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Magic in Morocco

Magic in Morocco 2018-12-31T17:19:25+00:00

Morocco is one of the most diverse countries in Africa, with high mountains, sweeping desert, rugged coastline, and the winding alleyways of ancient medina cities and souqs. Aromatic tajines, palm-spotted, red-earthed landscapes and limitless generosity define the home of the Maghreb. This magical tour will give you a glimpse of the friendliness, vibrancy and flavour of this Berber-Arab-Spanish-Portuguese-French melting pot.

The terrain of Morocco has informed my dreams since I was a child, as a magical and wondrous place. I would like to invite you to join me on an enchanted journey to re-awaken the magic in your life, through listening to the heartbeat of Morocco. By staying in the Medina and engaging with these ancient cities rhythms and customs. Being mystically transported, (or just woken up) by the call to prayer, drinking mint in the souks, finding exquisite restaurants, walking through beautiful gardens and staying in the Sahara desert under a million stars. We visit romantic Casablanca with its rich history and traditions. Explore the medieval city of Fez, seeing amazing architecture, spice markets and tanneries, take a camel ride to our camp in the Sahara and stay in cosmopolitan Marrakech, let the Magic begin ……

This Inspirational Journey is for you if:

  • You want to explore an ancient and magical place.

  • You want to travel to an exotic location, but perhaps wouldn’t do it on your own.

  • You adore learning about different cultures and peoples.

  • You really enjoy eating delicious food and trying new things.

  • You are excited to explore the markets and medinas with all their colour and vibrancy.

  • You want to visit the place that “Casablanca”was filmed.

  • A night is an historic Kasbah has you imagining Arabian Nights.

  • Two nights in the desert glamping under the stars sounds like heaven to you.

The Magic

As the sun set on another magical day in this red country, you watch the merchants in their Djellaba close up shop for the day and you wander past small coffee houses and colourful lantern displays back to your welcoming Riad. 

Entering this hidden exotic space, you make your way to your room which can only be described as romantic, complete with lush soft furnishings and a Moroccan tiled bathroom. 

Resting onto the day bed in your room, you can’t help smiling about the delightful day you just had walking through the gardens, shopping for perfumes and handmade gifts, visiting a museum, eating in charming restaurants, and exploring with your amazing new friends!

Ah…the delights of Morocco! During our trip we will be staying in  a selection of modern hotels and charming Riads, as well as a rustic fortified city and camping in the Sahara Desert!

Discover Historical Casablanca, Imperial Meknes, Ancient Fez, Saharan Nights and the Magic of Marrakech!

Itinerary

Day 1 – Casablanca

Casablanca’s handsome Mauresque buildings, which meld French-colonial design and traditional Moroccan style, are best admired in the Downtown area. Visitors who spend time here are sure to get into the local swing of things and realise that this old pirate lair is looking towards the future, embracing the European-flavoured urban sophistication that has underpinned life here for the past century.

Our first day has been set aside just to arrive and rest after the long flight. We will meet at the hotel foyer for dinner at 6pm and head to the seaside for dinner (if you have arrived by then), but mostly this day has been set aside to collect people from the airport, (it is 1 hour from the airport to the hotel) to give people time to adjust after the long flight, settle in, relax, sleep, take a walk so you are bright and ready to meet at 8am the next morning for breakfast! 

Drive Time – 1 hour

Day 2 – Casablanca to Meknes

This morning we visit the the imposing Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world; and the old Church of the Sacred Heart, in neo-Gothic style as well as the place Mohammed V, inspired by art deco and with beautiful portals and immaculate facades.

After this we will have lunch at Rick’s Cafe made famous by the movie (self-pay). 

We will then drive to Meknes, a city known for its Imperial past.  

Sultan Moulay Ismail, the architect of Meknès’ glory days, might be a little disgruntled at the city’s current modesty, but visitors will find much to be enchanted by. Remnants of no less than three sets of fortifications, ingeniously incorporated into the city’s road networks, make it clear how important this city once was. The king’s tomb sits at the heart of what remains of the original imperial city, flanked by an almighty royal granary, the magnificent Bab El Mansour – the likes of which even Fez can’t compete with – and Place El Hedim, a local mini-me of Marrakesh’s popular square Djemaa El Fna.

Drive Time – 4 hours

Meals – Breakfast

Tonight we stay in a modest Riad in one of the most popular areas of Meknes. 

Day 3 – Meknes – Fez

After breakfast we have a little time to explore around Meknes before driving to Fes and arriving in time for a delicious dinner in our romantic riad in the old quarter. 

