FAMILY MOROCCO ADVENTURE
FAMILY MOROCCO ADVENTURE
In our Family Morocco Adventure Itinerary, you will experience a 17-day tour of some of Morocco’s most alluring destinations. These include Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, the Sahara Desert, Skoura, the High Atlas Mountains, and Marrakesh. You’ll wrap up your trip on the Atlantic coast with a relaxing stay in the seaside town of Essaouira. With everything from learning about the exotic history of the imperial cities to camel riding in the Sahara, bargaining in the souks, and enjoying beautiful beaches and remote mountain communities, this will be an unforgettable family vacation.
Morocco has many faces. It has both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It has both seeming endless desert and beautiful snow-capped mountains. Then, there are labyrinth markets, cosmopolitan cities, and palm-tree swaying oases in the middle of nowhere. There is an infusion of smells and colors bordering on sublime sensory overload. And lastly, it is exotic and mysterious yet welcoming and hospitable. Accompanied by a private driver and guide for your entire voyage, you will have the chance to experience the very best of what this amazing and exotic country has to offer.
RABAT- 1 NIGHT
Welcome to Morocco! Upon arrival at Casablanca’s international airport, you’ll be met by our local representative. He/she will assist you through customs, passport control, and baggage pickup before meeting your private driver. If time allows, you can visit the city’s magnificent mosque of Hassan II,. It is Africa’s largest and one of the very few open to non-Muslims. Situated on the edge of the Atlantic in the easternmost point of Morocco the mosque is truly an architectural masterpiece.
Your driver will then accompany you to the first destination on your Family Morocco Adventure, the capital city of Rabat. Here you will enjoy a relaxing evening at one of our preferred hotels in the city center before continuing your adventure.
This morning you will meet your private guide and enjoy a Half-day Highlights Tour of the Capital of Morocco. This well-planned city consists of broad tree-lined avenues, a landscaped central park, and impressive quarters for the foreign embassies and ministries. First, you will visit the Kasbah of the Oudayas. Secondly, visit the unfinished Hassan Tower and Mosque. Then, you move on to the distinctive and elegant Mausoleum of Mohammed V, revered former King, and grandfather of the present King Mohammed VI. You will enjoy the wonderful stroll through labyrinth streets full of color and life.
FES – 3 NIGHTS
After your tour of Rabat, your private guide and driver will accompany you on to your next destination of your Family Morocco Adventure, historical Fes. There will be interesting stops along the way before arriving at your very special accommodations. From the hotel, you’re a short walk from many of the amazing sights and landmarks the city is so famous for. During your stay in Fes, we will arrange the following special experiences:
- A Private Guided Tour of the City of Fes. One of the most important centers of learning in the world for centuries, and home to the oldest university in History, Fes was founded by Idriss I in 789. Its history of long, complicated, and colorful. The city started as two separate cities or medinas, stretching on both banks of the river Jawhar, facing each other. They were made into a single one in 1070 by the Almoravids, who erected the city ramparts that can be seen today. Furthermore, it was influenced by many cultures: the Almohads, Andalusian expatriates expelled from Spain, Merinids. It was at one point the largest city in the world during the second half of the 12th Century, with an estimated population of 200,000. Under Merinids rule, construction began on the new town outside the walls, which was called Fes Jdid. New Fes and the old part became Fes El Bali or ancient Fes. Today, Fes el Bali (Fes the ancient) is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It is also the largest car-free urban area in the world. It is well known because of the skills of its artisans, who are outstanding in trades such as metal and leatherworking, ceramics, wood carving, silk, and tapestries. Despite the political capital of the kingdom being transferred to Rabat in 1912, Fes is still regarded by Moroccans as the spiritual center of their country.
- A Full Day Tour to Meknes and Volubilis with Lunch and Wine Tasting. After breakfast, you’ll meet your driver and guide for a private tour of the city of Meknes and the Roman ruins of Volubilis. This imperial city, known as “Moroccan Versailles”, was founded in the 17th century by King Moulay Ismail. Meknes is famous for its 25-mile-long walls. Afterward, you’ll also visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a UNESCO heritage site. The ruins were excavated by the French in 1915. They actually date back to the 3rd century AD and are an interesting glimpse into Morocco’s varied past. You will also enjoy a traditional Moroccan email with a wine tasting during your excursion. Eventually, you will return to your lovely accommodations in the late afternoon.
