Highlights of Morocco - Premium

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15 days
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1,895 CAD
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4 / 5 from 1 review >
Trip code: 
AMHP
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium Adventures, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

Imperial cities, Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert and the Atlantic coast

For sheer diversity, Morocco is the perfect destination. We explore the imperial cities of Marrakech, Meknes and Fez and continue our journey to the mountain ranges to the south, where sand dunes and kasbahs are scattered among palm oases inhabited by friendly Berbers. A highlight of our trip is a camel trek in the Sahara and a night at a Bedouin camp. We fit in a visit to Todra Gorge, the beautiful 16th-century kasbah of Ait Benhaddou and enjoy a village walk in the picturesque Tijhza valley of the High Atlas. We complete the trip with a walk along the sandy beach of Essaouira.

Highlights

  • Imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech
  • Spend the night under the stars in the Sahara Desert
  • Visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the impressive Todra Gorge
  • Experience a traditional hammam in the village of Tijhza
  • Walk from a remote Berber community into the magnificent High Atlas Mountains
  • Relax in the charming fishing port of Essaouira

Key information

  • 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, train and camel

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Start Casablanca.

    Meet the group in the early evening for the briefing with our leader. There will be time to head out for dinner in the city.

    Hotel Les Saisons or similar

  • Day 3

    Visit Hassan II Mosque; to Meknes via the capital Rabat.

    A modern and commercial seaport, Casablanca is a complete contrast to the Morocco we are soon to explore. This morning we visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the world. We take lunch in Rabat, 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, before striking out over the northern plain towards Meknes. The scenery change as the landscape becomes more cultivated, this being one of the most fertile areas of Morocco. Overnight in imperial Meknes.

    Hotel de Nice or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Explore the Roman site of Volubilis and Meknes; to Fez.

    Sultan Moulay Ismail's old capital of Meknes is our first example of one of the imperial cities of Morocco. In the morning you are free to wander the narrow streets 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. After exploring this site we continue our journey to the ancient city of Fez, where we spend two nights.

    Fez Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Guided tour of Fez, including visits to the Medersa Bou Ananiya and the medina.

    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. 

    Fez Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Drive to Merzouga, on the edge of the Sahara.

    Today we have a long journey, approximately 6 hours (but with plenty of stops) 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. 

    Auberge Sahara or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Walk among the dunes; camel trek; camp in the desert.

    There is time today 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 to an oasis, where we spend the night in a simple Bedouin camp.

    Full-service camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    To Todra Gorge.

    After sunrise, we leave our desert camp and travel, by camel, back to the auberge where we can have a shower before heading west towards the little town of Tinerhir and onwards to Todra Gorge for the night (journey time approximately 4 hours). Our hotel is set against the backdrop of the impressive walls of the gorge itself and we can spend the evening watching the rocks change colour with the setting sun.

    Hotel Taborith or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Optional morning walk; palmery tour around the gorge.

    We spend the day in the magnificent gorge of the Todra River. There is the opportunity to take a four hour guided walk, or to relax in the gorge, walking beneath vertical cliffs rising up to 400m from the valley floor. In the afternoon there is an optional guided tour of the lush palmery.

    Hotel Taborith or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Journey to Telouet, via the famous Kasbah Ait Benhaddou.

    Leaving Todra Gorge, 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. Here we leave our bus and take a 1.5-hour picturesque walk on a gentle uphill gradient to the village of Tijzha, 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, taxis are available (100 MAD, payable locally). 

    Kasbah Oliver or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 11

    Full day walking in the High Atlas. Evening hammam

    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. 

    Kasbah Oliver or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    Over the High Atlas Mountains to Essaouira.

    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. The second half of our journey brings us to the flat arid plains of Marrakech and then onwards to the pretty seaside town of Essaouira. Journey time is between 5 and 6 hours, with plenty of comfort breaks and photo stops along the way. 

    Maison du Sud or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Free day in Essaouira.

    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, boatyards 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.

    Maison du Sud or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    To Marrakech; guided tour including Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs, finish in Djemma el Fna

    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. 

    Riad Hamdane or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Free day in Marrakech.

    Today is a free day 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. 

    This evening it's common for the group to enjoy a final meal together on Djemma el Fna. 

    Riad Hamdane or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    End Marrakech.

    Trip ends after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Morocco

No visa required by British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Morocco

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Tetanus and Hepatitis A.

Eating and Drinking

14 breakfasts and 4 dinners included.

Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced - kebab and bread cost is approximately GBP4 (USD7). In main towns, it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and French wine will cost anything from GBP20 (USD30) upwards. Generally, dinner is likely to cost between GBP5-10 (approx. USD8-15) not including drinks. Local beer, wine and soft drinks are reasonably priced, but you can pay UK prices or more for imported alcohol. Your leader will recommend restaurants for each evening.

Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian couscous, tajine or omelettes. This is particularly the case during the more rural sections of the trip. Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform the Exodus Office prior to the trip. If you have a specific medical/dietary need (i.e. coeliac or vegan) you may find it helpful to bring some items of food with you from home.

Weather

From April to June, and in September, Marrakech and the north are pleasantly hot, with temperatures averaging 26ºC in the day and falling to 16ºC at night. It is unusual for there to be much humidity so it is quite pleasant except at midday when the sun is very strong. Desert temperatures are similar to those in Marrakech, with the nights usually a little cooler and the days a little hotter. Mountain temperatures are cooler than in Marrakech.

In the winter months, the daytime temperatures in Marrakech are around 18 to 22ºC with night temperatures falling to 4 to 7ºC. The days should be sunny and a particularly attractive feature of the winter months is the clear views of the snow-covered Atlas. The temperatures in the south are generally a couple of degrees higher than those north of the mountains. There is a small chance of rain and it has even been known to snow very infrequently in January and sometimes February on the higher desert plateau (in which case it is cold at night and early in the morning on the southern side of the Atlas).

Is this trip for you?

This trip provides an insight into the enormous variety that Morocco has to offer, including cities, history, architecture, desert and mountain scenery. We spend quality time in the places that matter, the pace is not rushed but a couple of the journeys are long, up to 4 hours. We are not confined to our vehicle though, as there are plenty of photo stops and opportunities to stretch your legs.

Accommodation standards are comparable to that of Sub-Saharan Africa, but on Premium departures, we do upgrade to premium riads and hotels in some towns and cities. The temperatures in the cities may also be hot in the summer months but we try to make the most of the coolest parts of the day.

Please note Ramadan runs from 15th May - 14th June 2018 - During Ramadan, our local guides and drivers choose to work and so we continue to run trips in this period. However, the energy levels of our staff and some local guides may be a bit lower and some restaurants may be closed during the day. Having said this, Ramadan is a special time to visit a Muslim country - each evening the streets empty for an hour while everyone breaks their fast, and there's a feeling of festivity in the air at sundown. 

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Riad, Gite & Bedouin Camp

Premium departures have been upgraded to a mixture of superior 3* hotels, offering a higher standard of accommodation, in Fez, Merzouga and Todra the properties have swimming pools. In Marrakech and Essaouira, you stay in premium Moroccan riads that simply add to the traditional exotic experience. The cost of a single supplement is GBP225, which does not cover nights spent in the mountains, desert or Bedouin camps or in the Riad in Marrakech.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2016
    Gayle S Lowry

    Highlights of Morocco

    I appreciated the comprehensive nature of this 15 day trip. We visited the Imperial Cities, focusing on the history, usually staying in the Medina, with time spent touring the souks. In addition, we toured the diverse, gorgeous countryside of Morocco, with overnight stays in the desert, Todra Gorge, and a remote Berber village in the Atlas Mts. I enjoyed the size of our group of 10 people of diverse ages. We all got along well, laughed a lot and enjoyed each other's company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, the overnight trip into the desert was the highlight. The weather was perfect, our ride on camels was unforgettable and the night we spent sleeping under the stars at the Bedouin camp will remain with me forever. Our accommodations were unbelievably nice, the food the nomads prepared was delicious and their drumming, inspiring us to dance, was delightful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Samir, was awesome. He had a delightful personality, was patient in answering questions, well informed, told us just the right amount of information. He managed to get us in several places for a meal or tea that would not have happened with a larger group or another leader. He genuinely seemed to like our group and commented that he found us especially great since we didn't "winge" like other groups do.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sure to take several credit cards for getting cash from ATMs. We had difficulty with some cards and some cash machines. Trip will require more cash than the trip notes suggest.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Since we're from the US, we booked our trip through the Canadian office of Exodus. We found the staff there, especially Julie R., to be impatient, unhelpful with information we requested and outright rude. The others on our trip booked through Exodus in England and they were given much more information, including who else had signed up for our trip. We had no idea until our first night in Casablanca when we met the group that there would be 10 people total. Also we had to pay for our transfer to the airport when leaving because Exodus did not cover it as expected.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Gayle for her feedback and we were pleased to read that she found her tour leader, Samir, to be delightful and knowledgeable. We regret, however that she found the members of staff involved in the booking process to be unhelpful. Julie is a very experienced and conscientious member of our Canadian office, so we were surprised to learn of this feedback. Julie was of the impression that a departure transfer had been arranged independently, she did not book a transfer for Gayle; we are sorry for the disappointment caused. We have discussed Gayle’s comments with Julie and we trust that she has taken this feedback on board.

    Simon Clifford - Product Manager for Morocco

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