9 Days Imperial Cities Tour from Casablanca Morocco
- Explore Marrakech city and visit the main monuments and landmarks
- Discover the hidden berber villages in the desert and meet the nomads
- Ride camel in the desert and enjoy a sunset over the dunes of Erb Chebbi
- Explore the oasis and the old ksbahs in the south east
- Visit the gorges and canyons of dades and toudra gorges
- Explore the city of fes in guided city tour
- Explore the city of meknes and its monuments
- Discover the city of Rabat and its landmarks
Day 1 : arrival at Casablanca airport an drive to Rabat
You will be met and privately transferred to your hotel, where you may relax after your flights. Originally settled by the Berbers in the 7th century, Casablanca became a modest trading post before finally mushrooming under French influence into one of Africa’s four largest cities. As Morocco’s commercial capital, Casablanca is an enigmatic meeting place of western modernity and Arabic tradition. This afternoon, you’ll enjoy a private tour of Casablanca, including a visit to the King Hassan II Mosque. The mosque is remarkable in terms of its dimensions, advanced technological features and the topnotch quality of its artistry and craftsmanship. The interior of the mosque holds up to 25,000 worshippers while an additional 80,000 persons may worship in the outside plaza! After the visit of the Casablanca we will drive to Rabat, Overnight in Rabat (HB).
Day 2: Rabat – Meknes – Volubilis – FEZ
After breakfast, we will start visiting an inviting capital city with lush green parks, tree-lined boulevards, a charming medina (old walled city) and superbly preserved relics of Rabat’s Moorish past. You’ll stop to admire the massive 12th century minaret of Hassan, which towers over Rabat, before proceeding to the nearby Mausoleum of Mohammed V. One of the great monuments of modern Morocco, the mausoleum is replete with exquisite traditional Moroccan craftsmanship and is surrounded by elaborately dressed royal guards.
After lunch, continue on to the cliff-top Kasbah (fortress) des Ouadayas. It was the Almohad citadel of medieval Rabat, and is guarded by an impressive arched gate built around 1195. Inside the Kasbah are the palace and Andalucian gardens, as well as a broad terrace where you can enjoy the beautiful views of the river and sea.
Finally, visit Chellah, a notable historical and nature setting. Once the thriving Roman port city of Sala Colonia, it later became the holy necropolis for the distinguished Merenid Dynasty in the 14th century. Visit the medersa (Koran school), admire the tall minaret and observe the many black storks, herons, egrets and ibises that inhabit the dense vegetation that surrounds the ruins. After sightseeing, you will be privately transferred to Fez. You will stay in luxury Riad or 4 or 5 stars hotel
Day 3:Fes Sightseeing City Tour
Today you’ll take a step back in time to the Middle Ages when you visit Fes El Bali (Old Fez), the world’s largest living medina (walled city) and the cultural heart of Morocco. The city dates back to the 8th century, when MoulayIdriss II moved from Volubilis to found the capital of Morocco’s first independent Islamic Kingdom. Over the centuries Fez prospered due to successive waves of skilled Muslim and Jewish immigrants from Andalucia and Tunisia. The city also benefited from wise sultans who expanded the caravan trade with West Africa and built many medersas (schools). In fact, both Moses Maimonides and Pope Sylvester II studied at Fez’s Al-Karaouine, the oldest, still-functioning university in the world!
Your private tour will explore Old Fez, New Fez (14th century) and the French-built Ville Nouvelle (20th century). Highlights will include the BouInaniaMedersa, Bab BouJeloud, Dar Batha ethnographic museum and Nejjarine Square with its beautiful fountain, elaborate mosaics and nearby Fondouq, now converted to a museum of carpentry artifacts. In New Fez, built by the Merinid Dynasty, you’ll see the Royal Palace, mosques, medersas, souks (markets) and the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter notable for its Andalucian architecture and two synagogues.
