Essence of Morocco

You’ll see all the colours of exotic Morocco on this extraordinary journey:

Journey Overview

You’ll see all the colours of exotic Morocco on this extraordinary journey: the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean, the dazzling white buildings of Tangier, rainbow hued spice stalls, golden desert sands, green palm groves and the earthy terracotta of the kasbahs. Against this vibrant backdrop are the patterns of mosaic tiles, handmade pottery, stitched leather and handwoven rugs – the essence of Morocco’s craft heritage and everywhere impressive monuments, gardens and a rich, flavoursome cuisine.

Journey Highlights

• Amble through the enchanting alleyways of the blue city of Chefchaouen
• Breathe in the sophisticated bohemian vibe of Tangiers
• Wander through the beguiling souks of Fes
• Sleep Bedouin style in A&K’s Exclusive Luxury Desert Camp
• Dine with a notable Marrakech professor and his family 
• Marvel at the tribute to fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent at the new YSL museum 

PRICE:
Per person twin share: From $15,095
Solo Traveller: From $26,075

Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Casablanca.

Welcome to Morocco with express arrival services and transfer to your boutique accommodation. Originally settled by Berbers in the 7th century, today Casablanca is Morocco’s bustling, French-influenced business centre.
Le Casablanca Hotel (Superior Room) 

Day 2: Casablanca

A morning to unpeel the layers of this fascinating city. Step inside the magnificent Hassan II Grand Mosque, one of the few that can be visited in Morocco. Built on reclaimed land, almost half the mosque lies over the waters of the Atlantic with a partial glass floor enabling worshippers to kneel directly over the sea. The mosque is amongst the largest in the world and can house as many as 25,000 worshippers. Its minaret is the tallest religious structure in the world. 

Stroll around bustling Mohammed V square, United Nations square and the Arab League Park before wandering through the Quartier Habous which was reimagined in the 1930s to resemble a modern-day medina. Browse the market stalls and relax with mint tea and a pastry at one of the many cafés. 

Following lunch head to the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, the only Jewish museum in the Arab region. A former children’s home, the building was redesigned in the 90’s and now showcases important Jewish exhibits including garments and jewellery, art and artifacts and photos that capture the past but also show the ongoing effort to restore cemeteries and synagogues in remote towns throughout Morocco.  
Le Casablanca Hotel (Superior Room) | Meals: BL

Day 3: Casablanca | Tangier

Head up the Atlantic coast today stopping first in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, where a city tour highlights Rabat’s cultural influences and the superbly preserved relics of its Moorish past. Visit the 12th century Hassan Tower, an excellent example of the Moorish style with its incomplete minaret of the great mosque built by Yacoub al-Mansour. Next door is the mausoleum dedicated to Mohamed V, the founder of modern Morocco and the grandfather of the current king.  

You also pay a visit to the Oudaya Kasbah which is built on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Its gate is one of the most beautiful surviving in the Moorish world and within its walls you'll explore a delightful craft museum housed in a former palace, as well as an Andalusian garden, complete with tinkling fountain and sweet-smelling orange trees.  
Beyond the city walls are the most hauntingly beautiful ruins in Morocco, the ancient Roman remains of Sala Colonia. Set amidst crumbling walls in a garden of tropical plants see the necropolis of the great Merenid leader, El Hassan and the tomb of the mighty “Black Sultan”. Continue on to Asilah whose old town, or medina, is enclosed by well-preserved 15th century ramparts and gates, built by colonial Portuguese. Spend time visiting the medina, an art hub, known for its murals and the annual Cultural Moussem of Asilah festival. 

Your final destination today is the cosmopolitan coastal city of Tangier which dominates the north of Morocco and is the gateway to Europe. From the 1930s to the 60s, Tangier was under international administration and attracted a bohemian crowd of bon vivants and pleasure seekers. Billionaires and heiresses built palaces while artists from the Beat Generation, such as William Burroughs, Paul Bowles and Truman Capote, made it their home. Its interesting mix of North African, Spanish and French cultural influences is unique in Morocco and today it gleams with a new air of confidence. 
Villa Josephine (Deluxe Sea View Room) | Meals: BL

Day 4: Tangier | Tetouan | Tangier

Head out of town today to Tetouan, also known as Small Jerusalem. After expulsion from Spain at the end of the 15th century, the Sephardi community settled here and lived in the Jewish quarter which was separated from the rest of the town by gates which were closed each night. Uncover this period of the country’s history when you visit the Jewish quarters and the Moorish synagogue. 

