Beautiful blue colour, Majorelle Garden, Marrakesh, Morocco

Itinerary: Morocco - Journey Through Morocco

16 September to 11 October 2020

The handcrafted itinerary highlights the most significant historical and cultural aspects of Morocco, from ancient monuments, richly decorated palaces, and glorious mosques to create a fascinating mixture of art, food, music and above all, encounters with the warm peoples of this unforgettable destination.

On this Journey you will:

• wander enchanting labyrinthine bazaars and souks in the old medinas
• witness an incredible sun rise over the endless dunes of the Sahara Desert
• fall in love with Chefchaouen - Morocco's magical blue city
• see the magnificent Medina el-Bali in the medieval Royal capital of Fez
• travel back to a slower time of aromatic mint tea in cool courtyards and sun-drenched bazaars overflowing with handmade jewellery and colourful tagines
• explore the stunning Jardin Majorelle, gifted to Marrakesh by Yves Saint Laurent
• feel the buzz of Marrakesh's Jemaa-el-Fna Square walking through the stalls, snake-charmers and entertainers on your way to dinner
• marvel at Berber villages and nomadic life, lush oases, fortified kasbahs, the breathtaking High Atlas Mountains
• engage with some of Morocco’s finest artisans in their workshops, see them shape leather, wood, precious metals, wool, plaster, tile and other materials into beautifully handcrafted traditional objects

Our Hotels:

We understand that travel isn't all about a fleeting glimpse of popular mass tourist spots, or staying just at luxury hotels, but is also about time, space, privacy and those special destinations and moments that turn your holiday into a truly magical experience. The Journey is augmented with accommodation rich with atmospheric heritage, many of which will take you back in time to an earlier era and way of life. We are offering high quality hotels, Kasbahs and magical Riads on this Journey, which will reward you with memories for years to come. In choosing accommodation, we’re swayed by authenticity, generosity and gastronomy deeply rooted in the soil. Leisure time is yours to enjoy a spa or hammam or discover a rooftop terrace to embrace the vitality of the medina and souks. With our innovative itinerary, our top-notch experts, and a thriving network of resources throughout Morocco, we have the privilege of offering exceptional travel experiences. There is nothing quite like seeing places through the eyes of someone who knows them intimately and cares about them passionately. We take care of the details so you can relax, enjoy, and immerse yourself in the wonder of the places you are visiting and exploring.

Participants should note that the order of visits and activities described may be modified to accommodate changes in flight schedules, special access to museums and craftspeople, the pathways chosen by our experienced and knowledgeable local guides, local road conditions and unexpected contingencies such as festivals, street processions or religious ceremonies. All hotels are subject to confirmation and we reserve the right to substitute a hotel of the same standard if necessary.

Meals:

Daily breakfasts are provided in your hotels. Everyone discovering Morocco loves to find local specialities and little restaurants down the street. So all breakfasts and some dinners are included as indicated B (Breakfast) D (Dinner).

Tajines, Morocco

Itinerary:

Day 1: 16 September 2020, Depart Australia with QATAR or Emirates Airlines

Day 2: 17 September 2020, Arrive in Casablanca, B

Our Morocco Journey begins on arrival at legendary Casablanca, when we are met by our guide and transfer to our hotel. Free time to relax or take refreshments by the pool.

Overnight stay: Hotel Kenzi Sidi Maarouf

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco

Day 3: 18 September 2020, Casablanca - Essaouira, B, Welcome Dinner

Depart this morning for the UNESCO heritage listed El Jadida with fortifications built by the Portuguese in 1502. The city bears witness to the exchange of influences between European and Moroccan cultures as explorers entered here on route to India. A surreal spectacle awaits in the star-domed cistern constructed in 1514. We drive on to Essaouira, a beach town with many high-profile attractions, - it has a brilliant medina - named a world heritage site by UNESCO - for its Portuguese ramparts, a Jewish cemetery, a Kasbah, a citadel and a bust of Orson Welles. Afternoon free for individual activities. Easy walking means you will discover wonderful silver jewellery and woodwork. Follow the squabbling seagulls to the port and indulge in the very best seafood lunch straight from the catch cooked on the spot or indulge yourself with the best sardines in the world!

