On this 14-day photographic journey through Morocco, we’ll cover most of the highlights of this beautiful country including vibrant Casablanca and dramatic Marrakesh, the gorgeous coastal town of Essaouira, 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 late Autumn, when temperatures are still relatively low allowing you relaxed exploration of the country.
Day 1: (Dec. 2) Guests arrive throughout the day and are met at the hotel by our trip leader that evening for dinner and introductions. Overnight in Casablanca.
Day 2: (Dec. 3) Today we’ll travel from Casablanca to the town of Chefchaouen (shef-shau-en), which is built into the mountainside. The town was founded in 1492 by Moorish exiles from Spain, often called Chaouen by Moroccans. Chefchaouen was known as the hashish capital of Morocco and has been a favorite haunt of backpackers for years. Our accommodations are set in the hillside just above the town, away from the hustle and bustle of the medina, yet walking distance to the areas we will be photographing. In the medina, people sell all sorts of vegetables and fruits amid the narrow cobbled alleyways of whitewashed walls and blue doors. Chefchaouen offers many native handicrafts that are not available elsewhere in Morocco, such as wool garments and woven blankets. The local goat cheese is also popular. Pack mules are still led throughout the streets carrying many of the handcrafted goods and supplies as they have for centuries. The eager merchants are more than willing to discuss their merchandise and engage in the time-honored art of negotiation. 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 3: (Dec. 4) We’ll have a second day to explore all that Chefchaouen has to offer. We’ll take part in activities that we weren’t able to, yesterday. Overnight in Chefchaouen.
Day 4: (Dec. 5) We’ll spend a third day to exploring and photographing Chefchaouen. Overnight in Chefchaouen.
Day 5: (Dec. 6) After breakfast we begin our drive to Fes stopping for photographs along the way, should opportunities present themselves. After lunch, we climb into the Middle Atlas, the moorlands, and granite outcroppings; brooding skies and sheep pastures that are reminiscent of the British Isles. Overnight in Fes.
Day 6: (Dec. 7) Today we will enjoy a full day guided tour of Fes, Morocco’s oldest imperial city and the center of culture and religious learning. Fes is arguably the symbolic heart of Morocco, as all the great dynasties have left their mark on the city; it has, however, retained its Arab identity.
The medina, Fes el-Bali, is one of the largest living medieval cities in the world. Its narrow winding alleys and covered bazaars are intricate in their design and are awash of brilliant colors – a veritable assault on the senses as you squeeze past recalcitrant donkeys and submit to the sounds and smells of this jostling city. The dye makers, hills of spices, vats of tanners, and palaces of merchants will beckon us. During a visit to a tannery we can watch the tanners as they work in the varied colors of this land. There is another day to return to the medina for your favorite photo locations, relax, shop or work on your images at the hotel. You can also have an optional hammam break (bathhouse). Overnight in Fes.
Day 7: (Dec. 8) This will be a free day to explore and capture Fes with your camera. Whether you visit the potters, King’s palace, or just wander for candid photos, Fes is worth the extra day. Overnight in Fes.
Day 8: (Dec. 9) After an early breakfast, we’ll begin our journey to Merzouga. This will be the longest day of driving and we will continue our explorations with a photography stop along the way. We’ll stop for lunch at Midelt. Afterward, we’ll continue on to Erfoud, an oasis region at the edge of the Sahara. We will then travel a short distance by Land Rovers to Auberge de Sud in where camels will be waiting to carry us to the Erg Chebbi, Morocco’s only genuine Saharan Erg – a huge, drifting expanse of sand dunes that typify much of the Algerian Sahara. The dunes themselves are fascinating, especially as the sun reaches the horizon and the colors change from pink to gold to red. This will be your most extraordinary and unforgettable desert experience. Imagine yourself spending a night in the Sahara desert, being awakened in the dark of the morning by a Berber tribesman, mounting a camel, and, overlooking the ancient dunes, welcoming in a breathtaking Saharan morning at first light. This is just one of the remarkable adventures awaiting you. Overnight at a Berber camp in the dunes near Merzouga.
Day 9: (Dec. 10) Leaving Sahara later in the morning give people a chance to photograph the dunes at sunrise, have a leisurely breakfast, and then drive to Dades via Todra Gorge. Dades is a terrific little town with a small market. We’ll have the opportunity for a great sunset shot of the town with the palm-filled gorge. Overnight in Xaluca Dades
Day 10: (Dec. 11) Today we’ll travel to Ait Benhaddou. We’ll eat lunch with the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou in view; UNESCO has designated this as a World Heritage Site. Overnight in Ait Benhaddou.
Day 11: (Dec. 12) After breakfast, we’ll drive to Marrakesh, the city of drama. In the late afternoon, we’ll have our introduction to the famous Djemaa el-Fna Square. Perhaps the greatest open-air spectacle in the world, where one can see the colors and feel the pulse of Morocco. Drift with the smells and sounds of the souks, haggle passionately for carpets, or dine in some of the best restaurants in the country.
Marrakesh follows the beat of an African drum. This imperial city has been almost continually occupied since Neolithic times and was once the Berber capital. Traveling back in time 2,000 years, we’ll see snake charmers, magicians, acrobats, and dancers, delighting children and adults alike. Overnight in Marrakesh.
Day 12: (Dec. 13) We’ll have a second day to explore all that Marrakesh has to offer. Overnight in Marrakesh.
Day 13: (Dec. 14) This morning we’ll return to Casablanca. There will be photographic stops and lunch along the way. You will have time to relax at the hotel before meeting for the group farewell dinner. Overnight in Casablanca.
Day 14: (Dec. 15) After breakfast, guests will be transported to the airport to catch their flights home.