Breakfasts Included: 15
Lunches Included: 3
Dinners Included: 4
Accommodation: 9 nights hotel, 1 night guesthouse, 3 nights riad, 1 night desert camp, 1 night gite
Transport: Private air conditioned bus, Camel, Public bus, Taxi train
Adventurous Women Tour Escort - Sue Hile, Owner of Adventurous Women.
English speaking Tour Leader
Locally Guided Walks/Orientation Walks - Rabat, Volubilis, Fes, Aroumd, Atlas Mountains & Essaouira
Desert Camel Trek
Visit Berrem Village & Kasbah Myriam
Entry Fees - Volubilis Ruins, Museum El Khorbat Todra, Palais Bahia Marrakech
Arrival and departure Private Airport transfers
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco… your adventure begins today! On arrival at the Airport, you'll be met by an Adventurous Women representative and transferred to our hotel in Casablanca. Settle in and relax until the group meeting at 6pm this evening where you'll meet your Adventurous Women Host, Local Moroccan Guide and fellow travellers.
If you've you arrived early this morning in Casablanca or even a day earlier, perhaps take the opportunity to explore the old medina and city walls, visit Hassan II Mosque or for a bit of fun check out Rick's Cafe, as we leave early the following morning for Rabat.
Today we take an early morning train to the historical city of Rabat. This relaxed city has a long and colourful history, but is often left off the popular tourist circuit, so we're pretty chuffed to be taking you there, as we believe it deserves a little more attention than what it gets!
We spend a few hours here wandering through the city's old quarter, before heading up to Kasbah des Oudaias (otherwise known as the mini blue city) built in the 11th century where you'll lose yourself in the beauty of the colourful streets leading up to the highest point overlooking the Atlantic Ocean… a photographers dream. Afterwards, we'll enjoy lunch at a local cafe in Rabat before boarding the train once again for our onward journey to the imperial city of Meknes.
This morning we have free time to explore Meknes and learn how Sultan Moulay Ismail turned it from a provincial town to a spectacular imperial city back in the 17th century. We take a walk through the bustling medina to a friendly local restaurant to try the 'Meknes Special' and afterwards we board our private mini bus and travel through rolling hills and olive groves to the archaeological site of Volubilis. World Heritage-listed Volubilis was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire and the remains make an undeniably impressive sight. We journey back thousands of years and explore the ancient Roman ruins sprawled over a wildflower-dotted hillside. A triumphal arch presides over the remains of palaces, mansions, roman baths and basilicas, all with stunning mosaics.
Once we've explored this area, we journey on to Fes where we spend the next two nights. Fes is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco - vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses – with a huge, well-preserved medieval old city that's the mother of all medinas. We settle into our hotel, freshen up and join together on the rooftop terrace to watch the sunset over the Medina while a dozen pray calls vie for attention. It's an experience you're likely to remember for a long time.
Today we're in for a real treat as we explore what lies within the ancient walled Fes medina. An ultimate feast for the senses - the winding labyrinth of bustling souks branching out from the main square, streets bursting with aromatic food stands, exotic lamps, spices, leather goods, perfumes, donkeys carrying goods through the warren of small alleys and tiny doorways revealing workshops of potters and other artisans tirelessly toiling away.
Taking the time to rest and soak in our experience, we break for a lazy long lunch in the medina. After lunch you can explore some more at your own leisure if you wish, or return the sanctuary of the hotel and cool off with a swim in the rooftop pool.
This morning, we leave the intensity of the city behind and head off to the simplicity of the scenic Middle Atlas Mountains. We drive through a variety of spectacular scenery, stopping along the way at Ifrane, a town built by the French in the 1930's with it's alpine-style architecture, nearby ski slopes and forests.
As we continue on our journey, we pass through cedar forests which are home to Barbary apes, North Africa's only monkey Then it's on to our destination of Midelt. 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 our arrival, we check in to our accommodation and freshen up before heading out to explore the nearby village of Bremmen where we discover the everyday life of the Berber people living off the land. We're often invited into a family's home to share a cup of mint tea and learn more about the Berber way of life… this is a truly humbling experience.
