Imperial Cities and Sahara Tour

Morocco Trip

This 11 days small group tour to Morocco is an excellent introduction to the diverse landscapes that Morocco has to offer through walking, hiking, camping over the dunes in the Sahara Desert, as well as stays in boutique hotels and riads. Join our bus group grand tour of Morocco, traveling with our organized st departures in a small group or privately customized trip just for you.

Customized Tours

All our group tours can be customized for private travel.

Our Morocco small group adventure tours are the best way to explore the marvels of this destination. Morocco offers the ultimate quest for those in search of new horizons. To visit Morocco with a small group or a private customized trip is a fascinating journey that will forever change one's perspectives and perceptions. On our small group overland tours, you will discover the beauty and magic of Morocco. With its ever-changing natural beauty and intricate, rich history, Morocco is the ideal catalyst for the curious and open-minded traveler. Check our overland active tours to Morocco scheduled for 2023 and 2024. All our Morocco tours can be customized to private trips to your satisfaction if you prefer independent travel.


Day 1: Casablanca - Rabat

Once you land at the Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, your guide will meet you at your arrival gate to take you immediately to check-in to your hotel in Rabat. This is a wonderful short drive of about 45 miles through the lush farms and exotic plants. You will reach Rabat, a city styled in a spaciously elegant European grid, yet slightly aware of its modernity. Only a river separates Rabat and its twin city Sala Colonia, but they are historically worlds apart. They have an ancient legacy that spans hundreds of generations. Each civilization that has inhabited each city has left its mark, resulting in a wide variety of architectural styles, including those from the Phoenician and Roman eras.

You will spend your day discovering the delights that Rabat has to offer. Your guide will take you on a historical and lively tour of the Jewish quarter, the Mellah in the Heart of the city, starting at Place Sidi Makhlouf. The 12-century ramparts are best seen from this landmark. Walk up to Bab Chellah in the medina and cross Sidi Fateh St. This will lead you to the traditional Souk Laghzel (Yarn market). Your guide will introduce you to the importance of this guild in a textile role in Moroccan society.

Later, you will cross to the citadel of the Oudaya Kasbah, entering from its 12th-century main gate to explore an extraordinary Medieval Moorish marvel overlooking the delta of the Bourgreg River. You will have the opportunity to visit the old-fashioned Moorish gardens, stop in a traditional coffee house for mint tea, and, in between, explore the Oudaya Museum of tribal arts and Crafts. A docent will introduce you to traditional Berber Textiles.

You will continue your quest by exiting the Oudaya Kasbah and up the hill to visit the Hassan Tower and Mohamed the V Mausoleum, an emblem of authentic Moroccan architecture at its finest. You will reach the Royal Palace and the Necropolis of Chellah at the end of your tour. Finally, you will return to the hotel for dinner and other accommodations.

Day 2: Rabat - Volubilis - Moulay Idriss - Fez

This journey will take you from the imperial time of Rome to the third century A.D. Unlike the movies, this temporal voyage will take almost the entire day. (Of course, there will be stops along the way.) The first stop will be the ancient Roman city of Volubilis. Volubilis was a critical city in the imperial Roman department of Mauritania (modern-day Morocco and its actual provinces in the Sahara) during the reign of Caracalla. Volubilis is impressively well preserved, and the genius of Roman urbanism is still intact. The two central integral streets in every Roman castrum, the Cardo, and Decumanus, are prominent. The Cardo is the north-south boulevard, and the Decumanus is east-west. The intersection of the two is the heart of every Roman city. There you will find the ruins of the ancient forum.

Jumping forward in time and just a few minutes away is the venerated citadel of Moulay Idris, founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idris Al Akbar, grandson of the Prophet Mohamed (s.a.w.s). This citadel is considered the cradle of Sufism to Moroccans and the rest of the Muslim world. It is the first Islamic capital of the premier Arab dynasty. The city was created primarily for the indigenous population that migrated with Moulay Idris from the Middle East. You will drive around 15 miles to the next stop, the imperial city of Meknes. Meknes is a 17th Century city built by Moulay Ismail to rival Fez. It is also considered to be the Versailles of Morocco.

Finally, you have reached the ninth-century city of Fez. In the evening, you will taste the greatest of the Imperial Cities. You will visit the sights outside the ancient walled city, including the ramparts, the gates, and the Borjas (Moorish Forts). After this introductory aperitif to Fez, you will dine in your hotel and prepare for day three: Fez!

Day 3: Fez Walking Historic City Tour

Visiting Fez is like traveling back in time. It is a unique experience. Undeniably fascinating, Fez stimulates the senses with its haunting yet beautiful sounds, visual splendor, and evocative smells. The most ancient of the imperial capitals and the complete medieval city of the Islamic world, Fez is reminiscent of a city suspended in time, unfazed by the constantly evolving world outsides of its walls. Fez owes nothing to the Western world save electricity.

Time spent in Fez will reveal much about the sophistication of the Moroccan artisan, providing an unparalleled learning experience to those who cross its path. Your morning will be spent visiting the Medina. Our specialized guide will take you on a historic discovery of Fez, starting at the King s Palace and its Meshwar with ramparts and majestic gates.

