Day 1: Australia – – Casablanca
Head to the airport and catch your flight to the bewitching city of Casablanca in Morocco.
Day 2: Casablanca (D)
Welcome to Morocco! Your flight touches down in Casablanca, a city to some best-known for its classic eponymous movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Make your way to the hotel for check in and use the remainder of the day to relax in your room. A welcome meeting begins at 6pm (confirm the start time with hotel reception upon arrival) to officially mark the start of your adventure through magical Morocco. Afterwards, the group heads out for dinner at a local restaurant – a great way to get to know your fellow travellers!
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, your tour starts today. Please make your own way to the hotel.
Day 3: Casablanca – Rabat (B)
Your first full day of touring begins with a trip to Hassan II Mosque. This extraordinary structure is one of the most striking architectural legacies of the former king and it was the most ambitious construction project of his reign. It is the largest mosque in Africa! Also take note of the 200-metre-high minaret – the tallest of its kind in the world. Following your time at the mosque the group makes the 45-minute drive to Rabat, the capital city of Morocco. The history of Rabat is certainly colourful, and the city has played host to various Roman settlements, groups of pirates and, now, the Moroccan parliament. The monuments dotted around the city, some dating back to between the 10th and 15th centuries, are a testament to Rabat’s multi-faceted heritage. Meet up with a local guide for an afternoon tour of this incredible city.
Day 4: Rabat – Volubilis – Fes (B)
A post-breakfast excursion takes you out to the ruins of Volubilis. Once a provincial Roman capital, Volubilis is now the foremost ancient Roman site in Morocco and houses a remarkable collection of ruins. Explore the site with a local guide, learn about its history and admire the detailed mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus. Remember to have plenty of drinking water, as well as a hat and sunscreen in your day bag as temperatures can be high. The group continues to Fes later on.
Day 5: Fes (B, D)
Fes is an intoxicating city; it holds rank as the cultural and spiritual heart of Morocco and as such it flaunts a vibrant and energetic landscape. The city is broken up into distinct quarters and your time in Fes is based near the medieval old city (all while staying in an elegant riad-style hotel!). Explore the old city today, walking through its twisting alleyways and labyrinthine laneways and passing old-world libraries, landmarks and facades. Be enthralled by the spices available in the souk, and feel your eyes widen as you take in the stalls offering everything from fruits and herbs, to soups, livestock and copper cookware. Some of the sights you’ll take in today including Medersa Bou Inania, Fondouk el-Nejjarine and the local tanneries. Such sense-stimulating exploration is sure to have you working up an appetite and an invitation to share a home-cooked meal with a local family at the end of the day is an incredible treat.
Day 6: Fes (B)
You have the day as free time to continue your discovery of Fes however you like. Head back into the medina, capture the beauty of the golden gates at the Royal Palace, meander the streets of the Jewish Quarter, or take a stroll through the peaceful grounds of Jnan sbil (the Bou Jeloud Gardens). Foodies will want to continue feasting on delicious Moroccan cuisine and should set their sights on procuring plates of tagine (stew cooked in a clay pot), pastilla (a meat pie traditionally made from pigeon), brochettes (spiced skewers usually cooked over charcoal), and almond briwat (deep fried filo pastry filled with sugar, cinnamon and nuts).
Day 7: Fes – Erfoud (B)
Leave the frenetic pace of Fes behind as the group travels into the High Atlas Mountains. This drive takes you through lush valleys, thickly blanketed forests and rocky landscapes. There is a quick stop in the small market town of Midelt to stretch your legs and have lunch at leisure before continuing to Erfoud.
Day 8: Erfoud – Merzouga (B, L, D)
Jump into a 4WD for the drive to Khamliya or Khamlia. This tiny village is the home of descendants of the Gnawa tribe. You’ll learn about the Gnawa people while here and have the opportunity to try a local culinary specialty – Madfouna, or Berber pizza. The group travels further into the famed golden sands of the Sahara Desert afterwards. Swap four wheels for the four legs of a camel as you take a sunset ride and are then taken to your tents for this evening’s overnight desert camp experience.
