Highlights of Morocco – Premium

Resort:Highlights of Morocco - Premium
Operator: Exodus
Destination: Africa, Morocco
Price From: £1549.00


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.


* 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 village of Tijhza
* Walk from a remote Berber community into the magnificent High Atlas
* Relax in the charming fishing port of Essaouira


Day 1
Fly toMarrakech

Transfer to our hotel. Meet the rest of the group in the early evening for
our briefing with our leader. We can goout for dinner in the city
depending on your arrival flight time ( dinner not included).
*Riad Hamdane or similar

Day 2
Visit Hassan II Mosque; to the capital Rabat.

A modern and commercial seaport, Casablanca is a complete contrast to the
Morocco we are soon to explore. This morningwe 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.

*Hotel le Musee or similar*

Day 3
Explore the Roman site of Volubilis and Meknes; to Fez.

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.

*Riad la perle**de lamedinaor similar*

Day 4
*Guided tour of Fez, including visits to the **Medersa Bou Ananiya (entrance
not included) **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.

*Riad la perle de la medina or similar*

Day 5
Drive to Merzouga, on the edge of the Sahara.

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.

*Auberge Yasmina or similar*

Day 6
Walk among the dunes; camel trek; camp in the desert.

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*

Day 7
To Skoura via the Todra Gorge.

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 (journeytime approximately4 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.

*Kasbah Sawadi or similar*

Day 8
Skoura, the Palm grove capital of Morocco

There is the opportunity to take a1 hourdrive to Toundout Valley and
enjoy a four hour guided hike crossing through a Berber village and
Imi-noulawen valley, where you will learn a littleof 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 throughitsvarious walks
discovering multiple palmgroves,and Kasbahs.

*Kasbah Sawadi or similar*

Day 9
Journey to Telouet, via the famous Kasbah Ait Benhaddou.

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).

*Kasbah Oliver or similar*

Day 10
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 ourwalk
will depend on the ability of the group, but it is likely to be
approximately4 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*

Day 11
Over the High Atlas 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.
We stop at a women’scooperativeArgan 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 journeytime of approximately 10 hours
today, with plenty of comfortbreaks and photo stops along the way.

*Maison du Sud or similar*

Day 12
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, 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

*Maison du Sud or similar*

Day 13
To Marrakech; guided tour including Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs, finish
in Djemma el Fna

After breakfast, we drive back to Marrakech, journey time approximately2.5
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
charmersand acrobats, it is a place of night-time entertainment for both
local people and tourists.

*Riad Hamdane or similar*

Day 14
Free day in Marrakech.

Today is freein Marrakech and there is no shortage of things to do. You
might wishto 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 hour calche
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

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.

*Riad Hamdane or similar*

Day 15
Fly to London.

Trip ends after breakfast.