On this 14-day photographic journey through Morocco, we’ll cover most of the highlights of this beautiful country including vibrant Casablanca, dramatic Marrakesh, and the colorful mountainside town of Chefchaouen. You’ll also take a camel ride into the desert and stay the night at a Berber camp. The trip is planned for early spring, when temperatures are still relatively low allowing you relaxed exploration of the country. For those wanting to explore a bit more, we’re offering a 5 day/4 night extension to Essaouira, Jadida and Casablanca.
Day 1 (Feb 1): Arrive in Casablanca, where a driver will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. The group will meet in the evening for dinner. Overnight in Casablanca.
Day 2 (Feb 2): After breakfast you will drive to the north. After stopping for lunch in Ouazane, we will continue to Chefchaouen, a city known for its collage of blue hues on the edge of the Rif Mountains. Overnight in Chefchaouen.
Day 3 (Feb 3): Today will be spent in the town of Chefchaouen, which is built into the mountainside. The town was founded in 1492 by Moorish exiles from Spain, often called Chaouen by Moroccans. In the medina, people sell all sorts of vegetables and fruits amid the narrow cobbled alleyways of whitewashed walls and blue doors. Throughout the streets, you will see locals carrying handcrafted goods and supplies as they have for centuries. The open-air market is one of the oldest and most charming, with steep narrow streets, paved with stones that have been polished by countless feet over the centuries. The homes are painted white, azure blue, indigo, and purple and have blue shutters and elaborately decorated doorways. Overnight in Chefchaouen.
Day 4 (Feb 4):We’ll spend another full day exploring and photographing Chefchaouen. Overnight in Chefchaouen.
Day 5 (Feb 5): Today continue to the town of Ouzane and ancient Roman City of Volubilis; surrounded by rolling farmlands this is an extremely scenic drive. Volubilis was Rome’s provincial capital in Morocco, with structures dating to the second and third centuries AD. With time to walk and explore we then continue to Fez and transfer to your riad where you will enjoy dinner and classic Moroccan atmosphere. Overnight in Fez.
Day 6 (Feb 6): We’ll have a full day to enjoy the medina and souks of Fez. The medina (an ancient city enclosed within defensive walls) dates back to the 12th century. With your guide, you will explore the narrow winding alleys on foot discovering a whole new world of colorful sites, exotic sounds, and scents of spices. Life in medina seems untouched by time. The souks (markets) are filled with an incredible array of crafts and some of the finest Berber carpets in Morocco. Your visit will include a panoramic view of the Fez Medina, a wonderful pottery workshop, lots of time to explore on foot the medina, Madrasa el Bouanania, the souks, and tanner neighborhoods. Enjoy lunch in the medina at a traditional restaurant with the entire day to absorb Fez. In the evening return to the riad for another night. Overnight in Fez.
Day 7 (Feb 7): This morning you depart early for your drive across the Middle Atlas mountains to Erfoud. En-route we visit the French hill station of Ifrane. Built in the 1930s by French colonials, the town now is home to a local university. We stop for lunch in the mainly Berber town of Midelt and continue south towards Errachidia, Erfoud. Overnight in Erfoud.
Day 8 (Feb 8): Today we drive the Tafilalt Valley and continue to the highest dunes in Morocco the dunes of Erg Chebi. Here we will meet our Berber guides and camels for a ride into the dunes. Here you will enjoy this vast natural wonder of rolling sand and endless vistas. We reach our luxury camp in the desert. This is a fantastic and unique experience. The Camp is complete with beds, bathrooms, showers, etc. A fun evening under the desert sky. Overnight in Erg Chebbi.
Day 9 (Feb 9): Another day to in the desert when we will head into the dunes to do some landscape photography Overnight in Erg Chebbi.
Day 10 (Feb 10): This morning you will wake up early to see the sunrise over Erg Chebbi. After breakfast, we drive to join our vehicle and continue along the Dades Road “ the road of Casbahs”. En-route stopping in the villages of Tinejdad and Tinerhir. In the evening arrive in the Dades Valley. Overnight in Boulmane Dades.
