10 Days Imperial Cities Tour and Desert, Departure from Casablanca – explore Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, Fes, Merzouga Desert South Morocco.
Day 1 : Casablanca – Rabat
Arrive at Casablanca airport, where we will meet you and drive to Casablanca then to Rabat, the capital of Morocco. In Casablanca you will see the Hassan II Mosque, the largest one outside of Mecca and experience the coastal Cornish seaside. Afterwards, we will leave to Rabat. Here you will see the Hassan Tower and the Oudaya Kasbah, before you check in to your riad in the Medina. Overnight at riad – bed and breakfast.
Day 2 : Rabat – Meknes– Volubilis – Fes
After breakfast in your riad, you will start travelling to Fes via Meknes and Volubilis. In Meknes, another significant imperial city in Morocco, known as the Ismaili capital of Morocco, you will see the famous gate Bab Mansour, the Sahrij Souani Bassin, and the Mulay Ismail Mausoleum. After lunch, your journey continues to the Roman city of Volubilis, where you will get a chance to see the wonderfully preserved original mosaics, Roman road, and city layout. As you travel through the Moroccan countryside we will pass by the Holy City of Moulay Idriss for a photo opportunity. You’ll get to Fes at the end of the afternoon and check in to your riad in the Medina. Overnight at riad
Day 3 : exploring Fes
Breakfast in your riad, and then start an explorative journey of the Medina where you will visit the many hidden treasures that only the inhabitants of the place know about. Fes served as the capital of Morocco for more than 350 years and is home to the University of Al Karaouine, the oldest operating university in the world. Your guided tour will take you to Moulay Idriss mausoleum, the Nejjarine Fountains and the Tanneries. After lunch you will also view the exterior of the Royal Palace and walk through the famous Jewish quarter “the Mellah”, where you will have the option to visit one of the few living synagogues in Morocco. Your tour of Fes includes a short visit to the famous ceramic factory, and then you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view over the whole Medina of Fes. In the afternoon we will visit the new city for a drink. Overnight accommodation at your riad
Day 4 : Fes – Azrou – Midlet – Ziz valley – Merzouga
After breakfast in your riad, you will leave towards the southeast following the Caravan roads to Merzouga. During this journey you’ll experience glimpses of the Middle Atlas and Higher Atlas mountains. Stopping at the Cedar forest, the largest one in Morocco, over the Middle Atlas Mountains– where you may well sight Barbarian apes. After lunch in Midelt, you will continue through the large open high desert, and notice how the scenery changes to reveal hints of the desert as you approach the city Er Rachidia. Your journey continues along the luxuriant Ziz Valley and the Tafilalet date palm grove, famous for date cultivation. This area is the foundation of the Alaouite dynasty – the current ruling royal family in Morocco. You’ll arrive at Merzouga at the end of the afternoon – to be welcomed with a glass of mint tea before you check in to your riad . Half-Board.
Day 5 : Merzouga area and the camel trek
After breakfast in the riad you will start an explorative journey of the area. You’ll visit the Gnawa people – originally slaves brought from Sudan -to experience their music and lifestyle. You may also visit the souk in Rissani , a traditional town which was the origin of the ruling family in Morocco and the meeting place of the Caravans trading as far as Tombuctou in Mali. Here you will see a lot of men hooded and women veiled. Back to the village of Merzouga for some rest, in the afternoon you will mount your camel, guided by an experienced camel man to explore within the sand-sea of Merzouga. Overnight will be at our desert camp
Day 6 : Merzouga – Todra gorges – Dades valley
Early in the morning, your camel guide will wake you up to watch what well may be the best sunrise in you life. You will trek back to the village of Merzouga. Enroute you couldn’t fail to appreciate the unique beauty of the spectacular Erg Chebbi sand dunes -changing with the light as the day progresses. After breakfast and shower in your riad, you’ll leave for Rissani , Tinghir, and Todra gorges – the highest, narrowest gorges in Morocco. After lunch in the heart of the gorge we’ll drive through the Dades Valley, where you’ll see the majestic sand castles and the amazing rock formations known as “monkey toes”. Overnight accommodation will be in a fancy guesthouse overlooking the Dades valley.
Day 7 : Dades valley – Ait ben haddou – Tizi n’Tichka pass – Marrakech
After breakfast , we’ll drive through the Dades Valley towards Kalaat Mgouna and Ouarzazat. The route through Dades Valley is the way of the thousand Kasbahs – providing numerous opportunities to take some of your best photographic shots of the trip. We’ll stop at Kalaat Mgouna, “the rose city”, to purchase rosewater, which will make your linen smell good a long time after your trip is over. Continue to Marrakech via the Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah. Built by Et Hami El Glaoui, one of the last Berber chieftains during the 18th century, now the Kasbah is a house of many Glaoui people. Your journey will continue through the majestic Tizi n’Tichka Pass (2260 m) over the High Atlas Mountains, before arriving at your accommodation in Marrakech , overnight at the riad in the medina
Day 8 : Exploring Marrakech
After breakfast in the riad, you will enjoy a morning guided tour of Marrakech “the Red City of Morocco”. Your guide will ensure that you see all the sites with historical and cultural interest, including the Koutoubia Minaret; the Saadian tombs; the beautiful Palace of Bahia and the Ben Youssef Coranic School. Finally, end the morning by walking through the medina alleys -getting a chance to admire all of the different artisans performing their crafts before arriving at the famous Jamaa El Fna Square. Lunch at a restaurant near the square, and then in the afternoon visit the Majorelle gardens, and have a short tour at Gueliz -the new city of Marrakech. After dinner you will have the option to walk through the square entertained by magicians, story-tellers, tooth-pullers and food sellers. Overnight accommodation will be in your riad
Day 9 : Day trip to Essaouira
After breakfast in your riad, you will start travelling to the coastal city of Essaouira. Getting there after about a 2 and a half hour drive to start exploring the city. You’ll visit the Skala Fortress; see Thuya wood carved by artisans; walk through the alleys of the medina and view hundreds of handicrafts. This “City of the Wind” attracts surfers from all over the world. Essaouira knew many civilisations -including the Portuguese occupation, which affects much of its architecture – however, it remains a small village with much history. Because of its size and its characteristic blue doors and washed walls, it is also regarded as Morocco’s “Jewel of the Atlantic”. You will also visit the women’s co-operative of Argan oil. Here they extract the oil that is famous for its culinary, cosmetic and medicinal properties. Lunch will be done the Moroccan way – fresh fish “cooked in order” at the fish market. In the afternoon you will travel back to Marrakech. Overnight at your riad.
Day 10 : Marrakech – Casablanca Airport
After an early breakfast in your riad, we will drive you to Casablanca / Marrakech airport for your flight back home. Your tour ends at the airport.