Overnight stay: Hotel Atlas Essaouira

Fortress, El Jadida, Morocco

Medina, El Jadida, Morocco

Star domed cistern, El Jadida, Morocco

Seagulls, Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira, Morocco

Day 4: 19 September 2020, Essaouira, B

Our morning’s tour will make sure not to miss the maze of narrow lanes with tiny cafes looking out onto small squares encircled by Portuguese, Berber and French battlements. Two fortresses look over the ocean, and on an offshore island stands another, even larger castle. As befits a seaport, the pace of life is more relaxed here, and the whitewashed streets lend a truly Mediterranean air to the city, Discover the art galleries, cooperatives and workshops, of which there are plenty throughout the city. The harbour was once the lair of pirates who sailed out to plunder richly laden ships that passed along the coast; after all, this was the main trade route around the Cape of Good Hope to Western Europe. The cosmopolitan mixture of different influences makes it a wonderful place to explore - and it is full of visual surprises. This afternoon is again at leisure to stroll around the lively old port to draw in the pastiche of the picturesque images.

Overnight stay: Hotel Atlas Essaouira

Old Medina Wall, Essaouira, Morocco

Medina, Essaouira, Morocco

Artistic Coffee Shop, Essaouira, Morocco

Fortified Harbour, Essaouira, Morocco

Day 5: 20 September 2020, Essaouira - Agadir, B

After checking in to our hotel around mid-day, we have a tour of Agadir, our point of departure for delightful excursions. First stop is at Oufella, the hilltop ruin of the ancient Kasbah, experience Souk El-Had, where in your free time you can ‘shop until you drop’ amongst the 6000 stalls. Look for Argan Oil products, for here, surrounded by Argan trees (and goats), the finest quality oil is distilled. In the Medina, admire architecture and wander the stalls where the traditional handicrafts take shape, then learn about local Berber culture at the Amazigh Museum. Evenings in Agadir swell with new delights. A quiet dinner in one of the fabulous restaurants and cafes that line the stunning 5km of the Corniche or a stroll and muse by the silver moon reflected in the bay. There is plenty of dancing and music to enjoy, in this most vibrant of cities. Spoilt for choice.

Overnight stay: Agadir Beach Club or similar (A QANTAS preferred hotel)

Scarfes, Morocco

Argan nut crusher, Morocco

Goats in Argan Tree, Morocco

Berber Rug Design, Morocco

Day 6: 21 September 2020, Agadir, B

Travel to the reservoir of Youssef Bin Tachfine for a panoramic view before making your way to the little desert of small Sahara dunes. Hold on for a bumpy ride to the Massa Valley, travelling alongside the 32,500 acres of the Souss Massa National Park for some wildlife spotting, as wild boar, bald ibis, and pink flamingos call this area home.

Drive to the ancient silver capital of Taroudant, called the ‘Grandmother of Marrakesh’. Dating back to 1515, the entire city is located inside the majestic 6km of crenelated ramparts in which 130 towers and 19 corner bastions are circularly interconnected, which made this historical city an impregnable citadel. The best thing about Taroudant is its location in the fertile Souss Valley and at the foothills of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, which are teaming with Berber culture including ancient granaries, age old Koranic schools and lush green agricultural terraces. Go for a walk in the old medina, and browse the handmade Berber silver jewellery. Listen, you can hear the cry of battle, the clanging of metal on metal and the whisk of the crossbowman’s arrow past your ear.

Overnight stay: Agadir Beach Club or similar (A QANTAS preferred hotel)

Pink Flamingos, Morocco

Ramparts, Taroudant, Morocco

Berber Jewellery, Morocco

Day 7: 22 September 2020, Agadir, B

Today is an entirely free day to do as much or as little as you like. Sue and our local guide will be on hand to offer suggestions, but if energetic you could hike to the Kasbah perched atop a hill in the city’s oldest district, a set of fortifications built in 1541. Despite its age, the Kasbah was one of the few buildings not to be levelled by the earthquake. Nowadays there are two main reasons for hiking up to it: firstly, it’s an impressive example of medieval Arabic architecture and secondly, the view it affords over the rest of the city is awesome. Why not hit the beach? Agadir is renowned for its beautiful stretch of sand. Agadir’s beach is tranquil and inviting.

