A Mélange of Morocco
March 20-29, 2020
10 days, 9 nights
Welcome to Morocco, a crossroads of language, culture and civilization. Get ready to employ all your senses and immerse yourself in the sands of Moroccan culture.
This is a fully guided, all-inclusive tour from the time you land in magnificent Marrakech to the time you leave. Just show up eager to experience something extraordinary.
NOTE: Because our guides are local we are able to keep our finger on the pulse of a place. Because our groups are small we are able to move around with fluidity. Both of these things allow for meaningful changes to our itinerary so we're sure not to miss out on something extraordinary. This is just one of the ways in which our tours stand out.
Here is where it all begins, in this intoxicating city of nearly 1 million strong at the foot of the snowcapped High Atlas Mountains.
Our city tour will include meandering through the medina with a local guide, taking in the souks and Jemaa el-Fnaa, one of the most storied public squares in history. Also on tour, the Marrakech Museum, Bahia Palace, Majorelle Gardens - created in the 1920s by French painter, Jacques Majorelle, who lovingly maintained it for over 40 years - and plenty of architectural wonder.
When it comes to flavor, Morocco is known for its spices and diverse palate with influences from multiple cultures. We will learn about Moroccan cuisine as we venture beyond the central square with local guides who have curated some of their favorite places in the streets and back alleys of the medina. There will be plenty to eat, you will not go hungry!
The Moroccan tradition of hikayat, or storytelling, dates back almost 1,000 years. We will spend an evening with a master storyteller who will weave his tales for us during a private performance in our riad. (What is a riad?)
Festival of Roses (May tours)
Our tour includes a drive through Dadès Valley. We will take a stroll through the valley to see how the local women collect roses then visit a distillery and boutique to learn how these delicate flowers are turned into sweet floral products. A unique sensory experience. During the month of May we will stop in Kelaat M'gouna for the rose festival. Dating from the late Thirties, when the French opened the valley’s first rose water/oil distilleries, this festival celebrates the annual harvest with exuberant displays of Berber singing, dancing and sword-fighting, along with the coronation of a Rose Queen in a packed open-air stadium, and of course, roses.
Merzouga and Erg Chebbi
The desert! Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco's two Saharan ergs – large seas of dunes formed by wind-blown sand. The dunes of Erg Chebbi reach a height of up to 150 meters in some places! Here we will ride camel-back into the sunset, stargaze while feasting under the firmament, and spend the night in a splendid nomadic tent.
We're off to the kasbah. These ancient fortified castles and their grandiose ramparts are abundant throughout the country and one of the most splendid sits on this bare plateau south of the High Atlas Mountains. Once a stop-off on the old caravan routes now a backdrop for Hollywood films and an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Essaouira - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Our final days in Morocco will be spent seaside in the enchanting, laid-back town of Essaouira. Far from the expansive sands of the desert lies this small, intoxicating fishing harbour. Built during the late 18th century it has a mix of North African and European architecture and was a major trading hub between the Sahara and Europe.
The medina is home to many small arts and crafts businesses, notably wood-carving using the root and the stem from the Thuja tree. We will spend some time exploring traditional art and music with a local guide.
Essaouira is the center of argan oil production. The argan tree is endemic to Morocco as are the goats that climb these trees to dine on the fruit. Really! You will see it for yourself. The oil is used for both culinary and cosmetic purposes and its production currently supports more than 2 million people in the region.
Just outside of town, we will gather in a the home of a local family to learn how to prepare a traditional Moroccan meal and then share in the bounty we create together.
A visit to a Moroccan hammam (public bath) is a singular experience. A purifying bath coupled with a relaxing massage. What better way to end a modern-day adventure in Morocco than with an ancient ritual integral to Moroccan life.
What is included
Group is limited to 8 participants so reserve your place early. If you are a group with at least 6 people and would like to arrange your own travel dates, please contact us. Tour cost is for double occupancy. Single room supplement is $425.