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PRAISE FOR OUR TOURS

Dear Robbin
I just want to write to THANK YOU on behalf of my group for putting together an awesome itinerary for our trip in Morocco. We have returned from our trip just over a week ago, and couldn't stop talking about it with all our friends and family! We are already making plans to return before we even left the country! Now all our friends want to go as well!

We were amazed to see how big and beautiful Morocco is. Our only regret was not having enough time to see everything! 

We were a little cautious before the trip because of the many horror stories we heard, especially when we were traveling without a male companion in our group. However, we had a such a wonderful driver/guide who picked us up at the airport in Casablanca, and from day one all the way to Erg Chebbi he was so patient with us – answering all our questions; finding us cafes in the middle of nowhere for our many much-needed Nous Nous and toilet breaks; accommodating our many photo stops and more; stopping to visit nomad families and little nomad boy who was just walking his goats in the vast nothingness; always checking with the kitchen everywhere we went to make sure that one of our dietary needs (vegetarian with severe allergy to dairy and fish) was met! He even went to get salad (if he didn't make it himself) for us when we were lunching at the Berber pizza place in Rissani where apparently there was no vegetarian food. We were very grateful for that. 

We ... never once felt harassed or bothered by anyone. If it wasn't for our guide generously sharing his culture, language (he taught us many Berber and Arabic words), his music and his love of his country with us, our experience would not have been the same. He made our trip so enjoyable and educational. We highly recommend Morocco Explored to all our friends.

The local guides we had were all very good (especially Dris in Fes and Volubilis).

We plan to make many repeated trips to discover more about this very beautiful country and its warm, hospitable people. We will send you some pictures once we edited them.

K Katz, singapore
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Tours starting from Casablanca

Take your time to explore some of the most interesting sites in this land of complex history. Visit exotic Marrakech, cross the High Atlas mountains to UNESCO world heritage site of Ait Benhaddou and gateway to Sahara, drive off road to the heart of Moroccos Sahara desert and camel trek overnight in the Erg Chebbi dunes. You'll walk through the soulful Imperial city of Fes incredible network of medina streets, explore the most southern outpost of Roman cities at Volubilis, wander a despots ruined palace in Meknes, and much more.

Throughout this tour you will be immersed in Berber and Arab cultures flavoured with African ways and ancient traditions. You will visit souks (markets), Imperial cities, world heritage sites, kasbahs, palaces, Berber villages, Roman ruins. Stay in great locations, medina riads and ancient kasbahs, and much more. Transport with our expert driver/guides in safe, late model vehicles.


PRICE LIST all sampled tours.



 

SAMPLE TOUR FROM CASABLANCA

This tour outline can be shortened to as much as 8 days, or add any number of days with visits to Cascades Ouzoud, or South Morocco to make a longer tour. Tours can also start and end in Fes, Tangier or Marrakech.

 

high atlas snow

 

Day 1
Arrive Casablanca airport (CMN). Your driver will have a "Morocco Explored" sign, and be waiting upon your exit from the arrivals area. Transfer (5 hours) to Chefchaouen. This charming hillside town has wonderful views of the surrounding Rif mountains and is small enough to wander freely and explore. Stay Chefchouen.

Day 2
Explore the charming hillside town of Chefchaouen. This medina is small enough to wander freely and explore on foot through the hilly narrow streets that wind throughout this charming blue and white town, known as the Blue City. Chefchaouen or Chaouen for short is famous for its electric blue that covers it's houses and mosques. The custom dates back to the 15th century when Jewish refugees settled here and brought with them their tradition of painting things blue to mirror the sky and remind them of god. The photographic opportunities are endless, especially fascinating in the mid day sunlight.

 

shop

 

Day 3
After breakfast you will drive to Meknes. Along the way you will stop and visit the 3 C AD ruins of Volubilis. The Romans built this city as a trading doorway into Africa and it was the furthest outpost of the Roman Empire. It's beautiful mosaics and columns to private houses can still be seen. The surrounding valley is prized for it's olive trees. Nearby town of Moulay Idriss was where Moulay Idriss I arrived in 789 bringing the religion of Islam, and started a new dynasty. In addition to founding the town, he also initiated construction of Fes. Visit the 17th-century imperial city-within-a-city of Moulay Ismael, palaces, mosques, dungeons and gardens. The highlights are the dungeons; the royal stables containing grain silos that used to hold enough food for the city residents for a year, as well as a stable big enough for 12,000 horses; and the Moulay Ismael Mausoleum. Drive to Fes.

Day 4
After breakfast, meet your guide*, and explore this fascinating storybook medina. The endless labyrinth of narrow streets is like no other, with hundreds of tiny shops, a dyers souk and craft manufacturers who ply their trade in narrow medieval grottoes. Visit the famous leather tanneries, still using techniques from ancient times to produce fine leather in beautiful colours. Fes is also famous for its robust and beautiful pottery, brass and copper trays and tea services, regional cuisine and ancient medersas (schools of Islam).

 

volubilis

 

Day 5
Your driver will meet you at your riad or hotel at 9:00a.m., he'll take you to the 4x4. Depart Fes and transport over the Middle Atlas mountains through the cedar forests of Azrou, Ifrane, to Midelt. The alpine town of Ifrane is a nice contrast from the desert. You can stop here and visit the Barbary apes in the cedar forests at Azrou. Midelt is another world in contrast. This bustling desert town at the gateway to the Sahara has an interesting shop that sells carpets made with striking abstract designs by the women of the region. Midelt has a regional market on Sundays.
Stay Midelt.

