10 Days Imperial Cities of Morocco Desert Tours
Day 1: Casablanca
We’ll pick you up at your arrival or at your hotel in Casablanca. We’ll pay visit to Hassan II Mosque, the only mosque which is available to non-Muslim visitors and the reference point in Casablanca. Hassan II Mosque was built by King Hassan II (1987-1993) and constitutes the first introduction to Arabian influences in Morocco. More than 25,000 worshippers can pray inside and 80,000 outside, in its great square. You’ll be able to enjoy a walk around the beach of Casablanca, which is the largest city and metropolis of Morocco, always tied to the film Casablanca (1942) and which features a modern architecture of Art Deco style of French influence with white buildings. We’ll visit the Main Square, the Arab League and the Sacred Heart Cathedral–a mixture of Moroccan and European influences. Return to hotel in Casablanca.
Day 2: Casablanca to Meknes
In the morning we’ll head off to Rabat to have a look at some historic places such as the charming Chellah, where we’ll appreciate an amazing mixture of Roman and Marinid influences. We’ll visit the unfinished Hassan II Mosque Tower and the art of work which is Mohamed V mausoleum, built by his son King Hassan II in his honour as the father of independence. We’ll walk through the Kasbah Oudaya, a nice white and blue building with fantastic views over the beach and river Bouragrage. We leave Rabat towards the next city, Meknes. It was built by the Sultan Moulay Ismael in the XVIII century, and it’s famous for its beautiful gates, mosques and madrassahs. Overnight in Meknes.
Day 3: Meknes – Volubilis – Fez
After breakfast, we’ll explore Meknes, an imperial city with a 40 km long wall stretched over the Medina and its huge Bab Mansour Gate (1732), the Sahrij Swani barn, which is a grain-store and water tank, and is used as a barn and a stable for 12,000 horses. Meknes outputs a great olive and olive oil production and you’ll be surprised by the wide range of olives in the local market in Lahdime square. Just 30 km away from Meknes we’ll find Volubilis, a UNESCO (1997) recognised Roman archaeological site, quite well preserved, with amazing remains of mosaics, hundreds of Latin inscriptions and artistic materials. After our pleasant stroll around Volubilis, we’ll go on towards Fez driving among barley crops and green olive groves. Overnight in Fez.
Day 4: Exploring Fez
After having breakfast, we’ll meet our Fez local guide; we’ll explore the ancient Fez medieval Medina, the first imperial city, a genuine maze of over 9,000 passageways which deserves to be the intellectual and cultural capital of the kingdom. We’ll wander around its streets and among the variety of items, colours and donkeys carrying goods. You’ll see lots of handmade items, since Fez is in the lead in traditional craftwork and still using the same materials. Its famous local meat curers are one of the appeals of the visit; we’ll see them working in small ditches on the skins of goats, camels and cows. You’ll have also the chance to taste some of the most special dishes of Fez gastronomy. Besides, you’ll be delighted by a panoramic view from the southern tower and will pay visit to the pottery cooperative where floor tiles and Arabian mosaics are made. Or you may prefer attending a dinner entertaining show with belly dancing to finish your tour. Overnight in Fez in Hotel or Riad.
Day 5: Fez – Midelt – Errachidia – Merzouga
We’ll leave medieval Fez towards another place in Morocco through the Middle Atlas Mountains. We’ll make a short stopover to rest at Ifran or the small Switzerland, where the first ski station of Morocco is located. We’ll be surrounded by stunning views and landscapes of mountains and grasslands. We’ll meet a species of native monkeys which live in the Cèdre Gouraud Forest, more than 30 members of a family of the so-called Barbary macaque, in Azrou. We’ll have lunch in Midelt, where an apple festival is annually celebrated. There is a big contrast in the landscapes, especially when crossing the Ziz valley towards Arfoud, the gateway to the Sahara. We’ll arrive at Merzouga to set off on a camel tour group to get into the core of the dunes and gaze at an unforgettable sunset. We’ll ride to the campsite, where we’ll lodge in Haimas (tents made up of dromedary hair) equal to those used by the nomads in the desert. Dinner and overnight in the core of the desert beneath a stunning canopy of stars.
