Following in the footsteps of Iban Battuta, the most important Muslim traveller in the Middle Ages, famous for writing the book Rihlah (Travels).
DayTourMealsAccommodation
1Tánger - Chaue DinnerHotel
2Chauen Breakfast, DinnerHotel
3Chauen – Meknes – Volubilis - Fes Breakfast, DinnerHotel
4Fes Breakfast, DinnerHotel
5Fes Breakfast, DinnerHotel
6Fes – Merzouga Breakfast, DinnerHotel
7Merzouga- Rissani - Merzouga Breakfast, DinnerHaima
8Desert – Desert Breakfast, DinnerHotel
9Desert - The Todra Gorges - The Dades Gorges Breakfast, DinnerHotel
10The Dades Gorges – Ait Ben Haddou - Ouarzazate BreakfastHotel
11Ouarzazate - Marrakech BreakfastHotel
12Marrakech BreakfastHotel
13Marrakech - Essaouira BreakfastHotel
14Essaouira - Marrakech BreakfastHotel
15Marrakech – Place of origin BreakfastNo

Notas

The trip may also be made in the opposite direction to that described in the itinerary, maintaining the same services and visits.

Included

  • Transfer Tangier / Marrakech
  • 4×4 vehicle on private tour
  • Chauffeur
  • Fuel
  • Guided visit with local guide for the visit of Fes
  • Dromedary (1 per person)
  • Meals and lodging indicated in the table.

Not included

  • Flight
  • Tickets
  • Beverages
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips, and everything not included in the program
  • Any service not mentioned in the section includes.

 

Trip planning

day 1
Tánger – Chauen

Reception in Tangier and transfer to Chauen to stay at the hotel.

day 2
Chauen

After breakfast we will spend the whole day visiting the old town of Chauen or Chefchaouen, located at the foot of the Tisouka (2050m) and Megou (1616m) mountains of the Rif mountain range, which rise above the village like two horns, thus naming the city, which in Berber means: “look at the horns”.

The city was founded in 1471 by Ali Ben Rachid on the site of a small Berber village. Its original population was composed mainly of exiles from al-Àndalus, both Muslims and Jews, which is why the old part of the city has a very similar appearance to that of the Andalusian villages, with small streets of irregular layout and whitewashed houses. Chauen was for centuries considered a sacred city, where foreigners were forbidden to enter. For this reason it has been maintained with few alterations all its medieval physiognomy. According to tradition, Chauen resembled the Andalusian city of Vejer de la Frontera, (in the province of Cadiz) since Ali Ben Rachid had promised his wife Lalla Zahra (a Spanish noblewoman converted to Islam) that the city would resemble his hometown, Vejer, and so it was.

The Medina is the old part of the city. Entering the city through one of its five gates of the Medina and going through the serpentine streets of dazzling blue-white houses contrasting with the great variety of colours of the different products of the shops and bazaars, the smells of freshly baked bread from the wood-fired oven or Tajin ready to eat make the walk a feast for all the senses. After a walk we will have a tea at the Plaza Uta el-Hammam, the busiest square in the medina of Chauen. It is presided over by the citadel and the exceptional octagonal minaret of the Great Mosque. We will continue the visit until the night that we will lodge in our hotel.

day 3
Chauen – Meknes – Volubilis – Fes

Breakfast at the hotel and then 200 km to Meknes. On the way we will make a pause in the Mamora forest, a place of peace and beauty where we can relax in this magnificent forest considered the largest cork oak in the world, declared a Biosphere Reserve.

After the break we will continue our way to the Roman city of Volubilis, 27 km north of Meknes. The most important archaeological site in Morocco, and inscribed on the list of World Heritage by UNESCO. After the visit of Volubilis.

We will continue to Meknes, one of the four imperial cities of Morocco, along with Fes, Marrakech and Rabat. Founded in the eleventh century by the Almoravids (a Berber tribe called Meknassi), it became the capital of the Maghreb in the seventeenth century. In Meknes we can see the gate of Bad el Mansour, it is one of the largest and most beautiful entrance doors in Morocco, built in 1732. The door of Bad el Mansour, is the habitual entrance to the Medina, where we will be able to admire its souk, the historical buildings and the Great Mosque of Almoravid origin of the XII century. After the visit we will leave towards Fes, (approx. 60 km). Overnight at the hotel

day 4
Fes

Full day dedicated to the discovery of the city of Fes, in the evening we will return to the hotel, to enjoy a deserved rest.