Also known for its Andalusian influences, visit the School of Arts and Crafts and watch master craftsmen and their apprentices at work on marquetry, silk, metal work, plaster, pottery, tiles, and mosaics before time wandering through the atmospheric old medina.

Back in Tangier you have time to explore and soak up the city’s fascinating history and beautiful vistas. A guided walk through the kasbah of Tangier will deliver you to the American Legation Museum which traces the history of the relationship between the United States and Morocco, which was the first to recognise U.S. independence and subsequently established its legation in Tangier in 1821. It is the only historical monument to have remained in American possession since the birth of the American nation. Time to stroll through the medina before you are introduced to a young Moroccan who takes care of the Scottish St Andrews Church. Discover this gem of ecumenism and its cemetery called by many the “spy cemetery”. The Anglican church is one the more charming oddities of the city. Built in 1890, on land that was given by Sultan Hassan I, the church is decorated in a Moorish Fassi style. The cemetery surrounding the church holds the tombs of British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in WWII. Later enjoying a cooking demonstration followed by dinner at a local home. 
Villa Josephine (Deluxe Sea View Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Tangier | Chefchaouen | Fes

This morning you head inland towards Fes stopping en route in the blue city of Chefchaouen with time to explore its atmospheric alleyways and old medina. Arrive in magical Fes this evening in time for a drink with the owner of your hotel. She will welcome you to the city and share her fascinating story. 
Palais Amani (Deluxe Room) | Meals: B

Day 6: Fes

Step back in time to the Middle Ages today when you visit Fes El Bali, the largest living medieval medina-city and the cultural heart of Morocco. Explore some of the 9,000 narrow lanes, alleys and souks that make-up the labyrinth of the city’s old quarter, originally founded in the 8th century AD by Moulay Idriss I. The medieval medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The imperial capital was a renowned centre of medieval learning and at its heart lies the Karaouine, one of the oldest, still-functioning universities in the world. In the neighbouring building is the Attarine Medersa (Koranic college), a jewel of Hispano-Moorish architecture, built in the 14th century. You will also visit Nejjarine Square, with its beautiful fountain, made up of mosaics and elaborate tile-work. The nearby Fondouq (Caravanserai) is now converted into a museum of carpentry artefacts.

A visit to the tanneries will reveal how the country’s highly esteemed leather is dyed using all natural ingredients before continuing on to Dar Batha, the former royal palace, and the Museum of Moroccan Arts, which houses historical and artistic collections of wood carvings, embroidery, tribal carpets and ceramics. 

You will also visit Fes El Jedid (New Fes), built by the Merinid Dynasty in the 13th century. Here you will see the Royal Palace, mosques, medersas, souks and the city wall. Most notably, Fes El Jedid is home to the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter, where the wrought iron-decorated windows and splendid carved wood balconies of the old mansions are particularly outstanding. 

Last stop today is a local pottery factory to discover how the beautiful zellij tiles are made. These are the highlights of Arab-Andalusian décor and are also used in the manufacture of the famous tagines. “Tagine” refers to an earthenware pot in which traditional meals are cooked and you’re certain to taste many tagines during your stay.
Palais Amani (Deluxe Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Fes | Meknes & Volubilis | Fes

Travel to Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Imperial Cities of Morocco. The impressive monuments here are splendid and were built in the 17th century by the powerful sultan Moulay Ismail, to rival the court of his contemporary Louis XIV of France. During your visit you will marvel at the monumental Bab Mansour gateway - considered one of the finest of the great gates of Morocco, the granaries and the royal stables, which were built to accommodate some 12,000 horses.
 
