October 19 to November 1, 2013

Morocco—a land of dramatic contrasts—invites with its ancient ruins, sacred mosques, lush desert oases, imposing Kasbahs, spirited souks, and villages where life proceeds much as it has for centuries. On this 13-day tour, visit six UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Meknes, Morocco’s youngest imperial city; Volubulis, with its ancient Roman ruins; and Fez, prized for its cultural, religious, and educational institutions. Take time to enjoy mint tea in the home of a local Berber family. Enjoy a camel ride at sunset in the breathtaking beautiful sand dunes at Merzouga on the edge of the Sahara. Follow a fabled ancient caravan route in the snow-topped High Atlas Mountains, see spectacular Todra Gorge and travel to the fortified city of Ait ben-Haddou. Spend three nights in alluring Marrakech exploring its famed medina and Djemaa el Fna Square before concluding in storied Casablanca.

Small-Group Tour Highlights **Limited to 12-24 Travelers**
  • Private Sahara sunset excursion and camel ride on the dunes
  • Visits to five UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fez, Marrakech
  • Ancient ruins of Volubilis
  • Home hosted dinner in Fez
  • Scenic “Route of a Thousand Kasbahs”
  • Dramatic Todra Gorges
  • Spectacular Atlas Mountain scenery
  • Kasbah of Ait ben-Haddou
  • Home visit with Berber family
  • Marrakech’s medina and Djemaa el Fna Square
  • Storied Casablanca and Hassan II mosque
  • Outstanding accommodations

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Casablanca, Morocco

Day 2: Casablanca/Rabat After arriving in Casa­blanca, the commercial center of Morocco (and of all North Africa), we travel to Rabat, where we check in at our hotel near famed Hassan Tower. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant in Rabat’s Old Town. L,D

Day 3: Rabat One of Morocco’s four ancient capitals, or imperial cities, Rabat is again the ­coun­try’s capital, at once historic and contemporary as we discover on today’s tour. We visit the fortified Kasbah of the Oudaias, the peaceful Andalusian Gardens, and the necropolis of Chellah, built on ancient Roman ruins. Then we cross the river to Sale for lunch at a local restaurant followed by a visit to Rabat's Archeological Museum and a walk through the medina. Late afternoon we return to our hotel, where we enjoy dinner tonight. B,L,D

Day 4: Rabat/Meknes/Volubilis/Fez This ­morning we depart Rabat for Fez, stopping along the way in Meknes, Morocco’s youngest imperial city (and UNESCO World Heritage site). We visit the Bab el Mansour gateway and the ruins of the imperial stables before lunch in a local restaurant. Then we continue on to the ancient Roman ruins at the UNESCO site of Volubilis, known for its intricate and colorful mosaics; and at the holy town of Moulay Idriss. Late afternoon we reach Fez and our elegant hotel adjacent to the medina (old city), another UNESCO World Heritage site. B,L,D

Day 5: Fez Today we explore Morocco’s oldest imperial city, considered the “Athens of Africa” for its wealth of cultural, educational, and religious institutions. We begin with a walking tour of Fez’s fascinating medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, focusing on the artisans’ quarters, the 14th-century Koranic schools, and Al Karaouine, the medieval theological university. We return to the hotel for lunch and some time at leisure then mid-afternoon tour the old mellah (Jewish quarter) and its 17th-cen­tury synagogue, the royal gates, and the Museum of Fez. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at an intimate family-run riad, La Maison Bleue. B,L,D

Day 6: Fez This morning we visit a Berber village where residents live much as their ancestors did centuries ago. We share tea with a local family in their cave dwelling then continue on to whitewashed Sefrou, an old Jewish town at the foot of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Returning to Fez, we stop at the renowned pottery factories. The remainder of the afternoon is free for independent exploration. B,D

Day 7: Fez/Midelt/Erfoud Traveling inland today, we cross the fertile plains beyond Fez and continue through the Middle Atlas mountain range. We stop in the small town of Midelt for lunch. Continuing on we cross the Ziz River, passing rows of sky-scraping palm trees and fortified villages before reaching our kasbah-style hotel in Erfoud late in the day. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 8: Erfoud/Rissani/Merzouga This morning we visit the city of Rissani, with its 18th-century ksar, a virtually impenetrable warren of alleys; then continue on to the ruins of Sijilmasa. We enjoy a tour highlight this afternoon as we set out on a sunset excursion to the breathtakingly beautiful sand dunes at Merzouga on the edge of the Sahara. In the enormous silence we watch the sun set over the desert as we take a camel ride along the dunes. B,D

Day 9: Erfoud/Tinehir/Todra Gorges/Ouarzazate Our destination today is in the snow-topped High Atlas. The day features one beautiful scene after another, including the village of Tinehir, a stunning mountain oasis rising on a series of riverside ter­races lush with palm trees; and the spectacular 984-foot Todra Gorge, home to a variety of rare bird and plant species. Follow­ing lunch here we visit El Kelaa des Mgouna, known for its roses, then set out on the fabled “Route of a Thou­sand Kasbahs” ancient caravan route, a region of fortresses with elaborately decorated façades. Late afternoon we reach the town of Ouarzazate (the “door of the desert”) where we spend the night. B,L,D

