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This specially prepared tour takes you on a magical journey through Morocco with cultural blends of Arabic, African, ancient Roman, Berber and Moorish influences.
Morocco presents visitors with cultural blends of Arabic, African, ancient Roman, Berber and Moorish influences. All of this is set against natural settings such as the Rif, Middle and High Atlas Mountains, the giant dunes of the Sahara Desert, dramatic gorges, Atlantic coastline and a variety of rustic communities. Traditions are vibrantly and proudly maintained in medinas, kasbahs, souks, palaces, tented communities and walled cities. Music, costume and exotic culinary treats also add to the visual and other sensory stimulation of anyone lucky enough to spend some time in this wonderful destination.
Our itinerary has been carefully created to afford the best and most varied opportunities for any photographer and even non-photographers. Our luxury accommodation in hotels, riads and desert camp has been selected with comfort, atmosphere, location and enjoyment in mind. Transportation will be by deluxe mini-coach and SUVs with every client guaranteed a window seat.
EXPLORE THE MAGICAL ANCIENT MOROCCO FROM BLUE CITIES TO ROMAN RUINS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN.
Your guide’s will be Glenn McKimmin and Terry Taylor. Terry is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and member of the International Association of Tour Managers. Terry will be there to ensure that your only surprises will be pleasant ones. Glenn is an experienced professional photographer who will guide you through Morocco ensuring you don’t miss a shot.
YOUR ACCOMODATION HAS BEEN HAS BEEN HAND PICKED IN YOU WILL STAY IN 5 STAR HOTELS, DELUXE RIADS AND A LUXURY TENTED CAMP IN THE SAHARA.
Under the guidance of a passionate and highly experienced tour leaders, you are assured of being in the right place at the right time, to capture the multitude of sights and experiences you will encounter.
DAY 1: (24TH OCTOBER) ARRIVE IN CASABLANCA, OVERLAND TO RABAT.
After landing in Casablanca, we drive to Rabat, a site of ancient Roman ruins, medieval mosques with exquisite tilework and memorials to Moroccan royalty. A welcoming mint tea and orientation will be a fitting start to our adventure.
DAY 2: (OCTOBER 25TH) EXPLORING RABAT, DRIVE TO CHEFCHAOUEN.
We will explore Rabat with a local guide. We will see Rabat’s Royal Palace and its impressive Bab ar-Rouah (Gate of the Winds) and visit the ruins and wild gardens of the Chellah, a 14th century Merinide necropolis. We’ll also stop at the Hassan Tower, a huge unfinished mosque, built mostly at the end of the 12th century. Nearby is a beautiful Mausoleum of the king Mohammed V, and his sons, attended by Royal guards in striking regalia. After our time in Rabat, it is then on to the city of Chefchaouen, known for its distinctive blue-washed buildings, red-tiled roofs, flower boxed windows and the nearby Rif mountains.
After checking in to our Riad, we will stroll through the narrow and picturesque streets of our neighbourhood.
DAY 03: (26TH OCTOBER) CHEFCHAOUEN
We take an early morning walk before breakfast around the blue walls of Chefchouen and watch the townsfolk stir and prepare for the day. A hike to the Spanish mosque will reward us with a panoramic view of the old city when the sun rises. After breakfast our local guide will help us soak up the atmosphere of this town with so many mixed cultures, and witness the influence of the native Berbers, Muslims, and ancient Jewish refugees from Spain. Visit a traditional Djellaba workshop and then we join a local family in their home for a traditional lunch and to learn about the family’s history and customs.
The afternoon can be spent exploring the ancient Medina and kasbah of Chafchouen and returning to the Spanish mosque for sunset.
DAY 04: (OCTOBER 27TH) CHEFCHAOUEN- VOLUBILS- MEKNES- FEZ.
From Chefchaouen we drive through the Moroccan countryside towards Fes. Stop to explore the ancient Roman site of Volubilis, in the valley of Zerhoun. Exploring the hilltop ruins, we will discover the town’s fantastic mosaics.
