fbpx

Magical Morocco

The High Atlas Mountains of Morocco

Unlike any other African country, Morocco has towering mountains, a windswept Atlantic coast and of course, the dunes of the Sahara desert. An assortment of cultural influences make this nation so unique–from the Roman empire, through Arab conquest, to its French protectorate status in the 20th century, Morocco has formed its own, highly unique culture through absorbing the influence of its conquerors and visitors.

Well-preserved medinas throughout the country beckon with their maze of streets, sidewalk market stalls, and hidden courtyards. Men and women alike emerge refreshed and relaxed from neighborhood hammams, timeless bathhouses where steam, water, and vigorous massage come together in a unique cultural experience. And the art of negotiation gets fierce in the atmospheric souks, where visitors and locals buy everything from carpets to handbags to dried fruit.

From well-spiced tagines and raisin-studded couscous, to mint tea and fresh orange juice—the flavor of Morocco is vibrant and tantalizing. There is something fascinating for every visitor, whether it’s the country’s rich past, the thrill of wandering a vivacious city, or the outdoor pursuits in Morocco’s varied landscapes.

View Detailed Itinerary Below

Show/Hide Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day One.   Arrival in Casablanca and drive to Fez

Moroccan Mint Tea served on a rooftop terrace.

You are met at the airport and we will drive (4 hrs) to the ancient city of Fez. Along the way we will stop  at the 3rd century BC Roman ruins of Volubilis. We will continue to Fez and check in at our friendly ryad located in the historic district of the city. Unpack and enjoy a delicious Welcome Dinner prepared by staff of the ryad. Welcome to Magical Morocco!

Lodging: Riad Dar Dar or similar

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Two.   Fez ~ City Tour

Fez is one of the last remaining pockets of medieval civilization and its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Also known as the intellectual heart of Morocco, the city boasts some of the country’s finest craftsmen and monuments. Our local guide is a university professor. He will lead us through the labyrinth of narrow streets in the ancient quarter and then visit the oldest university in the world, the Al-Karaouine University.  In the afternoon, there is free time for exploring on your own.

Lodging: Riad Dar Finn or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

Day Three.  Fez ~ Market Visit

Learning to make Moroccan bread

Today you will experience shopping in the food markets like the Moroccans do. With the help of a local family, we will visit a local souk (an Arab market) to shop for the food ingredients, go to a farran (community bread oven), and observe how Moroccan dishes are prepared.

 

Lodging: Riad Dar Finn or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Four.  Fez to Erg Chebbi

Today we drive through the Middle Atlas

Cedar Forests in the Middle Atlas Mountains

Mountains and the Ziz Gorge to the dunes of Merzouga.

With luck, we will see Barbary Apes living wild in the cedar forests. We will stop for coffee in the university town of Ifrane and continue to Erg Chebbi with is at the foot of the highest dunes in Morocco.

Lodging: Riad Madu or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day Five   Jaimas Madu Desert Camp

Erg Chebbi

Today we will experience the Moroccan Sahara. We will drive to the dunes where we will meet a fleet of camels for the one hour trek across the dunes to the secluded eastern side and our tent camp. The camp is set up on the eastern side of the highest dunes and offers a stunning panorama of the shifting sands of the Sahara desert. Tents are equipped with comfortable beds and private toilet facilities.

Lodging: Jaimas Madu Camp

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Six.   Desert Camp to Skoura

Breakfast in Skoura

We will leave the dunes for our onward journey towards Marrakech.  We will stop at the village of Risani to see a traditional market.  Next, we will drive along the south side of the High Atlas Mountains where we  have excellent views of the range. We will visit the Todra Gorge, a dramatic sandstone ravine, and stop for lunch. In the afternoon we will reach the oasis town of Skoura where we will spend two evenings in a a beautiful  garden guesthouse set in palm groves.

