Eight day heritage, culture and Sahara tour from Marrakech

Tour Reference DVC-MM8/132

An inspiring eight-day tour where we invite you to explore the culture of Morocco’s four Imperial Cities, the spectacle of the High Atlas Mountains, and the natural beauty of the Southern Valleys.

Our journey includes a visit to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, camel trekking with the magic of sleeping under the stars in the Sahara Desert and a full day of sightseeing in Marrakech.

Category Classic Discovery Tour
Duration 8 Days
Starts From Marrakech
Returns to Marrakech
Group Size 2 - 6
Prices from €600

Tour itinerary

Day 1

Marrakech | Casablanca | Rabat

After meeting you at your hotel or riad at around 8.00am, we set off towards the biggest city in Morocco and home to the largest mosque and grandest shopping centre in Africa. Casablanca.

 

Our first stop is the Hassan II Mosque where you can join a professionally guided tour. Constructed on an artificial (earthquake-proof) promontory into the Ocean and completed in 1993, the Hassan II Mosque can accommodate 25,000 worshippers inside with capacity for a further 80,000 within the plazas outside.

 

 

With the tallest minaret in the world, at 210 metres, Moorish-influenced architecture and stunning attention to detail through the intricate cedar wood carvings, mosaics and Zellige tilework, one can only admire in awe at the magnificence of this outstanding place of worship.

Before heading up the coast towards Rabat, there’s time for refreshments along Casablanca’s beachside Corniche and perhaps a glimpse at Rick’s Café which trades on its namesake from that well known 1942 movie. From its 7th century BC origins, Casablanca has looked to the sea for its fortunes and development. That remains true today with much of the waterfront under intensive development for a new marina as well as shopping, business and residential complexes that extend out of the city and towards Mohammedia.

 

Once in Rabat – Morocco’s political capital and arguably the most conservative of the four Imperial Cities – we take in the exterior grandeur of the Royal Palace, the old fortress of Kasbah Oudaias at the mouth of the river and the mausoleum of Mohammed V adjacent to the Hassan Tower. Overnight in Rabat…and a well-earned sleep!

Meals included / not included
Breakfast Not included
Lunch Not included
Dinner Not included

Day 2

Rabat | Meknes | Volubilis | Fès

Leaving Rabat, we pass through a fertile landscape, reminiscent of Brittany in northern France, before arriving at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Volubilis.

 

Among the best preserved Roman ruins in Africa you’ll have an opportunity to let your imagination run free on this mighty stage of second and third century Roman life Arriving in Meknes we explore the old UNESCO World Heritage listed city, the magnificent Bab Mansour Gates and the mausoleum of Moulay Ismael whose vision had such a lasting impact on this Imperial City.

 

You will have time to explore and take advantage of some excellent bargains available around the city. Later in the afternoon, we travel to Fès where we check in to your accommodation for the evening.

Meals included / not included
Breakfast Included
Lunch Not included
Dinner Not included

Day 3

Sightseeing in Fès

 

After breakfast in your riad, your adventure begins as you start exploring the oldest city in Morocco.

 

 

 

 

 

During the morning, our experienced guide will share many of the city’s hidden treasures and architecture with you as your gaze is pulled left and right with the movement and sounds of this piece of living history. You’ll see the Royal Palace gate and the walled Jewish quarter dating from the 14th century.

 

 

There’s more culture and history to marvel at as we visit the famous Al Qaraouine University (regarded as the oldest university in the world) and the 11th century Chouwara Tannery – one of the most impressive sites (and smells) you will experience on this tour!

Before lunch there will be time to see the Attarine Museum and the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss after which we visit a local tile-making cooperative before ascending to a superb vantage point to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the old Medina of Fès.

 

In the remainder of the afternoon, you are free to explore at your leisure. Just remember, there are more than 9,000 streets in the Medina – some of which are less than 1 metre in width – so it’s worth keeping a note of your bearings!

Overnight, with dinner and breakfast at your riad in Fès.

 

 

 

 

Meals included / not included
Breakfast Included
Lunch Not included
Dinner Not included

Day 4

Fès | Ifran | Midelt | Erfoud | Rissani | Merzouga

 

After an early breakfast, we begin our ascent across the Middle Atlas Mountains, winding our way through beautiful, lush forests, jagged rock faces and Berber villages.

