Twelve Days Morocco Grand Tour
Casablanca grand tour gives you the possibility to discover Morocco’s imperial cities: Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, Fes, Marrakech, and this Casablanca big tour continue to discover south Morocco, you enjoy the camel ride in Merzouga Sahara desert, then Casablanca desert tour continue to Marrakech via Gorges, Oasis, Palm groves, Kasbah, in Marrakech you have opportunity to visit Atlas mountains and Essaouira Atlantic coast, this Moroccan grand trip ends in Marrakech.
Rabat City Morocco
Fes City Morocco
Meknes City Morocco
Merzouga Desert Morocco
Ait Ben Haddou
Atlas Mountains Morocco
Clarification about the Casablanca grand tour:
To put you in the general context, the tour includes camel riding over Saharan dunes at sunrise, participating in hands-on workshops in Moroccan cuisine, traditional crafts (mosaic, zellij gypsum carving), and/or musical instruments. Moreover, you can listen to the lyrical call to prayer of the muezzin. Also, it involves hiking through the picturesque Berber mountain village of Imlil. Additionally, we stroll through the narrow alleys of Fez’s 9th-century medina, the world’s oldest intact medieval city. You can listen to private lectures on Moroccan history, religion, and society. A golden opportunity is offered to explore Marrakech’s souks and main square, where you’ll observe snake charmers, belly dancers, Gnawa musicians, acrobats, henna tattoo self-taught artist women, etc. Having drunken tea is customized in a Moroccan way with a Berber family after hiking along the verdant Ourika Valley. Finally, many suggestions can be given. You will possibly dream of which riad in coastal Essaouira you rent on your return to Morocco.
Arrival at Casablanca Airport and Transfer To Hotel
This day is specified for meeting and privately transferring you to your hotel, where you may relax after your flights.
Casablanca, a white house translated into Spanish, became a modest trading post before finally mushrooming under French influence into one of Africa’s four largest cities. As Morocco’s commercial metropolis, Casablanca is the juxtaposition place of western modernity and eastern tradition. It belies and confirms orientalism by Edouard Said.
In the afternoon, you enjoy a private tour of Casablanca, including a visit to the King Hassan II Mosque. The mosque is noticeable in terms of its fame, advanced technological features, and the top-notch quality of its artistry and sophistication. Then, the interior of the mosque houses up to 25,000 worshippers while an additional 80,000 persons may worship in the outside yard! You can choose Hyatt Regency – Deluxe Room (5 stars)
From Casablanca via Rabat to Fez
Today begins with your breakfast and we drive to Rabat, an inviting capital city with lush green parks, tree-lined boulevards, and a charming medina/ old walled city. The city has superbly preserved relics of Rabat’s Moorish past. You will have a stop to admire the massive 12th-century minaret of Hassan II, which towers over Rabat. This is before proceeding to the nearby Mausoleum of Mohammed V. One of the great monuments of modern Morocco is the mausoleum, which is replete with traditional Moroccan craftsmanship and is engulfed by elaborately dressed royal guards.
After lunch, we continue on to the cliff-top Kasbah (fortress) des Ouadayas. It was the Almohad citadel of medieval Rabat and is guarded by an impressive arched gate. the palace and Andalucian gardens are inside the Kasbah as well as a broad terrace where you can enjoy the beautiful views of the river and sea.
Finally, we visit Chellal, a notable historical and natural setting. We follow our tour to visit the medersa (Koran school). You are going to admire the tall minaret and observe the many black storks, herons, egrets, and ibises. The latter inhabit the dense vegetation that surrounds the ruins. After sightseeing, you are to be privately transferred to Fez. You will stay in the luxurious Riad or 4 or 5 stars hotel.
Let’s explore FEZ
On this day you are to take a step back in time to the Middle Ages when you visit Fes El Bali (Old Fez). It is considered the world’s largest living medina and the cultural heart of Morocco. The city dates back to the 8 th century. Over the history of the city, it has witnessed many changes. In the previous centuries, Fez prospered due to continuous waves of skilled Muslim and Jewish immigrants from Andalucia and Tunisia. Fez also benefited from wise sultans who expanded the caravan trade with West Africa and built many madrasas (schools). Indeed, both Moses Maimonides and Pope Sylvester II studied at Fez’s Al-Karaouine, the oldest and still-functioning university in the world!
Your private tour includes exploring Old Fez, and New Fez. The latter is the French-built Ville Nouvelle (20th century). Highlights will include the Bou Inania Medersa, Bab Bou Jeloud, Dar Batha ethnographic museum, and Nejjarine Square with its beautiful fountain. Afterward, we elaborate mosaics and a nearby hotel, but now it converted into a museum of carpentry artifacts. In New Fez, built by the Merinid Dynasty, you’ll see the Royal Palace, mosques, madrasas, souks (markets), and the Mellah. This latter is the old Jewish quarter notable for its Andalucian architecture and two synagogues.
