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Featuring  Exceptional  Journeys  for 2019  and 2020

Moroccan Mélange - A Private Journey

A private drive encompassing Morocco's Royal Cities uncovers the cultures and colors of this magical land. On this journey, relish the visual feast of Morocco's architecture and artifacts, marbles and mosaics, souks and scents, rose hues and cobalt blues.

Vibrant and independent, the Kingdom of Morocco, is a constitutional monarchy. Homeland of the indigenous Berber people, the predominant religion is Islam, and the official languages are Arabic, Berber, French and the Moroccan dialect of Arabic referred to as Darija.

 
Detailed Itinerary 

DAY 1
Casablanca | Rabat
Upon arrival at Casablanca airport, our representative will welcome you and transfer you to the Moorish city of Rabat, the capital city of Morocco built in the late 12th century. Our exploration with an expert local guide will start with a visit to the quarter of the Royal Palace where major royal ceremonies are held. We will continue to the Kasbah of Chellah, a 14th century necropolis built on the archaeological site of the Roman city "Sala Colonia", and follow this with a visit to the Mohammed V Mausoleum, a richly decorated monument made of white marble where we will see the tombs of the last two kings of Morocco. Many consider this the most beautiful architectural monument in the entire country, and officials visit it as part of the protocol. Lastly, we will visit the Archaeological Museum exhibiting objects discovered during excavations of pre-historic, Punic, Roman and Islamic sites. Our guide will lead us to the rich “bronze room” where we can admire the Roman bronze and marble statues discovered in different architectural sites throughout the country. From here, we will retreat to the refreshing Villa Mandarine for the evening.
Hotel Villa Mandarine - (B)

DAY 2
Rabat | Chefchaouen
After breakfast, the drive will take us north to the delightful town of Chefchaouen, which perches 2000 meters above sea level in the Rif Mountains. Founded by one of the Moroccans Sultans in 1471 as a base from which to attack the Portuguese in Ceuta, Chefchaouen grew in the ensuing decades as the population was boosted by Moslims and Jewish refugees from Spain. Chefchaouen is a city with blue and white lime-washed houses, a powerful charm that you can really feel in the Outa-el-Hammam Square and in the cobblestone medina. Seated on the terrace of a cafe, you can enjoy the attractive view 

of the grand Tarik-Ben-Ziad Mosque whose octagonal minaret is inspired by that of the Torre de Oro in Seville. This Andalusian architecture can be found in the kasbah and gardens at the center of the medina. The mosque’s walls and 11 crenulated towers - one of which was a dungeon - house an interesting ethnographic museum. In this small museum can be found collections of embroideries and various colored pieces of clothing like those worn by the region’s women. The famous djellaba, the long and ample garment worn by the men and women of North Africa, was created here. The welcome and great hospitality provided by Chefchaouen's inhabitants can be experienced during a visit to a traditional oil mill (there are more than 1500 of them) or a craftsman’s workshop. Over and above the weaving, Chefchaouen is renowned for its basket-making and pottery.
Lina Ryad & Spa - (B)

DAY 3
Chefchaouen | Meknes | Volubilis | Fes 
This morning you will leave Chefchaouen vand enjoy a scenic drive across the Rif Mountains to the Roman site of Volubilis - considered the most important archaeological site in Morocco - where a guide will take you for a comprehensive tour before you drive down to the nearby plain of Meknes. With its triumphal arches and basilicas, the Volubilis skyline brims with iconic examples of Roman architecture. Among its greatest treasures are the amazing mosaic floors of former family dwellings, which include depictions of Orpheus charming animals with his lyre, nine dolphins signifying good luck and a portrait of Amphitrite in a seahorse-drawn chariot.

Meknes is an imperial city that served as capital of Morocco in the 17th century. Your guide will show you its highlights such as the Royal Granaries and Stables built to accommodate 12,000 horses, the monumental gate of Bab el-Mansour, the Mausoleum of the King, and the El Hedim Square. From Meknes, continue to Fes across the Saiss Plain.
Palais Faraj - (B)

DAY 4
Fes 
Fes is the oldest royal city in Morocco. Founded in the 9th century, this imperial capital was a renowned center of medieval learning and is said to be the most complete medieval city of the Arab world, as its medieval aspects and way of life have been well preserved. Start your day with a tour of the ramparts for a generous introduction to the history and culture of the city. Fes will stimulate your senses as you stroll the labyrinthine old quarter of Fes el-Bali (Old Fes) with its 9,000 narrow lanes and alleys, food and spice markets, handicraft quarters, auction markets and colorful souks. Visit the medieval children’s schools and meet the school teacher and pupils; enter artisan workshops and discover the secrets of their ancestral arts; visit the public bakeries and pastry makers in the residential quarters, and see the historical fountains, mosques and sanctuaries. The highlight of your morning will be a visit to the interior of the 14th century Karaouine madrasas (theological school) with its highly intricate architecture - one of the oldest, still-functioning universities in the world. In the afternoon, visit the Royal Palace of the late 19th century where King Hassan I lived. This palace is now a museum of Fes traditional arts. Continue to Fes el-Jedid (New Fes) for a stroll in the Jewish Quarter where you will be able to visit a 17th century synagogue and have some time in the jewelry market.
Palais Faraj - (B)

