Southern Morocco

Price

Want your own room?

$800 USD per person

$883 USD per person*

*Single rooms are not available at the gite or desert camp

 

*International flights are not included, but our team would be happy to connect you with our flight partner for assistance.

Days 10
Departing September 1, 2017

Exclusive perks

  • Over 15% savings
  • Vineyard visit
  • Airport transfers

Cycle Namibia with Intrepid and Bicycles for Humanity

 

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Experience the wonder, heritage and culture of magical Morocco

From the colorful, chaotic Marrakech medinas to the moody Sahara desert landscape, Morocco is a land filled with wonder and rich culture. Stay in traditional accommodation and explore villages off the beaten track. 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 travelers looking to discover all of its hidden treasures.

 

Start Marrakech, Morocco Physical rating 2 out of 5
Finish Marrakech, Morocco Ages Min 15 years
Destination Morocco Group size 12 people
Departing September 1, 2017 Style Original

 

Why we love this trip

  • Scale the High Atlas Mountains and trek through scenic Berber villages, spending a night in a traditional Berber homestay. 

  • Negotiate your way through the winding alleys of Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, a superb example of Moroccan architecture rich in history and mystery.

  • Moroccan cuisine is interpreted throughout the world in different ways. While in Ait Benhaddou, master the way traditional way of preparing Moroccan couscous and tagines.

  • Travel through the Sahara desert in a camel convoy, sleep under the North African stars and enjoy an evening beside the campfire listening to Bedouin tales.

  • Put your feet up and relax in the laid-back coastal town of Essaouira. 

  • Djemaa El-Fna isn't just a marketplace, it's a way of life. Marrakesh's largest outdoor food market is brimming with activity and is a great place to sample Moroccan delicacies. 

Is this trip right for you?

  • A camel trek through the Sahara Desert is a highlight of the trip for many. If you're uncomfortable with this, it's possible to walk alongside the camels for about an hour to the camp. You would need to walk back the same distance the next morning, but don’t worry - it’s a gentle, relaxing walk.

  • The opposite can be said for the hike up to Aroumd, as you'll be trekking up steep, rocky steps for around an hour. If you do decide to do this walk then you'll need comfortable walking shoes, but you can also hire a mule to ride up all the way. 

  • Although you shouldn’t expect any aggressive selling techniques in Morocco, please be aware that you may be approached by shop owners and street vendors offering their goods to you on regular occasions.

  • The desert can also get cold at night, so remember to bring base layers and warm clothing.

 

Itinerary

Welcome to Marrakech, Morocco. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colors of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm – check in reception for time and place confirmation. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details at this meeting, so please have these on hand. There's not much time to explore Marrakech after the meeting, but if you arrive early there's plenty to see and do. 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.

    Included Activities
    • Arrival transfer - airport to hotel
    • Koutoubia Mosque and minaret
    Optional Activities
    • Marjorelle Gardens - MAD70
    • Marrakech - Palais Bahia - MAD10
    • Palais Badi - MAD10
    • Saadian Tombs - MAD10
    • Medersa Ben Youssef - MAD40
    • Museum of Marrakech - MAD40
    • Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
    • Photography Museum - MAD40
    Meals Included
    • There are no meals included on this day
    Accommodation
    • Hotel 

    Today, take a short drive up the towering High Atlas Mountains to the village of Imlil (approximately 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, 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 wood stoves and bread, meet the host family and enjoy Berber hospitality and food. Facilities at the home-stay are shared (both the bathroom and sleeping arrangements) but cosy, comfortable and definitely a unique Intrepid experience. Use the rest of the day to explore the village and the surrounding farmlands. If the group are up for it and weather permits, there will be a chance to hike of around five miles to the pilgrimage shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (approximately 4 hours return). Regardless of fitness levels, the gentle pace of Aroumd makes it a special place to explore beyond the reach of the modern world.

      Included Activities
      • Guided trek in the High Atlas Mountains
      • Homemade lunch and dinner at gite
      Optional Activities
      • Mule ride - Imlil to Aroumd - MAD50
      Meals Included
      • Breakfast
      • Lunch
      • Dinner
      Accommodation
      • Gite 

      This morning journey along mountain roads and over Morocco's highest pass, Tizi n'Tichka (7,415 feet), to Ait Benhaddou on the edges of the Sahara (approximately 6 hours). Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco's most iconic sites. It was once an important stop for caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold and ivory. Today its grand kasbah has been listed as a World Heritage site, with its fortified village being a fine example of clay architecture. If you think you recognize the place, you probably do, as the town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. 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, while preparing a feast.

