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Morocco

South Morocco Discovery

From €695pp
Flights not Included
Depart From
Tour starts in Marrakech
Departure Date
25 Nov 2021 - 04 Dec 2021
Multiple departure dates throughout the year
Duration
10 Days
Destination
Morocco
Price
From €695pp
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From souk to Sahara, see the best of Morocco’s south

From the colourful, chaotic Marrakech medinas to the vast, serene Sahara desert, this tour immerses you in the rich cultures and landscapes of South Morocco. Stay in traditional accommodation and explore villages off the beaten track. Feast on tagine, visit the grand Ait Benhaddou kasbah, travel through the Sahara on a camel and relax in seaside Essaouira. This ten-day tour is perfect for travellers looking to discover the diversity of Morocco’s south in a short amount of time.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Take a guided hike through the High Atlas Mountains and spend a night with an Amazigh (Berber) family in the traditional village of Aroumd.
  • Travel through the Sahara Desert in a camel convoy and spend the night in a Bedouin camp, listening to tales by the campfire. 
  • Recharge with two days in seaside Essaouira and explore the whitewashed houses, lively port, and tiny alleyways.
  • Explore Ait Benhaddou, a World Heritage site with a grand history and a long list of film and TV credits including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones, and Gladiator.
  • Duck in and out of souqs and haggle with traders as your local leader helps you to navigate the 16th-century walled city of Taroudant.
  • This trip has departures that run during Ramadan. During this time, some restaurants and shops are closed, but you'll get a unique insight into local customs. See Important Notes for more details.
  • This trip involves plenty of walking and is best suited to travellers with a good level of fitness and mobility. More details on these included activities can be found in the itinerary.
  • Accommodation on this trip includes a desert camp, a homestay, and basic hotels.
  • When travelling in Morocco, temperatures can get very warm. Have a think about what time of year suits you best to travel.

Day 1 - Marrakech

Welcome to Marrakech, Morocco. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm – check in reception for time and place confirmation. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.

There's not much time to explore Marrakech after the meeting, but if you arrive early there's plenty to see and do. Perhaps explore the medina and the endless amounts of souqs selling pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets, spices and much more. If you have time, you could also search out the spectacular mosques, tombs and ruins that are dotted around the city. Tonight perhaps head to the city’s main square – Djemaa El-Fna – for a bite of famous Moroccan pastries with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Accommodation - Hotel (1 night)

Optional Activities

  • Marrakech - Marjorelle Gardens - MAD70
  • Palais Bahia visit - MAD70
  • Palais Badi - MAD70
  • Saadian Tombs - MAD70
  • Medersa Ben Youssef - MAD40
  • Museum of Marrakech - MAD40
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
  • Photography Museum - MAD40

Day 2: Aroumd

Today, take a short drive up the towering High Atlas Mountains to the village of Imlil (approximately 2 hours), photographing snow-dappled mountains and valleys in full flower along the way. On arrival, store your main luggage and load daypacks onto pack mules before walking into traditional mountain village life with a one-hour trek up to the peaceful village of Aroumd. If you feel like the walk is too strenuous then there's the option of riding the mule.

Perched on a rocky outcrop, the remote village of Aroumd offers stunning views across the High Atlas Mountains and a unique opportunity to experience traditional Berber culture. Spend the night in a family-run mountain home (gite) in Aroumd. Surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, meet the host family and enjoy Berber hospitality and food. Facilities at the homestay are shared (both the bathroom and sleeping arrangements) but cosy, comfortable and definitely a unique Intrepid experience. Use the rest of the day to explore the village and the surrounding farmlands.

If the group are up for it and weather permits, there will be a chance to hike of around eight kilometres to the pilgrimage shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (approximately 4 hours return). Regardless of fitness levels, the gentle pace of Aroumd makes it a special place to explore beyond the reach of the modern world.

Accommodation - Gite (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Guided trek in the High Atlas Mountains

Optional Activities

  • Mule ride - Imlil to Aroumd - MAD80

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Special Information: The walk from Imlil to Aroumd and further to the Sidi Chamharouch shrine requires appropriate footwear. You may choose to bring sturdy boots if you prefer so, but pair of good walking shoes with rigid and grippy sole will be sufficient. You will walk over well-trodden paths that may however be muddy and unstable in places and are rocky.

Day 3: Ait Benhaddou

This morning journey along mountain roads and over Morocco's highest pass, Tizi n'Tichka (2,260 metres), to Ait Benhaddou on the edges of the Sahara (approximately 6 hours). Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco's most iconic site. It was once an important stop for caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold, ivory and slaves.

Today its grand kasbah has been listed as a World Heritage site, with its fortified village being a fine example of clay architecture. If you think you recognise the place, you probably do, as the town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Enjoy a walk through the winding streets of old town, making your way to the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy the views across the surrounding plains.

In the evening, why not join a simple cooking demonstration of Morocco's most famous cuisine: couscous and tagine. The locals will explain the secrets and subtleties of these traditional meals, as the ladies of the kitchen prepare a feast.

Accommodation - Hotel (1 night)

Optional Activities

  • Cooking demonstration and dinner, Ait Benhaddou - MAD100
  • Henna tattooing - MAD50

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

Day 4: Ouarzazate - Zagora

This morning you'll journey south towards the Sahara, stopping in the regularly used film location of Ouarzazate along the way (approximately 5 hours in total). Continue to travel through the lush Draa Valley to Zagora, a small oasis town on the Sahara fringe that is perfect for an overnight stop. Take a stroll through the palm groves, explore the ksars and wander around the surrounding countryside.

