Antarctica & Arctic
Explore vibrant imperial cities, the stunning Atlas Mountains, the vast Sahara Desert and the Atlantic coast on this 15 day small group journey.
Destinations > Morocco > Highlights of Morocco
All breakfasts and 4 dinners, all accommodation, all transport and listed activities, Exodus tour leader throughout and arrival and departure transfers.
Travel style: Small group journey
Selected Sundays, year round
For sheer diversity, Morocco is the perfect destination for avid travellers. You'll explore the imperial cities of Marrakech, Meknes and Fez, and before continuing south, where sand dunes and kasbahs are scattered among palm oases inhabited by friendly Berbers. A highlight of this trip is a camel trek in the Sahara and a night at a Bedouin camp.
Back to Morocco Tours
Experience the vibrant imperial cities of Morocco.
Explore the High Atlas Mountains by foot with an experienced guide.
Trek into the Shara, before camping in the Sahara Desert.
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Arrival at our hotel in the evening.
A modern and commercial seaport, Casablanca is a complete contrast to the Morocco we are soon to explore. This morning we visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. We then lunch in Rabat, the political capital of Morocco, but second to Casablanca in importance. Although mostly modern, Rabat has an excellent old quarter that we take time to explore before striking out over the northern plain to Meknes. We begin to see the scenery change as the landscape becomes more cultivated, Meknes being one of the most fertile areas of Morocco.
This fascinating city is the intellectual and religious centre of Morocco. Founded over a thousand years ago, Fez has many mosques and medersas (theological colleges) including the 9th century Karouine University, whose architecture is very similar to that seen in Moorish Spain. The medina in Fez is one of the largest in the world. In its immense and confusing warren of souks are thousands of craftsmen with their tiny shops opening onto the narrow alleyways.
Noisy and pungent, hot and claustrophobic, the medina of Fez is a totally absorbing and unique experience. Our city guide shall walk us through different sections of the souk - from the dyers souk to the brass and copper souks. And of course, no visit to Fez is complete without a visit to the tanneries. Outside the medina we shall visit the Jewish District (mellah), the exterior of the Royal Palace and drive to a panoramic viewpoint over the medina. We shall also visit the potteries where the famous mosaic tables are made from the grey clay of the Rif Mountains.
Today we have a long journey over the Middle Atlas, down through the picturesque Ziz Valley to the Hamada (flat stony desert) gradually approaching the spectacular site of the golden sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. We stay in a small and welcoming auberge on the edge of the dunes where it is easy to climb their summits to watch the sunrise.
There is time today to explore the largest sand sea in Morocco or to relax in the shade of a palm tree by the dunes. The sand sea is famed for its pink dunes that take on a spectacular rose colour at sunset. In the late afternoon we partake in a genuine Saharan experience - a 2-hour camel trek through the dunes to an oasis, where we spend the night in a simple Bedouin camp.
After sunrise, we leave our desert camp and travel, by camel, back to the auberge where we can have a shower before heading west towards the little town of Tinerhir and onwards to Todra Gorge for the night. Our hotel is set against the backdrop of the impressive walls of the gorge itself and we can spend the evening watching the rocks change colour with the setting sun.
Leaving the gite, we walk back to our bus for a short drive to the fortress of Telouet. Although abandoned and crumbling, we absorb the atmosphere of this labyrinthine, fairy-tale like structure.
We continue our scenic drive over the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakech, driving over the Tizi'n'Tichka, which at 2,260m, is the highest road pass in Morocco. The scenery is spectacular and there are some wonderful views of the mountains. The second half of the trip brings us to the flat arid plains of Marrakech and then onwards to Essaouira.
A free day in Essaouira, a charming old Portuguese fishing port overlooking the Atlantic Ocean coast. The settlement dates back to the 15th century but the present town was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, the town is extremely relaxed and its whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan's workshops, boatyards and fishermen provide a marked contrast to the desert, kasbahs and cities we have so far visited on this trip. Our hotel is situated in the heart of the old walled city, where we have plenty of time for some shopping in the souks or strolls along the picturesque beach. With many pleasant cafes and some outstanding seafood restaurants we have plenty of choice for our evening meal.
After breakfast we head for the 'Pink City' of Marrakech and in the afternoon we enjoy a guided tour to help us find our feet and soak up the atmosphere of this amazing city. Our city guide will take us to the Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs - which incredibly date to the 16th century - and the Koutoubia Mosque. We end in the Djemma el Fna, where the town becomes a maze of bustling bazaars, palaces and mosques. It is worth seeing this renowned landmark in the evening, as Marrakech revolves around the open-air central square. With the food stalls, snake charmers, water-sellers and acrobats, it is a place of night-time entertainment for both local people and tourists.
Trip ends after breakfast.
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