South Morocco Discovery

South Morocco Discovery

Discover the culture and tradition of an indigenous population who have stood the test of time. From the colourful, chaotic Marrakech medinas to the moody Sahara desert landscape, Morocco is a land filled with wonder and rich culture. Learn the secret to the perfect Moroccan couscous, visit the grand Ait Benhaddou kasbah, travel through the Sahara on a camel and relax on Essaouira beach. Abounding with myths and legends, Morocco offers a surprise around every corner - this fast-paced tour will delight travellers looking to discover all of its hidden treasures.

Day 1 : Marrakech

Welcome to Marrakech, Morocco. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. If you have time, you could also search out the spectacular mosques, tombs and ruins that are dotted around the city. Tonight perhaps head to the city’s main square – Djemaa El-Fna – for a bite of famous Moroccan pastries with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Meal: None


Day 2 : Aroumd

Today, take a short drive up the towering High Atlas Mountains to the village of Imlil (approx. 2 hours), photographing snow-dappled mountains and valleys in full flower along the way. On arrival, store your main luggage and load daypacks onto pack mules before walking into traditional mountain village life with a one-hour trek up to the peaceful village of Aroumd. If you feel like the walk is too strenuous then there's the option of riding the mule. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the remote village of Aroumd offers stunning views across the High Atlas Mountains and a unique opportunity to experience traditional Berber culture. Spend the night in a family-run mountain home (gite) in Aroumd. Surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, meet the host family and enjoy Berber hospitality and food. Use the rest of the day to explore the village and the surrounding farmlands.

Meal: Breakfast Lunch Dinner


Day 3 : Ait Benhaddou

This morning be ready for your journey along mountain roads and over Morocco's highest pass, Tizi n'Tichka (2,260 mts), to Ait Benhaddou on the edges of the Sahara (approx. 6 hours). Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco's most iconic site. It was once an important stop for caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold, ivory and slaves. Today its grand kasbah has been listed as a World Heritage site, with its fortified village being a fine example of clay architecture. Enjoy a walk through the winding streets of old town, making your way to the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy the views across the surrounding plains. In the evening, why not join a simple cooking demonstration of Morocco's most famous cuisine: couscous and tagine. The locals will explain the secrets and subtleties of these traditional meals, as the ladies of the kitchen prepare a feast.

Meal: Breakfast


Day 4 : Zagora

This morning you'll head south towards the Sahara, stopping in the regularly used film location of Ouarzazate along the way (approx. 5 hours). While here, make a short visit to Horizon Association for People with Disabilities. This is an organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation, health and empowerment of people with disabilities. Continue to travel through the lush Draa Valley to Zagora, a small oasis town on the Sahara fringe that is perfect for an overnight stop. Take a stroll through the palm groves, explore the ksars and wander around the surrounding countryside.

Meal: Breakfast


Day 5 : Sahara Camp

Continue along the rugged and desolate Jbel Tadrart ranges and through seas of sand and past the occasional desert oasis of date palms to the township of Tamegroute. Visit an intriguing library filled with ancient scripts of science, literature, the Koran and stories of the prophet Mohammed (subject to unregulated opening times). Join a local guide to uncover the underground Kasbah and its unique ceramic pottery industry. Leave Tamegroute behind and carry on driving to the end of the road at the frontier town of M'Hamid (approx. 1 hour). From here, take a short camel ride through the dunes, where you’ll jump into 4WD vehicles. The rough track runs parallel to the Algerian border, across the stony Hamada desert, whose only populace is small scatterings of nomadic people and their camels. The group will reach the massive Erg Chigaga dunes in the late afternoon. An erg is a vast sea of shifting wind-swept sand that's formed into picturesque, undulating crests and valleys. The Erg Chigaga is one of the world's iconic landscapes, with towering dunes up to 150 metres in height. Your camp for the night is fairly basic with bedding, mattresses and toilet facilities provided. During the winter months of November to March it can get very cold at night, so it’s a good idea to bring base layers and a warm sleeping bag.

Meal: Breakfast Dinner


Day 6 : Taroudannt

Today rejoin the minivan and venture towards the market town of Taroudannt, sometimes called ‘Little Marrakesh’. The journey should take around six hours in total. This drive goes through desert scenery and along a route that's a reserve for the indigenous argan trees. Argan oil is highly prized for its culinary, cosmetic and medicinal uses and is only produced in Morocco, and is certainly a trademark of Morocco around the world. The riad (house) tonight is 45 kilometres outside of Taroudannt and offers the chance to relax by the pool or take a steamed bath.