Afterwards continue to Volubilis, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the largest and most well-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. With its triumphal arches, basilicas and capitols, the Volubilis skyline is peppered with examples of great Roman architecture. However, the greatest treasures of Volubilis are the superb mosaic floors, which have been excellently preserved and left in situ. BL 
Palais Amani (Deluxe Room) | Meals: BL

Day 8: Fes | Erfoud

Today you travel to Erfoud, a small town on the edge of the desert. Your journey takes most of the day and you pause in Midelt for lunch en route. The latter part of your journey is filled with stunning scenic views of endless palm plantations, Berber villages and the spectacular Atlas Mountains. Arrive at your kasbah hotel in time for dinner. 
Kasbah Hotel Chergui (Standard Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Erfoud | Erg Chebbi

Discover the Tafilalet region today, famous for its dates and stunning scenery. Visit Rissani, the last visible point of the Ziz River, which from the 8th to the 14th century was the site of the first independent kingdom of the south. Stroll through the centuries-old palm grove and discover a beautiful fortified village. Keep an eye out for the donkey parking area. 
You will also see Erfoud’s quarry, where fossils have been discovered. More than 400 million years ago, the desert area of Morocco was a sea. When the sea receded, the marine life died and became fossilised. Today the mining of these fossilised rocks is a popular industry in this part of Morocco. You will have the opportunity to admire how these Goniatitida and Trilobites are used to produce beautiful decorative objects ranging from plates to tables. 

In the afternoon, you head south by 4WD vehicle amongst the desert dunes of Erg Chebbi to your tented campsite. The last part of the journey is by camel with a mint tea and pastry on arrival. Settle into your nomadic tented accommodation before a mouth-watering dinner served around the campfire. BLD
A&K Exclusive Desert Camp (Luxury Tent) | Meals: BLD

Day 10: Erg Chebbi | Ouarzazate

At dawn, take another camel ride into the desert to see the sun cast its magic across the landscape. After breakfast continue overland to Ouarzazate, once a stopping point for African traders en route to the cities of northern Morocco and Europe. The route takes you through the southern slopes of the High Atlas range, following the Dades Valley passing by flourishing crops, irrigation canals and palm trees. Following the Thousand Kasbahs route, marvel at the breathtaking vistas of impressive hundred-year-old kasbahs nestled in lush palm groves. Stop along the way to visit a small but fascinating private museum near Tingherir which showcases the local art, culture and history. 
Le Berbère Palace (Superior Room) | Meals: B

Day 11: Ouarzazate

Discover the secrets of Ouarzazate today. Built as a French garrison in the 1920s, today it is a regional trade centre known for its pottery and carpets. Start off at one of the most beautiful kasbahs in all of Morocco, the Glaoui Kasbah of Taourirt where a network of luxury apartments, simple clay houses and crenelated towers are beautifully decorated with geometric motifs. 

Afterwards you will continue to a location that has played a major role in motion picture history - the fortified village of Ait Benhaddou – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most exotic and best-preserved kasbah in the whole Atlas region. The village
has starred in many masterpieces of the cinema such as “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Jesus of Nazareth”, “Gladiator” and “The Mummy”.
Le Berbère Palace (Superior Room) | Meals: B

Day 12: Ouarzazate | Marrakech

Today you head to the thrilling city of Marrakech, passing small villages and picturesque souks along the way. Pearl of the South, Jewel of the South, The Red City - just a few of the nicknames Marrakech has acquired over the years. Part Berber, part Arab, part African, this city is the heartbeat of Morocco where palaces and monuments of unrivalled refinement sit calmly alongside the most exuberant marketplace in the world. 

In the afternoon, take a seat in a horse-drawn carriage for your visit to the Jardin Majorelle (Majorelle Gardens), originally designed in 1924 by French artist Jacques Majorelle. After taking up residence in Marrakech, Majorelle transformed the property's existing garden into a tropical paradise, surrounded by vivid cobalt blue buildings with verdant exotic groves, lily-covered pools, exotic plantings and enormous sculptural cactii. Take time to wander through this peaceful haven before visiting the new Yves Saint Laurent Museum. The renowned fashion designer first visited Marrakech in 1966 and the museum is dedicated to his couture and the country that so inspired him. After careful selection by his partner Pierre Bergé the museum exhibits more than 5,000 of his designs and 15,000 accessories. 