Onward then to explore the city of Meknes, taking in a panoramic view of the old city with its striking mosques and minarets. We will visit the Thursday gate, the medina, the beautiful granary of Moulay Ismail and then Bab Mansour, the most beautiful gate in Morocco.
In the late afternoon we will complete our journey to Fez.
DAY 05: (OCTOBER 28TH) EXPLORE FEZ
We will enjoy a walking tour of the old city, Fes El Bali, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the world’s best-preserved medieval cities. Step back in time as you walk through the Medina’s labyrinth of narrow alleys. Take in the vibrant displays of age-old traditions, and the intensity of life being celebrated around every corner of this exotic and energised souk.
A must is the Chouara Tannery which is surrounded by terraces from which you can look down onto the pits of workers treading leather hides in tubs of dye. We will witness traditional potters at work and visit the old Jewish quarter with its beautiful 17th-century synagogue. We will stop by the Medrasa Attarine and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine: a beautifully restored 18th century inn.
After a very full and rewarding day, we return to our Riad to rest or choose the option of a relaxing massage.
DAY 06: (OCTOBER 29TH) FEZ- MIDDLE ATLAS- ERFOUD.
Leaving Fez, we drive towards the Sahara Desert crossing the Middle Atlas Mountains before we stop in the beautiful town of Ifrane known as the little Switzerland. Traversing the beautiful plateau of Timahdit where the Berbers graze their herds we might stop to enjoy a fresh mint tea with a Berber semi-nomadic family, a great opportunity for portraits. Moving on to Zaida village where we will stop to enjoy a home hosted meal with a Berber family. Lamb tajine is the main dish of the region.
In the afternoon, we venture over the high mountain pass of Tizi N’talghmt continuing on the traditional camel route via the gorges of Ziz to Errachidia. Heading south, we reach the expanse of palm groves of Tafilalt oasis. And then finally descend into Erfoud, a small trading village that is the gateway to the vast Sahara Desert.
DAY 07: (OCTOBER 30TH) 4WD TO RISSANI, VISIT NOMADIC FAMILY, OFF-ROAD TO THE SAHARA.
Our day starts by following the meandering Ziz River towards Rissani, the last sizeable community and the end of the vegetation belt before the dunes of the Sand Sea begin. The settlement is the homeland of the Alaouite dynasty, which reigned in this region for 300 years. After visiting the founder’s mausoleum we explore the local ksour (fortified village).
We then proceed to Khamlia, a remote desert village in a region is known for the spiritual songs of its Gnawa musicians. The Khamlia’s Gnaoua ancestors were brought from central and west Africa, through the Sahara Desert in caravans that arrived to the southeastern part of Morocco. We will hear these melodic chants during a live performance and learn more about everyday life in the desert as we visit a nomadic family.
Then we head to our deluxe desert camp, where we are going to take a camel ride towards one of high dunes to enjoy the sunset.
Dinner will be a desert feast accompanied by local musicians. After dinner you may take a little walk on the dunes to enjoy the stars and maybe some Astro photography.
DAY 08: (OCTOBER 31ST) MERZOUGA- TODRA GORGE TO BOUMALEN DADES.
As the sun rises capture the changing colours of the sand dunes then enjoy a hearty breakfast outside of the campsite. Time to go off-road by 4WD to the Anti Atlas Mountains visiting remote villages on our way to Boumalen Dades. We will learn about Berber life in the Atlas Mountains by visiting a local family. Explore the beautiful gorges of Todra and Dades. Todra gorge rises vertically to leave just a narrow pass through which our cars and the river struggle for right of way. Berber goat herders and spectacular scenery will add to the enjoyment.
DAY 09: (NOVEMBER 1ST) VISIT DADES VALLEY AND GORGE- OUARZAZAT TO AIT BENHADDOU
From the Dades Valley we set off on the fabled ‘Road of 1,000 Kasbahs’ passing through the Mgoun Valley to Skoura Oasis, home to several privately owned kasbahs. Here we visit the Kasbah Ameridil: a 17th Century rammed- earth Arabic fortress and a popular filming location for famous movies.
