The Wonders of Morocco
11 days/10 nights | March 12-22, 2023
based on double occupancy
($995 optional single supplement)
$195 extra hotel night before the start of the tour based on double occupancy, $250 for single occupacy
• Ground transportation via SUV/van/minibus (depending on group size) with
• English-speaking driver, water, and WiFi
• 10 nights accommodations in 4*/5* hotels/riads with breakfast
• 2 lunches
• 7 dinners, wine or beer included
• Professional city guides in Fes and Marrakech
• Cooking class with lunch
• SUV excursion in the Sahara Desert
• Camel trek in the Sahara Desert
• Local taxes and fees
• Tips for bus drivers and city guides
• A Two Dog Travel tour director available 24/7
What's not included
• Airfare, airport taxes and other transportation to and from the pickup location
• Beverages with lunch
• Personal charges such as laundry, telephone calls, rooms service, mini-bar, souvenirs
• Private excursions not mentioned in the itinerary
• Gratuities for chambermaids or personal porters
• Gratuities for your Two Dog Travel tour director (at your discretion)
• Single supplement of $750 if not sharing a room
Tour Director - Jan Blanchard
The tour begins in Casablanca and ends in Marrakech. You'll need to fly into Casablanca and arrive by noon on September 12th so you'll need to leave the US on the 11th. You can fly out of either Marrakech or Casablanca. We will offer a transfer to both airports the morning of March 22..
Day 1 - Overnight in Casablanca, Radisson Blu - D
Welcome to Morocco! Upon arrival at the Casablanca Airport a driver will be waiting to take you to the hotel. In the early afternoon, we’ll start our Moroccan tour with a visit to the stunning Hassan II Mosque, the largest in Morocco and the third largest mosque in the world and one that non-muslims are allowed to enter. Able to accommodate up to 105,000 in prayer, this marvel of modern Moroccan architecture is the work of hundreds of expert craftsmen from around the country. (If the mosque is open for tours, we’ll enjoy a tour inside this amazing building). After our tour, we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.
Day 2 - Overnight in Fes, Riad El Amine - B, D
After breakfast and checking out, we’ll head to Rabat where we will visit the Hassan Tower, which has sat unfinished since 1199. Commissioned by Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur, the tower was to be the minaret for the largest mosque in the world. Unfortunately, when the sultan passed away in 1199, the project was abandoned, leaving some partial outer walls, 348 columns, and a minaret only standing half-finished at 140 feet rather than the intended 260. Standing opposite the Hassan Tower is the Mohammed V Mausoleum, which contains the tombs of Mohammed V, the current king’s grandfather, as well as the king’s father, Hassan II, and his uncle, Prince Abdallah. It is considered a masterpiece of Alaouite architecture with its white walls and green tiled roof. After our tour you’ll have free time for lunch at one of the restaurants at the Rabat Marina. Next we’ll make our way to Fes where we’ll check into our riad and enjoy dinner as a group.
Day 3 - Overnight in Fes, Riad El Amine - B, L
Today we’ll tour Fes with a private guide beginning at the royal palace, with its seven golden doors, and learn about the significance of the intricate decor. We’ll stroll through the Mellah, or Jewish quarter, which was built next to the palace to offer protection. We’ll take in the view of the city from Borj Sud, a former fortress and one of the lookouts on a hill. Next we’ll visit a pottery co-op and see how they make the famous and unique Fes pottery as well as the intricate mosaics adorning half of Morocco. Next it’s time to head into the ancient medina and step into a sort of living museum. The Fes medina is very much a local community that lives and works and goes about daily life in the medina and it’s sure to be a feast for the senses, in the best possible way! We’ll stop by the Al-Quaraouiyine University, the oldest degree-granting university still in operation, having been founded by a woman in 859. We’ll get a chance to visit several handicraft workshops, where you will see why Fes is considered the handicraft capital of Morocco. We’ll see silk weavers where beautifully colorful fabrics are woven from silk fibers of the agave plant and the famous Fes tannery, where they process all manner of animal hides by hand, much as they have for nearly 1,000 years. During the tour, we’ll will stop for lunch in a restaurant located in a unique location that you would never have kown existed. After our day touring, you’ll have the evening free to spend as you’d like.
Day 4 - Overnight in Fes, Riad El Amine- B, L
Today it’s time to learn about the Moroccan cuisine. In the morning we’ll enjoy a hands-on cooking class, either in Fes or with a local family in Meknes. We’ll learn to make traditional Moroccan dishes including tagine, cooked salads, bread, and, of course, Moroccan mint tea. After we finish our work, we’ll sit down to enjoy our dishes during lunch. After our feast you’ll have the rest of the day free to enjoy time in the Fes medina.
