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Moroccan Mayhem

Tours
Moroccan Mayhem
DATES

07 May 2018 - 18 May 2018
CLOSED


RATES

Hover over rates for other currencies.



*Hosted by JEMMA WILSON, Founder of Mai Journeys

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*A 'Willing to Share' is possible on this tour. Please enquire.
*If you have booked a 'Willing to Share' option, it is subject to the availability of another person seeking to share under the same conditions.  If this does not occur the single supplement will applied.
*International Airfares are not included. PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
*Insurance is mandatory for this tour. PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE


Moroccan Mayhem Moroccan Mayhem Moroccan Mayhem Moroccan Mayhem Moroccan Mayhem
Moroccan Mayhem

MOROCCAN MAYHEM

 

On this incredible journey in Morocco, we travel from the Atlantic Coast, through ancient Imperial cities and desert landscapes against the backdrop of the spectacular Atlas Mountains. We will immerse ourselves into the country’s exotic spirit; visit artisanal carpet makers, nomadic traders and female designers, sip mint tea and watch the going’s on in Djemaa el Fna, shop Marrakech’s labyrinth of souks with the experts and bask in medieval Fes, the spiritual capital of Morocco.

Arriving in Casablanca, we travel directly to the fabulous city of Marrakech where the pink-walled Medina, the 'old city', boasts a multitude of emporia that will keep shopaholics busy for days. Even non-shoppers will be amazed by the colour, diversity and vibrancy surrounding the souks. We then travel via the Tizi’n’Tichka pass to cross the High Atlas Mountains, before continuing through the rose-scented Dades Valley. We then reach Merzouga, where we will feel the sands of the mighty Sahara between our toes and witness the beauty of the desert landscape. Crossing the Middle Atlas Mountains we travel towards the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Fes, where we will be transported back to medieval times as we stroll through the labyrinthine alleyways of the 1200 year old Medina and explore this eclectic city and its surrounds.

On this tour we enjoy a combination of fabulous Riads, hotels & luxury camps. We will get lost in the alleyways of Fes, immerse ourselves in the centuries-old souks and artisan markets of Marrakech, tread ancient Berber paths in the High Atlas and discover the language, arts and cuisine of the Tuareg, Berber & Arab people. 

Join me, and a team of exceptionally knowledgeable guides, for an amazing opportunity to immerse yourself in Al Maghrib, the ancient Arabic name for Morocco, meaning "far west where the sun sets."

Tour Overview
Duration
11 Nights - CLOSED
Start Point
Marrakech
Finish Point
Casablanca
Tour Style
Escorted Tour
Accommodation
Boutique Hotels, Riads & Luxury Desert Camp
Meals
As per itinerary
Transport
Private air-con vehicles.
Max Group Size
Min 6 Guests, Max 10 Guests
Tour Inclusions
  • Arrival & departure transfers on specified dates (if on scheduled flights)
  • x4 nights in gorgeous Riad Les Bleux in Marrakech on a B&B basis
  • x2 nights at Ksar El Kabbaba in Skoura on a B&B basis
  • x1 night in a luxury Bedouin tent in Merzouga - Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp - on a half board basis
  • x3 nights in fabulous Riad Bartal in Fes on a B&B basis
  • x1 night at stunning Le Dodge & Spa in Casablanca on a B&B basis
  • Other meals where stated
  • Walking Tour of Marrakech 
  • Visit a Berber market to encounter traditional village life
  • Lunch at Richard Branson’s renowned Kasbah Tamadot + lunch
  • Moroccan Cooking Class
  • Private Guides for tours of the Medinas & Souks
  • A Kasbah stay in Skoura
  • Ait Ben Haddou 
  • 4x4 excursion to Merzouga & overnight Desert stay
  • Escorted Medina tour in Fes
  • Excursion to Meknes, Volubilis & Moulya Idris 
  • Transport on tour in a private air-conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees at all mentioned Monuments 
  • Local English Speaking Guide(s)
  • Hosted by Jemma Wilson - Mai Journeys Founder
  • Bottled Water whilst Touring 
Tour Highlights
  • Revel in fascinating culture & cuisine
  • Rejuvenate with a hammam (traditional bath) experience.
  • Wandering through the courtyards of the souks where woodcarvers, blacksmiths, jewelers, and leather workers entice you with their wares.
  • The stunning Majorelle Garden, once owned by Yves Saint-Laurent
  • The Djemaa El Fna square in Marrakech -street performers, exotic smells of spices and incense, sounds of snake charmers and belly-dancers, and an exhilarating and vibrant atmosphere
  • Visiting the valleys at the foot of Mount Toubkal & wandering through Berber markets
  • Lunch at Richard Branson's Kasbah Tamadot
  • Spend an evening in a luxury Bedouin tent in the Sahara Desert, sleeping under a million stars 
  • Prepare succulent dishes like pastilla and tagine in a traditional cooking class with recipes created by dadas (traditional woman cooks) over the centuries
  • Exploring the souqs (markets) of Fès
  • Fès: a medieval city with a labyrinth of intriguing alleyways, palaces, mosques and medersas
  • Watching everyday Moroccan life & drinking mint tea
  • Todra Gorge, the palmeries, the Kasbahs
  • The Dades Valley, famous for its roses and perfume essences 
  • Volubilis - amazing vestiges of the Roman settlement dating from the 3rdcentury B.C
  • Moulay Idriss
  • Hassan II Mosque, second only in size to the one Mecca - in Casablanca
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Tour Itinerary

Open all
Day 1 - Arrive Casablanca. To Marrakech. 07 May 2018
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Upon arrival into Casablanca, clear Customs and Immigration, collect your checked baggage, and proceed directly to the Arrivals Hall, where you will be met our representative and transferred by road to Marrakech. (approx 3 hours)

Upon arrival in Marrakech, we check into our Riad Les Yeux Bleus, where we will stay for the next four nights. 

Riad les Bleus is located in the Bab Doukkala district, one of the most popular and picturesque quarters of the medina, and just ten minutes by foot from the Jemaa el Fna square in the heart of Marrakech. Settle into your room and freshen up from your long journey. You may have time to fit in a full spa including massage and hammam!

You are then invited to enjoy a rooftop drink at sunset, followed by a delicious traditional Moroccan meal prepared in the kitchen of this charming Riad. 

Overnight Riad Les Bleux or similar. (D)

Day 2 - Marrakech - 08 May 2018
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After breakfast at our Riad, we set off on a full day walking tour of Marrakech, a city of honeycombed alleys and minarets, where time seems to have stood still. 

Sitting in the shadows of the mighty snow-clad peaks of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is not only one of Morocco’s most aesthetic cities, but also one of its most lively and exciting. The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech. The minaret was completed under the reign of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199) and was used as model for Giralda of Seville then for the Hassan Tower of Rabat. The name is derived from the Arabic al-Koutoubiyyin meaning “librarian” as it was once surrounded by manuscript sellers. The kasbah quarter is where you find the 12th Century gateway the Bab Agnaou and the famous necropolis of the Saadian kings, the Saadian Tombs. From here we head to the mellah, the Jewish quarter, to visit the impressive ruins of the 16th Century Badii Palace before heading to the 19th Century Bahia Palace, which is a wonderful example of Moroccan architecture. 