- A Private Sufi Dinner Experience. Sufism is a dimension of Islam and Sufis see themselves as on a spiritual journey towards the Divine during their lifetime. Sound and music are important tools in Sufism in that they allow the believer to become closer to the Divine. Whether it’s singing, listening or rhythmic whirling dances, Sufi music reaches the soul of the mystic and awakens the soul’s consciousness. The most common instruments in Sufi Morocco are the reed flute and the frame drum. A rich body of literature and poetry has been written to guide mystics on their spiritual journey. Often they describe feelings of love, the deepest aspects of the human soul, and encounters with the Divine. Sufi brotherhoods, known as tarikas, are common in Morocco. Music is an integral part of their spiritual tradition, in contrast to most other forms of Islam, which do not use music. Thus, this music is an attempt at reaching a trance state which inspires mystical ecstasy. The brothers hold hands in a circle and chant or dance. Then, after an explanation of the Sufi philosophy and dancing, you’ll enjoy a private meal with a local family. Hence, giving your family a unique chance to experience a true cultural evening.
- A Guided Souk and Shopping Tour. Your private guide is at your disposal to accompany you through the winding lanes of Fes’ large Souks (markets). Bargaining is expected in Morocco and your guide will assist you in learning how to find the best quality goods at the lowest price.
THE SAHARA DESERT – 1 NIGHT
The next destination on your Family Morocco Adventure will be the Sahara Desert! Together with your private guide and driver, you’ll take the scenic drive from Fes to Erfoud. From there, you will cross Ifrane, known as the Moroccan Switzerland, to the cedar woods of Azrou, and then the Middle Atlas Mountains. From Erfoud, you’ll board comfortable 4×4 vehicles that will transport you across the dunes to your luxury Sahara camp accommodations.
A sea of soft, warm, apricot-toned sands, the rippling landscape of the Erg Chebbi desert is one of Morocco’s most enchanting natural wonders. For centuries, travelers have awed at its infinite stillness. Beauty beyond words. Here you will find your luxury camp for one magical night. You will enjoy camel trekking, a sand hammam, traditional dancing, and a wonderful meal by candlelight. Make sure to get to bed early so you have experience then amazing sunrise over the Sahara!
SKOURA – 2 NIGHTS
This morning you’ll meet your private guide and driver again and travel to the desert oasis village of Skoura. En route, you’ll first visit the gorges of Todra. Then on to the valley of Roses kelaa Des Mgouna, and the valley of 1000 Kasbahs. Finally, you’ll then be accompanied to your gorgeous traditional accommodations where you can relax after your exciting stay in the desert.
Your time in Skoura takes shape around completely personalized adventures with your dedicated guide. First, you could trek into the Valley of Roses. Secondly, you could explore among the corn stalks and pomegranate trees of a nearby palmeraie. Additionally, you could drive to the hilltop vestiges of a 12th century Berber village for a traditional tea ceremony at dusk. Otherwise, feel free to just enjoy the hotel at your leisure. Your gorgeous accommodations include a palm-shaded swimming pool, hammam, and candle-lit massage room.
MARRAKESH – 4 NIGHTS
Today you’ll enjoy a scenic journey through the High Atlas Mountains, where it is possible to enjoy a tour of Kasbah Taourirt, the former property of the once-powerful Glaoua family rulers of the South and Atlas during the French Protectorate. Also, nearby, you’ll find the Atlas Cinema Studios, the largest cinema studios in the world by land area (and also where parts of The Jewel of the Nile, The Mummy, Gladiator, Atlantis, and Season 3 of Game of Thrones were filmed!). You’ll also enjoy a visit to the impressive Ksar Ait-Ben-Haddou. Located on the southern slopes of the High Atlas Mountains, Ait-Ben-Haddou is the most famous ksar in the Ounila Valley. The Ksar of Aït-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. Afterward, you’ll continue on to the vibrant city of Marrakesh.
Marrakesh has been a city of history and culture for more than a thousand years. It is one of the most evocative and exotic places in the world. The name alone evokes images of this cultural melting pot, its dusty streets, colorful souls, sandstone buildings, and towering minarets against clear, blue skies.
Arriving in Marrakesh, you will be delivered to your spectacular accommodations in the heart of the Medina. We have several wonderful choices to consider based on your travel style and wishes. During your visit to Marrakesh, you will enjoy the following special experiences:
- A Full Day Private Discovery of Marrakesh. Marrakesh enjoys a legendary status that conveys the ideas of mystery, sensuality, and exoticism. Marrakesh was founded in 1062 by one of the chieftains of the Almoravid king Youssuf ibn Tashfin. Then, the Almoravids were desert warriors, very much attached to their Islamic religion; the original garrison developed very quickly into a city where numerous mosques and madrasas (Koranic schools) were built. Subsequently, the Andalusian craftsmen built and decorated several palaces. Merging their style with the Saharan and African traditions, which gave the city a distinctive architectural flavor. The Almoravids also erected the city walls. They also created a complex system of underground irrigation canals to bring water from the High Atlas. The khettara a system still in use to water the several gardens of the city. Nowadays, Marrakesh is a vibrant city that exhibits a curious blend of the ancient and the modern. It permits travelers the chance to experience the genuine medieval atmosphere of the old medina. And then, you can visit the trendiest bars, art galleries, and restaurants in the French Quarter, Guéliz, built at the beginning of the 20th Century, all in one day. Highlights of your visit will include Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, El Bahia Palace, and of course, the souks.