The city of Fes is considered in Morocco as the religious and cultural center of the country. The city is divided into three zones, Fez el Bali, (the old zone within the walls), Fez-Jdid, (the new zone where is the Mellah, the Jewish quarter), and the Ville Nouvelle (the French zone in the northwest of the city). The medina of Fez el Bali is one of the largest medieval sites in the world today. The whole medina is declared World Heritage by UNESCO, its souks and alleys have not changed since the Middle Ages. To get to know the medina of Fez el Bali, start at the Bab Boujloud gate, enter the souk and walk its narrow, labyrinthine streets, often dodging mules laden with large bundles.

  • Visit the Bou Inania Madrasa, with its valuable works in cedar wood, stuccoes and marble and onyx decorations.
  • The zaouïa of Moulay Idriss, founder of the city.
  • The Andalusian quarter with its mosque and the Es-Sahrij Madrasa.
    The ancient Dar Batha palace, in the Arabic-Andalusian style, dedicated to the arts and traditions of Fez.
  • The University Mosque of Al-Karaouine is one of the oldest in the world, founded in 859 by Fatima Al-Fihri, daughter of Mohammed Al-Fhri, a very rich merchant of those times. After the death of her father, Fatima and her sister received a large amount of money, and then Fatima decided to create the University Mosque. Inside you can see many arches, mosaics, wood carvings and paintings of great beauty.

The district of the tanners, in the Middle Ages, the city became one of the main commercial centers of the Maghreb, being the main producer of adargas. (shield made of leather and oval shape), originally used by the Muslim cavalry of Al-Andalus, with the name of addárqa.

The Festival of Sacred World Music of Fez, created in 1994, is part of the spiritual and artistic life of the city. Since its creation, this event has been a true international success. The Fez Festival of 2001 was declared by the United Nations as one of the most exceptional events contributing to the dialogue among civilizations. It is held every year in June.

“Fez Hats” The fez or tarbush was conceived by the Andalusian Muslims of the city of Fez in the seventeenth century, as a fashion for the high society. The artisans who participated in its design were the most select members of the city’s souks. Until the nineteenth century, the city of Fez was the only producer, until France and Turkey began to develop this product.

day 5
Fes

Breakfast and free day in Fes, night in hotel.

day 6
Fes – Merzouga

After breakfast we will leave Fes in the direction of Ifrane, a town located in the Middle Atlas in a mountainous area at 1713 meters of altitude and with a cold climate, which has influenced the nickname of the small African Switzerland, leaving Ifrane, we will take the route to Midelt, where we will make a brief stop in the famous cedar forests of the Middle Atlas, where lives one of the last communities of Barbary monkeys, a species of macaque that can only be seen here and in Gibraltar.

We will follow the route through the impressive valley of the river Ziz.

The route of the Ziz valley is through limestone gorges bordered by high date palms and mixed with the constructions of adobe houses, which makes the place a fascinating spectacle for our eyes.

The river Ziz rises in the High Atlas and digs its way through impressive cliffs, heading south, where it waters the immense palm grove of Tafilalet. The water marks the route towards the desert, there it is lost after crossing more than 270 km. In the afternoon we will arrive at Merzouga and we will lodge in the hotel.

day 7
Merzouga – Rissani – Merzouga

After breakfast we will leave for Rissani, 35 km from Merzouga, we will visit the market, an important trade center frequented by desert people. The market of Rissani is ancestral, in which there are craftsmen of wood, sale of cattle, of spices… here we will be able to see the curious Parking of donkeys, where the people who go to the market keep the animals here.

Rissani is also a meeting place for collectors, fossil hunters and researchers; in its vicinity are numerous mineral quarries and fossil deposits.

Historically Rissani was a kingdom itself between the 8th and 14th centuries, known as Siyilmasa and very important in the area due to the trans-Saharan caravans and commercial movement that existed at that time, rivaling Fez and Marrakesh. From here came large caravans of camels that exported metals, fabrics and dates to Sudan and Guinea.

