Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Exodus 15 Day Treasures of Morocco (Premium) with Allan Langdale. Plunge into tales of 1001 Arabian Nights on this sun-drenched and history rich tour of Morocco led by Art and architectural historian, best selling author, photographer, award winning filmmaker and travel writer Allan Langdale. When he’s not traveling or writing he teaches courses in Islamic, Byzantine, Roman, Indian and Greek Art and Architecture at U.C. Santa Cruz and has spent decades leading art and architectural tours across the globe for Smithsonian Journeys and other renowned organizations...read more and groups. Morocco and it’s past will come to life as Langdale leads you on an exotic and enriching journey through the secrets of Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, Fez, the Sahara Desert, High Atlas Mountains, and beaches of Essaouira.
Find delights around every bend – lively souks, desert camel rides, tented Bedouin camps, village visits, artisan workshops and hammams with nights in exotic riads and kasbahs. Allan spent most of his childhood in a small mill town on Vancouver Island wondering what the rest of the world was like—and has spent much of his adult life finding out. He has always loved adventure and believes travel to be the most ‘total’ of all educational experiences. Allan has traveled extensively in Turkey, the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean, and India, and has a travel blog at Allan’s Art and Architecture Worlds, where he shares his love of travel photography and the wonders of the world’s artistic creations.
Meet the group in the early evening for the briefing with our leader. We can go out for dinner in the city depending on arrival flight times, dinner not included). Stay: Hotel Diwane or similar.
A modern and commercial seaport, Casablanca is a complete contrast to the Morocco we are soon to explore. This morning we make our way 3 hours to Casablanca to visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the world. Afterwards, we drive 2 hours to Rabat for lunch, the political capital of Morocco, but second to Casablanca in importance. Although mostly modern, Rabat has an excellent old quarter that we take time to explore. Stay: Hotel le Musee or similar.
This morning we strike out from Rabat over the Northern plain towards Meknes, a drive of around 3 hours. The scenery changes as the land becomes more cultivated, this being one of the most fertile areas of Morocco. Sultan Moulay Ismail's old capital of Meknes is our first example of one of the imperial cities of Morocco. We meet our guide and wander the narrow streets of the old city, and explore the souk, perhaps having your first chance at bartering for souvenirs. In the afternoon we take a short drive to the largest and best kept Roman ruins in Morocco – Volubilis, once a large Roman town and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. After exploring this site we continue our journey to the ancient city of Fez, where we spend two nights. Stay: Riad la perle de la medina or similar.
This fascinating city is the intellectual and religious centre of Morocco. Founded over a thousand years ago, Fez has many mosques and medersas (theological colleges) including the 9th century al-Karaouine University, whose architecture is very similar to that seen in Moorish Spain. The medina in Fez is one of the largest in the world, an immense warren of souks, home to thousands of craftsmen with their tiny shops opening onto the narrow alleyways. Noisy and pungent, the medina of Fez is a totally absorbing and unique experience. Our city guide walks us through different sections of the souk - including those selling leather brass and copper. Of course, no visit to Fez is complete without a visit to the tanneries. Outside the medina we shall visit the Jewish District (mellah), the exterior of the Royal Palace and take a drive up to a panoramic viewpoint over the city. Stay: Riad la perle de la medina or similar.
Today we have a long journey, meaning approximately 10 hours spent on the road including plenty of stops and some superb scenery along the way. We venture over the stunning Middle Atlas, down through the picturesque Ziz Valley to the Hamada, a flat stony desert gradually approaching the spectacular site of the golden sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. We stay in a small and welcoming auberge (inn) on the edge of the dunes from where it is easy to climb to watch the sunrise. Stay: Auberge Yasmina or similar.
There is time today with a free morning to explore the largest sand sea in Morocco, or to relax in the shade of a palm tree by the dunes. The sand sea is famed for its pink tones that take on a spectacular rose colour at sunset. In the late afternoon, we partake in a genuine Saharan experience - a 1.5-hour camel trek through the dunes, where we watch the sunset. We then come back to the camp at the edge of the desert to spend the night. Full-Service camping at Luxury Camp Yasmina.
After sunrise, we leave our desert camp and travel by camel back to the auberge where we can have breakfast and a shower. We then head towards the little city of Skoura, nestled on a beautiful palm grove and located near Ouarzazate. En-route explore Todra Gorge, and the picturesque oases they hide in (journey time approximately 4 hours). Following the 1000 Kasbahs Road for approximately another 2 hours, you will marvel at the breath-taking vistas of impressive ancient Kasbahs nestled in lush palm groves. Stay: Kasbah Sawadi or similar.
There is the opportunity to take a 1 hour drive to Toundout Valley and enjoy a four hour guided hike crossing through a Berber village and Imi-noulawen valley, where you will learn a little of their culture. Alternatively, relax in and around the lodge walking through the magnificent lush palm groves. Considered as the palm grove capital of Morocco, Skoura will certainly offer peace and relaxation through its various walks discovering multiple palm groves, and Kasbahs. Stay: Kasbah Sawadi or similar.
