Sparkling coastlines, soaring mountains, ancient cities and the Sahara Desert

Sparkling coastlines, soaring mountains, lush valleys and the vast, unforgettable Sahara Desert – this is Morocco Encompassed. Travel in the footsteps of pirates, sultans and nomadic people, exploring the colonial architecture of Casablanca, the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, the medieval city of Fes and the intricate clay architecture of the Ait Benhaddou Kasbah. Enjoy the warm local hospitality and embark on exotic adventures like riding a camel over Saharan dunes, hiking in the High Atlas Mountains and haggling for treasures in bustling souqs. This exhilarating 18-day journey is the ultimate way to discover Morocco.


Start
Casablanca, Morocco
Finish
Marrakech, Morocco
Destination
Morocco
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
XMSQC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Experience a homestay in Moulay Idriss, widely regarded as Morocco's holiest place, and visit the tomb of Moulay Idriss I, great-grandson of Mohammed.

  • Spend two days relaxing in Essaouira and enjoy a guided walk through the art galleries and wood workshops within this walled seaside city.

  • Scale the High Atlas Mountains and trek through scenic Amazigh (Berber) villages, then spend the night with a local family in their gite.

  • Travel through the massive sand dunes of the Sahara Desert on a camel, then sleep under the North African stars at a Bedouin camp.

  • Step back in time with a guided tour of Fes’s medina. While many tourists get lost in the labyrinthine streets of the medina, you'll have a local to show you the way.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves plenty of walking and is best suited to travellers with a good level of mobility. Details on physical activities can be found in the itinerary.

  • Accommodation on this trip includes a desert camp, homestays and basic hotels.

  • When travelling in Morocco, temperatures can get very warm. Have a think about what time of year suits you best to travel.

  • This trip has departures that run during Ramadan. During this time, some restaurants and shops are closed, but you'll get unique insight into local customs. See Important Notes for more details.

  • Transport on this trip includes an overnight train journey. Details on this mode of transport can be found in the Important Notes section.

