Morocco

Oh So Moorish

It's time to live out that Arabian Nights fantasy you've been harbouring! Escape into a world of Kasbahs, Imperial cities and cinnamon-coloured sands with our Oh-So-Moorish tour of Morocco. Our Morocco cultural tours will have you wandering amidst the snake charmers and street performers in Marrakech as we journey deep into Morocco's cultural heartland, making like Lawrence of Arabia as we ride the sands of the mighty Sahara atop our camels, sampling the myriad delights of the Moroccan kitchen and breathing in the crisp mountain air on what feels like the top of the world in the High Atlas Mountains. Soul satisfying travel at its best!

  • Tour

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Casablanca

Our cultural tour of Morocco commences this evening in Morocco's largest city, Casablanca. After our welcome meeting we will head to one of our favourite restaurants where you will be introduced to the delicious flavours of North African cuisine.

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Day 2: Casablanca - Oualidia - Essaouira

A trip to Casablanca wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of the only mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims: the Hassan II Mosque. A relative new-comer (it was completed in 1993) this mosque is amongst the largest mosques in the world (the sheer scale of the courtyard is jaw-dropping) and the finest artisans from across the country were commissioned to carry out the intricate detailing on everything from glass to woodwork and marble. Later we’ll head south to Essaouira via the stunning seaside town of Oualidia where the golden sands and crescent-shaped lagoon make the perfect backdrop for a sumptuous seafood feast. After our leisurely lunch we’ll drive to the relaxed seaside town of Essaouira.

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Day 3: Essaouira

Originally an 18th century port town, Essaouira's waterfront locale and laid back attitude make it the perfect place to spend a day soaking up the atmosphere and strolling the picture-postcard ramparts and shopping for souvenirs in the laid-back souq. This afternoon why not enjoy a stroll along the soft sandy beach before settling in for cocktails from the rooftop bar with the best view in town as the sun sets into the Atlantic Ocean. This offers the perfect way to soak up Morocco's culture.

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Day 4: Essaouira - Winery - Imlil

A leisurely start this morning before heading to a local winery just outside of
Essaouira. We’ll sample a selection of their wine before enjoying our lunch overlooking the vineyards. After lunch we’ll visit an argan co-operative where you’ll learn how argan oil is produced (yes, the same argan oil that is used in “Moroccan Oil!)) before arriving at the Kasbah du Toubkal, our home for the next two nights.

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Day 5: Imlil

There is the option today to go on an included trek of the surrounding foothills and villages where we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in one of the verdant valleys. If you’re not feeling particularly energetic you can enjoy the serenity of the Kasbah and perhaps even a traditional hammam (bath).

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Day 6: Imlil - Marrakech

Today we head to the chaotic city of Marrakech but first we will visit a small village on the outskirts of Marrakech where we’ll meet an extraordinary chef who will teach us the secrets of the Moroccan kitchen, including how to cook some of the delicious fare we’ll be eating throughout our trip. After all this hard work, it’s time to devour the fruits of our labours!

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Day 7: Marrakech

Our first full day in Marrakech! This morning we will begin to explore the myriad treasures of the Marrakech medina including the Saadian Tombs and the Ali ben Youssef Medersa. This afternoon get lost amongst the snake charmers, musicians, street performers and henna artists in this quintessential Moroccan city. Later we’ll head to one of our favourite restaurants where we’ll sample more of those delicious Moroccan flavours.

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Day 8: Marrakech

Such an exciting an intoxicating city as Marrakech warrants at least another day of exploration! Today we’ll see the Palais de la Bahia, an opulent palace constructed in the 19th century, before escaping the intensity of the medina for the serenity of the Jardin Majorelle, the lush gardens owned by designer Yves Saint Laurent. ‘Amal’ in Arabic means ‘hope’ and for lunch we will visit a very special restaurant called “Amal” which is also a training centre for disadvantaged women where the students train in Moroccan cuisine and hospitality. This afternoon, why not shop for keepsakes amidst the shops and stalls or simply enjoy our last evening at this stunning riad.

