Join us as we explore all of your favorite Moroccan towns and the Moroccan Sahara. The buzz of Marrakech, the heritage of Fes, and the beauty of Merzouga and Moroccan Sahara are all highlights of our Imperial Cities and Desert Tour.
Our Imperial Cities and Desert Tour starts upon your arrival in Marrakech. We take you to rest a bit in a Riad in the Medina of Marrakech.
The Koutoubia Minaret and the Saadian tombs will be our first stop of the day. The tombs are magnificent mausoleums from the sixteenth century. We then visit Medersas Ben Youssef (Coranic University), the domed Koubba, and the Dar Si El-Said Museum.
We go to the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) and the Jewish Cemetery. We also visit Yves St. Laurent’s Majorelle Gardens. Lunch will be served at El-Medina. Then, in the early evening, we return to El-Fna Square, which comes alive with storytellers. Dinner will be served at the hotel where you will spend the night.
After breakfast in your Riad, you head to Essaouira, “Mogador”. Just before arriving in Essaouira, and because this is the country of the “Argan culture,” you will observe flocks of goats climbing the Argan trees in search of better food than what they can get on the ground.
You get the opportunity to see the women’s cooperative of Argan oil where they extract the oil that is famous for its culinary, aesthetic, and medicinal benefits. Arrive in Essaouira at 11 a.m. and begin your journey of the city; you will see the Skala Fortress, Thuya wood carved by artists, and walk through the alleys of the medina, viewing hundreds of handicrafts.
Essaouira has seen various civilizations, notably the Portuguese occupation, which has left its mark on much of its architecture, yet it remains a little community steeped in history. It is also known as Morocco’s “Jewel of the Atlantics” due to its grandeur and distinctive blue doors and washed walls. Our tour covers the Mellah, the Jewish headquarters, as well as the seashore.
There is an annual “Gnawa music” festival when numerous musical groups from all over Africa and the world perform. You’ll eat lunch the Moroccan way: purchased fish cooked to order. You will then have some free time before we bring you back to Marrakech.
Following an early breakfast, you will depart for the High Atlas Mountains via Ouarzazate. It is one of Morocco’s treasures, tucked hidden in the High Atlas Mountains lays Ait Benhaddou Kasbah.
This area has been utilized in more films than any other in Morocco, including Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, and, most recently, The Gladiator. Lunch will be available at Ait Benhaddou.
After lunch, go to the Dades Gorge via the “Thousand Kasbahs Road,” which provides many excellent photo possibilities of nature and people. We’ll go to Kalaat Mgouna, which is famed for roses and has an annual festival during the rose harvest in May, and then to Bouthahrar via the Rose Valley. On to the Dades Valley, where you will be able to observe the famed “monkey toes” rock formation.
On day 5 of our Imperial Cities and Sahara Desert Tour, you will depart for Merzouga through the Todra Gorge and the little towns of Erfoud and Rissani, after you’ve had breakfast. In Todra Valley, visitors may enjoy panoramic views of the valley’s historic mud Berber settlements. You will be able to stroll under the 300m high red cliff at Todra Gorge, which is popular with rock climbers. You will have an hour here to hike around the valley. Following that, we will continue our journey to Erfoud and Rissani, where we will have lunch before departing for Merzouga.
After breakfast, you will begin exploring the region before embarking on a camel trip and spending the night at the desert camp. You’ll go to the Gnawa people, who were initially transported from Sudan as slaves, to learn about their music and culture. Merzouga Lake, where birds live, is not far away. You will also visit Errissani’s souk.
If you have time, you may also go to the nomad wire house, where many Berber handicrafts are less than in the larger towns. In the afternoon, you will saddle your camel and journey across the Merzouga sand sea, arriving in time to see the sunset before dinner in the tent where you will spend the night.
We will wake you up early in the morning to view what may be the finest sunrise of your life. You’ll return to Merzouga on a pleasant camel trip. Over the dunes, you can’t help but notice how the beautiful Erg Chebbi sand dunes change with the light as the day advances.
You proceed to Fes after breakfast via the Ziz Valley and Azrou. You will be captivated by the spectacular Ziz Gorges cut in volcanic rock, as well as the Tizi n’Talghamt Pass to Midelt. Stop at Zaida for a BBQ and refreshments with a drink of mint tea before continuing on to Fes where the night will be spent. You will make a halt in the Cedar Forest, which is located in the Middle Atlas Mountains.
In Fes, you will start exploring the oldest city in Morocco, walking in its alleys and small streets. Our visit starts by touring the Royal Palace gate, the Jewish headquarter, the first Mellah ever built in Morocco – during the 16th century.
We will ensure that you visit all Fassi sites of cultural and historical interest including the famous Al Qaraouiyine University – the oldest in the region, the Tanneries, the Attarine Museum, and the Mulay Idriss mausoleum. After lunch, you will visit the tiles cooperative and then experience a wonderful panoramic view over the whole Medina of Fes to end day 8 of our Imperial Cities and Sahara Desert Tour.
You will go from Volubilis to Rabat via Meknes. Your route will take you via the Rif Mountains and the Zgouta foothills. You will arrive in Volubilis, the well-preserved Roman Empire in North Africa dating back to 25BC, where you will witness the most exquisite Mosaics in Morocco dating back to the third century BC. You’ll learn a lot about Morocco’s Roman occupation and culture here.
Following that, we’ll go to Meknes, Morocco’s Ismaili capital, to witness the intriguing gate Bab Mansour erected by Sultan My Ismail, the royal granary, and the Sahrij Souani basin utilized for irrigation and cultivation. After some free time at Lahdim Square, you’ll take the route back to Rabat.
Here ends our Imperial Cities and Desert Tour. We will drive you to Casablanca airport for your departure flight after breakfast in your Riad.
Contact us if you have any questions. We will be waiting to assist you both over the phone and face-to-face.
Book our 10-Day Imperial Cities and Desert Tour to explore many of the country’s Imperial Cities and its Desert. The beauty of Morocco awaits you!