10 DAYS TOUR FROM CASABLANCA
✪ Tour Overview :
During this 10 Days tour from Casablanca, the Grand Morocco magic journey, steeped in Berber Heritage, visits amazing UNESCO Heritage listed sites, the Moroccan Imperial cities of Rabat, Fes, Meknes and Marrakech, Roman ruins of Volubilis. Through the stunning landscapes to the iconic golden Sahara Desert. You will discover the uniquely modern architecture of Hassan II Mosque and see much evidence of Morocco’s antiquity. Discover the most filmed location in Africa and the UNESCO site of Ksar ait Benhaddou. Visit a nomad family in Sahara, share a cup of tea with them and discover their lifestyle.
You will experience sensational camel rides, sand boarding and quad bike riding the golden orange Sahara dunes and enjoy a classic overnight stay in a Sahara desert camp. You will be in awe of the sublime Atlas Mountains, of luscious Skoura Oasis, of deep gorges, of ancient unique rock formations and shimmering sand dunes of the Sahara desert. Mud villages and Kasbahs will captivate you, as will a visit to view the production of the famous Argan Oil of Morocco. Legendary Medinas and souks will fuel your curiosity throughout this wondrous journey.
” Please Click on each section bellow so that the details of each day will appear “.
✪ Day 1 : Arrival at Casablanca airport :
You will be welcomed at the airport by your Grand Morocco guide/driver and transferred to your Hotel/Riad for check in.
The name Casablanca is a Spanish version of the Portuguese name, “Casa Branca” or the ‘white house’. Casablanca is a Moroccan Port (artificial port) city and a large commercial center on the Atlantic coast being the largest city in Morocco. With a population of 3,360,000 in 2014, it is one of the most important cities in Africa, economically and demographically. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, with international corporations carrying out business in the country, along with the main industrial facilities. Casablanca houses the primary Naval base for the Royal Moroccan Navy. In 1755 an earthquake destroyed much of the city and was restored by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah.
If your arrival time permits, your tour begins with a visit to the iconic ”Hassan II Mosque”. This mosque is the largest mosque in Africa and 5th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s second tallest minaret at 210 M. This coastal modern edifice, was designed by French architect Michel Pinseau and completed in 1993, and building the Mosque was estimated to have cost 585 million Euros. It straddles the land site and the Atlantic Ocean with a capacity of 105,000 worshipers, 25,000 inside & 80,000 in the outer courtyards. Historically, the venture was the ‘brain-child’ of King Hassan II, to honour the memory of the deceased King Mohammed V in 1961. The building started in 1986 and completed in 1993 and was the blending of designs, Islamic architecture, Moroccan elements, and Moorish influences giving rise to an amazing beautifully decorated structure.
Later there will be a stop at “Rick’s Café” for a photo opportunity. The world-famous Warner Bros. movie, classic “Casablanca” was part-filmed here in 1942. Rick’s café is now a restaurant cum bar cum café and the interior of this site is decorated with architectural details reminiscent of the film. In 1942 the movie went on to win 3 Oscars for best film, best director, and best screenplay.
Our next stop will be the seaside wander of “la Corniche” a pleasant leisurely walk along the edge of Casablanca beach to take-in the fresh sea breeze from the Atlantic Ocean. From this walk we will visit “Morocco Mall” which is the first and largest shopping complex in Africa, with more than 250,000 M square floor space; it represents the modern aspects of Morocco with its innovative design and extensive shopping boutiques. Designed by award winning architect David Padou in 2011 and houses 163 stores. The Mall contains 1,000 litre aquarium (Aqua dream) with over 40 species of fish. It is possible to take a ride through the centre of the cylinder shaped aquarium to gain 360 degree view of the sea life. Also housed in the Mall is a skating rink, a 3D Imax cinema, a musical fountain and a play ground for children. You will then be transported to your Hotel / Riad. (Overnight in Casablanca).
