Magical Moroccan Travels

12-Day Tour

Expedition Details: Imperial Cities, mountains, coastal communities, Moroccan Sahara

Discover the Magic of Morocco as you travel with your Berber guide from coastal Casablanca and Rabat through the Atlas Mountains, to the Moroccan Sahara. In the desert, enjoy a camel ride, dine under the stars, and sleep in a Berber tent! In the Atlas Mountains, visit Berber villages and kasbahs, then stop to explore the canyons of the east High Atlas Mountains, with towering cliffs, thundering waterfalls, lush river valleys, and narrow canyons. Tour four Imperial Cities, including lovely Marrakech where you spend three nights and enjoy uniquely Moroccan entertainment.

This 12-day guided tour gives you the opportunity to experience Morocco’s rich geographic and cultural diversity.

√ Tour includes: lodging, meals, guided transportation, applicable fees, camel ride, airport transfers.
(Click for more details.)

Optional Excursions also available.

Related information: Morocco’s history, geography, attractions and sites.

Trip Highlights

Rabat. Morocco’s capital, where you will see the 12th century Hassan Tower accessed by ramps rather than stairs, so horsemen could easily ride to the top to issue the call to prayer.

Fés. UNESCO World Heritage site, its colorful medina and the University of Al-Karaouine, founded in AD 859 and the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.

Volubilis Roman archaeological site between Rabat and Fes.
Aït Benhaddou, historical adobe village on the caravan route between Marrakech and the Sahara.
Both UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Atlas Mountains. Over 12 peaks above 4,000 meters and home to many unique plant and animal species (including a tailless monkey)Ifrane, ski village. Berber villages, kasbahs, medinas,  Zia River Valley often called the Grand Canyon of Morocco. Towering cliffs, narrow canyons of the Todra Gorge and Dadés River Valley, surrounded by lush palm forests and green oases. Wonderful hiking and climbing. Spend a night in a traditional Berber family kasbah.

Moroccan Sahara (Southern Provinces). Erg Chebbi, Morocco’s largest sand dune. Camel ride with our Berber family. Campfire dinner under the stars. Spend the night in a Berber tent.

Ouarzazate. Hollywood of Morocco, where many famous films have been made. Spend the night in Kasbah Taourirt.

Marrakech. Lush gardens and exotic Islamic architecture. Largest souq (open air market) in Morocco (and Africa). Enjoy a delicious Moroccan dinner while being entertained by a show of Berber horsemen.

Essaouira and coastal communities. Historical blend of many cultures, some dating from prehistoric times, and including Phoenician, Roman, Portuguese, Spanish, and Islamic influence.

Casablanca. Morocco’s largest city and industrial capital and the largest port in Africa. The city was  immortalized by the movie, “Casablanca.”


Itinerary -12 Days

Day 1  Arrival in Casablanca الدار البيضاء

Casablanca Mosque Hassan Morocco Tour

Casablanca Mosque Hassan II (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

Casablanca, economic capital and commercial center of Morocco. Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide and transported to your hotel (ryad) in Rabat. Depending on your arrival time, you may have an opportunity to visit Casablanca. Stroll through the city’s Habous district, exploring the Mechouar, ceremonial meeting place outside the Royal Palace, the Mohamed V Square and Corniche of Ain Diab, and the Hassan II Mosque, with the world’s tallest minaret. “Casablanca” (made famous by the movie of the same name) is Morocco’s largest city and its chief port—one of the largest ports in the world. (And, the country’s primary naval base.)

The city’s original name was Anfa. Built by the Phoenicians and later settled by the Berbers, the term is still used for the old residential area. The modern name ‘Casablanca’ is Spanish for “white house.” Locals often refer to their city as “casa.” Originally settled by the Berbers by the 7th Century BC, the city was used as a port by the Phoenicians and the Romans, and later the French, whose language is still used by many Moroccans.

For late arriving flights, you will go straight to your ryad in Rabat, where we begin our tour in the morning. There will be time on the last day of the tour to visit Casablanca.

More about Casablanca.

