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Morocco: Imperial Cities & Sahara Safari - 2021

Rabat • Fez • Erfoud • Ouarzazate • Marrakesh • Casablanca
  • MARVEL AT THE ANCIENT ROMAN RUINS OF VOLUBILIS, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
  • DELIGHT IN YOUR STAY AT THE EXQUISITELY OUTFITTED MERZOUGA LUXURY TENTED CAMP, AN OPULENT OASIS AMID THE ERG CHEBBI DUNES
  • IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE SIGHTS, SMELLS, AND SOUNDS OF LOCAL LIFE AS YOU WADE THROUGH MOROCCO’S FAMED MARKETS
  • VISIT THE OTHERWORLDLY FORTIFIED VILLAGE OF AIT-BEN-HADDOU, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE FEATURED IN COUNTLESS FILMS AND TELEVISION SHOWS
  • TOUR THE CAPITAL CITY, RABAT, AND DISCOVER WHAT LIES WITHIN THE WALLS OF THE KASBAH OF THE OUDAYAS
DATES & PRICES
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$5,699
  • $407
    PER DAY
  • 14
    DAYS
  • 16
    TOURS
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15 DAYS FROM $6,348
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Essaouira, Morocco

5 DAYS FROM $1,249

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Color, culture, and cuisine: Morocco has these in spades. After all, this country’s astounding geography stretches from the Mediterranean to the Sahara — and is home to a mélange of Berber, Arab, Spanish, and French influences. The resplendent gardens of Rabat, raw beauty of the Sahara, and boundless energy of Marrakesh: these are just a few of the experiences that make Morocco so captivating.

On this comprehensive journey, you’ll embark on 11 included features, 5 Cultural Discoveries, and explore 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Traveling in your small group, you’ll have numerous opportunities to meet people from different regions of the country while touring medinas, visiting a village in the Sahara, and even partaking in a home-hosted meal in a traditional riad in Fez. Be prepared for a feast of flavors, too: sumptuous tagines, fresh seafood, pastilla, and of course — refreshing Moroccan mint tea all around. You’ll even have the option of learning how to make couscous at a restaurant!

Your Morocco adventure also includes a stay at the Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp, a beautifully appointed oasis set in the wilderness of the Sahara. Enjoy the comfort of your fully furnished, air-conditioned tent with en suite bathroom — if you can tear yourself away from the stunning views of the Erg Chebbi sand dunes and a sky full of stars. You’ll also visit the remarkable fortifications of Ait-Ben-Haddou and Ouarzazate, the “door of the desert.”

Love the sea? An extension to the coastal city of Essaouira, known for its arts and music scene, will show you another alluring facet of Moroccan culture. And, if you’re a solo traveler, you’ll enjoy zero and reduced Single Supplements on every departure (limited availability). Whether it’s a richly spiced meal in the midst of the High Atlas Mountains or a panoramic sunset over Marrakesh, the multitude of experiences on this adventure will leave you with a lifetime of memories.

What memories will you bring home on this adventure? Check out our photography page for inspiration, tips, tricks, and much more. Explore now!

Rabat to Casablanca

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DAY 1:

Depart on your flight to Morocco

Board your overnight flight 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 your arrival and assist you with the private transfer to your hotel — such a convenience after a long journey! Later, following a Welcome Briefing, you will 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 UNESCO-listed Kasbah of the Oudayas, as well as enjoy a stop at the unfinished 12th-century Hassan Tower. The Sultan Yacoub al Mansour commissioned the building of the tower in celebration of a great military victory, but construction was halted when he died. In spite of damage from a subsequent earthquake, this incomplete edifice remains. 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 Features:

  • Rabat city tour
  • Visit the Kasbah of the Oudayas

Cultural Discovery:

  • Introductory Arabic language lesson

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. 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. 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. Once you arrive in Fez, your afternoon is at leisure.

Included Features:

  • Tour the walled city of Meknes
  • Visit the Roman city of Volubilis

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5:

The UNESCO-listed medina of Fez and dinner at a local family’s Riad home

The impeccable preservation of some of Morocco’s top destinations never ceases to amaze travelers. You’ll enter the medina of Fez during a city tour of one of the world’s best-preserved medieval cities. A UNESCO World Heritage Site (one of an astounding 6 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 will 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.

Join a local family for a home-hosted meal this evening and learn even more about daily life in this ancient city. Part of the charm of this experience will be the thoroughly unique and exotic setting of an authentic riad, or garden. These distinctive buildings are in fact traditional homes built around a courtyard that serves as a relaxing and enchanting place where you can enjoy meals and the company of your friendly hosts. You will not only enjoy the food and camaraderie, but also get a feel for the local architecture.

Included Features:

  • Fez city tour
  • Explore the Fez medina

Cultural Discovery:

  • Home-hosted meal in a traditional Riad

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 outside Fez, to learn about the daily lives of the family living there. 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. 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: the spacious, air-conditioned tents are fitted with handmade furniture and local craft décor, as well as an en suite bathroom. Your afternoon will be at leisure in this opulent oasis. Later, you’ll have the pleasure of a dinner under the Sahara stars before settling in for the night.

Vantage Exclusive:

  •  Stay at a luxury tented camp in the Sahara

Cultural Discovery:

  • Discussion about the Tuareg people, the “Blue Men” of the Sahara

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. 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 have yet another chance to interact with a local family later today, allowing us to experience the Moroccan daily life and gain another perspective of the country’s rich cultural tapestry. Later, venture back to your hotel, where dinner will be served this evening.

Included Feature:

  • 4x4 safari and camel ride in the Sahara

Cultural Discovery:

  • Visit a local village in the desert

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

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

Travel along the Route des Mille Kasbahs, named after 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, or the “Hollywood of Morocco,” an African traders' outpost known as a picturesque setting for many notable films. After checking in to your hotel, your afternoon is at leisure.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Ouarzazate city tour and 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 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. You have the afternoon at leisure.

Included Feature:

  • Ouarzazate city tour and visit to Atlas Film Studio

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 11:

Otherworldly Ait-Ben-Haddou awaits

On the way to Marrakesh, stop to visit Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, a fortified village (known as an ighrem) that is as exotic-looking as it is historically fascinating. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been the setting for scenes of many films, including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and the television series Game of Thrones, and you’ll see why this village is so visually appealing when you visit it. 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 Feature:

  • Excursion to the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

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, “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 the Musée de Marrakesh and the Spice Market. 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 Feature:

  • Marrakesh city tour with visit to the Old Medina

Cultural Discovery:

  • Tour on Moroccan spiritual traditions, with a fortune telling experience

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 will take you to some picturesque private gardens where you will 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 Feature:

  • Horse-drawn carriage ride through Marrakesh

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, and our Farewell Dinner will be at the hotel.

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: $1249 PER PERSON | 5 DAYS | $250 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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