Colors of Morocco
Tour Morocco’s Imperial Cities, the Great Sahara Desert Region and Berber Villages. This is the perfect private tour for first time travelers to Morocco. Offered on a Mid-range or Morocco Luxury Tour basis, Splendors of Morocco offers a blend of site seeing and an in-depth Moroccan Cultural expereince. Explore Moorish Architecutre, Andalusian Gardens, Jewish Heritage Sites, Ancient, Kasbahs and Valleys. Disocver UNESCO Heritage Sites and Lost Morocco’s lost Medival cities.
Good to Know
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Day 1: Casablanca Arrival – Visit the Hassan II Mosque – Drive to Rabat (Driving Time: 1 1/2 Hours)
Casablanca Arrival. Visit the Mosque of Hassan II. Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau. It is situated on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic, which can be seen through a gigantic glass floor with room for 25,000 worshippers. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 meters. It is an enormous architectural masterpiece and the second largest religious building in the world. Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Rabat.
Day 2: Rabat Guided Historical Tour – Travel to Meknes for a Guided Visit – Roman Ruins of Volubilis (Driving Time: 4 1/2 Hours)
Visit the Imperial Cities of Rabat and Meknes, then the Roman Ruins of Volubilis. During your morning tour, you will learn Rabat’s history and enjoy its beautiful domes, minarets, wide avenues, and green spaces. Your guide will escort you on a walk around the picturesque Almohad northern walls of the Oudaïa Kasbah. Visit the Royal Palace and the Hassan towerwhich stands on the hill overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg. Explore the gardens nearby and visit the Palace of Rabat and visit the Necropolis at Chellah/Kasbah of Chellah.
Next take the road to Meknes. On arrival, enjoy a panoramic view of Meknes which includes a splendid look at the old Islamic medina with its numerous tall and soaring minarets. Explore the Old Medina and Bab el-Khemis. Pass through the ancient walls of the medina and the Islamic cemetery from which extends the Jewish quarter and the entrance to the Old Mellah (Jewish neighborhood). Enter through Bab el-Khemis, a large decorated gate from the 17th century often referred to as “Thursday Gate.”
Visit the 17th Century Kasbah. Famous for its military scale, Meknes has a massive extension of walls and monumental gates. Its breadth emanates the historical achievements of one of the greatest Sultans in the history of Morocco, Moulay Ismail. Continue to the Royal Stables and Agdal Reservoir. The Royal Stables are an amazing site, as this massive stable yard was constructed to comfortably house no less that twelve thousand royal horses. Pass the Bab el Mansour Gate. Regarded as one of the most beautiful gates in Morocco, the Bab el Mansour is the most important gateway in Meknes.
Take the National road to Volubilis.
Visit the Roman Ruins of Volubilis. The breathtaking archaeological site of Volubilis, also referred to as Oualili, was once occupied by the Romans. Volubilis has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site and gained international acclaim when Martin Scorsese made it a feature location for his film, The Last Temptation of Christ. Discover the fascinating Roman ruins adorned with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology.
Overnight in at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.
Day 3: Fes Guided Historical Tour: Architecture, Mosques, Gardens, Souks, Jewish Heritage Sites
Fes Historical Tour: Islamic Architecture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Historic Monuments, Jewish Heritage (Synagogue and Mellah), Craft Making and Shopping in the Souks.
Begin your day in Fès, the oldest working medina in the world that many refer to as a living museum. Visit The 14th Century Palace Gates of the King. The Royal Palace in Fes is one of the oldest (14th Century) and largest in Morocco.
Next visit the Jewish Mellah, the name of a Jewish quarters located in the old cities of Morocco, usually with a walled boundary.
Continue onward to visit the Ibn Danan Jewish Synagogue. Fes was once home to a flourishing Jewish community during the 17th century and was also the location of two well-known temples: Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Danan Synagogue was built and founded by the Ibn Danan family and the
Cross the local fruit and vegetable market where you will witness the stalls of local traders and people buying their daily goods.
Explore the Dyers souk of silk, wool and cotton.
Visit the following sites in the afternoon:
- The Tannery
- Weavers Cooperative
- Mausoleum (Zaouia Sidi Ahmed Tijani)
- University of Kairouine
- Mausolem (Zaouia Moulay Idriss)
- Nejarine Square
Cross the carpenter area and enter Attarine Street, filled with scents of Fes such as spices and oils. Shop and explore for carpets, scarves, and local handicrafts. Antique and Modern Carpets is one of the places in Fès el Bali where you can see a Berber carpet demonstration. Visit the The Bou Inania Medersa. The Madrasa Bou Inania is a madrassa founded in AD 1351-56 by Abu Inan Faris, who also founded the Madrassa Bou Inania in Meknes.
Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.
Day 4: Fes Guided Visit of Palaces and Andalusian Gardens
Majestic Palaces, and Andalusian Gardens
Visit Majestic Palaces and Andalusian Gardens
Visit Batha Museum and Andalusian Garden.
Next visit the Batha Museum and Andalusian Gardens. he Musee Dar el-Batha offers up a great collection of pottery, leatherwork, wood, books, and manuscripts from the nineteenth century centered around a green spacious courtyard.
Visit Palais Mokri. Palais Mokri, also referred to as “El Mokri Palace”, is a landmark in Fes. Built around 1906 by If Tayeb El Mokri, son of the Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) of the king and himself Pasha of Casablanca, this residence covers about 220 meters of Fasis architecture and a gardens.
Visit Jnane S’bil Garden and Les Jardins De Biehn, an Andalusian Garden (if time allows)
Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.
Day 5: Fes – Ifrane and the Cedar Forrest, Azro – Middle Atlas – Rissani Merzouga Sahara Desert (Driving Time: 8 1/2 Hours)
A Journey through the Middle Atlas to the Sahara Desert, Passing Ifrane, known as “Little Switzerland,” Midelt, Erfoud (the Capital of Fossils), and Rissani, Arriving in Merzouga for a Sunset Guided Camel Trek and Arabian Nights in the Great Sahara Desert. Take the road to Merzouga. Enroute to Merzouga, we will pass Ifrane, stopping to see the cedar tree forest and the local barbary monkeys. We will also pass the American- Moroccan University which was built by the Saudis.
Visit the Musicians of Khemlia in Merzouga, a century-old Gnaoua group that performs ancient trance music. Tea and nuts will be served (if time allows on this day or the following day). Arrive in Merzouga before sunset and then go by dromedary camel 45-60 minutes, at sunset, into the Erg Chebbi Dunes to camp overnight in our luxury biouvac tent at an oasis.
Overnight in a LuxuryDesertCamp in Merzouga.
Day 6: Merzouga Desert Exploration – Lunch in Ait Ouzzine Berber Village – Skoura (Driving Time: 3 1/2 Hours)
Sahara Desert Visit and then Departure from the Region to the Saghro Mountains for Lunch in a Berber Village Enroute to Skoura
Walk the desert dunes and explore on your own in and around Merzouga. Take the road to se Merzouga’s Sahara by piste. Enjoy the flora and fauna that is unique to the Sahara. Then visit the Saharan Desert towns of Rissani and the capital of fossils, Erfoud.
Visit the old ksars and then continue the road to the village of Ait Ouzzine, located in N’kob, which is nestled within the Middle Atlas Mountains. Aït Ouzzine is a Berber villageinhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock, and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani.
Meet a local Berber family, sip tea in the Sagro Mountains, and dine on couscous. Then explore and tour the village by foot. Walk in the green fields and see how the traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, livestock, and henna plants.
After lunch, you can have your hands and feet painted with hennaor your hair adorned with saffron by a local village artist and relax. Experience the tradition of Berber perfume made from musk and amber along with the villages own spices. End the afternoon in Ait Ouzzine with mint tea and almonds.
Drive through the Draa Valley back to Ouarzazate or the Skoura Palmeraie before sunset. The Draa Valley is the road of the old caravans that once traveled to transport dates and other goods from the Draa Region to Marrakech.
Overnight at a BoutiqueRiadinSkoura.
Day 7: Skoura – Excursion to the Valley of Roses, Valley of Nomads and Boumalne Dades Valley (Driving Time: 4 hours)
Visit Skoura and its “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs.” Skoura is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside desert landscapes. It is renowned for the cultivation of roses.
Continue towards the perfumed Valley of Roses,just north of El Kelaa Des Mgouna. On the way to the Valley of Roses, your driver will stop for you to view the Capp et Florale distillation factories laid out in the small kasbah town that manufacture the entire nation’s production of eau de rose. The rose water and other products such as hand and body soaps, oil, cream, perfume, and dried flowers are for sale and also popular among Moroccans.
En route go by pise to the region of Mount Mgoun and the Valley of Nomads. Visit and break bread with a Nomad family and see how cave dwellers have lived in this mountainous region for centuries, isolated from the outside world peacefully. Sip tea with the Nomads in this region of Bouthgrar before heading towards the magnificent Dades Valley and the region of the Dades Gorge. Lunch will be at a well-respected guest house in the Dades Valley with views of a Gorge.