        Included Activities
        • Kasbah Air Benhaddou visit
        Optional Activities
        • Cooking class and dinner - MAD100
        • Henna tattooing - MAD50
        Meals Included
        • Breakfast

        Accommodation

        • Hotel 

        This morning you'll journey south towards the Sahara, stopping in the regularly used film location of Ouarzazate along the way (approximately 5 hours in total). While here, make a short visit to Horizon Association for People with Disabilities. This is an organization dedicated to the rehabilitation, health and empowerment of people with disabilities. Some of the services they provide include the building and fitting of prosthetic limbs and custom-made wheelchairs, and physio and social therapy for sufferers of accidents and illness. They also operate an artisan workshop, which trains local people in trades such as pottery, weaving, metal work and jewelry making. Since their establishment in 1994, the Horizon Association has served over 3,000 people. We're very proud to support this project through The Intrepid Foundation. 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.

          Included Activities
          • Horizon Association for People With Disabilities visit
          Optional Activities
          • Atlas Movie Studios - MAD50
          • Kasbah Taourirt - MAD20
          Meals Included
          • Breakfast
          Accommodation
          • Hotel 

          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 (approximately 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 nearly 500 ft. in height. Your camp for the night is fairly basic with bedding, mattresses and toilet facilities provided. 

            Included Activities
            • Ancient library
            • Camel ride
            Meals Included
            • Breakfast
            • Dinner
            Accommodation
            • Camp site 

            Today rejoin the minivan and venture towards the market town of Taroudannt, sometimes called ‘Little Marrakech’. 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 use. It is only produced in Morocco, and is certainly a trademark of Morocco around the world. If you're lucky, the group might come across the famous image of goats climbing these trees in search of nuts. Please note that this is a long travel day, and you won't arrive at tonight's accommodation until late afternoon/early evening. The riad (house) tonight is 28 miles outside of Taroudannt and offers the chance to relax by the pool or take a steamed bath.

            Meals Included
            • Breakfast
            Accommodation
            • Riad 
             

              In the morning, take to the souqs and haggle with local traders for silver jewelry or colorful Moroccan ceramics and mosaics. Afterwards, leave the valleys of the High Atlas Mountains behind and head west to the coastal town of Essaouira (approximately 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 laid-back artists' town is a former Portuguese trading colony and was once home to sizable 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 harbor is filled with tiny colorful 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.

                Meals Included
                • Breakfast
                Accommodation
                • Riad 

                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 explore. 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 colored 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.

                  Included Activities
                  • Guided walking tour Essaouira
                  Optional Activities
                  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD200
                  • Berber massage - MAD350
                  • Horse riding - MAD250
                  • Seafood Market Lunch - Essaouira - MAD80
                  Meals Included
                  • Breakfast
                  Accommodation
                  • Riad 

                  After breakfast you'll travel back to Marrakech by private vehicle and make a stop at a family-owned vineyard to sample the wines. Upon arriving to Marrakech, you'll have some free time before taking a food tour through the medina. This Marrakech food tour will get you up close and personal with the food scene in this exciting city. Wander through the souks, sampling olives, dried fruits, nuts, pastries, and other Moroccan specialties. Visit a local spice market and hear how spices are used in Moroccan dishes, see the mouth-watering variety of food on offer in the iconic Djemaa El-Fna, and dig in to a traditional dinner amongst the spectacular sights of this world heritage square.

                  Included Activities

                  • Wine Tasting
                  • Urban Adventures – A Taste of Marrakech Inside The Medina
                  Meals Included
                  • Breakfast
                  • Dinner

                  Accommodation

                  • Hotel 

                  Today your Morocco tour comes to an end. Feel free to depart at any time.  

                    Included Activity

                    • Airport transfer 
                    Meals Included
                    • Breakfast

                     

                    Inclusions

                    Meals

                    9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners

                    Transport

                    4x4, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi

                    Accommodation

                    Camp site (1 night), Gite (1 night), Hotel (4 nights), Riad (3 nights)

                    Inclusions

                    • 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
                    • Visit to a local winery
                    • Airport transfers

                    Important notes

                    1. COMMISSION
                      The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Moroccan tourism industry. In an effort to best control and monitor shopping and activities with an aim for the best experience possible, Intrepid has established a system of carefully selected shopping experiences and activities based on positive feedback from our previous travelers. On occasion these will be as part of included walking tours or outside of included activities in free time. Please note that if you feel that you do not wish to join in on these shopping experiences we assure you there is no obligation and if you indicate your desire to not partake your group leader will help to facilitate a suitable alternative during this time.
                      Intrepid have set up a centralized system of receiving payments from these recommended suppliers, of which are then distributed towards local Responsible Travel projects (such as 'say no to plastic' cotton bags for our travelers and drinking water refilling stations), traveler information packs, and leader bonuses. Further details of these arrangements can be provided by your group leader on request.
                      While Intrepid endeavors to ensure that these suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality, please note recommended suppliers are chosen based on past travelers feedback and experiences and Intrepid cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of the product. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of you our traveler is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.

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