Beach Umbrellas, Morocco

You’ll find plenty of great spots right on the beach to eat or just have a drink. Unsurprisingly, fresh seafood features heavily on the Spanish-influenced menu but there are plenty of options for vegetarians too. The wine list is extensive, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable and the prices, considering the location and the quality of the food, are extremely reasonable. Even if you’re not one for souvenir buying, the atmosphere of Agadir’s Souk El Had alone makes the trip worthwhile. It’s a total sensory immersion, and a wonderful place in which to get lost for a while. A few kilometres out from the city centre is La Medina d’ Agadir, a life-size, open-air recreation of the former medina, which was wrecked by the earthquake. Constructed in 1992 using traditional Berber techniques, this place is part museum, part work of art.

Overnight stay: Agadir Beach Club or similar (A QANTAS preferred hotel)

Day 8: 23 September 2020, Agadir - Marrakech, B

A leisurely drive today will bring us to one of the highlights of the Journey; legendary Marrakech. On arrival around mid-day we stay for 3 nights at the Opera Mogador, perfectly located on the outer walls of the Medina thus allowing you to move confidently around on your own as you seek your own adventure. Sue will take you into Djemaa el Fna for an orientation visit. She can drop you at the food stalls for lunch and then time this afternoon and evening to find local delicacies at one of the cafés on the Fna, and watch Marrakech life go by. There are many superb restaurants here. Surrounded by its millennia old red walls and with its dramatic High Atlas backdrop and vibrancy of life, Marrakech weaves a magical spell over all who visit.

Overnight stay: Opera Mogador (A QANTAS preferred hotel)

Place Djemaa el Fna, Morocco

Menara Garden with High Atlas Mountain backdrop, Marrakesh, Morocco

Day 9: 24 September 2020, Marrakech, B

Our full day heritage tour of Marrakech showcases the city’s stunning past and allows you to immerse yourself in sights, sounds and smells of this captivating city. You explore the UNESCO world heritage old walled medina, La Bahia Palace, Ben Youssef Madrasa, Koutoubia Mosque. Then weave your way through the honeycomb of alleyways watching traditional craftsmen using techniques handed down through the centuries as they hand work metals, leathers, fabrics and glass. See the famously colourful Marrakechi watermen who ply the medina selling water and be enthralled by Place Djemaa el-Fna with its magicians, story tellers, snake charmers, shamen and fortune tellers.

Overnight stay: Opera Mogador (A QANTAS preferred hotel)

The Daily Walk, Marrakesh, Morocco

Ochre Wall with Lamp, Old Entrance Door, Water Fountain Bahia Palace, Marrakesh, Morocco

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakesh, Morocco

Donkey, Marrakesh, Morocco

Handcrafted Silverware, Morocco

Traditional Moroccan Tea Glasses, Marrakesh, Morocco

Medina, Marrakesh, Morocco

Water Sellers, Marrakesh, Morocco

Day 10: 25 September 2020, Marrakesh, B

This morning we continue our discovery of Marrakech with a half-day gardens and arts tour visiting Majorelle Garden gifted to Marrakesh by Yves Saint Laurent, then the jaw dropping YSL Museum and the Berber Arts Museum, Cyber Garden, and the Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts. In the afternoon you have free time to continue to be mesmerised by Marrakech. After soaking up the glorious art in Marrakech, why not visit some terrific art galleries or even a round of golf, €40 for 9 holes is available. If this is not for you then perhaps a wonderful Moroccan dessert on the rooftop of the Café France overlooking Djemaa El Fna. People watching is wonderful passe tempo!

Overnight stay: Opera Mogador (A QANTAS preferred hotel)

Former Residence of Yves St. Laurent, Majorelle Gardens, Marrakesh, Morocco

Majorelle Garden, Marrakesh, Morocco

Benches, Majorelle Garden, Marrakesh, Morocco

Intense Colours, Majorelle Garden, Marrakesh, Morocco

Reflections in the Pond, Majorelle Garden, Marrakesh, Morocco

Day 11: 26 September 2020, Marrakesh - Ait Benhaddou - Ouarzazate, B/D

An early departure to arrive in time for lunch at the UNESCO-World Heritage listed 12th century city of Aït Benhaddou. With its dramatic walls of red earth, slit windows and crumbling towers, it is a magnificent example of a traditional stronghold; an extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earth construction techniques. Home to some of Morocco’s best-preserved Kasbahs, it commanded a prominent position on the trans-Saharan trade route linking ancient Sudan to Marrakech by the Draa Valley. Sculpted from traditional mud bricks, the town is a striking sight, perched on the edge of the High Atlas Mountains and fortified by walls of dark red pisé. Chosen as a location for Hollywood films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Kundun, Jewel of the Nile, Jesus of Nazareth, Gladiator, and more recently for HBO’s fantasy series Game of Thrones. Trace the carvings, smell the earth: spectacular.

Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, Morocco

Wander the Labyrinth of Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, Morocco

Drive for half an hour in the mid-afternoon to Ouarzazate. Free time to wander the Taourirt Kasbah to discover archways, traces of stucco and an original tataoui (woven reed) ceilings. Star Wars was filmed here. Stroll across the road have some fun in the Musee du Cinema then wander the back ways and find some treasures. Why not delight in dinner within the ambience of the candle lit courtyard of our beautiful accommodation?

Overnight stay: Kasbah Riad-Hotel Dar Chamaa

Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Ancient Islamic Ceiling Details, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Day 12: 27 September 2020, Ouarzazate - Tinghir, B/D

Morning departure We are now on the eastern side of the High Atlas Mountain that cradles the Todra Gorge recognised around the world as one of the most spectacular canyons, where the Todra and Dades river carved out the canyon whose cliff face soars to 150 metres displaying the magnificent reliefs and etches.We shall wander in the verdant green of Palm Oasis and interact with the people from the surrounding villages who farm here. We estimate an arrival time around 11, check-in and then lunch.

Panorama of Tinghir, Morocco

Winding Pass, Dades Valley, Morocco

Transporting freshly cut mint out of the Osasis, Morocco

In the afternoon a visit to Maison Berbere to learn about carpet materials, weaves, dyes and patterns that represent Berber Culture. As the artistry of the display begins you will see the carpet that belongs in your life. Let the dance of the bargain begin! Before dinner enjoy time in the lovely garden setting or around the pool.

Overnight stay: Hotel Kasbah Lamrani

Berber Girl Weaving Rug, Morocco

Traditional Berber Rug Design, Morocco

Day 13: 28 September 2020, Tinghir - Erg Chebbi, B/D

Arriving around lunchtime check-in and then leisure time. Surrounded by its own lake, take the opportunity to afternoon stroll around and delight in the vision of flamboyant flamingos and other lovely surprises. Later in the afternoon we transfer to camels and take a camel ride through the sand dunes. The sturdy camel has been a mainstay of desert life over the centuries, being used to ship the precious cargoes from sub-Saharan Africa to the trading ports of the Mediterranean coast. You can ride your camel or walk alongside as you slip into the pace of the caravan led by Berber guides and marvel at the awesome spectacle of the desert and the solitude and silence that comes with it. The great ‘sand sea’ of Merzouga, a beautiful area of fine, apricot-coloured sand stretches as far as the eye can see. You can enjoy some spectacular views from our hotel over the sand dunes as the sun sinks below the horizon. Our hotel here has become one of the most prestigious establishments in the Desert. Its majestic structure and its privileged location are in keeping with the essence of traditional construction, having been designed with natural materials, warm colours, and walls covered with “tadalaket” a typical Moroccan lime plaster coating.

Camel Caravan, Erg Chebbi, Morocco

Sunset, Erg Chebbi, Morocco

Pouring Berber Whiskey, Morocco

Magic Lanterns, Erg Chebbi, Morocco

Stretch out on a lounge by the pure white, award winning swimming pool and imbibe in a Berber Whiskey aka Mint tea, poured for you from on high, into an intricately etched glass, the gold inlays of which will always reflect the perfect Moroccan light. We have arranged a special dinner tonight under the starry, starry skies.

Overnight stay: Yasmina Resort

Day 14: 29 September 2020, Erg Chebbi - Midelt, B

After all the activity of the previous days it’s free time. A lazy morning before we check out and drive to Midelt. If you’re in the mood for carpets, you could go to Kasbah Myriem just a short distance out of town. It helps Berber women develop their embroidery and weaving. The workshop provides looms and materials, as well as a simple place to work. Local girls – aged 15 or so – come here to learn these skills from more experienced women. Literacy lessons are also offered.

