President’s Picks: Morocco

“The long drives that are involved in traveling in Morocco have always bothered me; especially when they yielded disappointment. Over last 10 years of travel to Morocco, repeatedly searching for new places and exciting opportunities, I can say “success.” Finally, I have found the Morocco no one else knows – even the carpet salesmen. And it begins with original Van Gogh art in Marrakech and culminates in the Agafay Desert. I invite to discover unexplored Morocco.”

Country Information

Morocco

President's Picks: Morocco President’s Picks

(Countries Visited)

Morocco


(Interest Type(s))

Romantic Getaways

,

Sustainable Travel

,

Safari Tours

,

Adventure Travel


(Tour Length)

11 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $7,700
  • PP FINAL web smExplore exotic and ancient Marrakech, its colorful bazaars, Spanish Moorish architecture and art, and iconic sights such as the Ben Youssef Medersa, which has been a center of learning for after almost six centuries
  • Discover small Berber villages leaning on the steep mountainsides of the High Atlas Range
  • Enjoy a mobile tented camp experience at Scarabeo Camp in the Agafay Desert with its lunar-like landscapes that epitomize the southern desert of Morocco
  • Hike some of the rugged Atlas Mountains dominated by Djebel Toubkal, the highest peak of the Maghreb region, at a height of 4,167m/13,671 ft
  • Venture out on excursions into the desert by 4×4 vehicles or mountain bike; by mule, horse or camel; or by quad bikes or buggies

Day 1: Marrakech, Morocco
Welcome to Marrakech! You will be met on the Tarmac with a personalized sign and transferred to the terminal to the VIP Lounge, which is equipped with beverages, canapés, Wi-Fi, and computer with internet access for your convenience. You will enjoy priority assistance with immigration services and assistance at luggage claim. You will be transfer by your private VIP car with the assistance of your English guide to your riad. Riad el Fenn

Day 2: Marrakech
After breakfast, meet with your English-speaking guide to begin your exploration of Marrakech. The Koutoubia Minaret is one of the best examples of the hispano-mauresque, Spanish-Moorish style, art, which combines apparent simplicity with superb craftsmanship and restrained luxury. With its minaret rising 77 meters/252 feet, it is one of the most impressive sights in Marrakech. The Bahia Palace and gardens were built in the late 19th century, and was intended to be the greatest palace of its time. The name means 'brilliance'. As in other buildings of the period, it was intended to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan styles. There are 8,000-m²/2-acre garden with rooms opening onto courtyards. Jacques Majorelle, a French painter who settled in Marrakech in 1919, acquired land which became the Majorelle Garden. Since 1947, the gardens have been open to the public. In 1980, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent purchased the gardens and restore them. Majorelle was one of the more important collectors of plants of his time, and that spirit prevails still. Plants from the five continents thrive in this enchanting framework. Yves Saint Laurent ashes were scattered in the garden and there is a memorial here in his name. The public square is the traditional meeting place for everyone from peasants to merchants and was the heart of Marrakech. In the afternoon, you’ll see musicians, storytellers, snake charmers and entertainers with performing monkeys. You can enjoy a fresh mint tea or a soft drink from one of the cafés overlooking the square. Later, explore the souks, filled with a riot of color, noise and activity. Here, you will find all the silver merchants in one corner and the gold merchants in another. Rows of stalls sell leather work exclusively or copper goods or jewelry. You have opportunities to watch the craftsmen at work – gilding leather, hammering out copper, embroidering silks or smoothing out the surface of a cedar wood table. Return to your riad in the afternoon. Riad el Fenn (B)

Day 3: Marrakech
Today on your half-day tour, you discover the Ben Youssef Medersa, which has been a center of learning for almost six centuries. Founded in the 14th century, this theological college is affiliated with nearby Ali ben Youssef Mosque. Although not as large today, it once was home to 900 students in 132 dorms arranged around the courtyard, which is a tasteful combination of intricate forms and styles. The decorations are from several types of materials: stucco, marble, mosaic and cedar wood. Once among the largest in Africa, it remains among the most splendid. This gem of Moorish architecture was a shelter for students in the thirst for knowledge in various sciences, including theology. Dar Si Said Musuem is a monument to Moroccan mâalems (master artisans). Si Said's former home is now a showcase of regional craftsmanship. It houses the Museum of Moroccan Arts, starting with the oldest object in Marrakech: a 1002–1007 BCE chest that belonged to a chamberlain of Spain’s Umayyad Caliphate. Arrows direct visitors past antique yet fashion-forward Marrakshi man-bags; 20th-century High Atlas carpets; and doors carved with talismans, warding off the evil eye. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Riad el Fenn (B)