An ancient breeding ground for scholars and artisans, imams and gourmands – Fez is a supremely self-confident city with a historical and cultural lineage that beguiles visitors. And there is something intangibly raw about a place where 70,000 people still choose to live in the maelstrom of a medina so dark, dense and dilapidated that it remains the world’s largest car-free urban area. Donkeys cart goods down the warren of alleyways as they have done since medieval times, and ruinous pockets loom around every corner – though a government drive to restore Fès el-Bali to its former glory is spurring changes.

Fez’ medina can seem like it’s in a state of perpetual pandemonium; some visitors fall instantly in love and others recoil in horror. But its charms are many. Seemingly blind alleys lead to squares with exquisite fountains and streets bursting with aromatic food stands, rooftops unveil a sea of minarets, and stooped doorways reveal the workshops of tireless artisans.

Drive Time – 4 hours 

Meals – Breakfast

Accommodation – Dar Ben Souda (This accommodation is a 10 minute cobblestone walk in the old medina)

Day 4 – Fez 

After a leisurely breakfast todays tour Stars at Bab Boujloud, the ornate blue gate leading into the medina, and Moulay Idriss Mausoleum. We will visit the  university of Al-Qarawiyyin, which is both a university and a mosque situated in the heart of the medina. UNESCO has named it the oldest continuously functioning educational institution in the world. We will also pass other schools such as the Madrasa Bouanania built by Sultan Abu Inan Faris and the Madrasa Al-Attarine created by Sultan Uthman II Abu Said. Onto the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts and see the traditional tools used by craftsmen, also the Berber carpets and musical instruments. We will visit the tannery, the largest tannery in Africa. Visit the Mellah or Jewish Quarter and the old Ibn Danan Synagogue, dating from the 17th century. After the Medina we will go outside the Medina walls to the main gate of the Royal Palace where you’ll see craftsmen at work and you’ll enjoy the view of the large plaza and its palm trees.

Meals – Breakfast

Accommodation – Dar Ben Souda Old Town 

Day 5 – Fez to Marrakech

Today sees a bit of shopping taking place in Fez including Place Seffarine with its famous metal workshops and a visit to the Jardin Jnan Sbil for a relaxing meander. 

We then catch our flight to Marrakech, and at around 6pm make our way to our accommodation for dinner and then to bed for tomorrow we are exploring Marrakech! 

Meals – Breakfast

Day 6 – Marrakech

9am Breakfast

10am Explore Marrakech – A day of sites, walk through the medina, stop at the herbologist for all your lotions and potions, head to a french patisserie for a coffee and cake, sustenance before we make our way to the Badi and Bahia places, both located in the Jewish quarter. Before heading back to our accommodation to freshen up and head out for dinner.

Meals – Breakfast

7.30pm have dinner at Comptoir Darna – Belly dancing restaurant (*Self Pay)

Day 7 – Marrakech

This morning we head to my favourite artisan markets! On this tour with Tammie, you’ll shop for real-deal souvenirs like leather, lamps, shoes, carpets, spices, and argan oil, and then onto Katoubia Mosque, which has the largest minaret in the Muslim world, before hitting Jma El Fna, the most famous square in Morocco with its snake charmers, food stalls and general mayhem. Free time to wander and have lunch.

This afternoon why not take the option of visiting the hammam or just relaxing.

Day 8 – Marrakech – The Sahara!

This morning we visit the Marjorelle Gardens and Yves St Laurent Museum, (where we will have lunch). Along the way we can see the modern part of Marrakech Guilez, outside the medina walls and soak in the vibe for a modern and cosmopolitan Marrakech. 

In the afternoon we fly to Zagora and make our way via four wheel drive to our Sahara Camp. We will arrive under the cover of darkness to a magical starry night and campfire. Peaceful Bliss. 

Meals – Breakfast and Dinner

 Day 9 – Sahara

Today is total relaxation, we can do a morning meditation in the dunes, a restorative yoga class in the afternoon or a dance class in the evening. The day is yours just to revel in the silence.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 10 – Ait Ben Haddou

7am Early Breakfast

8am Leave for magical Ait Ben Haddou – Leaving the Sahara in a comfortable land cruiser with our experienced drivers, winding your way through the Atlas Mountains, this is real Berber country. The scenery changes dramatically as do the people, you drive south across the magnificent Todra Gorges – Valley of the Roses, Skoura, Amridil Kasbah and the Tiz-n-Tichka pass arriving in the afternoon at the impressive and well-preserved kasbahs and UNESCO world heritage site, the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou. We will stop here for the night and get the chance to visit this picturesque fortified village, which has been used as a film location in numerous famous films such as ‘Gladiator’, ‘Alexander’ and ‘The Mummy’.