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Day 9: Marrakech - Ait Ben Haddou

A bit of a ‘bus day’ today as we begin our journey through North Africa’s highest mountain range, known locally by Bebers as ‘Idraren Draren’ or ‘Mountains of Mountains’. This is some of the most spectacular scenery in Morocco and the pure mountain air will leave you breathless. This afternoon we will reach Ait Ben Haddou where we will stop for the evening.

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Day 10: Ait Ben Haddou - Boulmalne Du Dades

This region is the film capital of Morocco and the World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou has certainly starred in a few of Hollywood’s blockbusters. Explore the narrow streets of this ancient fortified city, climbing steadily to reach the top for magnificent views of the surrounding palmeraie and the unforgiving hammada (stony desert). After lunch, there’s the opportunity to shop for authentic Berber carpets and antiques before arriving in Boumalne du Dades for the evening.

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Day 11: Boulmalne Du Dades - Todra Gorge - Desert Encampment

This morning we’ll visit the spectacular limestone cliffs of Todra Gorge before making our way towards the desert. We’ll escape the heat of the day and enjoy a leisurely lunch before heading east to the mighty Sahara. Our camels await us to take us to our desert encampment where we’ll reach as the final rays of the afternoon sun sink below the horizon. After a traditional dinner we’ll fall asleep beneath a blanket of stars.

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Day 12: Sahara - Midelt

We’ll jump in 4WDs this morning for our jeep safari through the dunes. Legend has it that the sand dunes appeared as punishment from God burying a wealthy local family who refused hospitality to a poor woman and her son. In reality, the dunes of Erg Chebbi certainly look divine, rising up to 160m and glowing rose-gold, then orange and finally pink-and-purple as the light changes. We’ll enjoy lunch at an Oasis in the shade of date palms before making our way to Midelt where we’ll get a taste of the region’s rich Berber heritage with a traditional Berber ceremony.

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Day 13: Midelt - Fes

Today we head north from Midelt to the imperial city of Fes. On the way we’ll stop in the alpine-style village of Ifrane and you’d be forgiven for thinking we were in Switzerland and not North Africa! This evening we’ll dine in a beautiful converted riad whilst enjoying a sumptuous Moroccan feast.

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Day 14: Fes

The city of Fes is, in our opinion, like no other city on earth. The medina is the largest living Islamic medieval city in the world and as you step through Bab Bou J’loud (the main gate into the old city) you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Amongst the more than 10,000 streets you’ll find all you could ever want and more: silver- and coppersmiths moulding metal into submission, weavers, artisans, food stalls, everything.

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Day 15: Fes - Meknes - Volubilis - Chefchaouen

Meknes reached its' pinnacle during the 17th century when Sultan Moulay Ismail set out to make the city the equal of its' European counterpart, Versailles. We'll visit the granaries that stabled the Sultan's 12,000 horses before we head to lunch. Later we will visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Volubilis, considered to be the best-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco and home to a number of stunning mosaics before making our way to Chefchaouen.

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Day 16: Chefchaouen

Located beneath the raw peaks of the Rif Mountains it is here in Chefchaouen that you will notice an unmistakably Spanish influence. This morning we will explore the delightful medina with its' blue-white walls and terracotta tiles, small and uncrowded it is easy to explore. There's the option this afternoon to go for a fairly easy walk to the springs of Ras el-Maa and the ruined Spanish Mosque where you will find some of the most spectacular views of the town below.

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Day 17: Chefchaouen - Rabat - Casablanca

We leave Chefchaouen and head to Morocco's capital city, Rabat. We'll search for lunch down narrow streets lined with whitewashed walls that open out to a breath-taking vista over the ocean. There's free time to explore the laid-back souqs and stalls before transferring to Casablanca. It's our last evening together so perhaps we'll "play it again Sam" and finish with dinner at Rick's Cafe.