After stopping for lunch at Midelt – famed for its rocks, fossils and apples – we continue on mountain roads that afford spectacular views of countless villages, Kasbahs and palm groves through the Ziz Valley. Passing through the adobe coloured city of Er-Rachidia, by late afternoon the terrain has changed dramatically. With the slopes behind us, we’re now in what is best described as a lunar landscape as we head for our penultimate destination of Merzouga.

 

Arriving at our auberge, we prepare to climb on to our camels for a trek into the desert, accompanied by Berber guides who will be our hosts for the evening. Against the backdrop of the Erg Chebbi dunes and impending sunset, we wend our way through the peace and natural beauty of the Saharan dunes until we reach our bivouac camp where you will stay in a Nomad tent.

 

Our guides will not only prepare a sumptuous, traditional meal but also invite you to join in with their special brand of music and entertainment, until the final embers of the campfire fade away under the canopy of stars.

Meals included / not included
Breakfast Included
Lunch Not included
Dinner Included

Day 5

Merzouga | Todra Gorge | Dadès Gorge

After an early start to catch the sunrise over the dunes, your camels will be waiting to help you return to the auberges at Merzouga where you can shower, change and take breakfast.

 

 

We depart for the Todra Gorge, en route passing the most sought after dates in Morocco which are grown between Rissani and Erfoud. As we climb into the High Atlas Mountains and through Tinghir we begin our approach to the gorge. There will be ample time to explore and take photographs, as well as enjoying a drink or lunch at one of the restaurants that is squeezed in to the jaws of the gorge.

 

 

Refreshed and inspired, we set off for more of nature’s wonders in the Dadès Gorge, including the mind-boggling rock creations of the Tamnalt Hills. Overnight in the heart of the Dadès Gorge.

Meals included / not included
Breakfast Included
Lunch Not included
Dinner Included

Day 6

Dadès Valley | Valley Of The Roses | Aït Ben Haddou | Marrakech

A traditional Moroccan breakfast will set you up for the journey through the Rose Valley (most fragrant in April and May) and the town of Kella Mgouna an important centre for the rose growing cooperatives throughout the valley.

 

Dates, figs and many varieties of vegetables can be seen growing among the patchwork quilt of allotments that have been tended for centuries by the Berber villagers here. A testimony to their dedication and innovation.

 

 

 

We travel along the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs which takes us onwards to Ouarzazate where we turn off the main road for the old fortress of Aït Ben Haddou. This historic ksar is one of the iconic images of Morocco and, not surprisingly, the backdrop for countless well known movies including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, The Jewel of the Nile and Cleopatra.

With the Kasbah that evolved around it, Aït Ben Haddou’s commanding position in the Ounila Valley served as an important trading post along a former caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakech and beyond.

 

We enjoy lunch amid the spectacular scenery of the High Atlas Mountains before heading through the Tizi n’Tichka Pass for our descent to Marrakech where we arrive late evening.

Meals included / not included
Breakfast Not included
Lunch Not included
Dinner Not included

Day 7

Exploring and sightseeing in Marrakech

A full day of sightseeing in the “Red City” begins with our professional guide at the Medina, contained within the city’s giant 12th century sandstone walls. We take in the Saadian Tombs that remained undiscovered and preserved for hundreds of years and where some 60 members of the Saadian Dynasty are entombed.

Nearby, is the Badi Palace - now largely in ruins but still worth a stroll around – and the Bahia Palace, dating from the 1800s, which offers an insight into the opulent lifestyle of a former Grand Vizier of Marrakech accompanied by his wives, concubines, children and servants.

 

As we make our way towards the Jemaa El-Fna square, we visit the Dar Si Saïd Museum which offers an inspiring glimpse into Moroccan history with its collection of artefacts including woodcarvings, musical instruments, weapons, carpets, clothing, pottery and ceramics.

Approaching Jemaa El-Fna square, it soon becomes obvious why this unusual location has been a UNESCO World Heritage listed site since 1985. With its origins as a trading post and the town’s public arena for beheadings - and adjoining the largest traditional Berber market in Morocco - you can still feel the history and the rhythm of this melting pot of cultural diversity.

 

Impromptu market stalls compete with storytellers, snake charmers, monkey trainers, acrobats, magicians and musicians for your attention – but there are many cafés sprinkled around the square with great vantage points from where you can observe all the activity with suitable refreshments.