Itinerary

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. If you arrive with time to spare before the meeting, consider exploring the city on an immersive, local-led Urban Adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Casablanca - Jewish Museum - MAD50
  • Casablanca - Villa des Arts Gallery & Museum - Free
  • Casablanca - Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque - MAD130
  • Casablanca - Religious Casablanca Urban Adventure - MAD1206
  • Casablanca - The Medina and Beyond Urban Adventure - MAD948
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and emergency contact information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Please be aware that some of our travellers to Casablanca are being approached by locals offering excursions before their Intrepid trip commences. This has been particularly prevalent in and around the hotels used by Intrepid. These guides are in no way connected to Intrepid Travel and we cannot guarantee the safety or quality standards of their tours. For thoughtfully designed and safety assessed excursions in Casablanca, we recommend using our friends at Urban Adventures. See ur
Today take an early morning 1-hour train to the historical town of Rabat. Store your luggage and spend a few hours strolling through the city's Old Quarter on a orientation walk, then head to Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoy views over the Atlantic Ocean. Continue to Meknes by train (approximately 3 hours), then take a 45-minute taxi through scenic countryside to the sacred pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss. Explore the delightful medina of this ancient town that offers an excellent insight into traditional Moroccan life. See where the faithful gather to pay homage at the tomb of Moulay Idriss I, who was the great-grandson of Mohammed and brought Islam to Morocco. At sunset, enjoy great views over the plains of Volubilis below.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rabat - Walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your accommodation for the night is in a guesthouse/homestay with a local family. Bathroom facilities may be shared and you may be sharing a room with two or three others.
Today, take a guided tour of the World Heritage-listed site of Volubilis, one of the Roman empire's most remote bases. The remains make an undeniably impressive sight as they come into view on the edge of a long, high plateau. Enjoy a tour of the ancient hilltop ruins with a local guide. Afterwards, return to Meknes and take a few hours to explore at your own pace. The adventurous may want to try a camel burger for lunch at a local restaurant in the medina – don’t knock it ‘til you try it! In the afternoon, take a 1-hour train to Fes, where you'll spend the next two nights. Fes is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world, and the most ancient of Morocco's imperial cities.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Volubilis - Entrance and Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Please remember to pack drinking water, hat, sunglasses and sun cream for this tour as it may get hot and you will be exposed to the sun.
Take a guided group walking tour of the Old City, known locally as Fes el Bali. Step back into the Middle Ages in the labyrinth of the Medina, which is alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries and mosques. Pass donkeys piled high with goods (this is one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world) and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania: one of the city's most beautiful buildings, which has recently been restored and is now open to tourists. Visit Medresse el Attarine and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine: a beautifully restored 18th century inn. You'll also see the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramics factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. After the tour, the afternoon is free. In the evening, enjoy a delicious group dinner of Moroccan specialities like harira (chickpea soup) and chicken-stuffed pastilla with couscous.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fes - Medina Walking Tour with Local Guide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that today’s experience will include shopping in carefully selected places. As 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, Intrepid has established a centralised system of receiving and distributing payments from these recommended suppliers. If you do not wish to participate, you can sit it out and meet your group after they have finished.
Take a local 4-hour bus to Chefchaouen today. Set against a wide valley and nestled between two peaks in the stunning Rif Mountains, much of Chefchaouen was recreated by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquistia, so you might feel like you're in the hills of Spain. Your afternoon and evening are free. Perhaps take a stroll through the ancient medina and shop for handicrafts, go hiking in the Rif mountains, or simply sit at a cafe and enjoy the pleasure of time passing by. If you're feeling peckish, the local goat’s cheese is a popular treat enjoyed by many visitors.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day for you to explore Chefchaouen as you wish. Perhaps take a guided tour of the sights, sounds, and smells of the medina, or sample the delicious local specialties at a cafe in the Plaza Uta el-Hammam. Alternatively, you might prefer to get out of town and enjoy a hike and picnic in the surrounding hills. In the evening, how about tucking into a tagine at a local restaurant or visit a hammam a traditional Moroccan spa? The night is yours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chefchaouen - Walking Tour with Local Guide - MAD300
  • Picnic lunch for hike - MAD70
  • Chefchaouen - Kasbah - MAD20
  • Medina visit with local guide - MAD300
  • Chefchaouen - Hammam (public baths) - MAD150
  • Chefchaouen - Henna Tattoo - MAD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a 3-hour private minibus journey to the coastal town of Tangier – a place of strategic importance to the Mediterranean as gateway to Africa. Your afternoon here is free. Perhaps visit the American Legation Museum, the former palace of Dar el-Makhzen or the Caves of Hercules. You could also enjoy a fresh seafood dinner by the port, watching the sun set over the Atlantic. Later tonight, board an overnight sleeper train bound for Marrakech.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • American Legation Museum - MAD20
  • Museum Dar El Mekhzen - MAD20
  • The Caves of Hercules - MAD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive early into Marrakech and then the day is free for you to explore. Perhaps visit the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its 12th-century minaret, which was the famous prototype for the Giralda tower in Seville. Or, you could take a wander through the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). In the evening, join the thronging crowds for an optional dinner in the Djemaa el Fna: the city's main square. When night falls it transforms into a hive of activity. Henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Marrakech - Marjorelle Gardens - MAD70
  • Marrakech - Palais Bahia - MAD70
  • Marrakech - Palais Badi - MAD70
  • Marrakech - Saadian Tombs - MAD70
  • Marrakech - Medersa Ben Youssef - MAD40
  • Marrakech - Museum of Marrakech - MAD40
  • Marrakech - Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
  • Marrakech - Photography Museum - MAD40
  • Marrakech - A Taste Of Marrakech: Inside the Medina Urban Adventure - MAD605
  • Marrakech - Tajine Cookery Class Urban Adventure - MAD640
  • Marrakech - Cascades d'Ouzoud Day Tour - MAD2207
  • Marrakech - Hot Air Ballooning - MAD2050
  • Marrakech - Luxury Spa Hammam & Massage - MAD750
  • Marrakech - Ourika Valley Day Tour - MAD1817
  • Marrakech - Oukaimeden Day Tour - MAD1882
  • Marrakech - Asni & Ouirgane Day Trip with Lunch - MAD1806
  • Marrakech - Quad Biking Barrage Lalla Takerkoust - MAD1650
  • Marrakech - Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove - MAD715
  • Marrakech - Medina, Palaces & Tombs Urban Adventure - MAD630
  • Marrakech - Heart of the Atlas Mountains Cycling Day Tour - MAD2000
  • Marrakech - Palmery Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Marrakech - Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Marrakech - Imlil & Aroumd Day Tour - MAD1817
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free day for you to discover Marrakech further. There are no activities planned until a meeting at 6 pm to welcome any new people joining your adventure. If you would like to relax after the first part of your journey, ask your leader to help you out with booking a session in a hammam.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Take a short drive into the High Atlas Mountains to the village of Imlil (approximately 2 hours). On arrival, store your main luggage and load daypacks onto pack mules. Make the 1-hour trek to the peaceful village of Aroumd. 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 (Amazigh) Berber culture. Spend the night in a family-run mountain gite where, surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, you will enjoy traditional hospitality and food. 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 around eight kilometres to the pilgrimage shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (approximately 4 hours return). Regardless of your fitness levels, the gentle pace of Aroumd makes it a special place to explore beyond the reach of the modern world.
Accommodation
  • Gite (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Aroumd - Guided Hike in the High Atlas Mountains
Optional Activities
  • Aroumd - Mule Ride from Imlil to Aroumd - MAD80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The optional walk to Sidi Chamharouch shrine requires appropriate footwear. A pair of good walking shoes with rigid and grippy sole will be sufficient. You will walk over well-trodden paths that may be muddy and unstable.