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Day 18: Departure Day

This morning we will bid farewell to new friends as our cultural tour of Morocco concludes after breakfast.

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Reserve your place

The Gypsian Life in Morocco

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Extend Your Journey: Add a pre- or post-tour extension.

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Embracing Moroccan Culture and Cuisine

Moroccan cuisine has a diversity of influences from Berbers, Arabs, Moors, Jewish Moors and let's not forget the Ottoman Empire. The cuisine of the Berbers still exist today with dishes such as couscous and tagines, the Arabs bringing spices, nuts and many varieties of dried fruits, the Moors bringing olives and citrus whilst the Jewish Moors introduced preserving techniques such as preserved lemons and pickles with the Ottoman Empire introducing kebabs. Over time dishes have been perfected to blend each of these distinct tastes varying with the season, region and the market. Spices such as dried ginger, cumin, turmeric are found in most kitchens in Morocco and these are used in almost every tagine or couscous. Bread made from durum wheat, barley or rye flour is an essential part of any Moroccan meal and used to soak up sauces and pick food from communal dishes. On our cultural tour of Morocco you will experience Morocco's famous Pastilla. This unusual dish (and one of our personal favourites!) combines pigeon, roasted almonds, sugar, cinnamon, eggs, all wrapped up in a pie then sprinkled with icing sugar. Moroccan patisseries, pancakes drizzled with honey, cakes made with almonds and raisins all accompanied by the Morocco's famous mint tea.

Some of our favourite places on Oh So Moorish

Marrakech
One of the delights of Marrakech is the joy of wandering around aimlessly through the labyrinth alleys and medina of this quintessential city. It is a city teeming with culture and unfathomable amounts of inspiration. If you have the time why not take a half day photography tour and not only improve your skills but get those hard to get shots.

Imlil
Tucked away in the Atlas Mountains is the quaint village of Imlil and the famous Kasbah du Toubkal (we like to call it our own piece of Shangri-La). The peace and quiet in the High Atlas and at the Kasbah is hard to imagine and the genuine nature of the "staff folklore" is a magical experience. It certainly is a tribute to Berber culture and hospitality. Why not do some trekking while you are there.

Essaouira
No wonder Jimmy Hendrix loved this place. Local markets and seafood are two things that we love to devour and explore when travelling and the Essaouira medina with its’ vibrant colours, sounds and smells won’t let you down. The city is an eclectic blend of many elements from eighteenth century fortifications embracing a quintessentially Moroccan city with a history that goes far back. Essaouira's waterfront locale and laid back attitude make it the perfect place to spend a couple of day soaking up the atmosphere of this mellow, relaxed coastal town.

Chefchaouen
You will feel anything but “blue” when you visit this town with its’ blue washed houses, narrow cobbled streets there is a photo to be taken around every corner. Loose yourself as you explore the maze of narrow streets, ideal for meandering and getting lost in this magical city. This city is a dream for the adventurous and the wanderer with vendors peddling a colourful array of goods from leather products, carpets to the traditional woven blankets. The old medina is certainly a calming place when compared to the sights and sounds of Marrakech.

Merzouga
With nothing ahead but vast golden spaces, settle into the steady rhythm of the camel's step and enjoy the sound of hooves on the sand as you trek across the Sahara. For that spectacular nomadic experience enjoy friendly Berber hospitality in the middle of the big dunes of the Erg Chebi Desert. Your luxury desert encampment awaits you!

Oualidia
Overlooking a truly magnificent coastal lagoon the small sleepy village of Oualidia could arguably be one of the most picturesque places in Morocco. It is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy some of the best seafood this region has to offer.

Ouarzazate
Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones, Gladiator, you name it they have all been filmed here in pursuit of that mud turret cityscape. If your inner child needs waking up and you want to feel like Indiana Jones or Russell Crowe then this is the place to visit. Ait ben Haddou will give you a taste of what a true old Moroccan kasbah looks like. Make sure you see either sunrise or sunset from the top of the Kasbah you will not be disappointed.