The Best of Morocco
Morocco, located in Africa, just south of Spain and Portugal, is a colorful destination that blends African, Arabic and European cultures. From the bustling souks of Marrakech and Fes, to the resorts on the Mediterranean Sea, to the dramatic Atlas mountain range and the red sand deserts of the East, Morocco is the perfect destination for culture lovers looking for adventure.
Experiences such as quad dune biking, photography, shopping, camel treks, hiking, food and history beckon one to exotic Morocco, but you will mostly be rewarded by the warmth of the people and their unique position in the world — they are devoted followers of the five pillars of Islam, which emphasizes charity, tolerance and acceptance of others. It offers a modern society that has chosen to preserve its past, honor its heritage and roll out a welcome mat to the rest of the world.
This trip is designed for 6-10 guests and is planned for arrival in Morocco September 1, 2021, returning September 12. The group is led by Latitude agent Anne Kay.
A 4 day pre or post extension to Portugal, visiting Lisbon and Porto is available . Please contact Anne firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Welcome to Morocco!
Stop at The Kasbah, a great access point to view the Straits of Gibraltar and on a clear day neighboring Spain. Tour the beautiful gardens and the Royal palace museums. End the day with a little browsing in the colorful Medina.
Discover the charming blue city in a walking tour of this city founded in the 15th century by the Moorish refugees of Spain.
After lunch continue the drive to Fes with a stop in Meknes, the one time capital of Morocco with impressive monuments, palaces, gardens and mosques.
Start the day with a foodie tour, visiting different food markets and eateries in the old city of Fes. Under the guidance of a local, you'll explore Fes delicacies and interact with locals. Walk off all that food in a walking tour of the old city of Fes, said to be the most complete medieval city in the Arab world in that is has preserved its medieval aspects and way of life. Discover the handicraft quarters, auction squares and colorful stores, visit pre-schools, enter artisan workshops and discover the secrets of their ancestral arts. Enjoy historical fountains, mosques and sanctuaries, meet the traditional agave silk weavers, visit the famous leather tanneries, coppersmiths and dyers to learn more about their traditional art.
Drive into the mountainous countryside to visit Cherry Buttons Women’s Co-operative, the longest running female-organized cooperative in Morocco. At the workshop, enjoy a hands-on lesson on how to create these unique woven buttons and interact with the local craftswomen. You'll have lunch here and time to check out the cooperative’s shop in order to support this great initiative.
Road to Merzouga
Today traveling south crossing the fertile plains beyond Fes and through the Middle Atlas mountain range to discovering a totally different landscape. Stop in the cedar forest and the Swiss looking town of Ifrane next to a charming ski resort. The road continues via Azrou, a typical Berber town near which the forest is home for the Barbary apes. Halfway, we'' stop for a break in in the town of Midelt situated at 5000ft of altitude between the High Atlas and the Middle Atlas Mountains. This former town of miners is now considered the capital of the region that produces the largest apple crop in Morocco. Head toward the pre desert town of Rachidia and see, along the way, the tents of nomadic shepherds and their herds of goats and sheep. Stopping for pictures along the magnificent gorges of the Ziz valley and passing rows of sky-scraping palm trees and mud made fortified villages before reaching Erfoud, where you will take 4x4 cars to be driven into the desert lands to the sand dunes of Merzouga.
The last leg of our journey to this evening's accomodation will be a tour highlight as you set out on camels to ride over the beautiful high sand dunes of the Sahara desert. The desert camp will be a unique experience in the emptiness of the Moroccan Sahara desert. You will be accommodated for the night in comfortable tents with all the necessary facilities. A traditional dinner will be served as you are entertained by a band of local musicians and dancers.
Merzouga to Dades Valley
This morning prior to departure, you will have the option for a thrilling ATV tour through the desert dunes nearby the camp. Each person will have their own ATV. The extra cost for the adventure is $80 and can be paid in USD at the time or added to the trip cost prior.
Reservations must be made at least one week in advance.
On the drive to the Dades Valley you will stop in Tineghir, a stunning oasis at the foot of the high Atlas mountains. Enjoy a walk along the 984-foot deep Todra Gorge, home to a variety of rare plants and bird species.
The journey continues along the “Route of a Thousand Kasbahs”, a region of earth made fortresses with elaborately decorated façades making this architectural technique and style quite unique to this part of the South of Morocco. Drive through “The Valley of the Roses” and El Kelaa M’gouna, Morocco’s “rose capital” before arriving in Dades.
Today you’ll participate in an authentic weaving workshop at a local women’s cooperative in one of the villages in the valley, far removed from mass tourism. In the afternoon, you’ll be able to enjoy some free time which may involve lounging at the pool, going for some light hiking at the nearby Monkey Fingers Gorge .
Ait Ben Haddou and Marrakech
On the way to the airport for the flight to Marrakech, stop at Ait Ben Haddou, one of the most beautiful examples of the Berber architecture that UNESCO is trying to preserve. The natural beauty of the whole area and the architecture of this village have attracted many film producers who made this place the background for the making of films such as Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator and Babel. After lunch, we fly to Marrakech. Note flight costs have not been included in the trip price. The alternative to the flight will be a drive of approximately 5 hours through the Mid Atlas and High Atlas mountains.
A full day tour of Marrakech includes visiting the Koutoubia Mosque, (the iconic sight of Marrakech), the Bahia Palace (a stunning example of traditional Moroccan architecture), and the Saadian tombs. In the afternoon you will visit the medina and the souks of Marrakech, including the Jewish quarter. The term Souk refers to the markets, and the markets of Marrakech are located in a serpentine set of alleyways with twists and turns that can confuse even frequent travelers to the city! Your expert guide will give an overview of how the souk is laid out and where the different sections are located, each focused on a different set of goods (Clothes, spices, lamps, shoes, traditional crafts). Return later to shop at leisure.
Essaouira is a charming fortified town with remains of a 16th century Portuguese fort and a complete Medina of the mid-eighteenth century, constructed according to the principles of European military architecture. The city has played a major role over the centuries as a caravan trade market, linking Morocco with sub-Saharan Africa and as an international trading seaport linking Morocco with Europe and the rest of the world. Entering the city from one of its historical gates you will start exploring traditional colorful streets, food markets and artisan workshops You will explore a Portuguese fortress, see some local art galleries and cabinet making workshops.
Today embark on amusing excursion to discover the immediate neighborhood area of Essaouira via camel. You will learn how to ride your camel and go for an easy loop out of the beaten paths. We will observe the fauna and the flora along the Atlantic coast, meet shepherds and local fishermen.
This afternoon enjoy the beach.
Depart for Home
Transfer to Marrakech for onward flights.
Pricing and Accommodation
Tangier: Relax after your long journey at a central International brand hotel.
Fes: Enjoy a Riad in the old city, a traditional Moroccon residence converted to a hotel.
Merzouga: Glamp in a luxurious desert tent, including ensuite bathroom.
Dades Valley: Enjoy a mountain retreat high in the Atlas mountains at an African inspired boutique hotel.
Marrakech: Dating from the 18th century, this riad is a small, luxury "Hotel de Charme" in the heart of the old Médina of Marrakech, completely restored with traditional materials and artisans.
Essouira: Boutique luxury hotel with panoramic views of the sea and the medina.
$5,900 per person, Double Occupancy. Flight costs not included.