Morocco

Highlights of Morocco - In Comfort

Trip code: W14MO

Guided group walking

14 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2
Moderate

Operated by
Exodus Travels

SUMMARY

  • Operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • Visit the Imperial Cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech Tour the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the impressive Todra Gorge Ride a camel through the red dunes of the Sahara Walk into the High Atlas mountains and experience a traditional hammam Relax in the charming fishing port of Essaouira

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • All breakfasts and four dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Free group arrival and departure transfers available

TRIP DESCRIPTION

Few countries rival the diversity of Morocco, where history-soaked imperial cities, mighty mountains and desert dunes are easily accessed on one trip. This adventure encompasses the best of the country while also staying in stylish riads, boutique hotels and an auberge. The highlights are many: explore coastal Casablanca plus Rabat, Marrakech, Meknes and Fez, collectively known as the Imperial Cities; journey to the southern mountain ranges, where Amazigh villages meet palm oases; and ride a camel in the ever-magical Sahara. We also visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis, the 16th-century ksar (fortified village) of Ait Benhaddou and enjoy a village walk around the High Atlas mountains. We top it all off in the pretty coastal town of Essaouira, a fitting end to a highlight-packed adventure. We end with a tour in the vibrant city of Marrakech.

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DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Start Marrakech

Welcome to the Red City, a pulsating destination moving at a frenetic pace. Our riad, however, is a pocket of peace with a central pool (ideal for a post-flight dip) and relaxed air. Depending on your arrival time, you can either rejuvenate at the accommodation or start exploring Marrakech. Jemaa el-Fna, the busy food stall-filled central square, is a five-minute walk away. There will be a welcome briefing at the riad this evening or tomorrow morning, depending on when most of the group arrives. Accommodation: Riad Tresor de Marrakech or Riad El Habib (or similar)

Day 2: Visit Hassan II Mosque; to the capital Rabat

This morning, we drive for three hours to Casablanca, a modern, commercial seaport city, to visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. After, we drive two hours to Rabat for lunch, the political capital of Morocco but second in importance to Casablanca. Although mostly modern, Rabat has an excellent old quarter that we take time to explore. Accommodation: Hotel le Musee (or similar)

Day 3: Explore the Roman site of Volubilis and Meknes; to Fez

We strike out from Rabat this morning over the northern plain towards the one-time capital of Meknes, a drive of around three hours. The scenery changes as the land becomes more cultivated, this being one of the most fertile areas in Morocco. Arriving in Meknes, we meet our guide and wander the narrow streets of the old city, exploring the souk and perhaps bartering for souvenirs. In the afternoon, we take a short drive to the largest and best-kept Roman ruins in Morocco: Volubilis, once a large Roman town and now a Unesco World Heritage site. After, we continue our journey to the ancient city of Fez, where we spend two nights. Accommodation: Riad Tafilalet, or Riad Fez Tresor   (or similar)

Day 4: Guided tour of Fez

This fascinating city is the intellectual and religious centre of Morocco. Founded more than 1,000 years ago, Fez has many mosques and madrasas (theological colleges) including the ninth-century al-Karaouine University, whose architecture resembles that of Moorish Spain. The medina in Fez is one of the largest in the world: an immense warren of souks, home to thousands of artisans with their tiny shops opening onto narrow alleyways. Our city guide walks us through different sections of the souk, including those selling leather, brass and copper. Of course, no visit to Fez is complete without a visit to the tanneries. Outside the medina we visit the Jewish District (mellah), the exterior of the Royal Palace and drive to a panoramic viewpoint over the city. Accommodation: Riad Tafilalet or Riad Fez Tresor (or similar)

Day 5: Drive to Merzouga on the edge of the Sahara

We have a long journey today: approximately 10 hours, including plenty of stops and superb scenery. We venture over the Middle Atlas mountains, down through the picturesque Ziz Valley to the Hamada, a flat, stony desert gradually approaching the spectacular golden dunes that comprise Erg Chebbi. We stay in an auberge (inn) on the edge of the dunes, allowing us to climb one for sunrise tomorrow. Accommodation: Auberge Yasmina (or similar)

