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Essential Morocco

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Essential Morocco

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Description

From couscous to camels, mint tea to tanneries, you’ll get a taste of Morocco’s best bits on this 12-day adventure through mountains, gorges, desert and Amazigh villages. Kick-start in the French-infused port city of Casablanca, hang out with a local family on a homestay in Moulay Idriss, navigate the mother of all medinas in the cultural capital of Fes, wind your way up through Tizi n’Tichka and the High Atlas Mountains, before riding camels along the sand dunes during sunset and setting up camp under the Saharan stars. From the colourful and chaotic Marrakech markets to the blue washed city of Chefchaouen – this adventure through Morocco hits all the essentials.

Trip Name
Essential Morocco
Last Updated
2024-07-23
Days
12
Capacity
16
Highlights
  • Prepare for the best mint tea of your life on a visit to the Tawesna teahouse. This experience is more than just a cuppa, it’s about discovering a culture and contributing to the economic inclusion of women.
  • Enjoy a street food experience with multiple Moroccan favourites at a local restaurant with your group and trip leader – the best way to sample all the delicious goods in Djemaa el-Fna!
  • Watch the sunset from a camel’s back in the Sahara Desert and camp beneath a blanket of stars – now this is a bucket list experience!
  • It's easy to get lost in a labyrinth (think less David Bowie film, more medieval maze), especially when there are enticing distractions at every turn. Never fear, your local guide knows the city of Fes like a lifelong friend.
  • Traverse blue washed streets (with some new feline friends) in Chefchaouen – named after the two mountains that hug the city.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Casablanca
Salaam Alaikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure will begin with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you have time, why not check out bustling Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco, at your own pace. Modelled after Marseille in France, this port city has an eclectic architectural style, a fusion of Art Deco French buildings and Mauresque (Moorish) government institutions. A great way to spend the day is to wander around the Old Medina and city walls, then jump in a taxi and visit the Quartier Habous – the new medina full of shaded squares, narrow streets and arcades that lead from one souk to another. This is a great place to enjoy a Moroccan coffee and maybe start working on your bargaining skills.
Day 2 - Moulay Idriss
After breakfast, opt to take a guided tour of the Hassan II Mosque. More than 6000 craftsmen joined forces to build this beauty in 1993, and it's one of the few mosques in Morocco that foreigners can enter. Later, head to the station and take a local train to Meknes before jumping in a taxi and take a drive through the rolling hills to Volubilis. Head out on a guided tour of these epic Roman ruins, then head to the whitewashed village of Moulay Idriss – one of Morocco's most important pilgrimage sites. Here, you’ll witness a demonstration of the art of mint tea making – this sweet treat is a Moroccan speciality! Tonight, you'll get to hang out with a local family – an experience only allowed foreigners since 2005. Your guesthouse, an old traditional riad, has a family atmosphere and all the optional meals are homemade, so you can get an authentic taste of Morocco in your free time.
Day 3 - Chefchaouen
After breakfast, take a private transfer to Chefchaouen – which translates to ‘look at the horns’, after the two mountain peaks that overlook the city. Known for the striking, blue-washed buildings (made to represent the Mediterranean Sea) and steep, cobbled lanes, Chefchaouen is a gorgeous place to spend the day wandering. This afternoon is free for you to explore, so why not head to the red-walled Kasbah, the 15th-century fortress and dungeon, or the ethnographic museum. Or, just spend the day on foot, traversing the winding roads and stopping to pat the many cats that call this city their home.