Time permitting, our tour continues outside of the Medina with a visit to the Jardin Majorelle in the new town area of Gueliz. Created by the French artist Jacques Majorelle, the gardens were opened to the public in 1947 and given a new lease of life when purchased by Designer Yves Saint Laurent and his lifelong business partner Pierre Bergé.

 

The gardens offer a welcome retreat from the frenzy of the city and, with a Berber museum also within the gardens, a most agreeable way to pass some time for relaxation. Of course, no visit to Marrakech would be complete without venturing into the souks.

 

Your guide will help you navigate and discover the secrets of the souks and when you are ready will leave you to explore on your own and pit your bargaining skills with the artisans and traders offering all manner of locally produced merchandise.

 

Shoes, spices, herbal remedies, leather goods, lanterns, woodcarvings, ceramics, jewellery, carpets and pottery…and that’s just in the first alleyway!

 

As part of this tour we may get to travel around in a traditional calèche (horse drawn carriage), one of the best ways to get close up to many of the sights around the city. The day ends with a grand finale of dinner and a show at a popular entertainment spot in the city.

Meals included / not included
Breakfast Included
Lunch Not included
Dinner Not included

Day 8

Marrakech departure

Your tour concludes after breakfast at your accommodation. We shall be pleased to assist with your transfer to Menara Airport if you are flying out from Marrakech or let you continue your stay in Morocco at your leisure.

Meals included / not included
Breakfast Included
Lunch Not included
Dinner Not included

Pricing

2 Persons €900 pp
3 Persons €820 pp
4 Persons €740 pp
5 Persons €690 pp
6 Persons €600 pp

Accommodation with breakfast and personal guided tours of Fès, Volubilis and Marrakech are included within the tour price. Solo travellers are always welcome. Please ask for details and availability. For groups of more than 6 guests, please ask our Reservations Team for more information about availability and prices. Reductions apply for children accompanied by adults. No charge for children under 5 years. All local taxes, state taxes, parking fees, tolls and fuel charges are included within the price. Please see below for more information.

Accommodation

Except for the Berber camp, the inclusive prices for accommodation are based on staying at a 3 or 4 star riad or hotel. Your accommodation can be upgraded to 5 star for part or all of your tour if you wish. Just ask our Reservations Team. Unless specified, your accommodation is inclusive of an evening meal and breakfast. Prices based on two people sharing a room. Single supplements may apply.

Inclusive and Exclusive

What is included

  • Accommodation in Berber tent at desert camp
  • All fuel, travel taxes and tolls as per itinerary
  • Camel trek and guides
  • Collection from your accommodation or airport *
  • English/French/Spanish speaking driver
  • English/French/Spanish speaking tour guides
  • Evening meal and entertainment at desert camp
  • Half-board accommodation as per itinerary
  • Overnight accommodation with breakfast
  • Overnight accommodation at desert auberge **
  • Return to your accommodation or airport
  • Transportation in A-C 4x4 or people carrier

What is not included

  • Entrance fee to attractions or events en route
  • Flights or travel to and from Morocco
  • Gratuities at your discretion
  • Lunches, snacks and drinks
  • Incidental expenses and souvenirs
  • Personal travel and health insurance
  • Any other items or services not shown as inclusive

Notes:

* Alternative collection and return from airport or train station in Marrakech ** By prior arrangement as an alternative to desert bivouac accommodation

Upgrades and changes to your itinerary

We’re more than happy to alter this itinerary to suit your individual requirements prior to booking. Just let us know what changes you would like and we will advise. And if you would prefer to travel throughout in a luxury limousine or have any special requirements you would like arranged for your tour, please ask us for details.

Other information

As with many of our tours, this itinerary involves a significant amount of travelling and walking, often on uneven surfaces. Please think carefully about the personal mobility (especially young children) of those in your group and the suitability of this tour for them before booking. Our Reservations Team will be happy to advise you on this.

Contact Us

To book this tour, request more information about the tour or advise of any special requirements you may have, please send an email to us using the form below.

Contact information

Phone (office): +212 524 433 513

Fax: +212 524 433 513

Mobile (Morocco): + 212 662 27 39 30

Mobile (Spain): + 34 659 320 701

Email: tours@magnificentmorocco.com

Address: Angle Rue Tarik Ibn Ziad & Ibn Aicha Résidence Excel Sior

Imm. 18 No 6 Gueliz

Marrakech

Morocco