Itinerary & Map
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
The tour starts at the Marrakech hotel. You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. Even today, the name Marrakech conjures up images of scenes from the Arabian Nights: alleyways, souks, stalls and markets. This remarkable city, dating from the 11th century, never fails to satisfy the curiosity of adventurous travellers. The graceful architecture of the renowned Koutoubia Minaret, dominates the skyline.
Hotel Meriem (AAA) - 1 night
Hôtel Meriem is located in Marrakech City Centre, and 2 outdoor pools
Drive to Ifergane; cross Atlas Mountains
You start your adventure with a bus journey (approx 6-7 hours) across the Atlas Mountains - rising to a height of 2092m at the Tizi-n-Test Pass. On the way you can visit the 12th century mosque Tinmal. Your destination is Ifergane, a pleasant village in the foothills of the mountains, and home to the Berber people who inhabited the land centuries before the Arabs arrived 1,200 or so years ago. These proud people still speak a separate language, which consists of three main dialects. Although Arabic is gaining an ever-increasing foothold, most people - especially the young - know a few words of French too. The overall journey time today is approximately six to seven hours - it is the longest travelling day of the trip. With the fading sun dipping below the mountains, you will undoubtedly find yourselves sipping a traditionally prepared glass of sweet mint tea while you wait for your evening meal to be served. The sound of the muezzin can often be heard giving the call to prayer.
Riad Arganier D'or (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (B)
Ifergane; Atlas village & oasis walks
Today starts with a relaxing morning, giving you the opportunity to walk and to enjoy the fresh air and scenery. You can stroll through the oasis and there are local villages to explore. The oasis is full of palm trees and streams of water giving an exotic feel to the area. You can have a go at riding a donkey around the fields. Afterwards, a short drive takes to Taroudante city (approx. 30 minutes) where you visit the tanneries. The distinctive smell of the tanneries is noticeable from a distance. Moroccan leather goods are very popular and here you can learn how the animal skins are cured to produce the leather. (B)
Agadir & beach time
Today you continue driving through the fertile Souss plain along many vegetable and fruit farms, crossing the Argan tree forest where you might see goats climbing the trees. You continue on towards Taghazoute beach on the Atlantic coast, where you have a picnic lunch (approx. 1 1/2 hours). This is a popular spot for beach lovers, and it is not hard to see why. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the wide sandy beach and Atlantic waves at Agadir where you spend the night.
Tagadirt Appart Hotel (AA) - 1 night (B)
Essaouira; camel ride & picnic on the beach
You travel up the coast to Sidi Kaouki (approx. 2 1/2 hours), where a real highlight awaits you: You mount camels to ride across the expansive sand dunes - enjoying the view from this moving vantage point is a great feeling! Having worked up an appetite, you enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach before you get back in the bus to continue to Essaouira (approx. 30 mins). Arriving in Essaouira you find yourselves in one of Morocco’s most attractive coastal cities. The wild waves of the Atlantic crash remorselessly onto the rocky coastline of this old pirates’ hideout. Portuguese, Berber and French battlements encircle the maze of narrow lanes with tiny cafes looking out onto small squares. Two fortresses look out over the ocean, and on an offshore island stands another, even larger castle. As befits a seaport, the pace of life is more relaxed here, and the whitewashed streets lend a seemingly Mediterranean air to the city.
Caverne d'Ali Baba Hotel (AA) - 2 nights (B)
Essaouira; explore port
This morning you can stroll around the lively old port, which is full of colour and interest. The early morning is the best time - when fishermen can be seen bringing in their catch or mending their nets. The harbour was once the lair of pirates who sailed out to plunder richly laden ships that passed along the coast - after all, this was the main trade route round the Cape of Good Hope to Western Europe. It later became a free port, when it had a small international community of merchants. The cosmopolitan mixture of different influences makes it a wonderful place to explore - and it is full of visual surprises. The whole day is free to relax and wander as you please. Take a leisurely stroll along the ramparts, visit the little workshops which specialise in ornate inlaid work using thuya wood (a local conifer), spend time on the glorious beach or enjoy a meal of freshly-cooked sardines down on the quayside. (B)
Drive to Marrakech; city tour
Leaving Essaouira behind, you journey inland by private charter bus to Marrakech; this will take approximately three hours. This afternoon head off on a walking tour of the centre - which takes in the main sights - and make your way into the sprawling souk. As is usual in a souk, individual trades and crafts are concentrated in one street or area, so the shoemakers are all next to each other, as are the jewellers, the potters, weavers etc, making it easy to find what you are after. This is the best place in Morocco to sharpen your bargaining skills, and you’re almost certain to be tempted by some of the extraordinary variety of merchandise on display - perhaps a pair of traditional Moroccan slippers, or some exotic spices.
The Djemaa el-Fna provides the throbbing atmosphere of a medieval fair; it always seems full of life and continues late into the night. In this great open square at the heart of the medina, snake charmers and jugglers are among those who vie to entertain you. In the evening wonderful smells waft by as food stalls cook up their local delicacies. Each time of day seems to carry a distinct character, so do keep popping back for more!
Hotel Meriem (AAA) – 1 night (B)
The trip ends after breakfast. (B)