1st day: Casablanca >> Rabat >> Meknes >> Fez (302 km)
On the first day, we will meet at the airport or at the Riad/Hotel where you have spent the night. Before leaving Casablanca we will visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the few that are open to non-Muslims. Completed in 1993, the mosque stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the ocean, and its minaret, 210m high, is the world’s tallest. The prayer hall is majestic, both for its huge size and the elaborate decorations. After the visit, we will leave for Rabat, where we will stop to visit the Hassan Tower and to walk around the Merenid necropolis of Chellah: while in a state of neglect and invaded by fruit trees and wildflowers, it retains a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere for a rest. Before reaching Fez, we will also stop at Meknes where – with an Italian-speaking licensed guide, we will explore the main square (Place el-Hedim), whose beating heart is the beautiful Bab el-Mansour, Morocco’s most imposing imperial gate. We will then go to the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail (also open to non-Muslims) and to the Granaries and Stables of Hri Moulay Ismail (also known as Heri es-Souani). We recommend appropriate clothing for places of worship. Arrival in Fez in the evening.
Dinner and overnight accommodation in a riad inside the medina.
2nd day: visit of Fez
After breakfast we will start exploring the oldest city in Morocco, wandering its streets and alleyways. The visit to the old town (Fes el-Bali) and the medina, the largest and most famous in the Arab world, will start by entering through Bab Bou Jeloud and will continue towards Dar Batha, a beautiful Hispanic-Moorish building hosting an interesting popular art museum. We are not going to miss the Medersa of Bou Inania, built in mid-1300 and unanimously recognised to be the most beautiful Koranic school in the city, and the Chaouwara tanneries, one of the main attractions in town (also because of the smells!). We will then go on to visit the Royal Palace and the Jewish quarter (Mellah), the first in Morocco, built in the XVI century. At sunset, we can admire a splendid panoramic view of the Fez medina, from the Marinid Tombs or Borj Nord. Dinner and overnight accommodation.
3rd day: Fez >> Ifrane >> Azrou >> Midelt >> Ziz Valley>> Erfoud >> Merzouga (470 km)
After breakfast we will head for the South, driving first through Ifrane, an unusual looking small town reminiscent of an Alpine village, and then through Azrou, surrounded by a beautiful cedar forest inhabited by monkeys. Travelling through the Tizi Ntalghamt pass, we will then reach Midelt and drive along the Ziz Valley, among the extraordinary landscapes of the Mid Atlas. We will continue until Erfoud, and from here towards Rissani, where we will stop at the picturesque local market, to experience the feel of a true Berber souk. In the afternoon, we will finally reach Merzouga, where the camels will be waiting to offer you the pleasure of sunset among the dunes, and take you to the tented camp. After dinner you can watch the wonderful starry sky or sing to the sound of drums around the campfire, before going to sleep. Dinner and overnight accommodation in a tent.
4th day: Merzouga >> Khamlia village >> nomads
For those who wish, early morning wake up to admire the sun rising among the dunes, then breakfast and a quick shower to freshen up and be ready for the new day. Back into the jeep, we will drive our 4X4 in the black desert, so called because of the rocky formations of volcanic origin, sharply contrasting with the gold-coloured dunes of the Erg Chebbi. We will then head for the Khamlia village, home to the Gnawa, the descendants of African slaves from Mali, Senegal and Mauritania, mainly known for their sweeping percussion music; this is where – during the first week of August – a dance and music festival of country-wide renown is held. After dancing to the drums, we will visit a nomad family in their tent, and will enjoy the wonderful Berber hospitality, sipping their fragrant mint tea. Having discovered the Berber rhythms and traditions, we will drive back towards Merzouga for a relaxing afternoon, strolling through the oases at the foot of the dunes.
Dinner and overnight accommodation in a hotel at the door of the desert.
5th day: Merzouga >> Todra Gorges>> Dades Valley (270 km)
After breakfast, we are going to leave Merzouga heading for the splendid Todra Gorges, where tall pink cliffs (a favourite for rock climbing lovers) tower over a water stream, forming a narrow canyon 300m deep coloured in incredible red-orange hues. After visiting the gorges, we will go on to the Dades Valley, where you will be captured by the extraordinary landscapes and fairy-tale colours. Here we are going to end our day, spending the night in a beautiful riad with a stunning view of the valley and the mountains.
6th day: Dades Valley >> Roses Valley >> Ouarzazate >> Ait Ben Haddou >> Telouet >> Marrakech (340 km)
After breakfast, we will drive along the Dades Valley in the direction of Skoura, where we will visit the Kasbah Amridil. Located in the “Street of a Thousand Kasbahs”, it was recently restored, and still holds truly suggestive and authentic colours and atmospheres. We will go on towards Ouarzazate, the “Hollywood of Africa”, and later on we will lunch in sight of the famous ksar Ait Ben Haddou, part of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage. After visiting this wonderful site, our journey will continue through the majestic mountain pass of Tizi N’ Tichka, reaching an altitude of 2260 m.a.s.l., among the splendid landscapes of the High Atlas. If time allows, we will also stop at Telouet to visit the Pasha Glaoui kasbah, characterised by beautiful stuccoed halls and wonderful painted cedar wood ceilings. Arrival at Marrakech in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight accommodation in a riad inside the medina.
7th day: visit of Marrakech
After a well-deserved rest and breakfast, we will visit the Alì Ben Youssef Medersa. Founded in the XIV century, this Koranic school was the largest in Northern Africa for a long time, and still is one of the most beautiful. We will then go on to explore the streets of the Medina and its various souks. An unmissable olfactory experience will be a tour of the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter, where you can buy all sorts of spices for excellent prices. We will also visit the Palais de Bahia, a sumptuous building of late 1800, where you walk through wonderfully decorated rooms and a sequence of courtyards with fountains and orange trees. We will then go to the Saadit Tombs, where you can see the ultimate expression of opulence and magnificence: Carrara marble and pure gold honeycombed stucco decorations set the tone of this palatial mausoleum.
We will conclude the exploration of Marrakech in the Majorelle Gardens; inaugurated in 1924, after being donated to the city by Yves Saint-Laurent, these botanic gardens house more than 300 plant species coming from all continents, and the beautiful Villa Majorelle in Art Deco style, with its characteristic blue colour. Before dinner and the night, you will have time available to continue exploring the “red town”, and possibly savour some excellent mint tea on a terrace in Jemaa El Fna Square, watching the sunset.
In the event of adverse or exceptional weather conditions, the programme may be subject to change.
Included in the price
- Transportation as described
- 4×4 jeep vehicle, air-conditioned; for groups of over 6 people, air-conditioned minibus
- Driver guide
- Fuel and transportation costs
- 6 nights at a hotel/riad with half board (breakfast and dinner); accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
- 1 night in the desert in a tented camp (dinner and overnight accommodation)
Camel ride to and from the camp
- Exclusive service (not accompanied by other visitors)
Not included in the price
- Flights from and to your country
- Lunch meals
- Sightseeing admission tickets
- Tips and personal expenses
- All that is not included under “Included in the price”