Tourcan Value Vacations - Morocco
Price: $3,590CAD Per Person
(Price per person, based on double occupancy, land only.)
Offer: Save $145CAD
Travel Dates: January - December, 2023
Photo: Tourcan Value Vacations | Morocco | Explore the Souks of Fez
Morocco Tour - "Kingdom of the West"
The word Morocco is derived from the name of the city of Marrakesh, which was its capital under the Almoravid dynasty and the Almohad Caliphate. The origin of the name Marrakesh is disputed, but it most likely comes from the Berber words amur (n) akush (ⴰⵎⵓⵔ ⵏ ⴰⴽⵓⵛ), meaning 'Land of God'. The modern Berber name for Marrakesh is Mṛṛakc (in the Berber Latin script). In Turkish, Morocco is known as Fas, a name derived from its ancient capital of Fes. However, in other parts of the Islamic world, for example in Egyptian and Middle Eastern Arabic literature before the mid-20th century, the name commonly used to refer to Morocco was Marrakesh (مراكش).
- 12 Days / 11 Nights
- Style: Small Group Tour – accompanied by an English speaking Driver/Guide.
- Group size: Small Group tours 2-20 people.
- Themes: History, Culture & adventure
- Activity level: Moderate
- What to expect: The Desert, rich culture, cuisine, souks & UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Visiting: Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Meknes, Erfoud, Merzouga, Dades, Ouarzazate & Marrakech
- Round-trip airport transfers
- 11 nights at hotels as listed or similar
- Half board (breakfast and dinner, including dinner at a local restaurant in Marrakech)
- Modern transportation with English-speaking driver (bottle of water available in the car)
- English-speaking national guide is included for 5 pax and more
- Khamlia Excursion with 4x4 including Berber lunch
- Half day guided city tour of Fez and Marrakech
- Monuments and historical sites entrance fees as per the itinerary
- Guided tour of Volubilis (1 to 1.30 hour)
- All taxes
Photo: Tourcan Value Vacations | Morocco | visit Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech's main square
Day 1: Arrive Casablanca
Upon arrival in Casablanca, proceed through customs and immigration formalities. Collect your luggage and proceed outside where you’ll be met by our representative for transfer to your hotel. Dinner is included at the hotel tonight.
Day 2: Casablanca / Rabat / Fez
After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Casablanca. The tour begins with an outside visit of Hassan II mosque. It is the largest mosque in the country and the seventh largest in the world. You continue to the Ain Diab Corniche for a pleasant stroll along the coast. Your next stop is Mohammed V Square in the city center. The city tour includes also the Habous Quarter. The district was built by the French in the 1930s as an attempted solution to the ongoing housing shortage. It marries the best of traditional Moroccan architecture with modern facilities and French ideals. (There is a strip of grassy lawn in front of the mosque, as in front of the churches of French villages).
Depart overland towards Rabat, driving along the main highway which links these two major cities. Embark on a city tour which highlights Rabat's cultural influences and the superbly preserved relics of its Moorish past. Rabat's most famous site is the 12th century Hassan Tower (an excellent example of the gorgeous Moroccan style artwork), and the incomplete Minaret of the great mosque built at the same period. Located alongside is the Mausoleum dedicated to Mohamed V, the grandfather of the current king.
You’ll also enjoy a visit of the Kasbah of the Udayas, which was built on a cliff overlooking the city and the Atlantic Ocean. Its gate is one of the most beautiful illustration of the Moorish architecture. Within its walls, you'll discover a wonderful Moroccan garden, with melodious fountains and sweet-smelling orange trees. Continue then overland to Fez (approximately a 3-hour drive) for dinner and overnight to your hotel.
Photo: Tourcan Value Vacations | Morocco | visit of Hassan II mosque
Day 3: Fez
Today you take a step back in time into the Middle Age with the visit of one of the most imperial, timeless, and untouched cities in the world, the cultural heart of Morocco, Fez El Bali (Old Fez). Enjoy exploring some of the 9,000 narrow lanes and alleys in the souks (open air markets) that make-up the labyrinth of the city's old quarter, originally founded in the 8th century. The Imperial capital was a renowned medieval learning center, and at its heart still remains the Karaouine, one of the oldest, still functioning universities in the world. Nearby is the Attarine Medersa (Koranic college), a jewel of Hispano-Moorish architecture, built in the 14th century. The tour also includes Nejjarine Square, with its beautiful fountain, a mosaic of elaborate tilework, and the Fondouq (Caravanserai) that has been converted to a Museum of Carpentry. In the 13th Century the Merinide Dynasty built Fez El Jdid (New Fez) with its Royal Palace, mosques, madrasas (Koranic schools), souks and the city walls. Most notably, Fez El Jedid is home to the Mellah (Jewish quarter), which provides an interesting insight into Jewish architecture. The wrought iron decorated windows and splendid carved wood balconies of the old mansions are particularly outstanding. The medieval Medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 4: Volubilis & Meknes / Fez (excursion)
Journey overland to explore the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in North Africa. With its triumphal arches, basilica, forum, and capitol, the Volubilis skyline brims with iconic examples of Roman architecture. Among its greatest treasures, however, are the amazing mosaic floors of former family dwellings, which include depictions of Orpheus charming animals with his lyre, nine dolphins signifying good luck and a portrait of Amphitrite in a seahorse-drawn chariot.
Continue to Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well, and one of the imperial cities of Morocco. Meknes is replete with fantastic historical sites, from minarets to museums, to enormous mosaic doors and royal golf courses. Among the most popular attractions are the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, the Nejjardine Mosque and Grand Mosque (outside visit) as well as the Bab Mansour, Bab Lakmis, and Bab Berdaine gates.
