Essaouira is the spiritual center of the Gnawa – the descendants of ancient slaves, brought by the Arabs from the countries of Ghana, Guinea, and Mali, in the 17th century. Although the Gnawa adopted Muslim religion very early, they did so in following their beliefs in a supernatural world populated by spirits, and their homeland’s magical practices. The result was a fascinating set of folk tales, legends. The Lila (Small Night) is a propitiatory ceremony in which spirits are invoked to ‘clean’ a person or place of bad vibrations, to ensure the health of someone, to bring the energy of God – the Baraka – upon the participants, etc. Seven colors are used – the seven musical notes; the seven planets, according to traditional astrology; the seven major spirits acting as intermediaries between our world and the invisible one; and so on.By means of music and dance, the memory of the ancestors is revived. Their stories are mimed.
Day 1 – Marrakech – Asni – Tizi-n-Test pass - Taroudant Your private vehicle will collect you very early in the morning from your hotel. You will stop briefly in Asni, a Berber town at the foot of High Atlas, to have breakfast, having the opportunity to enjoy the nice views of ATLAS and maybe to talk the local people and share their smiles, hopes and interests will probably be one of the most rewarding experiences of your trip. Continue towards Tizi-n-Test pass following a beautiful mountain road. On the way, you will visit the mosque of Tin-Mel, dating from the twelfth century, which is one of the very few mosques open to non-Muslims in Morocco. You will then have lunch just after the pass (2100 m/6825’) in a small restaurant with a magnificent view over the plain of Souss. After lunch you descend through argan and almond tree forests until you reach Taroudant, the traditional capital of the Souss, at the southern foot of the High Atlas. After your check in at a friendly guest house with swimming pool, you can then devote the remainder of the day to explore Taroudant, that has the feel of a small market town on some Caravan route and it is famous for its local crafts. Accommodation and diner at: PALAIS OUMENSOUR or similar. Day 2– Taroudant – Agadir – Essaouira In the morning, set out for Essaouira, with a short stop in Agadir, the city of eternal spring. Our tour begins with a trip to the hilltop ruins of the old town’s Kasbah. Highlights include seeing the largest sardine fishing fleet in the world, located in the port of Agadir where traders haggle for fresh fish in the daily auctions, and marvelling at the traditional craftsmanship used to build wooden fishing boats for hundreds of years. After a lunch stop, you continue to Essaouira by the coast road where you’ll have a chance to see the most beautiful beaches of Morocco. Arrival to Essaouira late afternoon. As our guest in Essaouira, you will have a unique chance to witness what is called Lila Gnawya( An African Ceremony of Ancient Magic) Night at Riad Lyon- Mogador or similar. Day 3– Essaouira – Marrakech After breakfast at your hotel, your guide will meet you for half day walking tour of Essaouira, built by the Portuguese in the 17th C. In total contrast to Marrakech, the pace of life here is relaxed and slow, making Essaouira famous for its bohemian flavor. The Jewish heritage of Essaouira features an 18th century synagogue which may still be visited. You can visit the tomb of Rabbi Chaim Pinto in the vast Jewish cemetery, built next to the Atlantic Ocean. Rabbi Pinto is the object of an annual pilgrimage in the week preceding Rosh Hashana. After lunch you will transfer back to Marrakech.