In summer, excursions to the desert and cities are usually organised early morning or late afternoon. During the rest of the day, one can make the most of Morocco’s beautiful infrastructure, swimming pools, well-being centres and stunning beaches. In spring and winter, the temperature varies between 18 an 30 degrees, which is perfect for city, countryside or desert activities at any time of day. However, at night, the temperature in the desert can get close to zero degree.
Arrive Marrakech and meet your guide. Based on your arrival time, Airport transfer to your riad with swimming pool. Dinner in traditional restaurant and overnight stay.
After breakfast we’ll set off for Meknes, the smallest of the Imperial cities. We’ll start our visit via the Bab Mansour Gate, Meknes’ most impressive gate and head to the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail (appropriate clothing needed). We’ll then visit the most important monument of this Imperial city: the Heri Moulay Ismail granaries, whose walls are made of clay, pebbles and straw. Finally we’ll enter the heart of the medina visiting El-Hedim Square and Meknes’ market and souks. Dinner and night in a traditional riad.
After breakfast we set off for Fez to visit the old town (Fez el-Bali) and the Medina, the largest and most famous one in the Arab world. We’ll enter through the renowned Bab Boujloud Gate and head towards the Dar Batha Museum, a Hispano-Moorish palace home to collections of traditional artefacts. We’ll then visit the Bou Inania Madrasa,the city’s Koranic school where young people study the Koran and can enjoy accommodation, a beautiful oratory and courtyard. Dinner in a local restaurant. Night in an hotel with swimming pool.
After breakfast we’ll resume our visit by heading to the Chouara tannery where you’ll discover the fascinating way animal hides are prepared from cleaning and soaking to dyeing with the most colourful natural vegetable dyes. (Although it is a stunning visit, the peculiar smell of the tannery may not suit everyone!) We’ll then see the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque founded in the 9th century by a woman before finishing our visit with Seffarine Square and the nearby alleys where coppersmiths practice their craft. Return to our hotel. Dinner in a local restaurant and overnight stay.
After breakfast we set off for Ifrane, wonderful town located at 1650m above sea level and known as the ‘Switzerland of Morocco’’, where we’ll be able to admire storks and their impressive nests. We’ll head to Merzouga in the Sahara desert. On our way we’ll see the Berber village of Azrou, immersed in a natural park of 53,000 hectares, on a limestone plateau bordered by forests of cedar and holms and old volcanoes. Azrou’s forests are also famous for being home to Barbary apes.
We then drive along the Middle Atlas up to the Zad pass and the little town of Midelt (1488m) where we’ll stop for lunch. Midelt is not particularly a touristic spot but it is renowned from a geological point of view, thanks to colourful and amazing crystal structures seen there. From Midelt we then drive through the beautiful Ziz Gorge until we reach Errachidia, in the South, and head to Rissani, ‘The Gate of the Desert’ before arriving Merzouga late afternoon where we check in a traditional riad with swimming pool.
Later we’ll go for a walk in the nearby Erg Chebbi dunes and soak up the sunset. Traditional dinner around a campfire while listening to some traditional Berber and Tuareg music and songs from South Morocco. Dinner and night in a traditional riad. Dinner and night in the desert in a traditional Berber tent. Possibility to enjoy some music around a campfire under the stars.
After breakfast and a refreshing dip in the swimming pool, we set off on a tour towards caves where natural fossils from the desert can be seen. Following a Paris Dakar rally road through the volcanic desert, we’ll then drive to the small old village of Tissardmine featured in many movies where we’ll stop for a refreshing mint tea with a Tuareg family.
We’ll then head to Khamlia, a village renowned for its inhabitants, originally from Sub-Saharan Africa, and their music. Khamlia is particularly famous for its music and dance festival taking place every year during the first week of August.
We’ll then see the Dayet Srji Lake and its flamingos before heading to Rissani where a Tuareg family will prepare us a Berber pizza with its 44 spices. Rissani was once Morocco’s economic capital and the departing point for the caravans. The family will tell us about their customs and traditions and show us some of the objects brought by the caravans.