Day 10: Ouarzazate/Ait ben-Haddou/Marrakech En route to Marrakech today, we stop first at uninhab­ited Ait ben-Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of southern Morocco’s most scenic villages that is often used as a location for fashion and film shoots. Its old section consists of deep red kasbahs packed together so tightly they appear to be a single unit. Then as we begin our descent from the High Atlas, we pass through typical villages with fortified walls and stone houses with earthen roofs. In Tizi N’Tichka, we traverse the Pass of the Pastures (alt. 7,415 feet), where life is much as it was centuries ago: shepherds bring their flocks to the high pastures every summer, then return with them to their villages in autumn. We arrive in Marrakech late this afternoon and dine tonight at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 11: Marrakech Once the capital of southern Morocco, the imperial city of Marrakech is an allur­ing oasis with a temperate climate, distinct charm, and fascinating sights. Our day-long tour includes the beautifully proportioned Koutoubia Mosque with its distinctive 282-foot minaret visible from miles away; the lovely Andalusian-style El Bahia Palace (part of which is still used by the royal family); and the ruins of 16th-century Palais El Badii. After lunch at our hotel, mid-afternoon we embark on a walk­ing tour of the medina, ending at Djemaa el Fna Squ­are, a UNESCO site and the heart of Marrakech, crowded with snake charm­ers, ­entertainers, story­tellers, musicians, barbers, and sellers of fruit, water, and spices. Dinner tonight is on our own in this exotic city. B,L

Day 12: Marrakech This morning we travel by horse-drawn carriage from Menara Park to Majorelle Gardens, a private botanical garden with some 15 species of birds native to North Africa and known for its cobalt blue accents. Following a tour of the gardens we'll visit the newly renovated Berber Museum, located on the grounds of Majorelle Gardens. The afternoon is at leisure before dinner tonight at a local restaurant in the city’s Old Town. B,D

Day 13: Marrakech/Casablanca We leave Marra­kech this morning by coach for storied Casablanca, Morocco’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Highlights of this afternoon’s city tour include the harbor area and central market, the Royal Palace, Habous Quarter (“New Medina”), and the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, Morocco’s only functioning mosque open to non-Muslims. Tonight we celebrate our Moroccan adventure at a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 14: Depart for U.S. After breakfast this morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S. B

Accommodations

La Tour Hassan, Rabat / Days 2-3 / Superior First Class
Dating to 1914, the 140-room La Tour Hassan represents Rabat’s last surviving hotel to be constructed using traditional Moorish-Andalusian design. The citadel-style hotel stands inside a fortress wall at the center of the city and features three restaurants, one bar, Internet access, laundry service, fitness center with Jacuzzi, sauna, solarium, and outdoor pool. Air-conditioned rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Sofitel Palais Jamai, Fez / Days 4-6 / Deluxe

Built as a palace in 1879, the Sofitel Palais Jamai is located in a privileged setting close to the Fez medina, surrounded by spacious gardens. The 123-room hotel features three restaurants and a bar, Internet access, laundry service, fitness center, Moorish bath, tanning salon, Jacuzzi, sauna, and heated outdoor pool. Spacious air-conditioned rooms boast traditional Moorish style décor, private bath with hair dryer, balcony, safe, TV, and phone. The hotel has currency exchange facilities, but no ATM.

Kasbah Hotel Chergui, Erfoud / Days 7-8 / First Class

Set on the outskirts of the city of Erfoud, this 100-room hotel stands surrounded by palm groves and rich vegetation. The kasbah-style hotel offers traditional Moroccan surroundings and features restaurant and bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, gift shop, sauna, Jacuzzi, Turkish bath, and outdoor swimming pool. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone. Please note that, while this is the best hotel available in this more remote region, you may find the level of quality and service somewhat lower than at other sites on your tour.

Le Berbere Palace, Ouarzazate / Day 9 / First Class

A traditional Moroccan-style hotel, the Berbere Palace offers guests a host of contemporary amenities including two restaurants, two bars, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fitness center, swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath, tennis courts, terraced garden, and library. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Sofitel Marrakech, Marrakech / Days 10-12 / Deluxe
Sitting on the edge of the city at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains and within easy reach of the Medina and Jamma el Fna Square, the Sofitel boasts three restaurants and a bar; Internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; ATM; fitness center with gym, Jacuzzi, sauna, and solarium; Turkish bath; and two outdoor pools. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, terrace or balcony, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Kenzi Tower Hotel, Casablanca / Day 13 / Superior First Class
Well-located in the heart of Casablanca, the Kenzi Tower Hotel occupies one of the two towers of the Twin Center. The hotel has restaurant and bar; Internet access; gift shop; laundry and dry cleaning services; hair dresser and salon; fitness center with sauna and massage treatments; and indoor swimming pool. Air-conditioned guestrooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Tour Price Includes

  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 12 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class and First Class hotels
  • 31 meals: 12 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 11 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

  • To ask a question or make a reservation on the phone with a credit card, call WolfTreks Travel Coordinator Kathy Hart at 800.627.2586 or 919.515.3375.