Treasures of Morocco
with Lynda Murphy
September 22 – October 09, 2020

Overview:

Join Lynda Murphy, on an 18-day Treasures of Morocco journey that encompasses the best of the country’s attractions. The diverse itinerary explores from renowned gardens in Marrakech to the largest city in Morocco in Casablanca. Discover rich Moroccan culture on an experience across stunning landscapes with impressive architecture, bustling markets, saffron fields, and a myriad of intriguing towns. Birders will delight at Sous-Massa National Park, where opportunities to spot a wide range of species are abundant.

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Marrakech – Overnight at Villa Des Orangers
Day 2: Marrakech – Overnight at Villa Des Orangers
Day 3: Marrakech / Imlil / Marrakech – Overnight at Villa Des Orangers
Day 4: Marrakech / Essaouira – Overnight at Heure Bleue
Day 5: Essaouira – Overnight at Heure Bleue
Day 6: Essaouira / Agadir – Overnight at Riad Villa Blanche
Day 7: Agadir / Sous Massa – Overnight at Atlas Kasbah
Day 8: Agadir / Taroudant – Overnight at Palais Oumnsour
Day 9: Taroudant / Skoura – Overnight at La Sultana
Day 10: Skoura – Overnight at La Sultana
Day 11: Skoura / Erfoud – Overnight at Xaluca Erfoud
Day 12: Erfoud / Merzouga – Overnight at La Belle Etoil
Day 13: Merzouga / Fes – Overnight at Sahrai Hotel
Day 14: Fes – Overnight at Sahrai Hotel
Day 15: Fes / Meknes / Volubulis / Fes – Overnight Sahrai Hotel
Day 16: Fes / Rabat / Casablanca – Overnight at Hyatt Regency Hotel
Day 17: Casablanca – Overnight at Hyatt Regency Hotel
Day 18: Casablanca / Return Home

Please note this trip will operate with a minimum of 3 guests traveling

Interested in more information? Please contact Africa Easy by calling 1-800-617-2319 or click here to e-mail the Africa Easy Team.

Treasures of Morocco
With Lynda Murphy
September 22 – October 09, 2020

Day-by-Day Itinerary:

Day 01 – Tuesday, September 22, 2020 – Arrive Marrakech

Enjoy a full day at leisure to relax.

We suggest a visit to the monuments and old quarter of Marrakech and the impressive Jema-el-fna square. The square is an unbelievable experience for any visitor with snake charmers, water sellers, and spice stalls, plus the charm of bargaining in the Souk. Dinner and Overnight at Villa Des Orangers.

 

Day 02 – Wednesday, September 23, 2020 – Marrakech 
There’s only one word to describe Marrakech…magical! There are a thousand legends which describe its history, which began in 1070 when the Saharan Almoravid Abu Baker, the leader of a powerful army, encamped in the plain of Haouz, at the base of the upper Atlas mountains. Marrakech, the capital of the south, has a mysterious and seductive air. Marrakech, a name with a magical sound that evokes palm groves and caravans, oriental markets and international spies, and duels to the death in an oasis of peace. Many are the roads which lead to Marrakech which make it a cross road from north to south and from east to west.

Today, view such sights as The Ramparts (City Walls), The Koutoubia Mosque, and The minaret of the Koutoubia before an optional break for lunch. In the afternoon, explore The Souks (Bazaars) and Djamaa El-Fna Square. Overnight at Villa Des Orangers.

Day 03 – Thursday, September 24, 2020 Marrakech / Imlil / Marrakech
Leave Marrakech and start your excursion to Imlil. Imlil is a village in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It is a good starting point for trekking or for climbing Mt Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa (4167m). Imlil village has a variety of shops and “pensions,” as well as being a base for guides and trekking parties. Start trekking at Aguersioual, nouth of the Kasbah. After trekking up to the Tizi n’Tamatert col, descend into the stunning Imane valley. Walk by the village of Tinerhourhine and around to the village of Aguersioual, follow river courses, cross seguias (traditional irrigation canals) and rivulets, past terraces and through walnut groves. Picnic lunch on route. Return to Marraekch for overnight at Villa Des Orangers with dinner is on your own tonight.

Day 04 – Friday, September 25, 2020 – Marrakech / Essaouira
After the Carthaginians, the Roman King Juba II took an interest in Essaouira for sound business reasons. The Portuguese when their turn came, also fortified this city which they called Mogador (probably derived from the Berber word amogdul, meaning safe anchorage), but Essaouira’s really prosperous era began with the 18th century. A Moroccan Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah constructed a port plus the fortifications to protect it. A cool breeze, sometimes becoming a really strong wind, usually sweeps across the attractive beach. Behind it looking the like a Mediterranean village, is the white town accented by deep blue shutters and doors in the Portuguese style. Overnight at Heure Bleue for 2 nights in Essaouira.