Next, you will explore the Jewish quarter, a 15th-century citadel with all its Moorish maze architecture and medieval glory. Visits to Sephardic synagogues and mausoleums of holy Rabbis will be the highlights of this part of town. Then, we will drive to Merinides Hill to visit their necropolis. Here you will enjoy the best panoramic view of the old walled Medina, brimful with countless minarets to call for prayers in a city that has responded to these calls for 12 centuries. Drive down the hills to the gate of Bab Guissa to leave your vehicle and enter an ancient world. Fez has preserved its Medina as it was centuries ago. Not even a bicycle can be used as a tool for transportation. Only donkeys, mules, and horses can help move all the city produces and needs as supplies.

The first guilds you will immediately encounter are the cobblers, the saddlers, and blacksmiths, interlaced by some caravansaries for tribespeople who come from the surrounding areas to trade and supply their needs. Down the hill to Juteya, you will encounter all sorts of crafts, but noticeably carpenters and leather workers as one of the traditional tanneries is not far. This walk will lead you to El Ashabine Square with its various activities. From there, you will find your way to the Sgha square, leading you to Attarine, Souk el Henna, and the Mausoleum of Moulay Idris, the founder of Fez. Next, you will visit the Nejjarine Square with its famous fountain, a guild of carpentry, and the folk art museum at the Fondouk.

You will walk to the tannery and visit the Great Mosque University of Al Quarrawiyyine, passing by Shemmaine, the dried fruit market. After that, you will visit the Medersa Attarine and walk to Sbetryyine, a guild of bookbinders, which will lead you to the Seffarine Square, where the tapping of metalworkers is still deafening passersby as it was the case for centuries. You will break for lunch and then continue exploring the marvels of Fez Medina. These will highlight the Dyers souk, Foundouk Tetouan, and the shrine of Sidi Ahmed Tijani. You will end your walk at Foundouk Lihoudi, where a local Fez family will host you for traditional mint tea in their home. Finally, you will return to your hotel for dinner and other accommodations.

Day 4: Travel to the Sahara desert from Fez

You will spend your day discovering the rural environs of the Atlas Mountains Berbers. Covered with evergreen pines, tall cedar trees, and poplars and laced with flowing streams, your first view of the Middle Atlas will appear oddly un-Moroccan. Passing by Imouzzer, with a quick stop at the Swiss-like town of Ifrane, you will soon come across the first real town of the Middle Atlas, Azrou.

Azrou is an important market center for the region s Berber tribes, located at a major junction of mountain routes. Your driver will take a little detour in a cedar forest to introduce you to one of the oldest inhabitants of this region, the Berber apes. This may also coincide with the encounter of a nomadic family in its temporary encampment. As nomads are very hospitable people, we are invited at least for a mint tea under their tents whenever we encounter them.

At Midelt, the Middle Atlases give way to the High Atlas Mountains, whose peaks are visible through the haze, soaring to over 12,000 feet. You will stop in Midelt for lunch, enjoying the dramatic sight before you. You will then continue to Erfoud, one of the most delightful southern regions consisting of a dry, red belt of the desert with a sudden drop into the lush valley of Ziz, with copious date palm groves and flowing streams. Visit the gorges of Ziz and some of the oases and natural sites before you reach the magnificent oasis of Erfoud.

After you arrive in Erfoud, you will leave your vehicle and hop into the 4-Wheel Drive cruiser, which takes you to meet a caravan of camels that you will ride to camp. You will conclude your day in your camp over the dunes of Merzouga, where tents are pitched for you to enjoy a night under the African Skies. After dinner, the Rokba drummers will illuminate your night with their lively dances and moving chants. Enjoy this encounter of man and nature at its best.

Day 5: Merzouga Dunes - Tinghir - Ouarzazate

You will leave Erfoud traveling west toward the Valley of Todra, between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. You will reach Tinghir, the town where we will spend the night. Only 15 kilometers from Tinghir inside the Valley of Todra, you will find the Todra s highest and narrowest gorges in the region.

Next, you will travel through the Dades valley, wherein the spring, thousands of Persian roses bloom in hedgerows, filling the air with their heavenly perfume. You will also see the thousands of Kasbahs scattered along the Dades River, majestic sandcastles with a visually appealing, timeless beauty. Today, you will continue to explore the Dades Valley, traveling through El Kelaa De Mgouna and Boumalne to view the inimitable natural vistas and unusual rock formations. You will then continue to Ouarzazate, one large oasis that intercepts the flow of water between the Dades, the Draa valleys, and the majestic High Atlas Mountains. This is an ideal place to stop for the night. You will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your hotel

Day 6: Across the Atlas Mountains to Marrakech from Ouarzazate

You will spend most of your day en route to Marrakesh, exploring the legendary Kasbah of Ait-Benhaddou, a renowned architectural marvel classified as UNESCO world heritage. Your journey will lead you to the highest pass in Morocco, the Taddart and Tizi Tishka pass, at 11,000 feet. This pass divides the mountains into two distinct facets: the harsh, stark side acting as a shield that protects the hinterland from the harsh, dry expansion of the Sahara, and a lush side, soft and evergreen, which collects the moisture from the Gherbi winds of the Atlantic Ocean.