We’ll visit the Kasbah of this small town before heading back to our hotel for a short pause. We’ll then swap our car for camels carrying all our food and the necessary equipment to follow our guide to a small oasis in the dunes. Night in the desert.
Early start to admire the sunset and note the different colours from the sunrise. Camel ride back to our hotel for a shower and breakfast before heading South. We will drive through the Todra Gorge, one of the most beautiful gorge in South Morocco, featured in Lawrence of Arabia.
After lunch, we’ll resume towards Boumalne Dades, starting point of the 25km long valley of the same name, and cross the valley to reach the Dades Gorge. We’ll stop for a walk surrounded with lush green vegetation, contrasting sharply with the surrounding red rock. All along the valley we’ll enjoy a succession of ksour, fields and orchards. From there we’ll head to the Dades Gorge. Dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, and following the Road of 1000 Kasbahs, we head to the Valley of Roses. We’ll stop in its main town, El-Kalaa M’Gouna, renowned thanks to the rose and the many body care products derived from it. We’ll visit a laboratory where the precious essence is extracted. We’ll then drive towards Skoura to visit its Kasbah and have lunch.
After our meal, we’re off to Ouarzazate to visit Africa’s biggest and most famous movie studios, the Atlas Studios, where films such as Gladiator were shot. We’ll then head to the nearby Kasbah of Taourirt and the familiar Aït Ben-Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site which has featured in Gladiator, Babel, Lawrence of Arabia, Legionnaire and The Sheltering Sky amongst others. We’ll spend the night in an atmospheric riad in Ouarzazate with dinner by the swimming pool.
After breakfast we’ll resume our visit of the Ouarzazate area via the villages of Merzgane and Ighrem and carry on towards Marrakech via the Tizi-n-Tichca pass. Arrive Marrakech, dinner and night in a riad.
After breakfast, we’ll to admire the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque (exterior only). Built in the 12th century, not only is the minaret visible from anywhere in the town, but it is also a reference in international architecture: it was the model for La Giralda in Seville and the Hassan II tower in Rabat. After a relaxing pause we’ll set off in search of the heartbeat of the town.
In the newest part of the town (Gueliz), we’ll see the Majorelle Garden, a stunning little garden that in 1924 became home to the studio of French painter Jacques Majorelle. At his death, it was bought and restored by Yves Saint Laurent. It is a little corner of poetry, cactus, bougainvillea, bamboo plants and many others coming from the 5 continents, contrasting with the intense shade of blue of the garden features (Majorelle blue). In the afternoon, should you wish, option to visit a traditional local hammam and/or a have a relaxing massage with Argan oil. After a 3h drive, we’ll reach the beautiful Essaouira on the Atlantic coast.
As soon as we arrive, you’ll be able to breathe the unbelievable artistic atmosphere that attracted so many international artists to move to this town. Movies such as Kingdom of Heaven have also been filmed here. We’ll check in our riad with swimming pool and enjoy a short break before going out for dinner.
Our visit of the ancient city of Mogador, as Essaouira was formally known, will start at the harbour, which is mainly a fishing harbour and one of the most vibrant parts of the town. Then we’ll enter the heart of the city via the Marina Gate and the Scala of the port from where, going up a few steps, we’ll reach the highest point of the city walls and walk towards the Scala of the Kasbah.
We’ll visit the souk and marketplace through a maze of alleyways. Free afternoon to enjoy the amazing beach that goes as far as the eye can see. Should you wish, option to go on a 1h boat trip across the bay, sailing by the Purpuraires Islands. Dinner in a local restaurant.
Straight after breakfast we set off for a deserted beach to enjoy the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll head back to our hotel in the afternoon.
After breakfast we start our journey back to Marrakech. We’ll stop 15 km from Essaouira to visit a women’s cooperative where the elders have passed on their techniques to the younger generations.
Possibility to buy some of the famous Argan oil, and other beauty and food products, produced locally and at a good price. Sales help the women raise their social status in this rural environment. Journey back to Marrakech. Dinner in a typical restaurant. Night in an hotel with swimming pool.
After breakfast, and depending on your departure time, possibility to visit the new town (Gueliz). Airport transfer and assistance with departure formalities. End of our service.