OH SO MOORISH
Beautifully evocative Morocco has a limitless reserve of colour and light. It hits you with full force when you’re there and remains with you long after you leave. Come join us and immerse yourself in Moroccan and Berber life on our 14 day adventure where the old world still clings to life as a new world erupts around it. A beautiful canvas within itself. Wherever you are in Morocco you will constantly see stunning and inspirational aesthetics through its’ textiles, cuisine, landscape and architecture. Its’ age-old heritage and of course bohemian charm will have you begging for more.
Our cultural tour of Morocco commences this evening in Morocco's largest city, Casablanca. After our welcome meeting we will head to one of our favourite restaurants where you will be introduced to the delicious flavours of North African cuisine.
Casablanca - Rabat - Chefchaouen
A trip to Casablanca wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of the only mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims: the Hassan II Mosque. A relative newcomer it was completed in 1993) this mosque is amongst the largest mosques in the world (the sheer scale of the courtyard is jaw-dropping) and the finest artisans from across the country were commissioned to carry out the intricate detailing on everything from glass to woodwork and marble. We’ll make a brief stop in Rabat for lunch by the Ocean before making our way to the blue-washed town of Chefchaouen.
Located beneath the raw peaks of the Rif Mountains it is here in Chefchaouen that you will notice an unmistakably Spanish influence. This morning we will explore the delightful medina with its' blue-white walls and terracotta tiles, small and un-crowded it is easy to explore. There's the option this afternoon to go for a fairly easy walk to the springs of Ras el-Maa and the ruined Spanish Mosque where you will find some of the most spectacular views of the town below.
Chefchaouen - Volubilis - Fes
This morning we’ll head to the cultural and spiritual centre of Morocco, Fes. Enroute we’ll stop at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Volubilis which are considered to be the best-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco and home to a number of stunning mosaics. This afternoon we’ll arrive in the imperial city of
The city of Fes is, in our opinion, like no other city on earth. The medina is the largest living Islamic medieval city in the world and as you step through Bab Bou J’loud (the main gate into the old city) you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Amongst the more than 10,000 streets you’ll find all you could ever want and more: silver- and coppersmiths, weavers, dyers, artisans and food stalls.
Fes - Midelt
A late start this morning and the chance for some last minute shopping in Fes. After lunch we’ll drive to Midelt, our half-way point on the road to the desert. On the way we’ll stop in the alpine-style village of Ifrane and you’d be forgiven for thinking you are in Switzerland and not North Africa!
Midelt - Sahara
An early start this morning as we make our way to the desert. Before reaching the shifting sands we’ll jump in 4WDs for our jeep safari through the dunes. The dunes of Erg Chebbi certainly look divine, rising up to 160m and glowing rosegold, then orange and finally pink-and-purple as the light changes. Our camels await us at our luxury desert encampment, ready to bear us across the shifting sand to watch as the final rays of the afternoon sun sink below the horizon. After a traditional dinner we’ll fall asleep beneath a blanket of stars.
Desert Encampment - Todra Gorge - Boulmaine Du Dades
This morning we’ll bid farewell to the mighty Sahara and instead view the spectacular limestone cliffs of Todra Gorge. Our accommodation tonight is a delightful family-owned kasbah ideally situated in the Dadès Valley.
Dades - Ouarzazate - Ait Ben Haddou - Skoura
This morning we’ll visit Ouarzazate, the film capital of Morocco and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou. Explore the narrow streets of this ancient fortified city, climbing steadily to reach the top for magnificent views of the surrounding palmeraie and the unforgiving hammada (stony desert). After lunch, there’s the opportunity to shop for authentic Berber carpets and antiques before heading to beautiful Les Jardins de Skoura our home for the next two nights.
After a leisurely breakfast there is the option to visit Kasbah Amridil, a 17th century fortress that has been wonderfully restored. This afternoon, relax by the pool or perhaps find you own private nook in the gardens and curl up with a good book.
Skoura - Marrakech
A bit of a ‘vehicle day’ today as we begin our journey through North Africa’s highest mountain range, known locally by Bebers as ‘Idraren Draren’ or ‘Mountains of Mountains’. This is some of the most spectacular scenery in Morocco and the pure mountain air will leave you breathless. Tonight the chaotic city of Marrakech awaits you.
Our first full day in Marrakech! This morning we will begin to explore the myriad treasures of the Marrakech medina including the Saadian Tombs and the Ali ben Youssef Medersa. This afternoon get lost amongst the snake charmers, musicians, street performers and henna artists in this quintessential Moroccan city.
Marrakech - Imlil - Marrakech
Today we will visit the beautiful village of Imlil, and the Kasbah du Toubkal. There is the option today to go on an included trek of the surrounding foothills and villages where we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in one of the verdant valleys. If you’re not feeling particularly energetic you can enjoy lunch on the terrace of the Kasbah, surrounded by views of the spectacular Atlas Mountains.
This morning we’ll escape the intensity of the medina for the serenity of the Jardin Majorelle. The designer Yves Saint Laurent spent 40 years designing these lush gardens and these days they are one of the most visited sites in the city. From Jardin Majorelle we’ll take a drive just outside of Marrakech to the Amizmiz valley where you’ll meet a special chef with a passion for local produce and authentic Moroccan cuisine. This is not your ordinary cooking class, it is a demonstration of ecotourism, community enrichment, organic farming and true hospitality.