You will arrive in Marrakech, a city of pleasure for visitors and locals, where southern tribe members and Berber villagers bring their goods to market and find a variety of entertainment. To tourists, the city is a feast for the imagination, full of incomparable beauty, situated before the towering mountains that provide a thrilling backdrop. After a visit to the bustling Jemaa El Fna square, you will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.

Day 7: Historic Marrakech guided tour

You will devote your morning to exploring Marrakech s many historical sites, starting at the Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowerbeds, reflecting the image of an exquisite Moorish edifice. It was constructed in 1866 for dignitaries who enjoyed glorious sunsets with the ethereal Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The pool is an innovative irrigation system serving dry life in the desert.

Your tour will cover many impressive sites, including the Koutoubia Minaret (identical to la Giralda, a tower found in Sevilla, Spain) and the Saadian tombs, demonstrating Moorish architecture at its best. The tombs consist of sixteenth-century mausoleums, which had lain walled-in and undiscovered until 1917. Next, you will explore the gardens of the Agdal and then the Marjorelle. Finally, you will return to your hotel for dinner and other accommodations.

Day 8: Excursion to Eurika Valley

You will begin your day with an excursion to the Ourika Valley, where you will visit the traditional Berber Souks and the Jewish shrines. After lunch, you will visit the Berber Museum of Arts and Crafts to learn about the dwellers of these mountains and their products before you discover their workshops and sophisticated, hand-made products. You will return to Marrakech for dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.

Day 9: Marrakech to Essaouira

You will begin your day by traveling to Essaouira (Mogador), a picturesque city with a rich history. With fascinating antiquity, Essaouira was occupied by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, supplied essential purple dyes to the Romans, absorbed the sophisticated Jewish arts of silversmiths, and spent centuries as a Portuguese enclave.

Despite these civilizations' obvious influence, Essaouira has remained a small, authentic Berber town. Alive with the breath of fresh air provided by the Atlantic, Essaouira is a jewel nestled in the rugged coast, with a vast expanse of empty sands trailing back along the peninsula towards the South. After an introductory tour, you will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your hotel.

Day 10: Travel from Essaouira to Safi to Casablanca

You will travel to Casablanca, stopping at El Oualidia for a seafood lunch. You will continue to El Jadida, where you will visit the citadel, evidence of the 11th-century Portuguese occupation. Finally, you will arrive in Casablanca, having completed a journey that has led you through immeasurable antiquity. You will conclude your day with a farewell dinner and spend the night at the hotel.

Day 11: Transfer to Casablanca Airport

You will depart for Casablanca Airport in the morning, where you will board your flight back home with a lifetime's worth of memories packed neatly into your suitcase.

What is included:

  • Services of local guides
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
  • Breakfast, and dinner daily
  • Transportation in Deluxe vehicles
  • Fees to Monuments and Museums
  • Night over the the Sahara dunes

Hotels Used:

  • Rabat: Hotel Oudaya, 1 night
  • Fez: Hotel L’Escale, 2 nights
  • Merzouga Dunes: Kasbah Leila Bivouac
  • Ouarzazate: Hotel Tishka Salaam, 1 night
  • Marrakesh: Hotel El Andalous, 3 nights
  • Essaouira: Hotel Riad Loussia, 1 night
  • Casablanca: Hotel Oum Palace Spa, 1 night
Fri 20 Oct 2023 Tue 31 Oct 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Mon 23 Oct 2023 Fri 3 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Thu 26 Oct 2023 Mon 6 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Sun 29 Oct 2023 Thu 9 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Wed 1 Nov 2023 Sun 12 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Sat 4 Nov 2023 Wed 15 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Tue 7 Nov 2023 Sat 18 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Fri 10 Nov 2023 Tue 21 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Mon 13 Nov 2023 Fri 24 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Thu 16 Nov 2023 Mon 27 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Sun 19 Nov 2023 Thu 30 Nov 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Wed 22 Nov 2023 Sun 3 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Sat 25 Nov 2023 Wed 6 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Tue 28 Nov 2023 Sat 9 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Fri 1 Dec 2023 Tue 12 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Mon 4 Dec 2023 Fri 15 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Thu 7 Dec 2023 Mon 18 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Sun 10 Dec 2023 Thu 21 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Wed 13 Dec 2023 Sun 24 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Sat 16 Dec 2023 Wed 27 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Tue 19 Dec 2023 Sat 30 Dec 2023 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Fri 22 Dec 2023 Tue 2 Jan 2024 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Mon 25 Dec 2023 Fri 5 Jan 2024 Available $2685 RESERVATION
Thu 28 Dec 2023 Mon 8 Jan 2024 Available $2685 RESERVATION

Cost per person: $2685 USD

Single supplement: $465 USD


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