Day 4 - Chefchaouen
Today is another free day in Chefchaouen. If you want the streets to yourself for the best photo ops, it’s recommended you get up early and explore the iconic sites as the city wakes up. Maybe take a guided tour of the sights, sounds and smells of the medina, or sample the delicious local specialties (the orange juice is delicious!) at a cafe in the Plaza Uta el-Hammam. Alternatively, you might prefer to get out of town and enjoy a hike and picnic in the surrounding hills. The hike is a popular option, as you can leave the shades of blue for a journey across the Rif Mountains and join your guide to Akchour Falls – a natural wonder, abundant with lush mountains, rivers and waterfalls. Cross the remarkable rock formation The God’s Bridge and then hike back along the forest, soaking in the nature that surrounds. In the evening, how about tucking into a tagine at a local restaurant or visiting a hammam – a traditional Moroccan spa. The night is yours to enjoy.
Day 5 - Fes
Today you’ll journey to the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco – Fes. Vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming, Fes is a visual and pungent feast for the senses, with a huge, well-preserved medieval city that’s the mother of all medinas. Later this afternoon, enjoy some free time and perhaps check out the exquisite carvings and tile work at the Medersa el Attarine near the spice and perfume market. Alternatively, Fes is a shopping heaven for those wanting to pick up a souvenir (or three).
Day 6 - Fes
Getting lost in Fes is half the fun, but you'll have your local leader with you to help you get the lay of the land. Join your group through this vibrant labyrinth of a city, alive with the many craftsmen, markets, ceramics and beautiful mosques. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city's coolest buildings, recently restored and now open to visitors. You'll also visit the famous tannery and its dye pits and a ceramic factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. Today will be a big day, so remember to keep hydrated and pack some snacks.
Day 7 - Sahara Camp
This morning after breakfast, buckle in for a long travel day. As you make your way towards the rolling dunes of the Sahara Desert, watch the ever-changing scenery pass you by, get stuck into your book, play some of your favourite music, get to know your fellow travellers and enjoy some scenic stops along the way to stretch your legs. Arrive in Merzouga, drop your bags off at your overnight camp, and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The mode of transport? Camel, of course! Brace yourself for one heck of a sunset, as you ride through the vast expanse of sand and loop back to your private camp for an overnight stay. In the camp, you'll have a thin mattress, blankets and sheets (and an auberge not so far away, just in case). Make sure you bring an extra sleeping sheet and a jumper if it's winter (you'd be surprised how cold it can get, even in the desert). Sleep under the stars and have one of those 'I’m so far from home' moments.
Day 8 - Todra Gorge - Dades Valley
You'll be getting up well before the crack of dawn this morning, so don’t forget to set your alarm. Climb to a nearby sand dune to catch the sunrise and experience the amazing interplay of light as the Sahara slowly comes alive. Head back for brekkie, collect the rest of your gear, and then travel west to Todra. You’ll come across a bright tablecloth of green that might seem so out of place you'll think you are dreaming. This valley is pretty impressive, with all the palm trees and mud-brick villages. Arrive at your hotel at the top of the valley, then perhaps take a hike into the gorge, where sheer cliffs rise more than 1000 feet above you.