Accommodation - Hotel (1 night)

Optional Activities

  • Atlas Movie Studios - MAD50
  • Kasbah Taourirt - MAD20

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

Day 5: Tamegroute - Erg Chigaga

Drive along the rugged and desolate Jbel Tadrart ranges and through seas of sand and past the occasional desert oasis of date palms to the township of Tamegroute. On arrival, visit an intriguing library filled with ancient scripts of science, literature, the Koran, and stories of the prophet Mohammed (subject to unregulated opening times). Afterward, join a local guide to uncover the underground Kasbah. Then carry on driving to the frontier town of M'Hamid (approximately 1 hour). From here, take a short camel ride through the dunes, then jump into 4WD vehicles and drive to the massive Erg Chigaga dunes. Arrive in the late afternoon. Enjoy a night under the stars at your desert camp.

Accommodation

  • Desert camp (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Tamegroute - Ancient Library
  • Sahara Desert - Camel Ride
  • Sahara Desert - 4WD to Erg Chigaga dunes
  • Tamegroute - Underground kasbah guided tour

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Special Information

The camel trek through the Sahara is a highlight of the trip for many. If you're uncomfortable with this, it's possible to walk alongside the camels for about an hour to the camp. You would need to walk back the same distance the next morning, but it’s a gentle and relaxing walk. The camp itself is a simple affair, with bedding and basic toilet facilities provided. The blankets provided are usually sufficient for most travellers between April and October, but if you feel the cold easily you may like to bring your own sleeping bag for extra warmth, especially during the months between November and March. Electricity is not available in the camp therefore it’s important to come prepared with fully charged phones, cameras and everything else you may need.

Day 6: Oulad Berhil

Travel to the market town of Oulad Berhil by minivan. The journey should take around 8 hours in total, including several stops. This drive goes through desert scenery and along a route that's a reserve for the indigenous argan trees. If you're lucky, the group might come across the famous image of goats climbing these trees in search of nuts. Arrive at your accommodation by the early evening and relax after a long day of travel.

Accommodation

  • Riad (1 night)

Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Special Information

Please note that this is a long travel day, and you won't arrive at tonight's accommodation until late afternoon/early evening. The riad (house) tonight is 45 kilometres outside of Taroudant and offers the chance to relax by the pool or take a steam bath.

 

Day 7: Taroudant - Essaouira

In the morning, take to the souqs of Taroudant and haggle with local traders for silver jewellery or colourful Moroccan ceramics and mosaics. Afterwards, head west to the coastal town of Essaouira (approximately 5 hours). The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it's such a picturesque town. Its charm is undeniable; within the stone ramparts, you'll find whitewashed houses with bright blue shutters, art galleries and wood workshops. You’ll arrive in the early evening, so there won’t be much time to look around today. 

Accommodation

  • Riad (1 night)

Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 8: Essaouira

Today, join a local guide for a walking tour through the old medina, Jewish mellah, port, and skala (sea wall). Afterward, enjoy free time for the rest of the day. Maybe grab a freshly-cooked plate of the day's catch at the port, or browse the plentiful shops and intriguing art galleries. If you’d prefer to relax, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in a hammam or local-style bath.

Accommodation

  • Riad (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Essaouira - Guided walking tour

Optional Activities

  • Essaouira - Hamam (public baths) - MAD200
  • Essaouira - Berber Massage - MAD350
  • Essaouira - Horse Riding - MAD250
  • Essaouira - Seafood Market Lunch - MAD80

Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 9: Marrakech

Enjoy a free morning Essaouira, then catch a bus back to Marrakech in the afternoon (approximately 3 hours). Enjoy free time on arrival to explore or partake in optional activities. Maybe check out the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, or the ruins of the Palais Badi.

Accommodation

  • Hotel (1 night)

Optional Activities

  • Marrakech - A Taste Of Marrakech: Inside the Medina Urban Adventure - MAD605
  • Marrakech - Tajine Cookery Class Urban Adventure - MAD640
  • Marrakech - Cascades d'Ouzoud Day Tour - MAD2207
  • Marrakech - Hot Air Balloon Ride - MAD2050
  • Marrakech - Luxury Spa Hammam & Massage - MAD750
  • Marrakech - Ourika Valley Day Tour - MAD1817
  • Marrakech - Oukaimeden Day Tour - MAD1882
  • Marrakech - Asni & Ouirgane day trip with lunch - MAD1806
  • Marrakech - Heart of the Atlas Mountains cycling day trip with lunch - MAD2000
  • Marrakech - Medina, Palaces & Tombs Urban Adventure - MAD630
  • Marrakech - Palmery Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Marrakech - Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350

Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 10: Marrakech

Your adventure ends after breakfast. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Marrakech (subject to availability).

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast

Price is per adult, based on 2 sharing and includes:

10 day South Morocco Discovery Tour, including:

  • Meals: 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
  • Transport: 4x4, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi
  • Accommodation: Camp site (1 night), Gite (1 night), Hotel (4 nights), Riad (3 nights)

Included activities:

  • Aroumd - Guided Hike in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Tamegroute - Ancient Library
  • Sahara Desert - Camel Ride
  • Essaouira - Walking Tour with Local Guide

Please ask us about adding great value:

  • Flights - we will check the best available fare for your travel dates
  • Travel insurance
Prices are subject availability and to change. Terms & conditions apply. 

For more information please call us on 021 427 7094 or 01 696 5135, email info@shandontravel.ie, request a call back using the red button or submit an enquiry through the form below.

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