Ibn Battuta on his trip to Mali in 1352 relates:
I arrived in the city of Siyilmasa, which is one of the most beautiful and abundant in excellent dates, in which the city of Basra resembles it, but those of Siyilmasa are better (. . .) I acquired camels and put myself on a journey in a caravan where many merchants of Siyilmasa traveled. . .

In the center of Rissani we will visit the ksar AbouAm, one of the few mud fortresses totally inhabited.

In the afternoon we reprimand the desert route and return to Merzouga. Known for “the gate of the dunes”, Merzouga is a small village in southeastern Morocco situated at the foot of the Great Erg Chebi, (Sahara Desert) which has a length of 22 km (from north to south) and 5 km wide, and its dunes have a maximum height of 150 m. At the foot of the dunes we will leave the 4×4 and ride the camels that will take us to the high dunes of the desert to enjoy an unforgettable sunset. We will spend the night in a Berber tent and enjoy a traditional dinner enlivened with the sound of the tam-tam (drum), in the most authentic heart of the desert.

Climbing the dunes and watching the sunset and sunrise are some of the experiences that undoubtedly do not leave us indifferent.

day 8
Deiert – Desert

We will get up early to see the sunrise in the dunes, and after a good breakfast we head to the Ramlia oasis, a beautiful oasis of palm trees in the Tafilalt region, located in the southeast of the Sahara desert, next to the Algerian and Moroccan border.

To get to Ramlia we are forced to follow the route of the Paris-Dakar rally, through beautiful desolate landscapes, Ramlia is in the middle of nowhere, its inhabitants are ancient nomads, they all belong to the tribe of Aït Khebbach, which is part of the great Amazigh group of Ait Atta of the south-east Sahara Desert of Morocco and are characterized by their great hospitality.

Dinner and overnight in a hotel located in the middle of the purest desert.

day 9
Desert – The Todra Gorges – The Dades Gorges

After breakfast, we will take the direction of Alnif to reach the town of Tinerhir, located in a wide valley bathed by the river Todra that brings irrigation water to the many plots cultivated in the shade of the palm grove. The palm grove of Tinerhir of more than thirty kilometers long extends to the south of the gorges of the river Todra, one of the natural gates that communicate the Atlas with the Sahara, being one of the most beautiful oasis of the region.

The Todra River Gorges are located at the northern end of the Tinerhir palm grove, at the foot of the Eastern High Atlas mountain range. Little by little this palm grove narrows, and the limestone rock walls that delimit it rise up to three hundred meters high and separated in some stretch by just a score of meters, being its narrowest point about ten meters wide. From here we will go to the Gorges of the Dades river.

Dinner and overnight in a hotel located in the gorges.

day 10
Gorges of the Dades – Ait Ben Haddou – Ouarzazate

After breakfast, we will continue our journey through the Dades Gorges, a deep gorge of the Dades River, between the towns of Boumalne and Msemrir. The Dades river rises in the High Atlas and narrows until it forms the gorges of the same name that, according to the locals, hide up to a thousand kasbahs. The area is populated mainly by members of different tribes imazighen (Berbers).

Before reaching Boumalne, in the Tamlat gorge, the rocks acquire curious geometric shapes due to wind erosion, popularly known as “monkey fingers”, from here we follow a mountain road to the villages of Skoura and Boutaghar, finding nomads with their herds at our pace.

In the afternoon we will continue our route through the High Atlas Mountains until we reach the fortified city, or kasbah of Ait-Ben-Haddou, which was founded at the time of the caravan route between the Sahara desert and the current city of Marrakech. The kasbahs were formerly large walled Berber villages designed to defend the harvest and the palm groves that grow along their beds. Ait-Ben-Haddou has been protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1987. Due to the beauty of its environment with impressive natural landscapes, in this place numerous movies are shot, after the visit to the kasbah, we will follow the route until arriving at Ouarzazate, that in the Berber language means “without noise”. Ouarzazate is also known as “The Hollywood of Africa”. In the city there are several film studios among which are one of the largest in the world, the Atlas Studios. Stay at the hotel.

day 11
Ouarzazate – Marrakech

After breakfast we will follow the route to Marrakech through the port of Tichka Tizin, the highest point of the High Atlas Mountains, the road runs through Amazigh territory (Berber) with breathtaking views, until we reach Marrakech, “the city of a Thousand and One Nights”, known for the pink city because of the color of its buildings.

