Morocco: Textiles, Colors and Traditions – ITINERARY

Dates: October 21st – November 3rd, 2021 From the mesmerizing towns and cities of Marrakech and Fes to the towering Middle and High Atlas Mountains, from the magical Sahara desert to the natural wonder that is the Dades Valley…and a lengthy list of off-the-beaten path experiences along the way! Casablanca – Fes – Merzouga – Sahara Desert – Dades Valley – Marrakech – Essaouira – Marrakech
The Wandering Earl Tour Experience All of our unique tours focus on local interaction, local activities and genuine education. We also keep our itineraries flexible so that you always get the absolute most out of your trip! Of course, we do see the main stuff too, but these are not standard, cookie-cutter group experiences. Always small groups, always laid-back, always diving straight into the true heart of every destination we visit!


October 21st: CASABLANCA / ARRIVAL DAY Arriving in the bustling city of Casablanca, this Morocco trip officially gets off to a start! A private driver will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to our hotel in the center. The remainder of the day will be yours to rest and recover from jet lag and meet your fellow travelers. We’ll then have a tour orientation in the evening followed by our welcome dinner. October 22nd: CASABLANCA / MEKNES / FES The first day of the trip! We’ll start off with a drive to the laid-back royal city of Meknes. Upon arrival, we’ll take a walking tour that will include the sprawling local markets, especially the fabrics section. Afterwards, we’ll have lunch before continuing with a 45 minute drive to beautiful Fes. We’ll check in to our accommodation located in the old city and enjoy a welcome dinner. October 23rd: FES Heading straight into the heart of the ancient medina (the old walled city – a UNESCO site), we’ll enter the main gate for a half-day, textile and craft-focused walking tour that will include the leather tanneries, visits to garment makers and traditional weavers. We’ll also visit a beautiful mosque and wander through markets selling everything from spices to artwork to housewares to soaps to shoes and more. You’ll then have some free time to wander the vibrant markets on your own before dinner. October 24th: FES / SEFROU / FES Heading out of Fes, we’ll drive 45 minutes into the mountainous countryside in order to visit the well-established Cherry Buttons women’s co-operative, the longest running female-organized cooperative in Morocco. You’ll visit the workshop, enjoy a hands-on lesson on how to create these unique woven buttons and you’ll be able to interact with the local craftswomen as well. We’ll have lunch here as well and time to check out the cooperative’s shop in order to support this great initiative. October 25th: FES / MIDDLE ATLAS / IFRANE / MERZOUGA Today involves a scenic journey to Merzouga, straight across the magnificent Middle Atlas Mountains and ending up at the edge of the great Sahara Desert. The trip will take approximately 8 hours but will involve several stops along the way including the Swiss-like town of Ifrane, the gorgeous Ziz Valley, a forest that’s home to the unique Barbary Apes and a lunch stop. We’ll then arrive at our fantastic riad in the small town of Merzouga in time to catch the sunset over the desert. October 26th: SAHARA DESERT In the morning you’ll have several options for activities including a visit to a local Berber carpet collective or a local Gnoua village. You can also choose to relax at the riad’s pool until it’s time for us to head into the desert sand dunes. After lunch, you can choose a 1.5 hour camel trek or a 30 minute jeep safari across the mesmerizing Erg Chebbi sand dunes to reach our idyllic Sahara Desert Camp. We’ll spend the evening in the desert with traditional music around the campfire, great food and stargazing before sleeping in our luxury yurts. October 27th: MERZOUGA / TINERHIR / DADES GORGE With an early wake up, you’ll have a chance to witness the sun rise over the dunes, creating a magical, multi-colored start to the day. After breakfast at our camp, we’ll begin our trip out of the desert, via jeep, and back to Merzouga. We’ll then take a few minutes to get organized before driving towards the Dades Gorge. En route we’ll visit the Tinerhir weaving co-operative for a demonstration and lesson as well as an excellent fossil workshop in Erfoud. Eventually, we’ll cross the Jebl Sahro Mountains and reach our next beautiful spot located in the stunning Dades Valley. October 28th: DADES VALLEY Today’s activities all take place