Morocco | A Classic Odyssey

Imperial Cities, the Mountains and the Desert

April 26 - May 7th, 2019


Cost: $3,695 (double occupancy)

Early Bird until November 15, $3,495
Single Supplement: $650

Bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, Morocco is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. One of the most diverse African countries, Morocco is home to majestic high mountains, sweeping desert dunes, rugged and fertile coastline, and labyrinthine alleyways in historic medina cities and open air markets. The lyrical landscapes of the deserts and mountains are only matched by the rich traditional and contemporary society of the ever active influence of peoples and ideas in this colorful cultural crossroads. Explore the singular solitude of the desert, to count the stars and follow ancient trade routes, then dive into the festive chaos of the souqs.


Day 1: Arrival and Transfer to Rabat
Your trip leader will meet you in the lobby of Melliber Appart Hotel, Casablanca. From here, you will head to the ocean and visit the Hassan II Mosque. You’ll have a guided tour of this amazing place – the 3rd largest mosque in the world. After you visit here, you’ll head up the coast to Rabat, the current capital of Morocco where you will stop for the night. Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Rabat Accommodation (D)

Day 2: Rabat to Chefchaouen
This morning after breakfast, you will have a guided tour of Rabat. Your visit will include all of the important sites: Hassan Tower, Kasbah of the Udayas, the Royal Palace, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. After your tour here, you make your way further north to the beautiful blue city of Chefchaouen nestled in the Rif Mountains. This picture-perfect town is known as Morocco’s Blue Pearl. You’ll have some free time here in the late afternoon to explore this small magical city.
 Guided Tour of Rabat
 Hassan Tower
 Kasbah of the Udayas
 Mohammed V Mauosoleum Free time in Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen Accommodation (B)

Day 3: Chefchaouen
You will have another day to relax in this beautiful city and discover the narrow blue streets on your own. In the morning, you’ll have the option to go to nearby Cascade d’Akchour with its 3 waterfalls. The hike to the first one takes about 2 hours roundtrip and the hike to the highest waterfall is about 6 hours. Group members who do not wish to hike can have a free time in Chefchaouen. In the afternoon, there will be a guided tour of the city. Full Day in Chefchaouen.
 Option to hike in nearby Cascade d’Akchour
 Guided Tour of Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen Accommodation (B)


Day 4: Chefchaouen - Volubilis - Meknes – Fez
After breakfast, this morning, you’ll depart Chefchaouen and head to the lessor known Imperial City of Meknes. Along the way, you’ll visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis. After this visit, you will continue on to Meknes. Your visit will include the beautiful gate of Bab Mansour (which incorporates pillars pillaged from Volubilis), the tomb of Sultan Moulay Ismail, Agdal reservoir, and Heries-Souani (a former granary and stable). After this visit, you will drive the rest of the way to Fez.
 Guided Tour of Volubilis
 Guided Tour of Meknes
Fez Accommodation (B)

Day 5: Fez Today after breakfast, your local guide will meet your local city guide at your riad for a guided tour of the city. To start your tour, you will head to the Borj (towers) and get a panoramic view of the entire medina. Next, you’ll head to a mosaic house where you will have a demonstration of traditional pottery methods that are still used today by Moroccan artisans. After this, the tour will take you into the medina of Fez through Bab Boujloud (the Blue Gate), where you will discover the ancient streets and neighborhoods, as well as Al-Qarawaiyin University. Founded in 864 AD and still in operation today, it holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest continually operated university in the world. You’ll have the afternoon free to explore the medina. Don’t worry if you get lost – that is all part of the experience.

 Guided Tour of Fez
 Royal Palace
 Borj (panoramic view)
 Pottery Demonstration
 Medina Tour (including Tanneries and other artisanal areas)
Fez Accommodation (B)

Morocco desert

Day 6: Fez - Azrou - Midelt
After breakfast, you will depart from Fez and head towards the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi near Merzouga. On the way, you will travel through the largest cedar forest in Africa which is also home to the barbary apes (aka Atlas Monkeys) which are sure to entertain. You’ll continue over the Middle Atlas Mountains to the city of Midelt, located in the high plains between the Middle and the High Atlas Mountains, where you will stop for the night. After checking into your accommodations and having a mint tea welcome, if you wish you can go for a light hike in the ecological park that is next to Ksar Timnay. This is the beginning of the land of the Berbers, so after you’ve stretched your legs, the ksar owner (former regional director of tourism and Berber activisit) will hold a discussion about the structure of the Berber tribal system and how this system has preserved the oral tradition of the Berber Culture. After this, you’ll have a delicious locally sourced dinner followed by live music and dancing. (Bonus, there is a bar here!)

