Highlights of Morocco - Premium

  • Premium
15 days
from
£999
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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 2 reviews >
Trip code: 
AMHP
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium Adventures, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

Imperial cities, Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert and the Atlantic coast

For sheer diversity, Morocco is the perfect destination. We explore the imperial cities of Marrakech, Meknes and Fez and continue our journey to the mountain ranges to the south, where sand dunes and kasbahs are scattered among palm oases inhabited by friendly Berbers. A highlight of our trip is a camel trek in the Sahara and a night at a Bedouin camp. We fit in a visit to Todra Gorge, the beautiful 16th-century kasbah of Ait Benhaddou and enjoy a village walk in the picturesque Tijhza valley of the High Atlas. We complete the trip with a walk along the sandy beach of Essaouira.

Highlights

  • Imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech
  • Spend the night under the stars in the Sahara Desert
  • Visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the impressive Todra Gorge
  • Experience a traditional hammam in the village of Tijhza
  • Walk from a remote Berber community into the magnificent High Atlas Mountains
  • Relax in the charming fishing port of Essaouira

Key information

  • 10 nights boutique hotels and premium riads, 1 night auberge, 2 nights mountain gite and 1 night Bedouin camp
  • 15 days land only / flight inclusive
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs.
  • Travel by private minibus, train and camel

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Start Casablanca.

    Meet the group in the early evening for the briefing with our leader. There will be time to head out for dinner in the city.

    Hotel Les Saisons or similar

  • Day 3

    Visit Hassan II Mosque; to Meknes via the capital Rabat.

    A modern and commercial seaport, Casablanca is a complete contrast to the Morocco we are soon to explore. This morning we visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the world. We take lunch in Rabat, the political capital of Morocco, but second to Casablanca in importance. Although mostly modern, Rabat has an excellent old quarter that we take time to explore, before striking out over the northern plain towards Meknes. The scenery change as the landscape becomes more cultivated, this being one of the most fertile areas of Morocco. Overnight in imperial Meknes.

    Hotel de Nice or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Explore the Roman site of Volubilis and Meknes; to Fez.

    Sultan Moulay Ismail's old capital of Meknes is our first example of one of the imperial cities of Morocco. In the morning you are free to wander the narrow streets and explore the souk, perhaps having your first chance at bartering for souvenirs. In the afternoon we take a short drive to the largest and best kept Roman ruins in Morocco – Volubilis, once a large Roman town. After exploring this site we continue our journey to the ancient city of Fez, where we spend two nights.

    Fez Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Guided tour of Fez, including visits to the Medersa Bou Ananiya and the medina.

    This fascinating city is the intellectual and religious centre of Morocco. Founded over a thousand years ago, Fez has many mosques and medersas (theological colleges) including the 9th century al-Karaouine University, whose architecture is very similar to that seen in Moorish Spain. The medina in Fez is one of the largest in the world, an immense warren of souks, home to thousands of craftsmen with their tiny shops opening onto the narrow alleyways. Noisy and pungent, the medina of Fez is a totally absorbing and unique experience. Our city guide walks us through different sections of the souk - including those selling leather brass and copper. Of course, no visit to Fez is complete without a visit to the tanneries. Outside the medina we shall visit the Jewish District (mellah), the exterior of the Royal Palace and take a drive up to a panoramic viewpoint over the city. 

    Fez Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Drive to Merzouga, on the edge of the Sahara.

    Today we have a long journey, approximately 6 hours (but with plenty of stops) over the stunning Middle Atlas, down through the picturesque Ziz Valley to the Hamada, a flat stony desert, gradually approaching the spectacular site of the golden sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. We stay in a small and welcoming auberge (inn) on the edge of the dunes from where it is easy to climb to watch the sunrise. 

    Auberge Sahara or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Walk among the dunes; camel trek; camp in the desert.

    There is time today to explore the largest sand sea in Morocco or to relax in the shade of a palm tree by the dunes. The sand sea is famed for its pink tones that take on a spectacular rose colour at sunset. In the late afternoon, we partake in a genuine Saharan experience - a 1.5-hour camel trek through the dunes to an oasis, where we spend the night in a simple Bedouin camp.