Day 4: Marrakech / Atlas Mountains
After breakfast, you set out with your guide and driver to the Atlas Mountains. Your first stop will be at Beldi Country Club to see how blown Beldi glass is made from recycled glasses. A team of glass blowers produce handsome glasses, bottles, bowls. This plant at the Beldi is the last one to produce blown glass in Morocco. Then you travel some 70 km/44 mi to discover small Berber villages leaning on the steep mountainsides of the High Atlas range. Asni is a picturesque Berber village located at 1,150m/3,773 ft, and is dominated by Djebel Toubkal, the highest peak of the Maghreb region of western North Africa; at a height of 4,167m/13,671 ft. It is the starting point of many excursions in the High Atlas. During the trip, hikers alternate walking on asphalt roads and dust tracks to get the best panoramas of the striking landscapes. Finish at Kasbah Beldi, an isolated spot at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. Originally a farm cultivating olives, grapes and vegetables, Ksbah Beldi allows an escape to a peaceful setting with views of the Atlas Mountains and a lake. Two large pools allow you to enjoy the quiet and the space offered by the Kasbah Beldi. A children's pool is also available. Kasbah Beldi (B)

Day 5: Atlas Mountains
Today is yours to pursue as you wish. Relax in this idyllic setting, or enjoy a spa day at SPA Kasbah Beldi, at the top of the hill that has a traditional hammam and massage rooms with massages that feature essential oils and aromatic plants. Kasbah Beldi can organize guided walks in the mountains or desert, or walks with donkeys for children to explore the valleys, villages and isolated plateaus. Walks can last two hours or a whole day, with a picnic lunch tailor-made to suit your desires. Other activities include horseback rides or quad biking, swimming or the ball game called petanque, a form of boules or bocce. Kasbah Beldi (B)

Day 6: Atlas Mountains / Agafay Desert
After breakfast, you drive to Agafay Desert with its lunar-like landscapes that epitomize the southern desert of Morocco. You head to your mobile tented camp, Scarabeo Camp, a charming bivouac of a dozen oriental-inspired tents that can be set up in the most beautiful corners of Morocco. Dotted among the landscape, the spacious and comfortable tents are decorated with unique pieces and locally crafted artwork. Scarabeo Camp (B,D)

Day 7: Agafay Desert
Today you enjoy the guided activities offered by your camp that include quad bike and dune buggy excursions; camel and horse rides; bike ride; and trekking with a qualified mountain guide (full day). If you are interested in local culture, you can also have lunch in the local village. Scarabeo Camp (B)

Day 8: Agafay Desert
After breakfast, leave your camp and drive south toward Skoura palm grove. Stop on the way to visit the emblematic Ait-Ben-Haddou Kasbah. This fortified village has been the location where numerous movies have been shot such as Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, Soddom & Gommorah, Kingdom of Heaven and others. You will enjoy three nights stay at a traditional Kasbah situated in the luscious palm grove of Skoura. On the doorstep of the South Moroccan Desert, rest in the shade of hundred-year-old palm trees, take in the fragrant almond-tree blossoms. A different setting awaits guests at every turn.  Dar Ahlam (B,L,D)

Days 9/10: Agafay Desert
Savor two full days to enjoy this remarkable setting. Enjoy the Hammam, the traditional bath as well as the heated outdoor pool. Set out on excursions into the desert by 4x4 vehicles or mountain bike; hike; take mule, horse or camel rides; choose quad bikes or buggies; or go out on foot on a guided hike. Enjoy an exquisite cuisine show and thematic evenings. Dar Ahlam Skoura (B,L,D)

Day 11: Agafay Desert / Ouarzazate / Casablanca / Depart
After your breakfast, transfer to Ouarzazate airport for your internal flight to Casablanca. You are met on arrival and escorted to your hotel where we have reserved a day room for you to relax before you embark on your night flight home. Once you are transferred to the airport, you enjoy pre-check in at a private desk; priority in check-in and Immigration services; access to the VIP lounge with beverages, snacks, and Wi-Fi, computer with internet; and priority in embarkation & accompanying of the guest till the plane doors. Hyatt Regency or Four season Hotel – Day Room (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$700 per person per day, land only double occupancy. Valid until October 31, 2016.

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