Overnight stay: Kasbah Asmaa

A Berber Girl on a loom, Morocco

Day 15: 30 September 2020, Midelt – The Imperial City of Fes, B

We arrive at lunch-time at the Imperial city of Fes, the cultural capital and one of the most complete medieval Islamic cities in the world. Passing through the gates and walls into the alleyways beyond transports us back in time. The streets remain as they were in the 8th century, with high walls that protect the courtyards inside from the heat of the midday sun. Enormous theosophical colleges, beautiful mosques and fascinating souks spilling their goods onto the pavement are all part of the scene. Visit the Place an-Nejjarine, where an ancient caravanserai overlooks a fountain; wander outside the great Qayrawan mosque, passing 14th century merchant's shops; or head to the Souk Ain Allou tanneries - where leather is stained in vats of strikingly coloured dyes. we continue wandering the twisting streets and alleyways passing donkeys piled high with goods, historic khans, madrassas and stalls loaded with fruits of every kind. In the souk al- Attarine in between the squawk of chickens, the scent of exotic spices fills the air, then to souk au Henne, Fes el Jdid, the exterior of Dar el Makhzen (Royal Palace) and the enormous Merenid gate of Bab Dekakene.

Overnight stay: Riad Fes Alcazar and Spa (A QANTAS Preferred hotel)

Panorama Old Medina, Fez, Morocco

Medina Fez, Morocco

Panorama Tannery, Fez, Morocco

Handcrafters and merchants, Medina Fez, Morocco

Colourful Spices, Medina Fez, Morocco

Day 16: 1 October 2020, Fes, B

Today we offer immersive cross-cultural experiences in association with Culture Vultures, an organisation that feasts on the bountiful expressions of art that are a part of everyday life in Morocco. Culture Vultures is committed to community involvement, building up a vast network of international and Moroccan artists and artisans to create a wide range of socially meaningful programs and activities with art at its core. In doing so, you will explore what and who is involved in the making of Moroccan handicrafts and discover the rich heritage that Morocco and its people continue to convey through the artisans. After an introductory program we split up into small groups accompanied by a cultural facilitator to explore the intimate courtyards and artists’ studios on an immersive visit roaming in and out of the working spaces and unearthing what lies behind the doors and within the hearts and minds of the traditional craftspeople.

In the evening, why not try the hammam, or traditional bathhouse, which steams away the stresses of life?

Overnight stay: Riad Fes Alcazar and Spa (A QANTAS Preferred hotel)

Sun sets over Fez, Morocco

Day 17: 2 October 2020, Fes - Chefchaouen, B

Drive this morning to Chefchaouen, an otherworldly escape nestled in Morocco’s Rif Mountains. Listed by UNESCO in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010, it has a distinctive palette of blue and white buildings, a striking contrast with the arid setting. Chefchaouen is a charming place with strong Andalusian connections. It was here to which many Jews and Moors fled during the Spanish Inquisition. Highlights of our afternoon tour include the Outa-el-Hammam square, the cobblestone medina and the Tarik-Ben-Ziad mosque whose octagonal minaret is inspired by that of the Torre de Oro in Seville. In the heart of the Medina is the Plaza Utta el-Hammam. We shall see Volubilis on the way: a short stop here to view the mustering of the stalks in the crumbling ruins of this Ancient Roman site. Sitting in the middle of a fertile plain, the ruined Roman city is the best-preserved archaeological site in Morocco. Its most amazing features are its many beautiful mosaics preserved in situ, pushing it to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

Overnight stay: Riad Dar Chaouen or similar

View over Chefchaouen, Rif Mountains, Morocco

Day 18: 3 October 2020, Chefchaouen, B

A morning tour discovering more of Chefchaouen's powder-blue buildings which mirror the cloudless Moroccan sky. But religious rather than stylistic reasons are behind the design choice. Jewish teachings suggest that by dyeing thread with tekhelel (an ancient natural dye) and weaving it into prayer shawls, people would be reminded of God’s power. The memory of this tradition lives on in the regularly repainted blue buildings. “Who knew there were so many shades of blue? The light here was transformed from a baked yellow to a cool white – a product of refraction from multiple hues of aquamarine and cobalt. I couldn’t help but squeak at the occasional pops of orange plastic and blood-red fabrics, reducing the objects they covered to clotted shapes, concealing their blue underlayers of paint”. (Previous participant on Morocco Journey). Enjoy the remainder of the day wandering on your own through the medina, shopping for handicrafts or relaxing in one of the many outdoor cafés., or the terrace of the Hotel Parador, looking back into the Atlas. Chaouen, as Moroccans often call it, offers many handicrafts such as wool garments and woven blankets that are not available elsewhere. Don’t hesitate to get lost. You will always find your way back.

