Magical Morocco

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Day 1

Upon arrival in Casablanca, after clearing customs & immigration formalities, collect your luggage and proceed to the exit. Here you will be met by your private, English speaking, Alluring Africa driver, and transferred to Rabat where you will stay at Euphoriad for one night.

Rabat is located on the Atlantic coast in the north-west of Morocco. This impressive city is the result of a new town built under the French Protectorate from 1912-1930s which meticulously guarded the older parts of the city dating back to the 12th Century. With its cosmopolitan, contemporary vibe reflected in the young people of this city and the diversity of cuisine on offer, it is no surprise that MOMA has recently opened here. However, as always with Morocco, the old nestles with the new and the pretty medina and port areas still hold the old Moroccan charm and of course a chance to sip a fragrant mint tea.

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Day 2

Meet your driver at an agreed upon time and drive to Chefchaouen, located in the Rif Mountains. This delightfully picturesque town founded in 1492 by Moorish exiles from Spain remained so geographically isolated that, until 1920 only three Europeans had visited, even though it is less than 100 km from Europe! Due to this, it has retained its medieval character and leisurely pace versus Morocco’s larger cities.

Surrounded by magnificent cerulean mountains and nestled in the heart of the medina, the luxurious Lina Riad & Spa, where you will stay for two nights, enjoys a privileged position in one of Morocco’s most unique destinations. Many of the bright and spacious suites enjoy views of the surrounding peaks and the bustling medina. 300 square meter terraces offer spectacular views, and special attention has been paid to the harmonious shapes and colors of the mountains, with dim lights and aquatic scents captivating your every glance.

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Day 3

On a private half day walking tour, your guide will lead you through the streets of Chefchaouen, which is split into an eastern half (the medina), and a western half (the ciudad nueva, or new city). The heart of the medina is Plaza Uta el-Hammam, with its unmistakeable kasbah. The principal route of the new city is Ave Hassan II, which stretches from Plaza Mohammed V, a leafy square designed by artist Juan Miró, past the western gate of Bab el-Ain, around the southern medina wall, and into the medina itself. Here it dead-ends at Place el-Majzen, the main drop-off point. The falls of Ras-el-Maa lie just beyond the medina walls to the northeast.

The medina has become renowned as one of the most charming in Morocco. During your afternoon at leisure, you’ll wander, entranced within the soft blue labyrinth created by the tinted whitewash of the town’s homes and streets. Local artisans contentedly show their skills in carpet weaving, leather goods, pottery, copperware, and woodworking. At the heart of the medina is a 17th-century mosque that fronts a picturesque square dotted with mulberry trees and inviting restaurants serving delicious cuisine fusing Moroccan and Spanish flavors. There are many family-run inns to delight with their hospitality and architecture and décor demonstrating area handiwork. The ambiance captures the free spirit of Morocco of 1960s fame. The effect of all this is dreamlike, making Chefchaouen an extremely tranquil and romantic place to visit.

Return to your riad for a zen getaway! The spa with its heated indoor pool, oriental baths and Hammam will offer traditional delicious moments of relaxation. Many massages and personal care with natural and organic products are proposed.

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Day 4

This morning depart Chefchaouen for Fez via Moulay Idriss and the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis. Find beautiful mosaic floors, uncovered and brought to light by the archaeologists that still work on this partly excavated site. It was developed from the 3rd century BC onwards as a Phoenician and later a Carthaginian settlement. The town fell to local tribesmen in 285 and was never recovered by the Roman Empire. Constantly uncovering this city beneath the sands of time, now exclusively a Moroccan project runs by Moroccan archaeologists.

Afterwards enjoy the tranquility of a local farm situated in the shadow of the ancient ruins while sampling traditional Roman recipes as recorded in the Latin texts of Apicius. Roman cuisine relied on exclusively local ingredients such as olive oil, wine, soft fresh cheese, game birds, hearty fruits such as pears and melons, honey, and fresh herbs- and of course, omitted new World ingredients such as potatoes and tomatoes. The picnic will include 3 vegetable/ pulse/ fruit dishes, one meat, and one dessert, as well as a selection of olives and bread and include some regional Moroccan wine.

Continue to Moulay Idriss, one of Morocco’s most venerated Muslim sites. It was said that for Moroccans who couldn’t afford the trip to Mecca, then to travel five times in one’s life to Moulay Idriss was of equal merit. The scenic village has lovely souks to explore and a number of panoramic views of Volubilis.  

Continue to Fes and check into Riad Fes where you will stay for two nights. Inspired by Moorish architecture, Riad Fès invites you to travel back in time to discover the authenticity and the pomp of the life of the noble families of Fez who did their remains, the custodian and the mirror their sophisticated civilization and their glorious past in an atmosphere of Arabian Andalusian nights. Each suite has its own soul! Combining the most noble of Morocco materials: carved wood, embroidered by craftsmen from Fez or bathrooms in Tadelakt silks, with views on contemporary Moroccan patios, Andalusian, baroque, and the swimming pool.

Morocco’s second largest city and the country’s former capital, Fes (Fez) is an exotic mix of Arabic architecture, ancient alleyways, calls to prayer and colourful markets, all mixed in with a good dose of modern culture. Home to the venerated Karaouiyine Mosque, which dates to 857 and incorporates an Islamic university, and to the country’s most hallowed shrine, the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II, Fes is regarded as the spiritual seat of Morocco. Music lovers should try to synchronise their trips with the annual Festival of Sacred Music, one of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar, showcasing diverse performances of spiritual and religious music, while those with a penchant for shopping will be in their element here at any time of the year, with an exquisite array of silver, leather and other handicrafts up for grabs.