Meal: Breakfast


Day 7 : Essaouira

In the morning, take to the souqs and haggle with local traders for silver jewellery or colourful Moroccan ceramics and mosaics. Afterwards, leave the valleys of the High Atlas Mountains behind and head west to the coastal town of Essaouira (approx. 5 hours). The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it's such a picturesque town. Its charm is undeniable; within the stone ramparts you'll find whitewashed houses with bright blue shutters, art galleries and wood workshops. This laidback artists' town is a former Portuguese trading colony and was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations. The town faces a group of rocky islands, called the Mogador, and is surrounded by an expanse of sandy beaches and dunes. It's still a busy fishing port and its pretty harbour is filled with tiny colourful boats which go out early every morning for the day's catch. As you’ll arrive in the early evening, there won’t be much time to look around today. In the evening perhaps have some dinner with the group, as the local seafood is as fresh as it gets.

Meal: Breakfast


Day 8 : Essaouira

Today, join a local guide for a walking tour through the old medina, Jewish mellah, port and skala (sea wall). Afterwards, use your free time to get under the skin of the town. The narrow streets of Essaouira are ideal for casual exploration. Their size discourages cars, and on walk through the town it feels as though little has changed since the days of sea pirates. The fishing port is a serious commercial operation and there’s much fun to be had observing the daily catch and its subsequent auction. A freshly-cooked plate of the day's catch is highly recommended. Browse the plentiful shops and intriguing art galleries that make this little town a particularly pleasant place to unwind for a few days. It has a growing reputation for its unique art and is becoming even more famous for its burled Thuya wood, delicately formed and inlaid in tiny shops that are built into the thick walls of the Portuguese ramparts. The scent from the oils used to polish the richly coloured wood permeates the air and makes walking down the streets incredibly pleasant. If you’d prefer to relax, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in a hammam or local-style bath.

Meal: Breakfast


Day 9 : Marrakech

Use the morning to see the last of Essaouira, as you’ll catch a bus back to Marrakech in the afternoon (approx. 3 hours). The monuments of Marrakech are numerous and range from the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its superb minaret to the lesser-known tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle. There's the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, and the ruins of the Palais Badi, reputedly one of the most beautiful palaces in the world in its time. The Saadian tombs are a recently uncovered gem of the Medina. All of the above can be a challenge to locate, but that's all part of the experience of exploring the phenomenal medinas of Morocco. Explore the Medina for some last-minute shopping, where every step brings a new smell, a new sight or a new gift to buy. This evening you will likely be drawn back to the Djemaa El-Fna, and its surrounding medina. When night falls on this square it transforms in to a hive of activity. Snake-charmers, henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies. Perhaps dine with the group here – a great way to finish your adventure.

Meal: Breakfast


Day 10 : Marrakech

Your 'South Morocco Discovery' adventure ends after breakfast. Check out time is usually around 12.00pm, but you’re free to leave any time before.

Meal: Breakfast


    • Accommodation on twin share basis for number of nights in the itinerary - Camp site (1 night), Gite (1 night), Hotel (4 nights), Riad (3 nights)
    • Transport as mentioned on the itinerary (Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi)
    • Meals as in the itinerary (9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners)
    • Services of a group leader as described in the Trip Notes.
    • Included Activities
    • Koutoubia Mosque and minaret
    • Guided trek in the High Atlas Mountains
    • Horizon Association for People With Disabilities visit
    • Ancient library
    • Camel ride
    • Guided walking tour Essaouira
Exclusions:
Any airfare, train fare, travel insurance, airport taxes & visa. Any meals not mentioned in the itinerary. All items of personal nature & tips. Any natural calamity which is beyond the control of the tour operator. Anything not mentioned in "Package Includes". Rooms are subject to availability. GST 5%. Any Increase in the rate of exchange leading to an increase in land arrangements and high season surcharge if any, will have to be borne by the client. Standard terms & conditions apply.
Disclaimer:
Cost per person on twin sharing basis. Rates valid till 8th January 2018.Travel Insurance covering medical and evacuation expenses is mandatory for all travelers. Any Increase in the rate of exchange leading to an increase in land arrangements and high season surcharge if any, will have to be borne by the client. Standard terms and conditions apply.