tour of the impressive Hassan II mosque before heading to Fes – the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco (approximately 4 hours). Fes is vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses. Head into the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali, arguably the world's most fascinating and confounding old city. Medieval Fes was one of the world's great centres of education and culture, both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and libraries are legendary, its mosques of great renown. Tomorrow, take a guided walking tour through the old city so this afternoon, relax and enjoy a swim in the pool.
This morning you and your family will take a walk through the twisting streets and alleyways of Fes, passing donkeys piled high with goods – and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Filled with historic khans, medresses and dye-pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs and soups, and where the squawk of chickens, smell of spice and sound of hammering of copper fills the air, it’s not hard to imagine yourself back in the Middle Ages. Spend the day exploring the old city, visiting Medersa el-Attarine, the tanneries and the splendid Fondouk Nejjarine – a beautifully restored 18th-century inn. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and perhaps spend the evening relaxing in this calming oasis, away from the buzz of the medina.
Today it's time to leave the city behind and embrace the simplicity and beauty of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Journey on a private minibus through fertile valleys, pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes for approximately 4 hours. You may see wandering nomadic shepherds as they tend to their flocks, or even catch a glimpse of barbary apes – North Africa's only monkey – before arriving in Midelt. This is a market town, originally built as a base for mining in the area, which is surrounded by farms and orchards. Take a walk exploring the village of Bremmem for an insight into the local farming life, or perhaps check out an optional traditional music performance in Midelt.
Travel by private minivan toward the mighty Sahara (approximately 5 hours), during which there'll be plenty of chances to stop and take in the views of kasbahs and palmeries (lush valleys with date palms, fields and orchards). As you pass through frontier towns like Eerfoud and Rissani, you'll see the scenery alternate between barren mountainsides and fertile valleys until you reach the small Saharan village of Merzouga. Upon arriving, the group will leave their baggage, pack a daypack and saddle up for a one-hour camel ride into the desert at sunset. Erg Chebbi is home to huge windswept dunes that are quintessential Morocco, and are located just 20 kilometres from the Algerian border. Tonight you'll sleep in a desert camp under the stars and our local friends will prepare a hearty feast. All you and your family need to do is sit back, relax and take in the Milky Way.
Return from the desert and begin the drive to Todra Gorge. On the way visit the oasis museum of El Khorbat, before continuing on to the beautiful Todra Valley (approximately 5 hours in total), which follows the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and is dotted with mud-brick villages perched on hillsides. The remarkable scenery – sprawling green valleys and rocks sculpted into stunning formations by the wind – will be your home for the next two nights.
After breakfast you will have some free time to wander and explore the Todra Valley. A guided hike through the gorge and over a nearby mountain pass is highly recommended, the most popular choice is a 10-kilometre circuit that will take about 4 hours and isn't too challenging if you have a basic level of fitness. On the walk you'll pass villages, meeting Berbers along the way and perhaps having a chance to share a cup of mint tea with some of them. The surrounding mountains and the famous Rose Valley in the distance make a sensational setting. For lunch you will join some local ladies in their mudbrick kasbah, a fantastic opportunity to see how people live in this largely unchanged culture. The rest of the afternoon is then free to hike (if you didn’t in the morning) or simply lounge by the hotel pool with views over the lush palmeries and soaring cliff faces.
Today travel south to Ait Benhaddou (approximately 4 hours). The scenic drive will take you past ancient kasbah ruins, former colonial military outposts, austere mountains and valleys of palm trees and irrigated fields. Pause for lunch in Ouarzazate, where productions such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Sheltering Sky and Black Hawk Down were filmed. Time permitting, you can take a tour of the Atlas Movie Studios. Continue on to your destination of 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. In the late afternoon, visit the kasbah to have a wander around. We will stop for a tea break at the Cooperative Tawesna. Tawesna lies between the river and the palm trees and is a co-op set up by the women association of the village in 2018. It is the first income generating activity ever led by the association It involves 42 women who work 3 hours per week. The salary they earn then contributes to their daily spendings as well as their children’s school fees.
Heading back to the hotel a delicious dinner of Morocco's most famous cuisine: couscous and tagine awaits!
It's an early morning start as you make the 4-hour journey to your final destination, Marrakech, a city that’s a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens. The afternoon is free to relax before joining the thronging crowds for dinner at the famous Djemaa el Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. When night falls on this square it transforms into a hive of activity – henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies, including snail soup! Perhaps enjoy a bite of famous Moroccan pastries with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and then maybe finish your day with a cup of tea on one of the roof-top restaurants overlooking the square.
Your family's Moroccan adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned after breakfast. If you have more time, we would highly recommend you book an additional night in Marrakech to explore this fascinating city further. Perhaps your family can take the chance to get to know Moroccan food better with Urban Adventures. Become a spice guru and savour a traditional dinner on ‘A Taste of Marrakech: Inside the Medina’ as a local shares their insider knowledge and shows you the best hidden food souks in the city. Find out more at urbanadventures.com.