Facilities at the homestay are shared (both the bathroom and sleeping arrangements) but cosy, comfortable and definitely a unique Intrepid experience.

If you feel like the walk is too strenuous, there's the option of riding the mule (extra cost).
This morning journey along mountain roads and over Morocco's highest pass, Tizi n'Tichka (2260 metres), 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, ivory and slaves. The town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Enjoy a guided 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. Your evening is free, with the option of partaking in a local cooking demonstration and meal of Morocco's most famous dishes: couscous and tagine. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ait Benhaddou - Cooking Demonstration & Dinner - MAD100
  • Ait Benhaddou - Henna Tattoo - MAD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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). 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. On arrival, take a stroll through the palm groves, explore the ksars and wander around the surrounding countryside.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ouarazate - Atlas Movie Studios - MAD80
  • Ouarzazate - Kasbah Taourirt - MAD20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive 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. On arrival, visit an intriguing library filled with ancient scripts of science, literature, the Koran and stories of the prophet Mohammed (subject to unregulated opening times). Afterwards, join a local guide to uncover the underground Kasbah. Afterwards, carry on driving to the frontier town of M'Hamid (approximately 1 hour). From here, take a short camel ride through the dunes, then jump into 4WD vehicles and drive to the massive Erg Chigaga dunes. Arrive in the late afternoon. Enjoy a night under the stars at your desert camp.
Accommodation
  • Desert camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tamegroute - Ancient Library
  • Sahara Desert - Camel Ride
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
The camel trek through the Sahara 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 it’s a gentle and relaxing walk. The camp itself is a simple affair, with bedding and basic toilet facilities provided. The blankets provided are usually sufficient for most travellers between April and October, but if you feel the cold easily you may like to bring your own sleeping bag for extra warmth, especially during the months between November and March. Electricity is not available in the camp therefore it’s important to come prepared with fully charged phones, cameras and everything else you may need.
Travel to the market town of Oulad Brhhil by minivan. The journey should take around 8 hours in total, including several stops. This drive goes through desert scenery and along a route that's a reserve for the indigenous argan trees. If you're lucky, the group might come across the famous image of goats climbing these trees in search of nuts. Arrive at your accommodation by the early evening and relax after a long day of travel.
Accommodation
  • Riad (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
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 45 kilometres outside of Taroudant and offers the chance to relax by the pool or take a steamed bath.
In the morning, take to the souqs and haggle with local traders for silver jewellery or colourful Moroccan ceramics and mosaics. Afterwards, 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. You’ll arrive in the early evening, so there won’t be much time to look around today. 
Accommodation
  • Riad (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, join a local guide for a walking tour through the old medina, Jewish mellah, port and skala (sea wall). Afterwards, enjoy free time for the rest of the day. Maybe grab a freshly-cooked plate of the day's catch at the port, or browse the plentiful shops and intriguing art galleries. If you’d prefer to relax, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in a hammam or local-style bath.
Accommodation
  • Riad (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Essaouira - Walking Tour with Local Guide
Optional Activities
  • Essaouira - Hamam (public baths) - MAD200
  • Essaouira - Berber Massage - MAD350
  • Essaouira - Horse Riding - MAD250
  • Essaouira - Seafood Market Lunch - MAD80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free morning Essaouira, then catch a bus back to Marrakech in the afternoon (approximately 3 hours). Enjoy free time on arrival to explore or partake in optional activities. Maybe check out the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, or the ruins of the Palais Badi.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Marrakech - A Taste Of Marrakech: Inside the Medina Urban Adventure - MAD605
  • Marrakech - Tajine Cookery Class Urban Adventure - MAD640
  • Marrakech - Cascades d'Ouzoud Day Tour - MAD2207
  • Marrakech - Hot Air Ballooning - MAD2050
  • Marrakech - Luxury Spa Hammam & Massage - MAD750
  • Marrakech - Ourika Valley Day Tour - MAD1817
  • Marrakech - Oukaimeden Day Tour - MAD1882
  • Marrakech - Asni & Ouirgane Day Trip with Lunch - MAD1806
  • Marrakech - Heart of the Atlas Mountains Cycling Day Tour - MAD2000
  • Marrakech - Medina, Palaces & Tombs Urban Adventure - MAD630
  • Marrakech - Palmery Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Marrakech - Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your adventure ends after breakfast. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Marrakech (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