Lunch (own account) will be taken in a cafe by the souk.

Our day will end at the Djemma El Fna square as it comes alive at sunset. There are a number of restaurants close to the square, where you may choose dine on traditional Moroccan cuisine, or you may wish to sample delicious local street food from one of the stalls in the square. This evening will be at lesiure, so you are welcome to continue exploring or return to the Riad. Dinner will by your own arrangements this evening. 

Overnight Riad Les Bleux or similar. (B)

Day 3 - Marrakech - 09 May 2018
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After breakfast at the hotel, we visit the world famous Marjorelle Garden. This colourful garden surrounds the equally colourful villa that was once the private home of painter Jacques Majorelle. Full of cacti, bamboos and other rare and exotic plants, the gardens were lovingly restored by world famous fashion designer Yves St Laurent, whose dying wish was that his ashes be scattered adjacent to the villa, where he passed so much of his leisure time. 

This afternoon, we will be introduced to the alchemy of spice and its role in the creation of authentic Moroccan flavours, with a traditional cooking class to ‘wow’ the tastebuds. 

We are then delivered back to our hotel. This evening is at leisure.

Overnight Riad Les Bleux or similar. (B / L)

Day 4 - Marrakech - 10 May 2018
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Today, we head out of the city and meander through the valleys at the foot of Mount Toubkal, Morocco’s highest mountain, which rises 4,165m above sea level and remains snow‐capped for most of the year.

We delve deep into a traditional Berber market to encounter traditional village life, with women transporting bundles of sticks and djellaba‐clad men driving donkey‐powered carts as they negotiate the narrow alleyways. 

Continue to Richard Branson’s renowned Kasbah Tamadot, nestled in a secluded corner of the Atlas Mountains on the edge of the village of Asni, where we will be treated to a long, decadent lunch. 

After lunch, we return to Marrakech where those who have not yet sated their appetite may wish to venture into the souk, or simply relax in the riad. This evening is at leisure.

Overnight Riad Les Bleux or similar. (B / L)

Day 5 - Marrakech to Skoura via the Tizi N’ Tichka Pass - 11 May 2018
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After breakfast in the hotel, we have an early morning departure across the fertile terrain of the Haouz Plain.

We then begin to clim and travel over the mountains via the Tizi N’Tichka Pass ‐ the highest major mountain pass in North Africa, where we reach an altitude of 2,260m above sea level.

We descend to the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains and en-route to Skoura we will treated to the scenic views of mountains and semi‐desert terrain, topped by Kasbahs and adobe homes.

In stark contrast to the dry barrenness of the Sahara Desert, the oasis town of Skoura offers a fertile counter‐balance in the Dades Valley. In the era of camel trains and ancient trade routes, Tuareg desert traders would travel across the sands for up to 2 months; arriving in Skoura with with spices & precious metals from afar. They would be met by local traders who would transport the cargo to Fes and beyond. While modern commerce plies different routes these days, Skoura is still home to bustling weekday markets brimming with local produce and shaded by the avenues of date palms that line its well‐trodden byways. 

In the late afternoon we will arrive in Skoura and settle into our rooms at the Ksar El Kabbaba Riad where we will stay for the next 2 nights. Ksar El Kabbaba is a modern interpretation of the traditional Kasbahs for which Skoura is well known. Situated in a four hundred year old olive grove, the edifice was built using materials salvaged from a nearby ruined Kasbah, employing me‐honoured mud brick techniques handed down through genera ons of craftsmen. The contemporary Kasbah pays homage to the historical & cultural heritage of the region, while offering you all the creature comforts expected. 

This evening is at leisure to enjoy the Kasbah.

Overnight Ksar El Kabbaba. (B)

Day 6 - Skoura - 12 May 2018
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Today we visit impressive Kasbahs from the 17th Century, including Ait Ben Haddou, a masterful ighrem ‐ a fortified village ‐ resembling a medieval castle. Descendants of the original inhabitants of Ait Ben Haddou, thought to have founded the Ksar around the 8th Century AD, con nue to reside within the walls of the city. Situated along an ancient caravan route between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech, Ait bin Haddou has become such a favourite of filmmakers that the local popula on are regularly called upon to serve as ‘extras’ on set. 

Time permiting, our exploration will continue onto Ouarzazate, home to Morocco’s largest film studio, where films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator and the epic television fantasy series Game of Thrones have been produced. 

This afternoon is at leisure.

Overnight Ksar El Kabbaba. (B)

Day 7 - Merzouga - 13 May 2018
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An early morning departure from Skoura, we travel via the Dades Valley and desert oases to Merzouga, perched on the edge of the mighy Sahara Desert.

Described by many as one of the most picturesque locations in all of Morocco, the Dades Gorges are a primary source of highly prized Moroccan rose oil and rosewater, used for centuries in perfumes, soaps, potpourri and as flavourings for many culinary delights. Throughout April and May, a dense covering of pink damascene roses carpets the valley floor and the heady scent of rose petals permeates the dry mountain air, creating a magical floral ambiance for the visitor. 

After lunch en‐route, we continue our journey and arrive at Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp. 

This enchanting tented encampment is set amidst the golden dunes of the desert. The tents are beautifully appointed with private en‐suite bath, Moroccan textiles, cosy furnishings, a sumptuous bed, all bathed in the warm glow of stylish Moroccan brass lamps. Guests can also enjoy fine Moroccan fare served under an enormous canopy of twinkling desert stars, with the accompaniment of traditional Berber music and tales around the campfire. 

The dunes at Erg Chebbi are renowned for their great height and size. This vast expanse of sand, which stretches east into the Algerian Sahara has dunes that reach over 150 metres in height. Sunset in the desert must not be missed. Enjoy a 4x4 excursion into the dunes for drinks and to watch the sunset over the undulating landscape before returning to camp for dinner and overnight. This is an exceptional place in which to view the night sky. With no air pollution, no lights and nothing close by reflecting its light back into the night sky, the viewing is spectacular and the chance for some highly creative photography is superb. 

Overnight Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp (B / D)

Day 8 - To Fes - 14 May 2018
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Today we will travel by car from Merzouga to Fes (Big day - 7 hours).

En route, we will stop in Midelt, a town located in the high plains between the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountain ranges. Lunch will be in Midelt (to your own account).

Upon arrival in Fes, we will check into Riad Bartal, our accommodation for the next 3 nights. Riad al Bartal was one of the first boutique roads in Fes. It’s a traditional riad which for all the tranquillity it affords is still only one block from the main entrance to the Medina. In the interior courtyard you get cool classic Moroccan lines with white marble flooring, and what appear to be the hanging gardens of Babylon falling from the terraces. It's a real contrast from the dusty backstreet outside; the space is alive with colour, and intricate mosaics and ornately carved columns lead up past cedar wood balconies to the open sky. Guests are encouraged to chat together over meals or while lounging on the roof terrace. In the morning, listen for the riad’s namesake - the tiny birds which flit about the courtyard - while you enjoy Bartal’s wonderful breakfast alongside other guests.