After breakfast we head out to the mighty Sahara Desert. Since we'll have the convenience of our own private minivan, there will be many opportunities to stop and admire the views of Kasbahs and palmeries along the way. Driving through the dramatic Ziz Valley, pausing in frontier towns like Erfoud and Rissani we enjoy views of the changing landscapes and scenery, from barren mountain sides through to fertile valleys, before reaching the tiny settlement of Merzouga in the Sahara Desert.
Here we enjoy a welcoming mint tea and have some time to freshen up before heading off into the golden dunes of Erg Chebbi to enjoy a sunset camel ride, before returning to our traditional desert camp for the evening, which is nestled alongside the dunes. We'll be served up a traditional feast for dinner and as the stars dance across the night sky, we relax into the evening listening to the sounds of local musicians playing their traditional "gnawa" music nearby.
This morning we have the opportunity to rise early and enjoy a Saharan Sunrise, or simply sleep in until breakfast time. After breakfast we leave the desert behind and begin our journey to Todra Gorge, along an ancient caravan trading route, a rugged road consisting of a thousand Kasbahs rising up like turreted sand castles following the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Enroute we will visit the oasis museum of El Khorbat before reaching Todra where we'll stay in a Kasbah surrounded by remarkable scenery, sprawling green valleys and rocks sculpted into stunning formations by the wind, creating a stunning backdrop!
We enjoy free time today to explore the Todra Valley. There are a couple of 'optional' guided hikes available for you to choose from if you wish.
If you're up for a challenge and reasonably fit, we recommend the 10 kilometre circuit trail that takes approximately 4 - 5 hours, leading up the valley and right to the top of the Todra Gorge along a series of rocky walking paths. (Boots or hiking shoes with good grip are required). You will walk across the high plateau of the mountain pass having the chance to explore a set of small caves occupied by Berber nomads. There are also tents set up around the area where the nomads live and if you're lucky, you'll have the opportunity to sit with them, listen to their stories and share a cup of mint tea. This sort of local interaction is an unforgettable experience.
The shorter walk is approximately 4 kilometres and follows a trail that undulates slightly here and there but isn't too challenging, ending up in Todra Gorge. It's a pleasant and informative walk through farmland and Berber villages with surrounding mountains and the famous Rose Valley in the distance make a sensational setting. This walk is guided by a knowledgeable and proud Berber man who is passionate about sharing the Berber way of life. (Runners or closed in shoes/sneakers with decent grip are fine for this walk)
If it's a little down time you're looking for, why not spend the morning lounging by the hotel pool taking in the magnificent views over the lush palmeries and soaring cliff faces, perhaps sit on the terrace and read a book, catch up on laundry or simply wander around taking photos. If you choose to remain at the Kasbah, our driver can pick you up around noon and take you to nearby Todra Gorge, so you can take a stroll through the gorge at your leisure, meeting with the rest of the group after their hike finishes and enjoy lunch together as a group.
After breakfast we begin our scenic drive to Ait Benhaddou, stopping at Ouarzazate along the way to enjoy lunch and if time permits, a visit to the Atlas Movie Studios. Ouarzazate is known as Morocco's "Hollywood" with it's several film studios, where the likes of Gladiator and the Mummy, amongst other greats, were filmed.
We then continue our journey onto Ait Benhaddou, where 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, why not enjoy a cooking demonstration to learn the secrets behind Morocco's most famous cuisine: couscous and tagine.
Today our journey continues over the spectacular Tizi n'Tichka Pass (2,260 metres above sea level) to Toubkal National Park, photographing snow-dappled mountains and valleys in full flower along the way. At the end of the road in Imlil, we store our main luggage at a storage facility, pack our daypacks with gear required for a one evening stay-over, then load it onto a pack mule to transport up to the small Berber village of Aroumd, perched in a valley of the High Atlas Mountains. We then take a one hour trek up to this peaceful village where we meet our host Berber family. If you don't feel comfortable with the walk, you can ride a mule instead, or we can arrange a driver to take you up to the guest house at additional cost.