- A Private Moroccan Cooking Class and Lunch. One of the most pleasant aspects of Morocco is its closeness to nature. Organic food and vegetables a luxury in most Western countries are easily available in Morocco. Indeed the only kind of food available in large areas of the Kingdom. With today’s private hands-on cooking class, you’ll have a close-up experience of traditional Moroccan cooking. Your culinary experience takes place in the Amizmiz Valley. An area still populated by Berbers who still stick to their traditional way of life. Just a short ride from Marrakesh, this valley has been little affected by tourism and modernity. Your chef has a long experience running the kitchens of many well-reputed hotels and restaurants, both inside and outside Morocco. His elegant eco-farm is set amongst 15 hectares of olive groves, vegetable gardens, and orchards, in a traditional Berber hamlet, called a douar, with the imposing silhouette of the High Atlas Mountains dominating the landscape. Seizing on the knowledge transmitted to him by the elders, your chef is an expert on aromatic herbs. Seasoning is an art more complex than it seems. You will learn about this (and much more) using the ingredients you have selected from the chef’s gardens. Then, preparing a typically Moroccan two courses’ meal, and even baking your own bread. Following your class, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor under the shady trees of the garden- a truly unforgettable experience! Your afternoon is free to enjoy on your own. As always, your private guide and driver are at your disposition should you need them.
- A Private of Tour of Les Jardins Majorelle. Your guide and driver will accompany you to one of Marrakesh’s most interesting attractions, Yves Saint Laurent’s Majorelle Gardens. Les Jardins Majorelle was created by the French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle, over almost forty years, starting in 1923. The property was the residence of the artist and his wife from 1923 until their divorce in the 1950s. Later, in the 1980s, the property was purchased by the fashion designers, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who worked to restore it. Today, the garden and villa complex is open to the public. Thus, the villa houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakesh, the Berber Museum, and the recently opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum. The afternoon is free to spend at your leisure.
HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS – 2 NIGHTS
Next on your Family Morocco Adventure is a day in your stay in the Atlas Mountains that coincides with the local markets, you’ll have a fascinating glance at a truly local’s-only activity. Your guide can accompany you to visit the stalls, which sell spices, housewares, baked goods, animals, and, if needed, you can even get your hair cut!
Your day is free to explore at your leisure. There are several activities to choose from including visiting a berber home, cooking lessons, mule riding, hiking. Or you can simply enjoy your 5 star hotel and its fantastic amenities and views. Your guide and your trip manager will be happy to provide you with ideas!
ESSAOUIRA – 2 NIGHTS
The last stop on your Family Morocco Adventure will be your ‘vacation within a vacation’ at Morocco’s lovely seaside town of Essaouira. After breakfast and check out this morning you’ll travel from the mountains to the coast, arriving in Essaouira and your luxury boutique seaside accommodations in time for a late lunch. The rest of your stay is at your leisure, enjoying the beach and the charming village. Essaouira is a magical fortified coastal town on the Atlantic Ocean. Built by the Portuguese in the 17th C., the pace of life here is relaxed and slow.
The fishing port creates a backdrop to the white-painted buildings of the Medina. The souk is small by comparison to Marrakesh and easy to navigate. Essaouira is a haven for artists and handmade works of art are abundant. Being a fishing port, fresh fish is readily available and lunch on the port is a must as the day’s catch is cooked in front of you. The wide sweeping beach offers windsurfing, kite-surfing, camel and horse riding and quad bike excursions.
CASABLANCA – 1 NIGHT
Today, at your leisure, your private driver and guide will accompany you to Casablanca. If you choose to arrive in the afternoon, your guide will take you on a guided tour of the city before arriving at your lovely hotel. Your last evening in Morocco is free to enjoy on your own. You will have a private transfer to the airport on your day of departure.
If you are not yet ready to go home, we can add several options to your Family Morocco Adventure. You can extend your vacation in Morocco with visits north to the ‘blue city’ of Chefchaouen and the international port city of Tangiers. Or why not head north across the Strait of Gibraltar to visit Spain or Portugal? The choice is yours and we would be happy to design your trip as you wish.