Day 6
Depart Midelt for the Ziz gorges and continue further into the Sahara until the Erg Chebbi dunes appear on the horizon. Your destination is the auberge (small inn) 29km from Merzouga, where you'll meet your camel guide and ride 1.5 hours into the dunes at sunset to the desert camp. Upon arrival a traditional tagine dinner is served under the evening stars. Climb the dunes and watch the moon rise before retiring to your bed in the nomad wool tent.

Our desert camp in the north of Erg Chebbi big dunes is far from the crowds going to Merzouga. It consists of a circle of five nomad tents that each sleep about 4 people but they are very rarely full. They are equipped with carpets, foam mattresses, wool blankets, freshly washed cotton sheets and pillows - camp also has solar lighting and toilets, kitchen tent and dining tent, and carpeting around the fire. All camel guides are local nomads working to support their families.

 

fes pots



Day 7
This morning you'll wake very early to have tea and get ready to ride the camels by a different route back to the hotel. Stop to watch the sunrise before returning for a leisurely big breakfast and hot shower. Leaving the desert dunes you'll travel through the remote volcanic Saghro Massif towards Tinehir. Along the way you can visit fossil workshops for a closer look at Sahara's wonderful variety of ancient life. Stop and explore any local markets at your leisure, and visit a small museum about Berber life in an ancient mud village of Khorbat. Rissani has a lively thrice weekly souk selling many goods, animals and spices brought in from the surrounding villages, and it's fun to explore and people watch. Arrive in Tinehir and settle into your room in an old kasbah. This evening visit the night market in Tinehir.

Day 8
Take a walk through Todra Gorge where sheer limestone walls rise to 300 m in its narrowest part. After lunch you can wander with a local Berber guide through palmeries, villages, gardens, and kasbahs for a close look at traditional Berber ways of life. Onwards into the Dades valley you'll stop at an overlook at the Monkey fingers rock formations. Your next destination is Ait Benhaddou. Along the way drive off road, (weather permitting) across the mountains to the remote village of Boutaghrah and visit nomads in the area, then pass through many Berber villages and green riverside oasis nestled among barren red hillsides clustered with kasbahs (fortified dwellings that house many families and their livestock). Villages sprinkle the Skoura oasis and the Valley of the Rose, famous for producing elegant Persian rose oil - until Ouarzazate - and continue on to Ait Benhaddou World Heritage site kasbahs. You're welcome to visit the Atlas film studios in Ouarzazate as well. Spend the night in a hotel with views of Ait Benhaddou.

 

folded mountain

 

Day 9
This morning you can take time to explore the World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou before the crowds from Marrakech arrive. The village of clustered Berber Kasbahs has been used as a backdrop for countless adventure films. In its prime it was one of the most powerful fortress strongholds on the Salt Road for the camel caravans that were plagued by thieves and raiders in the High Atlas. You'll follow the old Salt Road camel caravan route to Telouet to explore the old Glaoui kasbah. This once beautiful palace now stands crumbling to ruins because no one wants to remember "the vulture" sultan and his son "Thami" who lived here until the 1950's. After lunch descend the High Atlas mountains Tichka pass (2260m) to the lowlands of Marrakech, with time to stop and enjoy impressive landscapes over coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Continue on to Essaouira. Stay medina riad. Includes breakfast.

Day 10
Staying in Essaouira right on the Atlantic coast is a perfect way to finish a tour of Morocco with it's fishing port and old Portuguese ramparts that guard this walled city where silver craftsmen and wood carvers work in one of the most charming medinas in all of Morocco. Visit the fish grills on the square, a Thuja wood craft shop or an art gallery. Learn about natural medicines and cures, and watch women processing Argan nuts by hand into one of the rarest oils in the world. Stay Essaouira riad in the heart of the old medina.

 

essaouira rooftop

 

Day 11
Stay Essaouira - Explore around the old medina, or swim, kite sail, ride horses or camels or just relax on the golden sands. Fresh seafood cooked right in the simple beachside cafes.
Stay Essaouira as above.

Day 12
Transfer to Marrakech. Explore the back street maze of Marrakech with your guide,* visit Ben Youssef Medersa, the Koutoubia mosque, and the Marrakech Museum or the Saadian tombs. Your guide will discuss what you want to see and do. Afternoon free to explore the vast souk (market). The Souk is comprised of many specialist areas e.g. metalwork, where crafters ply their trade; dyers workshops are strung with colourful skeins of wool; carpets, and carpet sellers entice you into their shops with a cup of mint tea; search tiny shops selling Berber jewelry, old silver, and African beads; or spices, olives, fresh herbs; or traditional apothecaries where you can buy all manner of potions to heal or cast spells of love or revenge. Stay Marrakech.

 

majorelle

 

Day 13
Stay Marrakech. Explore around the massive souk and medina streets, taxi out to the Jardin Majorelle (Yves St. Laurent) where the French artist Jaques Majorelle built his Bou Saf Saf Villa and collected plants to create one of the most charming gardens in the world. Afterwards you can venture to the nearby French quarter (Gueliz) for great shopping and good restaurants.

Day 14
Transfer to the Marrakech airport for departure. Or transfer 3.5 hours to the Casablanca Airport from Marrakech.

 

 

 

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