Tonight is a magical cultural experience as we stay with a Berber family in their home, up in the mountains. This is guaranteed to be one of the many highlights of the tour, as we get to see how a Berber family survive up in the mountains using age-old traditions. Conditions are rustic and facilities are shared (both the bathroom and sleeping arrangements) but cosy and comfortable, making this a truly unique experience.
This morning there is an option to take a half-day guided hike in the Atlas Mountains for those looking to stretch their legs. The walk is approximately 12km (4 hours) on small trails winding up and down valleys finishing at a little outpost for a mint tea, before walking back down the same way. Boots or good walking shoes with grip are required and the walk is weather dependent.
For those not participating in the walk you can enjoy a sleep in, a walk around the village itself or simply relax on the terrace taking in the stunning views of the Atlas Mountains.
We enjoy the hospitality of our Berber hosts once again, as they serve up a delicious lunch before we head west towards the Atlantic Coast and the old fishing town of Essaouira. Sandstone walkways with contrasting white washed houses, bright blue sky and the sand of the surrounding beaches and dunes, make this one of North Africa's most attractive places to while away time. Here we stay in a restored riad, a traditional nobleman's house unique to Morocco that's a calming oasis set right in the heart of the medina. Our riad is beautifully designed and decorated in traditional Moroccan style, cosy yet historical. This is likely to be one of the most memorable stays of your journey.
Today, we meet a local guide from Essaouira who will take us on a walking tour through the old medina, Jewish mellah, port and skala (sea wall). When we've finished our walking tour, we enjoy a freshly cooked plate of the day's catch for lunch which is included in the cost of the tour if you're wanting this option.
The rest of the day is yours to explore, as you'll quickly become acquainted with this pretty seaside town! There are plenty of little cafes surrounding the main square where you can sit and watch the world go by, perhaps take a stroll along the beachside promenade, trawl the narrow streets in search of a bargain, visit one of the art galleries or maybe take the opportunity to indulge in a Hammam or local style bath.
No doubt the relaxed vibe of Essaouira has well and truly captured your heart, so today it's all yours to enjoy at leisure. We're there to make recommendations as to where you can go for a Berber Massage, Henna Tattoo or Hammam, or show you where some of our favourite cafes are, but essentially today is all about doing what you want to do for yourself and this is most certainly the place to do it!
The Moroccan 'red city' of Marrakech awaits us today! We leave Essaouira for Marrakech travelling on a shared bus, amongst the Moroccan local people - great opportunity to chat with them along the way. After arriving in Marrakech, your Adventurous Women host will be taking you to eat out at her favourite restaurant, run by a non-profit organisation dedicated to the empowerment of disadvantaged women, by providing them with training in restaurant/culinary skills, also assisting them in job placement.. fabulous food, fabulous organisation! After lunch, we check in to our hotel, freshen up and get ready to stretch our legs a little! We visit Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture.
Later we head into 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 and a feast for the senses. Henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies, including snail soup! This evening we'll be eating out together at one of the many outdoor restaurants lining the square.
Today if you're not staying in Marrakech for an extra day, explore the Medina for some last-minute shopping, where every step brings a new smell, a new sight or a new gift to buy. In the seemingly endless mosaic of souqs, each is devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. Watch skilled artisans perfect their craft, practice your haggling skills or take a break from the hustle to sip on tea or share a tagine, filled with the pure scent of Morocco. Perhaps visit the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its 12th-century minaret, which was the famous prototype for the Giralda tower in Seville. Take a wander through the nearby tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). This evening it's likely that we'll be drawn back to the Djemaa el Fna and its surrounding medina to enjoy our last meal together, as our adventure comes to an end.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. However you may choose to stay an extra day to explore more of Marrakech, or fit in a bit of last minute retail therapy before heading home.