Day 5 - Overnight in Merzouga, Kasbah Mohayut - B, D
After breakfast and checking out, we’ll make our way south and get a taste of the diverse landscape of this beautiful country. We’ll make a coffee stop in Ifrane, a small ski resort town that is also known as the Swiss village of Morocco due to its alpine-style architecture. We’ll visit the wild monkeys in the cedar forests outside of Azrou and stop in Zaida for lunch where you can enjoy fresh barbecue in one of the many streetside restaurants. Next it’s time to cross the Atlas Mountains with its amazing scenery where you’ll view the lush green date and almond trees filling the gorge in Errachidia. In the evening we’ll arrive in Merzouga and check into our riad in time for dinner.
Day 6 - Overnight in the Sahara, Paradis du Sahara - B, L, D
Today will be a day to remember as we explore the Sahara Desert on an SUV excursion that takes us through the dunes. We’ll stop for tea with a nomadic family in their home and visit the Gnawa Village to listen to their entrancing music. The rhythmic, hypnotic music has long been part of their ceremonies, from the time their ancestors were brought to the area as slaves and has influenced an entire genre that is performed all across Morocco. Next we’ll hunt for fossils of aquatic animals. 7 million years ago the Sahara was once an ocean and there are countless fossils remaining. In the late afternoon, we’ll meet our camels and camel drivers for a camel trek to our desert camp. No doubt, the photos you get will be some of your favorite from the trip. We’ll arrive at our camp and enjoy a welcome glass of Moroccan mint tea and Moroccan cookies and take some time to relax before dinner at the camp followed by music around the bonfire.
Day 7 - Overnight in Ourazazate, Riad Ouarzazate - B, D
You may choose to wake up early to watch the sunrise over the dunes (an amazing experience) before enjoying a traditional Moroccan breakfast at the camp. After packing up, you’ll have the choice to return to our bus and driver via camel or SUV, where we’ll begin our journey west. We’ll make a stop in Boumalne Dades to see the stunning Todra Gorge, where a river has carve it from the red rocks of the landscape. In the afternoon, we’ll arrive in Ouarzazate, known as “Moroccan Hollywood” thanks to the Atlas Film Studio and other local spots used in filming. After checking into our Riad we’ll settle down to dinner as a group.
Day 8 - Overnight in Marrakech, Es Saadi Hotel - B, D
Before we leave Ouarzazate, we’ll stop at Ait Ben-Haddou, an ancient Ksar that has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and located along the former trade caravan route between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech. Don’t be surprised if it looks somewhat familiar as it is now often used as a filming location for movies and TV shows including Lawrence of Arabia, The Jewel of the Nile, The Mummy, Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator, Babel, The Amazing Race 10 and Game of Thrones. After our visit we’ll continue our journey across the Atlas Mountains via the winding Tichka Pass and its amazing views. We’ll arrive in Marrakech in the late afternoon, check into our hotel and enjoy dinner as a group.
Day 9 - Overnight in Marrakech, Es Saadi Hotel - B, L
Today we’ll tour Marrakech with a private guide and visit the Koutoubia minaret. Completed in 1199, its the tallest and part of the largest mosque in Marrakech. Within the city walls, no building is allowed to be taller than the Koutoubia’s 253 feet. We’ll stop at a Berber Apothecary shop and learn of the medicinal uses of many of the common spices and herbs that are still used across Morocco. We’ll then explore Jemaa el Fna, the primary square in the medina and a UNESCO world heritage site. Though now filled with street performers, snake charmers, merchants, and orange juice stalls, when it was created in 1050 it was used for public executions, perhaps leading to its name which can be translated as “assembly of death.” After experiencing this huge square, we’ll make our way into the souks surrounding Jemaa el Fna and visit several workshops, including shoemakers and bakers. During our time in the medina stop to enjoy lunch. After our tour of Marrakech, you’ll have the rest of the day free to spend as you’d like.
Day 10 - Overnight in Marrakech, Es Saadi Hotel - B, D
We'll begin the day with a tour of the beautiful Majorelle Gardens and Yves Saint Laurent Museum, created in 1923 by French Orientalist artist Jacque Majorelle and revitalized in the 1980s by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. After our tour you'll have the rest of the da y free to spend as you'd like. Perhaps indulge in a traditional hammam, which includes being covered in black beldi soap, scrubbed with an abrasive kessar mit to remove dead skin, and relaxing in a steam room. Or enjoy exploring the bustling city, wandering the souks looking for bargains and people-watching from streetside cafes. In the evening, we’ll meet back up to celebrate the end of the journey with a farewell dinner at a chic Marrakech restaurant.
Optional: For an additional fee, you may choose to skip the Gardens and spend the day hiking in the Atlas Mountains. You'll be picked up by a local hiking guide and spend the day on some the mountains trails.
Day 11 - B
Unfortunately, it’s time to leave this beautiful country. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport according to your flight schedule. There will be two transfers scheduled: one to the Marrakech airport and one to the Casablanca airport.
Note: The itinerary is descriptive, not definitive and is subject to change. In particular our actual itinerary will depend on hotel availability, which vary from year to year. There also may be modifications due to weather and availability of local activities and guides.