Through the Lens: Morocco

15 Days

Itinerary

The adventure starts at Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, the international gateway to Morocco. Upon arriving and after clearing passport control and customs, you’ll be met by your driver, who will be with you during your entire visit to Morocco.

It’s a short ride into Casablanca, where you’ll check into your hotel and relax a bit before meeting Allal Fadili in the lobby at 18:00 for a pre-tour meeting before enjoying a welcome dinner.

Photo by Allal Fadili

The day starts with breakfast at the hotel before checking out and starting your photography expedition. A local tour guide will join the group. First is the premier site in Casablanca, the magnificent Hassan II Mosque (closed on Fridays). The third largest Mosque in the world, it’s the ultimate example of the artisans of Morocco.

From there it’s into Casablanca Habous Quarter. Built by the French in the 1930s it’s a mix of Art Deco and traditional.

Photo by Allal Fadili

After spending the morning in Casablanca, your driver will take you north for 1 hour to Rabat, the bustling, modern capital of Morocco. After lunch, you’ll go to see the ruins of the Hassan Tower and the magnificent Royal Tombs. Guarded by smartly dressed honor guards, the ornate tombs are the resting place of the currently ruling dynasty.

A short drive away, nestled high on the bluff overlooking the Sale River is the pirate fortress Kasbah of the Udayas. Once the fortress of the Barbary Coast pirates, it’s now mostly an artist settlement. As you stroll, keep an eye out for the entrance into the gardens in the center of the Kasbah.

It’s a 2.5 h to drive from Rabat to the Imperial city of Meknes where you’ll have dinner and spend the night.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you’ll check out and join your driver for a tour of the Imperial City of Meknes.

With a local guide, you’ll see the massive Heri es Souani granary and stables, the Prison de Kara where Barbary Pirates would keep their Christian prisoners, and the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail.

From there it’s a short drive to the Roman ruins of Volubilis. Originally founded in the 3rd century BC, Volubilis became a vital outpost of the Roman Empire.  As the centuries passed and the world changed, Volubilis became the ruins you see today. When you walk the streets and enter the ruins of shops and homes, you can still almost hear their voices in the wind.

Just minutes away is lunch and your next destination of the holy city of Moulay Idriss before traveling north for 4 hours to your next destination, the blue city of Chefchouan.

Photo by Allal Fadili

Nestled in the Rif Mountains, deep in the heart of Berber country, Chefchouan is unique in all of Morocco. Less of a destination and more of a state of mind; the old city beckons you to explore and enjoy. Check into your Riad and then walk the narrow winding streets of the Medina with its radiant blue buildings. Stroll to the waterfall and gentle stream flowing along the edge of the city, or hike to the Spanish Mosque for a magnificent sunset.

Small restaurants are scattered throughout the Medina so enjoy a laidback evening before returning to your Riad for the night.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04 :
Chefchouan

Photo by Allal Fadili

If there’s one place in all of Morocco that’s just custom-made for photography, it’s Chefchouan. Narrow cobblestone streets engulfed by the blue walls twist and wind their way up and down throughout the city. Today your adventure and photography lessons are a true study in blue.

Photo by Allal Fadili

You’ll be with a local guide for half the day to familiarize yourself with the city, the rest of the day you’ll be exploring, learning, and taking pictures. Then back to the Riad for dinner and the night.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you’ll have the morning to continue to explore and capture Chefchouan before meeting the driver and heading south for 4 hours to the imperial city of Fez, stopping for landscape photography along the way.

They say that Marrakech is the beating heart of Morocco, always alive and moving, but Fez is the soul of Morocco. Above the valley, looking down into the Medina, this old city of 200,000 looks dead and lifeless, only springing to life when you enter like spirits arising from the ether. Hundreds of thousands of people pulsing through the narrow streets with no vehicles in sight.

After a long day of traveling, you’ll check into the Riad el Yacout upon arriving in Fez. The moment you walk in the door, the luxury embraces you like an old friend. You’ll have dinner and the rest of the evening on your own.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06 :
Fez

Before sunrise, the call of over a hundred muezzin in Fez fills the morning stillness. Your day starts with breakfast in the courtyard of the Riad El Yacout before being met by your guide.  For the next 5 hours, you’ll be taken on a walking tour of the Fez Medina.

One of the largest labyrinth cities in the world, the Fez Medina is a riddle waiting to be solved. Its narrow streets and alleys twisting and turning through thousands of years of history.

Fez is THE place for shopping for traditional crafts. Around every corner, another market appears. The cacophony of the metalworkers as they hand hammer and carve brass and bronze. The rhythmic ticking of the weavers, the sweet smell of cedar from the woodworkers. And of course, the overpowering aroma of the tannery as they produce the finest Moroccan leather.

Almost as a respite from the overload of the senses, your guide will take you to the historical and cultural sites of Fez. Sites of history, culture, and faith lay waiting for your visit.

After the tour, take some time to relax at the Riad, have dinner, and get ready for your Ghost Tour of Fez. In 2.5 hours, you’ll see this ancient city like never before.

After the Ghost Tour, you’ll return to the Riad for the night.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The morning starts with breakfast at the riad before checking out and meeting your driver. The drive takes you south for two hours, the road climbing up, into the Middle Atlas Mountains, and to the village of Ifran.

Nestled in the green Middle Atlas, Ifran looks like a Swiss village with parks and streams throughout.  You’ll spend some time exploring the village, taking pictures before meeting the driver, continuing south to Azura for a stop in the national park, and hopefully seeing its resident troop of Barbary Apes as they beg for snacks from passing travelers.

After stopping for pictures, the drive continues to the Berber village of Zaida for more pictures and lunch before continuing to Midelt and arriving around 15:00.

