Morocco 2023

Morocco 2023

DURATION

14 DAYS

PRICING

$ 9423

WHEN

Sept. 30, 2023

DESTINATION

Morocco

TYPE

SMALL GROUP

Morocco Expedition

Morocco has unrivaled cultural and natural richness. Combined with its outstanding hospitality, excellent roads, magnificent architecture, and delectable cuisine, it makes it one of the world’s best travel destinations today.

We have methodically developed the most extensive and best-paced Morocco itinerary available today, putting our 30 years of experience developing adventures to exotic destinations at your service.

The Sahara, three Atlas mountain ranges, Imperial cities, and the Atlantic coast will all be explored on this excursion, putting you in intimate contact with locals and nature.

Several UNESCO sites are included in the expedition, and deep cultural immersion is assured: you will meet the various Berber groups that populate Morocco, as well as the Sahrawi desert nomads, a unique ethnic group formed by a mix of Berber, Tuareg, Arab, and black African ethnicities who maintain their unique cultural traditions.

We are very proud of our Morocco Expedition and can’t wait for you to experience it with us!

WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY

  • The itinerary is the most complete being offered today.
  • You will explore the Sahara, the Imperial cities, three Atlas ranges in Morocco and its Atlantic coast.
  • Drive times have been reduced to their minimum, resulting in the best pacing possible.
  • You will be accompanied by a Master Local Guide (with no less than 15 years of experience).
  • New Paths Expeditions upscale Sahara Desert Camp is the finest that exists. You will feel like nomad royalty while exploring the desert.
  • Camel ride during the Sahara’s sunset.
“I love Morocco – it’s a real challenge to all five senses. You think you know something, and you don’t. It’s wonderful. It keeps you on your toes that way.”                                                — Amy Ryan

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 
Arrive in Casablanca:

Casablanca is Africa’s largest port and Morocco’s commercial capital. You will find that all the ambiance portrayed in famous films still charms and delights visitors. After you are met at the airport, we will take you to the Le Doge Hotel, which is located in the residential AnfaDistrict. The hotel is close to the Boulevard de la Corniche and other famous landmarks. The Le Doge is a Relais & Chateaux property, offering great lodging and gourmet food.

Your Senior Expedition Leader will provide you with a detailed pre-departure briefing that will help to make the journey more meaningful, then it will be a welcome dinner at Rick’s Café, built in remembrance of the café where Sam played it again.

Overnight at Le Doge Relais & Chateaux (D).

Day 2
To Fes via Meknes and Volubilis

The day begins with a quick visit to the Hassan II Mosque, Africa’s largest religious structure, located 10 minutes from Le Doge.

After that, we’ll be accompanied by the northern Rif Mountains on our way to Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Morocco’s youngest imperial city. Meknes was created in the 12th century and flourished under Sultan Moulay Ismail, one of Morocco’s most powerful rulers in history. Despite his reputation as a merciless warrior, the Sultan was also a devoted constructor, transforming Meknes from a little village into a spectacular capital with massive ramparts, colossal gates, more than 50 palaces, and 15 kilometers of outer walls during his 55-year rule. We will see the ruins of the old stables and granaries and the spectacular Bab el Mansour entryway.

Volubilis was established during the first centuries of the Christian Era as one of Rome’s African colonies. Because of the area’s fertility, especially regarding olive cultivation, Volubilis in ancient times expanded and included a basilica and other public buildings. The adjacent homes were embellished with stunning mosaics, which can still be seen today. Volubilis’ partially excavated ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offer fantastic photo opportunities. Volubilis is also an excellent place to go birding.

After we visit Volubilis, we will proceed to Fes for dinner and spend the night at the Palais Amani, a top-rated Riad located in the city’s Old Town.

Overnight Palais Faraj (B,L,D).

Day 3 

Fes

Day 3 will begin with a tour of the ramparts, which will introduce Fes’ culture and history. Next, your Senior Expedition Leader will lead you to visit the city’s most fascinating areas, accompanied by local guides. While a visit to the 14th-century Madrassa near the Karaouine Mosque will be the highlight of the morning, you will also have the opportunity to explore the depths of the food and spice markets and sample the products at the public bakeries.

The old manner of doing things can be observed in the ateliers found all across Fes, where you can watch crafts people at work.

Fountains, mosques, sanctuaries, and Islamic schools can be found along the road.

Fes cuisine is regarded as one of the greatest in Morocco. Today’s lunch will allow you to sample some of the city’s best traditional dishes, from a variety of delicate first courses to tanginess and light and delicious couscous. The restaurant itself is an architectural wonder.

After lunch, we’ll visit the late-nineteenth-century palace that once belonged to King Hassan I and now has been adapted as a museum dedicated to the city’s traditional arts. Then we’ll head to the Jewish area in the city’s New Fez district, where we’ll see the jewelry on display in the market and tour a 17th-century Synagogue.

Overnight at The Palais Faraj. (B, L, D).

Day 4

Through the Middle Atlas Mountains to Midelt

After breakfast, we depart Fes to journey through the Middle Atlas Mountains to Midelt, a little town. Midelt is situated between the Middle and High Atlas Mountain ranges on a high plain.

We’ll arrive in Imouzzer de Kandar, a little town inhabited by a Berber tribe, after driving through the fertile, farmed valley of Saiss. Nearby Lake Dait Aoua offers excellent birding opportunities. Ifrane, a university town and ski resort, will be our next stop, and once we are done exploring the area, Azrou is the next Berber town we’ll visit after traveling through pine, oak, and cedar forests.

We’ll continue to Midelt through the Middle Atlas Mountains, admiring the landscape and meeting some of the local Berbers along the way.

Our day will finish at the Taddart Hotel in Midelt, where we will have dinner and stay the night.

Overnight Taddart basic hotel (B, L, D).

Day 5
To the Sahara

As we journey over the High Atlas Mountains, you will be able to see some of the most breathtaking scenery in North Africa. Villages dominated by their Kasbahs are perched on mountainsides and alternate with snow-covered peaks and lush valleys filled with date palms.

Morocco is a monarchy, and the current royal family hails from Tafilalet, where the expedition’s first experience of the desert begins. The Ziz valley goes through a deep gorge to the Sahara Desert’s edge. There are numerous fortified mud-brick villages, refreshing oases, and desolate Kasbahs along the way, making it an excellent location for photography.

After lunch, the excitement increases as we travel to the Merzouga dunes in 4×4 vehicles (everyone will have a window seat). Mounting camels at Merzouga (those who wish can still travel by vehicle), we will ride over the dunes at sunset time to our desert camp lodging, greeted upon our arrival by mint tea and dishes of nuts or nuts fresh dates.

New Paths Expeditions exclusive Deluxe Bedouin Camp is set on a beautiful spot between dunes. It gives the impression of being alone in the vast African desert while enjoying the comforts of a nomad king.

Overnight New Paths Expeditions Upscale Sahara Desert Camp (B, L, D).

Day 6

Life on the Sahara

Sunrise over the Sahara Desert is nearly overwhelming in its beauty, and we will have ample opportunity to photograph it. A Berber guide will take us in hand after breakfast, and we will travel over the dunes on camels (or by 4×4 vehicle, depending on your choice) towards Tanamouste, a village inhabited by seminomadic Berber families. We will have an opportunity, while here, to interact with the local people and learn their culture and traditions. Lunch will be provided by one of the Berber families.

Our camels are left behind after lunch as we pile into 4×4 vehicles to explore the area. After we have seen some of the Sahara’s impressive scenery, we will return to our private desert camp for tea. The Sahara sunset over the dunes may be even more colorful and inspiring than the sunrise, and photographs will provide a permanent reminder of your visit. A candlelight dinner accompanied by traditional music will round out the day. Our deluxe tents await us.

Overnight New Paths Expeditions Upscale Sahara Desert Camp (B, L, D).

Day 7
Draa Valley

The volcanic mountains of Sarhro, with their dramatic rock formations sculpted by wind and time, and the area’s deep gorges, are our next destination. Fossils abound in this region, and part of the day will be spent looking for some of these relics of ancient times. With luck, you may come upon a trilobite fossil!

Lunch will be taken in the city of Nekob, at the beginning of the Draa Valley – a date palm oasis that stretches for almost 150 miles, without doubt, the most productive valley of North Africa. In sharp contrast to the Sahara we just left behind, we will find a rich valley filled with orchards, rose farms, date palms, and vegetable gardens. The 18 types of dates that grow in the Draa Valley are considered to be the best found in Morocco, and we will be present during the date harvest!

Overnight at Kasbah Azul (B, L, D).

Day 8 
To Ait Ben Haddou via Ourzazate

We’ll drive across the Draa Valley today to see the beautiful Ksars (palaces) and Kasbahs. As we go into the highlands, we’ll travel via the mile-high Tinifift Pass, which offers views of rocky mountain terrain and unusual rock formations. There’s a chance you’ll see the African Rock Martin or the Alpine Swift.

After passing through the highlands, we arrive in Ouarzazate. The city, which serves as the regional capital, has become known as a center for international film production (Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, and even The Mummy). Part of the day will be spent seeing the Taourirt Kasbah and an art gallery with a variety of Berber arts and crafts.

