In this 10-day tour from Casablanca, the travel program will take you to the most monumental cities, the most charming villages, the pre-Saharan valleys and the fine sand dunes. It also includes an innovative and differentiating proposal: the experience of getting to know first-hand the semi-nomadic inhabitants of the desert. Undoubtedly, a very complete proposal from a cultural, natural and social point of view.
Every journey is a search for beauty, whether monumental or natural. And Morocco has a lot of both. As far as monuments are concerned, this circuit includes destinations declared World Heritage by Unesco thanks to their spectacular nature: Ait Ben Haddou, Meknes, Rabat, Fez, Marrakech, Volubilis… But also other villages and buildings that, without having that honor, are equally fascinating: Chaouen, Rissani….
As far as nature is concerned, here you will find landscapes of great beauty. Of course, the dunes of the desert of Merzouga (Erg Chebbi), whose beauty is not only its fine sand but also the starry night sky. The Todra Gorges and the palm groves of the Dades Valley provide an interesting counterpoint to the arid south. And in the Middle Atlas, the Ifrane National Park will fill our eyes with majestic cedars.
The most curious travelers will also enjoy getting to know closely a varied and genuine society, such as the Moroccan one. And you will appreciate it not only in squares and souks full of life, such as Jemaa el-Fna Square in Marrakech, but also in small medinas such as Rissani, where you can still see scenes from another time, such as parked donkeys or spices sold in bulk.
But undoubtedly, the most striking of this circuit from a social point of view is the visit to the semi-nomadic peoples of the Sahara desert. We will spend a morning with them, understanding the difficulties of their way of life, which in spite of this they have been able to maintain with love and dedication. And the same will be true of the visit to Khamlia, also called the ‘village of the blacks’, due to the predominance of inhabitants with sub-Saharan origins, where traditions such as percussion music remain a key part of daily life.
10 days is a long time. And that is the duration of this tour from Casablanca, which includes 9 nights in different parts of the country. It starts at Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, and ends at Menara-Marrakech International Airport. This is the program, day by day:
The attractions to be discovered in this 10-day circuit will not be long in coming, and the first day is already full of them. We will head towards them as soon as we meet at the Casablanca airport terminal and get on board our private vehicle, driven by our agency’s chauffeur.
The first stop will be, flight arrival times permitting, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. Located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, it stands out for being one of the largest and highest in the world. It is also one of the few that can be visited, which is an unbeatable opportunity to get to know the Muslim liturgy up close.
The second and last destination of this second day is Rabat, the capital of the Kingdom. For this reason, some of the most sacred and solemn places in the country are located here, such as the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. The Hassan Tower, the medina or the Kasbah of the Udayas can be other places to visit in a free visit to the center, before going to your exclusive riad to rest for the night.
From the Atlantic Ocean to the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco. That will be the trip we will undertake on this second day of circuit, in which we will change the capital of the country for a small but very interesting town: Chaouen.
Despite being a small town located about 250 km from Rabat, it is worth the 4-hour drive to get here because it is one of the most picturesque and beautiful destinations in the country. Often referred to as ‘the blue village’ of Morocco, it surprises the visitor with its medina of steep streets and walls painted in white and blue, making it one of the most unique villages in Africa. The kasbah, the surrounding viewpoints and handicraft stores are some of the main attractions to spend this day of free visit.
And in the evening, a charming riad will be waiting for you in the medina, completing a day to remember.
From Chaouen, it is very easy to reach the destinations scheduled for this third day: Volubilis, Meknes and finally Fez. All of them are interesting from a historical and cultural point of view, so this day will be a real journey back in time to the past.
It is especially evident in Volubilis, an important Roman city in the Mauritania Tingitana province. What remains today is an archaeological site with remains of great interest, such as the mosaics in pavements, the Temple of Jupiter Capitoline or the Triumphal Arch of Caracalla, which marks one of the moments of splendor of this city, at the end of the second and beginning of the third century AD.
Much later and 20 km from here was built the city that symbolizes another period of prosperity: Meknes, conceived by Sultan Moulay Ismail as his capital and pantheon city in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Proof of this is its mausoleum, as well as the remains of its royal palace, the walls and the triumphal gates of access to the city.
But for an emblematic city on a political, cultural and religious level, there is nothing like Fez. This is where the day’s road trip will end, but your visit and exploration will be left mainly for the next day, after resting in the charming riad located in the historic medina, which is, by the way, the largest in the whole country.
The fourth day of this circuit starts in Fez and ends in Fez, since the attractions to be discovered are so numerous that a full day is necessary. In addition, part of this day will be a guided tour with an official guide, which will help us to better decipher all the keys and secrets of this city, which was the political capital in the past, and is still considered the cultural and religious capital of Morocco.
Some monuments are proof of this, such as its abundant and imposing Koranic schools (Bou Inania, Attarine) or its historic mosques (including the Karaouine, with a tenth-century university linked to it). Its neighborhoods and souks, divided by guilds, are another hallmark of the medina.
And outside of it, there is no lack of places of interest, which can be visited in the afternoon, at your leisure: the mellah or Jewish quarter, the Golden Gates of the Royal Palace, the Borj Nord Museum or the Marinid tombs… among many other proposals. And of course, another aspect to admire is its craftsmanship, whether in museums or in traditional stores, because here you can find authentic masterpieces of pottery, woodwork and goldsmithing. Undoubtedly, many plans and proposals until the arrival of the night of rest in the riad of the medina.