Day 6: Walk among the dunes; camel trek; free time

There is time today to explore the largest sand sea in Morocco or to relax in the shade of a palm tree by the dunes. The sand sea is famed for having pink tones that take on a spectacular rose colour at sunset. In the late afternoon, we enjoy a classic Saharan experience: a 90-minute camel trek through the dunes, before watching the sun sink below the horizon. We then return to our auberge for dinner. Accommodation: Auberge Yasmina (or similar)

Day 7: To Skoura via Todra Gorge

After breakfast, we head towards the little town of Skoura, which is nestled on a beautiful palm grove and located near the city of Ouarzazate. En route, we explore Todra Gorge and the picturesque oases within (journey time: approximately four hours). Following the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs for approximately two more hours, we see impressive ancient kasbahs nestled in palm groves. Accommodation: Chez Talout or Kasbah Ait Benhadda (or similar)

Day 8: Skoura, the palm grove capital of Morocco

There is an option to take a one-hour drive to Toundout Valley and enjoy a four-hour guided hike crossing an Amazigh village and Imi-noulawen valley, where we learn a little of their culture. Alternatively, relax in and around the lodge. Skoura will certainly offer peace and relaxation with various walks through palm groves and past kasbahs. Accommodation: Chez Talout or Kasbah Ait Benhadda (or similar)

Day 9: Journey to Imlil village via Ait Benhaddou ‘ksar’

Leaving Skoura, we rejoin the main road and drive west along the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs via the desert city of Ouarzazate and onto the well-preserved ksar (fortified village) of Ait Benhaddou. This Unesco World Heritage site is one of the most spectacular in the Atlas and a location for several Hollywood films including Gladiator (2000). We then continue our drive through the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n'Tichka Pass, with a variety of scenery to enjoy on our way to the village of Imlil. Accommodation: Toubkal Garden or Riad Atlas (or similar)

Day 10: Walking in the High Atlas; evening hammam

We start our day with an optional walk to explore the area. From Imlil, we stroll past a variety of fruit trees including cherries, apricots and quince (if it's the right season, you can even grab a hanging walnut). We follow a small irrigation channel and cross paths with mules as we pause beside a tranquil waterfall. Our gentle hike continues for approximately 50 minutes until we reach the Amazigh village of Aroumd. We spend the rest of the day at leisure, strolling around the village and observing the women carrying bundles of firewood and crops on their backs, while children play on the small bridge nearby. This evening, we visit the village hammam – a truly authentic experience and terrific fun. It is very much a traditional hammam and you may mix with the villagers, which further adds to the experience. A standard treatment with soap and scrubber is included but it is customary to give a tip of 20 dirhams (US$2). Refreshed, we return to the riad for our final dinner in the mountains. Accommodation: Toubkal Garden or Riad Atlas (or similar)

Day 11: Over the High Atlas Mountains to Essaouira

After breakfast, we have a scenic drive over the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakech.  The scenery is spectacular and there are some wonderful mountain views as we go. We stop at a women's cooperative argon oil farm, where you can see the trees growing, get a demonstration of the production process and have the opportunity to purchase products. Our journey finally brings us to the flat arid plains of Marrakech, and then onwards to the pretty seaside town of Essaouira. Accommodation: Riad Ben Atar or Al Madina (or similar)

Day 12: Free day in Essaouira

We have a free day in Essaouira, an old Portuguese fishing port overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The settlement dates to the 15th century but the present town was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, the town is extremely relaxed and the whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan workshops, boatyards and fishermen provide a marked contrast to the desert, kasbahs and cities we have visited so far. Our hotel is in the heart of the old walled city, where we have plenty of time for shopping in the souks or strolling along the beach. With many pleasant cafes and some outstanding seafood restaurants, there is plenty of choice for our evening meal. Accommodation: Riad Ben Atar or Al Madina (or similar)

Day 13: To Marrakech; guided tour including Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs, finish in Djemma el Fna

After breakfast, we drive back to Marrakech. In the afternoon, we enjoy a guided tour of this amazing city. Our guide takes us to the Bahia Palace and the Saadian tombs, ending in Djemaa el Fna, where the town becomes a maze of bustling bazaars, palaces and mosques. It is worth seeing this renowned landmark in the evening, when it comes to life with people visiting food stalls, juice sellers, snake charmers and acrobats. Accommodation: Riad Tresor de Marrakech (or similar)