Lodging:  L’Ma Lodge or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day Seven.  Skoura

Skoura is on the of the most authentic and timeless regions of Morocco where desert and mountain scenery is combined with interesting cultural encounters with the local Berber people. This is an area that is rich with colors–canyon lands with streams and bright strips of land under cultivation where women in colorful clothes do their washing in the river. This is a day to relax and absorb the beautiful atmosphere of the lodge. In the afternoon, we will make a visit to a historic kasbah–an ancient citadel with high walls to protect the local leader.

Lodging: L’Ma Lodge or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day Eight.   Skoura to Marrakech

Ait Benhaddou

Our journey today takes us to Ait Benhaddou, the most impressive and well-preserved kasbah complex in Morocco. An 11th century ksour (collection of kasbahs) which is still inhabited. It is one of the finest examples of mudbrick architecture in Morocco.  We will enjoy a typical lunch with a Moroccan family before continuing our drive along one of the highest paved roads in Africa before arriving in Marrakech.

Lodging: Ryad Bahia Salam or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Day Nine.  Marrakech ~ City Tour

The capital of the Morrocan south,  Marrakech is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to be the second largest medieval complex in the world. Today we will go with our guide to the medina and visit the souks and workshops which have changed little since the Middle Ages. The afternoon will be free to explore on your own.

 

Lodging: Ryad Bahia Salam or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

Day Ten.  Marrakech to Imlil

Today we will travel to the village of Imlil in the High Atlas Mountains outside of Marrakech. In the midst of picturesque walnut groves and streams coming from the mountains, we will walk for an hour to a small village where we will have a traditional tagine lunch at a Berber Lodge. Later we will visit a couple of homes and experience traditional Berber hospitality. We will overnight at the scenic, locally owned Imlil Lodge.

Lodging: Imlil Lodge or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Eleven.  Imlil to Essaouira

On our drive ( 3hrs) to Essouira, we will make two interesting stops. One is the Centre Fiers et Forts, a local school and support center for at risk children outside of Marrakech. Later we will stop in to visit a Womens’ Cooperative that produces argan oil, a product endemic to Morocco and famed for its healing and skin care qualities. We continue on to Essouira, perched above the Atlantic Ocean and called “The Pearl of the Kingdom”.

Lodging: Ryad Chbanate or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

Day Twelve.  Essouira ~ City Tour

Essaouira is a picturesque 18th century port town with an attractive main square which was used in Orson Welles’ film Othello. The relaxed atmosphere makes this an ideal place to buy local crafts or walk along the wide sandy bay, popular with wind and kite surfers. Indeed, Essaouira is called the “wind city of Morocco”.

Lodging: Ryad Chbanate or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Day Thirteen.  Essaouira

Today is a totally free day to enjoy Essaouira. There are numerous optional activities you can consider such as shopping, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, sailing, surfing, kite surfing, or visiting a vineyard. You might enjoy visiting more artisan’s workshops and colorful markets or photographing the scenic port and walking along the ocean.

Lodging: Ryad Chbanate or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day Fourteen.  End of Tour

Following breakfast, we will be taken to the airport where we will board our morning flight to Casablanca. This is a non-stop flight which coordinates conveniently with departing flights back to the US or Europe.

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

What’s Included

  • All accommodations for 2 people sharing
  • Transfers to and from airports in Casablanca & Essaouira
  • All local ground & river transportation with bottled water, driver, English-speaking guides.
  • Entrance fees on organized excursions
  • Breakfast everyday, six lunches and six dinners
  • Gratuities for drivers & porters
  • Morocco Visa is not required for US Citizens for stays less than 90 days

What’s Not Included

  • International Air Tickets to/from Morocco
  • Flight Essaouira to Casablanca (approximately $125 pp)
  • Single Room Supplement for rooming alone
  • Trip Cancellation/Travel Insurance
  • Meals where indicated on itinerary
  • Personal expenses (mini-bar, laundry, beverages, phone calls, etc.)
  • Gratuity for English-speaking principal guide & driver

Download Registration Form


 

“This was a primo trip. The kind of experience you remember with fondness forever. Do it! Small Footprints does not do those annoying large group stereotypical tours. These folks are dandy.”
– Patrick, Asheville, NC