Day 05 – Saturday, September 26, 2020Day 5: Essaouira
Your visit of Essaouira will begin inside the town walls where you will discover a charming provincial atmosphere and see the inlayers hard at work on their small furniture pieces which they encrust with wood and mother of pearl. The Scalla-the old cannon platform some of the cannons made in Seville in the 18th century are the finest workmanship ornamented with the crown of the king of Spain Philipe V and Charles III. Visit the residential neighborhood of Essaouira and the port area. Enjoy the reminder of the afternoon at leisure with dinner on your own. Overnight at Heure Bleue.

Day 06 – Sunday, September 27, 2020 – Essaouira / Agadir 
Set out for a quick immersion into Moroccan culture by taking the route up 216 meters to the pisé (rammed earth), walls of the mainly-in-ruins Kasbah on the hill. The remnants of a prosperous past dominate the new city of Agadir, giving a glorious panoramic view. Next, go down to the Souq of the bustling Bab El Had (‘Sunday Market’ that’s closed only on Mondays). The Bab El Had is protected by the shade of wattle screens and so popular with Agadir’s residents. Items at the market include spices, leather slippers (babouches), kaftan or a burnous, baskets, belts, Thuja wood box (the same rare and sacred wood mentioned by St. John in the Book of Revelations), second-hand skirts, and much more.

From here, go explore the delightful beaches to take some refreshment (perhaps you’ve brought your swimming costume for a quick dip). Time permitting, visit the New Medina, designed by the distinguished artist and artisan Beato Salvatore ‘Coco’ Polizzi, a lover of Berber culture, who together with his friend Tariq Alireza spent years building this reconstruction of an authentic medina. The Medina has cafés, a hammam, an Arts and Crafts Gallery, a small hotel and workshops for artists working in wood, forged iron, mosaic and pottery. Overnight at Riad Villa Blanche in Agadir.

 

Day 07 – Monday, September 28, 2020 – Agadir / Sous Massa
Discover the natural beauty of Morocco, as you drive along the picturesque Atlantic coast towards the beautiful Sous-Massa National Park. Pass a variety of amazing landscapes from endless beaches and cultivated fields to intimidating sand dunes, rocky cliffs and dense Argania forests.

The park is known for its unlimited range of bird species. Avid bird watchers can expect to see hoopoes, marbled ducks, Barbary falcons, booted eagles, pink flamingos, and bald ibises among others. And of course, the birds share their surroundings with fascinating animals such as the jackal, the Algerian hedgehog, the African wildcat, and the wily red fox, as well as a range of rare reptiles and amphibians. If interested, you can also visit the local Troglodyte of the nearby fishing village of Tifnite. Return to Agadir in the late afternoon with time to relax. Overnight at Atlas Kasbah in Agadir.

 

Day 08 – Tuesday, September 29, 2020 – Agadir / Taroudant
Tarouddant, located only 80 kilometers from Agadir, closely-resembles a small imperial town circled by massive ochre-colored pisé (rammed earth or adobe) walls. Tarouddant has one of the oldest Medinas in the Kingdom of Morocco. This fascinating town has bustling, winding alleyways and streets, where unlike in Marrakech you won’t get lost. Each alleyway branches out from around the Place Assaraq (meaning Big Area in the local Chleuh Berber idiom). In the area, there are colorful souqs and age-old artistry in fine-tooled leatherwear, hand-woven Berber carpets, carved stoneware, and boxes from the rare and highly-prized, deeply-grained aromatic burl wood from the thuja (pronounced ‘thuya’) tree – âarar in Arabic, a type of mountain cypress from the Middle Atlas Mountains. Overnight at Palais Oumnsour in Taroudant.

 

Day 09 – Wednesday, September 30, 2020 – Taroudant / Skoura
The road to Skoura runs along the Souss valley, which offers fine views of the High Atlas, to the saffron capital of Morocco Talouine. Our arrival in Talouine area begins with a visit to villages around the town to see the saffron fields. Here you will learn about the saffron crocus and its cultivation; why it is so valuable – it is known as l’Or Rouge (“Red Gold”); why Talaouine saffron is special; how to recognize “real saffron”; its benefits to health and its special qualities in cooking. Near Talaouine Kasbah – a magnificent, but fast decaying Glaoui Kasbah, you will visit the Cooperative Souktana de Safran and its museum and have the opportunity to buy local, organically-grown saffron. Overnight at La Sultana Royal Golf for 2 nights.

 

Day 10 – Thursday, October 01, 2020 – Skoura
Today, embark on an excursion via 4×4 Land Cruiser to discover the beautiful oasis of Skoura. Overnight at La Sultana Royal Golf. 

