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THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarahb@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

Offering two consecutive tours of Morocco
with our excellent guide, Mr. Driss Amrani

Magic Morocco
March 8 - 14, 2015
• 7 days
$3650 based on double occupancy beginning in Casablanca, Morocco
and ending in Marrakech, Morocco
Airfare additional
Single supplement $1090

Road to 1,000 Kasbahs
March 14 - 22, 2015
• 9 days
$3640 based on double occupancy beginning and ending in Marrakech, Morocco
Airfare additional
Single Supplement $980

Combined Tours
March 8 - 22, 2015 • 15 days
$7290 based on double occupancy beginning in Casablanca, Morocco
and ending in Marrakech, Morocco
Airfare additional
$2070 Single Supplement


 

Magic of Morocco

Day by Day Itinerary

March 8 CASABLANCA
Sunday RABAT

Welcome to Morocco! Plan to arrive this morning in Casablanca.

We recommend Royal Air Maroc, AT201 departing from New York, JFK on March 7th at 6:15 PM and arriving Casablanca at 6:00 AM. We’ll be met and assisted by our favorite guide, Driss.

With a fascinating blend of old and new, modern cities that exist seemingly in the midst of a medieval Sultan’s domain. Casablanca rose to prominence under French rule in the early 20th-century. It was made famous to Americans by the Humphrey Bogart film. Casablanca retains a special charm despite its modern-day role as the commercial and industrial center of Morocco. After lunch at La Mer, a seafood restaurant, enjoy a panoramic tour. See the United Nations Square, the popular Esplanade, and visit the Grand Mosque in the Old Medina, and the original Arab residential quarter. The Royal Palace and the modern Cathedral de Sacre Coeur shows the Moroccan traditions of craftsmanship and style. Then we drive north along the Atlantic coast to Rabat, one of four Imperial Cities in Morocco, and the present day capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. A city of impressive sights spanning several eras of history, Rabat was first founded by Phoenicians exploring the North African coast. They were followed by a succession of rulers including Romans, Almohades, Moorish pirates, and the French.

In Rabat we’ll see the Royal Palace, a splendid example of Islamic architecture, then visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the Kasbah of the Oudayas. Kasbahs in North Africa usually refer to fortresses; in this case, the fortress has been turned into an interesting museum. Following our tour transfer to the La Tour Hassan Meridien Hotel. Founded in 1914, this lovely hotel is an integral part of the history of Rabat. As a jewel of rabati architecture has been totally renovated, respecting its original majesty and elegance, to enable it to offer all the modern amenities and personal attention you could wish for in a luxury hotel. Every single aspect of the hotel is an expression of Andalusian heritage. Enjoy a welcome Dinner at La Tour Hassan hotel restaurant. (L-D)

***** Hotel La Tour Hassan, Superior Room

March 9 RABAT • MEKNES
Monday VOLUBILIS • FEZ

Moving inland, we drive through verdant rolling hills to Meknes. Meknes was the 17th-century capital of Morocco. The great Alaouit Sultan Moulau Ismail, a maniacal tyrant who had few peers in history, was in power during that period. The Imperial Palace was big enough to house his 50,000 slaves and servants, 500 wives, and 1,500 children. The stable complex you’ll see is especially interesting.

Continue to Volubilis, site of spectacular ruins of an old Roman city spreading over 100 acres. We continue to the Imperial City of Fez, one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in North Africa. The gentle hills that surround Fez are complemented by a classic Moorish skyline of green tile roofs and minarets. Enjoy a refreshment and dinner at our beautiful riad (traditional palace) in the old medina of Fez. (B-D)

***** Riad Fes
Junior suite

March 10 FEZ
Tuesday

After breakfast we’ll explore Fez, the religious capital of Morocco. Fez El Bali is the heart of the Moroccan history and one of the rarest in the Arab world to have preserved the life of a medieval Islamic city. Built in the 9th century by Idriss I, the first king of Morocco, Fez was the first capital city of Morocco and the city that influenced the rest of the country as far as its history, culture, arts and spiritual life are concerned. The 9th century Fez embodies a great number of medersas (schools) dating back to the 14th century. The best of the old Moorish architecture, the Al Karaouin is the oldest in the world. This school specializes in Islamic Theology and medieval sciences. See the Sanctuary of Idriss II, the spiritual center where this descendant of the prophet Mohammed was buried

Fez El Bali is also a “Live Museum”, where certain ancient handicraft traditions still survive, gathered in family run industries such as the vegetable silk dyers, the tanneries, the copper and brass ware quarters, the blacksmiths, the carpenters specialized in making wedding thrones for the whole country, carpet manufacturing and the famous pottery makers.