Day 14: Free day in Marrakech

Today is free and there is no shortage of things to do in Marrakech. You might wish to visit Koutoubia, the largest mosque in the city, or venture through the souks and old streets of the medina. After bartering for souvenirs, we have time for a short visit to the Koranic School and Museum of Marrakech. After, you can unwind by taking a 30-minute ride on a calèche (a bright green horse-drawn carriage) to the Jardin Majorelle. These tranquil gardens are decorated throughout in indigo and were once owned by French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. For lunch, we highly recommend the Amal Women's Training Centre and Moroccan Restaurant, which we support in their cause to empower women from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are a non-profit organisation dedicated to training their students to become self-sufficient and improving their quality of life through acquiring new skills in a professional restaurant setting. For a superb traditional Moroccan meal and the opportunity to support this worthy cause, do pay them a visit. This evening, it's common for the group to enjoy a final meal together on Djemaa el Fna. Accommodation: Riad Tresor de Marrakech (or similar)

Day 15: End Marrakech

The trip ends after breakfast, though if you’d prefer a little more time to explore Marrakech, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE DATE

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These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £415.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £415.

TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199 or email sales@headwater.com

Transportation

We use a private bus for most of this trip (the size of which will depend on the group size) with a local driver. The roads in Morocco are reasonably good and driving conditions in towns and on the plains are good. On mountain roads, the pace will be slower.

Joining Instructions

nKey information Start hotel: Riad Tresor, 77 Derb Sidi Massoud, Bouloukat, Marrakech, 40000 Phone: + 212 606 52 07 18 /+ 212 682 47 69 38 Recommended arrival time: Hotel check-in is from 2pm Airport: Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) Getting to the start hotel The start hotel is approximately a 20-minute drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers. If you are not on the group flight there are special arrangements for you getting to your riad on the first night. The riads are in the old town medina.  The transfer vehicle is unable to drive down the narrow laneways and so your driver will confirm arrival with our representative at the medina. The representative meet you and will have a cart for your luggage and will walk you to your riad. This person will show Exodus signage.  There is no charge to you for this service. If you are on the group flight the tour leader always meets this flight and they will help you with the transfer to the riad. If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative. Catching your return flight Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Marrakech Airport (RAK) from the end hotel. Allow three hours for check-in, bag drop, immigration and security. Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts. Marrakech airport  The amount of time it takes to get through Marrakech Airport can vary considerably. Therefore, we suggest you mitigate for delays and allow two hours to get through immigration, security and baggage reclaim on arrival. Take a pen with you to complete the arrivals form and have the details of your accommodation to hand for this purpose. Operators are not allowed to wait inside the terminal building for clients, so please find your Exodus representative outside the main doors.  Upon departure from Marrakech, we suggest allowing three hours to navigate the airport: check in, bag drop, immigration and security can take even longer on exit. The airport doesn’t accept mobile boarding passes, so we suggest having a printed boarding pass to avoid subjecting yourself to further delays.  n

REVIEWS

The authenticity of this trip is amazing. Very cultural and very beautiful.

This trip included a really good range of experiences in this eclectic country. We feel that we have got to know a bit about how the people of the country live in quite different environments from mountain village to city, desert and seaside. Our guide, Tariq, worked hard at explaining the culture and was keen to show us the many different ways in which Moroccan people live. He encouraged us to explore and shop (and barter!) on our own. There were some long days but they were well planned with coffee stops and visits to places of interest en route. Our group of 16 enjoyed the journeys by coach which was air conditioned and even had wifi available for some of the time. We stayed in a range of hotels, each of which were comfortable and often had something special to appreciate, such as the amazing painted ceilings in the riads.

A good and most enjoyable Trip - educational and enlightening. Superb scenery and sights, both rural and urban, providing good opportunites for photography and bird watching.

A brilliant trip which covered a lot of the country which is an exciting place to visit.

Prepare for long days, early starts, long bus journey's and a full itinerary - but be rewarded by great varied scenery, busy bustling medinas with their labyrinth of noisy disorientating souks, to the tranquility of the Atlas mountains and the spectacular desert.

