Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Alongside a National Geographic expert, explore five UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the ancient adobe village of Aït Ben Haddou.
  • Delve into Berber culture during a stay at the Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World.
  • Set out from our tented camp at sunset to ride a camel across the magnificent sculpted dunes of the Sahara.
  • Visit a traditional Moroccan home for a special dining experience and Sufi musical performance.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Morocco’s mystique can be found in medinas that brim with color, soaring mountains that give way to endless desert, and stunning Moorish architecture. Discover the enchanting cities of Marrakech and Fez, venture into rose-colored kasbahs, and visit little-known mountain villages. Delve into the alleyways of spice-scented souks, and gaze at a star-studded sky while enjoying an astronomy talk in the Sahara.

Day 1: Casablanca, Morocco

Arrive in Casablanca and meet your fellow travelers for a welcome lunch at a lovely restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This afternoon, stroll through the city’s Habous district and the mechouar, the ceremonial meeting place outside the Royal Palace. Tonight, gather for a festive welcome dinner.

Meals Included:Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Kenzi Tower Hotel
Day 2: Casablanca/Marrakech

Drive through the elegant Anfa neighborhood on the way to Marrakech, Morocco’s legendary “pearl of the South.” Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before exploring the city of Marrakech. See the splendid Koutoubia Mosque and the Saadian Tombs, and visit Bahia Palace. Explore the labyrinthine streets of the medina, lined with market stalls and craftspeople; and soak up the colorful chaos of Djemma el Fna Square, where snake charmers and magicians captivate the passersby. Tonight, gather for a rooftop reception and dinner accompanied by traditional Gnaoua music in the heart of the old medina.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Es Saadi Marrakech Resort
Day 3: Marrakech

Continue exploring the sites of Marrakech today. Meander through the stunning Majorelle Garden, once owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and see an exclusive collection of Berber objects originating from diverse regions of Morocco at the Berber Museum. Explore historic Moroccan architecture at the 14th-century Ben Youssef Madrasa. After lunch, go behind the scenes in the lively medina and explore its labyrinth of merchant stalls and artisan workshops. See shops dedicated to everything imaginable, from carpets to leather goods to colorful spices. Learn about the traditional apprenticeship that each artisan must undergo before being judged by a board of masters, and observe artisans at work

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Es Saadi Marrakech Resort
Days 4-5: High Atlas Mountains

On this special departure, immerse yourself in the rich culture of the High Atlas Mountains. Settle into the beautiful Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World set on a hilltop beneath the highest peak in the range. Experience Berber hospitality on walks in the village and visits to family homes and markets. On a half-day excursion in the mountains, set out on a variety of hikes and walks, and return to relax in typical Moroccan style: with a mint tea on the terrace or a steam bath in the traditional hammam. Alternatively, venture to the quaint mountain village of Imlil and explore its narrow streets, soaking up the timeless atmosphere of rural Morocco.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Accommodations:This night includes a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge.
On a hilltop high in the Atlas Mountains, Kasbah du Toubkal is a tribute to Berber culture and hospitality built upon the ruins of an ancient Kasbah.
Day 6: Aït Benhaddou/Ouarzazate

Cross the Tichka Pass. Then drive through the Ounila Valley to the ancient fortified village of Aït Ben Haddou, and delve into its warren of twisting lanes. Continue to the former colonial trading post of Ouarzazate.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Ksar Ighnda
Day 7: Aït Benhaddou/Boumalne Dades

Learn about traditional adobe architecture in Taourirt Kasbah this morning. Then set out on the fabled Road of 1,000 Kasbahs. Arrive in Boumalne Dades, a small town nestled amid the crags and plateaus of the semidesert landscape. After lunch, head out on a walk in the dramatic Dades Gorge, admiring the spectacular scenery and enjoying an up close look at rural life.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Xaluca Dades
Day 8: Erfoud/Rissani/Merzouga

Follow the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs to Erfoud, passing spectacular rock formations, oases, and rose plantations. In Erfoud, climb into 4x4s for the drive into the desert. Visit the souk in Rissani, a historic camel caravan stop. Later, ride into the dunes on a camel to watch the sun set on the Sahara. Settle into our comfortable Berber tented camp to dine under the star-studded sky, followed by an evening of celestial exploration that includes an astronomy talk and stargazing.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Bivouac Tented Berber Camp
Day 9: Merzouga/Fez

If you wish, wake early for a walk in the nearby dunes as the rising sun paints the dunes orange and gold. Return to the camp for a hearty breakfast, then head north into the high-mountain plains on your way to Fez. Arrive in Fez early this evening, and check in to our hotel.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Riad Maison Bleue and Spa
Day 10: Fez

Spend the day exploring this magnificent imperial city. Visit the Royal Palace and Fes Jdid, home to the historic Jewish quarter. Delve into the lively medina, where merchants preside over colorful mounds of spices and tanners soak skins in vats of dye. Discover the 14th-century Bou Inania Madrasa, characterized by its intricately carved stucco walls, arches, and cornices. See the Nejjarine Fountain, covered in exquisite mosaics, and the Kairaouine Mosque.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Riad Maison Bleue and Spa
Day 11: Fez/Volubilis and Meknes

Today you may choose to explore Fez at your own pace or take an excursion to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a World Heritage site, and Meknès, Morocco’s 17th-century capital. Toast our Moroccan adventure at a special farewell dinner at a traditional Moroccan home, where you will enjoy a three-course private dining experience and Sufi musical entertainment.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Riad Maison Bleue and Spa
Day 12: Fez

This morning, transfer to the Fez airport for your return flight or transfer to Casablanca for flights departing in the afternoon.

Meals Included:Breakfast