Overnight stay: Riad Dar Chaouen or similar

The ABC of an ancient culture, Chefchaouen, Morocco

Everyday life of the locals, Chefchaouen, Morocco

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Spices, Soaps, Perfumes, Morocco

Day 19: 4 October 2020, Chefchaouen - Tetouan The Arts Capital of Northern Morocco, B

An hour’s drive from Chefchaouen, Tetouan is a jewel of a town in this striking location at the foot of the Rif Mountains, opposite the Straits of Gibraltar.The town’s long relationship with Spanish Andalusia has left it with a Hispano-Moorish character that is unique in Morocco, as physically reflected in the white buildings and broad boulevards of the Spanish part of the city. There's an atmospheric authenticity here that gives ethereal value to our visit. The ancient medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, looks like it has not changed in centuries. The Zellige craftsmanship is one of the most distinctive artistic professions of this city. Defined by its shaping technique, colours and surface finishes, it has a special authenticity. The woodworkers specialise in beautiful wood painting (Zaouk work) using techniques unique to this region. The textile and clothes market of Guersa El Kebira is where we shall meet the Jebliates, the Rif women, dressed in their Mendils of red white and blue striped cloth. The elegant Tetouanese embroidery here reflects local Ottoman and Arabic-Andalusian influences.

What better way is there to immerse yourself in the traditional Moroccan culture than by getting to know some of its local artists? In small groups you will embark on a guided visit and meet some of the city’s finest artisans by visiting their workshops, observing them work and hearing about their fantastic stories. You are invited to have a personal visit with some of Tetouan’s finest artisans in their workshops. See them shape leather, wood, precious metals, wool, plaster, tile and other materials into beautifully handcrafted traditional objects. At Zen Oriental Journeys we want to honour these craftsmen and women and see them flourish in their work. Dinner as you choose or in residence on the rooftop of our gorgeous hotel.

Overnight stay: Hotel Almandari (A QANTAS Preferred hotel)

Traditional Musician, Morocco

Day 20: 5 October 2020, Day trip to Tangier; A Brush with Matisse, B

Tangiers is an ‘edge city’. It is caught between worlds – at the border between east and west, between north and south. With so many borders come layers of history, aesthetics and language. This mix has drawn a notable collection of artists, writers and eccentrics over the years. The Rolling Stones were inspired by the city’s sounds during a visit in the late Sixties. But of the many artists who have passed through Tangier, French painter Henri Matisse is perhaps the most well-known. In search of a new direction and surrounded by bright light and vivid colours, here the Fauvist master found inspiration for some of his greatest works. He discovered in that alien land an otherworldly Eden that forever after gripped his coloured dreams. The paintings he produced there are decorative, difficult, eerily disturbing. He captured the blinding midday sun which fractures the air and causes you to squint, even under the cover of shade. He captured the ripened glow of the evening which transformed the most ordinary objects into things of beauty. And of the many exotic locales Matisse visited, only Tangier prompted an important series of paintings and drawings. We have engaged a specialist local guide to show us the places featured in his paintings.

Overnight stay: Hotel Almandari (A QANTAS Preferred hotel)

Cheminee Stacks, Old Medina Tangier, Morocco

Roof Terrace, Old Medina Tangier, Morocco

Day 21: 6 October 2020, Tetouan - Larache, B/L/D

Just 100 km from Tetouan we stop at Asilah by way of the stunning fishing village of Moulay Bousselham for an exploration of this fascinating town; a bright and fresh destination that provides a taste of old Spain mixed with Moroccan traditions. The streets are adorned with inspiring artwork and you’ll be charmed with the souk as it’s market day, and you can wander the peaceful and enchanting stalls. After lunch drive to Larache, only an hour away. From here we follow in the wake of Hercules to Lixus to imagine the mythological garden of The Hesperides. Hercules sought sanctuary here while planning his 11th labour, the theft of the golden apples .The new museum here, opened in April 2019 contains two exhibition halls and the auditorium will ignite our imaginations to the Ancient land of Morocco.