¤ Dinner: At your hotel (ryad)
¤ Accommodation: Rabat


Day 2  Rabat Fés, Volubilis, Meknes, Fes

Rabat Hassan Tower Morocco Tour

Rabat, Hassan Tower (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

Rabat, administrative capital of Morocco and the “Imperial White City.” After a short tour of Rabat, where you will see the Mechouar of the Royal Palace and the 12th century Hassan Tower and its Esplande, we will continue on to Meknes, Morocco’s youngest Imperial City.

Volubilis Morocco Tour

Volubilis Roman Ruins (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

En-route, we will stop to explore Volubilis, a UNESCO site of Roman ruins dating from 100 B.C. when this was the capital of Roman Africa and called Mauritania Tingitana. Our day ends at Fés, where we will enjoy a Folklore Show with dinner, when you will visit with your tour guide about attractions you wish to experience on your visit to Morocco.

More about Fés. | UNESCO Archaeological site of Volubilis,

¤ Dinner: Welcome dinner with Folklore show and visit with your guide.
¤ Accommodation: Fes (2 nights)


Day 3  Fés فاس

Fes Al-Qarawiyyin Univ. Morocco Tour

Courtyard, Al-Qarawiyyin Univ. (Wikipedia) Click to enlarge

Fés, intellectual and religious capital of Morocco, and Imperial City founded in 808 by Maulay Indriss II. Some say it is the “most imperial city of Morocco.” Spend the day exploring palaces and monuments and educational institutions such as Bou Inania Madrasa built by Marinid Sultan Abu Inan Faris in the 14th Century,  Al-Attarine Madrasa, and the University of Al-Karaouine, founded in 859 and considered the oldest university in the world.

souq market Morocco Tour

Food baskets at a souq.
(Steve White) Click to enlarge

Other stops may include the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II, a shrine honoring Fes’ founder, the fascinating “water clock” at Dar al-Magana (connected to the Bou Inania Madrasa school), and Jewish Aben Danan Synagogue. Your guide will also introduce you to the largest Souk (open-air marketplace) in Morocco and Africa.

More about Fés. | UNESCO site, Medina of Fez

¤ Dinner: At your ryad
¤ Accommodation: Fes


Day 4  High Atlas Mountains, Berber Villages, Ziz River Valley

Djebel Toubkal Atlas Mountains Morocco Tour

Djebel Toubkal (Atlas Mountains)
(Wikipedia) Click to enlarge.

Travel through the Atlas Mountains, where you will visit Ifrane, a ski village (established by the French when they occupied Morocco), and known as the Switzerland of Morocco. It is the place where the lowest temperature (-24c) has ever been recorded in Africa.  The native population of  the Atlas Mountains, however, is mostly Berber, and we pass through several Berber villages.

Ziz Valley Morocco Tour

Ziz River Valley (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

These mountains are home to a number of plant and animal species unique to Africa, some only found in Morocco. In the cedar forests of Azeou you will feed apples and peanuts to Morocco’s Barbaray Macaque (tailless monkeys).

As you travel through the mid-Atlas Mountains, you descend through the Ziz River Valley, of dramatic geometric contrast with lush palmaries (palm forests) nestled beneath high cliffs. Some call this area the ‘Grand Canyon of Morocco.’

Our final destination today is the Ziz River Valley, where we will spend the night in a Berber family kabash and learn about the traditions of the area.

More on the Atlas Mountains | More on the Ziz River Valley

¤ Dinner: At your ryad
¤ Accommodation: Ziz River Valley


Day 5  Merzouga, Moroccan Sahara

We spend the day and the night in the desert near Merzouga, in the heart of the Moroccan Sahara (Southern Provinces). Our guide and a Berber family are our hosts as we explore Erg Chebbi, Morocco’s largest sand dune. Stretching over 22 kilometers and reaching 150 meters high in places, the Erg is part of a contrasting panorama, the shifting sands of the huge dunes are offset by black volcanic rock, forests of palm, white salt beds, and the lake in Merzouga, where you may see pink flamingos. Here we meet the camels that will carry us on our overnight expedition. We spend the night in comfortable Berber tents and enjoy a campfire dinner under the stars.

