Moroccan Mosaics tour

Moroccan Mosaics tour

Tour Experience

Sightseeing tour of Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains, Draa Valley, Erg Chebi sand desert, Taroudant market town and coastal Essaouria

Available

All year round

Location

Marrakech, Draa Valley, Erg Chebbi desert, Tarouda

This 9-day trip showcases some of the best highlights in Morocco – a wide and varied tour that begins in Marrakech with a full city tour, exploring the narrow and atmospheric streets which are home to mazy souks and overflowing bazaars as well as visiting ancient Mosques and intricate palaces. Leaving the city, the scenery is like nowhere else on earth as we travel through the Atlas Mountains into the desert in order to enjoy unforgettable 4WD adventures in the Sahara before spending the night in a traditional desert Berber camp. Stunning landscapes remain as we travel through Ouarzazate (made famous by many films) and onto the UNESCO site at Ait Benhaddou before heading to the remote market town of Taroudant and the coastal towns of Agadir and Essaouira, a popular haunt of artists throughout the 20th century. Here you’ll have the chance to soak up some rays on the beach or try some of the many water sports on offer before returning to Marrakech.

VIEW THE PHOTOS

INCLUDED

  • All accommodation in 3 & 4 star hotels and Berber desert camp
  • All transport and transfers in AC vehicles with a local driver
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of a professional local tour guide
  • Sightseeing tours as per the itinerary
  • Sunset camel ride through the sand dunes
  • 8 breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • Entrances fees to sights visited

EXCLUDED

  • International Flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees (not required for most nationalities)
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Single room supplements (chargeable if a same-sex room share is not available)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Any other items not mentioned above

PACKAGE DETAILS

Itinerary

DAY 1, Arrive into Marrakech, transfer to hotel

Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in central Marrakech for the start of your trip. They’ll help you settle in and introduce you to the local area. If you arrive early enough, you can head into Marrakech’s famous Djemaa el Fna Square for a first taste of Moroccan food at one of the main street stalls, while watching the many street performers and salesmen offering their wares.
| OVERNIGHT
Marrakech 4-star hotel
| EXTRAS
Single Room Supplement, Extra night – pre-tour

DAY 2, Marrakech, city tour

Today’s tour of Marrakech begins with a trip to the iconic Koutoubia Mosque, home to the minaret which has become a symbol of the city. We then visit the Mausoleum and Bahia Palace which both host intricate and beautiful Arabic craftsmanship. Then we head to the lively souks and bazaars in Marrakech’s famous medina. Home to many different types of traders these narrow and winding streets are bustling with activity and full of sights sounds and smells uniquely Moroccan. Today’s tour ends at the lively Djemaa El Fna Square.
| OVERNIGHT
Marrakech 4-star hotel
| MEALS
Breakfast

DAY 3, Atlas Mountains, Tizi N'Tichka Col, Dades Canyon

After breakfast this morning we enjoy a spectacular drive across the Tizi N’tichka col which at 2260m is the highest pass in Northern Africa. You’ll get great views of the Atlas mountains, with many of the tops covered with snow for much of the year. We then descend and pass Ouarzazate, or ‘place of no noise’. An incredibly dramatic landscape, this area has played host to countless well known films. Our final highlight today is a drive through the Dades Canyon with its steep winding access road with numerous switchbacks providing great views of the steep cliffs and the river below which rushes dramatically through the gorge, especially in the spring when the mountain snows are melting. We finish today in Tinghir where we spend the night.
| OVERNIGHT
Tinghir 4-star hotel
| MEALS
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4, Todra Gorge, Berber desert camp, sunset camel ride

Our next taste of dramatic Moroccan scenery comes at the Todra Gorge close to Tinghir, where we’ll stop for a short hike along the valley floor with rocky cliffs towering above us on both sides. We then continue along the ‘road of a thousand Kasbahs’ to Erfoud before switching into 4WD vehicles to travel to Merzouga and through the Erg Chebbi sand desert to a traditional Berber camp amidst the dunes. Here a sunset camel ride is included plus a walk to the top of some of the dunes for spectacular views as the sun sinks below the horizon. You’ll enjoy a hearty Bedouin meal and a campfire this evening, often with local musicians helping enhance the atmosphere, before sleeping in comfortable Berber camel-hair tents.
| OVERNIGHT
Berber Desert Camp
| MEALS
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5, Draa Valley, Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou

After breakfast with our Berber hosts we head out of the dunes and drive back to Rissani and the birthplace of the Alaouita Dynasty. We leave our 4WD vehicles here and drive to Erfoud. Lodged in an idyllic setting between the Atlas mountains to the north and the Sahara desert to the south, Erfoud is the administrative capital of the region. We continue back along the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs through the Draa Valley to Ouarzazate where we spend the night. While in Ouarzazate we include a tour of the movie studios that have taken advantage of the amazing scenery in the area. Some of the most famous films that have been shot from the Atlas Studios here include Lawrence of Arabi, The Living Daylights, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Man who would be King, The Mummy, Gladiator, Asterix & Obelisk, Kingdom of Heaven, Kundun, Legionnaire, Hanna, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011), as well as part of the TV series Game of Thrones. Our final visit today is to Morocco’s most well known Kasbah at the UNESCO world heritage site of Ait Benhaddou. This is a huge fortified city (ksar – a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls), with houses and kasbahs crowding together inside the defensive walls, an excellent example of traditional Moroccan earthen clay architecture.
| OVERNIGHT
Ouarzazate 4-star hotel
| MEALS
Breakfast
| EXTRAS
Sunset desert camel ride

DAY 6, Taliouine Kasbah, Taroudant walled market town

Our drive today skirts the foothills of the Atlas mountains with some great views to our right hand side, stopping for a break en-route to see the Kasbah at Taliouine and to learn about the production of saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, which takes place in only this area in Morocco. If we’re lucky we’ll see some of Morocco’s famous tree climbing goats before we arrive in Taroudant this evening. These goats have learned to climb the local Argan trees in search of the fruit and nuts inside. Taroudant is a large walled Berber market town, and its souqs are reputed to be the best in the south with some excellent local crafts on sale. As you are off the main tourist trail here, you’ll get a much more authentic glimpse of everyday life, as well as finding better value in the markets than in Marrakech. The town walls are some of the longest and best preserved in Morocco, with their mud construction changing colour atmospherically as the day progresses – they’re best seen in the early evening. You’ll have some free time here in Taroudant to explore the souqs, and walk along the walls.
| OVERNIGHT
Taroudant 3-star hotel
| MEALS
Breakfast

DAY 7, Agadir, coastal drive, Essaouira

We head to the coast today with our first stop at Morocco’s main resort town of Agadir. We’ll take a short tour of the harbour and the famous High Kasbah, destroyed by the earthquake of 1960, before continuing along the coast towards the North Atlantic coastal town of Essaouira. Well regarded as one of Morocco’s most beautiful areas, Essaouira has always attracted and inspired artists, drawn by its good light and tranquil, relaxed way of life. Wandering around the old Medina and its fascinating streets dotted with art galleries it’s not hard to imagine why the city drew visitors such as Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix throughout the years. Essaouira has a wide sandy beach, though the prevailing winds and currents mean this is more of a mecca for kite surfers than for swimming or sunbathing.
| OVERNIGHT
Essaouira 4-star hotel
| MEALS
Breakfast

DAY 8, Essaouira free time. Drive to Marrakech

The first half of the day is free today to explore Essaouira further. You could visit the working port with its busy fish auction market and traditional wooden boat builders; explore the craft stalls and shops in the walled Medina which is UNESCO World Heritage listed and a great example of late 18th century European fortifications in Africa; take a boat trip to the nearby island of Mogador which is a nature reserve popular with birdwatchers; try a windsurfing or kitesurfing lesson from the beach; or just explore randomly at your leisure. While you’re here it’s also well worth having a meal at one of Essaouira’s well known fish stalls, where a wide range of local freshly caught fish and seafood are displayed, ready to be cooked in front of you and served with bread and salad. After lunch we drive back to Marrakech (approx. 2 1/2 hours) for a final evening in this chaotic and busy city.
| OVERNIGHT
Marrakech 4-star hotel
| MEALS
Breakfast
| EXTRAS
Marrakech Hot air balloon flight, Marrakech Quad-biking

DAY 9, Marrakech. Free time. Transfer to the airport

Your day is free today to explore Marrakech further, and perhaps do some final souvenir shopping and sightseeing before we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. Subject to your flight time, we can also offer a range of day trips and excursions, including a spectacular hot air balloon flight.
| OVERNIGHT
N/A
| MEALS
Breakfast
| EXTRAS
Extra night – post-tour, Marrakech Hot air balloon flight, Marrakech Quad-biking, Imlil day trip

DURATION

9 days

Price

A$1996

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