Morocco Sahara & Beyond
If there was ever a country where it was possible to adventure, it is Morocco. Not only can you explore the country’s untouched wilderness, but you can explore it’s culture, visiting small cities and mingling with Berbers, and explore it’s history through tours of mosques, castles and markets. The mountain ranges are open to endless exploration and constant change, snowing in winter and beautifully warm in the summer. We recommend hiking and trekking as an adventure in the months between these two, however, as it can often be too hot or too cold to be enjoyable.
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- • Visit the grand Mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca
• Meknes - a great Imperial city
• Fes – the oldest medieval city in the world, medina dye pits and tanneries
• Hike through scenic Berber villages in Atlas Mountains
• Ride a camel in the Sahara (Desert)
• Erg Chebbi sand dunes - reaching some 300m high
• Camp out under the stars while having a sing-along by the fire
• Todra Gorge - towering red canyon
• Ait Benhaddou - UNESCO-listed fortified kasbah
• Visit the film studio in Ouarzazate
• Marrakech - UNESCO-listed Place Djemaa el Fna,(medina, souks and market place)
Day 1: Casablanca
Airport arrival transfer is already included in your booking. However, this transfer is only valid if you arrive on the 1st day or you have already made accommodation reservations through Balthazar tours. Please ensure that you provide us with your flight details while booking, or a minimum of 15-days prior to the journey. (Please Note: We may not be able to confirm your request if it is made within 15 days of the travel date). Once you’ve provided us your flight details, we will book a transfer representative for you to receive you at the airport and drop you to the hotel.
Get ready to begin the most amazing adventure of your life with a small Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can look out for a note in the lobby of the hotel or ask the hotel staff about the location of this meeting. If you are unable to find a flight that can help you reach the hotel before 6pm, you can arrive a day early to ensure that you don’t miss the meeting. We’ll be glad to book additional accommodation for you a day before (Subject to Availability). But if you’ll be late and won’t be able to attend the meeting, please do inform the hotel reception.
Day 2: Casablanca - Meknes via Rabat
Even though the great walls of Rabat accommodate a modern city, there are many quarters in it which remind you of its rich past. Located at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River on the Atlantic Ocean, the city has a calm, peaceful atmosphere with none of the hustle and bustle of other larger tourist attractions of Morocco.
From Roman settlements, unfinished 12th century Hassan Tower, pirates, to a more recent reception of the position of the country’s modern political capital, Rabat has an elongated and vibrant history.
Day 3-5: Meknes - Fes
Once a royal city of Morocco, Meknes was also the capital of one of the most colorful Moroccan era. It was Sultan Moulay Ismail (a contemporary of Louis XIV) who wanted to create his very own version of Versailles here, with huge walls, gates, and more than 50 palaces with a labor power of more than 25,000 slaves.
Volubilis, close to the town of Moulay Idriss, is a site where you can witness the well-preserved ruins of the Romans. Volubilis used to function as the Roman empires one of the remotest bases, and remained prosperous until the 8th century. Moreover, most of its main structures were well-preserved until an earthquake in the 18th century damaged them. After this earthquake, most of the marble from these structures were taken to Meknes for construction.
A local guide will help us travel to this vibrant era as we navigate our way in this ancient city situated on the hills.
Visiting Fes is nothing short of travelling to the past. The mighty city walls, maze-like Medina’s and a well-preserved Old City has made Fes one of the favorite tourist destination in Morocco.
Walking through the convoluted alleyways of the Medina is like travelling to the Middle Ages. The French have preserved this site due to its historical importance. However, this preservation is also responsible for its decline, as the financial and government centers were built at other places in the country. Most of the Jews migrated from this city in 1956, and the empty spaces were filled by many rural poor who wanted to handle the city. As a result, the ancient center of learning is not at all what it used to be. But, it is still a wonderful living museum where you’d love getting lost.
