IMPERIAL CITIES, SOUTH AND DESERT TOUR:
Day 1: Arrival in Marrakech
Transfer from the airport to the riad. If you arrive in the morning there is the time to visit the city on the first day, otherwise visiting the city itself is postponed to your return to Marrakech at the end of the tour. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight in the riad.
Day 2: Marrakech/Casablanca/Rabat
After breakfast we depart in the direction of Casablanca, the economic capital and imperial city. The city tour starts from the center and Rue Prince Moulay Abdellah, the beating heart of the new city. Then we will dive into the medina to pass through the Mohammed V square and the Plaza of the United Nations up to Hassan II Mosque, the largest and the only one that can be visited inside, of the entire Maghreb.
We then depart to Rabat, the political capital of Morocco and the old imperial city. The visit of the capital will begin discovering the crenulated ochre red walls, more than 5 km long in total and built by Sultan Yacoub el-Mansour, which give the city a very special character that distinguishes it. We will go through the medina and its souks, more authentic than other stores because the products are directed to local customers and therefore there are fewer tourists. We will then move to visit the Casba Oudaia, erected by a terrible tribe of predators that built it in the twelfth century. We then visit Hassan II Tower, where the 4 facades are decorated differently from one another, in three shades of pink and one in gray because of the breeze, the remains of the old mosque and the Mohammed V mausoleum, next to the tower, a masterpiece of Moroccan traditional architecture, full of fine materials from around the world and splendid decorations.
From here we return to the new city to see the Royal Palace, official residence of King Mohamed VI and the adjacent Chellah Necropolis, built in 1339 to house the tombs of the Merinid dynasty, so we can walk in a place that is green, bucolic, romantic and at the same time full of history. You dine in a restaurant and spend the night in a riad.
Day 3: Rabat/Meknes/Fes
In the morning, after breakfast, departure from Rabat to Meknes, the smallest of the imperial cities. The visit of this city will begin crossing the Bab Mansour, the most important and significant of the gates of Meknes. From here the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, where you need to dress appropriately. From here the HRI Moulay Ismail granaries, this grain warehouse is the most important monument of the imperial city, built with walls of clay mixed with stones and beaten straw (pisé). We then enter the heart of the medina through the El-Hedim square to visit the market and the souk.
From Meknes, with an hour's drive, we reach Fes, perhaps the most famous imperial city after Marrakech, and the one with the oldest and largest medina, visiting the city and its incredible souk or postponing the visit to the following day. Accommodation in a traditional riad with swimming pool. Dinner at a restaurant.
Day 4: Fes/Ifrane
After breakfast we visit the old city of Fes (Fes el-Bali) and its medina, the largest and most famous in all the Arab world, entering from the Bab Boujloud, the most famous door and heading towards Dar Batha, a Hispanic Moorish construction which houses a fine museum of folk art and continue with the visit of the Bou Inan madrasa, the Koranic school in Fez, where young people studied the Koran among rooms, a chapel and a wonderful patio. The tour then continues through the Chouara tannery and we discover the fascinating process of working on the skins, and coloring using the most beautiful natural colors. We pass by the Qaraouiyine mosque, founded in the ninth century by a woman. The city tour ends passing through the Seffarine square with its brass workers throughout the square and surrounding streets. We get out of the medina through Bab Semmarine and head to the nearby Ifrane, an exceptional site at 1650 m., nicknamed the ''Switzerland of Morocco'' where you can watch the storks that nest on the roofs of houses.
Spend the night in a hotel where the dinner is also planned.
Day 5: Ifrane/Merzouga
After breakfast we will walk to Ifrane and later start in the direction of Merzouga, in the Sahara desert. The first village we encounter along the road is Azrou, of Berber origin, situated in the heart of a natural park of 53,000 hectares on a limestone plateau surrounded by forests of cedars and oaks, in the midst of ancient volcanoes. Azrou is also famous for the presence of so many monkeys in the forest that surrounds it. We then take the road that climbs up the pass on the Middle Atlas Zad and the town of Midelt reaching 1488 m of altitude. Midelt is not a place especially for tourists, but interesting for its colorful and entertaining geological crystal structures. Here you can take a break for lunch. From Midelt the road continues through the beautiful gorges of the Ziz until we get to Er-Rachidia, in the southern province. Then we get to Rissani, the gateway to the desert and then on to Merzouga in the late afternoon to settle in a typical hotel with a swimming pool, and we can admire the Erg Chebbi dunes taking a walk at sunset.
Here we will have dinner before the fire and the rhythm of drums and songs of the Berber people, Touaregs and the south of Morocco.
Day 6: Merzouga Tour
After breakfast and a refreshing dip in the pool we will take the 4x4 for a tour to the caves where the fossils of the natural desert are found and we will then proceed to the small and ancient village of Tissrdmin where many films were shot, taking the road used by the Paris Dakar rally and pass through the desert with its black volcanic rocks where we will take tea with a Touareg family. Then we arrive at the Kamla village, famous for its black population from Africa and their music. This village is also famous for the music and dance festival that takes place every year during the first week of August. From here we will see the Dayet Srji lake with its pink flamingos. We will return then to Rissani where we will eat Berber pizza with its 44 spices with a Touareg family from which we will learn about traditions and customs and we will see items that arrive here with the caravans. Rissani was once the economic capital of Morocco and the center of the caravans leaving for the desert. We will also visit the Kasbah of this town.