Overnight stay: Lixus Beach Resort (A QANTAS preferred hotel)

Andalusian influenced architecture, Asilah, Morocco

Waiting for customers, Asilah, Morocco

Rugs on display, Asilah, Morocco

Day 22: 7 October 2020, Larache - Rabat, B

Heading north along the Atlantic coast, drive for two hours to reach the elegant city of Rabat the capital of Morocco. Here we experience the majestic beauty of the Oudaya Kasbah, a haven of beauty, sheltering Rabat’s 12th century mosque. Wind through the Souks-es-Sabay the district of dealers in fine leather, ironware and woven fabrics. We will seek the craftspeople, perhaps a purchase? You won’t be just taking an artefact home with you but also the memory of its creation. The Rhati or urban carpet contrast with what we have previously seen in the Atlas Mountains. Fine in texture, usually red, exhibiting a lozenge centre scattered with floral motif. These carpets made by women have gained a reputation equalling that of ‘Oriental’ carpets.

El Oulja craftwork complex in Sale is where we will find over 60 potters at work, adapting their products to today’s taste while maintaining their authenticity.

Overnight stay: Hotel Rive

Oudaya Kasbah, Rabat, Morocco

Day 23: 8 October 2020, Rabat, B/Farewell Dinner

A leisurely full day tour around the entrance to the Royal Palace, then continue to the Mohammed V Mausoleum. Here lie the tombs of the nation's (and the current king's) grandfather, King Mohammed V, and his two sons King Hassan II and Prince Moulay Abdellah. Mosaics rise from the marble floor to a ceiling of gold leaf and hand-carved cedar wood, while the three ground-floor tombs are carved from white onyx. Next to the Mausoleum is Le Tour Hassan (the Hassan Tower), which is the towering minaret of the Hassan Mosque, which began construction in 1195. The striking Royal guard, mounted on perfectly disciplined horses are a joy to behold in their lavish decoration. We visit The Museum of History and Civilizations, which contains the most extensive collection of archaeological artefacts in the country, from, pre-Islamic to the finest mosaics from Volubilis. In your free time you might like to discover a truly original aspect of the city The Rue de Consuls. The main activity of the powerful merchants and diplomats here was piracy. Its corsairs terrified the Atlantic waves as far as Cornwall in England.

It’s almost time to bid farewell to our Morocco Journey so we have arranged a special farewell dinner with traditional music and dance reflecting another aspect of diverse Moroccan culture.

Overnight stay: Hotel Rive

Bronze Door, Mausoleum Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco

Hassan Tower, Mausoleum Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco

Mausoleum Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco

Day 24: 9 October 2020, Rabat - Casablanca, B

It’s a short drive back to Casablanca and on route we will stop at the Hassan II Mosque. Built on the promontory’ by the people for the people’ in homage to a Koranic verse stating that Allah’s throne was built upon water, its minaret, the tallest in the world scrapes the sky at 210 metres, bejewelled in tiles the colours of the ocean. We will be guided inside by a specialist guide to be rendered ‘speechless’. Next door we may visit a museum to see examples of the precision work of this masterpiece – an architectural phenomenon. Later, a stroll along the cornice to lounge on the sea wall, indulging the best hot chips in the land from a paper cone. A private time to reflect on the exuberance and the flamboyancy of colour that permeates every aspect of magnificent Morocco. As we once again witness the golden hour across the sea: we will say it; here’s looking at you Morocco!

Overnight stay: Hotel Kenzi Sidi Maarouf or similar

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco

Day 25: 10 October 2020, Casablanca departure, B

Bid farewell to Morocco today as you transfer to the airport for your onward journey.