Tonight, you’ll head to Riad Al Kantara where you’ll enjoy either a private lecture or a hands-on workshop on traditional Moroccan crafts (mosaics, gypsum carving) or traditional music/instruments (Aoud, Hajhouj, Quanun, Rebad). Another option is to visit an upscale hammam (public bath). Lecture choices: Five Pillars of Islam; Jewish Historical Experience in Morocco; Moroccan Society (family structure, role of women, recent changes in family law); The Most Influential Leaders in Moroccan History; Similarities & Differences between the Arab & Berber people
Day 4: Fes – Ifrane – Ziz Valley – Erfoud (Sahara Desert)
Today’s journey to the desert will take you through the popular mountain retreat (and seasonal ski resort) of Ifrane, across the Middle Atlas and High Atlas Mountain ranges and through the incredible Ziz Valley. Thanks to its resident stream, the Ziz valley is a veritable river of lush vegetation (an estimated 2 million date palm trees) that cuts through an otherwise dry region of desert canyons and tepui-like plateaus. The valley is dotted with a string of photogenic kasbahs (fortresses) built to protect families in what remained a lawless land until the 1930s.
Upon arrival in Erfoud, you may relax and/or swim in the pool. Enjoy the starry nighttime desert, sky. Camel trek for a sunset through the dunes this evening 1H to reach the camp berber tents where you will spend the night (dinner and berber folklore music) .
Day 5: Exploring Merzouga And Camel Trek
After breakfast, you begin to explore the area before your camel trek and overnight at the desert camp. Today you will visit the Gnawa, originally slaves brought from Sudan , you will discover their music and lifestyle. Not far away, there is the lake of Merzouga, with its bird and you can also visit the home of nomadic thread where many Berber handicrafts are cheaper than in the big cities people.
The afternoon involved in your camel trek . Guided by an experienced camel , you can explore the sea of golden sand of Merzouga and dinner in front of the tent where you spend the night .
Day 6: Merzouga (Sahara) – Todra Valley – Dades Valley – Ouarzazate
Early this morning, you’ll be transferred in a 4×4 vehicle to the dunes, where you’ll embark on a camel trek. Your Berber guide will use all manner of inducements — clicking sounds, digging steps into the dune, etc — to motivate the sometimes independent-minded camels in the desired direction. Sit atop a huge, wind-shaped dune and take in the silence and ever-changing hues as the sun comes over the horizon.
After your camel trek, you’ll visit a Gnawa village before traveling overland to the oasis city of Ouarzazate, strategically located on routes leading throughout Morocco and into Europe. En route, you’ll stop at a small private museum which houses excellent exhibits showcasing the local art, culture and history. You’ll also visit the impressive Todra Valley and Gorge (985 ft. high, 165 ft. wide), with Berber villages on either side of the lush palmeraie that slices through the brown rocky desert. Stop for a tasty lunch and then travel along the southern slopes of the High Atlas range and through the Dades Valley, known for its roses, until you reach Ouarzazate .
Day 7: Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech
leisurely sightseeing in and around Ouarzazate, a town that for centuries was the main trading center for people residing in the Atlas, Draa and Dades valleys. The modern town was built by the French in the 1920s as a garrison town to protect its commercial interests. Since the 1960s, Ouarzazate has been a major movie-making center.
You’ll tour the Taourirt Kasbah, built by the Glaoui brothers, who were the region’s most powerful tribal leaders at the turn of the century. Then continue to AitBenhaddou, an 11th century fortified village and kasbah that is one of the most scenic sites in the country. Perched on a steep slope, the stronghold protected the clans’ highly-prized supplies of grain and helped them control the caravan route to Telouet. More recently, as the most exotic and best-preserved Kasbah in the Atlas region, AitBenhaddou has played a major role in motion picture history, featuring in “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Jesus of Nazareth”, “Gladiator” and “The Mummy”. Stroll around the village and perhaps pick up a pyro-aquarela (fire-burned watercolor) painting. (On your way back to Ouarzazate, you may visit the Atlas Film Studios if you are interested. After the visit of the kasbahcountinue through the highest mountain pass in Morocco, Tichn’Tichka (7,400 ft), built by the French to replace the main caravan route connecting the north and south. Lying at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains, and framed by the red desert, Marrakech is an enchanting ochre-colored city that is a marvel of sights and sounds, with its minarets, labyrinthine souks, lush green gardens, palaces and honeycombed alleys.