Moroccan Sahara Morocco Tour

Getting ready for camel ride (tour photo). Erg Ebbi Dunes from the tent, and camels at water well. (Steve White)

More on the Moroccan Sahara

¤ Dinner: campfire under the stars
¤ Accommodation: Berber tents in the desert near Merzouga


Day 6  Atlas Mountains, Todra Gorge, Dadés River Valley, Ouarzazate

Togra Gorge Morocco Tour

Todgha Gorge (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

Back to the High Atlas. Leaving the desert dunes behind, once again we ascend through the Atlas Mountains which rise through central Morocco from its northern border near the Mediterranean Sea to the southwest coast.

Our mountain journey today again takes us through small Berber and Arab villages, where inhabitants still practice a traditional lifestyle. We stop at Todra Gorge where sheer, 300-meter cliffs tower above narrow canyons (wadi)  separated by only 10 meters in the narrowest passages! Another stop is the adjacent Dadés River Valley, a lush green oasis in the rocky desert. We will have an opportunity for some climbing and hiking, a nice change from the rocking camel ride of the day before.

Quarzazate Morocco Tour

Kabah Taorirt, Quarzazate (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

Quarzazate, the “Hollywood of Morocco,” and our final destination today, is the location where many famous films have been made, including “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), ” Gladiator” (2000), and “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (2011).

Our final stop today is the Kasbah Taourirt where we spend the night at our ryad.

¤ Dinner: at your ryad
¤ Accommodation: Quarzazate


Day 7  Quarzazate, Marrakech

Alt Benhaddou Kasbah Morocco Tour

Aït Benhaddou Kasbah (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

Quarzazate this morning, where we visit a film studio if time permits. Then we begin our scenic drive again across the High Atlas, following the old caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech. We stop to visit and photograph many Berber villages and kasbah, such as the Ait Ben Haddou. This fortified city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been used for many films, including “Jewel of the Nile” in 1985, and most recently “Prince of Persia.”

We continue following the old caravan route through the mountains, finally reaching our evening destination, Marrakech, the third largest city in Morocco. It is a regional economic capital and combines both a modern city and older medina.

¤ Dinner: at your ryad
¤ Accommodation: Marrakech  (3 nights)


 Day 8  Marrakech

Marrakech Morocco Tour

Djemaa el Fna (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

Marrakech, known as the “Ochre City” and “the Pearl of the South,” is the third largest and most important former Imperial City in Morocco. Situated at the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, this beautiful city is filled with myriad sights, scents, and sounds, with lush gardens of fruit and olive trees, palms, giant bamboo, yucca, and many fragrant flowers, colorful traditional Islamic architecture, and the largest traditional Berber market (souk) in Morocco and one of the busiest squares in Africa, Djemaa el Fna.

Marrakech souq Morocco Tour

Dancer in the marketplace.
(Steve White) Click to enlarge

Here, we will be entertained by dancers, storytellers, acrobats, snake charmers, musicians, fortune tellers, and fire eaters. This is a wonderful place to do some souvenir shopping!

Bahia Palace Morocco Tour

Bahia Palace (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

 

In the old, fortified city (medina,) we will also visit the lovely 19th century Bahia Palace and Gardens. The palace is an outstanding example of Islamic architecture. After stops at the Madersa Mosque and the Saadian tombs, we tour Majorelle Garden.

Majorelle Garden Morocco Tour

Majorelle Garden (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

This lovely 12-acre Botanical Garden, cobalt blue villa, and former studio of French painter Jacques Majorelles was once owned by Yves St.Laurent. Also located here is the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech.

Marrakech, known for its lovely gardens and the vibrant, exciting souq and special entertainment in the evening, is a highlight of your trip. Your next stops, after leaving the mountains, will be to visit coastal villages.