16 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

4x4, Overnight sleeper train, Private Bus, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Train

Accommodation

Desert Camp (1 night), Gite (1 night), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (10 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night), Riad (3 nights)

Included activities

  • Rabat - Walking tour
  • Volubilis - Entrance and Guided Tour
  • Fes - Medina Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Aroumd - Guided Hike in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Tamegroute - Ancient Library
  • Sahara Desert - Camel Ride
  • Essaouira - Walking Tour with Local Guide

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip for solo travellers who don’t want to share a room, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include the following nights:
- Day 2 Moulay Idriss
- Day 7 Overnight Train
- Day 10 Aroumd
- Day 13 Sahara desert.
On these nights a single room does not form part of the package and even if you have paid a Single Supplement you will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please contact your booking agent.

COMMISSIONS
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 travellers. 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 centralised system of receiving payments from these recommended suppliers, which are then distributed towards local Responsible Travel projects (such as 'say no to plastic' cotton bags for our travellers and drinking water refilling stations), traveller 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 travellers feedback and experiences and Intrepid cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of the product. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.

RAMADAN
In 2020, Ramadan will take place from 23 April to 23 May. Travelling in Morocco during this holy month can be a rewarding cultural experience. However, some regular services may not be available during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars, and occasionally travel can be disrupted by events. Your local leader will adjust the itinerary accordingly, but please consider your travel arrangements carefully before booking travel for this period.

TRANSPORT
On Day 7 of the trip, a 3-hour journey by public bus to Tangier is windy in places so it's not for the faint hearted. Although the backdrop of the stunning Rif Mountains makes this a truly scenic journey.
There's an overnight train on Day 7 of the trip. The train has four-berth couchette compartments with upper and lower bunks on each side, so you may be sharing a confined space with people outside of your travel group. Overnight trains are a great way to meet the locals and other travellers, as well as ensuring you get maximum time in various destinations.
The train from Rabat to Meknes on Day 2 can get pretty busy at peak periods, so we’d recommend packing lightly in a rucksack to make sure you can get on and off the train easily.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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