Leaving Skoura, we re-join the main road and drive west along the 'Route of the Thousand Kasbahs' via the desert city of Ouarzazate and on to the well-preserved Kasbah Ait Benhaddou. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most spectacular sights of the Atlas, made famous as the location of several Hollywood films including 'Gladiator'. After admiring the view, we may see something of the simple village houses. Continuing into the mountains we branch east through a wide flat mountain valley, finally arriving at Anmiter, where we leave our bus and take a 1.5-hour picturesque walk on a gentle uphill gradient to the village of Tigzha, where we spend the next two nights. Our luggage will be transported to the gite for us. For those who do not want to walk, mules are available (100 MAD, payable locally). Stay: Kasbah Oliver or similar.
We start our day with an optional walk through the villages of the Tijhza Valley, heading up into the hills on mule tracks with the peaks of the High Atlas acting as a fitting backdrop to our walk. The length of our walk will depend on the ability of the group, but it is likely to be approximately 4 hours. The afternoon is free to relax with a book, enjoy the mountain views, take a stroll through the beautiful landscape or challenge the village children to a game of football!Tijhza is just one of four villages in this remote valley that has been supported by Exodus for over ten years on various responsible tourism projects. We will visit the village hammam, built with money raised by Exodus clients. This is a truly authentic experience and terrific fun. It is very much a traditional hammam and you are likely to get the opportunity to mix with the villagers, which further adds to the experience. A standard treatment is included, but you will need to purchase a scrubber and soap for 20MAD (£1.50) plus customary tip of 20MAD. Refreshed, we return to the riad for our final dinner in the mountains. Stay: Kasbah Oliver or similar.
Leaving the gite, we walk back to our bus for a short drive to the palace of Telouet. This once grand building stands abandoned and crumbling but we can visit a small part of this labyrinthine, fairy-tale like structure. We continue our scenic drive over the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakech, via the Tizi'n'Tichka pass, which at 2,260m is the highest road in Morocco. The scenery is spectacular and there are some wonderful views of the mountains. We stop at a women's cooperative Argan Oil farm, where you can see the trees growing, get a demonstration of the production process as well as have the opportunity to purchase products. Our journey finally brings us to the flat arid plains of Marrakech, and then onwards to the pretty seaside town of Essaouira. You can expect a total journey time of approximately 10 hours today, with plenty of comfort breaks and photo stops along the way. Stay: Maison du Sud or similar.
A free day in Essaouira, a charming old Portuguese fishing port overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The settlement dates back to the 15th century but the present town was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, the town is extremely relaxed and its whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan workshops, boat yards and fishermen provide a marked contrast to the desert, kasbahs and cities we have so far visited. Our hotel is situated in the heart of the old walled city, where we have plenty of time for some shopping in the souks or strolling along the beach. With many pleasant cafes and some outstanding seafood restaurants, there is plenty of choice for our evening meal. Stay: Maison du Sud or similar.
After breakfast, we drive back to Marrakech, journey time approximately 2.5 hours. In the afternoon we enjoy a guided tour to help us find our bearings and soak up the atmosphere of this amazing city. Our guide will take us to the Bahia Palace and the Saadian tombs, ending in the Djemma el Fna, where the town becomes a maze of bustling bazaars, palaces and mosques. It is worth seeing this renowned landmark in the evening, as Marrakech revolves around this open-air central square, with food stalls, juice-sellers, snake charmers and acrobats, it is a place of night-time entertainment for both local people and tourists. Stay: Hotel Diwane or similar.
Today is free in Marrakech and there is no shortage of things to do. You might wish to visit the largest mosque in Marrakech, Koutoubia, or venture through the souks and old streets of the medina. After bartering for souvenirs, there will be time for a short visit to the Koranic School and Museum of Marrakech. After this, you can unwind by taking a ½ hour calèche ride (a bright green horse-drawn carriage) to the Jardin Majorelle. These tranquil gardens are decorated throughout in indigo blue and were once owned by Yves St. Laurent, the perfect place to escape the hectic rush of the city. For your lunch we would highly recommend the Amal Women's Training Centre and Moroccan Restaurant, which we at Exodus support in their cause to empower women from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to training their students to become self-sufficient and improving their quality of life through acquiring new skills in a professional restaurant setting. For a superb traditional Moroccan meal and the opportunity to support this worthy cause, do pay them a visit. This evening it's common for the group to enjoy a final meal together on Djemma el Fna. Stay: Hotel Diwane or similar.
Trip ends after breakfast.
Imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech
Visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the impressive Todra Gorge
Experience a traditional hammam in the Atlas Mountains
Walk from a remote Berber community into the magnificent and inspiring High Atlas Mountains
Relax in the charming fishing port of Essaouira
10 nights boutique hotels and premium riads, 1 night auberge, 2 nights mountain gite and 1 night Bedouin camp
15 days land only / flight inclusive
Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
Travel by private minibus and camel All breakfasts and 4 dinners
Specialist Guide & Local leader throughout
Arrival & departure transfers (must be requested with Exodus at least 1 month before departure)
Definite Departure. Minimum numbers reached for this depature to operate.
Available Departure. Minimum numbers not yet reached, so while this depature is expected to operate, it’s not yet a Definite Departure.
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