* 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
✪ Day 2 : Casablanca to Rabat :
After breakfast in your Hotel/Riad in Casablanca, then en route to Rabat where we will take the scenic coastal highway north passing through Mohammedia and Temara, a total distance of 87 km to Rabat.
The city of Rabat is the political and administration center of the state, where the Royal Palaces, government institutions and International Embassies are located. The numerous buildings in the city are testimony of its centuries old rich history. Rabat is also the capital of culture by way of its many museums and exhibitions and is one of the Moroccan Imperial cities and which is classified by UNESCO as a “Global Human Heritage”.
Several industries, rich and old history, tourism & the presence of foreign Embassies all serve to make Rabat one of the most important cities in Morocco. This city is not only Morocco’s capital but is also rated as the best Moroccan city by many visitors in spite of it being far smaller than Casablanca and not as culturally diverse as Fes or Marrakech. Rabat is popular with international visitors thanks to the city’s seamless integration of old & new.
Rabat’s city walls were built by Yaqub al Mansour, the 3rd Almohad Sultan in the 12th century and one of the strongest Berber dynasties to emerge from the Atlas Mountains. The Berber Almohads controlled North Africa as far as Libya east, Andalusia (Spain today) north and the Grand Sahara to the south. Sultan Yaqub al Mansour also built the iconic “Oudaya Kasbah” and started construction on, what would have been the world’s largest Mosque and the “Hassan Tower” prior to his untimely death. Then came a period of decline for Rabat when the economic power was shifted to Fes by the Marinid dynasty after they conquered the Almohads in the 13th century.
In Rabat, between the Atlantic Ocean and the magnificent Bouregreg river, the area is known for ancient landmarks which reflect its Islamic and French colonial heritage. Our first stop will be in “Oudaya Kasbah”, which is one of the most important historic landmarks in Rabat. It is considered a tourist attraction due to its historic relics which have evolved from centuries of history of the country and bears the hallmarks of the Andalusian civilization, the features being that of pluralism and coexistence in the Kingdom. This site, a 2012 entry of UNESCO World Heritage listing was originally a military fortress built by the Almoravids empire Sultan “Yusuf ibn Tachfin” at the beginning of the 12th century to fight the Berber Barghouatian state and became a base for his armies when he fought the Spanish in Andalusia.
While exploring the Kasbah and walking up the steps leading to the imposing gate of Bab Oudaya and winding through the blue and white streets of the Kasbah, you will find Rabat’s oldest mosque, beautiful gardens and exquisite museums. Over the centuries, Berber, Arab tribes, Andalusian immigrants and some of Morocco’s most powerful sultans have called this Kasbah “Home”.
Next visit is to the King Palace. This celebrated complex is the official principal residence of King Mohammed VI of Morocco named “El Mechouar Essaid Palace” or “Happiness Palace”. It was built in 1864 in the architectural Islamic style. Moving on to visit the striking Mohammed V Mausoleum which was completed in 1971. It houses the tombs of the Moroccan King and his two sons King Hassan II (1929-1999) and Prince Moulay Abdullah (1935-1983). This impressive building today is considered a masterpiece of modern Islamic architectural design. It’s seemingly plain exterior of white walls and typical green-tiled roof contrasts deeply with the elaborately ornamented interior. Morocco’s exquisite traditional craftsmanship is one of the main features guarded within the walls of the Mausoleum, revealing magnificent Zellij mosaics rising from the rich marble floors to the hand carved ceiling of cedar wood adorned with gold leaf.
Across from the Mausoleum stands “Hassan Tower” which is a 44M tall original minaret of an incomplete Mosque commissioned in 1195 by “Yaqub al Mansour”, Sultan of Morocco at the time. His intention was to construct the tallest minaret and largest Mosque in the world and to be the center piece of the celebration of the Sultan’s victory over the Spanish Christians at “Alarcos” but the Sultan’s death in 1199 led to a dramatic halt to the construction which was never continued thereafter. The incomplete mosque sustained damage during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. UNESCO granted World Heritage status to the site in 2012 and together with the mausoleum they all form an important historic complex in Rabat.