Drive Time – 6 hours

Meals – Breakfast

Day 11 – Tour Concludes with a flight from Ait Ben Haddou to Casablanca

A very early start (6am) sees us heading to Ouarzazate airport (1 hour drive) for an 8am flight to Casablanca arriving at 9.20am. Please make any international retrun flights home for after 1.30pm to give yourself plenty of time for the transfer, customs and check in process. 

* Self-Pay

Its always sad when a good thing comes to an end, but this creates space for our next great adventure. Tammie xx

If you want to make the most of your adventure you can join us after this trip for our Ancient and Enchanting Egypt trip 30 September – 8 October 2019

If you choose to join us in Egypt you will require two extra nights accommodation which we can arrange for you, as well as flights from Marrakech to Cairo, (which usually includes a stop in Casablanca and is around $300AUD).

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10N/11D

18 – 28 September 2019 (Only 4 rooms left)

14 – 24 October 2020

NB* Trip Starts in Casablanca and ends in Casablanca so please arrange your flights accordingly. 

Inclusions

1 night Casablanca

⇒ 1 night Meknes

⇒ 2 nights Fez

3 nights Marrakesh Riad 

 2 Nights Camp in the Sahara Dessert (all meals included) 

1 Night staying at a Kasbah – Enroute to Sahara 

Flights from Fez to Marrakech, Marrakech to Zagora and Ouarzazate to Casablanca

⇒ All Breakfasts included

 Some lunches and dinners, (whilst in the Sahara camping)

⇒ Airport transfers – arrival to Casablanca and departure from Casablanca 

 Private vehicle throughout with travel guide

 Guided walking tours throughout with a licenced professional guide

Shopping and sight seeing with Tammie

Horse and carriage ride to Marjorelle Gardens

Optional yoga, dance and meditation class

Optional extra’s (additional cost)

 Spa treatments and visit to the hammam

Camel Ride

What is not included

Airfares to and from Casablanca

 Some Lunches and Dinners (prices for these can vary from very cheap to western prices depending on where you are eating)

 Personal purchases (The shopping is fabulous in Marrakesh, leave space in your bags girls!)

Drinks and alcohol purchases (we can bring beer and wine to the desert also!) 

Tipping, we suggest $15 per person per day and collect this at the beginning of the trip to be distributed amongst out drivers, hotel staff and guides. 

Travel Insurance (which is compulsory)

This trip is priced in $AUD

Single Room $2990

Twinshare Room $2490

You can also add South Africa and Egypt to this tour creating a 31 day tour! You can add these trips on the reservation form. 

Deposits & Payment Plans

You have two payment options for this trip. To pay a $500 deposit and the remainder two months prior to the start of the retreat or to organise a payment plan. 

Deposits can be paid via Direct Bank Transfer or via PayPal.

If you pay via PayPal you can use your credit card.

Cancellations

Up until 60 days before the start of the retreat A $500 non refundable deposit will be retrained for between 60 and 30 days $1000 will will be forfeited, for less than 30 days or for no shows $1500AUD will be retained as we would have already had to pay for internal flights and to secure accommodation etc, this money will not be returned to us, this is why travel insurance is compulsory.

Weather in Morocco

The average daily temperature in the months of September/October linger around 21 degrees Celsius. This average includes a potential low of 15 degrees Celsius, which often occurs during the night, and a high of 27 degrees Celsius. Getting prepared for the anticipated high will be the important factor to consider when packing and planning your holiday.

Despite entering the autumn season, Marrakesh sees around nine hours of sunshine on any given day. This gives you plenty of time to spend your day outdoors exploring the souks and various sites of interest.

Moroccan People

The people of Morocco are kind, warm, and well known around the world for their hospitality. A Moroccan, after having just met you, will invite you to his home for a feast of all they have to give, even if they are of meager means. They value building personal relationships, and want to help others for the sake of it, not always for their own personal gain. Family is important to Moroccans and you will often find extended family gathering for meals, tea, and visits. Moroccans will often ask you about the health and well-being of your own family, even if they have never met them. They have a genuine interest in concern for other people. Personal honor and respect is most important to Moroccans so crossing these lines can quickly turn a valuable relationship sour almost immediately.

You will find many men and woman wearing the traditional djellaba, a long hooded robe worn over their clothes. Women add the hijab, or head covering in a sign of submission to God. For special occasions, a caftan replaces the djellaba. The main difference between the two is that a caftan is made of more expensive fabrics and does not include the traditional hood. It is also adorned with lace, embroidery beading of bright colors. You will find just as many men and women among the younger generation wearing Western style clothing such as T-shirts and jeans and modern suits.