Day 9: Merzouga – Todra Gorge – Ouarzazate (B, L)
Channel your inner Lawrence of Arabia or Gertrude Bell as you wake up amidst the dunes of the Sahara Desert this morning. A sunrise camel ride takes you across the desert, and then it is back into the vehicles for the drive to Todra Gorge. This trip takes about 4 hours. Todra Gorge is one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Morocco; limestone river canyons and trenches with cliffsides that rise up to 250 metres high. It makes for a truly impressive sight. Enjoy a home-cooked lunch with a local Berber family upon arrival, and later continue to Ouarzazate for this evening’s overnight stay.
Day 10: Ouarzazate – Marrakech (B)
This morning’s itinerary features an outing to Ait Benhaddou. This ancient village is known as a ighrem and sits along the former caravan route connecting parts of the Sahara with Marrakech. The village’s buildings were built from earth, and four families still reside within this incredible site. Pop culture vultures may recognise the village from its role in the film Gladiator or TV show Game of Thrones. Head into the village and walk around its fascinating cityscape, and be sure to head to the highest point of the village for incredible views of the surrounding region. Sit down to a refreshing cup of mint tea with a local family, and then hit the road bound for Marrakech. Arrive in the evening.
Day 11: Marrakech (B)
Have breakfast at the hotel and then meet your local guide for a tour around Marrakech medina. Walk through tiny streets and past locals going about everyday life. Peer into quiet hidden courtyards and see sights include Bahia Palace and Le Jardin Secret. The latter is a historic riad formerly owned by a powerful local chief. A tour around the outside of Koutoubia Mosque follows and you have the afternoon as free time afterwards.
Day 12: Marrakech (B, D)
You have this morning in Marrakech as free time. Meet up with a local guide in the evening for a food tasting excursion through the medina. Savour samples of well-known Marrakech street food – harira soup, kebabs, grilled vegetables, maakouda (spiced and fried potatoes) and fish with chermoula. These bites serve as a tasty prelude to tonight’s group dinner in Jamaa el-Fnaa square.
Day 13: Marrakech – Essaouira (B)
Travel to the coastal town of Essaouira. Enroute there is a stop at a local vineyard for a tasting of traditional Moroccan wine. This port city sits along the Atlantic coast and is known for its bewitching laidback lifestyle, rampart-protected medina. Take in the sea air as you wander sandstone walkways, past white-washed houses, and soak up the sights of this town – a favourite destination for artists and creatives, including the likes of Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix.
Day 14: Essaouira (B)
You have a day of free time to spend in Essaouira however you fancy. Shop for souvenirs and handicrafts back in the medina, check out the catch of the day in the busy fish market, or take a walk along the beach (a tip here: it can get very windy!).
Optional: Visit a Hammam
Additional cost applies.
Optional: Berber Massage
Additional cost applies.
Optional: Horse Riding
Additional cost applies
Optional: Seafood Market Lunch
Additional cost applies.
Day 15: Essaouira – Casablanca (B)
The group bids goodbye to easy-going Essaouira and sets out on the return journey to Casablanca. Along the way there is a stop at El Jadida. This port city has gone by many names – Mazighen, al-Breyja, Mazagan and al-Mahdouma – and is a popular resort destination with local tourists. Walk through the old Portuguese City or find a local restaurant for lunch. Arrive in Casablanca in the afternoon and have the rest of the day as free time. Tonight is your last evening in Morocco.
Day 16: Casablanca – – Australia (B)
You are free to check out and depart the hotel at any time this morning. Perhaps enjoy one final walk in Casablanca or squeeze in some last-minute sightseeing before heading to the airport as necessary to board your return flight to Australia.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, at the appropriate time please make your own way from the hotel to your next travel arrangements.
Day 17: Australia
Arrive in Australia today.