We’ll also have the chance to visit a «Berber pharmacy,» which sells the highest-quality spices and natural items, such as Argan oil and saffron (the dried stigmas of an autumn flowering crocus). The saffron from the area is reputed to be the finest in the world.

The expedition will then proceed to Ait Ben Haddou, the backdrop for many films. Here, the Ksar is an interlocking collection of small palaces and other buildings that flows partway up the nearby hill. The Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou is a World Heritage Site.

Overnight stay at Riad Caravane (B, L, D).

Day 9
Ait Ben Haddou

Today we will be able to spend the morning exploring Ait Ben Haddou, starting with a sunrise photographic session, and then we will continue with a complete exploration of the Ksar.

Ben Haddou was initially been a crucial point on the caravan route between Timbuktu and Marrakech and was able to exert control over the region’s trade. UNESCO has restored it.

Nothing makes an expedition more memorable than being able to interact with the local people, which is precisely what we will do during our short journey to Tabourahte Village.

We will enjoy the hospitality of a local family and even learn how to prepare a traditional tagine, which we will subsequently be served for lunch.

Free time in the afternoon will allow you to absorb some of the local colors on your own. Your Senior Expedition Leader will offer a sunset photographic walk.

Overnight at Riad Caravane (B, L, D).

Day 10
Across the High Atlas Mountains to Ourika Valley

Fortified by a good breakfast, the expedition will begin a spectacular drive across the most impressive part of the High Atlas Mountains. We will journey through valleys and pass through mud-brick villages until we achieve the Tizi N’Tichka Pass at 7,000 feet. This is the turning point, and we will now descend to the plains, driving through landscapes that change from gorges and mountains until we reach the unforgettable Ourika Valley.

The Ourika Valley will seem like a fairytale realm with its forested foothills, clear mountain streams,tree-filled bottomlands, and villages perched on the hillsides. Our overnight reservations have been made at the award-winning Bab Ourika, set on a hill with spectacular views of the valley.

Overnight at Tizin Ouirgane (B, L, D).

Day 11
Ourika Valley

The bird-graced hotel gardens will provide us with a morning walk after breakfast. An easy 1.5-hour walk is scheduled along the valley, allowing us to meet some local people, learn about their traditions and culture, and look for wildlife such as painted frogs and green woodpeckers. Our stroll will continue to the local town to visit the weekly market, where you will find local crafts and spices and other regional specialties.

Your Expedition Leader will then take the group further up the valley to enjoy lunch at a unique and beautiful spot. After we return to Bab Ourika, you will have the remainder of the afternoon to rest, use the hotel pool, or simply enjoy the beautiful hotel gardens and outstanding views. Try the traditional scrub followed by a massage – Hamman – before getting ready for dinner.

Overnight at Tizin Ouirgane (B, L, D)

Day 12 & 13
Marrakech

We drive from Ourika to Marrakech early in the morning for a full tour of the famed Medina, comprising historic structures and world-famous markets.

We will also explore the surrounding areas and famous gardens. Free time has been included for personal exploration and shopping.

Our nights will be spent in a centrally located «Riad,» a tiny but comfortable boutique hotel that provides easy access to Medina’s highlights. On the 13th, we had a top-notch Moroccan goodbye dinner.

Overnight at Riah Al Maha (Day 12: B, L. Day 13: B, D)

Day 14
Marrakech – Fly Home, or Continue with the Coastal Morocco Extension.

You will be taken to the airport for your return flight to your home or continue with the extension.

Meals (B).

Coastal Essaouira Extension

Day 14
To Coastal Essaouira

After breakfast, we will leave Marrakech and make our way toward the Atlantic coast. Outside Essaouira, a stop at a women’s cooperative where they make Argan oil will provide insight into this valuable emollient. Essaouira has a reputation for having a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, and we will first enjoy our lunch here before going on a walking tour of the city.

As its location was ideal for taking advantage not only of seagoing traffic but also the inland Trans-Saharan trade routes, Essaouira has been a trading center since the time of the Phoenicians. The Portuguese occupied the area in the 16th Century, naming it Mogador. We will begin our exploration of the city at the old Portuguese fort guards the harbor.

Eventually falling into Muslim hands, Mogador was renamed Essaouira in 1760. The city has since attracted many foreigners and oversaw the establishment of a large Jewish community. Essaouira was eventually to becomeMorocco’s international port and trading center.

The architecture is a blend of Portuguese and Moorish, and you will soon become aware that blue is what might be considered the ‘color theme’ of the city. Your guided tour will take you through the jewelry market, spice souks, and various artisan markets. You will visit carpentry workshops where the artisans turn cedar and thuya wood into beautifully made furniture. As in ancient times, Essaouira still attracts talented artists from different parts of the world.