Local guides will walk you through the magical Medina, which is still a living monument of an ancient past and has many tanneries, markets, craftsmen, mosques, and ceramics. When you are here, don’t forget to visit Medersa Bou Inania, which is the city’s most beautiful building, and has been recently restored and opened for the visitors.
Here, we’ll also visit the tannery which is very famous for the iconic view that overlooks a ceramic factory, dye pits, and potters working in their traditional way.
Famous Moroccan cuisines like Harira (chicken soup) and chicken-stuffed pastille with couscous can also be enjoyed here. We can also visit to Palais Jamai to taste its famous drinks. In the evening, watching the sunset above the huge Medina along with dozens of prayers in the backdrop will surely be an experience of a lifetime.
Day 6: Fes - Midelt via Azrou
Midelt is a perfect location if you are looking out to have a little break on your journey to Sahara. The countryside surrounding this place is very beautiful, and most of the locals here are Berber. Once you check in to the hotel here, you’ll have enough time to meet the locals and enjoy an easy hike in the hills situated nearby.
Day 7: Midelt - Merzouga (Sahara Desert)
Once we reach Merzouga, we’ll leave all our gears at a local auberge as we’ll then begin riding camera into the Sahara Desert, and hopefully will also enjoy a beautiful sunset along the way. The dunes are very beautiful, especially at this time of the day. We’ll camp out tonight and enjoy the traditional hospitality of the desert under the stunning stars.
With orange-colored Erg-Chebbi sand dunes in the background, Merzouga, the small Saharan village looks like a place which has magically arrived from a desert tale.
Erg Chebbi dunes are most beautiful of all the sand dunes here, and visiting them is a must for every visitor. An erg is actually a very wide sea of wind-swept sand which shifts and creates stunning valleys and crests, and Erg Chebbi is one of the best throughout the world and has towering dunes, upto the height of over 150 meters. It begins after a sealed road and just 20kms. from the Algerian border, this is truly a stunning frontier country.
Days 8-9 Merzouga - M’Goun Valley via Todra Gorge
If you really want to enjoy this beautiful region, then traveling on foot will give you the best experience. There are a few routes to explore this area, but the best one is a 10km circuit that’ll require about 4 hours if we walk at a steady pace. The trails are well-established, but they are a little undulating at some places. However, they are not too challenging and you’ll enjoy the walk if you have a basic fitness level. You’ll keep on passing many Berber villages throughout our journey and you can even meet the local people. The well-known Rose Valley and scenic mountains are sure to make your journey truly remarkable.
Day 10: M’Goun Valley - Ait Ben Haddou via Skoura
Many centuries ago, Ait Ben haddou served as an important stop for the caravans carrying salt across Sahara, and used to return with slaves, ivory, and gold. The large Kasbah here is a World Heritage site and the most stunning in all of Morocco. The beautiful village here is an ideal example of yesteryears clay architecture and a number of movies like, Gladiator, The Jewel of the Nile, and Lawrence of Arabia have been shot here.
Day 11-13: M’Goun Valley - Marrakech via Telout
It has a never-ending maze of souks, and each one of them is dedicated to a different trade, including woodwork, pottery, leather, carpets, and spices.
There are many famous monuments in Marrakech, which include, the Koutoubia Mosque and its magnificent minaret – which is famous throughout the Islamic World, Seville- which has the ‘sister’ to the Giralda, and the French painter, Jacques Majorelle’s tropical gardens (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). Palais Bahia in Marrakech is a fine example of Muslim architecture, and then there’s also the ruin of Palais Badi, which was one of the most beautiful palaces in the world in its time. The recently uncovered gem of the Medina, the Saadian Tombs is also situated here. All these sites are not located close to each other and locating some of them can be a challenge, but that’s the best of part of the Medinas of Morocco.
No activities are planned for the last day of the trip and you can leave the accommodation as and when you like
• Guided tour of Fes Medina
• Camel ride
• Guided walk through the palmeries of Tinghir
• Ait Benhaddou - UNESCO-listed fortified kasbah