Ten-day Imperial Cities, Sahara Desert and Atlantic Ocean private tour

Tour Reference DVACU-CC10/140

Embarking from Casablanca, this prestige ten-day tour invites you to explore the fascinating history, culture and architecture of Morocco’s four Imperial Cities and selected UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

Ancient Roman ruins, camel trekking – with a memorable night in the Sahara Desert – and the breathtaking scenery of the Atlantic Coast combine to make this a truly magnificent tour.

Category Prestige Tour
Duration 10 Days
Starts From Casablanca
Returns to Casablanca
Group Size 2 - 6
Prices from €750

Tour itinerary

Day 1

Casablanca arrival

Our Magnificent Morocco representative will meet you at Mohamed V Airport and provide you with an introduction to your tour while we drive into Casablanca, the economic capital of Morocco, to assist with the check-in at your hotel.

 

 

Depending on the arrival time of your flight – and energy levels permitting – we can take a guided tour of the impressive Hassan II Mosque. It’s one of the largest mosques in the world and its handcrafted beauty is simply breathtaking.

 

 

Dinner is served at your hotel and we make arrangements to meet up with you again in the morning.

 

Check out our DESTINATIONS section on the website here for more information about all the locations we will be visiting during your tour.

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

Day 2

Casablanca | Rabat | Meknes | Fès

Leaving your hotel after breakfast with your private driver, we head up the coast to Rabat, the political capital of Morocco. Here, we visit the most iconic buildings of the city: the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the Hassan Tower.

 

The former contains the tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons, the late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. The building itself is an architectural masterpiece in its commanding position overlooking the river Bou Regreg.

 

 

 

Adjacent to the Mausoleum are the ruins of a minaret – intended to be the largest in the world – and mosque that were never completed. It was an ambitious 12th century project, but what remains is an outstanding reminder of what might have been.

Next, we head through the verdant countryside towards Meknes, our second Imperial City to visit today, entering through the monumental “Bab Monsour” gate to visit the Moulay Ismael Mausoleum, one of the most outstanding buildings in the city. Depending on the time of our visit, we may be able to enter and view the tomb and its ornate decorations.

 

From Meknes, we head into the hills to the next UNESCO World Heritage Site on our itinerary today: Volubilis, the best preserved Roman ruins in Africa and an opportunity to let your imagination run free on this mighty stage of second and third century Roman life.

 

 

 

We continue in air-conditioned comfort to the oldest city in Morocco, Fès, where you will have dinner and spend the night in a traditional Moroccan riad.

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

Day 3

Sightseeing and exploring Fès

After breakfast in your riad, your adventure continues as you start exploring this incredible Imperial City. 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 at your riad in Fès with your choice of venue for the evening meal.

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

Day 4

Fès | Ifran | Midelt | Erfoud | Rissani | Merzouga

After an early breakfast at the riad, we head south towards the Middle Atlas Mountains with the summer retreat and winter resort of Ifrane and the town of Azrou – well off the beaten tourist track – which takes its name from the large volcanic outcrop in the centre of the town.

 

As our journey continues, we pass through a forest of mighty cedar trees. You’ll get to take photographs of the Cedar Gourand, reputed to be around 800 years old. Just keep your eyes peeled for the Barbary Macaques who have made this their home!

 

We break through the mountains at the Tizi Ntalghamt Pass and follow the magnificent Ziz Gorges, carved through volcanic rock, as we head towards Midelt where we pause for lunch. The scenery is changing constantly and you’ll start to see hints of the desert landscape as we approach the city of Er-Rachidia.

 

 

Through the verdant Ziz Valley, peppered with Berber villages – and passing through Erfoud and Rissani – we then cross a lunar-like landscape with the majestic Saharan dunes on the horizon before arriving at an auberge on the edge of the desert at Merzouga.

 

 

 

Here, you can check your main luggage in to your room and, with an overnight bag containing your basic essentials, begin the 1.5 hour camel trek which takes you to a Berber camp in the middle of the Erg Chebbi dunes enjoying a spectacular Saharan sunset on the way.