Day 11 – Friday, October 02, 2020 – Skoura / Erfoud
Drive from Skoura to Erfoud today on a stunning drive covering dramatic landscapes. After Skoura, the palm trees are replaced by orchards and irrigated gardens. Roses for making perfume are the specialty of El Kelaa des Mgouna. You will discover the vast rose fields that imbue the air with their sweet fragrance. The perfume PARIS, by Yves Saint Laurent, is made from the extract of these roses. You stop for rose products such as rose water, body milk and dried petals.

Serpentine roads lead you slowly through community after community, villages set apart by dramatic twirls in the mountains, or by the fresh river meandering through the middle. The drive through the Dades Valley will not lead you to any landmarks, but there is a mind-bending drama in catching how life conditions change quickly as you and your vehicle slowly rise in altitude, and as the valley gets more and more narrow. Some places the mountains turn and twist into formations not seen in many other places, but even better is it that the intense red color does not fade. It is important to stop and walk close to the settlements along the Dades Valley. While the shifting of the landscape could intrigue for a whole day of slow driving up and back, colors become even stronger once you stand in a garden or in front of one of the houses. Other highlights of the day include Aït Oudinar, Kelaa-des-Mgouna, Boumalne du Dades, and The Todra Gorge.

Overnight at Xaluca Erfoud in Erfoud.

Day 12 – Saturday, October 03, 2020 – Erfoud / Merzouga
Start your trip by Land Cruiser (4×4) nearby the famous Erg Chebbi, Morocco’s only genuine Sahara erg. It’s a magical landscape which deserves much more than just a sunrise glimpse. The dunes themselves are fascinating, changing color from pink to gold to red at different times of the day. It is a great place to appreciate the immense, clear desert sky. For bird watchers, this is the best area in Morocco for spotting many desert species, including the desert sparrow, Egyptian nightjar, desert warbler, fulvous babbler, the blue cheeked bee-eater and in spring, pink flamingo and other water birds. Upon arrival to the huge dunes, we head out for a sunset Camel ride.

Overnight at La Belle Etoil in Merzouga.

Day 13 – Sunday, October 04, 2020 – Merzouga / Fes
Explore on a half-day drive across the cedar forests and picturesque scenery of the Middle Atlas Mountains through the hill station of Ifrane. The small city of Ifrane was created in 1929 as a self-conscious “poche de France.” Ifrane is different in relation to the rest of Morocco. One may believe themselves to be in a Swiss village. It is indeed a well-known skiing station, with its chalets, pull-buttocks and other ski lifts, and freshness of altitude. The province of Ifrane is at the heart of the Middle Atlas with a surface of 3573 km2. It is lived by two big Tribes Sanhajas and Beni Mguil. This city became a high place of the winter sports. With its chalets to the roofs covered with red tiles, it is situated to 1650 meters of altitude. Its natural wealth inspired the creation of a national park, where you can find the biggest forest of Cedar in the country.

 

Visit Azrou, a beber town of 45,000 inhabitants, caught between steep-wooded hills and facing a distinctive, puckered volcanic outcrop. From this the town gets its name; the word “Azrou” means the “rock” in the Berber dialect. We stop for lunch before heading to Fes for check in at Sahrai Hotel for 3 nights.

 

Day 14 – Monday, October 05, 2020 – Fes
Depart for a full day of Fez sightseeing. The oldest of the imperial cities, Fez is arguably the symbolic heart of Morocco. Even on those periods when it was not the official capital of the whole country, Fez could not be ignored and never really ceased to be considered the northern capital. The Medina of Fez el-Bali (Old Fez) is the largest living medieval cities in the world and the most interesting in Morocco. The narrow winding alleys and covered bazaars are crammed with every conceivable sort of craft workshop, restaurant, meat, fruit and vegetable market, mosque, as well as extensive dye pits and tanneries – a veritable assault on the senses as you squeeze past recalcitrant donkeys and submit to the sounds and smells of this jostling city.

 

During the tour, you will see the Qarawiyin Mosque/Medersa, Borj Nord, The Mellah, Bab Smarines, Bab Boujloud, Dar Betha Museum, and Zaouia Moulay Idriss II. Return to Sahrai Hotel with dinner on your own tonight.

 

Day 15 – Tuesday, October 06, 2020 – Fes / Meknes / Volubulis / Fes
You will see Meknes and Volubilis during your morning visit, including: Bab Mansour (The Victorious gateway). These monumental gateways separate the central square of the Medina, Place el Hedim, from Moulay Ismail’s vast enclosed imperial city. It has come to symbolize Meknes and is reproduced in countless books, articles, postcards and posters.