Then we will return to the hotel to relax before taking the camels and going into the dunes. After a walk of about an hour and a half by camel, we will arrive at the Berber tents to watch the sunset and spend the night. Here the camel drivers prepare a typical dinner, and then we can take a walk up the big dune, 300 m high, to see the stars, shooting stars and if you lucky even the Milky Way. Truly unforgettable!
Day 7: Merzouga/Todra Gorge/Dades Valley/Dades Gorge
Wake up early in the morning to watch the sunrise and admire the different colors of the dunes than in the sunset. Then we will return to the hotel by camel where, after a shower and breakfast, we will resume the tour in the south.
We will take the road (among the finest in Southern Morocco) for the Todra Gorge, where the Lawrence of Arabia movie was filmed. Here we will also stop for lunch and continue to Boumalne Dadès which starts the 25 km long Dades valley that extends to the gorges, where we will take a walk through the lush and green vegetation in contrast to the red rock surrounding buildings pisé (beaten straw) of the same color of the rocks. This valley is full of ksours, cultivated fields and orchards. From here we return to the Dades gorges.
Here we stop to spend the night in a typical hotel for dinner.
Day 8: Gorges of Dades/Valley of Roses/Skoura/Ouarzazate
After breakfast we continue along the valley of Roses, by way of the road of the 1000 Kasbas, the typical southern Moroccan buildings. We will make a stop in the main town of this valley, El-Kala M'goun famous precisely for the Roses used to produce many body care products. We will also visit a laboratory for the extraction of this precious essence.
We will then continue to Skoura to visit the Kasbah of this area and take a break for lunch, then to Ouarzazate visiting the largest and most famous Film studio of all Africa, the Atlas Studios, where movies were filmed like Gladiator and then the Kasbah of Taourirt near Ouarzazate. We then proceed towards the Ait Benhaddou Kasbah. Here you can visit the famous Kasbah, declared UNESCO World Heritage and that was the scenario for the shooting of films like Gladiator, Babel, Lawrence of Arabia, The Legionnaire, The Sheltering Sky and many others.
In Ouarzazate we will spend the night in a very romantic riad where we will dine by the pool.
Day 9: Ouarzazate/Imi-n-Ifri/cascades Ouzoud
After breakfast we will take the road towards Demnate up to Tizi-n-outf (2150 m) through the Middle Atlas mountains and see many Berber villages along the route. Here the landscape and the colors of the mountains are constantly changing as the day goes on and the sunlight changes, ranging from ochre to pink to red to oil blue.
We will make a stop in Imi-n-Ifri, the mouth of the caves in Berber, you can take spectacular photographs. From here we will continue to cross the Middle Atlas and the beautiful Ouzoud waterfalls, 110 m high, considered one of the most beautiful places to visit in Morocco.
Here you can enjoy a walk in the green and swim in the cool river water. Then dine and spend the night in a local hotel.
Day 10: Waterfalls Ouzoud/Marrakech
After breakfast, we take the road to Marrakech, which is about 3 hours, through a landscape between the mountains providing an endless change of views.
We will arrive in Marrakech in the afternoon and after lunch and leaving our luggage in the riad we will visit the most famous Imperial City, through its various Suks (Suk-Smat of slippers, Suk-Haddadine manufacturers of iron, Suk-Chouari of basket weavers, Suk Cherratine- of leather workers, Suk of jewelers). From here you will arrive at the Ben Youssef madrasa, Koranic school, the largest and beautiful in the city, close to the mosque and Koubba Almoravide and the Marrakech Museum which we will visit.
After dinner is planned overnight stay in riad.
Day 11: Marrakech
After breakfast, we focus on another area of the city. We will visit the Bahia palace, or the ''beautiful'', nickname of the favourite, rich house of the Ba Ahmed vizier, built around 1880, and from there to Dar Si-Said, residence, also wonderful, the brother of the vizier. Next to these two buildings you can see the outside of the mosque El-Mansour also called the Mosque of Casba, easily recognizable thanks to its minaret with turquoise arabesques. We then continue with the visit the Saadian tombs, whose garden belonged to the El-Mansour Mosque, who guard the sepulchres of rulers and family this dynasty. If interested, there is the possibility of a hammam in the afternoon and / or a massage with Argan oil.
Return to the riad and dinner. After dinner, we walk to the main square Jamaa el-Fna, where we find its characteristic sellers and vendors, which provide a continuous show. You will meet fortune-tellers, snake charmers, musicians, water bearers, tattooists. Overnight in a riad.
Day 12: Departure
The tour concludes with a breakfast and we accompany you to your means of transportation for the return trip.
2 pax 4x4 USD 2560
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