Day 9 - Ait Benhaddou
From Todra Gorge, travel along the ‘Road of 1000 Kasbahs’ and enjoy views of the Dades Gorge. You'll also travel past Skoura, home to the beautiful little houses rising like a mirage beyond a dry riverbed. Quench your thirst with a mouthful of mint tea (the best in the world) at Tawesna teahouse, whose profits are devoted to the projects of the women association in the village. This experience is more than just a cuppa – it’s about discovering a culture, sharing a true moment and contributing to women’s economic inclusion. Continue to the medieval mud-brick town of Ait Benhaddou, which is at its best in the late afternoon sun. If you wonder why Ait Benhaddou looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it before! Perhaps not live, but certainly on the silver screen – think Gladiator and Game of Thrones – loads of movies and shows were filmed in this kasbah! Explore the many old streets and climb the fortress for a superb view of the Old Town. You can also (for a small fee) enter one of the most interesting old houses and climb up to the turrets for a view over the river. You'll spend the night just outside the walls.
Day 10 - High Atlas - Marrakech
After breakfast today, continue west, taking in those countryside views as you wind your way up towards Tizi ‘n Tichka. This is a whopping 2260 m above sea level – the highest pass on the road to Marrakech. Leaving the Atlas behind, you'll descend into the plains surrounding Marrakech and arrive in the late afternoon. With no planned activities, this is a good chance to get lost in the fun of Djemaa el-Fna Square, where there are many fire eaters, fortune tellers, actors, musicians and hawkers vying for your attention.
Day 11 - Marrakech
Marrakech is a feast for the senses, and this morning you’ll get to venture out in the maze of streets with a local expert. Set off on a tour of the old medina, through the bustling souks and sample some sweet and savoury specialities in a tasting experience at a local restaurant. Think barbequed meats, fresh salads, mint tea and couscous. The rest of the day is free, so why not head out on a cycling trip, go quad-biking or indulge in a Luxury Hammam and Spa – the options are endless! You might also like to visit Le Jardin Secret – a traditional medina garden revived for the 21st century. Once owned by a powerful local chief U-Bihi – who was poisoned by Mohammed IV – this historic riad has one of the most beautiful courtyards in Marrakech, combining exotic and traditional Islamic gardens that are fed by original khettara, an underground irrigation system. Maybe visit AMAL Women’s Training Center for lunch – Amal is a non-profit organisation that helps disadvantaged women gain work experience by providing comprehensive training in gastronomy. Every year, 30 to 40 women complete the training, which helps them find appropriate employment and improve their living conditions. In the evening, you’ll undoubtedly be drawn back to Djemaa el-Fna for a night out on the town.
Day 12 - Marrakech
No activities are planned after breakfast this morning, why not become a Moroccan MasterChef in an Urban Adventure’s cooking masterclass with a local guide? Journey through the souks of Marrakech and shop for the best ingredients before learning the insider tricks to whip up a deliciously authentic tagine in a classic riad setting while getting to know the family that lives there. To find out more about ‘Tajine Cookery Class’, visit urbanadventures.com.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
01-08-202412-08-2024AUD $ 990-
04-08-202415-08-2024AUD $ 1,055-
11-08-202422-08-2024AUD $ 1,055-
15-08-202426-08-2024AUD $ 990-
18-08-202429-08-2024AUD $ 1,045-
25-08-202405-09-2024AUD $ 1,110-
29-08-202409-09-2024AUD $ 1,020-