If you chose this circuit for the journey and desert experiences, this fifth day brings you closer to your goal. But before that, there is much to discover on this day. In particular, the most unique corners of the Middle Atlas, especially those located on its northern slopes.
Ifrane is one of those places that remain in the memory, at least for the contrast it offers: its gabled roofs seem more typical of the Alps than of North Africa, and for this reason the local people know it as the ‘Moroccan Switzerland’.
Not far from here, next to Azrou, is the Ifrane National Park. It is called Monkey Forest because of its friendly inhabitants: Barbary macaques, one of the most emblematic animals of Morocco. But it could well be called Cedar Forest, as it is the largest concentration of these spectacular trees in Morocco, many of them centuries old and of great size.
Then it is time to cross the mountain range and enter the arid south. The road takes us for a long stretch parallel to the Ziz river through its valley. At the end of the trip we will leave Erfoud, where we will be able to admire its wealth of fossils and minerals.
We will reach Merzouga where the road ends, but that will not stop us: we will get on the back of dromedaries or aboard 4×4 vehicles to enter the dunes of Erg Chebbi, which extend for miles east of this population. The unique accommodation of this day awaits us there: a camp of luxury tents, where we will be welcomed with a hot tea… and the radiant stars that will shine in the sky will bid us good night.
The sixth day is the day that makes the difference between this circuit and all those of shorter duration: on this day we will meet the inhabitants of this (apparently) inhospitable place, who continue to maintain many of the traditions of their ancestors.
Before that, we will enjoy the magical sunrise over the desert dunes and then we will return to Merzouga (by camel or 4×4) to take a shower and go off-road to Khamlia. It is a town with a predominantly black population, as they are largely descendants of slaves who centuries ago came from Sudan. And they will honor us with what they do best: a music concert, where sub-Saharan percussion rhythms predominate.
Back in the 4×4 vehicle, we will drive along one of the mythical tracks of the old Paris-Dakar, passing through khol mines and the remains of a Berber village and the French Protectorate period. An elevated hill will give us a panoramic view of the dunes of Erg Chebbi, where we spent the previous night. And during the afternoon we will visit nomadic families in the process of sedentarization who, nevertheless, continue to live according to their traditions, such as offering tea to the guests (us) who come here to meet them.
After this unique route through the desert of Merzouga, we will go to the local hotel where we will spend the night, with every comfort.
On the seventh day of the circuit we say goodbye to the Sahara desert and we enter what is known as the pre-Saharan valleys: river valleys or wadis that rise in the Atlas and allow the existence of palm groves and cultivation areas in their surroundings, in coexistence with arid areas, mainly hamada.
It is one of the days with the most kilometers on the road, but the roadtrip is an attraction in itself. It will take us to Rissani, a surprising desert village, with market and popular atmosphere. After that we will head to the Dades Valley, stopping at the Todra Gorges, a canyon that seems unreal by the perfection of its vertical walls, a paradise for climbers. And at the end of the tour we will arrive in Ouarzazate, the largest city in the region.
In Ouarzazate is the imposing kasbah of Taourirt, which we will visit on arrival or the next day, depending on schedules. And here you will also find a comfortable hotel to rest during the night.
Ouarzazate, in addition to its kasbah of Taourirt (which is visited this day or the day before) is famous for its film studios, called Atlas Studios, where scenes have been set for many different movies, such as
Lawrence of Arabia
. But in addition, this is the city from which many excursions depart to another place of film: Ait Ben Haddou.
Ait Ben Haddou is a fortified village, huddled on a mountain, surrounded by ramparts and crowned by a kasbah. Due to its uniqueness and state of preservation, it is one of the best examples of Berber defensive architecture, probably from the 17th century or even earlier.
After your visit and with the images of this ksar still in the retina, we will arrive at the kasbah of Telouet, a good example of a Berber castle, used by the El Glaoui family until well into the twentieth century. Its altitude is considerable (1,800 meters above sea level approx.), because shortly after we reach the Tizi n’ Tichka pass (2,260 meters above sea level).
From there it only remains to complete the beautiful descent through the valleys of the High Atlas to Marrakech, the final goal of this circuit. Upon arrival, you will have free time to relax in a historic riad in the city.
The penultimate day of this circuit will bring us another of the highlights of the trip: the visit of Marrakech, considered the tourist capital of Morocco, not by chance. It is a city full of monumental attractions, but also of places and activities where its people show themselves in a genuine way.
During the morning you will enjoy a guided tour of the most emblematic places, such as the Koutoubia Mosque (exterior only), the Bahia Palace, the Saadian Tombs and other places chosen by our official guide for their beauty and uniqueness. And in the afternoon, which will be free, you can complete the day according to your taste: wander around the Jemaa el-Fna square, visit a museum, shop for handicrafts in the souks, go shopping in the luxury stores of Gueliz … and many other proposals.
And so, it will be time to rest the last night of the tour in the charming riad in the center.
This circuit comes to an end on its tenth day, which will be scheduled according to the departure time of the plane back home. If possible, some additional free time may be left after breakfast at the riad. In any case, at the agreed time, our driver will pick you up at the hotel to make the transfer to Menara-Marrakech airport in a private vehicle. And we will say goodbye at the terminal, with best wishes and a heartfelt thank you for trusting our agency.
This 10-day Morocco tour is very complete not only because of the variety of destinations in the program, but also because of the numerous services included in the travel package. They are as follows:
To complete the trip, the traveler must pay for the following services, which are not included in the package, with his/her own funds: