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Trip Extensions

Essaouira

Duration: 3 days

This extension takes you to the Atlantic coastal towns of Essaouira, Safi and El Jadida. 

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.

Day 1: arrive casablanca

City panorama. Casablanca,City panorama. Casablanca,

On arrival at the Casablanca airport, you will be greeted by your driver and transferred to your hotel in the city for your overnight. Casablanca is the most cosmopolitan city in Morocco, but it holds a handful of more historic charms. Depending on your arrival time, you may want to head over to the medina and wander among the shops and food stalls.

Meals
None
Lodging
Sofitel Casablanca (or similar)

Day 2: casablanca to fes via rabat & volubilis

Hassan Tower in Rabat Morocco AfricaHassan Tower in Rabat Morocco Africa

After breakfast, stop at the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in the world, with room for more than 100,000 worshippers! (Note, non-Muslims are not allowed inside.) The Mosque, built by 6,000 traditional Moroccan artists, contains intricate mosaics, stone, and marble floors and columns, sculpted moldings, and carved wood ceilings. Also experience the Corniche (South Beach of Morocco), a boardwalk lined with restaurants and nightclubs where the locals go to have a bit of fun. It is the site of Rick's Cafe, made famous by the classic movie "Casablanca".

Continue on to the city of Rabat (estimated 1.5 hr drive), located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River, with a population of about 1.2 million. Here you'll visit the Kasbah of the Oudayas, a 12th-century medieval fortress citadel with exceptional ocean views from the acropolis. Also explore Hassan Tower, a minaret for an incomplete mosque. It was intended to be the largest minaret in the world along with the largest mosque, but construction stopped when Sultan Yacub al-Mansour died in 1199.

Lunch will be at Meknes (approx. 1 hr drive), one of Morocco's Imperial cities, where you'll have time to explore. This town was the Ismailian capital during the 17th century, and is now famous for its 25-mile-long walls and monumental landmark gate of Bab el-Mansour. Wander the lanes of the old medina, visit the Mellah Jewish quarter, and see the Royal stables. The Dar Jamai palace houses one of the country's best museums, exhibiting glorious ceramics, jewelry, rugs, and textiles with distinct ornate Meknesi needlework. Enjoy the setting of this town in a region of olives, wine, and citrus.

Afterwards, visit the roman ruins at Volubilis, considered the best-preserved archeological site in Morocco. You'll spend time exploring these 2,000 year old UNESCO ruins, and perhaps imagining what life must have been like during the Roman Empire.

Your day ends in Fes, often referred to as "the cultural capital of Morocco". Once there, get settled in your luxurious riad, overlooking the medina.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Riad Palais Faraj (or similar)

Day 3: fes exploration

The tannery is an iconic sight in FesThe tannery is an iconic sight in Fes

You'll spend the day exploring the cultural capital of Morocco beginning with a walk through its alleyways and small streets. You'll stop to see the Royal Palace and admire the stunning brass doors surrounded by beautiful mosaic tiles. Next, visit the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) the first ever built in Morocco, followed by a visit to the Al Quaraouiyine University, the oldest continuously-operating educational institute in the world. Founded by Fatima Al-Fihiri in 859 CE, it became one of the leading spiritual and educational centers in the Muslim world. Here, students are taught ina traditional format, seated in a semi-circle (halqa) around the sheikh. You'll also visit the colorful leather-dying pits to see leather-making techniques unchanged since the middle ages. After lunch, visit a ceramic workshop where you will have the chance to watch the craftsmen chip mosaic tile pieces and paint designs on plates. Before returning to your hotel, enjoy a refreshing cocktail in the new city.

Return to your riad where the rest of your day is free to roam the medina or perhaps get a relaxing massage at the hammam.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Riad Palais Faraj (or similar)

Day 4: atlas mountains to merzouga

A village with traditional kasbah houses in Ziz Valley, MoroccoA village with traditional kasbah houses in Ziz Valley, Morocco

After breakfast at the riad, you’ll leave Fes and begin the drive into the Atlas Mountains. Stop at Azrou (1.5 hr drive), a Berber village in the middle of a famous cedar forest—the largest in Morocco—where you may spot Barbary apes (macaques). You’ll notice how the scenery changes to reveal hints of the desert as you approach the city of Errachidia to enjoy the Berber hospitality for lunch. Continue on to Merzouga (6 hr drive) via the Tizi Ntalghamt Pass and along the luxurious Ziz Valley, stopping for panoramic views along the way. On arrival in Merzouga before dinner, you'll enjoy a glass of refreshing mint tea as you check into your beautiful, luxurious riad. The riad sits at the edge of the Erg Chebbi dunes offering amazing veiws.

Total driving distance today will be approximately 265 miles, but with frequent stops along the way.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging
Riad Madu (or similar)

Day 5: sahara desert and camel trekking

Enjoy hospitality in the desertEnjoy hospitality in the desert

After breakfast at the hotel, visit the Gnaoua people, originally slaves brought over from Sudan, to experience their music and lifestyle. Nearby is Merzouga Lake, home to many species of birds. You may also visit the nomad wire house, where many Berber handicrafts are sold at a much better bargain than in the big cities. In the afternoon, mount your camels* to explore the sand seas of Merzouga, guided by an experienced camel handler. Enjoy a wonderful sunset over the golden dunes, then overnight in comfortable Berber tents with a private bathroom, shower, and running water. 

*Option to take a 4 x 4 vehicle to the campsite for additional cost.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging
Bouchedor Luxury Desert Camp (or similar)

Day 6: todra gorges and dades valley

Riding through the desert on camels is unforgettableRiding through the desert on camels is unforgettable

Early this morning, you'll wake to what may just be the best sunrise in your life, then peacefully camel-trek back to your riad. En route, be sure to appreciate the unique beauty of the spectacular Erg Chebbi sand dunes, changing with the light as the day progresses. After breakfast at the riad, you’ll leave for Rissani, Tinghir, and Todra Gorges—the highest and narrowest gorges in Morocco. Enjoy lunch in the heart of the gorge, then continue on through the Dades Valley, where you’ll see the majestic sand castles and the amazing rock formations known as "monkey toes." Overnight accommodation will be in a lovely hotel overlooking the Dades valley.

Total driving time today is around 4 hours plus frequent stops (160 miles).

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging
Hotel Xalucadades (or similar)

Day 7: bouthaghrar & skoura to ouarzazate

Kasbah in SkouraKasbah in Skoura

Today's journey takes you through the Dades Valley along the way of the thousand kasbahs – providing numerous opportunities to take some of your best photographic shots of the trip. You'll stop to meet the Berber cave dwellers and learn about their lifestyle and how they make their home in these caves. Continue on through the fertile Rose Valley, admiring the rock formations along the way, to Skoura where you'll visit the Kasbah Ameridil. This well preserved kasbah, originally built in the 17th century, is one of Morocco's best living museums. This kasbah, which has been owned by the Nassiri family since it was built, contains ancient Moroccan artifacts. Enjoy some hiking in the valley, then have lunch in a traditional restaurant overlooking the rim. Today's drive ends in Ouarzazate where you check-in to your beautiful, luxurious riad that blends in nicely with the environment of the desert, not far from the mountains.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Ksar Ighnda (or similar)

Day 8: ouarzazate to marrakech

The Ait Ben Haddou kasbah ruinsThe Ait Ben Haddou kasbah ruins

Depart for Marrakech, stopping to visit the famous Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, the largest kasbah in Morocco. It was built by Et Hami El Glaoui, one of the last Berber chieftains during the 18th century. It now houses many Glaoui people. Continuing on, you'll journey through the majestic Tizi n'tichka Pass (2260m) over the High Atlas Mountains, before arriving at your lovely riad, located in the heart of Marrakech. If you like, spend some time this evening exploring the medina.

Total driving time today is around 6.5 hours plus frequent stops along the way.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Ksar La Maison (or similar)

Day 9: marrakech tour

Menara gardensMenara gardens

After breakfast in the riad, it's time to start exploring Marrakech, "the red city of Morocco.” Your guide will ensure that you see the most important places of historical and cultural interest, such as:

  • The 16th century Saadien tombs where about 60 members of the Saadi Dynasty, including Ahmad al-Mansur and his family are entombed.
  • The 19th century El Bahia Palace, built in Andalusian, Islamic, and Moroccan style with materials used from throughout Morocco.
  • The ruins of El Badi Palace, built in the 16th century by the Saadian Dynasty, which was constructed using some of the most expensive materials of its time including gold, onyx, and marble
  • The Ben Youssef Coranique School, the largest Madrasa in Morocco, and once the largest theological college in North Africa, housing as many as 900 students at one time.  

After lunch at a local restaurant near the square, visit the Majorelle Gardens, a 12-acre botanical and artist landscape garden that is home to more than 15 endemic bird species. The garden houses:

  • The Islamic Art Museum, including collections of ceramics, jewelry, and paintings by Majorelle as well as North African textiles from St. Laurent's personal collection
  • Menara Gardens, containing orchards and olive groves that surround a pavilion built during the 16th century
  • The Koutoubia Tower, designed in Almohad style and built of sandstone. This 250 foot high minaret can be seen from as far away as 18 miles.

This evening, you will have the opportunity to walk around the "Jemaa El Fna Square" full of magicians, story tellers, snake charmers and food sellers. 

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Ksar La Maison (or similar)

Day 10: essaouira day tour

Blue boats in harbour of Essaouira in Morocco, AfricaBlue boats in harbour of Essaouira in Morocco, Africa

After Breakfast at your riad, drive on to the city of Essaouira (approx. 2.5 hr drive/112 mi), known as the "City of the Wind" for its strong winds most of the year that attract surfers from all over the world. Because of its size and its characteristic blue doors and washed walls, it is also regarded as Morocco’s "Jewel of the Atlantics." Essaouira was influenced by many civilizations, including the Portuguese who had an affect on much of its architecture. However, it remains a small village with a great history and is a perfect example of a late-18th-century fortified town with its original cannons still in place. It is also where Orson Wells shot "Othello" in the "Moor of Venice" movie, and has appeared on the television hit "Game of Thrones." 

You'll spend the day exploring Essaouira, visiting the Skala Fortress (built for defense against attacks from the sea) and the port. You'll also visit the souks and see Thuya wood carved by local artisans, and take a walk through the alleys of the medina to admire the hundreds of local handicrafts.

In the afternoon, visit the Mellah—the Jewish headquarters—and enjoy the cool breezes on the beach where there is an annual festival known for “Gnawa music,” with many musical groups coming from different parts of Africa and the world.

Overnight in a lovely riad in Essaouira.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Hotel Atlas Essaouira (or similar)

Day 11: return to marrakech via chichaoua

You'll be entertained by the Argan tree goatsYou'll be entertained by the Argan tree goats

On the way back to Marrakech stop to visit the women's co-operative of Argan oil makers. Here they extract the oil that is famous for its culinary, cosmetic and medicinal properties. The whole region of Essaouira is famous for the argan trees, where you see goats climbing to get fruit they can’t find on the ground.

Back in Marrakech, you'll spend the afternoon exploring "the red city of Morocco" including the Majorelle Gardens, a 12 acre botanical and artist landscape garden that is home to more than 15 endemic bird species. The garden houses the Islamic Art Museum and includes collections of ceramics, jewelry, and paintings by Majorelle as well as North African textiles from St. Laurent's personal collection. Other highlights include the Menara Gardens, which contain orchards and olive groves surrounding a pavilion built during the 16th century, and the 250-foot high Koutoubia Tower, designed in Almohad style and built of sandstone, that can be seen from as far away as 18 miles.

This evening, you will have the opportunity to walk around the "Jemaa El Fna Square" full of magicians, story tellers, snake charmers and food sellers on your own. 

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Ksar La Maison (or similar)

Day 12: depart morocco

Moroccan mint tea with sweetsMoroccan mint tea with sweets

After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Marrakech or Casablanca (2-2.5 hr drive) for your flight back home. 

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
None

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
From
$5,100
The cost quoted is the Land Cost and is subject to change. This covers accommodations, transfers, activities, touring, guide services and meals as described in Journeys' Trip Notes. The quoted Land Cost will apply when group size falls in the specified range and when travel is on the indicated dates.
Single Supplement:
$1,900
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Custom & private on your dates

Need to Know

Notes:

  • Though we do our best to ensure your accommodations at the hotels given are the places you will stay, last minute changes are possible and sometimes unavoidable. 
  • For the camel trekking, we recommend consulting with your physician about riding if you are over 70, pregnant, or if you have had a recent surgery, or serious sickness. Those with hip, back, or knee problems should first consult with their physician.
  • Some areas such as Chefchaouen and the desert are "dry" and may not have wine or other alcoholic beverages available. If you wish to purchase alcohol, ask your guide to help you make a purchase in one of the larger cities before heading out to the dry areas.
  • Rugs and carpets are beautifuly handcrafted in Morocco and your local guide in Fes and Marrakech may encourage you to purchase a rug. You are under no obligation to do so and it is best to speak up. If you do decide to purchase a rug, keep in mind that they are all painstakingly hand-made, but you should still plan on bargaining. Low-quality and cheaper rugs can also be purchased in the markets.
Duration:
12 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●●●●○
(see full descriptions)
Luxurious 5* riads and hotels
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Easy walking with optional hikes; a couple of long driving days; camel ride
Group Size:
Most custom trips can accommodate groups of any size, from one person to as large of a group as you'd like. Some exceptions apply; ask your Adventure Specialist for details.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

From the Bird's Word Blog

What is the Best Time to Go to Morocco? 

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Window, Kasbah Telouet, Morocco
Window, Kasbah Telouet, Morocco
Tuareg shopkeeper
Tuareg shopkeeper
Another riad courtyard
Another riad courtyard
Ait Benhaddou - Ancient city in Morocco North Africa
Ait Benhaddou - Ancient city in Morocco North Africa
Sharing tea in Marrakech
Sharing tea in Marrakech
Moroccan spice stall in marrakech market
Moroccan spice stall in marrakech market
Street musician in Marrakesh, Morocco
Street musician in Marrakesh, Morocco
The square in Marrakech at night
The square in Marrakech at night
Beautiful city of Chefchaouen
Beautiful city of Chefchaouen

Morocco in Luxury

comfortable cultural exploration from the coast to fes, across the mountains, and back to marrakech

overview

Explore Morocco's imperial past and vibrant present in luxury. Travel from the Atlantic coast of North Africa through holy cities and Roman ruins, then into the desert and on to Marrakech. Explore the walled medinas (old cities), wander the fragrant souqs (markets), stay in boutique riads (manor homes of the old cities), meet cave-dwelling Berber nomads, and engage the spirit of a land steeped in tradition that is also eager to embrace the future. 

After landing in modern Casablanca, head to Morocco's capital, Rabat. On the way to see the Roman ruins of Volubilis, stop at Meknes. Wander deep into the ancient medina in Fes, experience the breathtaking desert vistas of the Sahara and Todra Gorge en route to Ouarazazate, and behold exciting Marrakech, where ancient history and non-stop street entertainment equally entrance those who are fortunate enough to visit. A day trip to Essaouira rounds out your exhilarating cultural experience, leaving you satified with your decision to adventure deeper in Morocco. 

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
View Map

overview

Explore Morocco's imperial past and vibrant present in luxury. Travel from the Atlantic coast of North Africa through holy cities and Roman ruins, then into the desert and on to Marrakech. Explore the walled medinas (old cities), wander the fragrant souqs (markets), stay in boutique riads (manor homes of the old cities), meet cave-dwelling Berber nomads, and engage the spirit of a land steeped in tradition that is also eager to embrace the future. 

After landing in modern Casablanca, head to Morocco's capital, Rabat. On the way to see the Roman ruins of Volubilis, stop at Meknes. Wander deep into the ancient medina in Fes, experience the breathtaking desert vistas of the Sahara and Todra Gorge en route to Ouarazazate, and behold exciting Marrakech, where ancient history and non-stop street entertainment equally entrance those who are fortunate enough to visit. A day trip to Essaouira rounds out your exhilarating cultural experience, leaving you satified with your decision to adventure deeper in Morocco. 

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.
  • Day 1: arrive casablanca
    City panorama. Casablanca,City panorama. Casablanca,

    On arrival at the Casablanca airport, you will be greeted by your driver and transferred to your hotel in the city for your overnight. Casablanca is the most cosmopolitan city in Morocco, but it holds a handful of more historic charms. Depending on your arrival time, you may want to head over to the medina and wander among the shops and food stalls.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Sofitel Casablanca (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: casablanca to fes via rabat & volubilis
    Hassan Tower in Rabat Morocco AfricaHassan Tower in Rabat Morocco Africa

    After breakfast, stop at the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in the world, with room for more than 100,000 worshippers! (Note, non-Muslims are not allowed inside.) The Mosque, built by 6,000 traditional Moroccan artists, contains intricate mosaics, stone, and marble floors and columns, sculpted moldings, and carved wood ceilings. Also experience the Corniche (South Beach of Morocco), a boardwalk lined with restaurants and nightclubs where the locals go to have a bit of fun. It is the site of Rick's Cafe, made famous by the classic movie "Casablanca".

    Continue on to the city of Rabat (estimated 1.5 hr drive), located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River, with a population of about 1.2 million. Here you'll visit the Kasbah of the Oudayas, a 12th-century medieval fortress citadel with exceptional ocean views from the acropolis. Also explore Hassan Tower, a minaret for an incomplete mosque. It was intended to be the largest minaret in the world along with the largest mosque, but construction stopped when Sultan Yacub al-Mansour died in 1199.

    Lunch will be at Meknes (approx. 1 hr drive), one of Morocco's Imperial cities, where you'll have time to explore. This town was the Ismailian capital during the 17th century, and is now famous for its 25-mile-long walls and monumental landmark gate of Bab el-Mansour. Wander the lanes of the old medina, visit the Mellah Jewish quarter, and see the Royal stables. The Dar Jamai palace houses one of the country's best museums, exhibiting glorious ceramics, jewelry, rugs, and textiles with distinct ornate Meknesi needlework. Enjoy the setting of this town in a region of olives, wine, and citrus.

    Afterwards, visit the roman ruins at Volubilis, considered the best-preserved archeological site in Morocco. You'll spend time exploring these 2,000 year old UNESCO ruins, and perhaps imagining what life must have been like during the Roman Empire.

    Your day ends in Fes, often referred to as "the cultural capital of Morocco". Once there, get settled in your luxurious riad, overlooking the medina.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Riad Palais Faraj (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: fes exploration
    The tannery is an iconic sight in FesThe tannery is an iconic sight in Fes

    You'll spend the day exploring the cultural capital of Morocco beginning with a walk through its alleyways and small streets. You'll stop to see the Royal Palace and admire the stunning brass doors surrounded by beautiful mosaic tiles. Next, visit the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) the first ever built in Morocco, followed by a visit to the Al Quaraouiyine University, the oldest continuously-operating educational institute in the world. Founded by Fatima Al-Fihiri in 859 CE, it became one of the leading spiritual and educational centers in the Muslim world. Here, students are taught ina traditional format, seated in a semi-circle (halqa) around the sheikh. You'll also visit the colorful leather-dying pits to see leather-making techniques unchanged since the middle ages. After lunch, visit a ceramic workshop where you will have the chance to watch the craftsmen chip mosaic tile pieces and paint designs on plates. Before returning to your hotel, enjoy a refreshing cocktail in the new city.

    Return to your riad where the rest of your day is free to roam the medina or perhaps get a relaxing massage at the hammam.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Riad Palais Faraj (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: atlas mountains to merzouga
    A village with traditional kasbah houses in Ziz Valley, MoroccoA village with traditional kasbah houses in Ziz Valley, Morocco

    After breakfast at the riad, you’ll leave Fes and begin the drive into the Atlas Mountains. Stop at Azrou (1.5 hr drive), a Berber village in the middle of a famous cedar forest—the largest in Morocco—where you may spot Barbary apes (macaques). You’ll notice how the scenery changes to reveal hints of the desert as you approach the city of Errachidia to enjoy the Berber hospitality for lunch. Continue on to Merzouga (6 hr drive) via the Tizi Ntalghamt Pass and along the luxurious Ziz Valley, stopping for panoramic views along the way. On arrival in Merzouga before dinner, you'll enjoy a glass of refreshing mint tea as you check into your beautiful, luxurious riad. The riad sits at the edge of the Erg Chebbi dunes offering amazing veiws.

    Total driving distance today will be approximately 265 miles, but with frequent stops along the way.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Riad Madu (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: sahara desert and camel trekking
    Enjoy hospitality in the desertEnjoy hospitality in the desert

    After breakfast at the hotel, visit the Gnaoua people, originally slaves brought over from Sudan, to experience their music and lifestyle. Nearby is Merzouga Lake, home to many species of birds. You may also visit the nomad wire house, where many Berber handicrafts are sold at a much better bargain than in the big cities. In the afternoon, mount your camels* to explore the sand seas of Merzouga, guided by an experienced camel handler. Enjoy a wonderful sunset over the golden dunes, then overnight in comfortable Berber tents with a private bathroom, shower, and running water. 