Marrakech - Essaouira
After a leisurely breakfast we’ll make our way to Essaouira but first a stop at a local winery where we will sample a selection of their wine before enjoying our lunch overlooking the vineyards. After lunch we’ll visit an argan co-operative where you’ll learn how argan oil is produced (yes, the same argan oil that is used in “Moroccan Oil!), before arriving in the chilled out city of Essaouira, our home for the next two nights.
Originally an 18th century port town, Essaouira's waterfront locale and laid back attitude make it the perfect place to spend a day soaking up the atmosphere and strolling the picture-postcard ramparts and shopping for souvenirs in the laid back souq. This afternoon why not enjoy a stroll along the soft sandy beach before settling in for cocktails from the rooftop bar with the best view in town as the sun sets into the Atlantic Ocean. No wonder Jimmy Hendrix loved this winding city.
Essaouira - Oualidia - Casablanca
This morning we will head north to the stunning seaside town of Oualidia where the golden sands and crescent-shaped lagoon make the perfect backdrop for a light seafood lunch. Tonight we will enjoy our final dinner together as we head to one of our favourite restaurants in Casablanca.
Casablanca - Departure Day
This morning we will bid farewell to new friends as our cultural tour of Morocco concludes after breakfast.
17 nights twin share accommodation with private facilities in boutique or special class accomodation: 16 nights boutique hotels and 1 night in private tent (with ensuite) at a luxury desert encampment in the Sahara
In a private, air-conditioned minibus
17 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 10 Dinners
Arrival and departure transfers from Casablanca International Airport
Services of an experienced Australian Tour Leader
Services of professional English-speaking local guide/s
To all sites listed in the itinerary
Organic Cooking Workshop
Full day cooking workshop at an organic farm in a small village outside Marrakech
What's Not Included?
Visas and Departure taxes
Tips and gratuities for driver and guide
Meals other than those specified in the itinerary
Fees for optional activities
Drinks and Items of a personal nature
Embracing Moroccan Culture and Cuisine
The Travel Experts
Moroccan cuisine has a diversity of influences from Berbers, Arabs, Moors, Jewish Moors and let's not forget the Ottoman Empire. The cuisine of the Berbers still exist today with dishes such as couscous and tagines, the Arabs bringing spices, nuts and many varieties of dried fruits, the Moors bringing olives and citrus whilst the Jewish Moors introduced preserving techniques such as preserved lemons and pickles with the Ottoman Empire introducing kebabs. Over time dishes have been perfected to blend each of these distinct tastes varying with the season, region and the market. Spices such as dried ginger, cumin, turmeric are found in most kitchens in Morocco and these are used in almost every tagine or couscous.
Bread made from durum wheat, barley or rye flour is an essential part of any Moroccan meal and used to soak up sauces and pick food from communal dishes. On our cultural tour of Morocco you will experience Morocco's famous Pastilla. This unusual dish (and one of our personal favourites!) combines pigeon, roasted almonds, sugar, cinnamon, eggs, all wrapped up in a pie then sprinkled with icing sugar. Moroccan patisseries, pancakes drizzled with honey, cakes made with almonds and raisins all accompanied by the Morocco's famous mint tea.
Highlights of our Oh So Moorish tour
One of the delights of Marrakech is the joy of wandering around aimlessly through the labyrinth alleys and medina of this quintessential city. It is a city teeming with culture and unfathomable amounts of inspiration. If you have the time why not take a half day photography tour and not only improve your skills but get those hard to get shots.
Tucked away in the Atlas Mountains is the quaint village of Imlil and the famous Kasbah du Toubkal (we like to call it our own piece of Shangri-La). The peace and quiet in the High Atlas and at the Kasbah is hard to imagine and the genuine nature of the "staff folklore" is a magical experience. It certainly is a tribute to Berber culture and hospitality. Why not do some trekking while you are there.
No wonder Jimmy Hendrix loved this place. Local markets and seafood are two things that we love to devour and explore when travelling and the Essaouira medina with its’ vibrant colours, sounds and smells won’t let you down. The city is an eclectic blend of many elements from eighteenth century fortifications embracing a quintessentially Moroccan city with a history that goes far back. Essaouira's waterfront locale and laid back attitude make it the perfect place to spend a couple of day soaking up the atmosphere of this mellow, relaxed coastal town.
You will feel anything but “blue” when you visit this town with its’ blue washed houses, narrow cobbled streets there is a photo to be taken around every corner. Loose yourself as you explore the maze of narrow streets, ideal for meandering and getting lost in this magical city. This city is a dream for the adventurous and the wanderer with vendors peddling a colourful array of goods from leather products, carpets to the traditional woven blankets. The old medina is certainly a calming place when compared to the sights and sounds of Marrakech.
With nothing ahead but vast golden spaces, settle into the steady rhythm of the camel's step and enjoy the sound of hooves on the sand as you trek across the Sahara. For that spectacular nomadic experience enjoy friendly Berber hospitality in the middle of the big dunes of the Erg Chebi Desert. Your luxury desert encampment awaits you!
Overlooking a truly magnificent coastal lagoon the small sleepy village of Oualidia could arguably be one of the most picturesque places in Morocco. It is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy some of the best seafood this region has to offer.
Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones, Gladiator, you name it they have all been filmed here in pursuit of that mud turret cityscape. If your inner child needs waking up and you want to feel like Indiana Jones or Russell Crowe then this is the place to visit. Ait ben Haddou will give you a taste of what a true old Moroccan kasbah looks like. Make sure you see either sunrise or sunset from the top of the Kasbah you will not be disappointed.