Tonight, you are to head to Riad Al Kantara where you will enjoy either a private lecture or a hands-on workshop on traditional Moroccan crafts (mosaics, gypsum carving) or traditional music/instruments (Aoud, Hajhouj, Quanun, Rebad). Another suggestion opts for visiting an upscale hammam (public bath). If your choice is a Lecture, it would be usually about the Five Pillars of Islam; Jewish Historical Experience in Morocco, or Moroccan Society (family structure, role of women, recent changes in family law). One of the elaborating lectures is The Most Influential Leaders in Moroccan History and Similarities and Differences between the Arab and Berber people.
From Volubilis via Meknes to Fes
In The morning after your breakfast, you are meant to be privately transferred to Meknes, another imperial city of Morocco. Your tour is around the palace, granaries, and stables of the great Moulay Ismail, who ruled Morocco for 55 years and who managed to expel the British, Ottoman Turks, and Spaniards with the help of his highly-trained army of 150,000 slaves from West Africa. The ruler is a Blackman and he enslaved black people themselves. Moulay Ismail’s palace was meant to equal French King Louis IV’s palace at Versailles. The city walls of Meknes stretch for 16 miles and are interspersed with ceremonial, fortress-style, and utilitarian gates. The most spectacular gate is Bab Mansour, named after the architect, a Christian slave, who converted to Islam. Also, peer into his lavish mausoleum.
After halting for lunch at Relais de Meknes, you’ll take the short drive to Volubilis, the site of the largest and most well-preserved Roman remains in Morocco. The capital of the Roman province of Mauritania, Volubilis was a key Roman outpost that sent vast quantities of olives, wheat, and lions to Rome. The evocative remains include a Roman olive factory and the luxurious House of Orpheus; nevertheless, the greatest treasures are the sophisticated mosaic floors, which have been excellently preserved. You have a Free evening in Fez
Ifrane – Ziz Valley – Erfoud (Sahara Desert)
Our journey continues to the desert. We will take you through the popular mountain retreat (and seasonal ski resort) of Ifrane, across the Middle Atlas and High Atlas Mountain ranges, and through the incredible Ziz Valley. By virtue of its continuous valley, the Ziz valley is a veritable river of lush vegetation (an estimated 2 million date palm trees) that cuts through; an otherwise dry region of desert canyons and tepui-like plateaus. The valley is dotted with a string of kasbahs (fortresses) built to protect families in what remained a lawless land until the 1930s.
Upon arrival in Erfoud, you might relax and/or swim in the pool. You will enjoy the starry nighttime desert and sky. Camel trek for a sunset through the dunes this evening for about 1 hour to reach the camp Berber tents where you will spend the night (dinner and Berber folklore music).
Exploring Merzouga and Camel Trek
Your breakfast is a sine qua nothing for us. You begin to discover the area before your camel trek and overnight at the desert camp. During this day you visit the Gnawa, originally slaves brought from Sudan. You will discover their music and lifestyle. Not far away, there is a lake of Merzouga, with its bird. You can also visit the home of nomadic thread where many Berber handicrafts are cheaper than in the big cities.
The afternoon is involved in your camel trek. Guided by an experienced camel guide, you can explore the sea of golden sand of Merzouga and have dinner in front of the tent where you spend the night.
From Merzouga via Todra Valley, Dades Valley to Ouarzazate
In the early morning, you will be transferred in a four-by-four vehicle to the dunes. You’ll embark on a camel trek in the dunes. Your Berber guide will use all manner of inducements, clicking sounds, digging steps into the dune, in order to motivate the independent-minded camels in the desired direction to give the desired result. You sit on a huge, wind-shaped dune and take in the silence and ever-changing hues as the sun comes over the horizon.
Your camel trek comes first. Then you’ll visit a Gnawa village before traveling overland to the oasis city of Ouarzazate. It is a strategic city located on the way leading to all corners of Morocco and into Europe. On the way, you’ll stop at a small private museum that exhibits excellent exhibits showcasing the local art, culture, and history. You’ll additionally visit the impressive Todra Valley and Gorge, with Berber villages on either side of the lush palmeraie that slices through the brown rocky desert. We have a stop for a tasty lunch and then travel along the southern slopes of the High Atlas range and through the Dades Valley, known for its roses until you reach Ouarzazate.
Ouarzazate via Ait Ben Haddou to Marrakech
We have your breakfast first. Then sightseeing follows in and around Ouarzazate, a town that for centuries was the main trading center for people residing in the Atlas, Draa, Dades, and Todgha valleys. The modern town was built by the French in the 1920s as a garrison town to protect its commercial interests. Since the 1960s, Ouarzazate has been a major movie-making center of global attention.
