MOROCCO GRAND TOUR 14 DAYS
Morocco grand tour 14 days
This 14 days expedition includes the highlights of Morocco, if you want to learn about Moroccan culture and landscape diversity, then do not hesitate to take this tour.
Starting and finishing in Casablanca, the highlights of this 16 days expedition are to explore both the main imperial cities and the countryside. Discover the rich history of Morocco and the beauty of its landscapes.
Day 1: Casablanca – Rabat – Volubilis Meknes- Fes
In Casablanca we’ll visit Hassan 2nd Mosque, the biggest mosque in Africa, and experience the Cornich coast before departing for Rabat, the capital of Morocco, where we will see the Oudaya Kasbah and its beautiful gardens, this Kasbah of Oudaya is located at Abou Regreg River, it was built during the reign of the Almohad dynasty in 1150 AD, The Mausoleum of Mohamed V and Hassan II, and Hassan Tower which is the minaret of an incomplete mosque in Rabat were constructed in 1195 AD, The tower was intended to be the largest minaret in the world with the mosque, on the way to Meknes we will go back in time to the 3rd century by visiting the most important archaeological site in Morocco, Volubilis, has the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of Northern Africa, this roman ruins were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, here you will see the most beautiful Mosaics in Morocco dating back to 3rd century BC,here you will have a guided tour of the site and learn a lot about the Roman Empire.
From Volubilis we go on our way to Meknes that was named after a Berber tribe which was known as Miknasa in the medieval North African sources, Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727), he built it in the ingeniously designed granaries, really fascinating architecture of tiny windows, massive walls where he used to store grain and hay to feed his 15.000 horses not food for humans, we will stop as well to get pictures of the Bab AL Mansour, the Great gate built in the 11th century by the King AL Mansour Adahbi.
The tour will then continue towards Fes, here you will be provided with dinner and accommodation in a hotel or a riad.
Day 2: Exploring Fes
Most of the morning will be spent visiting the medina (the old city) and its alleys – including the famous tanneries and the Quaraouine mosque.
Fes comprises of three distinct parts, Fes El Bali which is the oldest part surrounded by a big wall, where there are more than 9000 narrow streets and allies, Fes-Jadid or the new Fes is home of the Mellah, the Jewish quarter and the Ville Nouvelle (the newest section of Fes) created during the French occupation.
Fes El Bali is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Its medina is the largest in the world, Among its narrow streets and allies is the oldest university in the world, The University of Al-Karaouine was founded in AD 859 and it is still operating nowadays.
After lunch in a typical Moroccan restaurant in the Medina, you’ll visit the Merinid tombs and experience a wonderful panoramic view of the city.
Overnight accommodation will be at your hotel or riad in Fes.
Day 3 Fes – Ilfrane – Azrou – Midelt – errachidia
After breakfast we will depart for Errachidia through the Middle Atlas and Higher Atlas mountains, stopping at Azrou, a Berber village in the middle of the famous cedar forest – the largest in Morocco – where you may well sight Barbarian apes.
We will drive through Ifrane, the ‘Switzerland’ of Morocco and the cedar forests of Azrou where we can stop to hand feed the monkeys, continuing to Timhdit and then Zaida, to enjoy a barbecue or tagine for lunch, followed by a refreshing glass of mint tea, we’ll travel through the Tizi Ntalghamt Pass to Midelt and along the magnificent Ziz Gorges carved through volcanic rock, taking in views of the Anti-Atlas plateau; you’ll notice how the scenery changes to reveal hints of the desert as you approach the city Er Rachidia, where you’ll be accommodated overnight in a hotel.
Day 4: Er Rachidia – Merzouga sand dunes
After breakfast we will depart for Merzouga through the along the luxuriant Ziz Valley, stopping for panoramic views along the way, we will drive through welcoming Berber villages to Erfoud, and then Rissani, the foundation of the Alaouite dynasty – the current ruling royal family in Morocco, Rissani is surrounded by 360 ksar (a fortified village with many towers) and has a big souk (an open market), held three times a week.
Once called Sijilmassa, this was the meeting place for the salt caravans, coming from Timbuctou in Mali, here you’ll walk through the souk, selling spices, vegetables and cloths.
See the donkey park and eat a madfouna for lunch (a local pizza speciality), then continue your trip through the open black desert to the village Merzouga – the home of your guide Lahcen and where your camel will be awaiting you, you’ll be welcomed with a mint tea before you mount your camel and, guided by an experienced camelman, start your safari to explore within the mysterious sand-sea of the Erg-Chebbi.