Overnight at Heure Bleue Essaouria (B, L, D).

Day 15
Essaouira

After breakfast, we’ll take a short journey south from Essaouira to Tizi Village. We’ll be able to see some of the rare bird species during our trip through the Argan forest. We will get the opportunity to visit a rustic Berber market in Tizi, which will be full of a diverse range of items and furniture from the local settlements.

Our next stop will be at Ounarra, where the expedition will stay at the Val d’Argan Wine Estate. The 30-acre estate, owned by the family, was founded in 1994. We will have a wine tasting of red, white, and rose wines produced by the winery. Lunch will be served on the roof terrace, which has a panoramic view of the entire estate. We’ll drive through the beautiful thuya forest back to Essaouira. We’ll be on the road for around three hours overall.

Overnight at Heure Bleue Essaouria (B, L, D).

Day 16

Essaouira / Oualidia / Casablanca

Following breakfast at the hotel, the party will enjoy a seaside excursion with stunning views. Our first stop will be in Bhibih, a fishing village where we can see shorebirds, followed by Safi Town, which was once a Portuguese commercial post in the 15th century. Safi is known for its one-of-a-kind ceramic workshops, where the craft’s talents and traditions are passed down through generations.

Oualidia, situated on the coast, is a picturesque spot with a beautiful beach and oyster-breeding lagoons. We’ll travel from Oualidia to El Jadida, another old Portuguese commerce hub, for lunch in the medina. Our afternoon journey will take us down the coast to Casablanca.

We will finish our day with a farewell dinner.

Overnight at the Le Doge Hotel (B, L, D).

Day 17

Casablanca / Fly Back Home

After breakfast at the Le Doge, you will be driven to the Casablanca Airport and assisted with check-in for your flight home.

Lodgings

Le Doge Relais & Chateaux

This fantastic hotel is located in the heart of Casablanca’s Art Deco area. The interior décor and preservation of critical historical components reflect the building’s 1930s construction. Its restaurant, Le Jasmine, will delight your senses with the best traditional Moroccan food you can find in the surroundings.

Le Doge has a Petit Spa that will be perfect for relaxing before our adventure in Morocco begins, enjoying treatments and rituals in the purest oriental tradition.

Palais Faraj

Located right in the heart of Fes, Palais Faraj is the best option to stay in this beautiful city. Its privileged location provides the best view of the medina during your stay. Also, Palais Faraj has a Spa that will help you relax after a full day of experiences and activities in Morocco. Its restaurant will allow you to try the best of Morrocan cuisine while enjoying the views from the terrace.

Taddart Hotel 

Located just 5 minutes away from Middelt center, Taddart Hotel will host us for a night during our journey in Morocco. This hotel was chosen by its strategic location and to reduce drive times.

New Paths Expeditions Upscale Sahara Desert Camp

Located in the most extensive dunes of Morocco, this outstanding camp will provide a fantastic experience during your stay in the Sahara. These traditional Moroccan-style tents are fully equipped for maximum comfort, and there, you will enjoy genuinely magical moments such as sunrise and sunset in the Sahara. You will be escorted by a Berber guide who will take you along the desert on camels, showing you its tradition and introducing you to more locals.

Kasbah Azul

Kasbah Azul is a one-of-a-kind hotel. Located in Agdz, the hotel provides fantastic views of the surroundings, and it is equipped with a pool and a restaurant. The Kasbah was built with natural bioclimatic materials and made by local artisans in the pure tradition of ancestral techniques from southern Morocco. This hotel provides the perfect combination between luxury, tradition, and environmental awareness, being the best option to stay during your Morocco adventure.

Riad Caravane 

Caravane is located in the midst of the little village of Ait Boulmane, 1 km from the Unesco World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou Ksar, and 30 kilometers north of Ouarzazate along the ancient caravan route. 

Its location makes it the perfect site for departure for all kinds of excursions.

The Caravane project was established in the center of the village’s ancient Kasbah, which was rebuilt in traditional adobe style.

Tizin Ouirgane

Treat yourself to a rustic ambiance that blends wonderfully with stylish luxury in a haven of serenity enclosed by the slopes of the High Atlas and the artificial lake of Ouirgane, 60 km south of Marrakech, more precisely on Douar Marigha. Tizin Ouirgane is not just for hikers, cyclists, and anybody seeking peace, relaxation, and enjoyment of Ouirgane’s beautiful paintings but also for everyone seeking quiet, rest, and enjoyment of Ouirgane’s excellent weather.