Dinner this evening will be at Riad Bartal. 

Overnight Riad Bartal (B / D)

Day 9 - Fes - 15 May 2018
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Today we will start exploring Fes with a visit to the Merenid Tombs, on the outskirts if the Medina’s walls, for an unbeatable view of the old town. The sepulchres are thought to contain royal members or other significant ocials, and date back to the Marinid Dynasty (the dynasty that ruled Morocco from the 13th to the 15th century).

After the Merenid Tombs, we will continue on to a ceramic co‐operative in the city. 

We will then explore a labyrinth of paths and alleyways of the souk ‐ transporting you to a time‐gone‐by, finding old mosques amongst stores and markets filled with shoppers, donkeys and people going about their daily routines. We will pass by spice merchants, the renowned Fes leather tannery, perfume markets and carpet emporiums.

We return to the Riad where our evening is at leisure.

Overnight Riad Bartal (B)

Day 10 - Fes - 16 May 2018
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We will continue exploring Fes today with a visit to marvel the grand Dar el‐ Makhzen, Fes’ 16th century royal palace, known for its imposing brass doors.

After the palace, we will then head to the walled enclave of the Fes Medina (Fes el‐Bali). The impressive labyrinth of souks have been declared by UNESCO to be one of the world’s cultural treasures. It is thought to be the world’s largest car‐free urban zone with a maze of 9, 400 winding alleyways.

The afternoon will be at leisure to get lost in the souk, relax back at the riad or indulge in a hammam.

Overnight Riad Bartal (B)

Day 11 - To Casablanca via Meknes, Moulay Idriss & Volubilis - 17 May 2018
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After breakfast, we will have a leisurely departure from Fes. 

We travel to Casablanca (approx 3 hours) via the former Imperial City of Meknes, Moulay Idriss and Roman ruins at the World Heritage Site of Volubilis.

Meknes was founded in the 9th century by Zenata Berbers. There is time to wander in this former Imperial City of Morocco to see the old ramparts; the Agoudal Basin, which was used to water the royal gardens and amuse the fa‐ vourite concubines; the Moulay Ismail royal stables, granaries, and the House of Water (Dar el Ma), built in the 17th and 18th centuries to house, feed and water the sultan's twelve thousand horses; Bab el Mansour, one of the most beautiful gates in Morocco; and the Moulay Ismail Mausoleum, one of the very few holy sites in Morocco which may be visited by non‐Muslims.

Our drive continues via the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis with time to see the impressive, well–preserved structures and intricate mosaic floors, dating from 25 BC. We then continue for a late afternoon arrival in Casablanca.

We settle in to our accommodation, Le Doge & Spa, a re‐ stored hotel owing its heritage to being an Art Deco town house originally erected by the French in the 1930s. After freshening up, we will have a farewell dinner this evening.

Overnight Le Dodge & Spa (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 12 - Depart - 18 May 2018
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We will check out from our accommodation and head to Casablanca airport.

En-route to the airport this morning, we will visit the Hassan II Mosque. It is a site of grandeur, as the largest mosque in Morocco and the 13th largest in the world.

We will depart Casablanca and return home or continue on our travels. 

Meals included: Breakfast

About this tour

Women's Dress Code - Dress modestly. You can actually wear pretty much whatever you want in Marrakech and Fes. There’s no dress code and women aren’t required to wear scarves. But if you do dress like you are going to a beach in the French Riviera you will stick out and attract attention. Respect the culture around you by dressing relatively conservatively in long, loose pants or a skirt and cover your shoulders.

The Hammam: A Hammam is a steam room, similar to a Turkish bath, where Moroccans habitually go each week to cleanse themselves. The Hammam is an incredibly important part of Moroccan culture and life. Men, women and children will visit their local Hammam at least once a week, and spend two or three hours there (sometimes even longer.). Men and women bathe separately, but the women are far from shy with each other when it comes to the public Hammam. They will usually go with their friends or family, both to chat and socialise, but also to help each other with the ritual. You cover yourself in black soap, and let it penetrate your pores. Once you wash off all of the black soap, the Hammam ladies arrive to do the hard part of exfoliating your skin. You will be glowing when you are done, and tingling from head to foot for several hours afterwards. Hammam rituals can vary from place to place. A full ritual in a larger Hammam may involve you first sitting in a large pool of fairly hot, incredibly soft water for 5 – 10 minutes before you are covered with mud or clay. Once the clay comes off the black soap goes on and is left to penetrate your skin. That then gets washed off, and the fun really begins with the super vigorous exfoliation. A cold shower often follows to re-close the pores, and you may then receive a full body massage in a warm, comfortable darkened room – absolute bliss!

Riads: A true Riad (ryad/riyad) is an urban house, always situated within the walls of the medina (old city). Moroccan architecture is more inward looking and given to isolation and intimacy rather than showing off. It is, above all, an enclosure, a place of contemplation and escape for its cloistered inhabitants, an engaging interior away from the outside world. A mysterious enchantment awaits the guest who is invited to cross the threshold. The typical home is organised around a central square courtyard. The central courtyard is usually surrounded by an arched colonnade giving access to the living rooms and kitchen. The sleeping areas are generally constructed on the upper floors, thus creating a covered arcade around the patio with balustrades running around each storey. The roof top terrace may have an awning or pergola to protect against the sun where guests will usually have breakfast or dinner. Riads have thick walls thus protecting the inhabitants from the sun or the cold and most of the outside noise. Being urban dwellings, they are often situated along a narrow alleyway (derb) with no access by car. For those seeking an authentic Moroccan style of accommodation, the riad offers its guests a haven of tranquility, an architectural treasure, an insight into tradition, culture and craftsmanship and an opportunity to melt into an anonymous location.

Riad Leux Bleus, Marrakech: Riad Les Yeux Bleus’ blend of contemporary and traditional styles reflects upon the current nature of Marrakech, where vibrant urban life and a varied choice of trendy bars, art galleries, and restaurants coexist in friendly symbiosis with the ancient ways of the city. Located in the Bab Doukkala district, one of the most popular and picturesque quarters of the medina, and just ten minutes on foot from the square of Jemaa el Fna in the heart of Marrakech, Riad Les Yeux Bleus features eight comfortable bedrooms—each one decorated in its own style—distributed around two charming patios; two pools, a library, a full spa including massage and hammam, and a magnificent roof terrace with a bar. Cozy and intimate, the hammam offers a choice of traditional treatments, natural oils and massages in the purest Moroccan tradition. Treat yourself to an experience from which you will emerge feeling younger, more relaxed and energetic; the most sensual and refined expression of Morocco’s art de vivre.