Your journey will then take you through the Dades Valley which covers 125 km between Ouarzazateand Boumalne du Dadès in the High Atlas Mountains. Once you reach Boumalne, at first sight you notice the limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery and the valley’s pise (windy roads
Overnight at a Boutique Riad in Skoura.
Day 8: Skoura – Ouarzazate – Ait Benhaddou – Kasbah Telouet – Marrakech (Driving Time: 5 hours)
During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative center of the Zagora region. Ouarzazate became famous when its nearby Kasbah,Ait Benhaddou , appeared in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.
Visit Ait Benhaddou Kasbah.32 km from Ouarzazate lies the picturesque village of Aït Benhaddou, situated in Souss Massa Draa on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; for Jesus of Nazareth, the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt.
After visiting Ait Benhaddou, continue the road to Marrakech. You will pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic influences and desert borders. Lunch Recommendation:Dine on local Moroccan fare made with fresh, argan oil from the local cooperative run by women.
Visit an argan cooperative where argan oil, butter, and cosmetics are made with the argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Enjoy a complimentary tasting. This cooperative is run entirely by women. Continue on to Marrakech.
Overnight at a BoutiqueRiad or Hotel in Marrakech.
Day 9: Marrakech Guided Historical: Yves Saint Laurent Gardens, Mosques, Monuments, Souks, Gardens
Marrakech Historical Tour: The Moroccan Gardens of Yves Saint Laurent and Koutoubia, Historic Sites, Monuments, the Grand Medina and its Lively Souks
Visit the Majorelle Gardens. The Majorelle Gardens, previously the Jardin Bou Saf, bears its name from its original creator, Jacques Majorelle, the French expatriate artist who was born in Nancy, France, in 1886. Jacques Majorelle was the son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. In 1947, the son opened his gardens to the public and, during this time, also painted a magnificent ceiling at La Mamounia, a five-star hotel with exquisite gardens and the place where Alfred Hitchcock wrote The Birds.
See the Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens. TheKoutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech.
Experience the Jewish Mellah. Founded in 1558 by Moulay Abdallah, the Mellah district was designated as the Jewish quarter in Marrakech.
Shop in the Old Spice Market.
Visit El Bahia Palace. The El Bahia Palace in Marrakech is a beautiful building and an excellent example of Eastern Architecture from the 19th century and represents trends and standards of the wealthy who lived at that time.
Visit the Saadian Tombs. The Saadian tombs in Marrakech date back from the time of the Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The tombs were only recently discovered (in 1917) and were restored by the Beaux-Arts service.
Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel Marrakech.
Day 10: Marrakech at Leisure – Cooking Class or Spa/ Hammam Option
Start your morning with a Marrakech Cooking Class
The workshops are conducted by a dada (traditional Moroccan cook) or a chef.
Afternoon at Leisure – Option to Visit La Mamounia Gardens or Le Museum Photographie.
Use the afternoon for leisure or choose to visit the Mamounia Hotel and Gardens for tea and lunch or evening drinks. La Mamounia is where Alfred Hitchcock wrote the movie The Birds. It is situated on the edge of the walls of the old city of Marrakech and is named for its 200-year-old gardens, which were given as an 18th century wedding gift to Prince Moulay Mamoun by his father.
Evening – Visit Djemaa El Fna Square for an evening of adventure at dusk. Beneath the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in the city center of Marrakech lies Djemaa el Fna, a famous UNESCO-recognized city square. During the daylight, Djemma el Fna is every Moroccan travelers shopping paradise. As the sun sets, the real excitement starts. Enjoy a bowl of steamed snails in a local spice broth or, for the adventurous, sheep’s head. Enjoy the nightlife of Gnaoua trance-healers, Andalous musicians, and exotic snake charmers. Easily, this mysterious place can be compared to a land of Arabian fantasies. With its wild and colorful characters, Djemaa el Fna will bedazzle and astound you.
Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel Marrakech.
Day 11:Marrakech – Departure to Casablanca Airport (Driving Time: 3 hours)
Breakfast at your Hotel. Departure for Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport
COLORS OF MOROCCO TOUR – TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:
►Visit the Grand White Mosque in Casablanca
►1 Night in the Imperial City of Rabat
►3 Nights in Fes – UNESCO World Heritage Site
►1 Night in a Luxury Desert Camp in the Sahara Desert
►2 Nights in the Skoura Palmeraie in the Valley of 1,000 Kasbahs
►3 Nights in Marrakech, in the Paris of Morocco
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