As your tour guide, I will be leading you on a 9-day tour of Northern and desert Morocco, starting in Marrakech. Our first stop will be in Casablanca where we will visit the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest mosque in Africa and seventh largest in the world. We will take some beautiful photographs by the Atlantic Ocean. Next, we will head to the capital city of Morocco, Rabat. This imperial city has an urban population of over 1.1 million people. Our visit will include the Hassan Tower, a minaret of an incomplete mosque that was commissioned by the third Caliph of the Almohad Caliphate. We will also see the Kasbah of the Udayas, a citadel located at the mouth of the Bou Regreg river. Our first night will be spent in Rabat.
After a delicious breakfast at your luxury Riad, we will set out to the north of Morocco, making our way through the Rif mountains to Chefchaouen. Along the way, we will take a 2-3 hour hike in Akchour to see the beautiful Cascades d’Akchour. In the afternoon, you will have free time to explore the town at your leisure. Some suggestions include visiting Plaza Outa el-Hammam, the main square known for its many hammams, or enjoying a mint tea at a local restaurant while taking in the stunning views. Wander the narrow, blue-painted streets and snap some pictures to remember your visit. Later in the day, we will return to the Riad to watch the sunset.
Start your day early to capture the beauty of the streets of Meknes and Fes with fewer people around. Take a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Volubilis, an ancient Roman city established in the 3rd century BC. Though the structures are incomplete, it's still worth exploring. Afterwards, head to Meknes, another imperial city and visit iconic landmarks such as Bab El-Mansour gate, Moulay Ismail's mausoleum and the Royal Stables. End the day by heading to Fes for an overnight stay, in preparation for the next day's tour of the city.
Fes is one of the four imperial cities in Morocco and is known for its rich history and beautiful architecture. A half-day tour of the city is a great way to explore its many sights. The tour will begin in the oldest medina in Morocco, which was founded over 1000 years ago. Visitors will have the opportunity to stroll through the souks, or markets, and explore the two parts of the city: Fes el Bali and Fes el-Jadid. One of the highlights of the tour will be a visit to Talaa Kebira, one of the longest and most important streets in Fes el-Bali. Another must-see attraction is the Al-Attarine Madrasa, a beautiful school built by the Marinid sultan Uthman II Abu Said in the 14th century. After leaving the old city, the tour will continue to the new part of Fes, where visitors will have the chance to see the El Mellah place and enjoy a beautiful sunset from the rooftop of the city. The tour will end with a return to the riad.
Begin your journey in the southeast of Morocco and make your way to the picturesque town of Merzouga, passing through the charming village of Ifrane, known as the "Little Switzerland of Morocco." Take a brief detour to explore the city before heading to the Cedar Forest of Azrou to meet the Berber apes and snap some lovely photos. As you travel, you'll pass through the Tizi n'Talremt and the Little Atlas mountains, pausing for lunch in Midelt. Continue on to the Ziz valley and stop to admire the second-largest palm grove in Morocco. As you progress, you'll notice a change in the atmosphere and landscape as you enter the Sahara. Arrive in Erfoud, the gateway to the desert, known for its fossils. Visit local workshops to learn about how fossils are turned into decorative items. From Erfoud, head to Erg Chebbi and swap your 4x4 for a private camel ride with an experienced guide. Embark on a unique excursion through the desert, taking in the best sand dunes and a stunning sunset. Return to a luxury desert camp for a delicious dinner and entertainment by Sahara musicians. Spend the night in a tent under the stars before starting your journey back.
Rise early to catch the sunrise at the top of Erg Chebbi dunes and experience the thrill of sandboarding in the Sahara desert. After your adventure, ride a camel back to your local hotel for breakfast and a quick shower. Then, set off for the Draa valley and Dades gorges. Your first stop will be in Rissani, where you can explore the traditional market. Continue your desert journey to Todra Gorges, passing through several Berber villages. Upon arriving at Todra, take a walk along the 300m high rocks and watch climbers scaling the cliffs. Take some free time to relax and enjoy the cool waters of the shallow Todra River. Afterwards, depart for Dades and spend the night in a local Riad or hotel.
Today, you will return to Marrakech, your starting point. On the way, stop at Ouarzazate, the gateway to the Sahara desert (if you chose the Marrakech to Merzouga tour). Visit the Kasbah and the popular Atlas film studio, where many famous movies have been filmed (entry fee: 3 Euro per person). Continue on to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou. The Kasbah is a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, it is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. You will have free time to explore the area of Ait Benhaddou and take lovely photos. Enjoy lunch there. As you travel through the High Atlas Mountains, make a stop at an altitude of 2260 meters for a refreshing glass of mint tea. You will notice a dramatic change in the atmosphere and landscape as you enter the bustling, imperial city of Marrakech. Once you arrive, spend the night in a Riad.
Spend your day exploring the "Red City," so named for its surrounding red walls. Your tour guide will pick you up at Jemaa El-Fna square and help you navigate the old medina, visiting local traditional markets. Make your way north to visit the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in the city, built in 1148 by Almohad Sultan Abdelmoumen. Then, head to the area housing the Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace and El Badi Palace. Afterwards, visit the Jardin Majorelle, a garden and artist's retreat created by French Orientalist artist. End the day by visiting the Ben Youssef Madrasa, an Islamic college.
Option 1: If your flight schedule allows, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure. Option 2: You will have a day trip from Marrakech to Essaouira. Start your day tour towards Essaouira. Along the way, make stops at argan shops to learn about the production of original argan oil, and keep an eye out for goats climbing argan trees. Once you arrive in Essaouira, join a small group tour to discover the city and its UNESCO-protected medina. Visit sites like the Skala Kasbah, indulge in some delicious seafood, watch the blue boats in the harbor and end the day by watching a beautiful sunset with seagulls. Return to Marrakech and be dropped off at your accommodation, marking the end of your 9-day private desert tour from Marrakech.