Ksar El Kabbaba, Skoura: Ksar El Kabbaba  is located in the heart of Skoura palm grove, Ksar El Kebbaba rises in the middle of lush greenery and olive trees that have witnessed more than three centuries of life. Indeed, it has a four-hundred-year-old olive tree, almost recognized as a national heritage. Legend has it that a treasure is buried underneath this olive tree, which makes it even more unique. Over the years, many people have tried to seize it, but it has always been protected behind the gates of the Ksar. Combining comfort and modernity, the rooms offer all the luxury you need. Traditional decorations will transport you into the best years of the region of Ouarzazate. The Ksar offers a spacious and elegant garden, acting as a corridor between the various buildings which are dotted with trees such as olive, palm & apple trees ... You can also find Hammocks everywhere, hanging on the trees. During the night, the garden becomes an intimate area thanks to the absolute calmness of the area and the multiple candles hung in the palm trees.

Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp, Erg Chebbi: Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp demands nothing of you, but to relax and gaze at the ever-changing colours of the desert. Situated in the quiet and idyllic sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, this splendid desert camp caters to your every need. Perfect for small groups seeking uncompromising privacy and solitude. Ten spacious luxury tents with a sense of comfort and prestige. The Camp is designed for those who enjoy the peace that utter silence can afford. Located an hour and half drive from Erfoud, enjoy a special night under the stars at a beautiful Oasis in a “Khaima’, a traditional tent made of camel skin typically used by nomadic people.. Experience a camel ride at sunset and sunrise from the top of the dunes. Your desert experience includes an authentic Moroccan dinner under the stars and breakfast in the morning.

Riad al Bartal, Fes: Riad al Bartal was one of the first boutique roads in Fes. It is a magical place which for all the tranquillity it affords is still only one block from the main entrance to the Medina. The outside might not seem like much but inside, a whole new world of characteristic Moroccan lines opens up before your eyes. In the interior courtyard you get cool classic Moroccan lines with white marble flooring, and what appear to be the hanging gardens of Babylon falling from the terraces. It's a real contrast from the dusty backstreet outside; the space is alive with colour, and intricate mosaics and ornately carved columns lead up past cedar wood balconies to the open sky. There are 8 rooms, beaming with polished marble, delicious scents of cedar, red and gold of lacquered woods, all inviting you to rest & relax. If it all gets too much for you then we suggest taking a drink on the terrace - and just look at those views! 

Le Dodge Hotel & Spa, Casablanca: Hotel & Spa Le Doge is housed in a former 30’s mansion, located downtown in a quiet street in the Art Deco district of Casablanca. The lobby sets the glamorous tone of the "Roaring Twenties" with a magnificent spiral staircase, wrought iron railing, and velvet carpets. The lighting is warm, the burgundy velour couch welcoming. The mosaic vases and "La Dormeuse" by Tamara de Lempicka that adorn the wall are just some of the details that take you back in time. The 16 rooms are all unique, decorated with materials from the period while also equipped with all the contemporary comforts: Nespresso machines, flat screen TVs, and Wi-Fi connections are all offered. The restaurant offers superb gastronomic moments, and the library lounge with fireplace welcomes you to the sound of a pianist in a warm and cozy environment.The Doge's Spa opens with a refined oriental hammam, a large Jacuzzi, a sauna and a treatment room. On the roof on the 5th floor, a roof garden, a veritable oasis of greenery and quiet, overlooking the Parc de Casablanca.

Practicalities

Souks & Shopping: Souks and markets are a major feature in Moroccan life, and among the country’s greatest attractions. Each major city and town in Morocco has a special souk quarter. Villages in the countryside also have local souks which are usually held one day each week in an open field or outside the towns kasbah walls. Large cities like Marrakesh and Fès have labyrinths of individual souks (each filling a street or square that is devoted tone particular craft). Marrakesh and Fès are famous for their beautiful souks. Souks and markets are also a daily destination where locals shop for fresh meat, vegetables, household goods and other items. You can truly go on an extensive shopping spree and purchase various local Moroccan handicrafts such as Moroccan leather work, carpets, jewelry of silver, gold and copper along with ancient embroideries and basketwork. Whether or not you are a big shopper, visiting a souk is a cultural experience that should not be missed on a trip to Morocco.

Religion: Islam is the dominant religion in Morocco. The mosque is at the centre of all Muslim worship. You’ll find plenty of these beautiful historic buildings all over Morocco. Mosques are considered very holy places, and generally only Muslims are allowed to enter them. It is considered offensive to take photographs of the locals without seeking their permission, unless you are acquainted with the individual. There are also about 100,000 Christians in Morocco, mostly of French descent, along with a reported 8,000 Jews who mainly live in Casablanca and Marrakech. Catholic churches, Protestant churches, and synagogues are found in all of the major cities.

Language: Classical Arabic is Morocco’s official language, but the country’s distinctive Moroccan Arabic dialect is the most widely spoken language in Morocco. In addition, about 10 million Moroccans, mostly in rural areas, speak Berber, which exists in Morocco in three different dialects (Tarifit, Tashelhit, and Tamazight) – either as a first language or bilingually with the spoken Arabic dialect. French, which remains Morocco’s unofficial language, is taught universally and still serves as Morocco’s primary language of commerce and economics; it also is widely used in education and government.

Food: Moroccan cuisine is diverse, with many influences due to the interaction of Morocco with the outside world for centuries. It has a mix of Berber, Moorish, Mediterranean, and Arab influences. Spices such as cinnamon, pepper, turmeric, coriander, cumin and parsley, are widely used. Chicken or lamb, along with bread, accompanied with cold and hot salads and vegetables are popular, along with fresh couscous and chickpeas. Among the most famous Moroccan dishes are Couscous, Pastilla (also spelled Bsteeya or Bestilla), Tagine, Tanjia and Harira. Although the latter is a soup, it is considered as a dish in itself and is served as such or with dates especially during the month of Ramadan. Bread is eaten with every meal, and used in place of knives and forks. Seasonal fruits are typically served at the end of meals. A common dessert is kaab el ghzal (“gazelle’s horns”), which is a pastry stuffed with almond paste and topped with sugar. Another dessert is ” Halwa shebakia ” it is honey cake, which is essentially pretzel-shaped pieces of dough deep-fried and dipped into a hot pot of honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Halwa Shebakia are cookies eaten during the month of Ramadan. Zucre Coco are coconut fudge cakes.

Tea: The most popular drink is green tea with mint a cup of sweet mint tea is commonly used to end the meal. Moroccan teapots have long, curved pouring spouts and this allows the tea to be poured evenly into tiny glasses from a height. To acquire the optimum taste, glasses are filled in two stages. The Moroccans traditionally like tea with bubbles, so while pouring they hold the teapot high above the glasses. Traditionally, making good mint tea in Morocco is considered an art form and the drinking of it with friends and family members is one of the important rituals of the day. The technique of pouring the tea is as crucial as the quality of the tea. The tea is accompanied with hard sugar cones or lumps.

