Morocco is a real feast for the senses. Sip sweet mint tea in rural villages, see goats climbing trees in the desert, and tap your foot to traditional Berber musicians in Marrakech. Adventure into the Atlas Mountains and stay with a berber family for an insight into traditional Moroccan life.. With French, Portuguese and Jewish influences, Essaouira is about as exotic as it gets. Feast on fresh-caught seafood, explore unique art galleries and be dazzled by a blue-specked townscape. Witness the magnificent rolling waves of the Atlantic ocean from the back of a camel
Imagine a country with the charisma of Europe, the passion of Africa and the charm of the Middle East. A place where ancient cultures are intertwined with dramatic landscapes and time-worn medinas give a glimpse into imperial cities of the past. Now, the whole family can fall under Morocco’s spell on an action-packed adventure from magical Marrakech to the old pirate port of Essaouira, covering everything from camel-clad deserts to pristine beaches along the way. So whether it’s in spice-infused back alleys, among crumbling Roman ruins or below the snow-capped Atlas Mountains – the allure of Morocco will prove impossible to ignore.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 3
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Marrakech is a feast for the senses, a world of spice markets, Berber music, carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens. You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until your group meeting at 5pm. If you have an arrival transfer booked, please look for a representative with an Intrepid Travel sign when you arrive at the airport.
Your hotel is located just outside the city walls around the old Medina. It is about a 30-minute walk to the main square, Djemaa el Fna (or a short calesh/taxi ride). It's also near a lot of local shops and restaurants. Settle in and relax.
Today's adventure begins with a drive over the impressive High Atlas Mountains to the village of Imlil (approx 2 hours), the largest village in the Mizane Valley. You will store your main luggage here, before continuing on foot (1 hour) to the traditional mountain village of Aroumd with your daypack. If you don't feel comfortable with the walk, your leader can arrange a mule for you to ride 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 Berber culture. We spent 1 night in a family-run mountain home (gite) in Aroumd. Surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, meet the host family and enjoy Berber hospitality and food.
NOTE: The walk from Imlil to Aroumd and further to the Sidi Chamharouch shrine requires appropriate footwear. You may choose to bring sturdy boots if you prefer so, but pair of good walking shoes with rigid and grippy sole will be sufficient.
This morning we will have a bread cooking demonstration for breakfast and perhaps an early morning walk around the village of Imlil. We will then transfer to Zaouite Ifergan passing through some Berber villages and a stop in one of the oldest mosque in the high altas where we learn about the Saadian dynasty in which era this monument was built.
We continue our drive across the high Altas mountains via the Tizi n Tast which will give you a great view of the largest plain of Sous.
We arrive at our accommodation for the evening in the late afternoon in time for a swim in the pool and relax.
Enjoy a day of free time. You might like to take a walk with your family through the oasis and explore the local villages. The oasis is full of palm trees and streams of water, giving it an exotic atmosphere. Perhaps have a go at riding a donkey around the fields.
After breakfast it's time for a short trip to Taroudant city (approximately 30 minutes). This pretty, conservative town (often called 'Little Marrakech') has a tannery which you will visit and spend some time at. Moroccan leather goods are very popular, and here you can learn how the animal skins are cured to produce the leather. It's an interesting snapshot of old-fashioned local craft, and a chance to souvenir a slice of hand-made Morocco.
Then we travel up the coast to Sidi Kaouki (approximately 4 hours). Mount a camel and take in the view as the waves crash along the shore line, taking in the awesome scenery as you plod along. This may well be one of the highlights of your trip. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach, then board the bus again and head to Essaouira (approximately 30 minutes).
This delightful artists' town is a former Portuguese trading colony and was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations. The town faces a group of rocky islands called the Mogador and is surrounded by an expanse of sandy beaches and dunes. It's still a busy fishing port, and its pretty harbour is filled with tiny colourful fishing boats which go out early every morning.
Today is free for you to explore Essaouira as you please. Everything in the small centre is within walking distance, and the beach is nice and clean, great for strolling along. Why not wander the harbour and its adjacent fish markets where you can witness the daily auction. A fresh-cooked plate of the day's catch is highly recommended. Perhaps browse some of the many shops and art galleries where unique local pieces are on display. The town is becoming renowned for its burled Thuya wood, delicately formed and inlaid in tiny shops. The scent from the oils used to polish the richly coloured wood permeates the air and makes walking through the streets incredibly pleasant.
Leaving Essaouira behind, journey inland to Marrakech (approximately 3 hours). Enjoy an afternoon walking tour of the city centre, taking in the main sights on your way to the sprawling Djemaa el-Fna main square and souq. As is usual in a souq, individual trades and crafts are concentrated in one street or area, so the shoemakers are all next to each other, as are the jewellers, potters and weavers. This is the best place in Morocco to sharpen your bargaining skills, and you are almost certain to be tempted by some of the extraordinary variety of merchandise on display – perhaps a pair of traditional Moroccan slippers or some spices. The market almost has the atmosphere of a medieval fair. Snake charmers and jugglers are among those who vie to entertain you. In the evening, wonderful smells waft by as food stalls cook up their local delicacies.
Your trip comes to an end this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are free to depart the accommodation at any time.