01-09-202412-09-2024AUD $ 1,170-
05-09-202416-09-2024AUD $ 1,120-
08-09-202419-09-2024AUD $ 1,170-
12-09-202423-09-2024AUD $ 972-
15-09-202426-09-2024AUD $ 1,170-
19-09-202430-09-2024AUD $ 1,020-
22-09-202403-10-2024AUD $ 1,160-
26-09-202407-10-2024AUD $ 1,020-
29-09-202410-10-2024AUD $ 1,100-
03-10-202414-10-2024AUD $ 1,120-
06-10-202417-10-2024AUD $ 1,170-
10-10-202421-10-2024AUD $ 1,020-
13-10-202424-10-2024AUD $ 1,100-
15-10-202426-10-2024AUD $ 1,020-
17-10-202428-10-2024AUD $ 1,020-
20-10-202431-10-2024AUD $ 1,020-
24-10-202404-11-2024AUD $ 1,020-
27-10-202407-11-2024AUD $ 1,020-
31-10-202411-11-2024AUD $ 1,020-
03-11-202414-11-2024AUD $ 965-
07-11-202418-11-2024AUD $ 1,040-
10-11-202421-11-2024AUD $ 965-
14-11-202425-11-2024AUD $ 965-
17-11-202428-11-2024AUD $ 965-
24-11-202405-12-2024AUD $ 965-
28-11-202409-12-2024AUD $ 965-
12-12-202423-12-2024AUD $ 965-
15-12-202426-12-2024AUD $ 965-
19-12-202430-12-2024AUD $ 965-
22-12-202402-01-2025AUD $ 965-
26-12-202406-01-2025AUD $ 965-
29-12-202409-01-2025AUD $ 965-
05-01-202516-01-2025AUD $ 1,035-
12-01-202523-01-2025AUD $ 1,035-
19-01-202530-01-2025AUD $ 995-
26-01-202506-02-2025AUD $ 995-
02-02-202513-02-2025AUD $ 995-
09-02-202520-02-2025AUD $ 995-
16-02-202527-02-2025AUD $ 995-
23-02-202506-03-2025AUD $ 995-
27-02-202510-03-2025AUD $ 995-
02-03-202513-03-2025AUD $ 1,035-
09-03-202520-03-2025AUD $ 1,035-
16-03-202527-03-2025AUD $ 1,035-
23-03-202503-04-2025AUD $ 1,035-
30-03-202510-04-2025AUD $ 1,035-
03-04-202514-04-2025AUD $ 1,075-
06-04-202517-04-2025AUD $ 1,075-
10-04-202521-04-2025AUD $ 1,075-
13-04-202524-04-2025AUD $ 1,075-
15-04-202526-04-2025AUD $ 1,075-
17-04-202528-04-2025AUD $ 1,075-
20-04-202501-05-2025AUD $ 1,075-
24-04-202505-05-2025AUD $ 1,075-
27-04-202508-05-2025AUD $ 1,075-
04-05-202515-05-2025AUD $ 1,035-
08-05-202519-05-2025AUD $ 1,035-
11-05-202522-05-2025AUD $ 1,035-
15-05-202526-05-2025AUD $ 1,035-
18-05-202529-05-2025AUD $ 1,035-
22-05-202502-06-2025AUD $ 1,035-
25-05-202505-06-2025AUD $ 1,035-
01-06-202512-06-2025AUD $ 1,035-
08-06-202519-06-2025AUD $ 1,035-
12-06-202523-06-2025AUD $ 1,035-
15-06-202526-06-2025AUD $ 1,035-
22-06-202503-07-2025AUD $ 995-
26-06-202507-07-2025AUD $ 995-
29-06-202510-07-2025AUD $ 995-
03-07-202514-07-2025AUD $ 995-
06-07-202517-07-2025AUD $ 995-
10-07-202521-07-2025AUD $ 995-
13-07-202524-07-2025AUD $ 995-
17-07-202528-07-2025AUD $ 995-
20-07-202531-07-2025AUD $ 995-
24-07-202504-08-2025AUD $ 995-
27-07-202507-08-2025AUD $ 995-
31-07-202511-08-2025AUD $ 995-
03-08-202514-08-2025AUD $ 995-
07-08-202518-08-2025AUD $ 995-
10-08-202521-08-2025AUD $ 995-
14-08-202525-08-2025AUD $ 995-
17-08-202528-08-2025AUD $ 995-
21-08-202501-09-2025AUD $ 995-
24-08-202504-09-2025AUD $ 995-
28-08-202508-09-2025AUD $ 995-
31-08-202511-09-2025AUD $ 1,035-
02-09-202513-09-2025AUD $ 1,035-
04-09-202515-09-2025AUD $ 1,035-
07-09-202518-09-2025AUD $ 1,035-
09-09-202520-09-2025AUD $ 1,075-
11-09-202522-09-2025AUD $ 1,075-
14-09-202525-09-2025AUD $ 1,075-
16-09-202527-09-2025AUD $ 1,075-
18-09-202529-09-2025AUD $ 1,075-
21-09-202502-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
23-09-202504-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
25-09-202506-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
28-09-202509-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
30-09-202511-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
02-10-202513-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
05-10-202516-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
07-10-202518-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
09-10-202520-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
12-10-202523-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
14-10-202525-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
16-10-202527-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
19-10-202530-10-2025AUD $ 1,075-
23-10-202503-11-2025AUD $ 1,075-
26-10-202506-11-2025AUD $ 1,075-