We will then visit the Mohammed VI museum of contemporary art. The building’s architecture was inspired by traditional Moroccan architecture representing iconic structures of the Andalusian heritage. Much of the contemporary art is abstract and you will find works appropriate to whatever artistic taste, to further your cultural exploration of Morocco’s colorful world. There ends the historic tour of Rabat. (Overnight in Riad/Hotel in Rabat).
* 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
✪ Day 3 : Rabat to Fez via Meknes and Volubilis :
Leaving Rabat, we will continue to Meknes with a peaceful and contemplative drive through the Moroccan countryside.
In the 11th century, Meknes was established by the Berber Almoravids Dynasty as a military settlement and prospered when it became the capital of Morocco during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail (1645-1727). He turned Meknes into an impressive city in the Spanish/Moorish style, i.e. high walls, great gates, doors and monuments where the harmonious blending of the Islamic and European styles of the 17th century are still evident. Today, Meknes is a great economic centre which prospers from huge vineyards (grapes), wine, mint tea, olives & agriculture. Meknes city was registered by UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996.
Built in 1732, our first visit will be to the famous ancient gate of “Bab Mansour” which is an historic landmark in Meknes. It is an exquisite gateway of geometric ornamentation, marble columns and devotional inscriptions and was the official gate of the Sultan’s Palace. Of the 20 gates within the fortified walls of Meknes, Bab Mansour is the largest and is reported to be the world’s most exquisite of its kind in North Africa and one of the 4 most beautiful gates in the world and illustrates the grandeur of the success of Meknes at that time.
We will then visit “Lahdim Square” which is an historic landmark in the city and is regarded as a symbol of “national struggle”. It’s strategic location near to Bab Mansour gate made it a perfect meeting place. The square houses some stalls and sidewalk cafes offering an exciting and pleasant venue in which to relax. At sunset, the Medina becomes more alive filling the square are storytellers, snake charmers, animal trainers, jugglers and fire swallowers, all vying for attention.
Next visit is “The Royal Stables”. One of the most impressive memorials to the time of Moulay Ismail, a massive stable yard to house 12,000 Royal horses. The Sultan had a great respect and admiration for his horses, even more than he did for his human counterparts. His horses were waited on hand and foot with a groom and a slave for each horse, to ensure that all their needs were met and kept immaculate conditions for them. Adjacent to the stables is the Lake “Basin Souani” (300 x 200m and depth of 5m), which provided a water reservoir for his horses, his palace gardens and the city in the event of drought. The now ruins are a testament to Moulay Ismail’s love of his horses. Film makers also have marveled at this amazing structure and that led to scenes for the movies “Ishtar” and “The Jewel of the Nile” being made here. The Royal Stables & the lake in Meknes are a spectacular part of the history of Morocco.
Following that we visit Moulay Ismail Mausoleum. This Sultan of Morocco who ruled from (1672 to 1727) is regarded to be one of Morocco’s greatest rulers. He is known as the “Warrior king” and founder of modern Morocco, ascending the throne aged 27 year after the death of his 2 brothers. His reign survived for 55 years during which time he named Meknes the capital of the Kingdom in 1672. Built in 18th century, the Mausoleum is best described as a spiritual and peaceful place, is believed to bring blessings to its visitors, although not all of it is open to everyone, it is one of the few places that is open to non-Muslims. The building is a fine representation of the Islamic architecture and design.
After lunch we head towards the Roman ruins of Volubilis, where you will undertake a walking visit of the ruins. Morocco has one of the richest histories and cultures globally, influenced by centuries of diverse rulers which includes Roman rule.
