Set out to document the contrasting landscapes of Morocco on a photo adventure that combines hiking, legendary cities, and a three-day camel trek. Capture the many moods of the Sahara on early morning and late afternoon shoots, and take portraits of our cameleers. Delve into the bustling souks of Fez and Marrakech to photograph towering piles of colorful spices, artisans at work, and merchants hawking their wares. Hike into the Atlas Mountains to photograph life in a typical Berber village, and frame the age-old architecture of rose-colored kasbahs, Roman ruins, and mosaic-clad mosques and palaces.
Hone your photography skills while traveling with and learning from a National Geographic photographer.
Ride a camel to a tented camp in the Sahara and shoot the sunrise over wind-sculpted sand dunes.
Hike to traditional mountain villages to photograph the Berber people and their everyday culture.
Go on photo shoots at the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the ancient adobe village of Aït Ben Haddou, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Get close-ups of stunning architectural details, and capture the color and bustle of the enchanting medinas in Marrakech and Fez.
Itinerary - 14 Days
Day 1 — Casablanca, Morocco
Arrive in Casablanca and gather for a welcome dinner. Hotel Novotel Casablanca (D)
Day 2 — Rabat
Visit the extraordinary Hassan II Mosque, whose exquisite stuccowork and soaring minaret make for an excellent first photography outing. Then travel to Rabat and photograph it’s architectural treasures, from the minaret of the Hassan Mosque, left incomplete in the 12th century, to the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. Golden Tulip Farah Rabat (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Meknès/Volubilis/Fès
Continue to Meknès, Morocco’s 17th-century capital, and capture the geometry of its grand gateways and mausoleums decorated with zellij, or mosaic tiles. After lunch, delve deeper into the past on a photo shoot at the Roman ruins of Volubilis. Travel to Fez this afternoon. Hôtel Les Mérinides (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Fez
Spend the day exploring Fez, the oldest of Morocco’s four imperial cities. With your camera in hand, venture into the narrow streets of the souks to photograph the myriad textures and colors of merchants hawking spices, copper, and carpets and tanners plunging skins in pools of dye. Zoom in on the mosaics of Nejjarine Fountain, and see the Kairaouine Mosque. After lunch, visit the historic Jewish quarter in Fès Jedid and the Dar Batha Museum of Moroccan arts. Hôtel Les Mérinides (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Ziz Valley/Erfoud
Stop for a hike in the cedar forests of the Atlas Mountains, home to Barbary macaque monkeys. In the alpine town of Ifrane, document the French colonial architecture. On our way to Erfoud, descend into the spectacular Ziz Valley and its lush oases of date palms. (3-4 miles hiking, 1-2 hours) Kasbah Hotel Chergui (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Erg Chebbi/Begin Camel Trek
Drive in 4x4s to the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. After learning about camel riding from Berber cameleers, embark on our Saharan trek, camel riding (and walking, if you wish) across dunes interspersed with volcanic rock and populated by nomadic herders. Photographic opportunities abound in this otherworldly “sandscape” of shifting colors and shapes. Arrive at our tented camp and dine under a star-studded sky. (4-5 miles camel riding and walking, 2-3 hours) Camping (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Remlia Well
Awaken for an early photo walk as the light of the rising sun casts changing colors and shadows on the dunes. Then set out on our camels across a varied desert terrain. Traverse fan-shaped landforms and dry river basins, keeping an eye out for fossils as we approach our camp in the dunes near the well at Remlia. (8 miles camel riding and walking, 4-5 hours) Camping (B,L,D)
Day 8 — End Trek/Alnif/Boumalne Dadès
Mount our camels for a final morning trek. Then drive off-road in 4x4s to search for trilobites and other ancient fossils around the town of Alnif, a renowned fossil-hunting region. After lunch, continue to Todra Gorge, where sheer rock walls reach nearly to 1,000 feet. Later, check into our hotel at Boumalne Dadès, perched on an outcrop amid canyons and plateaus. (1-2 miles camel riding and walking, 1 hour) Hôtel Xaluca Dadès (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Dadès Valley
Travel through the “valley of 1,000 casbahs” linking the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara, and stop to photograph palm oases; rose plantations; and casbahs, or fortified villages, along the way. Set out on a hike through the terraced fields of Dadès Valley. Later this afternoon, visit the Berber village of Bou Tharar. (4-5 miles hiking, 3 hours) Hôtel Xaluca Dadès (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Valley of the Roses
Spend the day hiking in the Valley of the Roses, a fertile region known for its pink Persian roses. Our hike passes through photogenic landscapes, into a gorge and over hills dotted with casbahs. During lunch with a local Berber family, learn about their rich cultural heritage and photograph their everyday traditions. (7 miles hiking, 4-5 hours) Chez Talout (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Aït Ben Haddou
Embark on a hike in the Skoura oasis, known for its beautiful
casbahs. Arrive in the hilltop village of Aït Ben Haddou in time to catch the afternoon light on its adobe towers. (3-4 miles hiking, 3 hours) Riad Ksar Ighnda (B,L,D)
Day 12 — High Atlas/Marrakech
Today’s journey takes us over the peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, which rise above a landscape of oasis pastures, willow and poplar groves, and picturesque villages. Stop for a photo walk in the stunning Ounila Valley before continuing on to Marrakech. (2-3 miles hiking, 1-2 hours) Hotel Es Saadi (B,L,D)
Day 13 — Marrakech
Enjoy a full day exploring Morocco’s “pearl of the South.” Photograph the Koutoubia Mosque, the Saadian Tombs, and Bahia Palace. Meander through the twisting lanes of the medina, capturing the vibrant bustle of merchants, artisans, and bartering townspeople. In the central plaza, snap portraits of snake charmers, magicians, and costumed water sellers. Tonight, toast your photography adventure at a farewell dinner. Hotel Es Saadi (B,L,D)
Day 14 — Marrakech/U.S.
This morning, transfer to the airport for your return flight.
National Geographic Active Expeditions are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.
Born and raised in Italy, photojournalist Massimo Bassano has published his work in National Geographic Traveler and on the National Geographic website, as well as in numerous European publications. He regularly teaches National Geographic photography workshops in Tuscany and Venice. His acclaimed photography book The Color of Silence detailed the 12 weeks he spent in a little-known Italian monastery. Massimo has traveled and photographed extensively in Morocco, and will share techniques and insights as you explore the country.
While on our camel trek, we will be riding camels (and/or walking, if you wish) for 1 to 5 hours per day (1 to 8 miles). No previous experience is necessary. During hiking excursions, our hikes range from 3 to 4.5 hours per day (4 to 7 miles).
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
What To Expect
We will stay
2 nights in spacious tents and 11 nights in Moroccan-style hotels that reflect the local character.
Contact Us: 1-888-689-2557
Call to speak with an Adventure specialist about this trip.