Moroccan Caravan Tours
14 Day Morocco Grand Tour
Dates: Departs according to your party's dates>
Join us in getting to the heart of Morocco through an exploration of its arts and culture. Morocco is a complex and diverse country that has the Mediterranean Ocean to its north, the Atlas mountain ranges in its center, the Atlantic Ocean to its west, and the vast open Sahara to its south. It has long been the crossroads between Europe, the Middle East, and West Africa, and its geographic diversity is matched by its cultural diversity. Berbers, Romans, Arabs, Jews, West Africans, and Europeans have all influenced the arts and culture of Morocco. This tour allows the participants to explore historical interactions between these different groups in order to understand how they have all contributed to the artistic identity of contemporary Morocco. This tour provides participants with the unique opportunity to meet with locals, visit the historical, cultural, and artistic centers of Morocco. Medieval Islamic arts can be found in the city of Fes. Time spent in the Saharan region of southeastern Morocco introduces participants to Berber nomadic arts, including carpet making and the way of living. Participants take camel rides across the desert, visit the nomads and experience a sleep in the Sahara desert under the stars. A visit to the southwestern city of Marrakech allows participants to explore museums and galleries of Moroccan art and see artists actually making art. You will also be treated to musical and dance performances along the way.
Addi Ouadderrou, I was born and raised in an Amazigh (Berber) village in southeastern Morocco. I am proud of my Amazigh (Berber) heritage. My native language is Tamazight (Berber) and I am fluent in Arabic, French, Spanish and English. I have extensive experience leading tours in Morocco and I am willing to share with you my personal experiences and valuable cultural insights that only a Moroccan native can have.
Day 1: Departure Flight to Morocco.
Day 2: Casablanca
Upon arrival, you will be assisted and transferred to your hotel by a private air-conditioned coach. You will check in at a four star hotel on the cost for the night.
Day 3: Rabat-Meknes
Today, after breakfast, first we will make our way to visit the fascinating mosque of Hassan II then go on a beautiful scenic drive between the two capitals, we arrive at Rabat, which has ancient remains that date back to the 3rd century BC. We will visit the Kasbah of the Oudayas, a fortification that dates to the 13th century. This area is particularly scenic and we will meander through winding streets that end with a beautiful panoramic view of the Atlantic, then we continue to the Oudaya museum of Moroccan Arts, one of the best art museums in Morocco.
The visit continues to the Mausoleum built to honor King Muhammed the fifth, who led Morocco in the struggle for independence from the European colonization. From his mausoleum, we will gaze upon the remains of the12th century mosque of Hassan - a mosque that was intended to be the largest in the world. This visit gives you the rare opportunity to compare and contrast medieval and contemporary Arab architecture in Morocco in close proximity to each other. After lunch, we leave Rabat for Meknes making a stop at Khemisset to visit a local family who makes Berber weavings. Khemisset is an important center for textile manufacture in Morocco, and we will visit women weaving textiles in their homes. We continue to Meknes and check in at a 4* hotel overlooking the prestigious imperial capital of Meknes, at the top of the hill of the “Merinides.”Dinner at the hotel. (B L D)
Day 4: Meknes-Fes
After breakfast, we will go on a tour of Meknes that includes the famous historical gate bab el mansour.
After lunch, we continue to Volubilis, the Roman archaeological site. This incredible site, which thrived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D., is where impressive remains of ancient buildings and their associated mosaic decorations can still be found. We continue through the rich, interior farmland of the country until we arrive at Fes. Upon arrival, we check-in at our hotel, dinner and overnight. (B L D)
Day 5: Fes
Fes was the center for many medieval ruling dynasties and is still considered to be the cultural and religious center of Morocco. Our day starts with a visit of the old city, also called the “medina”or “Fes el Bali.”This is an opportunity to learn about Medieval Islamic art and architecture in Morocco. We will visit 14th century Quranic schools, the 10th century Kairaouyine mosque and university, the Nejjarin (woodworkers) square, the Nejjarin museum, and the tomb of the 9th century ruler Moulay Idriss.
Fes is considered to be the artistic capital of Morocco and is a wonderful place to see artists actively creating the intricate brasswork, textiles, clothing, and ceramics for which Fes is famous. After lunch in the Medina, we continue our visit of the medina, concluding the day with a visit to a factory outside the city specializing in handmade ceramics and mosaic.
Be sure to save up some energy, because the night concludes with a dinner party in a beautiful, 14th century mansion. During dinner you will be entertained by dancers and musicians, demonstrating to you some of the different types of music and dance forms common to Morocco. Overnight at the hotel. (B D)
Day 6: Rissani
Today, when we leave Fes for Rissani, we pass through the majestic cedar forests of the Middle Atlas Mountains, stopping for lunch in Midelt. We will see Berber nomadic tents along the road, since nomads move to high elevations during the spring/summer season.
The change from a mountainous forest landscape to a dry desert terrain dotted with date palms indicates that you arrived to the Tafilalet oasis, Morocco’s largest oasis. Upon arrival, check in at our charming hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B L D)
Day 7: Rissani-Merzouga (Sahara)
We will spend the day touring the Tafilalet oasis and will be introduced to mudbrick architecture typical of this Saharan region of Morocco. A visit to the small, desert town of Rissani, the gate of the Sahara, allows us to view its beautiful Medieval architecture, and the ruins of Sijilmassa. Sijilmassa was once a stopping point for caravans crossing the Sahara, and the massiveness of its ruins are testament to the important role it once played in the history of North Africa. We will visit the market and have a discussion of Moroccan spices and herbs during a visit to a healer. We will finish our visit of the market after we stop at the donkey parking lot. We will continue to a Berber village of located on the fringes of the Sahara, for a home-cooked lunch by a Berber family. You will have another chance to spend time and interact with the locals.