During Roman occupation of Morocco, Volubilis was the powerful ancient capital and administrative centre of Roman Africa and prospered economically. Volubilis developed from the 3rd century B.C. as a Berber settlement and grew under Roman rule in the 1st century A.D. The Roman city fell to local tribes in c.285 A.D. and was never retaken by Rome. By the 11th century Volubilis had been abandoned after the seat of power was relocated to Fes. The ruins remained intact until the earthquake in 1820. Among the most famous of the ruins are the luxury villas with their water tanks, large courtyard beautiful mosaic floors, various pavilions, Basilica, Triumphal Arch built in 217 A.D and more than 300 temples. It was UNESCO World Heritage listed in 1997.
Our journey now continues to Fes. This city is a north eastern Imperial Moroccan city referred to as “The Mecca of the West & The Athens of Africa”, also being the country’s capital of knowledge and culture. Fes is renowned for its exciting and colourful “Fes El Bali” walled Medina, its medieval Marinid architecture, vibrant souks and old world atmosphere and charm. (Overnight in a Riad in Fes).
* 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
✪ Day 4 : Fez sightseeing guided day tour :
After a restful night and a tasty Moroccan breakfast in your charming Riad, today you will begin a full day Heritage tour of Fes, with your expert Grand Morocco local guide. (Walking tour with some transportation between sites).
- Begin with a visit to the 12th century “Bab Boujloud” or “blue gate” with its stunning blue and green ceramics.
- Visit the largest royal palace in Morocco (Dar el Makhzen) with its seven golden doors, learn about the significance of the intricate decor and marvel at it’s wonderful golden gate made of marble, copper and glorious mosaics.
- Stroll through the “Mellah” or Jewish quarter, the old Moroccan Jewish Heritage quarter, built in 1438 and was built next to the royal residence to offer protection.
- Take in the panoramic view of the city from “Borj Sud”, a former fortress and one of the lookouts on a hill where you can see the UNESCO listed ancient Medina of Fes.
- Visit a pottery co-op to see how the unique pottery of Fes is made and view the intricate mosaics adorning half of Morocco.
- Head into the ancient medina and step into living museum. The Fes medina is very much a local community that lives and works and goes about daily life in the medina, so be sure to keep moving and watch out for the donkeys!
- Stop by the University of “Al-Qarawiyyin” which is the oldest existing, continually operating higher educational institution in the world, according to UNESCO and the Guinness World Records. It is occasionally referred to by scholars, as the oldest University in the world. It was founded by a woman, Fatima al-Fihri in 859AD, with an associated Madrasa (Koranic school – institution for the study of Islamic theology and religious law). It became one of the leading spiritual and educational centres of the historic Muslim world.
- Visit the Madrasa Bou Inania (ancient religious school) which was founded in the 14th century and where you will be overcome by the wondrous Marinid architecture.
- Visit handicraft workshops, where you will see why Fes is considered the handicraft capital of Morocco. This can include, among other things, the silk weavers, where beautifully colorful fabrics are woven from silk fibers of the cactus plant and the famous 11th century “Chouara” leather tannery, which is one of the most iconic sites in the Medina where they process all manner of animal hides by hand, much as they have for nearly 1,000 years.
- Explore the exciting narrow streets lined with local fresh fruit, vegetables, spice moulds and mysterious Souks.
- During your tour of the medina, you will stop for lunch in a restaurant that would be very easy to walk right past but is truly a hidden gem. (Lunch included).
- In passing, admire Madrasa Al-Attarine (Koranic school), Nejjarine, Moulay Idriss Mausoleum (founder of Fes) and Bab Dekakene. Negotiate the narrow alley-ways, accessible only by foot or donkey and visit our chosen sites within Fes Medina. Your local guide will give you information regarding Moroccan history, culture and the Moroccan Berber way of life especially around Fes.
Grand Morocco team always provides interesting, historic and exciting adventures along the way. So, now ‘brace’ yourself for an amazing on-ward trip to the Sahara Desert and its sensational environs. (Overnight in your Riad in Fes).
* 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
✪ Day 5 : Fez » Ifrane » Middle Atlas » Ziz valley » Sahara desert :
After breakfast, you will begin your spectacular journey towards the long awaited, magical and legendary Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world and where the undulating golden dunes glisten like gold in the sunlight. Travel dreams do come true and this visit to the desert may be one of yours.