Using Midelt as a base, you’ll go into a Berber village for portrait photography and a tea demonstration with a local family before returning to the accommodations for the night.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you’ll check out your accommodations at 09:00 and drive to Merzouga. Along the way, you’ll stop in Tizi Ntaighomt, a region known for its nomads, where you’ll have the chance to do some portrait photography.

Photo by Allal Fadili

The route continues south before stopping for lunch in the Ziz Valley before heading on to Merzouga and the dunes of the Sahara, arriving around 15:00. After a brief chance to relax, you’ll mount the camels for a camel caravan into the dunes where you’ll set up for sunset photography.

With the sun below the horizon, the camel caravan will head to a luxury desert camp for dinner and the night. After dinner (and the weather cooperating), you have the chance to shoot the stars of the Milky Way and practice star trail techniques.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast at camp, you’ll head back to civilization as the route goes west to a Gnawa village. There, you’ll do a photo shoot of local musicians before continuing west to the Kasbah Khorbat.

The 15th-century Ksar el Khorbat. An occupied and living Kasbah with a museum of Kasbah life, it’s a rare look into a vanishing way of life. Spend time in the museum, and if you’re hungry, we’d recommend the restaurant in the Kasbah, which has an excellent camel meat tagine, a southern Morocco specialty.

From there, it’s a 1-hour drive to the Todra Gorge for pictures before checking into your accommodations. The rest of the day is a photo shoot of the gorge before sunset and again at night.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, the day starts with a 4.5-mile hike into the surrounding villages and camps (tents and some homes carved into the caves) for landscape and portrate photography.
You’ll be back at 13:00 and board the van before continuing west to Ouarzazate and Kasbah Aït Benhaddou. A fortified village from the 11th century, this massive site and current UNESCO world heritage site held the key to Marrakech, situated along the ancient trans-Saharan trade routes. Venture over the bridge and into this centuries-old time capsule. Uneven stone streets twist and turn, challenging your climb towards the summit of the Kasbah, passing small shops and vendors as you go. Your efforts are rewarded when you reach the top with its views of the Atlas and the valley below.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy breakfast before boarding the van and continuing west with a stop at the ruins of Kasbah Giaoui for architecture pictures. The route then continues west to the coast and the city of Essaouira.

On arrival, you check into the Riad Mimouna, deep in the heart of the old city, just as the denizens promenade along its narrow streets and alleys. Step into a restaurant, or dine at any of the food vendors whose cooking smoke fills with air with a feast for the senses. When you’ve had your fill, head back to the riad and the rest of the evening is yours to enjoy.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 :
Essaouira

At sunrise, the soft call of Muizen mixes with the roar of the waves. Start your day with breakfast at the riad before checking out and loading your bags into the vehicle. Then take some time to explore Essaouira.

Essaouira takes on a new vibrancy in the sun’s light as tourists and locals move through the ancient streets. Walk the Essaouira - Marrakech - Grand Tour Moroco -2citadel’s walls as the smell of thuja wood and argan oil wafts through the air, then head down to the busy port crowded with fishing boats. Vendors and their cookfires beckon you to stop and enjoy lunch if you have a taste for seafood.

The rest of the day is yours to explore and enjoy the city.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Photo by Allal Fadili

It’s an easy morning in Essaouira. Enjoy breakfast, check out of the riad, and spend the morning exploring the city. By 13:00, head back to your driver and start the 3-hour transfer to Marrakech.

Marrakech - Essential Morocco tour -6

Arriving in the late afternoon, you’ll check into the Riad Azoulay nestled deep in the heart of the Medina (old city) and then have the rest of the evening to get acquainted with Marrakech. As the sun sets, Marrakech comes alive at the Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. Rows upon rows of vendors fill the square with an otherwordly haze of their cookfires, offering every flavor of Morocco set to the sounds of musicians and the shrill drone of the snake charmers’ flutes. As you walk the rows, you’ll encounter wave upon wave of aggressively helpful cooks and servers touting their meals.

Marrakech - Essential Morocco tour -1After dinner, the square is the center for musicians, acrobats, storytellers, and strongmen delighting the crowd for tips. When you can no longer withstand the energy of the Jemaa, head back to your riad for the night.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14 :
Marrakech

Photo by Allal Fadili

Today Marrakech awaits! Enjoy a relaxed breakfast at the riad before your guide meets you for a private 4-hour guided walking tour of Marrakech (with admissions included).

The world comes to Marrakech, filling the narrow streets with a symphony of sounds and voices punctuated with the ever-present scooters weaving their way at breakneck speed through the crowds.

Marrakech - Essential Morocco cities tour -2You’ll walk the Medina led by your guide and not miss a site. From the Saadian Tombs to the Madrasa and everything in between. You’ll see magnificently restored palaces and massive ruins of long past empires.

In Marrakech, food is everywhere! Instead of stopping for a sit-down lunch, enjoy a Taste of Marrakech (included). During the city tour, your guide will ensure you can stop and sample the local delicacies of Marrakech, making the city a roving buffet.

 

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Depart Marrakech

Trip Facts

  • On Demand
  • 15 Days - 14 Nights
  • Yes
  • Casablanca (CMN)
  • Marrakech (RAK)
  • Private transportation in chauffeured van
  • No need for WiFi hopping or buying a new SIM card, your transportation has unlimited on-board WiFi
  • Private tours for groups of 4 to 6 (contact us for larger groups)
  • Jr. Suites (double occupancy)
  • All
  • Indulge in local delicacies as you explore Fez and Marrakech with your guide. A city-wide roving buffet that can easily replace a sit-down lunch.
  • Private guided tours be led by an English speaking professional guide. Admissions included
  • Night tour of the Fez medina with the abandoned Glaoui Palace complex, execution square, and the slave market.
  • Sunset camel ride into the Sahara