Day 6: Rissani to the sand dunes of Merzouga Sahara
We’ll enjoy a day of relax in the Sahara, where we’ll be allowed to drive a 4×4 around the dunes of Erg Chebbi. There you’ll have the chance to listen to a band of gnaoua music, which features African rhythms in the desert. A Tuareg pizza-pie called “Madfona” cooked over the sand is available for you to taste. We’ll visit the mausoleum of Moulay Ali chref, the father of the current Alaouite dynasty in the oasis of Rissani. We’ll return to Merzouga to see the twilight from the top of the sand dunes, some of which are about 150 m high. Overnight in Merzouga.
Day 7: Sand dunes from Merzouga to Ouarzazate
After having breakfast, we’ll leave the sand dunes of Merzouga towards the ancient irrigation system, which is still used in the oasis of Eljerf. We’ll rest along the way to Tinjidad. We’ll have lunch in Todra Valley, considered one of the oldest valleys of Morocco. It’s a 15 km long beautiful valley of date palms which ends up in astounding gorges, where picnics and rock climbing is usual. We’ll get into Dades Valley to admire its amazing geologic formation, which is consequence of the erosion over millions of years. Visit to the gorges. We’ll cross the Valley of the Roses, the only place in Morocco where the Damask Rose is grown, from which some products such as rose oil and water are removed to be used as wrinkle-preventing and skin treatment. Overnight in Ouarzazate.
Day 8: Ouarzazate to Marrakech
A good journey until the arrival at the small village of Ait Ben Haddou, where we’ll go for a walk around the ancient town in which quite a few films such as “Laurence from Arabia”, “Jesus of Nazareth” and “Gladiator” have been shot (and still counting.) Since 1987, it is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage as well as National Heritage Site. Afterwards, we’ll head off to the north of the High Atlas Mountains across the 2,260 m high Tizi-n-Tichka, an impressive road through red mountains and Berber towns until Marrakech. Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 9: Exploring Marrakech
We’ll pay a visit to the city of Marrakech with a local guide. We’ll go to Bahia Palace, built by the Great Vizier Bahmad of Marrakech and decorated with amazing mosaics and stucco, and we’ll listen to some interesting stories about his 4 wives and his 24 concubines. We’ll see the extraordinary architecture of the Saadian Tombs, which was the XVII royal necropolis. You’ll spend some time enjoying the famous bazaars of Marrakech; the wide range of scents, colours and items of the great bazaar will captivate you. The Majorelle Garden is a quiet place in the new part of the city which contains a botanical garden with native and exotic plants coming from all over the world, and a predominance of indigo blue colour on the walls. We’ll end up in Jamaa El Fna Square, a place full of life and where we’ll find snake charmers, monkeys, food stalls and musicians; it’s the liveliest square in Marrakech.
Day 10: Transfer to the airport of Marrakech or Casablanca.
Our tour will finish with the transfer to the airport of Marrakech or Casablanca. You’ll hopefully have enjoyed our trip.
Included & not Included
- Private vehicle a/c, 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado or luxurious van for 10 days + Fuel.
- Experienced Driver.
- Pick up and transfer to the airport of Marrakech or Casablanca.
- Rooms with bathroom – a/c in customary hotel/Kasbah/Riad with breakfast and dinner (vegetarians are welcome.)
- Overnight in the dunes of Erg Chebbi Merzouga, tent in nomad campsite with dinner and breakfast.
- Camel round trip from campsite (which is about 1 hour for each way.)
- Spare time to explore places such as Ait Ben Haddou, film sets, Taourirt Kasbah, etc.
- Lunch meals
- Admission to monuments
- Several choices of lodging categories to your election according to your needs.
- Wide range of hotels.
- Riads of 3* and 4*.
- Hostels and Bivouacs.
- The price of the route varies depending on the number of travelers and the category of the chosen accommodations.
- Send us an email indicating your trip chosen dates, number of people and the selected lodging category. We will provide you with your custom made-route in demand.