30-10-202510-11-2025AUD $ 1,075-
02-11-202513-11-2025AUD $ 1,035-
06-11-202517-11-2025AUD $ 1,035-
09-11-202520-11-2025AUD $ 1,035-
13-11-202524-11-2025AUD $ 1,035-
16-11-202527-11-2025AUD $ 1,035-
20-11-202501-12-2025AUD $ 1,035-
23-11-202504-12-2025AUD $ 1,035-
30-11-202511-12-2025AUD $ 995-
07-12-202518-12-2025AUD $ 995-
11-12-202522-12-2025AUD $ 995-
14-12-202525-12-2025AUD $ 995-
21-12-202501-01-2026AUD $ 1,035-
28-12-202508-01-2026AUD $ 1,035-
04-01-202615-01-2026AUD $ 1,085-
11-01-202622-01-2026AUD $ 1,045-
18-01-202629-01-2026AUD $ 1,045-
25-01-202605-02-2026AUD $ 1,045-
01-02-202612-02-2026AUD $ 1,045-
08-02-202619-02-2026AUD $ 1,045-
15-02-202626-02-2026AUD $ 1,045-
22-02-202605-03-2026AUD $ 1,045-
08-03-202619-03-2026AUD $ 1,085-
15-03-202626-03-2026AUD $ 1,085-
22-03-202602-04-2026AUD $ 1,085-
29-03-202609-04-2026AUD $ 1,085-
02-04-202613-04-2026AUD $ 1,130-
05-04-202616-04-2026AUD $ 1,130-
09-04-202620-04-2026AUD $ 1,130-
12-04-202623-04-2026AUD $ 1,130-
14-04-202625-04-2026AUD $ 1,130-
16-04-202627-04-2026AUD $ 1,130-
19-04-202630-04-2026AUD $ 1,130-
23-04-202604-05-2026AUD $ 1,130-
26-04-202607-05-2026AUD $ 1,130-
28-04-202609-05-2026AUD $ 1,130-
03-05-202614-05-2026AUD $ 1,085-
07-05-202618-05-2026AUD $ 1,085-
10-05-202621-05-2026AUD $ 1,085-
17-05-202628-05-2026AUD $ 1,085-
21-05-202601-06-2026AUD $ 1,085-
24-05-202604-06-2026AUD $ 1,085-
31-05-202611-06-2026AUD $ 1,085-
07-06-202618-06-2026AUD $ 1,085-
14-06-202625-06-2026AUD $ 1,085-
21-06-202602-07-2026AUD $ 1,085-
25-06-202606-07-2026AUD $ 1,045-
28-06-202609-07-2026AUD $ 1,045-
02-07-202613-07-2026AUD $ 1,045-
05-07-202616-07-2026AUD $ 1,045-
09-07-202620-07-2026AUD $ 1,045-
12-07-202623-07-2026AUD $ 1,045-
16-07-202627-07-2026AUD $ 1,045-
19-07-202630-07-2026AUD $ 1,045-
23-07-202603-08-2026AUD $ 1,045-
26-07-202606-08-2026AUD $ 1,045-
30-07-202610-08-2026AUD $ 1,045-
02-08-202613-08-2026AUD $ 1,045-
06-08-202617-08-2026AUD $ 1,045-
09-08-202620-08-2026AUD $ 1,045-
13-08-202624-08-2026AUD $ 1,045-
16-08-202627-08-2026AUD $ 1,045-
20-08-202631-08-2026AUD $ 1,045-
23-08-202603-09-2026AUD $ 1,045-
27-08-202607-09-2026AUD $ 1,085-
30-08-202610-09-2026AUD $ 1,085-
01-09-202612-09-2026AUD $ 1,085-
03-09-202614-09-2026AUD $ 1,085-
06-09-202617-09-2026AUD $ 1,085-
08-09-202619-09-2026AUD $ 1,130-
10-09-202621-09-2026AUD $ 1,130-
13-09-202624-09-2026AUD $ 1,130-
15-09-202626-09-2026AUD $ 1,130-
17-09-202628-09-2026AUD $ 1,130-
20-09-202601-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
22-09-202603-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
24-09-202605-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
27-09-202608-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
29-09-202610-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
01-10-202612-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
04-10-202615-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
06-10-202617-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
08-10-202619-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
11-10-202622-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
13-10-202624-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
15-10-202626-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
18-10-202629-10-2026AUD $ 1,130-
22-10-202602-11-2026AUD $ 1,130-
25-10-202605-11-2026AUD $ 1,085-
29-10-202609-11-2026AUD $ 1,085-
01-11-202612-11-2026AUD $ 1,085-
05-11-202616-11-2026AUD $ 1,085-
08-11-202619-11-2026AUD $ 1,085-
12-11-202623-11-2026AUD $ 1,085-
15-11-202626-11-2026AUD $ 1,085-
19-11-202630-11-2026AUD $ 1,085-
22-11-202603-12-2026AUD $ 1,045-
29-11-202610-12-2026AUD $ 1,045-
06-12-202617-12-2026AUD $ 1,045-
10-12-202621-12-2026AUD $ 1,045-
13-12-202624-12-2026AUD $ 1,045-
20-12-202631-12-2026AUD $ 1,085-
27-12-202607-01-2027AUD $ 1,085-

Accommodation

Desert camp (1 night),Guesthouse (3 nights),Hotel (7 nights)

Transport

Camel,Private Vehicle,Taxi,Train

Map