Weather: September, October and November are great times overall time to visit Moroccco. With a summer climate in the south and in the mountains, as well as on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. Winter can be perfect by day in the south, though desert nights can get very cold. Morocco's ranges of climates greatly fluctuate due to the country’s geographic location between Europe, Asia, and Africa. It's unique weather patterns make it possible to find an ideal area to visit year round.

Tipping & Bargaining: Bargain ruthlessly when buying handcrafts, rugs or big ticket items and modestly when hailing private taxis. In most other aspects of life prices are fixed. Tipping is generally not expected, but locals will generally round up the bill in taxis and add around 10% in classy restaurants. 

Photography: Ask permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. Minority groups in particular are often unhappy to have their photo taken. In small villages, at home-stays or trekking, the use of videos may not be permitted as requested by the local people, and we ask for courtesy and discretion with still cameras. Ask permission before taking pictures either of people or inside mosques or other sacred places. Never use flash inside mosques; it can damage them. You are not allowed to use flash in some buildings, but where there is no ban, please behave responsibly. Never take a photo of an elder without asking permission. Never take photos of airports, roadblocks or anything to do with the military.

The facts

Visas: A full and current passport is required to enter Morocco. Australian & New Zealand passport holders do NOT currently require a visa for entry into Morocco. Tourists are permited to stay for a maximum of 30 days. If you do not travel on an Australian or New Zealand passport please be sure to let us know and we will advise if there are any visa requirements. 

Currency: The currency used in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham, often abbreviated as Dhs or MAD. Foreign currency may be exchanged at the Bureau de Change at the airport on arrival, at a bank or a small amount at your hotel. There are many ATM machines both at the airports and in larger towns for cash withdrawal. A rule of thumb is not to exchange too much money at one time, so as not to be left with too much currency when leaving the country. Most hotels and reputable shops will accept major credit cards – VISA, Master Card and American Express. Even in the markets when buying such things as carpets, leather or any other major item, certain cards may be accepted. Maestro and other debits cards are becoming more widely accepted, but there are still some shops and restaurants that you will not be able to use them. Please note that it is now difficult or impossible to change Travellers Cheques in Morocco.

Voltage + Plugs: The electricity supply is 220v. Plugs are European style with two circular pins so adapters are required for British and US appliances.

Not Included:

  • International Airfares - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
  • Transfers unless as per itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls & Laundry in hotels
  • Visa costs
  • Tips at meals and bars 
  • Room or Flight Upgrades
  • Meals & drinks not mentioned in the itinerary 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered
  • Travel Insurance - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. You should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.

DATES

07 May 2018 - 18 May 2018
CLOSED


RATES

Hover over rates for other currencies.



*Hosted by JEMMA WILSON, Founder of Mai Journeys

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*A 'Willing to Share' is possible on this tour. Please enquire.
*If you have booked a 'Willing to Share' option, it is subject to the availability of another person seeking to share under the same conditions.  If this does not occur the single supplement will applied.
*International Airfares are not included. PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
*Insurance is mandatory for this tour. PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE


Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Casablanca. To Marrakech. 07 May 2018

Upon arrival into Casablanca, clear Customs and Immigration, collect your checked baggage, and proceed directly to the Arrivals Hall, where you will be met our representative and transferred by road to Marrakech. (approx 3 hours)

Upon arrival in Marrakech, we check into our Riad Les Yeux Bleus, where we will stay for the next four nights. 

Riad les Bleus is located in the Bab Doukkala district, one of the most popular and picturesque quarters of the medina, and just ten minutes by foot from the Jemaa el Fna square in the heart of Marrakech. Settle into your room and freshen up from your long journey. You may have time to fit in a full spa including massage and hammam!

You are then invited to enjoy a rooftop drink at sunset, followed by a delicious traditional Moroccan meal prepared in the kitchen of this charming Riad. 

Overnight Riad Les Bleux or similar. (D)

Day 2 - Marrakech - 08 May 2018

After breakfast at our Riad, we set off on a full day walking tour of Marrakech, a city of honeycombed alleys and minarets, where time seems to have stood still. 

Sitting in the shadows of the mighty snow-clad peaks of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is not only one of Morocco’s most aesthetic cities, but also one of its most lively and exciting. The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech. The minaret was completed under the reign of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199) and was used as model for Giralda of Seville then for the Hassan Tower of Rabat. The name is derived from the Arabic al-Koutoubiyyin meaning “librarian” as it was once surrounded by manuscript sellers. The kasbah quarter is where you find the 12th Century gateway the Bab Agnaou and the famous necropolis of the Saadian kings, the Saadian Tombs. From here we head to the mellah, the Jewish quarter, to visit the impressive ruins of the 16th Century Badii Palace before heading to the 19th Century Bahia Palace, which is a wonderful example of Moroccan architecture. 

Lunch (own account) will be taken in a cafe by the souk.

Our day will end at the Djemma El Fna square as it comes alive at sunset. There are a number of restaurants close to the square, where you may choose dine on traditional Moroccan cuisine, or you may wish to sample delicious local street food from one of the stalls in the square. This evening will be at lesiure, so you are welcome to continue exploring or return to the Riad. Dinner will by your own arrangements this evening. 

Overnight Riad Les Bleux or similar. (B)

Day 3 - Marrakech - 09 May 2018

After breakfast at the hotel, we visit the world famous Marjorelle Garden. This colourful garden surrounds the equally colourful villa that was once the private home of painter Jacques Majorelle. Full of cacti, bamboos and other rare and exotic plants, the gardens were lovingly restored by world famous fashion designer Yves St Laurent, whose dying wish was that his ashes be scattered adjacent to the villa, where he passed so much of his leisure time. 

This afternoon, we will be introduced to the alchemy of spice and its role in the creation of authentic Moroccan flavours, with a traditional cooking class to ‘wow’ the tastebuds. 

We are then delivered back to our hotel. This evening is at leisure.

Overnight Riad Les Bleux or similar. (B / L)

Day 4 - Marrakech - 10 May 2018

Today, we head out of the city and meander through the valleys at the foot of Mount Toubkal, Morocco’s highest mountain, which rises 4,165m above sea level and remains snow‐capped for most of the year.

We delve deep into a traditional Berber market to encounter traditional village life, with women transporting bundles of sticks and djellaba‐clad men driving donkey‐powered carts as they negotiate the narrow alleyways. 

Continue to Richard Branson’s renowned Kasbah Tamadot, nestled in a secluded corner of the Atlas Mountains on the edge of the village of Asni, where we will be treated to a long, decadent lunch. 

After lunch, we return to Marrakech where those who have not yet sated their appetite may wish to venture into the souk, or simply relax in the riad. This evening is at leisure.

Overnight Riad Les Bleux or similar. (B / L)

Day 5 - Marrakech to Skoura via the Tizi N’ Tichka Pass - 11 May 2018

After breakfast in the hotel, we have an early morning departure across the fertile terrain of the Haouz Plain.