    *Option to take a 4 x 4 vehicle to the campsite for additional cost.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bouchedor Luxury Desert Camp (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: todra gorges and dades valley
    Riding through the desert on camels is unforgettableRiding through the desert on camels is unforgettable

    Early this morning, you'll wake to what may just be the best sunrise in your life, then peacefully camel-trek back to your riad. En route, be sure to appreciate the unique beauty of the spectacular Erg Chebbi sand dunes, changing with the light as the day progresses. After breakfast at the riad, you’ll leave for Rissani, Tinghir, and Todra Gorges—the highest and narrowest gorges in Morocco. Enjoy lunch in the heart of the gorge, then continue on through the Dades Valley, where you’ll see the majestic sand castles and the amazing rock formations known as "monkey toes." Overnight accommodation will be in a lovely hotel overlooking the Dades valley.

    Total driving time today is around 4 hours plus frequent stops (160 miles).

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Xalucadades (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: bouthaghrar & skoura to ouarzazate
    Kasbah in SkouraKasbah in Skoura

    Today's journey takes you through the Dades Valley along the way of the thousand kasbahs – providing numerous opportunities to take some of your best photographic shots of the trip. You'll stop to meet the Berber cave dwellers and learn about their lifestyle and how they make their home in these caves. Continue on through the fertile Rose Valley, admiring the rock formations along the way, to Skoura where you'll visit the Kasbah Ameridil. This well preserved kasbah, originally built in the 17th century, is one of Morocco's best living museums. This kasbah, which has been owned by the Nassiri family since it was built, contains ancient Moroccan artifacts. Enjoy some hiking in the valley, then have lunch in a traditional restaurant overlooking the rim. Today's drive ends in Ouarzazate where you check-in to your beautiful, luxurious riad that blends in nicely with the environment of the desert, not far from the mountains.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Ksar Ighnda (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: ouarzazate to marrakech
    The Ait Ben Haddou kasbah ruinsThe Ait Ben Haddou kasbah ruins

    Depart for Marrakech, stopping to visit the famous Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, the largest kasbah in Morocco. It was built by Et Hami El Glaoui, one of the last Berber chieftains during the 18th century. It now houses many Glaoui people. Continuing on, you'll journey through the majestic Tizi n'tichka Pass (2260m) over the High Atlas Mountains, before arriving at your lovely riad, located in the heart of Marrakech. If you like, spend some time this evening exploring the medina.

    Total driving time today is around 6.5 hours plus frequent stops along the way.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Ksar La Maison (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: marrakech tour
    Menara gardensMenara gardens

    After breakfast in the riad, it's time to start exploring Marrakech, "the red city of Morocco.” Your guide will ensure that you see the most important places of historical and cultural interest, such as:

    • The 16th century Saadien tombs where about 60 members of the Saadi Dynasty, including Ahmad al-Mansur and his family are entombed.
    • The 19th century El Bahia Palace, built in Andalusian, Islamic, and Moroccan style with materials used from throughout Morocco.
    • The ruins of El Badi Palace, built in the 16th century by the Saadian Dynasty, which was constructed using some of the most expensive materials of its time including gold, onyx, and marble
    • The Ben Youssef Coranique School, the largest Madrasa in Morocco, and once the largest theological college in North Africa, housing as many as 900 students at one time.  

    After lunch at a local restaurant near the square, visit the Majorelle Gardens, a 12-acre botanical and artist landscape garden that is home to more than 15 endemic bird species. The garden houses:

    • The Islamic Art Museum, including collections of ceramics, jewelry, and paintings by Majorelle as well as North African textiles from St. Laurent's personal collection
    • Menara Gardens, containing orchards and olive groves that surround a pavilion built during the 16th century
    • The Koutoubia Tower, designed in Almohad style and built of sandstone. This 250 foot high minaret can be seen from as far away as 18 miles.

    This evening, you will have the opportunity to walk around the "Jemaa El Fna Square" full of magicians, story tellers, snake charmers and food sellers. 