    Full-service camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    To Todra Gorge.

    After sunrise, we leave our desert camp and travel, by camel, back to the auberge where we can have a shower before heading west towards the little town of Tinerhir and onwards to Todra Gorge for the night (journey time approximately 4 hours). Our hotel is set against the backdrop of the impressive walls of the gorge itself and we can spend the evening watching the rocks change colour with the setting sun.

    Hotel Taborith or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Optional morning walk; palmery tour around the gorge.

    We spend the day in the magnificent gorge of the Todra River. There is the opportunity to take a four hour guided walk, or to relax in the gorge, walking beneath vertical cliffs rising up to 400m from the valley floor. In the afternoon there is an optional guided tour of the lush palmery.

    Hotel Taborith or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Journey to Telouet, via the famous Kasbah Ait Benhaddou.

    Leaving Todra Gorge, we re-join the main road and drive west along the 'Route of the Thousand Kasbahs' via the desert city of Ouarzazate and on to the well-preserved Kasbah Ait Benhaddou. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most spectacular sights of the Atlas, made famous as the location of several Hollywood films including 'Gladiator'. After admiring the view, we may see something of the simple village houses. Continuing into the mountains we branch east through a wide flat mountain valley, finally arriving at Anmiter. Here we leave our bus and take a 1.5-hour picturesque walk on a gentle uphill gradient to the village of Tijzha, where we spend the next two nights. Our luggage will be transported to the gite for us, for those who do not want to walk, taxis are available (100 MAD, payable locally). 

    Kasbah Oliver or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 11

    Full day walking in the High Atlas. Evening hammam

    We start our day with an optional walk through the villages of the Tijhza Valley, heading up into the hills on mule tracks with the peaks of the High Atlas acting as a fitting backdrop to our walk.  The length of our walk will depend on the ability of the group, but it is likely to be approximately 4 hours. The afternoon is free to relax with a book, enjoy the mountain views, take a stroll through the beautiful landscape or challenge the village children to a game of football!

    Tijhza is just one of four villages in this remote valley that has been supported by Exodus for over ten years on various responsible tourism projects. We will visit the village hammam, built with money raised by Exodus clients. This is a truly authentic experience and terrific fun. It is very much a traditional hammam and you are likely to get the opportunity to mix with the villagers, which further adds to the experience. A standard treatment is included, but you will need to purchase a scrubber and soap for 20MAD (£1.50) plus customary tip of 20MAD. Refreshed, we return to the riad for our final dinner in the mountains. 

    Kasbah Oliver or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    Over the High Atlas Mountains to Essaouira.

    Leaving the gite, we walk back to our bus for a short drive to the palace of Telouet. This once grand building stands abandoned and crumbling but we can visit a small part of this labyrinthine, fairy-tale like structure. We continue our scenic drive over the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakech, via the Tizi'n'Tichka pass, which at 2,260m, is the highest road in Morocco. The scenery is spectacular and there are some wonderful views of the mountains. The second half of our journey brings us to the flat arid plains of Marrakech and then onwards to the pretty seaside town of Essaouira. Journey time is between 5 and 6 hours, with plenty of comfort breaks and photo stops along the way. 

    Maison du Sud or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Free day in Essaouira.

    A free day in Essaouira, a charming old Portuguese fishing port overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The settlement dates back to the 15th century but the present town was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, the town is extremely relaxed and its whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan workshops, boatyards and fishermen provide a marked contrast to the desert, kasbahs and cities we have so far visited. Our hotel is situated in the heart of the old walled city, where we have plenty of time for some shopping in the souks or strolling along the beach. With many pleasant cafes and some outstanding seafood restaurants, there is plenty of choice for our evening meal.

    Maison du Sud or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    To Marrakech; guided tour including Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs, finish in Djemma el Fna

    After breakfast, we drive back to Marrakech, journey time approximately 2.5 hours.  In the afternoon we enjoy a guided tour to help us find our bearings and soak up the atmosphere of this amazing city. Our guide will take us to the Bahia Palace and the Saadian tombs, ending in the Djemma el Fna, where the town becomes a maze of bustling bazaars, palaces and mosques. It is worth seeing this renowned landmark in the evening, as Marrakech revolves around this open-air central square, with food stalls, juice-sellers, snake charmers and acrobats, it is a place of night-time entertainment for both local people and tourists. 