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Day 5

After breakfast begin your half day privately guided, walking tour of Fez, the holiest city in the Islamic world after Mecca and Medina. Founded at the beginning of the 9th century by Moulay Idriss II, this enchanting city has since been a seat of government, philosophy, medicine, and religion. The best surviving example of an ancient Arab city, Fez is comprised of a “new” city, established in the 12th century, and the unchanged 2,000-year-old medina.

Tour Fez el-Bali (“Fez the Old”) and its medieval medina (old town), a UNESCO world heritage site crammed with narrow, winding streets, where donkeys laden with goods trawl alongside buyers through the ancient market. A fascinating maze of lanes, blind alleys, bustling souks, and artisan workshops, the atmosphere assaults the senses with fragrant spices, exotic delicacies, brightly colored carpets, and fine handmade goods bursting from endless stalls.

As time permits. visit centuries-old mosques and universities, and Fez el-Djedid (“Fez the New”), built in the 12th century, where you can admire Fez’s Royal Palace. Explore the mellah (Jewish Quarter), founded in 1438 and once home to tens of thousands of Jews, 40 synagogues, the Bet Din, communal ovens, ritual baths and schools. Visit the recently restored Ibn Danan synagogue and the oldest extant synagogue in Fez. Until very recently abandoned and decaying, its restoration was part of a comprehensive UNESCO project to preserve the monuments and fabric of medieval Fez. And no trip would be complete without a visit to the Merenid Tombs that offer spectacular panoramic views of Fez.

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Day 6

After a leisurely breakfast, head through the Atlas Mountains to Marrakech. Pass through villages and mountain scenery before you reach Morocco’s shining Jewel of the South – an ancient trading town grown from its convenient location on the caravan routes from Timbuktu. Dominating the Haouz Plain at the foot of the snowcapped High Atlas Mountains, Marrakech managed to defend against the constant marauding tribes of successive sultans, and today, boasts a rich collection of historic sights amidst its beguiling array of modern delights.

Sitting in the shadows of the mighty snow-clad peaks of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is not only one of Morocco’s most aesthetic cities, but also one of its most lively and exciting. It has remained at the heart of Moroccan life for over 1000 years, acting as Sultanate capital on occasions, but now undoubtedly as the country’s cultural center. While Marrakech is alive with modern life and development; it is also home to a wealth of buildings, sites and artifacts of crucial importance to Moroccan history.

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Day 7

Spend the full day exploring this enchanting palm oasis with your private local guide. Set where buildings are blushed in hues of rosy earth, the signature color of Marrakech, Morocco’s second oldest imperial city retains the splendor of its ancient past.

The Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens is the largest mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. The minaret was completed under the reign of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al- Mansur (1184-1199) and was used as the model for the Giarlda of Seville and for the Hassan Tower of Rabat.

El Bahia Palace is a beautiful building and an excellent example of Eastern Architecture from the 19th century that represents trends and standards of the wealthy who lived at that time. It was built for Ahmed Ibn Moussa (or Ba Ahmed) between 1894 and 1900 in the Alawi style that was popular at the time.

Next visit the sixteenth century Saadian Tombs with its stark towers, which date back from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The tombs were only recently discovered (in 1917) and were restored by the Beaux-arts service.

Wind your way through the labyrinth of the spice-filled air of the bustling souk, unchanged for over 1000 years. The maze of alleyways leads to tiny shops flaunting Berber carpets, kilims and caftans, leather goods, silver jewelry, copperware, other handicrafts, stylish dresses, medicinal herbs, and gorgeous antiques.

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Day 8

Your private driver will pick you up from your hotel and depart for a half day tour in the countryside. Spend some time in a small Berber village and experience the countryside first hand. Learn some of the daily tasks from baking your own bread, learning to make your own tagine, cooking on coals, milking the goats, going for water at the well and making mint tea.

The Berbers are native to North Africa and it is estimated that there are between 30 and 40 million Berber speaking people in Africa. The majority live in Morocco and Algeria, with pockets of Berbers residing in Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Niger. Smaller communities can also be found in Egypt and Burkina Faso.

Culture and traditions within each Berber community is very tribal and will differ from region to region. Day to day life is nomadic with men taking care of the livestock and women taking care of the family and handicrafts. The community will move to ensure that the livestock has ample grazing, water and shelter. This allows the women to continually collect different plants that they will use to dye wool and cotton.

Moroccans love music and it forms an important part of every celebration. Village music is performed using flutes and drums; the rhythmic beat is often accompanied by groups of dancers. Men and women take part although in some regions only men are allowed to dance. This music is rarely heard in the cities.

As with everything Berber, the style of cooking and range of food differs from tribe to tribe. Inevitably the various cultural invasions throughout the generations have influenced and evolved the Berber cuisine. Some of the staple ingredients such as couscous still remain though.

Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure.

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Day 9

Say goodbye to your driver and a land of many colors, as you are transferred by road to Casablanca Airport for your homebound flight.

Included

– Accommodation on bed & breakfast basis – subject to availability
– Private vehicle with services of an English speaking driver throughout
– Sightseeing as indicated, with services of local guides
– Entrance fees
– 1 bottle of water per person per day in the vehicle