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The best seven-day cultural heritage tour from Casablanca to Marrakech via Fes Medina, the Atlas Mountains, kasbahs, Berber villages and the Sahara Desert.
Welcome to the best seven-day tour from Casablanca to Marrakech via the Sahara Desert available, created by our experienced local experts. There are other travel packages that feature a Casablanca to Marrakech Morocco Trip and Sahara Desert Travel, but we are confident that ours can’t be beaten.
Your seven-day tour will immerse you in the genuine culture of Morocco, as our expert guides enthrall you with the country’s rich heritage and history, show you the breathtaking natural beauty that abounds here, the stunning architecture and traditional designs, allow you to sample the delicious local cuisine and give you the ultimate shopping experience in the bustling souks and markets.
This is the trip of a lifetime, a never-to-be-forgotten adventure.
|Day One||Casablanca – Contemporary City of Contrasts.|
|Day Two||Rabat and Meknes- Morocco’s Historic Heartland.|
|Day Three||Volubilis and Fes – Roman Ruins and a Medieval Medina.|
|Day Four||Phenomenal Fes.|
|Day Five||The Mighty Mountains and The Saharan Sands.|
|Day Six||Gorgeous Gorges and The Valley of Roses.|
|Day Seven||Kasbahs on the Road to Marrakech.|
If you are already in Casablanca, our friendly, well-informed guide can pick you up from your hotel or riad to explore the city, If you are flying in, then our driver will pick you up from the airport and show you the sights depending on what time your flight arrives and how much of the day is left. Or you may wish to be taken straight to your hotel if you are fatigued or suffering from jetlag. We aim to please.
We hope to be able to have the time to show you the impressive Hassan II Mosque, built next to the ocean as King Hassan II, the father of the current King, Mohammed VI, loved the sea and believed that God had his throne over it. The minaret is 210 metres ( 689 feet) tall and the gorgeous mosque itself is one of the biggest in the world and one of only two in Morocco that permits non-Muslims to enter.
At the start of your Casablanca to Marrakech Morocco trip we also hope to show you the beautiful beach resort of Corniche d’Ain Diab and the fabulous architecture of central Casablanca, a heady mix of French and Arab styles mixed with Art Deco.
Enjoy a mint tea and your first Moroccan dinner and experience the hustle and bustle of a modern metropolis and Morocco’s commercial hub.
After you’ve enjoyed your first breakfast in Morocco, you’ll be driven the comparatively short distance to the current capital of Morocco, royal Rabat. It’s quite a change from the clamour and hustle and bustle of Casablanca, Rabat has a much more relaxed pace of life and is altogether more serene. Here you’ll get to visit the Hassan Tower, a stunning minaret of an uncompleted mosque built in the 12th century. When the caliph who ordered its construction died, the mosque was never finished and the tower and some of the pillars were left as they were. The Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the grandfather of the current king, is also located at this site.
Next, you’ll enjoy the Chellah Necropolis, a very important archaeological site with a history dating back to the Phoenicians in the first millennium BC. later a Roman settlement and in the 13th century a necropolis for the ruling Marinid dynasty. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A visit to Rabat wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Oudaia Kasbah. A kasbah is a walled fortress or town and there are hundreds in Morocco, but this one is of particular note due to its gorgeous flower-filled Andalusian garden and streets, the Moorish cafe, and the absolute feeling of tranquility that prevails there.
After lunch, you’ll journey on to Meknes, another Imperial city that was the capital of Morocco during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail (1672-1727). He built extensive fortifications and walls as well as the massive and impressive city gates. You can see that these gates are supported by white marble pillars taken from Volubilis, the Roman ruins that you’ll get to see tomorrow. You’ll enter Meknes via the stunning Bab Mansour, the most impressive of them all and then you’ll be able to explore the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, his vast reservoir of the Bassin de l’Agdal, stables, granaries, and an underground prison said to have held the Christian slaves who helped build the city walls. But it is really just another granary. After you’ve done exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll spend the night in a luxury hotel in Meknes.
Following your breakfast, you’ll take the short drive from Meknes to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, named Oualili in the local Amazigh (Berber) language which means “oleander”, because of the beautiful blooms of these plants that are found in numbers all around the old remains of the city.
The main entrance gate, most of the Basilica, and the Triumphal Arch are still standing, but even in the remains of the villas and businesses lining the main street are excellently well-preserved, beautifully-coloured mosaics portraying scenes featuring heroes, gods, animals and monsters from Roman myths and legends. Also, there are ponds and fountains, bread kilns, and olive presses that produced olive oil, the source of the city’s wealth almost two millennia ago. Your guide will happily give details of each building, and there are signs near most of the important structures, mosaics, and houses with information written in English, which is not typical for Morocco.
It’s only a ninety-minute drive from Volubilis to Fes, where you’ll be able to get the feel of the ancient medina before spending the night in a magnificent riad.
A whole day to explore the wonders of the Imperial City. My favourite part of the tour as I have lived in Fes Medina since 2005 and still find it exhilarating.