Its restaurant, which offers a culinary repertoire rich in Moroccan Berber culture, is distinguished by its unique charm and luxurious style.

Riah Al Maha

Riad Al Maha is hidden away among the former royal stables of the Kasbah, the city’s oldest and most historic area. Glass lanterns, carved wood, and mosaics decorate this part of the city, making every step magical. In the middle of the hotel, we will find a beautiful patio, just like every traditional building in Morocco, with rows of tall white columns and arches that will make you feel like a Berber King. The hotel provides stunning views of the Atlas mountains and the amazing Medina of Marrakech. 

Bleue Essaouria 

The Heure Bleue Palais isn’t an average hotel. It is a historic home with men and women serving their guests. Like a pearl in an extraordinary location,  the Heure Bleue Palais welcomes you to Essaouira. This palace, located in the center of the historic Mogador’s harbor, is dedicated to the well-being of its visitors throughout its history and has an active role in Essaoira’s society. The hotel hosts major cultural, musical, and sports events that punctuate the Souirie year, being an important hub for Morrocan culture.

Departure Dates & Rates

DEPARTURE

Sep 30, 2023

PRICE

$ 9423.00

Single Supplement

$ 2384.62

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

Does not apply

COMPLETE DETAILS
RESERVATION

Note: All prices are in US$, per person, and based on double occupancy.
*Domestic Air prices are estimated and may change due to cost variation by the airlines.
** Some special conditions apply, please check the single supplement section of the expedition booklet by downloading the complete details.

Recommended Expeditions

Morocco Private

Morocco Private

DURATION

14 DAYS

BEST TIME

Mar-May
& Sep-Nov

DESTINATION

Morocco

TYPE

PRIVATE & CUSTOM

Morocco Private

Morocco offers an unparalleled cultural and natural diversity that, combined with its unbeatable hospitality, great roads, beautiful architecture, and superb cuisine, provides one of the greatest travel experiences in the world today.

This is an expedition that brings you in close contact with locals and nature: you will explore the Sahara, three of the Atlas mountain ranges, the Imperial cities, and the Atlantic coast. Of course, we can customize it for you.

Morocco is a destination that encompasses beautiful but sometimes lengthy drives. Our itinerary reduces those long drives to a minimum and increases the opportunities for off-the-beaten-path experiences. We are very proud of our Morocco Expedition and can’t wait for you to experience it!

We use first-class and award-winning riads and kasbahs, and spaces are limited. We highly recommend that you book soon.

WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY

  • The itinerary is the most complete offered today.
  • You will explore the Sahara, the Imperial cities, three Atlas ranges in Morocco, and its Atlantic coast.
  • Drive times have been reduced to their minimum, resulting in the best pacing possible.
  • We use first-class upscale Riads and Kasbahs for accommodations instead of modern hotels (Only one night at a basic hotel is included, and we do it to break the long drive to the Sahara). 
  • You will be accompanied by a Master Local Guide.
  • New Paths Expeditions upscale Sahara Desert Camp is the finest that exists. You will feel like nomad royalty while exploring the desert.
  • You have two chances to ride camels over the Sahara dunes: one during sunset and the other on your way to a Berber nomad town.
  • Window seats when using 4×4 and 20% of empty seats when onboard tour busses are guaranteed.
  • We include 2 nights at award-winning Bab Ourika. Our relation price/quality is unbeatable.
From the souks of imperial cities, across the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara and back to Jemaa el-Fnaa. This expedition surpassed all of our expectations.

– David K., La Jolla – CA

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

The sample itinerary below can be customized to take full-advantage of your travel time and interests.

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 
Arrive in Casablanca

Casablanca is Africa’s largest port and Morocco’s commercial capital. After you are met at the airport, you will be taken to the Le Doge Hotel, located close to the Boulevard de la Cornich and other famous landmarks. The Le Doge is a Relais & Chateaux property. Your Local Master Guide will provide you with a pre-departure briefing followed by a welcome dinner at Rick’s Café, built in remembrance of the café where Sam played it again.

Overnight at Le Doge (D).

Day 2
To Fes via Meknes and Volubilis

The day begins with a brief visit to the largest religious building in Africa, the Hassan II Mosque. Then you drive to Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Morocco’s youngest imperial city. Meknes was founded in the 12thCentury, but was fully developed under Sultan Moulay Ismail and contains numerous palaces, mosques, and other historical buildings.

Volubilis is the site of one of Rome’s African colonies and was established during the first centuries of the Christian Era. The partially excavated ruins of Volubilis are a World Heritage Site and provide excellent photo opportunities. Arrive at Fes tonight.