We then begin to clim and travel over the mountains via the Tizi N’Tichka Pass ‐ the highest major mountain pass in North Africa, where we reach an altitude of 2,260m above sea level.

We descend to the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains and en-route to Skoura we will treated to the scenic views of mountains and semi‐desert terrain, topped by Kasbahs and adobe homes.

In stark contrast to the dry barrenness of the Sahara Desert, the oasis town of Skoura offers a fertile counter‐balance in the Dades Valley. In the era of camel trains and ancient trade routes, Tuareg desert traders would travel across the sands for up to 2 months; arriving in Skoura with with spices & precious metals from afar. They would be met by local traders who would transport the cargo to Fes and beyond. While modern commerce plies different routes these days, Skoura is still home to bustling weekday markets brimming with local produce and shaded by the avenues of date palms that line its well‐trodden byways. 

In the late afternoon we will arrive in Skoura and settle into our rooms at the Ksar El Kabbaba Riad where we will stay for the next 2 nights. Ksar El Kabbaba is a modern interpretation of the traditional Kasbahs for which Skoura is well known. Situated in a four hundred year old olive grove, the edifice was built using materials salvaged from a nearby ruined Kasbah, employing me‐honoured mud brick techniques handed down through genera ons of craftsmen. The contemporary Kasbah pays homage to the historical & cultural heritage of the region, while offering you all the creature comforts expected. 

This evening is at leisure to enjoy the Kasbah.

Overnight Ksar El Kabbaba. (B)

Day 6 - Skoura - 12 May 2018

Today we visit impressive Kasbahs from the 17th Century, including Ait Ben Haddou, a masterful ighrem ‐ a fortified village ‐ resembling a medieval castle. Descendants of the original inhabitants of Ait Ben Haddou, thought to have founded the Ksar around the 8th Century AD, con nue to reside within the walls of the city. Situated along an ancient caravan route between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech, Ait bin Haddou has become such a favourite of filmmakers that the local popula on are regularly called upon to serve as ‘extras’ on set. 

Time permiting, our exploration will continue onto Ouarzazate, home to Morocco’s largest film studio, where films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator and the epic television fantasy series Game of Thrones have been produced. 

This afternoon is at leisure.

Overnight Ksar El Kabbaba. (B)

Day 7 - Merzouga - 13 May 2018

An early morning departure from Skoura, we travel via the Dades Valley and desert oases to Merzouga, perched on the edge of the mighy Sahara Desert.

Described by many as one of the most picturesque locations in all of Morocco, the Dades Gorges are a primary source of highly prized Moroccan rose oil and rosewater, used for centuries in perfumes, soaps, potpourri and as flavourings for many culinary delights. Throughout April and May, a dense covering of pink damascene roses carpets the valley floor and the heady scent of rose petals permeates the dry mountain air, creating a magical floral ambiance for the visitor. 

After lunch en‐route, we continue our journey and arrive at Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp. 

This enchanting tented encampment is set amidst the golden dunes of the desert. The tents are beautifully appointed with private en‐suite bath, Moroccan textiles, cosy furnishings, a sumptuous bed, all bathed in the warm glow of stylish Moroccan brass lamps. Guests can also enjoy fine Moroccan fare served under an enormous canopy of twinkling desert stars, with the accompaniment of traditional Berber music and tales around the campfire. 

The dunes at Erg Chebbi are renowned for their great height and size. This vast expanse of sand, which stretches east into the Algerian Sahara has dunes that reach over 150 metres in height. Sunset in the desert must not be missed. Enjoy a 4x4 excursion into the dunes for drinks and to watch the sunset over the undulating landscape before returning to camp for dinner and overnight. This is an exceptional place in which to view the night sky. With no air pollution, no lights and nothing close by reflecting its light back into the night sky, the viewing is spectacular and the chance for some highly creative photography is superb. 

Overnight Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp (B / D)

Day 8 - To Fes - 14 May 2018

Today we will travel by car from Merzouga to Fes (Big day - 7 hours).

En route, we will stop in Midelt, a town located in the high plains between the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountain ranges. Lunch will be in Midelt (to your own account).

Upon arrival in Fes, we will check into Riad Bartal, our accommodation for the next 3 nights. Riad al Bartal was one of the first boutique roads in Fes. It’s a traditional riad which for all the tranquillity it affords is still only one block from the main entrance to the Medina. In the interior courtyard you get cool classic Moroccan lines with white marble flooring, and what appear to be the hanging gardens of Babylon falling from the terraces. It's a real contrast from the dusty backstreet outside; the space is alive with colour, and intricate mosaics and ornately carved columns lead up past cedar wood balconies to the open sky. Guests are encouraged to chat together over meals or while lounging on the roof terrace. In the morning, listen for the riad’s namesake - the tiny birds which flit about the courtyard - while you enjoy Bartal’s wonderful breakfast alongside other guests.

Dinner this evening will be at Riad Bartal. 

Overnight Riad Bartal (B / D)

Day 9 - Fes - 15 May 2018

Today we will start exploring Fes with a visit to the Merenid Tombs, on the outskirts if the Medina’s walls, for an unbeatable view of the old town. The sepulchres are thought to contain royal members or other significant ocials, and date back to the Marinid Dynasty (the dynasty that ruled Morocco from the 13th to the 15th century).

After the Merenid Tombs, we will continue on to a ceramic co‐operative in the city. 

We will then explore a labyrinth of paths and alleyways of the souk ‐ transporting you to a time‐gone‐by, finding old mosques amongst stores and markets filled with shoppers, donkeys and people going about their daily routines. We will pass by spice merchants, the renowned Fes leather tannery, perfume markets and carpet emporiums.

We return to the Riad where our evening is at leisure.

Overnight Riad Bartal (B)

Day 10 - Fes - 16 May 2018

We will continue exploring Fes today with a visit to marvel the grand Dar el‐ Makhzen, Fes’ 16th century royal palace, known for its imposing brass doors.

After the palace, we will then head to the walled enclave of the Fes Medina (Fes el‐Bali). The impressive labyrinth of souks have been declared by UNESCO to be one of the world’s cultural treasures. It is thought to be the world’s largest car‐free urban zone with a maze of 9, 400 winding alleyways.

The afternoon will be at leisure to get lost in the souk, relax back at the riad or indulge in a hammam.

Overnight Riad Bartal (B)

Day 11 - To Casablanca via Meknes, Moulay Idriss & Volubilis - 17 May 2018

After breakfast, we will have a leisurely departure from Fes. 

We travel to Casablanca (approx 3 hours) via the former Imperial City of Meknes, Moulay Idriss and Roman ruins at the World Heritage Site of Volubilis.

Meknes was founded in the 9th century by Zenata Berbers. There is time to wander in this former Imperial City of Morocco to see the old ramparts; the Agoudal Basin, which was used to water the royal gardens and amuse the fa‐ vourite concubines; the Moulay Ismail royal stables, granaries, and the House of Water (Dar el Ma), built in the 17th and 18th centuries to house, feed and water the sultan's twelve thousand horses; Bab el Mansour, one of the most beautiful gates in Morocco; and the Moulay Ismail Mausoleum, one of the very few holy sites in Morocco which may be visited by non‐Muslims.