Photo: Tourcan Value Vacations | Morocco | Volubilis and Meknes Excursion
Day 5: Fez / Ifrane / Midelt / Erfoud
This morning, depart Fez. Pass through many amazing cities and villages, the first of which is Ifrane, nicknamed The Switzerland of Morocco. It is a charming ski town filled with European-style chalets. Continue to Midelt, which serves as the commercial center of a large agricultural hinterland. It is also one of Morocco's principal cities for the mining of several minerals. You will have some free time in Midelt, before you continue your journey through the dramatic Ziz Gorges to arrive in Erfoud. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Erfoud / Khamlia / Merzouga
After breakfast, embark on a 4x4 vehicle to continue your adventure by heading towards the dunes of Erg Chebbi, possibly the largest dunes in the Sahara-desert. En route, visit the Berber villages to get a close interaction with this amazing culture. We will visit a camel milk cooperative and continue to Rissani where we will visit one of the best traditional market in Sahara, "a place where they sell just donkeys and other commodities for sheep, goats and cows”. Stop in the village El Khamlia for lunch (included). Continue to the African village or Gnawa Village. Then continue to Merzouga Village for dinner and overnight.
Optional (Supplement cost): you can stay in a desert camp with round trip 4x4 transfers from Merzouga village and camel ride with and extra cost.
Day 7: Merzouga / Tinghir / Dades
On our way to Tinghir, we’ll stop at the Todra Gorges, the highest and narrowest gorges in Morocco situated on the East side of the High Atlas mountains and recognized around the world as one of the most spectacular canyon. Here, both the Todra and Dades Rivers have carved out cliff-sided canyons on their final 25-mile stretch through the mountains, leaving behind a series of reliefs and etches in the rock. Todra is the name of the last 600 meters of the canyon. In places, this gorge measures just 10 meters wide, but the cliffs are more than 160 meters tall on either side! The river has since dried up, leaving only the imagination to picture the powerful natural forces that once carved this region. The gorges, though in a remote, are popular among rock climbers. There are hiking paths with a well-maintained dirt road for visitors to share with mules and other pack animals. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 8: Dades / Skoura / Ouarzazate
After breakfast, we’ll drive through the Dades Valley with its majestic sand castles, and incredible rock formations known as monkey toes. The route through Dades Valley is also known as the Road of One Thousand Kasbahs. You’ll catch a spectacular view of a vast valley dotted with small oases and hundreds of ancient fortifications. The sand-colored walls of the Kasbahs may all start to look the same, but each holds a special historical treasure and offers innumerable opportunities for remarkable photos. Continue to Skoura, a quiet little village speckled with palm tree groves. Indeed, Skoura is surrounded by acres of palm groves, Les Palmeraies, which are a paradise of palm and olive trees peppered with kasbahs and small villages. You’ll remark the Kasbah Amridil that stands out from the rest. Originally built in the 17th century, it is one of Morocco’s most iconic living museums that has survived the test of time. Then we drive to Ouarzazate for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Ouarzazate / Ait Ben Haddou / Marrakech (~3h50min)
After breakfast, we visit Taourir Kasbahs, one of the most beautiful kasbahs in Morocco. After the French left in 1953, the movie business flourished in Ouarzazate. Optional visit of the Film Studios where some of the most famous desert landscapes are filmed. You might recognize the sand-colored houses of this impressive Ksar (Arabic for “fortified city”) when you see the spectacular fortress of Ait Ben Haddou, the iconic landscape immortalized in such films as, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and Alexander. Ait Ben Haddou is a massive fortification made up of six Kasbahs all protected by UNESCO. You can spend time in its maze of winding streets until reaching a fortified granary at the top which provides an amazing view of the valley. We leave Ait Ben Haddou, crossing the High Atlas mountains via the magnificent TizInTichka pass to Marrakech, our home for the next three nights. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Photo: Tourcan Value Vacations | Morocco | Ait Ben Haddou
Day 10: Marrakech
Unearth the secrets of Marrakech, beginning in the Medina, the old walled section of town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This thousand-year-old city was long a political, economic, and cultural center. Marvel at its architectural jewels, including the soaring Koutoubia minaret. Continue to the Bahia Palace, an exemplary of privileged life in the 19th century. Your next stop is at the Tiskiwin Museum, founded by a Dutch anthropologist which houses an impressive collection of North African arts and crafts organized into geographically themed exhibits, with each room focusing on artifacts from different towns and regions along the ancient trade route from Marrakech to Timbuktu.
Later you visit Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech's main square, you will find orange juice stalls and vendors, along with fire-eaters, mime artists, snake-charmers, magicians, and street musicians performing at every turn. You may also take the opportunity to explore the city's fabled, labyrinthine souks, their bustling alleyways brimming with all manner of wares.
Day 11: Marrakech
Day at leisure. Wander around on your own or sign up for a full-day farm retreat with cooking class; a traditional hammam and massage or an excursion with lunch with Berber Family at Imlil Valley. Take an optional activity today. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 12: Depart Marrakech (flight not included)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and we will transfer you to the airport to check in then start your homebound journey.
Accommodation (or similar):
- Casablanca – Gray Boutique Hotel
- Fes – Les Merinides Hotel
- Erfoud – Xaluca Maadid
- Merzouga – Riad Serai
- Dades – Xaluca Dades
- Ouarzzate – Dar Charmaa
- Marrakech – Adam Park Hotel