Dinner and overnight at Riad Palais Amani (B, L, D)

Day 3 
Fes

Fez will then stimulate all your senses as you explore with your Local Guides the insides of Fes el Bali (old Fes) across food and spice markets, handicraft quarters, auction sectors and colorful Souks. Visit artisan workshops to discover the secrets of their ancestral arts and skills. Stop at the public bakeries and pastry makers in the residential quarters and see their historical fountains, mosques, Koranic schools and sanctuaries.

A superb lunch will be served at a beautiful Riad, and you will then visit a royal palace of the late 19th century where King Hassan I lived. This palace is now a museum of Fez traditional arts. Continue to Fez El Jedid (new Fez) for a stroll in the Jewish quarter where you will be able to visit a 17th-century synagogue and have some time in the jewelers market.

Dinner and overnight at Palais Amani (B, L, D)

Day 4
Through the Middle Atlas Mountains to Midelt

You leave Fes after breakfast for a journey through the Middle Atlas Range to the small town of Midelt. Midelt is located on a high plain between the Middle and High Atlas Mountain ranges. You will enjoy a light hike in a cedar forest in search of Barbary macaques. As you journey to Midelt, you will continue through the Middle Atlas Mountains where you will stop periodically to admire the scenery and meet some of the local Berbers.

The ending day will bring the expedition to the Taddart Hotel in Midelt where you will have dinner and overnight. The accommodations at the Taddart are comfortable but basic.

Overnight at Taddart Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 5
To the Sahara

You will be able to view some of the most spectacular and beautiful scenery in North Africa as you travel through the High Atlas Mountains. Villages dominated by their Kasbahs are perched on mountainsides and alternate with snow-covered peaks and lush valleys filled with date palms. After lunch when you will drive in 4×4 vehicles to the Merzouga sand dunes (Window seats are guaranteed to all expedition participants) and then mount camels and ride under the warm evening light to our top-class Sahara Desert Camp; being greeted upon your arrival by mint tea and dishes of nuts or fresh dates.

Overnight at New Paths Expeditions Exclusive Sahara Desert Camp (B, L, D)

Day 6
Life on the Sahara

Photograph the Sunrise over the Sahara Desert and then travel over the dunes on camels (or by 4×4 vehicle) towards Tanamouste, a village inhabited by seminomadic Berber families. You will have an opportunity while here, to interact with the local people and learn their culture and traditions. Lunch will be provided by one of the Berber families. Then pile into 4×4 vehicles to explore the area before returning to New Paths Expeditions exclusive desert camp A candlelight dinner accompanied by music will round out the day. Our deluxe tents await us.

Overnight at New Paths Expeditions Exclusive Sahara Desert Camp (B, L, D)

Day 7
Draa Valley

Drive along the impressive volcanic mountains of Sarhro where fossils abound. Lunch will be taken in the city of Nekob, at the beginning of the Draa Valley – a date palm oasis that stretches for almost 150 miles. In sharp contrast to the Sahara you just left behind, you will find a rich valley filled with orchards, rose farms, date palms, and vegetable gardens. The 18 types of dates that grow in the Draa Valley are considered to be the best found in Morocco, and you will be present during the date harvest!

Dinner and overnight at the lovely Kasbah Azul (B, L, D)

Day 8
To Ait Ben Haddou via Ouarzazate

Drive through the Draa Valley to view its magnificent Ksars (palaces) and Kasbahs to Ouarzazate, where you will visit the Taourirt Kasbah, as well as to an art gallery that features a collection of Berber arts and crafts will engage part of the day. You will also have an opportunity to visit a “Berber pharmacy” that offers the best quality Argan oil and saffron.

The expedition will then proceed to Ait Ben Haddou, the backdrop for many of the above-named films. The Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou is a World Heritage Site.

You will enjoy dinner and an overnight stay at the lovely Ksar Ighnda (B, L, D)

Day 9
Ait Ben Haddou

Today you will spend the morning exploring Ait Ben Haddou. This Ksar was originally a very important point on the caravan route between Timbuktu and Marrakech, and was able to exert control over the region’s trade. It has been restored by UNESCO. You will then enjoy the hospitality of a local family learn how to prepare a traditional tagine, which you will subsequently be served for lunch. Free time in the afternoon will allow you to absorb some of the local colors on your own. A sunset photographic walk will be offered by your Local Master Guide.

Once again, you will enjoy the Ksar Ighnda for dinner and rest (B, L, D)

Day 10
Across the High Atlas Mountains to Ourika Valley

Drive across the most impressive part of the High Atlas Mountains. You will journey through valleys and pass through mud-brick villages until you achieve the Tizi N’Tichka Pass at 7,000 feet. This is the turning point, and you will now descend to the plains, driving through landscapes that change from gorges and mountains until you reach the unforgettable Ourika Valley.