Day 11 (Feb 11): Today will be a special day to explore and enjoy this incredible valley of the Roses. You will have the chance to walk through orchards, explore ancient villages, and discover the area’s dramatic rock gorges. Along our scenic historic desert route, we encounter the ochre-colored Kasbah of Tifoultoute and enjoy lunch in Ouarzazate. In the afternoon visit one of the most stunning and famous Ksars in south Morocco, Ait Ben Haddou, a citadel-like village where scenes from Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King, and Gladiator were filmed. Enjoy a walk through this picturesque and historically significant kasbah. Overnight in Aït Ben Haddou.
Day 12 (Feb 12): After breakfast we drive through one the beautiful valley of Ounila, some stops on the way to get some pictures. We then head to Marrakech through the Tichla Pass. Overnight in Marrakesh.
Day 13 (Feb 13): With the High Atlas Mountains as its backdrop Marrakech is an extremely charming city. Known as the “red city” due to its rose-tinted buildings, Marrakech is alive with activity. For centuries it was a central market place for Berber tribes and today its 11th-century medina and central square (the Djemma el Fna) are bustling with lively markets, snake charmers, and even fire eaters.
Our morning begins exploring the Bahia Palace. A grand mansion built in the late 19th century the Bahai Palace’s garden, carved stucco, and ornate tile and woodwork are classic examples Moorish-Andalusian style. Later we continue to the necropolis of the 16th to 18th century Saadian Tombs. After the tour, the remainder of the morning is set aside to explore Marrakech’s souk. A true extravaganza the medieval market is filled with open-air food stalls, storytellers, jugglers, acrobats, and musicians. Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 14 (Feb 14): After breakfast, those not going on the extension to Essouira & El Jadida, will be transported to the airport to catch their flights home.
Trip Extension: ESSAOUIRA/JADIDA/CASABLANCA
Ext Day 1 (Feb 14): Transfer to Essaouira, after lunch, we’ll explore visit this beautiful city, “ancient Mogador.
“It is the coastal wind – the beautifully named alizé, (or taros in Berber) – that has allowed Essaouira (essa-weera, or es-sweera in Arabic) to retain its traditional culture and character. For most of the year, the wind blows so hard here that relaxing on the beach is impossible, meaning that the town is bypassed by the hordes of beach tourists who descend on other Atlantic Coast destinations in summer. Known as the ‘Wind City of Africa’, it attracts plenty of windsurfers between April and November, but the majority of visitors come here in spring and autumn to wander through the spice-scented lanes and palm-lined avenues of the fortified medina, browse the many art galleries and boutiques, relax in some of the country’s best hotels and watch fishing nets being mended and traditional boats being constructed in the hugely atmospheric port.” – Lonely Planet, Essaouira.
Ext Day 2 (Feb 15): We’ll spend the day exploring and photographing Essaouira.
Ext Day 3 (Feb 16): After Breakfast, we drive to the north to Casablanca stopping for lunch in Oualidia. And then to El Jadida. On the way to our Riad we will visit the Portuguese cistern. In the center of this underground space is a small and overflowing pool that leaves much of the floor covered in a thin layer of water. Overhead is an oculus, open to the sky. The combination of the water on the floor and the light from the ceiling creates beautiful and spooky reflections and shadow-play. The vaulted ceiling, rows of columns, and a lot of echoes complete the overall effect of eeriness.
The Portuguese fortification of Mazagan, now part of the city of El Jadida, 90-km southwest of Casablanca, was built as a fortified colony on the Atlantic coast in the early 16th century. It was taken over by the Moroccans in 1769. The fortification with its bastions and ramparts is an early example of Renaissance military design. The surviving Portuguese buildings include the cistern and the Church of the Assumption, built in the Manueline style of late Gothic architecture. The Portuguese City of Mazagan – one of the early settlements of the Portuguese explorers in West Africa on the route to India – is an outstanding example of the interchange of influences between European and Moroccan cultures, well reflected in architecture, technology, and town planning.
Ext Day 4 (Feb 17): After breakfast, we’ll drive to Casablanca. You’ll have free time to explore the city.
Ext Day 5 (Feb 18): Guests will be transported to the airport to catch their flights home.