Morocco: Sahara & Beyond

National Geographic Journeys, Casablanca to Marrakech

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

The culture of the Berbers in northern Africa dates back as many as 5,000 years. Discover their enduring legacy on this 15-day adventure into Morocco’s rich cultural heritage. Explore the souks and streets of Marrakech and Fès, spend a night in a comfortable tented camp in the Sahara, enjoy dinner with a traditional Berber family, and unwind amid the coastal beauty of Essaouira. Throughout this magical ride, open your eyes to each dazzling place — and earn a new point of view.

What’s included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Islamic Calligraphy Class, Fès Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Moroccan Foodie Experience, Marrakech Your G for Good Moment: Mhaya Village Community Lunch, Meknès Your Foodie Moment: Djemaa el Fna Market Square Visit, Marrakech
  • Arrival transfer
  • Guided city tour of Meknès including the ancient granaries and stables of Moulay Ismail and Bab Mansour
  • Guided tour of Volubilis including visit to Roman ruins
  • Guided walking tour of the Fès medina including artisans' quarters and Fès tannery
  • Guided night walk of Djemaa el Fna square with local meal
  • Marrakech medina walk and spice shop visit
  • Marrakech tour including souks, Bahia Palace and Saadian Tombs
  • Visit the ancient kasbah of Aït Ben Haddou
  • Sahara excursion by 4x4 including a visit to the town of Tamegroute
  • Overnight in a comfortable, traditional desert camp with dinner under the stars
  • Explore the Draa region and orientation tour of Zagora
  • Taroudant markets and tanneries visit
  • Aït Mansour Gorge excursion
  • Visit to Tafraoute
  • Explore Essaouira
  • Visit Menara Gardens and the Jardin Majorelle
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Visit a women's co-op and enjoy a local lunch
  • Watch storytellers and acrobats at djemaa el fna square
  • Learn about moroccan cuisine with a cooking class in a traditional berber house
  • Traverse the sahara desert by 4x4
  • Try to mimic a local expert's elegant sweeps in an islamic calligraphy class.

Itinerary

Casablanca Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.
Casablanca/Fès Take a guided tour of the imperial city of Meknès. Continue on to the ruins of Volubilis, the best-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. Enjoy a G Adventures-supported traditional lunch at a cooperative that benefits rural Moroccan women and children. After, it’s off to Fès.
Fès Step back in time and embark on a walking tour of a UNESCO World Heritage Site — the Medina of Fès. Explore winding lanes and alleys to visit the many artisans, tanneries, and shops with an expert local guide. This evening, visit a nearby café where we meet a local expert in Islamic calligraphy for a demonstration on "beautiful writing".
Fès/Marrakech Travel to Marrakech. In the evening, experience all the colour and chaos with a visit to the famous Djemaa el Fna square. Watch storytellers and acrobats as you enjoy a simple and delicious local meal at a market food stall.
Marrakech Today, take a historical tour of the city, including the Bahia Palace and Saadian Tombs. Visit a historic riad for a hands-on cooking class from a master Moroccan chef, and enjoy the lunch that you have prepared.
Marrakech/Aït Ben Haddou Travel to Aït Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Atlas Mountains, and explore this ancient “Kasbah" (fortress) village.
Aït Ben Haddou/Erg Chigaga Travel through the Draa Valley to Zagora and venture into the desert. Continue off-road to the great dunes of Erg Chigaga to our comfortable desert camp. Take a camel ride or climb to the top of the dunes for views of the vast Sahara. Enjoy a traditional dinner under the stars.
Erg Chigaga/Zagora Cross the desert and stop at Tamegroute to visit the library of ancient Islamic texts and local pottery makers. Head back to Zagora and enjoy a talk on the history of the Draa region. You’ll also get to visit some of the local historical sites.
Zagora/Taroudant Head towards the Anti-Atlas region to the carpet towns of Tazenakht and Taliouine, where saffron is harvested. Continue to Taroudant for the night.
Taroudant In Taroudant, visit the famed local markets. This afternoon enjoy free time to explore on your own.
Taroudant/Tafraout Enter the Anti-Atlas region known for its natural rock formations and visit Aït Mansour Gorge. Continue through a palm valley and have lunch in a local village house. After, take a hike through the Chapeau du Napoleon before continuing to Tafaroute for the evening.
Tafraout/Essaouira Travel to the Atlantic coast to the port town of Essaouira. Opt to visit a local “hammam” (traditional spa and steam baths).
Essaouira Enjoy a day of leisure in this coastal city. Watch the colourful and lively spectacle of the return of the boats to the port with their baskets full of fish. Pick out the best of the bunch, which we’ll take to a local restaurant to cook up for our lunch. Opt to browse the shops and art galleries, visit a traditional hammam or take a stroll along the long, sandy beach. The active might choose to take a surfing or windsurfing lesson, or rent a fishing rod.
Essaouira/Marrakech Return to Marrakech and visit the Menara Gardens and the Jardin Majorelle. Enjoy a farewell dinner with the group in Marrakech.
Marrakech Depart at any time.
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