Morocco with Aliya Jasmine

RCGS: Highlights of Morocco (Premium) with Aliya Jasmine Sovani

  • Premium
15 days
from
£1,439
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Culture
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
AMHPS
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
9–16
Min age:
16

An adventure travel legends are made of…

Delve into the unexpected in Morocco accompanied by award-winning reporter and television producer, Aliya Jasmine Sovani. From reporting for NBC News and covering South Sudan after civil war to traveling to the hear of Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest to see the potential impacts of a proposed pipeline and covering the 2010 earthquake in Haiti for Discover Channel, she’ll have plenty of stories to share throughout your two weeks in this magical corner of the world.

Dazzling peaks, bustling cities and riads adorned in colorful mosaics come alive as you make your way through the imperial cities of Marrakech, Meknes and Fez before continuing on to the mountain ranges to the south, where sand dunes and kasbahs are scattered among palm oases inhabited by friendly Berbers. Head out into the Sahara on a camel ride and spend the night in a Bedouin camp, explore picturesque villages in the High Atlas Mountains, visit lush palm groves and desert oases, stroll through artisan workshops and sandy beaches in the fishing port of Essaouira, and so much more.

Highlights

  • Explore the imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech.
  • Head into the Sahara on a camel ride then spend a night in a Bedouin camp.
  • Experience a traditional hammam in the village of Tijhza.
  • Walk from a remote Berber community into the magnificent High Atlas Mountains.
  • Enjoy free time to relax in the charming fishing port of Essaouira.
  • Discover the highlights of Morocco with award-winning reporter and TV producer, Aliya Jasmine Sovani.

Key information

  • 10 nights boutique hotels and premium riads, 1 night auberge, 2 nights mountain gite and 1 night Bedouin camp
  • Group normally 9 to 16, including RCGS guide plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private minibus and camel
  • Countries visited: Morocco

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • RCGS Guide & Local Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival & departure transfers (must be requested with Exodus at least 1 month before departure)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 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

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

When in Marrakech, we strongly encourage our passengers to have a delicious meal at the Amal café. The Amal café is a non-profit dedicated to empowering women from disadvantaged backgrounds through restaurant training and job placement to enhance their capabilities and learn new skills. With the skills gained, it increases the chances of them securing a job in a restaurant, hotel or Kasbah and gain financial independence. Exodus Travels has sponsored a number of women through the training process with Amal Café. 

On this trip, we also visit Tijhza, a remote valley where Exodus have supported for over ten years on various responsible tourism projects. In conjunction with Baraka Community Partnerships, we sponsored the development of Tijhza by supplying a pipeline system and water tower to the village. We also achieved our aim of building a Hammam to alleviate some of the hygiene issues in the area and to provide a sustainable source of income for the locals. Our passengers have the opportunity to experience an authentic Moroccan massage at the Hammam and have the chance to interact with the villagers.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Marrakech

    In the early evening, there will be a welcome briefing with your tour leader, followed by an optional group dinner if you would wish to join. 

    Riad Hamdane or similar

  • Day 2

    Visit Hassan II Mosque; to the capital Rabat.

    A modern and commercial seaport, Casablanca is a complete contrast to the Morocco we are soon to explore. This morning we make our way 3 hours to Casablanca to visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the world. Afterwards, we drive 2 hours to Rabat for lunch, 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.

    Hotel le Musee or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

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

    This morning we strike out from Rabat over the Northern plain towards Meknes, a drive of around 3 hours.  The scenery changes as the land becomes more cultivated, this being one of the most fertile areas of Morocco. Sultan Moulay Ismail's old capital of Meknes is our first example of one of the imperial cities of Morocco. We meet our guide and wander the narrow streets of the old city, 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 and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. After exploring this site we continue our journey to the ancient city of Fez, where we spend two nights.

    Riad la perle de la medina or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    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. 

    Riad la perle de la medina or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Drive to Merzouga, on the edge of the Sahara.