Our drive continues via the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis with time to see the impressive, well–preserved structures and intricate mosaic floors, dating from 25 BC. We then continue for a late afternoon arrival in Casablanca.

We settle in to our accommodation, Le Doge & Spa, a re‐ stored hotel owing its heritage to being an Art Deco town house originally erected by the French in the 1930s. After freshening up, we will have a farewell dinner this evening.

Overnight Le Dodge & Spa (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 12 - Depart - 18 May 2018

We will check out from our accommodation and head to Casablanca airport.

En-route to the airport this morning, we will visit the Hassan II Mosque. It is a site of grandeur, as the largest mosque in Morocco and the 13th largest in the world.

We will depart Casablanca and return home or continue on our travels. 

Meals included: Breakfast

About this tour

Women's Dress Code - Dress modestly. You can actually wear pretty much whatever you want in Marrakech and Fes. There’s no dress code and women aren’t required to wear scarves. But if you do dress like you are going to a beach in the French Riviera you will stick out and attract attention. Respect the culture around you by dressing relatively conservatively in long, loose pants or a skirt and cover your shoulders.

The Hammam: A Hammam is a steam room, similar to a Turkish bath, where Moroccans habitually go each week to cleanse themselves. The Hammam is an incredibly important part of Moroccan culture and life. Men, women and children will visit their local Hammam at least once a week, and spend two or three hours there (sometimes even longer.). Men and women bathe separately, but the women are far from shy with each other when it comes to the public Hammam. They will usually go with their friends or family, both to chat and socialise, but also to help each other with the ritual. You cover yourself in black soap, and let it penetrate your pores. Once you wash off all of the black soap, the Hammam ladies arrive to do the hard part of exfoliating your skin. You will be glowing when you are done, and tingling from head to foot for several hours afterwards. Hammam rituals can vary from place to place. A full ritual in a larger Hammam may involve you first sitting in a large pool of fairly hot, incredibly soft water for 5 – 10 minutes before you are covered with mud or clay. Once the clay comes off the black soap goes on and is left to penetrate your skin. That then gets washed off, and the fun really begins with the super vigorous exfoliation. A cold shower often follows to re-close the pores, and you may then receive a full body massage in a warm, comfortable darkened room – absolute bliss!

Riads: A true Riad (ryad/riyad) is an urban house, always situated within the walls of the medina (old city). Moroccan architecture is more inward looking and given to isolation and intimacy rather than showing off. It is, above all, an enclosure, a place of contemplation and escape for its cloistered inhabitants, an engaging interior away from the outside world. A mysterious enchantment awaits the guest who is invited to cross the threshold. The typical home is organised around a central square courtyard. The central courtyard is usually surrounded by an arched colonnade giving access to the living rooms and kitchen. The sleeping areas are generally constructed on the upper floors, thus creating a covered arcade around the patio with balustrades running around each storey. The roof top terrace may have an awning or pergola to protect against the sun where guests will usually have breakfast or dinner. Riads have thick walls thus protecting the inhabitants from the sun or the cold and most of the outside noise. Being urban dwellings, they are often situated along a narrow alleyway (derb) with no access by car. For those seeking an authentic Moroccan style of accommodation, the riad offers its guests a haven of tranquility, an architectural treasure, an insight into tradition, culture and craftsmanship and an opportunity to melt into an anonymous location.

Riad Leux Bleus, Marrakech: Riad Les Yeux Bleus’ blend of contemporary and traditional styles reflects upon the current nature of Marrakech, where vibrant urban life and a varied choice of trendy bars, art galleries, and restaurants coexist in friendly symbiosis with the ancient ways of the city. Located in the Bab Doukkala district, one of the most popular and picturesque quarters of the medina, and just ten minutes on foot from the square of Jemaa el Fna in the heart of Marrakech, Riad Les Yeux Bleus features eight comfortable bedrooms—each one decorated in its own style—distributed around two charming patios; two pools, a library, a full spa including massage and hammam, and a magnificent roof terrace with a bar. Cozy and intimate, the hammam offers a choice of traditional treatments, natural oils and massages in the purest Moroccan tradition. Treat yourself to an experience from which you will emerge feeling younger, more relaxed and energetic; the most sensual and refined expression of Morocco’s art de vivre.

Ksar El Kabbaba, Skoura: Ksar El Kabbaba  is located in the heart of Skoura palm grove, Ksar El Kebbaba rises in the middle of lush greenery and olive trees that have witnessed more than three centuries of life. Indeed, it has a four-hundred-year-old olive tree, almost recognized as a national heritage. Legend has it that a treasure is buried underneath this olive tree, which makes it even more unique. Over the years, many people have tried to seize it, but it has always been protected behind the gates of the Ksar. Combining comfort and modernity, the rooms offer all the luxury you need. Traditional decorations will transport you into the best years of the region of Ouarzazate. The Ksar offers a spacious and elegant garden, acting as a corridor between the various buildings which are dotted with trees such as olive, palm & apple trees ... You can also find Hammocks everywhere, hanging on the trees. During the night, the garden becomes an intimate area thanks to the absolute calmness of the area and the multiple candles hung in the palm trees.

Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp, Erg Chebbi: Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp demands nothing of you, but to relax and gaze at the ever-changing colours of the desert. Situated in the quiet and idyllic sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, this splendid desert camp caters to your every need. Perfect for small groups seeking uncompromising privacy and solitude. Ten spacious luxury tents with a sense of comfort and prestige. The Camp is designed for those who enjoy the peace that utter silence can afford. Located an hour and half drive from Erfoud, enjoy a special night under the stars at a beautiful Oasis in a “Khaima’, a traditional tent made of camel skin typically used by nomadic people.. Experience a camel ride at sunset and sunrise from the top of the dunes. Your desert experience includes an authentic Moroccan dinner under the stars and breakfast in the morning.

Riad al Bartal, Fes: Riad al Bartal was one of the first boutique roads in Fes. It is a magical place which for all the tranquillity it affords is still only one block from the main entrance to the Medina. The outside might not seem like much but inside, a whole new world of characteristic Moroccan lines opens up before your eyes. In the interior courtyard you get cool classic Moroccan lines with white marble flooring, and what appear to be the hanging gardens of Babylon falling from the terraces. It's a real contrast from the dusty backstreet outside; the space is alive with colour, and intricate mosaics and ornately carved columns lead up past cedar wood balconies to the open sky. There are 8 rooms, beaming with polished marble, delicious scents of cedar, red and gold of lacquered woods, all inviting you to rest & relax. If it all gets too much for you then we suggest taking a drink on the terrace - and just look at those views! 