The Ourika Valley will seem almost like a fairytale realm with its forested foothills, clear mountain streams, tree-filled bottomlands, and villages perched on the hillsides.

Spend the night at the award-winning Bab Ourika, set on a hill with spectacular views of the valley spread out below. (B, L, D)

Day 11
Ourika Valley

An easy 1.5-hour walk is scheduled along the valley, allowing us to meet some of the local people and learn something of their traditions and culture, as well as keeping a lookout for wildlife such as painted frogs and green woodpeckers. Our stroll will continue to the local village to visit the weekly market, where you will find not only local crafts but spices and other regional specialties. After you return to Bab Ourika, you will have the remainder of the afternoon to rest, use the hotel pool, or simply enjoy the beautiful hotel gardens. Be sure to try the traditional scrub followed by a massage – the hamman – before getting ready for dinner.

Overnight at Bab Ourika (B, L, D)

Day 12 & 13
Marrakech

A short morning drive will take us from Ourika to Marrakech. You will now enjoy a complete tour of the famous Marrakech Medina. This is the old, walled part of the city and is filled with an incredible variety of vendors with their small stalls. The Medina is an unforgettable riot of color, sounds, and smells. Free time to simply explore and the shop is provided after you visit not only the Medina but also the gardens in the surrounding area.

The expedition will be staying on the 12th at a small, comfortable boutique Riad, which offers easy access to the Medina. On the 13th, you will enjoy a Moroccan gourmet farewell dinner and you will spend the overnight at the luxurious and exotic Palais Khum. If you like, you can sign up for a cooking class to learn some traditional recipes for your lunch.

Day 14
Marrakech – Fly Home, or Continue with the Coastal Morocco Extension

You will be taken to the airport for your return flight to your home unless you have signed up for the extension.

Extension

Day 1 
To Coastal Essaouira

 

After breakfast, you will leave Marrakech and make your way towards the Atlantic coast. Outside Essaouira, a stop at a women’s cooperative where they make Argan oil will provide insight into this valuable emollient. Essaouira have a reputation of having a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, and you will first enjoy your lunch here before going on a walking tour of the city.

As its location was ideal for taking advantage not only of seagoing traffic, but also the inland Trans-Saharan trade routes, Essaouira has been a trading center since the time of the Phoenicians. The Portuguese occupied the area in the 16th Century, naming it Mogador. You will begin your exploration of the city at the old Portuguese fort that guards the harbor.

Eventually falling into Muslim hands, Mogador was renamed Essaouira in 1760, the city attracted many foreigners and oversaw the establishment of a large Jewish community. Essaouira was eventually to become Morocco’s international port and trading center.

The architecture is a blend of Portuguese and Moorish, and you will soon become aware that blue is what might be considered the ‘color theme’ of the city. Your guided tour will take you through the jewelry market, spice souks, and various artisan markets. You will visit carpentry workshops where the craftsmen turn cedar and thuya wood into beautifully made furniture. As in ancient times, Essaouira still attracts talented artists from different parts of the world. Overnight at Heure Bleue Essaouria (BLD) Note: The total drive time for this day is 3 hours, but it will be broken with activity stops.

Day 2
Essaouira

After breakfast, you will take a short drive south from Essaouira to Tizi Village. Your drive through the argan forest will allow you to view some of the endemic bird species. Once at Tizi, you will have the opportunity to explore a rustic Berber market, full of a wide variety of goods and furniture from the surrounding communities.

Ounarra is your next destination, and the expedition will stop at the Val d’Argan Wine Estate. The family-owned estate was established in 1994 and covers 30 acres. The winery produces red, white, and rose wines, which will be available for wine tasting. Lunch will be served on the roof terrace overlooking the entire estate.
For your return to Essaouira, you will drive through the lovely thuya forest. Your total time on the road will be approximately 3 hours.

The Heure Bleue Essaouria (B, L, D) will provide your dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3 
Essaouira / Oualidia / Casablanca

A coastal journey after breakfast at the hotel will provide you with stunning views. Your first stop will be the fishing village of Bhibih, where you can observe shore birds, then you will head to Safi Town, originally a Portuguese trading post in the 15th Century. Safi is famous for its unique ceramic workshops, where the skills and traditions of the craft are handed down through generations.