Later in the afternoon, we will leave for an adventurous ride across the vast open desert. We will see the colors change from green to brown and then finally gold when we arrive at the rolling sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, where the golden sand dunes rise up in the background contrasting with the deep, blue sky of the desert. Watch for the camels crossing the road! After the ride, we arrive at the charming Auberge du Sud in time for a sunset camel ride across the sand dunes.
We will spend a marvelous evening under the stars eating an authentic lamb dinner slow cooked in a clay oven. This delicious dinner will be accompanied by sounds of Berber music–good for digestion! We will be treated to a private musical concert by the Gnawa and a demonstration of their special healing abilities. The Gnawa are people of West African descent who were enslaved and carried across the Sahara. They play a unique type of music that reveals their West African origins. When the party gets going, you can join by drumming and dancing along with the Berbers. Overnight in the Sahara under the beautiful stars. (B L D)
Day 8: Ouarzazate
We take a road typically referred to as the road of 1000 kasbahs to arrive at Ouarzazate where we will spend the night. This is a ride full of unique scenes, such as the khuttaras, an ancient underground system of irrigation that is still used today to irrigate the palm trees and the crops in the Oasis. We will stop and have lunch at the Todra Gorge, a massive canyon that we reach after passing through palm tree groves and Berber villages. Once again, keep on the lookout for camels crossing the road. Upon arrival check in at our Berber hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B L D)
Day 9: Marrakech
We leave Ouarzazate, crossing the picturesque High Atlas Mountains for Marrakech. This area of Morocco was once home to the Glaouis, a family that governed central Morocco during the time of the French protectorate. We will make a detour into the High Atlas Mountains and follow a road that once served as a major caravan route to Mali, the evidence of which you will see in the local people and the architecture. After a visit to the beautiful kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, we continue to Marrakech, passing numerous Berber villages that dot the mountain ranges. You will have a chance to see hardworking Berber women carrying big loads on their backs. Upon arrival we check in at a charming authentic 350 years old Riad situated in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech. We spend the evening visiting the Koutoubia and the dynamic Jamaa el Fna square, an open area where both locals and visitors go to be entertained by actors, musicians, and acrobats who are guaranteed to entertain. This is a good opportunity to have your palm read or a tooth pulled by a local dentist working in the square.
After sun goes down, the sounds made by the performers go up. Many food vendors light their gas lamps. The light from the lamps illuminates the smoke coming from the grills making for a surreal atmosphere. Dinner and overnight at the Riad. (B D)
Day 10: Marrakech
After a leisurely breakfast, we will tour Marrakech the 11th century capital of Morocco. Everything in Marrakech is worth seeing. We will visit to the brilliant gardens and museum of Majorelle, a complex later maintained by the French designer Yves Saint Laurent. The gardens were originally owned by Jacques Majorelle, an Orientalist painter. Our tour continues and will take us to see the delicate beauty of the 19th century Bahia palace, beautifully decorated with carved cedar wood, marble, and mosaics, then to a private museum which houses a variety of textiles and arts. After lunch, we go for a visit to the Ben Youssef Medrassa, the vast and superb Quranic School. We will also visit the Museum of Moroccan Arts, a venue for contemporary paintings and traditional arts.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to catch up with shopping. We will enjoy a ride on horse carriages on a relaxing excursion through Marrakech boulevards back to the hotel. Optional horseshow dinner. Overnight at the hotel (B L)
Day 11: Marrakech-Essaouira
Today we have a leisurely morning. After lunch in Marrakech, we leave the red city crossing Morocco’s western plains for Essaouira. Upon arrival we will check in at our four star hotel overlooking the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy a breathtaking walk on the beach. Dinner & overnight at the hotel. (B D)
Day 12: Essaouira
After Breakfast, we go for a tour of Essaouira also called ancient Mogador. This blue and white fortified town is known for its arts, crafts and galleries all along the narrow streets. We will have a freshly grilled seafood lunch with the sound of waves breaking off on the rocks. Essaouira is known for its wood work and wood carving. This is a good opportunity to shop for thuya wood which only comes from this particular area of Morocco. Essaouira has a long vast beach where beautiful and unforgettable moments are spent in late afternoons. We will dine at one of the Essaouira’s best restaurants on the edge of the Atlantic. Overnight at the hotel. (B L)
Day 13: Essaouira-Casablanca
Profit from the sunny days of Morocco, enjoy a walk on the beach or relax by the pool, maybe catch up with your shopping. At 12:00 pm, we check out and go get us another delicious lunch in Essaouira before we go on a scenic drive along Morocco’s Atlantic line for Casablanca. You will enjoy a tour of some of Casablanca’s boulevards and sights. The evening concludes with a farewell dinner at an authentic restaurant in Casablanca! (B L D)
Day 14: Morocco-USA
Transfer to Casablanca’s International Airport Mohammed V with luggage assistance to catch your flight from Morocco to the US.
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