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Morocco: Imperial Cities & Sahara Safari - 2020

Rabat • Fez • Erfoud • Ouarzazate • Marrakesh • Casablanca
  • Experience Volubilis, one of the best-preserved Roman archaeological sites in North Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Revel in the amenities of Merzouga Luxury Tented Camp, an opulent oasis set among the Erg Chebbi dunes
  • Stroll through bustling and colorful markets, as you immerse yourself in the culture of this fascinating land
  • Visit Ait-Ben-Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been setting for scenes from many films and television shows
  • Discover the history of Rabat on a captivating tour, including an exploration of the Kasbah of the Oudayas
DATES & PRICES
STARTING FROM
$5,299
  • $378
    PER DAY
  • 14
    DAYS
  • 16
    TOURS
TRIP WITH AIR
15 DAYS FROM $6,298
Luxury
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Essaouira, Morocco

5 DAYS FROM $1,199

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Morocco is so many things, but perhaps one thing most of all: mesmerizing. Few places in the world offer such a captivating variety of landscapes — both urban and rural — in such a relatively small space. Morocco’s role as a melting pot of Eastern and Western influences has also created a fascinating mélange of cultures. And, oh my, the cuisine. 

Picture it: the undulating dunes of the Sahara. the snowcapped peaks of the Atlas Mountains. Bustling bazaars and colorful gardens, Berber villages and Roman ruins. The dizzying diversity of this north African country make it a truly unforgettable place to explore. 

In your small group, meet the warm Moroccan people, experience their traditions and customs, and taste their flavorful cuisine. On this diverse foray into the myriad facets of Morocco, you’ll embark on 11 included excursions, experience 5 Cultural Discoveries, and visit a remarkable 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Plus, your Morocco adventure is enhanced by an unforgettable stay at the esteemed Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp, an elegant oasis amidst in the shadow of the legendary Erg Chebbi sand dunes of the Sahara. You’ll can even add a post-trip extension to Essaouira, a seaside enclave where you’re as likely to run into local fisherman mending their nets as you are windsurfers and artists. 

This will be a true sensory immersion adventure: Whether you’re breathing in the pleasing aromas of a spice market, savoring the scintillating flavors of freshly cooked tagine, soaking in the vibrant colors of the country — from the brilliant indigo of a Tuareg man’s tagelmust (turban) to the shifting hues of the sunset-kissed Sahara dunes — or enjoying a ride through the desert on a camel (or through Marrakesh on a horse-drawn carriage), this adventure will be one you’ll never forget. Traveling solo? Single travelers will appreciate free and low-cost Single Supplements on every departure (limited availability). 

Don’t miss out on this adventure through one of the most captivating countries in the world.

Rabat to Casablanca

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DAY 1:

Depart on your flight to Morocco

Board your overnight bound for Rabat.

DAY 2:

Arrive in the Moroccan capital of Rabat

Arrive in Rabat. If you’ve purchased your airfare with Vantage, a Vantage representative will greet you upon arrival and assist with the private transfer to your hotel — such a convenience after a long journey. Later, following a Welcome Briefing, enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

Embark on a guided tour of historic Rabat

Your discoveries of the spectacle that is Morocco begins in its illustrious capital. On a guided city tour, see the exterior of the Royal Palace and its impressive Bab Rouah (Gate of the Winds). From there, visit the ruins and gardens of the Chellah, a 14th-century necropolis. You’ll also wander among the fountains, greenery, and fragrant air of the Andalusian Gardens, within the walls of the Kasbah of the Oudayas, as well as enjoying a stop at the unfinished 12th-century Hassan Tower. The Sultan Yacoub al Mansour commissioned the building of the tower in celebration a great military victory, but constructed was halted when he died. In spite of damage from a subsequent earthquake, this incomplete edifice remains.Cultural Discovery: Discover some key Arabic words during a helpful language lesson. Your afternoon is at leisure, and tonight you join fellow travelers at the hotel for a Welcome Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 4:

Drift back to Roman times and arrive at the former home the sultan

Ensconced in Africa yet standing on the doorstep of Europe, Morocco has been a crossroads of cultures for millennia. You’ll get a glimpse of the past when you visit the Roman city of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved Roman archaeological sites in North Africa. Discover incredible mosaics among the fragments of stone from ancient dwellings that are scattered throughout these historic ruins. En route to Fez, drive past the tree-covered slopes of Mount Zerhoun that mark the beginning of the Rif Mountains, and continue to Meknes, once the home of the Moroccan sultanate and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour this ancient city of bustling markets, elaborate gardens, and the immense stables built for the 17th-century sultan Moulay Ismail. Once you arrive in Fez, your afternoon is at leisure.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 5:

The UNESCO-listed medina of Fez and and dinner in the home of a local family

The impeccable preservation of some of Morocco’s top destinations never ceases to amaze travelers. During a city tour of Fez, you’ll enter the medina, which is one of the world’s best-preserved medieval cities. A UNESCO World Heritage Site (one of an astounding six on this journey), this ancient quarter of the city is a network of narrow streets filled with the vibrant din of everyday life in bazaars, cafés, and shops. You also explore the traditional Jewish quarter, the Mellah, to see the King’s Palace and the Nejjarine Fountain. Then, to get a sense of Moroccan craft traditions, you’ll visit a ceramic and carpet shop, as well as a pottery workshop. After lunch in a local restaurant, you’ll have free time to spend in the medina. Cultural Discovery: This evening, join a local family for a Home-Hosted Dinner to learn even more about daily life in this ancient city. Part of the charm of the experience will be the thoroughly unique and exotic setting: an authentic riad. Meaning “garden” these distinctive buildings are in fact traditional homes built around a courtyard. This courtyard serves as a relaxing and enchanting place in which to enjoy your meal and the company of your friendly hosts. You will not only enjoy the food and camaraderie, but get a feel for local architecture.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

A day at leisure in Fez or a fascinating optional Behind Closed Doors tour

You have the entire day at leisure to explore Fez as you wish. If you prefer, you may join an optional “Behind Closed Doors” tour to a farm family living outside Fez, to learn about their daily lives. Your discoveries won’t end there, though — you’ll also visit a converted palace that is now a restaurant, where you’ll learn to make couscous, enjoy some mint tea, watch a demonstration of henna hand painting, and more.

Included Meals:

Breakfast
Optional Tour: Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors

  • Approximate Cost: $119 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4.5 hours
  • Location: Fez, Morocco
  • When: Morning tour
How many remarkable experiences can we fit into one tour? On this riveting optional tour, you’ll learn about a local family’s lifestyle on their farm, visit Islamic families who life a different type of life in caves, visit a former palace converted into a restaurant where we’ll learn to make couscous dishes, enjoy refreshing mint tea with pastries, and witness traditional henna decoration. This is truly eye-opening and multifaceted tour that will have you asking questions, laughing, and of course, enjoying some delectable flavors.

DAY 7:

Begin your stay at a luxury tented camp in the Sahara

Depart for Erfoud, the famed gateway to the Sahara, after breakfast this morning. Cultural Discovery: En route, your Adventure Leader will share the story of the captivating “Blue Men” of the Sahara — the Tuareg — a group of nomadic camel herders. The Tuareg have inhabited the desert for thousands of years and are known for the indigo-dyed robes they wear. Enjoy lunch on the way to Erfoud, then prepare for a true highlight of your Morocco adventure: a stay at the Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp. You’ll be ensconced in comfort and style here in the shadow of Erg Chebbi dunes, enjoying spacious, well-appointed tents and the pleasure of sleeping under canvas … and a blanket of Sahara stars! Your afternoon will be at leisure in this opulent oasis.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Embark on an exciting Sahara safari by 4x4, on camelback, and on foot

After breakfast, you’re in for some true thrills, including a 4x4 safari in the desert. Cultural Discovery: We’ll then board 4x4 vehicles and set off on an invigorating ride through the desert: traversing the dunes in this way is both unique and utterly exhilarating. You’ll drive to a local village, where you’ll step into the home of a local family and learn about their traditional way of life.  You’ll also have a chance to hike alongside the dunes and then ride through the desert atop a camel — the way people here traveled for centuries. Lunch will be in a ceremonial tent in the midst of the timeless dunes. We’ll also have yet another chance to interact with a local family later today, allowing us to experience Moroccan daily life and gain another perspective of the country’s rich cultural tapestry. Later, venture back to your hotel, where dinner will be this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Venture along the "route des mille kasbahs" to the “Hollywood of Morocco”