Leaving Fes, we travel to Ifrane town, which has a European image and atmosphere, with sloping roofs, chimneys housing large stork nests, generous flower beds and Chestnut trees. Thus, the nickname “Little Switzerland of Morocco”. The city was French built in the 1930’s and houses the trendy University of Al Akhawayn. This small town, is known for its mountainous terrain, altitudes to 1,664 M and cold winter temperatures. -24 degrees, measured in 1935, the lowest temperature in Africa. Skiing is a popular sport in Ifrane. It also claims the distinction of featuring in the top 10 of the world’s cleanest cities, ahead of Ottawa, Helsinki and Singapore. The Cedar plantations in Ifrane and the surrounding area are known to be the largest Cedar plantations in the world and cover about 134,000 hectares of Morocco, being still a potent symbol of national pride.
A stop at the cedar forests of Azrou, in the Middle Atlas region, altitude 1,278 M where you may be able to glimpse and feed the Barbary Macaque Apes in their Cedar forest habitat and hopefully observe their antics. The Barbary macaque also known as Barbary ape or magot, is a species of macaque found only in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria along with a small population of uncertain origin in Gibraltar.
Travelling on through Midelt city, famous for apple growing and the scenic Tizi N’Talghemt Pass and along the spectacular Ziz valley. There will be a stop at this region, where the scenery changes a little to reveal a glimpse of the desert while approaching Errachidia city.
After a scenic driving through the middle Atlas and lunch, we will move through the striking Ziz Valley oasis, the largest palm groves oasis in Morocco. There is a wonderful sight of a dense canopy of palms between ancient striated cliffs dating back to the Jurassic period, 199.6 to 145.5 million years ago.
We will continue the trip to Erfoud, known as the capital for dates(fruit) and a global entity for fossil stones famous for amazing fossil beds and Paleozoic Strata, where ancient ‘Trilobite’ fossils are found (505 – 570 million year). An intriguing visit to a fossil museum is possible where you will witness some of the ancient specimens (Ask your guide). After, we continue to the eminent Sahara Desert town of Merzouga, which is a small Moroccan Berber town in the Edge of the Sahara Desert, 50 km from the border with Algeria and regarded as the gateway to the Grand African Sahara, which is a huge expanse of sand dunes.
On approach, you will observe a magnificent panoramic view of the golden dunes considered the highest sand dunes in North Africa at 350M elevation. Then we continue to the camel station to meet your camel and the experienced camel man who will guide your camel trek to explore the mysterious Merzouga sand sea. You will enjoy the most charming sunset in the Merzouga Dunes, and you will spend the night in a Berber desert camp, in the heart of the dunes. The camp consists of several comfortable Berber tents equipped with mattresses and linen, a dining room, a kitchen and a bathroom. The evening will include dinner, followed by entertainment around the campfire, listening to traditional Berber drum music, gazing at the night sky full of the milky way stars and having the experience of a lifetime, which will captivate your heart and soul, not for a night, but forever. (Sandboarding is available in the camp). (Overnight in Sahara desert camp).
* 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
✪ Day 6 : Full day of sightseeing activities in Sahara :
Before sunrise, on waking, you may climb the sand dunes for a fantastic view of the amazing sunrise in the Sahara Desert, followed by a typical traditional Berber breakfast.
★Begin your day with a 1 hour Quad excursion through the Sahara Desert. Enjoy the exhilaration of speeding through the sands and up the dunes, where you will stop to enjoy a peaceful moment with just sky and sand for as far as you can see. You will have a professional guide to ensure your safety!
★Explore the Berber farms and fields of Merzouga and marvel at the ingenious underground water and irrigation system, for family agriculture and for spectacular date palms.