More on Marrakech

¤ Dinner and Entertainment: Spectacular Marrakech dinner held under the Royal Khaima Berber tents. ‘Fantasia’ show with famous Berber horsemen in ‘Battle on Arab Horses.’
¤ Accommodation: Marrakech  (3 nights)

 


Day 9  Marrakech Optional Excursions

A day of options! Spend the day relaxing in Marrakech, do some extra shopping, return to the souq to enjoy the entertainment, or take one of the optional day-trip excursions. The day is yours for discovery and exploration. In the evening we will depart for a short drive to the coastal town of Essaouira where we spend the night.

Marrakech Morocco Tour

Marrakech Garden Tour (Wikipedia images)

Walking Garden Tour. Bahia Palace, built in the 19th century and intended to capture the essence of Islamic and Moroccan styles, it has a two-acre garden and rooms opening into courtyards. El Badi Palace, presently undergoing restoration rebuilding the pools and gardens. Majorelle Gardens, 12-acre botanical garden and artist’s landscape garden with a lovely blue villa once owned by Yves St. Laurent. Ask your guide for additional gardens you might want to visit in this beautiful city.

Ourika River Valley Morocco Tour

ATV 4×4 day-trip from Marrakech travel through Berber villages, where you will see traditional activities such as weaving, sample mint tea, and tour the lovely valley of the Ourika River Valley, with many waterfalls and rare plants. Lunch will be with a traditional Berber family. You should have an opportunity to view some of the kasbahs (old forts) in the area.

¤ Dinner: At your ryad
¤ Accommodation: Marrakech


Day 10  Essaouira الصويرة

Essaouira Morocco Tour

Essaouira (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge

Essaouira. Relax by the sea and explore coastal fishing towns with beautifully designed fortifications and Kasbah areas. Portuguese ramparts and red walls surround Essaouria and neighboring towns. Occupied since prehistoric times, Essaouira has a fascinating history which includes remnants of Phoenician, Roman, and Portuguese settlements. The medina is home to many small arts and crafts businesses (notably ‘thuya’ wood carving using roots of the native Tetraclinistree), which have been practiced in Essaouira for centuries. During your visit, you will have an opportunity to watch the craftsmen at work, and later, stroll along the beach.

More on Essaouira

¤ Dinner: At your ryad
¤ Accommodation: Essaouria


Day 11  El Jadida, Casablanca الدار البيضاء

Casablanca Morocco Tour

Casablanca (Wikipedia)
Click to enlarge.

Early departure for Casablanca. Stop along the way at El Jadida, previously known as Mazagan (by the Portuguese who controlled this city from 1502-1769), and a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the combined influence of European and Moroccan cultures. The Manueline Church of the Assumption is one of the city’s highlights.

Arriving in Casablanca, spend the afternoon exploring Morocco’s largest city, on this your last formal tour day. Many Moroccan and international companies are headquartered here. Casablanca is also the largest port in Africa, facilitating import and export for various industries. You will find several museums and gardens. The modern city offers many shopping opportunities for last minute gifts and souvenirs before you leave tomorrow. Ask your guide for suggestions as you travel toward this city.

¤ Dinner: Farewell Dinner with your guide and other tour guests
¤ Accommodation: Casablanca


Day 12  Departure from Casablanca

You will be picked up at your hotel and transported to the airport.

Tour ends


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√ What is Included

Tours include lodging, breakfast & dinner, tour transportation in comfortable vehicles, airport transport, all applicable attraction and entry fees, and trip insurance in Morocco. Your tour guide is also your driver, and there are also “official” guides in Fés and Marrakech. Not included are tips, alcoholic beverages, optional excursions, air travel and air travel insurance, trip cancellation insurance.

 

References and Website Attributes
References, links, and referenced images are from Wikipedia Morocco unless otherwise specified. Public Domain Wikipedia images are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license and the GNU Free Documentation License. Additional images and references, please visit our family site, Maison d’Hotes Sahara.

Copyright Content
Slideshow Images. All but 1, 8, 13 and 22 are by Photographer Steve White. Map design, Kathryn R. Burke. Copy for this article researched and written by Kathryn R. Burke. Copy editor, Steve White.

