Arrive to Casablanca at anytime where a G Adventures representative will meet you at the airport to ensure a smooth arrival. There are no activities planned for the day, leaving you free to enjoy this beautiful city at your own leisure. With its art deco buildings, french colonial buildings, the Old Medina and its great restaurants and entertainment, there is plenty to keep you busy! We overnight in Casablanca.
We begin our day with a drive from Casablanca to Meknes, a journey of around 4 hours. We enjoy an afternoon tour of the charming city of Meknes. Meknes is one of the four Imperial cities and its name and fame are closely linked to that of the Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail, who made Meknes the center of his empire and built many of the monuments that remain today. We start our tour in front of the impressive 18th century Bab Mansour, the ornamental gate to the imperial city of Meknes built by Sultan Moulay Ismail in honour of himself. The gate faces Place el-Hadim, where, after dark fills with many Moroccan families coming to be entertained by story-tellers, snake-charmers, horse rides & medicine men. To the left of the square you’ll find one of Morocco’s most colourful & friendliest fresh produce souqs & home to the city’s famous confectionaries. Behind the square is the entrance to the rambling souqs where you can discover the many artisans and their crafts. From here we enter what is left of the imperial city (Meknes was flatten by a huge earthquake in 1755) & visit the small but impressive Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, pass by the entrance of the Meknes Royal Palace & end up at Moulay Ismail’s massive Heri es Souani. This was his personal stable & granary for his 12,000 horses. Making our way through the rolling hills to our next stop is the Roman ruins of Volubilis, the best preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. Once an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of Roman conquests, in 1997 Volubilis was listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site. Wandering through the deserted streets where chariots once passed, you can envision the vibrance the town once held. Have your local guide explain about life in the old Roman Empire - peering into old bathhouses, marvelling at the still-present mosaic floors and gazing up at the towering marble pillars. We move on to Fez, where we spend the night. We will be staying in the the new city of Fez, built by the French during their Protectorate of Morocco. This area has the feel of a French provincial town, with its cafés, restaurants and wide boulevards. Head off for a Moroccan feast at one of the many restaurants and finish off the night with some famous Moroccan mint tea and a shisha! We overnight in Fez. Approx travel times: Casablanca to Meknes,4 hours Meknes to Volubilis, 45mins. Volubilis to Fez, 2 hours. Please note this is actual driving time, not including stops. As we stop to explore Meknes and Volubilis, we will not arrive in Fez until evening.
Today we have a half day medina walking tour, after which you will have some free time to explore on your own if you wish. The Fez medina is the world’s largest, living Medieval medina in the world & in the 11th century, was the largest city in the known world. We enter through one of the great gates into the chaotic, confusing & melee that is the Fez medina. We explore the medina’s many artisans’ quarters, such as the brass & copper souqs, the wedding souq & the carpenters plus its bakers, butchers & spice sellers, ending up at Fez’s famous Tannery, where we have great views from its panoramic viewpoints. We’ll also get to see its religious & historical heart when we visit Moulay Idriss II’s Mausoleum (the founder of Fez), the 14th century Bou Inania Medersa & the 9th century Al Karaouine University. This evening there may be the chance to partake in an optional dinner in a grand old Fez riad which has been converted into a spectacular restaurant. You would not only enjoy a delicious meal of local specialities, but also an evening of entertainment such as singing, music and belly dancing.
It's an early start this morning as we continue our journey, watching the scenery of this diverse country change as we head over the Middle Atlas mountains with its cedar forests and through the ski area of Ifrane into the desert regions, through the vast palm groves of the Ziz Valley and right up to the majestic Saharan sand dunes. Keep your eyes open for a glimpse of Barbary apes en route. We spend the night in a comfortable kasbah style desert hotel at the edge of the dunes. There is an option this evening to make a short camel ride into the nearby dunes to watch the sunset. We overnight in Merzouga, enjoying local style food for dinner at our hotel. Approx travel time: Fez to Merzouga, including stops for rest room, lunch and photos, 10-11 hours.
Our day of natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes starts with a morning sunrise excursion in 4 x 4s to explore the sea of sand dunes of the Sahara desert. Get your CEO to teach you how to wrap a turban and take photos perched atop a dune with no one for miles around. The rest of the day takes us through a stone desert to the breathtaking Todra Gorge followed by a visit to the palm grove. We head to our final stop of Tineghir for a well deserved night's rest. Approx travel time: Merzouga to Tineghir, 4 hrs Please note this is actual driving time, without stops. As we stop at Todra Gorge and take a walk through the palmery, we will not reach Tineghir until mid-late afternoon
We start the morning with a visit to the Dades Gorge with its unusual natural rock formations and stunning scenery. Continue along the "Route of a 1000 Kasbahs" with an included visit to Kasbah Taourit, to learn more about the history of these impressive and very characteristic buildings. Then after lunch we continue to to Ouarzazate, a former Foreign Legion stronghold and our base for tonight. In Ouazarzate you will have the option to visit a Berber herbalist and find out about the traditional medicines and cooking spices of the Berber people. Overnight in Ouarzazate. Approx travel time: Tineghir to Ouarzazate via Dades Gorge and Kasbah Taourit, 6 hrs (not including lunch stop)
We continue on to the village of Aït Benhaddou. Aït Ben Haddou is a wonderful example of a kasbah, a type of fortress or palace. Carefully restored over the years and now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site it is now considered to be one of the best preserved kasbahs in Morocco. A few families still call the kasbah their home, but the majority of locals have gradually moved to the nearby settlement. During our visit to the Kasbah, lose yourself in the narrow, winding passageways and feel the magical atmosphere of this incredible structure. Travel to Marrakech through the Tizi n’Tichka pass at 2200m in the High Atlas mountains, on winding mountain roads with breathtaking views over the highest peaks of Morocco. We arrive in Marrakech this afternoon, where we embark on an historical visit of the city, including the Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs. Approx travel time: Ouazarzate to Ait Benhaddou 45mins Ait Benhaddou to Marrakech 4.5hrs.
Day 8 is free for you to explore the fascinating city of Marrakech and dive into the labyrinthine souks. Tourists and locals alike find everything they desire here; whether it’s spices, traditional jalabas and slippers, or famous Moroccan lanterns, the selection here is exhaustive, and don’t forget to bargain - it's definitely part of the fun. Soak in the sights and sounds of the square's activities. Relax and watch the acrobats, fortune tellers, story tellers and snake charmers recalling an era past. Tonight your CEO will arrange an optional final dinner where you can relive your Moroccan experiences and celebrate a wonderful trip.
You are free to depart at any time today. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is normally mid-morning, but luggage storage facilities are available. We are able to organise extra post-trip accommodation if you wish to extend your stay for a few more days. Please ask at the time of booking.