★Visit “Tifert n igdad” Lake or “Flamingos Lake”. During Spring the lake attracts many species of birds e.g. amazing colony of Greater Flamingos, desert Warbler, Egyptian Nightjar, Falcons, desert Sparrows and many more. Several species reside at the lake all year round. Other wildlife to be spotted at the lake are lizards, hedgehogs and desert foxes.
★Visit the Black Village of “Khamlia”, a little village with a big story. This village has a population of 390 of Black African families and Berber ethnic groups and it is located at the foothills of Merzouga dunes, doors to the great Sahara Desert.
For centuries black Africans from the Gnawa tribe, originating from sub-Saharan countries such as The Sudan, Mali and Niger, were forcibly moved from their homelands across the Sahara to Morocco as part of the worldwide slave trade. Shackled in chains as they crossed the desert, they sang to soothe their pain and found a mindfulness in the rhythmic chanting and clanking of the chains.
Today Khamlia’s inhabitants are direct descendants of these slaves. We will visit one of the music associations, have a cup of tea and listen to the Gnawa inspirational African music which is legendary from their ancestors, preserved from their original homeland and still played in a traditional manner.
★Partake of a delectable lunch of Berber Pizza which is a food specialty of the desert town of Merzouga.
★Visit a desert nomadic Berber family, share a cup of tea with them and be totally captivated by their lifestyle, their traditional tents and the harsh desert environment in which they live.
Head to your Riad/Hotel in front of the sand sea for a rest or a swim at your leisure.
* 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
✪ Day 7 : Sahara desert » Rissani » Alnif » Todgha gorge » Dades valley :
After breakfast, having experienced 2 memorable nights in the spectacular sand sea desert dunes of Sahara, we depart for the town of Rissani. This town was an ancient strategic crossroads destination on the trans-Saharan trade route linking Western Africa with Europe and Asia. It was a major camel caravan and commercial centre which gave great importance to the city from the 8th to 16th centuries.
Caravans of up to 200,000 camels would arrive in Rissani each year, from many sub Saharan African countries, e.g. Mali, Ghana, Senegal, Niger, Guinea, all trading gold, ivory, local crafts, slaves and most importantly, salt, which was sometimes used as trade currency and more valuable than gold at that time. Camels were first domesticated by the Native Berbers in north Africa, c. 300 A.D. and the camel caravans traveled vast distances for long periods, up to 100 days to reach Rissani. They rarely traveled faster than the camel man’s walking speed and their ability to withstand hard conditions made them ideal for communication and trade.
Rissani is renowned for its cultural diversity of Berber, Arab and desert communities, all recognizable and differentiated by their clothing style and colours worn. Also, it is a diverse city and well known for its traditional markets / Souks, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, being the busiest shopping days for souvenirs, gifts, spices, crafts and jewelry such as silver. There is a livestock market for sheep, goats and donkeys, and traders in local fresh produce such as dates, olives, vegetables and many traditional items. It might be possible to stop here to explore these traditional markets and maybe taste some Moroccan sweet dates.
Departing Rissani, we will travel towards the Saghro mountain range. The vast desert road, lined with thorny ‘Acacia’ trees, stretches through a most impressive desolate, harsh and spectacular rocky landscape of the huge dry mountains. We pass through Alnif Village, which lies at the foot of the Saghro Mountains. We then continue to Tinghir, where we will deviate to a minor road following the river of Todgha Gorge. Contemplate the scenic panoramic views of the old Jewish and Berber mud villages, overlooking the valley. Some time at leisure to enjoy the immensity of the huge red cliffs, 400 M elevation, where many international rock climbers come to enjoy their preferred sport.
The Todgha Gorge is recognized worldwide for being one of the most spectacular rocky canyons. No wonder this place has been used for filming many movies due to its magnificent natural setting, one of the most famous movies being the “Mummy”. In this area of Todgha Gorge, lives a large community of Berber nomads. Sometimes, you can sight Berber nomad women, who have Berber tattoos on their faces. They may be seen herding their goats to drink water at the river’s edge and collecting their own water which is carried back to their caves, where they live, by their mules.