    Today we have a long journey, approximately 10 hours spent on the road including plenty of stops and some superb scenery along the way. We venture 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 Yasmina or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

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

    There is time today with a free morning 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, where we watch the sunset. We then come back to the camp at the edge of the desert to spend the night.

    Full-Service camping at Luxury Camp Yasmina

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    To Skoura via the Todra Gorge.

    After sunrise, we leave our desert camp and travel by camel back to the auberge where we can have breakfast and a shower.  We then head towards the little city of Skoura, nestled on a beautiful palm grove and located near Ouarzazate. En-route explore Todra Gorge, and the picturesque oases they hide in (journey time approximately 4 hours). Following the 1000 Kasbahs Road for approximately another 2 hours, you will marvel at the breath-taking vistas of impressive ancient Kasbahs nestled in lush palm groves. 

    Kasbah Sawadi or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Skoura, the Palm grove capital of Morocco

    There is the opportunity to take a 1 hour drive to Toundout Valley and enjoy a four hour guided hike crossing through a Berber village and Imi-noulawen valley, where you will learn a little of their culture. Alternatively, relax in and around the lodge walking through the magnificent lush palm groves. Considered as the palm grove capital of Morocco, Skoura will certainly offer peace and relaxation through its various walks discovering multiple palm groves, and Kasbahs.

    Kasbah Sawadi or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Journey to Telouet, via the famous Kasbah Ait Benhaddou.

    Leaving Skoura, 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, where we leave our bus and take a 1.5-hour picturesque walk on a gentle uphill gradient to the village of Tigzha, 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, mules are available (100 MAD, payable locally). 

    Kasbah Oliver or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 10

    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 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 11

    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. We stop at a women's cooperative Argan Oil farm, where you can see the trees growing, get a demonstration of the production process as well as have the opportunity to purchase products. Our journey finally brings us to the flat arid plains of Marrakech, and then onwards to the pretty seaside town of Essaouira. You can expect a total journey time of approximately 10 hours today, with plenty of comfort breaks and photo stops along the way.  

    Essaouira Wind Palace or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    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, boat yards 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.

    Essaouira Wind Palace or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    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 14

    Free day in Marrakech.

    Today is free 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. 

    For your lunch we would highly recommend the Amal Women's Training Centre and Moroccan Restaurant, which we at Exodus support in their cause to empower women from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to training their students to become self-sufficient and improving their quality of life through acquiring new skills in a professional restaurant setting. For a superb traditional Moroccan meal and the opportunity to support this worthy cause, do pay them a visit.

    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 15

    End Marrakech.

    Your trip will end this morning 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, Typhoid 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 7 CAD/5 USD/4 GBP.

In main towns, it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and French wine will cost anything from 33 CAD/25 USD/20 GBP upwards. Generally, dinner is likely to cost between 8-16 CAD/6-12 USD/5-10 GBP not including drinks. Local beer, wine and soft drinks are reasonably priced, but you can pay western type 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/79ºF in the day and falling to 16ºC/61ºF  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/65 to 71ºF with night temperatures falling to 4 to 7ºC/39 to 45ºF. 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 and on this Premium departure, we have upgraded 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.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 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

Accommodation on this departure is a mixture of superior 3* hotels, offering a more premium standard of accommodation. In Merzouga and Skoura, the properties have swimming pools. In Marrakech, you stay in a premium Moroccan riad that simply adds to the traditional exotic experience. The single supplement does not cover nights spent in the desert camp (day 6) and the 2 nights spent in the village of Tigzha (day 9 & 10).

Please note that from the Spring 2019, local authorities have forbidden camps inside the sand dunes in Erg Chebbi. This is for environmental reasons. This means that all Bedouin camps will be set up on the edge of the desert, fairly close to built accommodation. 

Please note that in Winter months some of the accommodation can feel quite cold as they are often poorly heated. Some properties in more rural areas may only have power in the evening (which also means only heating in the evning), however blankets are provided to keep you warm at night.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 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

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

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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