Travel along the Route des Kasbahs, so named for the many ancient fortress towns (many still in use) lining the way. Stop for lunch at the Todgha Gorge, a narrow canyon in the eastern High Atlas. Here at the canyon's mouth, a flat, paved path winds alongside the rushing Todgha River, where the walls on either side rise hundreds of feet above us. From Todgha, continue to the desert town of Ouarzazate, an African traders' outpost that today is known as a picturesque setting for many notable films (it is known as the “Hollywood of Morocco”). After checking in to your hotel, your afternoon is at leisure.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Ouarzazate city tour and see the Moroccan hub of the movie industry

This vibrant desert oasis blends old and new, as you see during your city tour featuring the old Taourirt Kasbah. Then, visit to the nearby Atlas Film Studio, where many major movies were filmed, including Lawrence of Arabia, Jewel of the Nile, Jesus of Nazareth, and Kingdom of Heaven. Lunch is on your own, but dinner is at the hotel this evening. You have the afternoon at leisure.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 11:

Otherworldly Ait-Ben-Haddou awaits

On the way to Marrakesh today, stop to visit Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, a fortified village (known as an ighrem here) that is as exotic-looking as it is historically fascinating.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been setting for scenes from many films, including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and the television series Game of Thrones, and you’ll see why it is so visually appealing when you visit — it’s as if you’ve entered another world. Take some time to wander through the meandering alleys, revel in the uniqueness of this place, and enjoy lunch on your own. From here, proceed to Marrakesh, with time to relax at your hotel before dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 12:

Experience the captivating colors of Marrakesh

The souks, the snake charmers, the minarets and Old Medina . . . Marrakesh is a dizzying spectacle of seemingly unlimited discoveries. The fashion icon Yves St. Laurent once said that Marrakesh had “taught me color,” and you’ll see firsthand what he meant as we set off on a tour of the city. We’ll start at the aforementioned Old Medina, as we venture back in time in places like the 14th-century Ben Youssef Madrasa (Koranic school) and the 12th-century Kubba El Baroudyine with its Almoravid-style dome, as well as visit the Musée de Marrakesh and the Spice Market. Cultural Discovery: Learn about the mysteries of Morocco, from local superstitions to the role of fakirs (Muslim ascetics), on a unique tour that includes a chance to have your fortune told. Later, head to Djemaa el Fna square, an expansive and frenetic place that transforms into a cultural extravaganza of sellers, performers, and more as day turns to night.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 13:

An optional Berber Village tour and a picture-perfect, horse-drawn carriage ride through Marrakesh

You’ll have the morning at leisure, or you can opt for an insightful tour of a Berber village. Then, a delightful experience awaits: a ride on a calèche, or horse-drawn carriage, that takes you to visit some picturesque private gardens, where you can watch the setting sun paint the sky as you gaze out over the city. You’ll want to bring your camera and GoPro along on this tour — the pictures you’ll be able to take at the “golden hour” and as night falls will no doubt be destined for framing!

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Visit to a Berber Village

Visit to a Berber Village

  • Approximate Cost: $159 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Marrakesh, Morocco
  • When: Morning tour
Get to know the lifestyle of the local Berber people as you venture to the Ourika Valley. This tour affords you the chance to step out of the city and go back in time, as you learn about age-old practices of Berber people. Meet the locals, ask them questions, and see their way of life firsthand. This tour is an excellent opportunity to truly connect with a culture that is inextricably linked with the story of Morocco.

DAY 14:

Travel to Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city

You’ll venture to Casablanca today, where you’ll have the rest of the day at leisure. If you’d like to explore Casablanca, consider seeing the Hassan II Mosque (built by over 6,000 Moroccan artisans), exploring Quartier Habous (a “new medina” that blends French and traditional Moroccan influences), strolling along the Corniche (a vibrant oceanfront boardwalk), or visiting any of the other impressive sites here. Lunch will be at a local restaurant today, and our Farewell Dinner will be at the hotel this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 15:

Fly home

Transfer to the Casablanca airport for your flight home or continue your discoveries on a post-trip extension to Essaouira.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Post-Trip Extension

Essaouira, Morocco

FROM: $1199 PER PERSON | 5 DAYS | $240 PER DAY

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or local representatives at the destination.

Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.

Note: That hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.

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