Your tour will include the Taourirt Kasbah, built by the Glaoui brothers, who were the region’s most powerful tribal leaders at the turn of the century. Then we continue to Ait Benhaddou. More recently, as the most exotic and best-preserved Kasbah in the Atlas region, Ait Benhaddou has played a major role in motion picture history, featuring in “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Jesus of Nazareth”, “Gladiator” and “The Mummy”. We again stroll around the village and perhaps pick up a pyro-aquarela (fire-burned watercolor) painting. On your way back to Ouarzazate, you may visit the Atlas Film Studios if you are interested. After the visit to the Kasbah, we continue to the highest mountain pass in Morocco, Tichn’Tichka (7,400 ft), built by the French to replace the main caravan route connecting the north and south. Lying at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains, and framed by the red desert. Marrakech is an enchanting ochre-colored city that is a marvel of sights and sounds, with its minarets, labyrinthine souks, lush green gardens, palaces, and honey-combed alleys. This afternoon, you will visit the Jardin Majorelle. It is originally owned by an acclaimed landscape painter, Jacques Majorelle, the electric-blue villa and garden were bought and expanded by Yves Saint Laurent in the 1960s. You are going to enjoy the impressive garden and small museum of Islamic art.
Let us explore Marrakech!
Your own customized or planned tour of Marrakech can begin with a visit to the stunningly beautiful Ben Youssef Medersa, a former Quranic boarding school. It is where 900 students also studied algebra, law, and astronomy. Ir is originally founded in the 14th century by the Merenids. This medersa was once the largest in North Africa and remains one of the most beautiful ones. The exquisite zellij patterns and cedar carvings epitomize the Islamic emphasis on decorative arts, not representational art, to inspire reflection.
You will then take a walk through the old medina and labyrinth of souks. This maze of colorful alleys and small squares is home to a confusing number of stalls and ateliers specified to specific crafts. Finally, you find yourself in the famous Djemaa el Fna, the city’s main square. No one is really certain how it came into being, but over the last 1,000 years, the square has become the heartbeat and meeting point of Marrakech, where fire eaters, mime artists, snake charmers, and street musicians perform on a daily basis.
Just opposite the square, you find the Koutoubia Mosque. Built in the 12th century, the very impressive Koutoubia minaret served as inspiration for the architects of the Giralda in Seville and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. We continue to the Maison Tiskiwin, which features the highly educational and beautifully presented private art collection of Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint. It takes an imaginary journey throughout Morocco and southward to Timbuktu, learning about the clothing, art, jewelry, carpets, and leatherwork of the Berber and Touareg tribes in each region.
Other highlights will include the Saadian Tombs and the Bahia Palace, with its green courtyards, incredible painted woodwork ceilings, and exquisite gypsum zellij carvings. Tonight, you’ll dine at Palais Souleiman, where you can also enjoy listening to Andalus and Gnawa music. The palace once belonged to one of Marrakech’s last great chiefs, Caïd Layadi, and its extraordinary architecture has been well-preserved.
The high Atlas Mountains
On this day you enjoy a full-day private excursion to the Atlas Mountains, North Africa’s greatest mountain range. You stop at the picturesque village of Asni before continuing to the Berber village of Imlil. It is where you’ll enjoy a short hike or mule ride to Kasbah Toubkal. From which you’ll enjoy wonderful views of Toubkal Mountain, the highest peak in North Africa. You’ll then proceed to the Ourika Valley for scenic hiking and tea with a rural Berber family. Finally, we return to Marrakech.
11th Day :
DAY TRIP TO ESSAOUIRA
In the Morning after breakfast, we pick up you and drive to Essaouira. It is a charming port city with warm, engaging people, a rich art and music scene, a laid-back, attractive medina, and wide sandy beaches. The city’s colorful history has historically featured the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Portuguese and French. Essaouira’s free-trade status and the influx of European, Jewish, Arab, Berber people, and ex-slave West African immigrants have helped the city prosper. The varying origins of Essaouira’s inhabitants created its unique character, as evidenced by its folk traditions and art. Even today, the most famous of Morocco’s artists, musicians, and intellectuals originate from Essaouira! Mashallah this is a common belief.
In the afternoon, you enjoy a special tour of the port, souks, and French-designed medina. Then we stroll along the narrow winding streets lined with artisan workshops, whitewashed houses, and colorful shops. You will also come across the Mellah, the sizeable old Jewish quarter, as well as the 16th-century fortress built by the Portuguese to protect their commercial base of Mogador.
Then you ramble through the captivating souks and peruse an art gallery or two to see the highly distinctive Gnawa paintings. Moreover, we head to the large working port to see the brightly painted fishing trawlers and look out to the îles Purpuraires. It is named after the much-prized purple dye that was extracted from the islands’ mollusks by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. You can grab a tasty seafood or tagine dish and stroll over to the lovely beach to watch windsurfers. In the Afternoon we will drive back to Marrakech.
If you have a late flight then you may visit souks for last-minute shopping or more colorful photos. Private airport transfer for your return flight and wish you had spent memorable moments with us.