 Visit Azrou Monkeys
 Cross the Middle Atlas Mountains
 Explore Ecological Park in Midelt
 Discussion of Berber Tribal System Live Berber Music
Midelt Accommodation (B, D) 

Day 7: Midelt to Merzouga After breakfast, you will depart from Midelt and travel over the High Atlas Mountains and then following the Ziz River Gorge to the desert. If this happens to fall on the Market Day in Rissani, you’ll head here to see the hustle and bustle of this dusty city. Here, you will also get to try the local specialty of Medfouna (aka Berber Pizza). After your visit here, you’ll head to meet your camels and at sunset you will trek into the heart of the dunes to your luxury camp for the night. (If you prefer, you can transfer to the desert camp via 4x4). Once there, you can climb the nearest dune to watch the sun set and the stars come out. Dinner will be served at camp followed by traditional music and more stargazing, before retiring to your tent for the night. Cross the High Atlas Mountains Visit Rissani Day Market Camel Trek Overnight in Luxury Camp.
Merzouga Accommodation - Sahara Desert Tent Camp
(B, D)

Day 8: Merzouga – Dades
This morning your camel guide will wake you early so that you can watch the sun rise over the dunes and then breakfast will be served at camp. When you are ready, you’ll head back to the edge of the dunes via your camels and make your way towards Dades Valley. Along the way, you’ll stop to visit the ancient irrigation system that once brought water to the desert from the distant Saghro Mountains. After this, you’ll head to the oasis town of Tinghir where you will have a guided walk of the palmeraie and Mellah (old Jewish area). Next, you’ll visit nearby Todgha Gorge where you will walk through the most impressive part of the canyon. After this, you’ll head to your accommodations located in the breathtaking Dades Valley where you will enjoy a delicious dinner.
 Ancient Irrigation System
 Guided Walk of Tinghir Palmeraie and Mellah
 Walk through Todgha Gorge
Dades Valley Accommodation
(B, D)

Day 9: Dades and Valley of Roses This morning after breakfast, you’ll make the short drive through the Dades River Valley (also known as the Valley of Roses) to the village of Taltnamarte near the small city of Kelaat M’Gouna in the heart of the Rose Valley. Here, you can visit the Taltnamarte Village Association. After this, you’ll have lunch with a local family and afterwards, if you wish, you can experience a traditional hammam. (There could also be a light hike option this day, if anyone is interested.) Lunch with locals Mingle with locals Visit Taltnamarte Village Association
Dades Valley Accommodation (B, D)

Day 10: Valley of Roses — Ouarzazate — Ait Ben Haddou — Marrakech
After breakfast, you will take the road of 1000 Kasbahs on your way to the city of Ouarzazate (pronounced: Wor-za-zet and known as the Hollywood of Morocco). Here you can visit either Kasbah Taourirt or Musee du Cinema before making the short drive the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou. When you’ve completed your visit of Ait Ben Haddou, you will travel over the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka path, reaching an altitude of nearly 7500 feet above sea level. There will be plenty of stops for tea and photographs as you take in the breathtaking vistas before arriving in the evening to Marrakech.
 Visit Ait Ben Haddou
 Cross the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka Pass
Marrakech Accommodation (B)

Day 11: Marrakech After breakfast, your local city guide will meet you at your riad and show you all around Marrakech. Your tour will include visits to the old Ben Youssef Madrasa, El Badi Palace, the Saadian Tombs, and the beautiful Koutoubia Mosque. After you’ve visited these monuments, your guide will escort you to the souks of Marrakech to see how artisans still use traditional methods for their handicrafts today. After your morning tour, you’ll have a cooking class (possibly at Amal Cooperative). In the evening, you’ll have free time to explore on your own.
 Guided Tour of Marrakech
 Cooking Class (Afternoon baking class)
Marrakech Accommodation (B)

Day 12: Transfer to Airport or Individual Extensions (Casablanca or Marrakech Departures) This morning after breakfast, you’ll head transfer to the airport (either in Marrakech or Casablanca). or stay on for your extended trip.

Journey Details

NOTE ABOUT ACCOMMODATIONS: To make your experience as close to the local people as possible, and based on the size of our group, Cross Cultural Journeys and our local partners in Morocco will secure the best available; clean, comfortable and centrally located accommodations in the cities and villages that we visit. The accommodations will range from 4-5 star local Rhiads, Khasbas and Luxurious Desert Tent Camps, to more basic, local and simple hotels. This itinerary is subject to change to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment when we are in Morocco; to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, or to accommodate circumstances beyond our control. Please note that due to the nature of this itinerary as well as unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, restaurants or hotels may change at the last minute in similar category.

INCLUDED: In country transportation per itinerary; best available accommodations in Morocco (double occupancy); meals as marked (B/L/D) per the itinerary; Cross Cultural Journeys trip manager; Moroccan English speaking local guide; all entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; tips for bellman and hotel staff, included meals on itinerary and bottled water on the bus.

NOT INCLUDED: International air travel to Morocco; meals not on itinerary; alcoholic drinks; excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); and a Travel Protection Plan (travel protection and information will be sent upon registration).

TRAVEL PROTECTION:  For more information on the available plans or to enroll, enroll here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 47-0272. Please advise Travelex that Cross Cultural Journeys is the travel company for this trip.

April 26 - May 7th, 2019

Cost: $3,695 (double occupancy)
Early Bird until November 15, $3,495
Single Supplement: $650








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