After lunch, we continue our journey towards one of the most beautiful valleys in the Kingdom and enjoy colourful Berber mud villages overlooking the amazing Dades Valley. We will drive along the spectacular Dades Valley to discover the amazing rock formations known as “monkey toes” or sometimes “monkey fingers”. These extraordinary rock formations are metamorphic rock which has been severely eroded by rain, water (which has produced a chemical breakdown of the rock), wind and possibly sand storms over thousands of years.
The Dades Valley prides itself for the extensive production of roses, wall nuts, groves of palm and almond trees. It was the site of ancient nomad crossings and the valley is dotted with Oases and mud brick palaces known as kasbahs which gives the region its fairy tale nickname. Then it is time to arrive at your Riad / Hotel for a peaceful night in the Dades Valley. (Overnight in a Hotel/Riad).
* 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
✪ Day 8 : Dades Valley » Rose Valley » Ouarzazate » Ksar Ait Benhaddou » High Atlas » Marrakech :
After spending the night in the heart of the beautiful Dades Valley and having breakfast, we continue driving through the Rose valley and Kalaat Mgouna, known as The Rose Capital and known for Damaskina Roses, also known for the annual festival during the rose harvest in May to choose Miss Rose of Morocco.
We continue through the “Road of the thousand Kasbahs” and earth castles to the “Oasis of Skoura” in the Skoura Valley. This oasis is UNESCO protected and is famous for its numerous Kasbahs and here we will stop to visit the iconic 17th century “Kasbah of Amridil”, located in the Oasis and appears on the 50 dirhams note. Amridil Kasbah was founded over 300 years ago and is largely unchanged today. It is one of the living museums of Morocco and is the ancestral home of the Nasiri family.
The present generation of the family live on site, have a museum of ancient Moroccan artifacts as part of the Kasbah. In ancient times camel caravans of gold, spice, slaves, salt and other cargo, off-loaded in Skoura, after many weeks trekking across the desert from several sub-Saharan countries e.g. Mali, Senegal, Ghana and Asia. Today, Skoura’s historic Kasbahs known as mud brick castles remain and traders still arrive with desert products, especially trading salt.
Moving on, you may have an opportunity for photo stop at one of the many cinema studios as we now visit Ouarzazate. This city is known as the “Hollywood of Africa” and was a former caravan town on the silk and salt route in the eastern foothills of the High Atlas Mountains.
About 20 Km out of Ouarzazate, we will visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage listed site of “Ksar Ait Benhaddou”. This Ksar (village) is one of the most intriguing of the Red Earth Castles lining the ancient road of the old caravan traders and is the oldest mud village in Morocco. It was once a commercial hub for caravan traders and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. This village has been a backdrop for many international movies, such as, Gladiator, Game of Thrones, Indiana Jones, Kingdom of Heaven and many more.
The journey will continue from Ksar Ait Benhaddou through the dramatically beautiful landscapes of the High Atlas Mountain areas, passing through old scenic Berber mud villages and over the Tizi n Tichka pass at altitude 2,260 M. En route, we will visit a women’s cooperative for making the world famous Argan Oil. You will see the process of extracting the oil from the Argan fruit. This will enrich your knowledge of the wonderful Argan tree, which grows only in Morocco. Tree climbing goats have an important role in assisting in the oil production (ask your guide). The Argan tree is registered as Bio-patrimony Heritage by UNESCO and is found only in south west Morocco in the Arganeria Biosphere. The oil making process is passed down through the generations of women and is used for cooking, medicines, and cosmetics.
Once through the Pass and over the High Atlas Mountains, we continue travelling to our final destination, the wonderful Marrakech that was originally called “Amur n Akuch” which is a Berber name meaning “Land of God”. This city is one of Morocco’s Imperial cities, because at some time in the country’s history, Marrakech was the capital of Morocco from 1071 A.D. for the following 2 centuries. Sometimes called the Red city because of the red walls surrounding the Medina. Marrakech is a major tourist destination and home to many Kasbahs, Mosques, Palaces and gardens.