We will visit the Medina and the famous Jamaa el Fna square.

Marrakech was founded in 1062 by Youssef Ibn Tachfin, the first emir of the Berber Almoravid dynasty, and was the capital of the Islamic Empire.

Marrakech is one of the most important cities of Morocco, and is in the south of the country, at the foot of the Atlas. It has numerous World Heritage monuments, making it the country’s main tourist attraction.
In 2001 UNESCO declared Jamaa Square the Oral Heritage of Humanity, being one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world. Everything in Marrakech revolves around Jamaa el Fna, multitude of people gather in this public space filling it with color and culture; musicians, storytellers, snake charmers, dancers, dentists, fruit juice sellers, acrobats, letter writers, water carriers, sellers of medicinal herbs. . . At dusk the plaza fills with food stalls lit by hundreds of lights, and as night falls, an infinite number of people gather to eat. In the distance, observing the scene of the square, is the oldest Almohad monument in the city, the Katubia mosque, famous above all for its square base minaret, which was built by Yacoub the Mansour at the end of the twelfth century, and which represented the reference model for the Giralda de

Seville, and for the Hasan Tower in Rabat. The Katubia tower is the tallest building in Marrakech and with its 77 meters high dominates the Medina, being able to see at a distance when you reach the city.

To the north of Jemaa el Fna square is the souk, where each sector bears the name of the main type of goods it offers (clothing, spices, furs, babouches, carpets, wool, wood, ceramics, etc.), or the workshops of the craftsmen (dyers, carpenters, blacksmiths, etc.). The souk of carpets occupies the area of the old slave market. To the northeast of the souk is the tanners’ quarter, which stretches along Bab Debbagh Street, so called because of the door bearing the same name.

The Medina, the old city, is protected by a cordon of bastions made of red earth enclosing a labyrinth of alleys full of palaces, markets, mosques, domes and minarets. The Medina of Marrakech was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985, and is now a must-see. Its heart and starting point is the large square Jemaa el Fna.

Accommodation in the hotel.

day 12
Marrakech

Breakfast and free day, night in hotel.

day 13
Marrakech – Essaouira

After breakfast we will head to Essaouira, the city of light and wind.
“A walk through the medina and eat good fish, one of the pleasures of Essaouira.

Essaouira, in Berber Amogdul “the well kept”. Located 170 kilometers west of Marrakech, is the ancient city of Mogador, so called because it is a place historically linked to Portugal, which here established a commercial establishment. Essaouira, is a small fortified city bathed by the Atlantic. founded in 1764 by the Alaouite sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben abdallah, in 1764, taking advantage of the ancient Portuguese fortifications of Mogador with the desire to make the city a commercial port open to the world.

Its medina or old city has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 2001. Essaouira is one of the most attractive cities of all the Moroccan Atlantic coast thanks to its moderate climate throughout the year, to the kindness of its inhabitants, to its cultural and architectural heritage, but above all for the atmosphere that reigns in the streets full of life, where craftsmen, merchants and fishermen mix, which is a huge attraction for visitors.

In this city there has always been a cultural exchange that continues to be maintained. Since 1998, the Gnawa and World Music Festival of Essaouira has been held every year in June. This event brings together hundreds of local and international artists who show a musical mix of musicians with a great repertoire of different themes and styles such as jazz, pop, rock or reggae. Overnight in Riad.

day 14
Essaouira – Marrakech

After breakfast we will return to Marrakech. On the way we will visit the Assafar cooperative, where argan oil is made and where only women work. The argan “The real gold of Morocco” has valuable nutritional and dermatological properties. Its production is handmade and the goats are in charge of initiating the process. These animals climb the branches of the Argan trees, chew their fruits and then spit out their stones. Later, the women pick them up and beat them with a stone to crush them with a grinder. During the visit to the Assafar cooperative, we will get to know the daily life of its workers, who will explain in detail the complex process of manufacturing this oil.

In the afternoon/evening we will arrive in Marrakech, where we will stay at the hotel.

day 15
Marrakech

At the established time, transfer to the airport and end of our services.

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