Morocco’s mystique can be found
in medinas that brim with color,
soaring mountains that give way to endless
desert, and stunning Moorish architecture.
Discover the enchanting cities of
Marrakech and Fez, venture into rose-colored
kasbahs, and visit little-known
mountain villages. Listen to the strains of
Berber music around a campfire in the
Sahara, and stay at a stunning Moorish palace hotel.
Explore the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the ancient adobe village of Aït Benhaddou, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Ride a camel at sunset from a tented camp nestled among the sculpted dunes, and watch the sun rise over the Sahara.
Wander the labyrinthine streets of the medina in Marrakech, and
observe artisans plying their timeless crafts in the workshops of Fez.
Learn about Berber culture
while sipping mint tea in a traditional mountain village.
Itinerary - 11 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Casablanca, Morocco
Depart on an overnight flight to Casablanca. After time to relax the following morning, meet the group for welcome lunch at La Mer, overlooking the Atlantic ocean. This afternoon, visit the extraordinary Hassan II Mosque, which boasts the world's tallest minaret at 689 feet. Then stroll through the city’s Habous district and the mechouar, the ceremonial meeting place outside the Royal Palace. Tonight,
gather for a festive welcome dinner. Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche (L,D)
Day 3 — Casablanca/Marrakech
Drive through the elegant Anfa neighborhood on the way to Marrakech, Morocco's legendary "pearl of the South." Enjoy a poolside lunch at the hotel before exploring the city of Marrakech. See the splendid Koutoubia Mosque and the Saadian Tombs, and visit Bahia Palace. Explore the labyrinthine streets of the medina, lined with market stalls and craftspeople; and soak up the colorful chaos of Djemma el Fna Square, where snake charmers and magicians captivate the passersby. Tonight, gather for a rooftop reception and dinner accompanied by traditional Gnaoua music in the heart of the old medina. Sofitel Marrakech (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Marrakech
Continue exploring the sites of Marrakech today.
Meander through the stunning Majorelle Garden,
once owned by Yves Saint-Laurent, and see an
exclusive collection of Berber objects originating
from diverse regions of Morocco at the Berber
Museum. Explore historic Moroccan architecture
with visits to the 14th-century Ben Youssef Madrasa
and the Museum of Marrakech, located in the Dar
Menebhi Palace. After lunch, venture back to the
lively medina with our local guide or explore on
your own. Sofitel Marrakech (B,L)
Day 5 — Telouet/Aït Benhaddou/Ouarzazate
Cross the High Atlas Mountains over the Tichka
Pass, stopping to board 4x4s for the trip to the
Kasbah of Telouet. Once home to the powerful
Glaoui clan, the kasbah’s crumbling exterior
belies its rich tile and woodwork. After lunch in the village, drive through the Ounina Valley to the
ancient fortified village of Aït Benhaddou, and
delve into its warren of twisting lanes and shops.
Continue to Ouarzazate, a former colonial trading
post, now known for its movie studios where films
like Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia were shot. Le Berbère Palace (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Ouarzazate/Boumalne Dades
Learn about traditional adobe architecture in Taourirt Kasbah this morning. Then set out on the fabled Road of 1,000 Kasbahs. Arrive in Boumalne Dades, a small town nestled amid the crags and plateaus of the semidesert landscape. After lunch, head out on a hike in the dramatic Dades Gorge and visit nearby villages. Xaluca Dades (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Erfoud/Rissani/Merzouga
Follow the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs to Erfoud, passing spectacular rock formations, oases, and rose plantations. In Erfoud, climb into 4x4s for the drive into the desert. Visit the souk in Rissani,
a historic camel caravan stop. Later, ride into the
dunes on a camel to watch the sun set on the
Sahara. Return to our deluxe Berber tented camp
to dine under the star-studded sky and enjoy an
evening of Berber folk music and tales around the
campfire. Bivouac Tented Berber Camp (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Merzouga/Fez
Awaken early for a walk across the sandscape as
the rising sun paints the dunes orange and gold.
Return to the camp for a hearty breakfast, then
head north into the high-mountain plains on your
way to Fez. Arrive in Fez late this afternoon, and
check in to our hotel. Hotel Sahrai (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Fez
Spend the day exploring this magnificent imperial
city. Visit the Royal Palace and Fes Jdid, home to
the historic Jewish Quarter. Delve into the lively
medina, where merchants preside over colorful
mounds of spices and tanners soak skins in vats
of dye. Discover the 14th-century Bou Inania
Madrasa, characterized by its intricately carved
stucco walls, arches, and cornices. See the
Nejjarine Fountain, covered in exquisite mosaics,
and the Kairaouine Mosque. Hotel Sahrai (B,L)
Day 10 — Fez/Volubilis and Meknes
Today you may choose to explore Fez at your own pace or take an excursion to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a World Heritage site, and Meknes, Morocco’s 17th-century capital. Tonight, toast our Moroccan adventure at a farewell dinner and belly-dancing performance. Hotel Sahrai (B,D)
Day 11 — Fez/U.S.
This morning, transfer to the Fez airport for your return flight or transfer to Casablanca for flights departing in the afternoon. (B)
Scott Wallace is an author, photographer, and television producer who has reported from around the world. A former correspondent for Newsweek and the Guardian, he is a regular contributor to National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler. His television work has been featured on CBS, CNN, and the National Geographic Channel. Scott is the 2012 recipient of the Explorers Club's Lowell Thomas Award for his expedition reporting. He has served as a consultant and photographer for the World Bank on development projects in Berber villages of the High Atlas mountains, and he has traveled extensively throughout Morocco.
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a
single room, add $1,395 in 2015 and $1,495 in 2016.
International airfare to Casablanca and return from Fez
is not included in the expedition cost.
What To Expect
Our hotels are first-class, well-located properties that
reflect the character of each region. In Marrakech,
Ouarzazate, and Fez, each hotel has a lovely pool and
stunning tropical gardens. Our camp in Merzouga
features deluxe Berber-style tents with en suite
bathrooms and generator-powered electricity.