Le Dodge Hotel & Spa, Casablanca: Hotel & Spa Le Doge is housed in a former 30’s mansion, located downtown in a quiet street in the Art Deco district of Casablanca. The lobby sets the glamorous tone of the "Roaring Twenties" with a magnificent spiral staircase, wrought iron railing, and velvet carpets. The lighting is warm, the burgundy velour couch welcoming. The mosaic vases and "La Dormeuse" by Tamara de Lempicka that adorn the wall are just some of the details that take you back in time. The 16 rooms are all unique, decorated with materials from the period while also equipped with all the contemporary comforts: Nespresso machines, flat screen TVs, and Wi-Fi connections are all offered. The restaurant offers superb gastronomic moments, and the library lounge with fireplace welcomes you to the sound of a pianist in a warm and cozy environment.The Doge's Spa opens with a refined oriental hammam, a large Jacuzzi, a sauna and a treatment room. On the roof on the 5th floor, a roof garden, a veritable oasis of greenery and quiet, overlooking the Parc de Casablanca.

Practicalities

Souks & Shopping: Souks and markets are a major feature in Moroccan life, and among the country’s greatest attractions. Each major city and town in Morocco has a special souk quarter. Villages in the countryside also have local souks which are usually held one day each week in an open field or outside the towns kasbah walls. Large cities like Marrakesh and Fès have labyrinths of individual souks (each filling a street or square that is devoted tone particular craft). Marrakesh and Fès are famous for their beautiful souks. Souks and markets are also a daily destination where locals shop for fresh meat, vegetables, household goods and other items. You can truly go on an extensive shopping spree and purchase various local Moroccan handicrafts such as Moroccan leather work, carpets, jewelry of silver, gold and copper along with ancient embroideries and basketwork. Whether or not you are a big shopper, visiting a souk is a cultural experience that should not be missed on a trip to Morocco.

Religion: Islam is the dominant religion in Morocco. The mosque is at the centre of all Muslim worship. You’ll find plenty of these beautiful historic buildings all over Morocco. Mosques are considered very holy places, and generally only Muslims are allowed to enter them. It is considered offensive to take photographs of the locals without seeking their permission, unless you are acquainted with the individual. There are also about 100,000 Christians in Morocco, mostly of French descent, along with a reported 8,000 Jews who mainly live in Casablanca and Marrakech. Catholic churches, Protestant churches, and synagogues are found in all of the major cities.

Language: Classical Arabic is Morocco’s official language, but the country’s distinctive Moroccan Arabic dialect is the most widely spoken language in Morocco. In addition, about 10 million Moroccans, mostly in rural areas, speak Berber, which exists in Morocco in three different dialects (Tarifit, Tashelhit, and Tamazight) – either as a first language or bilingually with the spoken Arabic dialect. French, which remains Morocco’s unofficial language, is taught universally and still serves as Morocco’s primary language of commerce and economics; it also is widely used in education and government.

Food: Moroccan cuisine is diverse, with many influences due to the interaction of Morocco with the outside world for centuries. It has a mix of Berber, Moorish, Mediterranean, and Arab influences. Spices such as cinnamon, pepper, turmeric, coriander, cumin and parsley, are widely used. Chicken or lamb, along with bread, accompanied with cold and hot salads and vegetables are popular, along with fresh couscous and chickpeas. Among the most famous Moroccan dishes are Couscous, Pastilla (also spelled Bsteeya or Bestilla), Tagine, Tanjia and Harira. Although the latter is a soup, it is considered as a dish in itself and is served as such or with dates especially during the month of Ramadan. Bread is eaten with every meal, and used in place of knives and forks. Seasonal fruits are typically served at the end of meals. A common dessert is kaab el ghzal (“gazelle’s horns”), which is a pastry stuffed with almond paste and topped with sugar. Another dessert is ” Halwa shebakia ” it is honey cake, which is essentially pretzel-shaped pieces of dough deep-fried and dipped into a hot pot of honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Halwa Shebakia are cookies eaten during the month of Ramadan. Zucre Coco are coconut fudge cakes.

Tea: The most popular drink is green tea with mint a cup of sweet mint tea is commonly used to end the meal. Moroccan teapots have long, curved pouring spouts and this allows the tea to be poured evenly into tiny glasses from a height. To acquire the optimum taste, glasses are filled in two stages. The Moroccans traditionally like tea with bubbles, so while pouring they hold the teapot high above the glasses. Traditionally, making good mint tea in Morocco is considered an art form and the drinking of it with friends and family members is one of the important rituals of the day. The technique of pouring the tea is as crucial as the quality of the tea. The tea is accompanied with hard sugar cones or lumps.

Weather: September, October and November are great times overall time to visit Moroccco. With a summer climate in the south and in the mountains, as well as on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. Winter can be perfect by day in the south, though desert nights can get very cold. Morocco's ranges of climates greatly fluctuate due to the country’s geographic location between Europe, Asia, and Africa. It's unique weather patterns make it possible to find an ideal area to visit year round.

Tipping & Bargaining: Bargain ruthlessly when buying handcrafts, rugs or big ticket items and modestly when hailing private taxis. In most other aspects of life prices are fixed. Tipping is generally not expected, but locals will generally round up the bill in taxis and add around 10% in classy restaurants. 

Photography: Ask permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. Minority groups in particular are often unhappy to have their photo taken. In small villages, at home-stays or trekking, the use of videos may not be permitted as requested by the local people, and we ask for courtesy and discretion with still cameras. Ask permission before taking pictures either of people or inside mosques or other sacred places. Never use flash inside mosques; it can damage them. You are not allowed to use flash in some buildings, but where there is no ban, please behave responsibly. Never take a photo of an elder without asking permission. Never take photos of airports, roadblocks or anything to do with the military.

The facts

Visas: A full and current passport is required to enter Morocco. Australian & New Zealand passport holders do NOT currently require a visa for entry into Morocco. Tourists are permited to stay for a maximum of 30 days. If you do not travel on an Australian or New Zealand passport please be sure to let us know and we will advise if there are any visa requirements. 

Currency: The currency used in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham, often abbreviated as Dhs or MAD. Foreign currency may be exchanged at the Bureau de Change at the airport on arrival, at a bank or a small amount at your hotel. There are many ATM machines both at the airports and in larger towns for cash withdrawal. A rule of thumb is not to exchange too much money at one time, so as not to be left with too much currency when leaving the country. Most hotels and reputable shops will accept major credit cards – VISA, Master Card and American Express. Even in the markets when buying such things as carpets, leather or any other major item, certain cards may be accepted. Maestro and other debits cards are becoming more widely accepted, but there are still some shops and restaurants that you will not be able to use them. Please note that it is now difficult or impossible to change Travellers Cheques in Morocco.

Voltage + Plugs: The electricity supply is 220v. Plugs are European style with two circular pins so adapters are required for British and US appliances.

Not Included:

  • International Airfares - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
  • Transfers unless as per itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls & Laundry in hotels
  • Visa costs
  • Tips at meals and bars 
  • Room or Flight Upgrades
  • Meals & drinks not mentioned in the itinerary 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered
  • Travel Insurance - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. You should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.