Growing Along, Majorelle Garden, Morocco

Day 26: 11 October 2020, Arrival in Australia

PRICING:

Price per person twin share (Land only): AUD 4958.00
Single Supplement: AUD 1340.00

Airfare: From Australia TBA when available for booking

COST INCLUSIONS:

• Fully escorted from Australia
• Services of an English speaking local guide throughout
• Accommodation in double/twin share occupancy with breakfast and some dinners
• Sightseeing in modern air-conditioned private vehicles (Mercedes Sprinter or Deluxe coach
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary
• Entrance fees to places mentioned in the program
• Camel safari in Merzouga from Hotel Yasmina

COST EXCLUSIONS:

• Air Fares from your capital city
• Tips (approx. USD 180 per person) to be disbursed by the tour leader
• Travel Insurance (compulsory)
• Meals where not specified in the itinerary
• Personal expenditure such as drinks with meals
• Stopover in Doha or Dubai

FLIGHTS:

Flights from Australia to Morocco and return are not included in the price of the tour. We will send the recommended flight options when they are available to book, and ask that you make your own flight reservation. We work in partnership with helloworld Westfield Marion to provide tickets but you can use your preferred provider.

Sharon Evans
Owner / Manager
helloworld Marion Westfield Mall Level 2
Westfield Marion
Oaklands Park SA 5046
Telephone: (08) 8358 1949
E-mail: Sharon

HOW STRENUOUS:

• Morocco Journey is a tour paced to enable lots of leisure time, and with a few exceptions, short distances between towns. There are some full day tours, but many half days are included as well.
• On some days, there is some walking between sights and around towns and cities. Sometimes on uneven cobbles. Make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes with good support. Sue will let you know in advance when significant walking is required.
• Some accommodation is pending confirmation but are generally 4 star (locally rated) with modern western facilitates. Where possible they are ‘heritage’ or ‘traditional’ in style and well located for individual exploration of the town.
• Please note that the order of visits and activities described may be modified to accommodate changes in flight schedules, special access to museums and craftspeople, the pathways chosen by our experienced and knowledgeable local guides, local road conditions and unexpected contingencies such as festivals, street processions or religious ceremonies.
• Many of Zen ‘Journeyists’ are solo travellers, and with our small groups they may travel solo ‘but not alone’. Our tour directors will see to your every need. They are experts in understanding and valuing the uniqueness of individuals within a group situation. You will always have someone to take a photo of you…and the new friends you will have made.
• We do not include all meals, as in Morocco there are so many choices, whether it be a snack on the run for lunch (after a full breakfast), or dine at a marvellous restaurant, the choice is there. Everyone discovering Morocco loves to find local specialities and little restaurants down the street. Sue knows many great spots. Daily breakfasts are provided in your hotels. Included meals are B (Breakfast) D (Dinner).

TRAVEL ADVICE:

Before booking, please refer to the DFAT website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting:

Please visit http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ or ring 1300 139 281 for information on current Government travel advice.

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL:

As we take more travellers to more remote parts of the world, we recognize our obligation to plan and operate our Journeys in a responsible and sustainable fashion. We view this as an environmental, cultural, and social necessity. Above all, we are committed to the well-being of the communities, which are our hosts, the cultural and natural environment that we are there to experience. We also believe that by following these policies we can provide you with more rewarding and interesting experiences.

Prices may fluctuate due to changes in charges, taxes and currency. Prices and flights are correct at time of preparing this program and are subject to availability at time of booking. Special conditions and seasonal surcharges to airfares and package prices may apply depending on date of travel. Flight times are subject to change by the airline.

CANCELLATION POLICY:

On International Flight tickets

• Please refer to the Fare conditions on the fare class you have purchased.

On land package cost

• Between 64-31 Days: 65 % of land cost
• Between 30-16 Days: 75 % of land cost
• Between 15-4 Days: 90 % of land cost
• Between 2 days-No show: 100% of land cost

For further information, don’t hesitate to contact Zen Oriental Journeys by emailing Lee Grafton or ring 0401 123 347

FINAL PAYMENT & CLOSE OF BOOKING: 7 AUG 2020

Bookings will be processed in order of receipt. Any bookings after this date will be accepted subject to visa processing, flight availability, land content and room availability. Such booking must be paid in full after confirmation of your acceptance in the tour. Special conditions and additional charges to airfares and package prices may apply depending on date of booking.

Costs associated with the Asia In-Country Study Tours can be tax deductible. Educators may be able to claim their study tour expenses under a number of tax deduction categories which include: self-education expenses; excursions, school trips and camps if these trips have an educational benefit and are related to the curriculum or extra-curriculum activities of the school; acquisition of teaching aids used for curriculum development and teaching programs. Participants must contact their tax advisor or visit the Australian Tax Office website to confirm eligibility. Visit also Zen Oriental Journeys'"For Educators" pages.

 
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