 

 

 

Here our Berber 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 a 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 auberge 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 highest and narrowest gorges in Morocco.

 

 

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 with dinner in the heart of the Dadès Gorge.

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

Day 6

Dadès Valley | Ouarzazate | 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 M’Gouna 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 along the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs and the Skoura pal oasis which takes us onwards to Ouarzazate, the “Hollywood of Africa”, where we stop for lunch.

 

 

From Ouarzazate, we continue our journey into the Ounila Valley to visit the UNESCO protected site of Aït Ben Haddou where one of local guides treats you to a professional tour.

 

 

 

 

The 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.

 

It’s then time for us to follow our own route through the spectacular mountain and valley scenery of the High Atlas Mountains and the majestic Tizi n’Tichka Pass at 2,260m, stopping for photography along the way. If time allows we will call into an Argan Oil cooperative to see first hand how the famous oils and cosmetics are produced from the nuts and berries of the Argan tree.

 

We will arrive in Marrakech early evening for dinner and accommodation at your hotel or riad.

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

Day 7

Sightseeing and leisure time in Marrakech

Our professional guide will accompany you throughout the morning as we explore the magic and mystique of Marrakech.

 

We begin 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.

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!

Later in the day you are free to explore on your own or simply put your feet up back at your hotel or riad and browse through some of the hundreds of images you will have captured so far. Your choice of venue and cuisine for your evening meal.

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

Day 8

Marrakech | Essaouira

We meet you at your accommodation after breakfast for the 2.5 hour drive to Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast. You may even see goats climbing the Argan trees as we pass through the countryside!

 

 

Essaouira provides a welcome break after Marrakesh. The pace of life is more tranquil and the Atlantic breeze is most refreshing.

 

 

 

 

You’ll have the opportunity to stroll around the harbour as the day’s catch of fish and seafood is brought ashore and presented for sale in a basic but practical manner, while learning about the history and development of the area. You can even choose your own lunch from here to have cooked by one of the local restaurants a little later.

 

Adjoining the harbour are the 18th century Portuguese ramparts and fortifications with their commanding views of the port, the town, the wide sandy beach and the Island of Mogador in the distance.

 

From this superb vantage point you are just a couple of minutes walk to the entrance of the UNESCO-listed medina and Place Moulay Hassan where your guided tour of the old town of Essaouira begins.

 

A far cry from Marrakech, the souks and squares in Essaouira are more relaxed – but still offer that amazing combination of colours and aromas entwined with locals and tourists inspecting the fascinating array of stalls, kiosks, galleries and shops that are at the heart of Morocco’s artisan culture.

 

Carpets, spices, herbal remedies, jewellery, lanterns, paintings, thuya woodcarvings and carpentry. Every street corner delivers a different view on life in Essaouira. And although, as you look upwards, some of the facades may appear to be in a state of disrepair, this only adds to the character of this popular seaside town.

 

With free time for you to enjoy lunch and amble around at your leisure, we return to Marrakech late afternoon. Dinner and accommodation this evening in a hotel or traditional riad.

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

Day 9

Essaouira | Safi | Mazagan | Casablanca

After your relaxing night, we meet you at your accommodation to begin our drive along the Atlantic Ocean, enjoying the alluring scenery and plenty of fresh air! We call into the town of Safi to stop for lunch where you will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the local specialities of sardine tagines.

 

 

Our journey continues through El Jadida (formerly known as Mazagan during the Portuguese era) and then on to Casablanca where we arrive late afternoon.

 

 

Dinner and overnight at your hotel.

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

Day 10

Casablanca departure

After breakfast and at an appointed time, your personal driver will collect you from your hotel and take you to Mohamed V Airport in good time for your flight and onward journey.

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

Pricing

2 Persons €1,200 pp
3 Persons €1,100 pp
4 Persons €1,000 pp
5 Persons €850 pp
6 Persons €750 pp

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 cruise ship terminal or train station if not by air

**   By prior arrangement as an alternative to desert bivouac accommodation

*** For the remaining four evening meals you are free to explore and dine as you please

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.

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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