Here you will spend your first night under the stars in a traditional Berber nomad tent.
Day 5: Camel trek and the Nomads
Today we will explore the desert region and the marvel that is the Erg Chebbi desert dunes, we will make a circuit of the desert dunes where you will have the opportunity to see the the nomad’s way of life and the amazing changing contrasts of the of the desert, your camelman will wake you up early in the morning to watch what well may be the best sunrise of your life, after breakfast in the nomad tent, you’ll mount your camel again for another three hours trek until you to get to a black stony desert, then seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be welcomed by your next night’s hosts: a Bedouin family with whom you will share – even if just for a while – a bit of their simple lifestyle, communicate with their kids and learn one or two words from their language, whilst their mother cooks her bread and prepares a couscous dinner for you to enjoy with them. Time spent with the nomads will last in your memory.
Overnight you’ll sleep in a traditional Bedouin tent.
Day 6: Merzouga and its wonders
After breakfast with the Bedouin family you’ll peacefully camel-trek back to the village of Merzouga, enroute you couldn’t fail to appreciate the unique beauty of the spectacular Erg Chebbi dunes – changing with the light as the day progresses, arriving late morning back in Merzouga, freshen-up and start an explorative journey of the area, we will visit the ‘black village’ of Khamlia to see the Gnawa musicians, originally slaves brought from Sudan, to experience their music and lifestyle, not far away there’s the lake of Merzouga, with its bird populations, you may also visit the nomad wire house where many Berber handicrafts are priced lower than in the big cities.
That evening you’ll be entertained by Berber and Gnaoua musicians and will be accommodated overnight in a local guesthouse.
Day 7: Merzouga – Todra Gorges – Dades Gorges
After breakfast and a shower you’ll leave for Rissani and We will cross the palm lined valleys of Tourog and Tinjdad to arrive to Todra gorges – the highest, narrowest gorges in Morocco, many people come to enjoy the rock-climbing, and hiking through the Todra Valley, and we will take a short walk under the 320m high red cliff, and have lunch in a local restaurant; next, driving through Dades Valley, you’ll see the majestic sand castles and the amazing rock formations known as “monkey toes”.
Overnight accommodation will be in a hotel at Dades Gorge.
Day 8: Dades Gorge – El Kelaa Magona (Rose Valley) – Skoura – Ouarzazate
After breakfast in the hotel, we will take a walk in the gorge and then take the off road track to see the nomad caves, then you will travel through the Dades Valley towards Kalaa M’gouna and Ouarzazat, the route via Dades Valley is the way of the thousand kasbahs – providing numerous opportunities to take some of your best photographic shots of the trip, and next you will enjoy the fertile Rose valley and the rock formations along the way, we’ll stop at Kalaat M’gouna, “the rose city”, to purchase the rosewater, which will make your linen smell good a long time after your trip is over, continue to Skoura and the bird’s valley; visit the Kasbah Ameridil, a well-preserved kasbah in this area, after some hiking in the valley stop in a restaurant, overlooking the whole valley, for lunch.
On to Ouarzazate , “the Hollywood of Africa”, whose geography and beautiful landscapes has attracted many world class movie producers, here you may choose to visit the studios, containing props used in movies, you may have already seen, such as The Mummy, Gladiator and the Last temptation of Christ….
At night you will be in a local riad.
Day 9: Ouarzazat – Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah – Taroudant
After breakfast and shower in your riad, you’ll take 35 km a way from Ouarzazate there is the fortified Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou, which was built in the 11th century by T-hami El Glaoui (Now one of the UNESCO heritage site).
Once up on a time this Kasbah was the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh, it is situated on a hill along the Ounila River and has some beautiful examples of kasbahs, which unfortunately sustain damage during each rainstorm and windstorm, most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; however, around five families are still living within this Kasbah.
After Ait Benhaddou Kasbah’s visit , we will drive via Taroudant city for the accommodation in a hotel .
Day 10: Taroudant- Agadir –Essaouira
Breakfast in the riad, and then head for Essaouira, travelling via Agadir, our first stop will be at Agadir far from taroudant about 70km, the capital of Berbers since it is the biggest Berber city of the kingdom, Agadir is also a very modern city that is located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, near the foot of the Atlas Mountains, it has the most important fishing and commercial port of Morocco, it is the first sardine port in the world, (exporting cobalt, manganese, zinc and citrus).