Fez El Jedid was built by the Merinid dynasty in the 14th century. Start with a drive around the beautifully restored ramparts before we stop to enjoy the most stunning view of the whole city from the hilltops of the southern part of Fez. Your cultural visit will then continue to the most beautifully built Jewish quarter, which stands next to the 14th century Royal palace. This is the famous Mellah, where you may admire a fine example of old Spanish-Moorish architecture; the Jewish cemetery, where the oldest tombs go back to the earliest days of the history of Fez and the region; as well as the recently restored synagogue of Aben Danan, built in the 17th century. Take a short walk in the historical gardens of Jnan Sbil and visit the 19th century Royal Palace. Lunch is at La Maison Bleue and dinner at Riad Fez. (B-L-D)

***** Riad Fes
Junior suite

March 11 FEZ
Wednesday MARRAKECH

This morning we depart for Marrakech. Along the way, we plan to stop at a Berber village, home to colorful people who maintain distinct folklore in the face of modern times. View their native handicrafts such as woodcarvings and weavings. Our journey takes us through lovely wooded and mountainous scenic regions with stops in Ifrane and Azvou. These snow capped peaks buffer the oasis of Marrakech from the harsh Sahara. We arrive in Marrakech later this afternoon.

Most of the city architecture attractions are inside the Medina, the old walled section of town. Built in the 12th century, the Koutoubia Minaret is the most perfect Islamic religious structure in North Africa. Hidden away behind high walls are the Saadian tombs. The Bahia Palace is a masterpiece of domestic architecture.

In the afternoon, drive to the old town and walk through the labyrinth of streets of the souks with their quarters and corporations, dyers, herbalists, jewelers, carpenters, and hundreds of craftsmen at work. Next the Djemaa El Fna square, a big popular fairground with its storytellers, fire-eaters, jugglers, fortune-tellers, snake charmers and performers of each and every sort. Drinks are served on a terrace with views overlooking the square. Dinner is at the lovely Sofitel. (B-D)

***** Sofitel Marrakech
Deluxe Room

March 12 MARRAKECH
Thursday

Marrakech lies between the Atlas Mountains and the western desert of Morocco, and for centuries it has been an important caravan stop. The official date of the city’s founding is 1062. The city has a colorful history and its control changed hands many times. In 1912 the French took control and introduced Marrakech to the 20th-century. The fine hotels, excellent cuisine and extensive wine lists reflect the French influence. A curious blend of refined modern French tastes and historical Arab traditions is both the charm and mystery of Marrakech. The souks of Marrakech place one in a seemingly timeless environment where traders and craftsmen have been bartering wares for centuries.

Today we will visit the Koutoubia Mosque, the most famous building in North Africa. It dominates the city. Its sheer beauty appeals to all, but its significance to many is religious. The towering minaret, which can be seen from all over the city, once housed a copy of the Koran, the sacred book of Islam. During our time in Marrakech we visit Djemaa el Fna Square. The name means “assembly of the dead” but that description couldn’t be less appropriate. The color and charm of a nation, old and new, are on display here. Dinner tonight at Dar Moha restaurant. (B-D)

***** Sofitel Marrakech
Deluxe Room

March 13 MARRAKECH
Friday

Today we’ll enjoy a free day for independent activities. Tonight we travel in style by horse drawn carriage for a farewell dinner at Restaurant Yacout. (B-D)

***** Sofitel Marrakech
Deluxe Room

March 14 MARRAKECH
Saturday

After breakfast, transfer to the airport. We recommend the Royal Air Maroc flights AT402 and AT200 departing at 9:15 AM and connecting in Casablanca onward to New York’s JFK at 12:25 PM, arriving at 4:45 PM the same day. (B)

Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.

(B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarahb@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.