But Fes isn’t just about the medina. Our guide will show you the Royal Palace and the Mellah, which is the old Jewish Quarter. Most of the Jews have moved to Israel, but there is a UNESCO-listed synagogue, a cemetery, and streets with Jewish-style house frontages and balconies, different from the architecture of the Old Medina,
The medina itself is a network of 9,600 twisting, mostly narrow streets and is the largest pedestrianised urban area in the world. You’ll visit the tanneries where leather is still produced in time-honoured fashion, the Bou Inania Madrasa (Islamic school) with its beautiful architecture from the classic Marinid era, and the huge Karaouine Mosque, which non-Muslims can’t enter, but you can get a view of its majesty from looking in through the vast, open doors.
Leaving the medina, you’ll visit the potteries in Ain Nockbi, a suburb of Fes, where the traditional blue and white ceramics are manufactured as well as tiles, earthenware and more brightly-coloured decorative pieces. Here you’ll also have a stunning panoramic view over the entire medina as the sun begins to set. Then it’s back to your riad for a delicious repast and a good night’s sleep.
Leaving Fes after breakfast, you’ll be driven up into the Middle Atlas Mountains. Your first stop will be at Ifrane, a charming mountain town built in an alpine style more reminiscent of Switzerland than Africa, matching the nearby winter ski resort of Michliffen, not something most people associate with Morocco. Your Morocco itinerary continues to nearby Azrou, a pretty Berber town surrounded by fragrant cedar forests and home to the famous Barbary Apes, actually a species of macaque monkey. Please don’t feed the monkeys, they are getting fat and unhealthy.
Crossing over the high plains, you will soon see the peaks of the High Atlas Mountains looming up before you, and cutting through a pass, you’ll arrive for lunch at Midelt, famous for its fossils, crystals and minerals. Travelling onwards through winding mountain roads, often perched on the edge of a precipice, along the fertile Ziz valley, there will be plenty of panoramic views to enjoy and photograph, including numerous kasbahs and palmeries where dates are grown. The next city is Errachidia, which is right on the edge of the hamada, the rocky plain that marks the beginnings of the Sahara Desert which is more rocky than sandy, contrary to popular belief. Finally, in the late afternoon, you’ll see the dunes like a range of mountains on the horizon and then arrive at Merzouga, the small town at the base of the huge Erg Chebbi dunes. Here your camel awaits to take you on a trip across the desert sands as the sun sets beautifully behind the dunes. You’ll finish the day at an authentic Berber encampment, enjoy a refreshing mint tea and a succulent Berber dinner and retire for the night to your luxurious desert nomad tent under the myriad stars of the Milky Way and the strains of sweet Amazigh music. For many, this is the highlight of any Morocco itinerary.
It’s an early breakfast and a chance to view the one thing that’s as impressive as a sunset over the Saharan dunes; sunrise over the Saharan Dunes! Then you’ll mount your trusty camel for the ride back through the shifting shadows cast by the ergs and return to Merzouga and your 4×4 which will whisk you off to Alnif and the Jebel Saghro gorges with their bizarre rock formations, and then on to the shear 600-foot walls of the Todra Gorge, very popular with climbers. You’ll get to take a pleasant stroll around this area and have a luncheon with panoramic views.
The cut through the beautiful M’Goun Valley, the “Valley of the Roses”, where the abundance of roses has led to a whole distillation industry that supplies Morocco and the whole world with a wide range of rose-based products. Stop here to sample and purchase oils and perfumes that have a long-lasting and delightful aroma.
The delightful valleys of the rivers passing through the Dades Gorges are the last stop of the day, and be amazed at the weird rock formations in the Tamnalt Hills, known as the Hill of Human Bodies! You’ll have dinner, bed and breakfast in a luxury hotel situated in the Dades Gorge.
The final day of your journey from Casablanca to Marrakech Morocco Trip begins after breakfast with a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, a magnificent walled Ksar and kasbah built on a steep hill above a river. It is beautiful and, other than Fes Medina, my favourite place in Morocco. It also provides a backdrop to many of the movies made at the film studios in Ouarzazate. (see the next paragraph) The stunning wattle and daub architecture is a classic example of the best traditional Moroccan earthen-clay design. You’ll enjoy your lunch in a rather marvelous restaurant in At Benhadou too.
Then we’ll take the 4×4 offroad for fifteen miles or so to visit the caves of ancient Berber tribes and see the cave paintings they have left behind. You then rejoin the Road of a Thousand Kasbah, to the huge verdant date groves of Skoura, and travel on to Ouarzazate, the Hollywood of Morocco, where many famous movies and TV series have been produced including Game of Thrones, Gladiator, and Lawrence of Arabia. Then you’ll get to visit the Glaoui Kasbah of Telouet which has an Andalusian style of architecture in marked contrast to the style of Ait Benhaddou. It is just ruins in places, but you can still get the impression of the richness of the place during the days of the powerful Pacha Glaoui.
Finally, you’ll cross back over the High Atlas and arrive in Marrakech in the early evening to say goodbye to your new friend, your driver-guide as he drops you off at your hotel or riad.
The desert tour was breathtaking. It was an amazing experience and I can recommend it to anyone.