Agadir is not a typical city of traditional Morocco, but it is a modern, busy and dynamic town and very famous for its sea food, also its a resort city which used to be a very big tourist destination for many years.
After lunch and small walk at the Promenade, you will continue to Essaouira via long ocean for almost 200 kms towards Essaouira, the coastal road offers beautiful scenery, on the Atlantic ocean this town has white painted houses with blue windows and doors, a well-designed picture, since the 16th century, Essaouira has also been known by its Portuguese name of Mogador, the Berber name means the wall, on our way we will cross an area famous for the Argan trees; here you will see herds of goats climbing the Argan trees looking for better food they can’t find on the ground, after several stops along the coast we get to Essaouira on the afternoon .
Dinner and night in a hotel or riad in Essaouira.
Day 11 : Essaouira (Explore Essaouira at your own pace)
after Breakfast, a day of your own leisure, you can explore and enjoy Essaouira is it is well renowned for its kite surfing and windsurfing, with the powerful trade wind. Horse riding, camel riding along the beach, quad biking are activities that you can enjoy while staying in Essaouira, it is known by the delicious seafood too, and then from other side you will exploring the city, you’ll visit the Skala Fortress, the port, the souks and see Thuya wood carved by artisans; walk through the alleys of the medina and view hundreds of handicrafts.
Essaouira is known for its strong winds most of the year so it is known as the “City of the wind” thus it attracts wind surfers from all over the world, Essaouira knew many civilisations – including the Portuguese occupation, which affects much of its architecture – however, it remains a small village with much history, because of its size and its characteristic blue doors and washed walls, it is also regarded as Morocco’s “Jewel of the Atlantics”.
Our visit includes the Mellah – the Jewish headquarter, in Essaouira, several small art galleries are found all over the town, since 1998 Essaouira is getting known by its Gnaoua Festival of World Music, normally it is scheduled in the last week of June, it brings artists from all over the world, although focused on Gnaoua music, it includes rock, jazz and reggae, in early 1952 the film director and actor Orson Welles made his movie Othello, now there is a square named Orson Welles. Usually the Gnaoua Festival starts in the second week of June, so if your trip coincides with this, you have the option to extend your stay for an extra day.
Today you will have lunch in a Moroccan way, bought fishes ‘cooked to order’. On the afternoon, you have free time to walk and explore by yourself or you could just spend the rest of the day relaxing in your hotel.
Overnight accommodation in riad at the Medina.
Day 12: Essaouira – Marrakech
After breakfast in your riad, depart for Marrakech, about half way between Essaouira and Marrakesh on our way you will see enormous Argan trees on both sides of the road, these Argan trees are frequently climbed by goats, Argan oil is produced by several women’s cooperatives and it is used to prepare couscous, salads, and is traditionally used as a treatment for skin diseases before being founded as good enough for cosmetics by European manufacturers.
A stop at one of these cooperatives is worthy to see how Berber women squeezed the Argan fruits between hands to extract this precious oil, after several stops to take photographs, you will continue your travel to Marrakech and check-in to your riad.
After dinner, if time permits we will enjoy walking within the famous square of Jemaa Elfna, entertained with magicians, story tellers, musicians and snake charmers.
Overnight we will go to our Riad in the Medina
Day 13: Exploring Marrakech (Full Guided City Tour)
After Breakfast in the Riad you will have a full guided tour will be scheduled to discover Marrakesh which is known as the “Red City”,Marrakesh is the most important former imperial city in Morocco’s history, it is situated near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountain, like all the old cities, we will ensure that you see the most important sites of historical and cultural interest, including the Menara Gardens, Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace, Koutoubia Mosque and its gardens, delving through the alleys of the souk where they will have the opportunity to see in action at different artisans working leather, carpet weaving, tailoring slippers, etc….
Marrakesh has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Jamaa el Fna, the square is full of story-tellers, water sellers, dancers, snakes charmers and musicians. During the night the square turns into a huge open-air restaurant.
During our visit we will see The Koutoubia Mosque, built in the 12th century in the reign of Almoravid Dynasty, after lunch at a restaurant near the square, we will walk through narrow streets and allies in the ancient city and souks and view hundreds of handicrafts.
On the afternoon, you will have some free time to wonder by yourself and see Marrakech as you like.
Walk back to the riad for dinner and night …
Day 14: Marrakech – departure airport
Breakfast, free time for tea or finish last minute shopping until the appointed time.
Meeting at the riad for airport transfer at the time agreed to take the flight back.