Oualidia is also on the coast and is an idyllic location with a beautiful beach and lagoons where oysters are bred. From Oualidia you journey to El Jadida, another old Portuguese trading center, where you will enjoy lunch at the Medina. Your afternoon travel will continue along the coast, crossing the fertile lands of Zemmour until you arrive at Casablanca. You will enjoy a farewell dinner and overnight will be at the Le Doge Hotel (BLD).

Note: Our travel time will encompass approximately 6 hours (Multiple activities in between).

Day 4
Casablanca / Fly US

After breakfast at the Le Doge, you will be driven to the Casablanca Airport and assisted for check-in for your flight home.

Lodgings

Le Doge – Casablanca

Hôtel & Spa Le Doge is a luxury 5-star “Relais & Châteaux” establishment located a few steps from the Sacre Coeur Cathedral. Rooms are cozy and carefully decorated to create a warm atmosphere that makes you feel like in a cocoon.

At the “Jasmine” restaurant, you will be able to enjoy a traditional and tasty Moroccan cuisine with authentic flavors.

If you wish to enjoy a drink, a library bar with a superb chimney offers an intimate space. You also have the option to visit the new roof floor lounge bar with an incredible view over the white city. If you need relaxation time, you will find a wellness area including a hammam, a steam room, and also the possibility to have a relaxing massage.

Riad Palais Amani – Fes

Situated in the walls of Fez’s ancient medina, just a few minutes walk from the Golden Triangle. It is ideally located near the Cultural, Historical, and Religious Center.

Housed in an ancient palace, Palais Amani offers spacious rooms and suites. Each is decorated with traditional furniture and has en-suite facilities. You can choose to have breakfast in the dining room or on the terrace with a lovely view of the garden. The hotel’s restaurant serves an a la carte menu for lunch and dinner offering a savory Morrocan and French cuisine. You will also find many beauty treatments, including massages, facials, and manicures.

Palais Amani is one of the largest riads in the medina. It underwent a three years restoration to repair and replace the complex mosaic, stained glass, plaster carving, and woodwork that one would expect in a Moroccan listed building. It has also been an opportunity to add all the modern comforts making the riad the fine luxury hotel that it is today. Palais Amani is very spacious so to respect your privacy providing at the same time an intimate atmosphere and the personal attention you deserve.

Exclusive Sahara Desert Camp – The Sahara

This luxury camp is nestled deep within the dunes providing a very private atmosphere that gives you the chance to feel like a very special guest as if you were the only one.

The en-suite sleeping tents are equipped with a king-size bed with high-quality sprung mattresses, percale sheets, duck-down duvets, and lovely pillows. Each tent has ‘wall-to-wall’ plush rugs, a full-length mirror, bedside tables, an armchair, and space to hang your clothes; all items being handmade in Morocco. The en-suite bathroom has a toilet, dressing table, and silver pewter buckets for washing. Light is provided by solar power.

The camp offers relaxing areas outside with day beds, cushions, and hammocks.

Breakfast is served under the morning sun, and dinner is served under the stars. Cold drinks, including beer and wine, are always available.

Many activities are proposed to discover the incredible surroundings, such as; camel trekking, guided walks, picnic lunches, and sundowners on the dunes.

Kasbah Azul – The Draa Valley

In the heart of the palm grove of the Draa Valley, is located the gorgeous guesthouse Kasbah Azul, built of natural materials in the authentic tradition of antique techniques of southern Morocco.

This majestic house is harmoniously set into the natural and protected ecosystem of its surroundings. A peaceful Garden of Eden for those who love nature. Here you will find a one-hectare garden, with palm trees, oleanders, and many flowers. At night, you will probably smell the sweet perfume of jasmine, orange trees, and henna plants.

The rooms are spacious and comfortable, decorated in vibrant warm colors for a ravishing stay in an oriental atmosphere.

Engaged in an ecological perspective, the owners grow vegetables and fruit, which they use to prepare a subtle French-Moroccan mixture cuisine.

When to go

The best time to visit Morocco is during spring (mid-March to May) or autumn (September to October). The weather is warm but pleasant, unlike the cold temperatures and snow of winter, or the scorching heat of summer.

The coastal regions can be visited year-round. In the winter they are pleasantly mild, while in the summer they bask in temperatures hovering around the mid-20°Cs.

The High Atlas Mountains can also be visited all year round, although it does get cold in winter. The summer may still be a bit hot to embark on any long-distance hikes, but if the heat doesn’t bother you then conditions are fine any time between April and October. Outside these months, there is snow on the peaks, which makes hiking more dangerous, but creates some spectacular panoramas.

The Islamic festival of Ramadan will affect transport in Morocco. The dates vary each year, so it’s worth checking what they are while planning your trip.

QUESTIONS?

If you have any questions, please let us know. The NPE expedition advisors are here to help.

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