Our destination is Ait Benhaddou, perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century. Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco’s most iconic sites. Its giant kasbah is one of the most beautiful in Morocco and the UNESCO listed fortified village is a fine example of earthen clay architecture. This area featured in such movies as Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiatorand the seriesGame of Thrones.
The roof-top terrace of your hotel will be the perfect vantage point.
DAY 10: (NOVEMBER 2ND) AIT BEN HADOU- OUNILA VALLEY- HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS-MARRAKESH.
Today we take on the winding roads of the High Atlas Mountains, bound for Marrakesh, an ancient, exotic city wrapped in European modernity. There’s no rush as the scenery through the Ounila Valley and High Atlas Mountain passes is magnificent, and there will surely be calls for several photo stops along the way.
On arrival in Marrakesh you will check in to your hotel. This evening, we head to the great square of Jemaa el Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and an icon of Marrakesh and Morocco. When night falls, the square transforms into a hive of activity. Henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a hastily and efficiently erected street-food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies.
At night, we’ll walk to Jemaa el Fna, where the street is lined with food stalls, a great place to sample some local cuisine. Time also for a drink on the top terrace of one of the cafes which surrounded the square of Jemaa el Fna, watching what is going on and enjoying the sunset.
DAY 11: (NOVEMBER 3RD) EXPLORE MARRAKESH
Our local guide will take us on a memorable morning tour of the old medina, with its palaces, souks and colourful heritage. We will visit the Badi palace, the Marrakesh Museum, itself a former palace, which houses a fine collection of Moroccan art and sculpture, stop by the Koutoubia Mosque; its famous minaret is the prototype for others of its kind around the world, including La Giralda in Seville.
It is then back to the fascinating streets of the old medina and on to the Jemaa el Fna. In the afternoon, we will visit the Majorelle gardens where we will have plenty of time to wander the gardens, visit the Berber museum or explore the nearby streets.
DAY 12: (NOVEMBER 4TH) DRIVE TO ESSAOUIRA, AFTERNOON CITY TOUR
We head westwards to the old fishing town of Essaouira, formerly known as Mogador, a city where the UNESCO listed old medina brushes up against the Atlantic Ocean. Sandstone walkways contrast with whitewashed houses, bright blue sky, and the sand of the surrounding beaches and dunes. The nets and bustling industry of the local fishing trawlers, the stone ramparts, seabirds and surf combine to give Essaouira an undeniable charm.
As we will arrive in the afternoon, we will meet our local guide for a walking tour through the old medina, Jewish mellah, port, and Skala. There will be still some time to enjoy sunset from the 18th Century Portuguese ramparts.
DAY 13: (NOVEMBER 5TH) DAY AT LEISURE
Essaouira is an ideal and generous location for photographic opportunities. Explore the narrow lanes, spend time at the picturesque harbour, absorb the lively throng of the Medina, with local women veiled in their traditional dress, or capture some seascapes at the adjacent beaches, popular with surfers and windsurfers from around the world. As the light and local activities change throughout the day, there will always be something new to discover and capture.
Of course, you have the option to just relax, enjoy some local seafood or even indulge in a traditional Moroccan hammam or Turkish bath.
DAY 14: (NOVEMBER 6TH) DRIVE TO CASABLANCA, VISIT THE BEAUTIFUL HASSAN II MOSQUE.
This morning, we head north to Casablanca. After lunch we will visit the enormous Hassan II Mosque, designed by the French Architect Michel Pensou. The scale of the building, its Moroccan and Moorish influences, 210m minaret and dramatic location are impressive. Perched above the waters of the Atlantic it honours the Quran’s assertion that “the throne of Allah was over the water”.
Although Casablanca is now a modern metropolis, gateway and financial hub or Morocco, the old French colonial downtown area still has some charm with its Mauresque architecture, a blend of Moroccan and European Art Deco design.
DAY 15: (NOVEMBER 7TH) TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT
Today the tour ends and you will be transferred to the international airport for your onward fight.