The Medina is a walled Medieval style city, dating to the Berber Almoravid Empire. It was founded in 1062 A.D. by Yusuf bin Tashfin and was the capital of the Almoravid powerful empire which covered a vast area from the grand Sahara, West/North Africa to Europe. (Overnight in Riad/Hotel in Marrakech).
* 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
✪ Day 9 : Marrakech sightseeing guided day tour :
Today you will embark on a full-day city tour of exotic and vibrant Marrakech, exploring in-depth, the rich cultural heritage and antiquity of this enchanting city. Your Grand Morocco expert local guide will lead you through the UNESCO World Heritage listed, ancient-walled Medina, which dates back to the ancient Berber inhabitants and which extend back to more than 1700 BC.
- Visit Bahia Palace, a masterpiece of Moroccan and Andalusian architecture and a major monument of Morocco’s heritage. This 19th century palace was built by “Ba Ahmed”, the grand vizier of Marrakech & named after his favorite wife “Bahia”. Craftsmen worked on this palace for fourteen years. The tiles were imported from Tetouan, the marble from Meknes while the cedar wood used for the painted and shimmering ceilings came from the Atlas Mountains.
- Stop at a Berber Apothecary shop, learning of the medicinal uses of many of the common spices and herbs that are still used across Morocco to treat common illnesses.
- Visit Ben Youssef Madrasa, a 14th century school founded by the Moroccan Monarch “Abu el Hassan”, another beautiful example of Moroccan and Andalusian architecture. The Saadian dynasty enlarged and redecorated the building in 1570 and it became the largest Islamic college in north Africa.
- Observe the 12th century & largest mosque in Marrakech, “Koutoubia Mosque” and its 77 meter high minaret. It was completed under the reign of the Berber Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansour (1184-1199), and inspired other buildings such as the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat. Local laws restrict any new building projects from exceeding the height of the minaret, providing a focal point for all to enjoy.
- Visit Saadien tombs, the only remains of the Saadian Dynasty which ruled Marrakech in 1524 to 1659.
- Explore the UNESCO site of Djemaa el Fna Plaza which is the heart of Marrakech, where can be found traditional activities such as magicians, story tellers, musicians, snake charmers and Marrakech’s legendary Souks. When it was created in 1050 it was used for public execution. (Overnight in Riad / Hotel in Marrakech).
* 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
✪ Day 10 : Airport transfer :
After breakfast, we will collect you from your Riad and transfer you to the airport, either Marrakech or Casablanca for your on-ward flight. Now ends your 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS
WHAT IS INCLUDED :
- Travel in an air-conditioned 4WD or Minivan, with a professional, licenced English speaking driver/guide.
- Airport Pick up / drop off transfer.
- WiFi Hotspot in the car + 2 bottles of water each per day.
- 10 days / 9 nights accommodation with breakfast in beautiful 3/4 or 5 star Hotels / Riads as you request.
- 1 lunch (day 4), 3 dinners in (day 5/6/7).
- Camel trek, quad bikes excursion in Sahara.
- Sand boarding in the Sahara desert (optional).
- Turbant (head wear) for each for the camel trek in the desert.
- Professional local city tour guides in Fes and Marrakech.
- Entrance to all included sites and monuments.
- Overnight stay in a Desert luxury camp and camel trek.
- A visit to a local nomad family in Sahara.
- All taxes and fees for this 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED :
- Travel insurance.
- Flight ticket.
- Meals not noted as included during this * 10 Days tour from Casablanca.
- Snacks, drinks and incidentals.
- Hotel services, such as room service or laundry service.
- Tips and gratuities.
- Personal expenses.
This * 10 Days tour from Casablanca is customised by Grand Morocco LLC. “If our set itineraries do not match what you are looking for, please contact us and we will tailor-make an itinerary to suite your requirements”.