This afternoon you’ll visit the JardinMajorelle. Originally owned by an acclaimed landscape painter, Jacques Majorelle, the electric-blue villa and garden were bought and expanded by Yves Saint Laurent in the 1960s. Enjoy the impressive garden and small museum of Islamic art.
Day 8: Marrakech City Tour
Your private tour of Marrakech begins with a visit to the stunningly beautiful Ben Youssef Medersa, a former Koranic boarding school where 900 students also studied algebra, law and astronomy. Originally founded in the 14th century by the Merenids, this medersa was once the largest in North Africa and remains one of the most beautiful. The exquisite zellij patterns and cedar carvings exemplify the Islamic emphasis on decorative arts, not representational art, to inspire reflection.
You’ll then take a walk through the old medina and labyrinth of souks. This maze of colorful alleys and small squares is home to a bewildering number of stalls and ateliers devoted to specific crafts. Emerging, you find yourself in the famous Djemaa el Fna, the city’s main square. No one is really certain how it came into being, but over the last 1,000 years the square has become the heartbeat of Marrakech, where fire eaters, mime artists, snake charmers and street musicians perform at every turn.
Just opposite the square you’ll find the Koutubia Mosque. Built in the 12th century, the very impressive Koutoubia minaret served as inspiration for the architects of the Giralda in Seville and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. Continue on to the MaisonTiskiwin, which features the highly educational and beautifully presented private art collection of Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint. Take an imaginary journey throughout Morocco and southward to Timbuktu, learning about the clothing, art, jewelry, carpets, leatherwork and other artifacts of Berber and Touareg tribes in each region.
Other highlights will include the Saddian Tombs and the Bahia Palace, with its lush green courtyards, incredible painted woodwork ceilings and exquisite gypsum zellij carvings. Tonight, you’ll dine at PalaisSouleiman, where you can also enjoy listening to classical/Andaluz and Gnawa music. The palace once belonged to one of Marrakech’s last great chiefs, CaïdLayadi, and its extraordinary architecture has been well-preserved
Day 9: Full day trip to Essaouira
The town of Essaouira is located 176 km from Marrakech about 2 and a half hours away, on the western coast of the Atlantic in Morocco, known for its various nicknames such as “The Pearl of the Atlantic” and “The Sleeping Beauty” you can enjoy This wonderful town for a whole day since it has all the charm of cities open to the sea.
Declared a World Heritage Site, it maintains the charm and authenticity of a land lost in time, its beautiful walled center, its warm climate, the immense beaches and the proximity to the desert attract all kinds of tourists, from those who seek to enjoy of calm, good cuisine, the hospitality of its people, even the most athletic people who like the sea and its activities such as windsurfing since its trade winds are a perfect combination for water sports.
We can emphasize that the medina of Essaouira is completely different from any other medina in the world, surrounded by fortified walls whose objective was to protect the city from the sand and the wind and with its three entrance doors and its cannons facing the ocean make this city coastal one of the most visited.
Its small medina where tranquility reigns is divided into squared neighborhoods where you can appreciate the classic network of Moroccan streets with its vendors and merchants, its houses with white walls and the blue of its windows and doors that remind a little of the Mediterranean islands, They give it its own personality and different, we can walk quietly and soak up the charm, relaxed and quiet environment that this town offers us.
Day 10: Departure
After breakfast we will drive to the Airport of Marrakech or any airport in Morocco.
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