 

Continue a pleasant drive to the Holy city of Moulay Idriss, home to the sanctuary of its namesake, Moulay Idriss is Morocco’s patron saint. The picturesque little town is a national pilgrimage site as it holds the Tomb of the holy saint Moulay Idriss. On to Volubilis or “Oualilli” as it is known by the Berber, easily ranks among the best preserved Roman towns in North Africa. Volubilis was once the home of Cleopatra’s daughter who eventually married the Berber King Juba II. Return to Fes for overnight at Sahrai Hotel.

 

Day 16 – Wednesday, October 07, 2020 – Fes / Rabat / Casablanca
During your visit of Meknes, visit Bab Mansour (The Victorious Gateway). These monumental gateways separate the central square of the Medina, Place el Hedim, from Moulay Ismail’s vast enclosed imperial city. It has come to symbolize Meknes and is reproduced in countless books, articles, postcards and posters. Continue the pleasant drive to Holy city of Moulay Idriss, home to the sanctuary of its namesake, Moulay Idriss is Morocco’s patron saint. The picturesque little town is a national pilgrimage site, as it holds the Tomb of the holy saint Moulay Idriss. On to Volubilis or “Oualilli,” as it is known by the Berber, which easily ranks among the best preserved Roman towns in North Africa.

Drive by highway to Rabat, the political capital of Morocco (in Arabic Ribat). Sightseeing here will start with a drive through this graceful city of parks and gardens, along Victory Avenue to the Méchouar Precinct of the King’s Palace. Regrettably, the Palace is not open to the public, but you can savour and photograph its impressive arches, redolent of the finest Islamic architecture. Continue to the Hassan Tower, an unfinished minaret of Hassan Mosque, constructed by Yacoub el Mansour in the last five years of his reign after his victory over the king of Castle and Leon at Alarcos. Proceed to Oudaias Kasbah, built on the bluff overlooking the estuary and the Atlantic. The main entry point is the Almohades gate of Bab Oudaia built in 1195. Most of its houses built by Moslem refugees from Spain. Continue by highway to Casablanca and check in to the Hyatt Regency Hotel for 2 nights.

Day 17 – Thursday, October 08, 2020 – Casablanca
Enjoy a full day to explore the famous city of Casablanca. Overnight at Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Day 18 – Friday, October 09, 2020: Casablanca / Return Home
The incredible 18-day Treasures of Morocco journey ends today. Depart to Casablanca Airport in time for return flights.

*Please note: This itinerary is subject to change. In the spirit of safari travel, plans may change slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the wildlife and destination.

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Treasures of Morocco
with Lynda Murphy
September 22 – October 09, 2020

September 22 – October 09, 2020

$13,975.00 approx. per person sharing, based on 3 guests traveling
$13,345.00 approx. per person sharing, based on 4 guests traveling
$12,975.00 approx. per person sharing, based on 5 guests traveling
$11,835.00 approx. per person sharing, based on 6 guests traveling
$11,665.00 approx. per person sharing, based on 7 guests traveling
$11,535.00 approx. per person sharing, based on 8 guests traveling
$11,415.00 approx. per person sharing, based on 9 guests traveling

– Above rates include a local English-speaking Moroccan Tour Guide & US Tour Leader.
– Rates are per person based on sharing and are approximate until the time of booking
– Rates are quoted in USD and subject to change without prior notice due to circumstances beyond our control; i.e. fuel increases, currency fluctuations, etc.
– Rates are approximate and are based on number of guests sharing accommodation.
– There is an additional single supplement for accommodation on a single occupancy basis.

Rates are approximate until the time of booking. Please note rates are subject to change without prior notice due to circumstances beyond our control; i.e. fuel increases, currency fluctuations, etc.

Included:

– Accommodation as per itinerary
– Breakfasts, lunches and 14 dinners (3 dinners on own account)
– Services of full-time Tour Leader, Lynda Murphy, in addition to a National English-speaking
Guide throughout the program
– Transport throughout the program
– Driver displacement
– Entrance fees to monuments as per the program
– Portages in/out the hotels and the airports
– Bottled mineral water available inside the car

Not Included:

– International air
– Travel insurance or medical insurance
– Travel medications and vaccinations
– Visa & passport fees
– Tips & Gratuities
– Tours, meals and other services not specified in the itinerary
– Personal items and services such as souvenirs, drinks, laundry, phone calls, Internet, etc.

Deposit & Payments

A completed & signed Africa Easy Reservation Form, along with your 20% safari package deposit and full regional and/or domestic air payment (if applicable) is required at the time of booking.

Reservations

This itinerary is subject to the availability of all services at the time of making a reservation. No space is being held at this time. Please contact Africa Easy for the full terms and conditions that apply. We are happy to answer questions and discuss your trip.

To reserve space on a trip on the Africa Easy website, please contact Africa Easy by calling 1-800-617-2319 or click here to e-mail the Africa Easy Team.


September 22 - October 09, 2020