Really enjoyed this trip - we were lucky to be part of a great group. The trip introduces you to a lot of Morocco, from cities to the coast, from desert to mountains. There is a lot of travelling involved, some long days, but that is the price to pay to see so much of the country. Travel is in a 16 seat minibus (and we were a group of 16) but I didn't find the seats uncomfortable, and there were plenty of stops for coffee, toilets, retail opportunities! I had been slightly wary of going on this holiday as I can't stand being hassled to buy things, but (bar the main square in Marrakech) any hassle was low key and less than I have experienced elsewhere. Moroccan people generally were very friendly and had a very good sense of humour.

Basically travelling around for two weeks having a look at almost everything Morocco has to offer. No two days are the same. No two places are the same. The only constants I found was how friendly the locals are and mint tea!

A good trip covering a vast area gave us a good experience of the country.

Thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the trip. Thought it was well organised.

This trip did what it said - we saw the highlights of Morocco from city to coast to mountain and desert. It was amazingly varied, balancing time in cities and countryside, and illustrating Morocco's vibrant history, culture and people. I certainly came back with a real feeling for the place and people and a greater understanding of an apparently happily functioning Islamic country.

This really is an incredible trip across Morocco. We got to see not just the cities, the history and the landscapes but a huge slice of Moroccan life as well. We covered an awful lot of ground but everywhere we went there had clearly been an enormous amount of background organisation to make everything run smoothly. We had numerous guides at all the sites we visited, who were all very knowledgeable and good at communicating their enthusiasm. We also stopped at numerous other smaller places such as an Argan oil factory, a pottery and even a huge solar power plant! The architecture, and the atmosphere, of the towns and cities is amazing and the variation in the scenery across the trip is extraordinary. We also got to meet, and chat to, enormous numbers of Moroccans who were all delightful and had a great sense of humour. This really was a panoramic journey through an extraordinary country.

Highly recommend this trip. A really varied trip showing the best that Morocco has to offer. Marrakech is very manic and a bit 'in your face' but thanks to an excellent tour leader and local guide the group were able to find our way to such hidden gems as the Majorelle Gardens (Yves St Laurent's former gardens) and the 'Secret' Garden. The trip up to the Atlas Mountains and stay in Douar Samra was nothing short of magical, I got to stay in the Tree House while others stayed in the very unusual and individual rooms in the house or annex. Meals were a delight thanks to the marvellous cooking of Rashida the resident cook and the atmospheric use of candles (there is no electricity in the main house) and traditional low level seating and tables. Your luggage is transported the final distance by donkey and there are also ducks and all vegetables are grown in the Douar's vegetable garden. Fabulous views and sunsets and great walking in the mountains. However the gem is absolutely Essaouira. I had never heard of this place before but it is the most delightful and fascinating seaside town. Again great orientation tour from local guide Rashida and plenty of time to enjoy the shopping, sweeping sandy beach, bars, restaurants and busy exciting fishing harbour. Our leader, Abdul, was very informative and accommodating and great fun. Morocco is well worth a visit and I will be back!

I appreciated the comprehensive nature of this 15 day trip. We visited the Imperial Cities, focusing on the history, usually staying in the Medina, with time spent touring the souks. In addition, we toured the diverse, gorgeous countryside of Morocco, with overnight stays in the desert, Todra Gorge, and a remote Berber village in the Atlas Mts. I enjoyed the size of our group of 10 people of diverse ages. We all got along well, laughed a lot and enjoyed each other's company.

Good overall. Very prompt service and comprehensively covered everything, except that I had requested a quote for travel insurance, and the contact details weren't provided until I chased for them.

2 Dec 2023

Very responsive and very patient and helpful in answering multiple questions.

29 Oct 2023

I was speaking with Helen H. She was not only very pleasant, but also very helpful and patient. She answered all my questions. Her quote arrived very quickly and it helped me to make my decision to book the trip.
The most important things: clear information, no hidden costs, no pressure to add any extras.
I was offered a standard room or upgrade, more details were provided upon my request together with price, so I could make an informed decision.
Very happy and I will use your agency
again in the future.

Nora , 14 Oct 2023


Guided group walking

14 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2
Moderate

Operated by
Exodus Travels

14 nights from £1599

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE

Call: 01606 720199