in the Dades Valley, a local community that is as welcoming as it is remote. You’ll begin with a visit to a local friend’s home, where you will spend time with the several generations of women who live here. They’ll teach you how to cook local cuisine, share information about their village and their lives and they’ll even do some henna tattoos on your hands and feet if you wish! You’ll also have a chance to wander through the village, interact with more local Berbers and catch glimpses of the ancient kasbahs (fortified homes shared by several families) and awesome natural formations all around. People are super friendly here so you’ll be able to see their homes, enjoy tea, ask questions and take photos as well. October 29th: DADES VALLEY Today we’ll participate in a fascinating weaving workshop at a local women’s cooperative in one of the villages in the valley. It will be a truly authentic experience as the Dades Valley is quite removed from mass tourism. In the afternoon, you’ll be able to enjoy some free time which may involve lounging at the pool, going for some light hiking at the nearby Monkey Fingers Gorge or taking a drive up to the narrowest part of the valley for breathtaking views. October 30th: DADES VALLEY / OUARZAZATE / MARRAKECH After breakfast, we’ll make the 8 hour trip out of the valley and over to Marrakech, perhaps the most lovable city in all of Morocco. The drive across this section of the striking High Atlas Mountains will include stops at a local rosewater cooperative, the sparkling town of Ourzazate, an argan oil collective and at viewpoints where you’ll stare in awe at the unbelievable scenery. We’ll also stop for restroom breaks and a relaxed lunch before arriving in Marrakech in the evening. October 31st: MARRAKECH There is no other medina (walled city) quite like it. Marrakech is full of bustling markets, incredible architecture, centuries old crafts, intense colors and aromas, constant celebrations and a positive vibe that is truly contagious. Our guided walking tour of the city will take us to the awe-inspiring Bahia Palace as well as local markets focusing on textiles, crafts, clothing, leather shoes, ceramics, metal work and so much more. We’ll also visit the inspiring Al-Nour cooperative, where disabled women are given an opportunity to create beautiful products such as carpets, weavings, clothing and embroidery. November 1st: ESSAOUIRA We’ll take a day trip to the lovely seaside town of Essaouira. With a guided tour, we’ll visit the city ramparts overlooking the water and stroll around the narrow streets of the medina, observing and interacting with woodworkers, potters and silversmiths in their workshops. Essaouira is particularly famous for its intricately detailed and colorful wood products. The day will include a lunch by the harbor and some free time as well before driving back to Marrakech in the evening. November 2nd: MARRAKECH In the morning, we’ll head to the splendid Jardin Marjorelle where we’ll have time to walk around the amazingly colorful, lush gardens and the unique Berber Museum. For the afternoon, you’ll have free time to spend in the never-ending markets, getting pampered at a wonderful hammam, people-watching in the main square or simply relaxing at the hotel. In the evening, we’ll have our final dinner as a group. November 3rd: MARRAKECH / DEPARTURE As the tour comes to an end, you’ll be picked up at the hotel for your airport transfer according to your flight time.
INCLUDED – Small group (maximum 12 participants) – Wandering Earl Tours group leader throughout – All accommodation (13 nights – 4* riads and hotels, luxury desert camp) – Transportation within Morocco (private Mercedes vans) – Local English-speaking driver – All activities mentioned – Local guides in each destination – All mentioned activities, entrance fees, and workshops – Breakfast every day, 4 lunches and 11 dinners – Bottled water throughout the trip – All airport transfers NOT INCLUDED – Flights to/from Morocco – Meals and activities not mentioned – Travel insurance – Gratuities for driver
TOUR COST $4550 USD per person, single room (there are 6 single rooms available on this trip) $3650 USD per person, twin-share room (solo travelers will be paired together in a room with two beds) *BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: To reserve your spot on a tour, a $500 deposit will be required. However, you can book with complete peace of mind as this deposit will be 100% refundable until 3 months prior to the trip start date.
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