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Ksar La Maison (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: essaouira day tour
    Blue boats in harbour of Essaouira in Morocco, AfricaBlue boats in harbour of Essaouira in Morocco, Africa

    After Breakfast at your riad, drive on to the city of Essaouira (approx. 2.5 hr drive/112 mi), known as the "City of the Wind" for its strong winds most of the year that attract surfers from all over the world. Because of its size and its characteristic blue doors and washed walls, it is also regarded as Morocco’s "Jewel of the Atlantics." Essaouira was influenced by many civilizations, including the Portuguese who had an affect on much of its architecture. However, it remains a small village with a great history and is a perfect example of a late-18th-century fortified town with its original cannons still in place. It is also where Orson Wells shot "Othello" in the "Moor of Venice" movie, and has appeared on the television hit "Game of Thrones." 

    You'll spend the day exploring Essaouira, visiting the Skala Fortress (built for defense against attacks from the sea) and the port. You'll also visit the souks and see Thuya wood carved by local artisans, and take a walk through the alleys of the medina to admire the hundreds of local handicrafts.

    In the afternoon, visit the Mellah—the Jewish headquarters—and enjoy the cool breezes on the beach where there is an annual festival known for “Gnawa music,” with many musical groups coming from different parts of Africa and the world.

    Overnight in a lovely riad in Essaouira.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Atlas Essaouira (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: return to marrakech via chichaoua
    You'll be entertained by the Argan tree goatsYou'll be entertained by the Argan tree goats

    On the way back to Marrakech stop to visit the women's co-operative of Argan oil makers. Here they extract the oil that is famous for its culinary, cosmetic and medicinal properties. The whole region of Essaouira is famous for the argan trees, where you see goats climbing to get fruit they can’t find on the ground.

    Back in Marrakech, you'll spend the afternoon exploring "the red city of Morocco" including the Majorelle Gardens, a 12 acre botanical and artist landscape garden that is home to more than 15 endemic bird species. The garden houses the Islamic Art Museum and includes collections of ceramics, jewelry, and paintings by Majorelle as well as North African textiles from St. Laurent's personal collection. Other highlights include the Menara Gardens, which contain orchards and olive groves surrounding a pavilion built during the 16th century, and the 250-foot high Koutoubia Tower, designed in Almohad style and built of sandstone, that can be seen from as far away as 18 miles.

    This evening, you will have the opportunity to walk around the "Jemaa El Fna Square" full of magicians, story tellers, snake charmers and food sellers on your own. 

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Ksar La Maison (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: depart morocco
    Moroccan mint tea with sweetsMoroccan mint tea with sweets

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Marrakech or Casablanca (2-2.5 hr drive) for your flight back home. 

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
From
$5,100
The cost quoted is the Land Cost and is subject to change. This covers accommodations, transfers, activities, touring, guide services and meals as described in Journeys' Trip Notes. The quoted Land Cost will apply when group size falls in the specified range and when travel is on the indicated dates.
Single Supplement:
$1,900
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Custom & private on your dates

Need to Know

Notes:

  • Though we do our best to ensure your accommodations at the hotels given are the places you will stay, last minute changes are possible and sometimes unavoidable. 
  • For the camel trekking, we recommend consulting with your physician about riding if you are over 70, pregnant, or if you have had a recent surgery, or serious sickness. Those with hip, back, or knee problems should first consult with their physician.
  • Some areas such as Chefchaouen and the desert are "dry" and may not have wine or other alcoholic beverages available. If you wish to purchase alcohol, ask your guide to help you make a purchase in one of the larger cities before heading out to the dry areas.
  • Rugs and carpets are beautifuly handcrafted in Morocco and your local guide in Fes and Marrakech may encourage you to purchase a rug. You are under no obligation to do so and it is best to speak up. If you do decide to purchase a rug, keep in mind that they are all painstakingly hand-made, but you should still plan on bargaining. Low-quality and cheaper rugs can also be purchased in the markets.
Duration:
12 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●●●●○
(see full descriptions)
Luxurious 5* riads and hotels
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Easy walking with optional hikes; a couple of long driving days; camel ride
Group Size:
Most custom trips can accommodate groups of any size, from one person to as large of a group as you'd like. Some exceptions apply; ask your Adventure Specialist for details.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

Essaouira

Duration: 3 days

This extension takes you to the Atlantic coastal towns of Essaouira, Safi and El Jadida. 

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× comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
× activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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