The remainder of the day is at leisure for some last-minute shopping or private exploration.  
A unique cultural encounter is in store this evening when you are invited into a local home for dinner with the Nahir family. Meet Mohamed Nahir, a professor at the university who has published literary articles and collaborated on culinary books. Join Mohamed and his wife and daughter for an evening of traditional Moroccan cuisine and conversation. 
Selman Marrakech (Deluxe Room) | Meals: BD

Day 13: Marrakech

Get a taste of exotic Marrakech today when you delve into the mysteries of the medina, the old walled section of the town, where most the city’s architectural attractions lie. Explore the labyrinthine souks, looking for treasures and bartering hard. Souk Smarine is a maze of colourful alleys dominated by textiles, clothing and handicrafts – a shopper’s paradise. 
Visit the gardens and admire the Koutoubia mosque, an emblem of Marrakech. Koutoubia’s minaret went on to inspire the architects of the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat. The mosque cannot be visited but its beauty can be admired from the gardens and the square. This square tower in finely-worked dressed stone is 77-metres high including its lantern. Built in the 12th century, the minaret is considered the most perfect Islamic religious structure in North Africa and it dominates the local skyline.

Explore the Badii Palace, which was completed in 1603, using the richest materials possible to decorate the 360 rooms of the princely complex. It is now in disrepair but when you wander through the ruins you will be able to imagine its former glory. 

Next stop, the Bahia Palace, which was built in 1880 under the grand vizier Sidi Moussa and took 15 years to complete. Its beauty makes it a remarkable example of the Arab-Andalusian style and a masterpiece of domestic architecture which gives a good idea of how the privileged lived during the 19th century. The use of marble, stucco and mosaics is prevalent in the apartments, opening on to courtyards filled with fountains and plant life.

Towards day’s end you wind up in Djemaa El Fna, the city’s main square and beating heart of Marrakech. Home to a multitude of street-artists, stalls of dried fruit and freshly-pressed orange juice, snake charmers, story-tellers, acrobats and musicians, cafés, restaurants and a rich aroma of barbecued meats and spicy tagines. Get a front row seat and sip a mint tea as you watch the spectacle from above. 
Selman Marrakech (Deluxe Room) | Meals: B

Day 14: Marrakech

Discover Marrakech today by bike. Pedal around the impressive 19-kilometre long ramparts built by Ali Ben Youssef in the 12th century. Admire the magnificent doors such as Bab Agnaou, one of the most beautiful. Then head into the kasbah district and push deeper into the medina, wending your way through the alleyways before arriving back at Djemaa El Fna.

Your afternoon is at leisure. Indulge in a relaxing traditional hammam, discover the secrets of Moroccan cuisine at a cooking workshop (additional cost) or simply relax by the pool.
Selman Marrakech (Deluxe Room) | Meals: BD

Day 15: Depart Marrakech

Transfer to Marrakech airport for your departure flight. 
Meals: B

Show Full Itinerary
Accommodation/Partners

Accommodation/Partners

Le Casablanca Hotel

Essence of Morocco

With smart white facades and decadent interiors, Le Casablanca is an urban oasis. Seamlessly blending Moroccan style and art-deco desig ... Read more

Villa Josephine

Essence of Morocco

Perched high above the city with far reaching views across the Straits of Gibraltar, Villa Josephine, set amongst carefully manicured gro ... Read more

Palais Amani, Fes

Essence of Morocco

One of the city’s largest and arguably most beautiful restored palaces, Palais Amani, is a serene escape. Situated in the ancient medina, ... Read more

Kasbah Hotel Chergui, Erfoud

Essence of Morocco

Located in a very quiet part of Eastern Morocco, on the outskirts of Erfoud. The Kasbah Hotel Chergui is just 60km from Erg Chebbi, whi ... Read more

A&K Exclusive Desert Camp, Sahara Desert

Essence of Morocco

A convoy of 4x4 vehicles takes all the equipment necessary to the dunes of Merzouga. Traversing the rocky, flat-baked sand bordering the ... Read more

Le Berbère Palace, Ouarzazate

Essence of Morocco

Built in Kasbah style, Le Berbére Palace is a desert oasis of cool shady terraces and traditional Moroccan hospitality, with fragrant a ... Read more

Selman Marrakech

Essence of Morocco

One man's passion and love for the beauty of purebred Arabian horses has sparked the concept for The Selman. Located at the foot of the A ... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

As this Private Journey can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey

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