All Content, including text and images (except public domain images from Wikipedia) are Copyright Magical Moroccan Tours (or as otherwise indicated). All rights reserved. Do not duplicate, copy, reproduce, or use content in any manner whatsoever in any other media or website.

Guided Tours

Guided 9-Day Journey

Casablanca and Rabat through the Atlas Mountains and Berber villages, then back to coastal villages.

Guided 12-Day Journey

Casablanca and Rabat through Atlas Mountains and Berber villages. Overnight camel excursion in the Sahara, then back through mountains and river canyons to coastal villages.

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Featured Accommodation

hotel-thumbMaison  d'Hotes Sahara


Our boutique hotel
in Ziz Valley, Morocco

REQUEST A RESERVATION

Request a Reservation

When we have 4-14 people to fill the tour on the dates you have requested, you will be notified and may reserve that date. Please give 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices of dates.

We are sorry, but we cannot accommodate children under 12 years of age.

Tour Guide

Ouaassine Zaid

Our tour leader has more than 12 years experience guiding groups on Moroccan Travels. He is owner of his own travel agency, and represents numerous travel agencies and organizations in Africa and Europe.

Kheira Ilahiane

Our assistant tour leader is president of the Association d’ Ecotourisme et le tourisme Rural and manager of Maison d'Hotes Sahara in Errachida.

Tour Cost
12-day Tour (11 nights)
Superior 5* $1600
Deluxe 4* $1500
Standard 3* $1200

9-day Tour (8 nights)
Superior 5* $1600
Deluxe 4* $1300
Standard 3* $1000

9- & 12-Day Tours include "What is Included" as listed with each tour.
Available Year Round


VIP 12 days, 2 people
$3000. Superior 5* & Private tour vehicle
VIP tours available Year Round

All prices are USD, per person.
Tours arrive and depart Casablanca,
New Mexico residents, please add 8.1875 % Sales Tax.

Request a Reservation

Tour dates and prices subject to change. Please see Terms and Conditions.

What To Expect

Mosque.. We will be visiting two historical mosques, Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca and Moulay Ismail Mosque in Meknes.

Food. Moroccan food is delicious! However, please eat only the food included with your tour to prevent digestive upsets from consuming unfamiliar food.

Clothing. Bring layers. Temperatures range from cold to very hot. Cover up to avoid sunburn and to respect local culture which requires modesty in dress.

Please see FAQs for more information.

9-day Tour Summary
Northern Coast

• Casablanca/Rabat , 1 night
    Dinner at your ryad, Ryat

Atlas Mountains

• Fés, 2 nights
    1st night, Welcome dinner*
   & Folklore show.
    2nd night, dinner at your ryad

• Marrakech, 3 nights

    1st night, dinner at your ryad
    2nd night, Marrakech dinner
   Fantasia show.
    3rd night, dinner at your ryad
    Optional excursions available

Coastal Area

• Essaouira, 1 night
    Dinner at your ryad
• Casablanca, 1 night
    Farewell Dinner*

• Departure on 9th day

* Welcome, 'Fantasia,' and Farewell dinners will be held at a special location with other tour guests and your guide.

12-day Tour Summary
Northern Coast

• Casablanca/Rabat , 1 night
    Dinner at your ryad, Ryat

Atlas Mountains

• Fés, 2 nights
    1st night, Welcome dinner*
   & Folklore show.
    2nd night, dinner at your ryad
• Ziz River Valley, 1 night
    Dinner at ryad, Berber family kasbah

Moroccan Sahara

• Moroccan Sahara & Merzouga, 1 night
    Camel excursion
    Campfire dinner & night in a Berber tent

Atlas Mountains

• Ouarzazate , 1 night
    Dinner at your ryad, Ryat
• Marrakech, 3 nights
    1st night, dinner at your ryad
    2nd night, Marrakech dinner
   Fantasia show.
    3rd night, dinner at your ryad
    Optional excursions available

Coastal Area

• Essaouira, 1 night
    Dinner at your ryad
• Casablanca, 1 night
    Farewell Dinner*

• Departure on 12th day

* Welcome, 'Fantasia,' and Farewell dinners will be held at a special location with tour guests and your guide.