DAY 5
Fes | Marrakech 
After an early breakfast at your hotel, depart Fes and head south crossing the cultivated and fertile valley of Saiss up to Imouzzer de Kandar with its gorgeous lake ‘Dait Aoua’, then on to Ifrane, a charming ski resort, and Azrou, a typical Berber town with flat-roofed earth houses. The road goes through magnificent cedar, pine and oak forests. This particular itinerary from north to south offers a diversity of impressions through the Middle Atlas Mountains where nomadic shepherds live in black tents and move with their herds of goats and sheep across the mountains in the hot season down to the desert areas for the winter. Many stops will be made along the way today for pictures, breaks or lunch. As soon as you start seeing the first palm trees of the oasis in the outskirts of Marrakech, you will know that you are not far from the “red city” of Morocco.
La Villa des Orangers - (B)

DAY 6
Marrakech
Marrakech is considered Morocco’s most cosmopolitan city, boasting a spectacular location surrounded by farmlands and snow-capped mountains including the highest peak in North Africa rising at 14,000 ft. As we begin our visit this morning, we will discover an exciting blend of modern architecture and an ancient walled medina. We will first stand by the Koutoubia Mosque with its 282 ft minaret, an architectural landmark dating back to the late 12th century. We will then enter the Kasbah from Bab Agnaou gate to visit the historical and beautifully ornate Saadian necropolis of the 16th century. Our walk through the 12th century Kasbah and its food market, bakeries and narrow alleyways will lead us to the Badii Palace built in the 16th century. Here we will admire the marvelous pulpit of the Koutoubia Mosque made in 1137 in the city of Cordoba by the best cabinet making artisans of that time. We will continue into the 19th century Bahia Palace and discover the intricate work done by local artisans to decorate this splendid home built by a powerful Vizir for his Harem. Our exploration will conclude with a stroll inside the Jewish Quarter and a visit to the historical synagogue built in 1492 by Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain. After a break for lunch, our guide will lead us through the “hidden sides of Marrakech” where we can admire the architectural beauty of Medersa Ben Youssef, a medieval theological school dating back to the 16th century. We will also see the oldest building in the city called the Koubba of the Almoravids, a dynasty who ruled in the 12th century.

From here we will start exploring artisan quarters and the colorful souks to interact with the real life of Marrakech people. Before sunset we will be strolling in the square of which the city is so famed - Jemaa el-Fnaa - where hundreds of locals and tourists come to spend the end of the day watching jugglers, dancers, fortune tellers, story tellers and traditional musicians. You may wish to stay here for dinner either on the square where you can sample street foods from simple kebabs to the most bizarre recipes, or sit comfortably in one of the good restaurants around the square before you return to your hotel.
La Villa des Orangers - (B)

DAY 7
Marrakech
This morning, enjoy an optional cooking course at La Maison Arabe: A cooking class usually starts with a comprehensive introduction that highlights the importance of cooking in Moroccan society, and reviews the variety of recipes created by Dadas (traditional female cooks) over the centuries for special occasions such as marriages, holy days, and family festivals. We then proceed to an overview of the most traditional recipes such as pastilla, couscous, and the broad variety of tajines (stews usually made with lamb or chicken), while reviewing some of the basic pillars of Moroccan cuisine: a spices-and-herbs technique of cooking. Following this, we will visit a nearby spice market and communal bread oven, where neighborhood families bake their bread.

This afternoon we will visit the Majorelle Garden and Yves Saint Laurent Museum by caleche. This tour entails a charming horse carriage ride around the majestic ramparts of Marrakech and the crowded streets of the medina to the enchanting Majorelle Garden. The sedate pace of the horses and the clip-clop of their hooves provides a relaxing way to visit the city. We will take time for a stroll in the famous garden created by the orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1920’s. The Garden houses a collection of plants from the four corners of the world which flourish amidst elegant ornamental ponds and an Art Deco villa painted a special shade of bold cobalt blue named after the artist - Majorelle Blue. The Garden also hosts more than 15 bird species endemic to North Africa and has an amazing collection of cacti. This garden was owned by the French designer, Yves Saint Laurent. We will visit the beautifully designed Berber Museum displaying Yves Saint Laurent’s personal collection of Berber antiques to learn some fascinating facts about the Berbers of Morocco. From here we can walk to Yves Saint Laurent's museum dedicated to his career’s artistic design and creation. This new museum houses an important selection from the designer’s impressive art and design collection and was inaugurated at the same time as the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. The two museums showcase a collection made up of 5,000 articles of clothing and 15,000 haute couture accessories.
La Villa des Orangers - (B)

DAY 8
Depart Marrakech
After breakfast, commence your journey home via transfer to the Casablanca airport to board your return flight. (B)

OR

Days 8-9-10
Kasbah Tamadot
Extend your visit with an optional 2-night 3-day stay at Sir Richard Branson's elegant Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas Mountains. The award-winning Kasbah Tamadot was bought by Sir Richard Branson during one of his ballooning expeditions. Each of the 28 rooms and suites has been individually decorated to reflect the architectural beauty of the building and features antiques from all over the world. This oasis in the desert is only 55km from Marrakech. Car Service to and from by private driver will be provided.

At Kasbah Tamadot, there are plenty of activities - anything from mule trekking* to High-Atlas trekking on foot to cooking lessons to tennis - to a recuperate afternoon poolside topped off with a Spa Treatment of choice. With an intimate fireside bar for pre-dinner cocktails and a stunning dining area complete with wonderful views, Kasbah Tamadot's Kanoun Restaurant serves delicious local and international cuisine.
* Mules are different from their donkey and horse parents. They are not stubborn .. and they are intelligent and patient.

 

Available as a Small Group or Independent/Private Journey. 

Call for Details and Pricing  800-757-6422 | 954-766-8899

Incredibly Affordable!

 

 


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