    Riad Hamdane or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Free day in Marrakech.

    Today is a free day in Marrakech and there is no shortage of things to do. You might wish to visit the largest mosque in Marrakech, Koutoubia, or venture through the souks and old streets of the medina. After bartering for souvenirs, there will be time for a short visit to the Koranic School and Museum of Marrakech. After this, you can unwind by taking a ½ hour Calèche ride (a bright green horse-drawn carriage) to the Jardin Majorelle. These tranquil gardens are decorated throughout in indigo blue and were once owned by Yves St. Laurent, the perfect place to escape the hectic rush of the city. 

    This evening it's common for the group to enjoy a final meal together on Djemma el Fna. 

    Riad Hamdane or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    End Marrakech.

    Trip ends after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Morocco

No visa required by British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Morocco

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Tetanus and Hepatitis A.

Eating and Drinking

14 breakfasts and 4 dinners included.

Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced - kebab and bread cost is approximately GBP4 (USD7). In main towns, it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and French wine will cost anything from GBP20 (USD30) upwards. Generally, dinner is likely to cost between GBP5-10 (approx. USD8-15) not including drinks. Local beer, wine and soft drinks are reasonably priced, but you can pay UK prices or more for imported alcohol. Your leader will recommend restaurants for each evening.

Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian couscous, tajine or omelettes. This is particularly the case during the more rural sections of the trip. Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform the Exodus Office prior to the trip. If you have a specific medical/dietary need (i.e. coeliac or vegan) you may find it helpful to bring some items of food with you from home.

Weather

From April to June, and in September, Marrakech and the north are pleasantly hot, with temperatures averaging 26ºC in the day and falling to 16ºC at night. It is unusual for there to be much humidity so it is quite pleasant except at midday when the sun is very strong. Desert temperatures are similar to those in Marrakech, with the nights usually a little cooler and the days a little hotter. Mountain temperatures are cooler than in Marrakech.

In the winter months, the daytime temperatures in Marrakech are around 18 to 22ºC with night temperatures falling to 4 to 7ºC. The days should be sunny and a particularly attractive feature of the winter months is the clear views of the snow-covered Atlas. The temperatures in the south are generally a couple of degrees higher than those north of the mountains. There is a small chance of rain and it has even been known to snow very infrequently in January and sometimes February on the higher desert plateau (in which case it is cold at night and early in the morning on the southern side of the Atlas).

Is this trip for you?

This trip provides an insight into the enormous variety that Morocco has to offer, including cities, history, architecture, desert and mountain scenery. We spend quality time in the places that matter, the pace is not rushed but a couple of the journeys are long, up to 4 hours. We are not confined to our vehicle though, as there are plenty of photo stops and opportunities to stretch your legs.

Accommodation standards are comparable to that of Sub-Saharan Africa, but on Premium departures, we do upgrade to premium riads and hotels in some towns and cities. The temperatures in the cities may also be hot in the summer months but we try to make the most of the coolest parts of the day.

Please note Ramadan runs from 15th May - 14th June 2018 - During Ramadan, our local guides and drivers choose to work and so we continue to run trips in this period. However, the energy levels of our staff and some local guides may be a bit lower and some restaurants may be closed during the day. Having said this, Ramadan is a special time to visit a Muslim country - each evening the streets empty for an hour while everyone breaks their fast, and there's a feeling of festivity in the air at sundown. 

Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Riad, Gite & Bedouin Camp

Premium departures have been upgraded to a mixture of superior 3* hotels, offering a higher standard of accommodation, in Fez, Merzouga and Todra the properties have swimming pools. In Marrakech and Essaouira, you stay in premium Moroccan riads that simply add to the traditional exotic experience. The cost of a single supplement is GBP225, which does not cover nights spent in the mountains, desert or Bedouin camps or in the Riad in Marrakech.

Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2017
    Susan Hall

    Moroccan Highlights Solo Travel

    Highly recommend this trip. A really varied trip showing the best that Morocco has to offer. Marrakech is very manic and a bit 'in your face' but thanks to an excellent tour leader and local guide the group were able to find our way to such hidden gems as the Majorelle Gardens (Yves St Laurent's former gardens) and the 'Secret' Garden. The trip up to the Atlas Mountains and stay in Douar Samra was nothing short of magical, I got to stay in the Tree House while others stayed in the very unusual and individual rooms in the house or annex. Meals were a delight thanks to the marvellous cooking of Rashida the resident cook and the atmospheric use of candles (there is no electricity in the main house) and traditional low level seating and tables. Your luggage is transported the final distance by donkey and there are also ducks and all vegetables are grown in the Douar's vegetable garden. Fabulous views and sunsets and great walking in the mountains. However the gem is absolutely Essaouira. I had never heard of this place before but it is the most delightful and fascinating seaside town. Again great orientation tour from local guide Rashida and plenty of time to enjoy the shopping, sweeping sandy beach, bars, restaurants and busy exciting fishing harbour. Our leader, Abdul, was very informative and accommodating and great fun. Morocco is well worth a visit and I will be back!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walking in the mountains and stay in the Douar Samra. Seeing disadvantaged youngsters being trained to do delicate silver work in Essaouria and having an elderly artisan in woodwork explain all about his 'boites magique' in a backstreet workshop without any pressure to buy.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abdul was great fun, very informative and accommodating. He obviously loves his home country and is enthusiastic about its history and culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking is not really what I would call 'leisurely', although it is all perfectly manageable so long as you are reasonably fit, have the right equipment and are used to walking in mountain areas. Walking poles are a good idea and proper walking boots essential. You need to fill in forms for both arrival and departure and be prepared for long waits at Marrakech airport getting through Passport control. Money is easily changed at the airport and offers a much better rate than can be obtained in the UK. Take sweets or something like bubbles to entertain the local children in the mountain areas.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A wonderful holiday experience helped by having a great group of fellow travellers, who all got on really well.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Gayle S Lowry

    Highlights of Morocco

    I appreciated the comprehensive nature of this 15 day trip. We visited the Imperial Cities, focusing on the history, usually staying in the Medina, with time spent touring the souks. In addition, we toured the diverse, gorgeous countryside of Morocco, with overnight stays in the desert, Todra Gorge, and a remote Berber village in the Atlas Mts. I enjoyed the size of our group of 10 people of diverse ages. We all got along well, laughed a lot and enjoyed each other's company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, the overnight trip into the desert was the highlight. The weather was perfect, our ride on camels was unforgettable and the night we spent sleeping under the stars at the Bedouin camp will remain with me forever. Our accommodations were unbelievably nice, the food the nomads prepared was delicious and their drumming, inspiring us to dance, was delightful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Samir, was awesome. He had a delightful personality, was patient in answering questions, well informed, told us just the right amount of information. He managed to get us in several places for a meal or tea that would not have happened with a larger group or another leader. He genuinely seemed to like our group and commented that he found us especially great since we didn't "winge" like other groups do.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sure to take several credit cards for getting cash from ATMs. We had difficulty with some cards and some cash machines. Trip will require more cash than the trip notes suggest.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Since we're from the US, we booked our trip through the Canadian office of Exodus. We found the staff there, especially Julie R., to be impatient, unhelpful with information we requested and outright rude. The others on our trip booked through Exodus in England and they were given much more information, including who else had signed up for our trip. We had no idea until our first night in Casablanca when we met the group that there would be 10 people total. Also we had to pay for our transfer to the airport when leaving because Exodus did not cover it as expected.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Gayle for her feedback and we were pleased to read that she found her tour leader, Samir, to be delightful and knowledgeable. We regret, however that she found the members of staff involved in the booking process to be unhelpful. Julie is a very experienced and conscientious member of our Canadian office, so we were surprised to learn of this feedback. Julie was of the impression that a departure transfer had been arranged independently, she did not book a transfer for Gayle; we are sorry for the disappointment caused. We have discussed Gayle’s comments with Julie and we trust that she has taken this feedback on board.

    Simon Clifford - Product Manager for Morocco

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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