Road to 1,000 Kasbahs

Day-by-Day Itinerary

March 14 MARRAKECH
Saturday

Most flights arrive to Casablanca before continuing on to Marrakech. Plan to arrive Marrakech via Royal Air Maroc and transfer to the hotel. After a welcome Moroccan tea at the hotel we will be assisted with the check in formalities. The rest of the day is at leisure until dinner. (D)

***** Sofitel Marrakech
Deluxe Room

March 15 MARRAKECH • TELOUET
Sunday AIT BENHADDOU
OUARZAZATE

After breakfast, follow the old tribal pass over the Atlas Mountains that bore the traffic of the old Caravan route. On our way we stop to visit Kasbah Telouet, a former palace of the Berber chieftain El Glaoui. Prior to Morocco’s independence in 1956, the Glaoui tribe was given nearly free reign over central Morocco in exchange for their support of the French. Telouet served as their headquarters for much of this time. Next, we head south over dirt roads to Ait Benhaddou along the fabulous Ounila Valley. See one of the most impressive and well-preserved Kasbahs (fortified village) and UNESCO World Heritages Sites. The beauty of the whole area has attracted many film producers who over the last few years made films here such as Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator and Babel. Take a walk up to the old village and visit some of the Berber families still living there.

In the afternoon drive to Ouarzazate, considered the gateway to the desert. Dinner at our hotel. (B-D)

***** Berbere Palace, Superior Room

March 16 OUARZAZATE • ZAGORA
Monday

After breakfast, drive south to Zagora across the Anti Atlas Mountains and their amazing geological formations. Go as high as 5,000 ft on the pass of Tizi n’Tinifift before you drive down to the Draa River, a Saharan river that starts from these mountains and has given life to a huge oasis about 124 miles long at the foothill of the Anti Atlas Mountains. For many years this valley has been coveted by the nomads.

All along, many palm groves bring their shade between kasbahs and ksours dotted with fields of corn, barley, vegetables and henna plantations. This is an interesting region as far as the population is concerned as it is a mixture of dark people of sub Saharan origins, local Berber and Arabs from the north.

Take time to visit the oasis and some fortified villages and discover the ancestral activities of the Draa population. Dinner at our hotel. (B-D)

*** Riad Lamane, Deluxe Room

March 17 ZAGORA • ERFOUD
Tuesday

Our expedition today takes us via the new road through Tansikht and Nkob, where splendid scenarios of pre-saharan desert are dotted with Berber villages. Look for fossilized shells. The massive Saghro mount follows and then arrives at Alnif, a small village stop. Optional lunch en route. On to the Royal city of Erfoud via the villages of Mecissi and Rissani. Dinner at our hotel. (B-D)

*** Palais Masandoia, Deluxe Room

March 18 ERFOUD • RISSANI
Wednesday MERZOUGA

In the morning we will drive to Rissani where a local guide will be waiting for us at the main gate of the town to visit the old Jewish cemetery and the 17th century Jewish quarter before we explore some of the old Ksar and the market place.

In the afternoon, drive to the sand dunes of Merzouga to enjoy a tour highlight this afternoon as we set out on a sunset excursion to the breathtakingly beautiful sand dunes at Merzouga on the edge of the Sahara erg. In the enormous silence we watch the sun set over the desert as we take a camel ride along Morocco’s only Saharan dunes where we will be welcomed in our private desert camp. Spend the night in luxury tents. A traditional dinner of local harira soup and meshoui (roasted lamb) will be served and local musicians will entertain us under the stars.

The desert camp is situated in the south east of the village of Merzouga. A one-hour drive from the city of Erfoud in the heart of the impressive sand dunes of the Sahara, away from the areas that are visited by tourists. It is made of 4 large bedroom tents and a big restaurant tent. The four bed room tents fit up to three single beds or one large king size bed with the comfort of a hotel room. Each tent is communicating with a smaller tent where facilities such as hot shower, WC and a sink are installed. The restaurant tent has four tables and the whole camp is covered by colorful Berber carpets and cushions. (B-D)

Desert Camp, Deluxe Tents

March 19 TENTED CAMP
Thursday DADES

After breakfast, drive across the Saharan plains where the nomads herd their camels, to the marvelous valley of Todgha, considered to be one of the most beautiful in the South of Morocco. This is a lush green oasis running along a beautiful deep valley inhabited by a Berber population in Kasbahs and nicely designed villages. Take a walk along the spectacular gorges. In the afternoon, continue to the valley of Dades and the town of Boumalna. Dinner at Kasbah Xaluca. (B-D)

Xaluca Dades, Standard Room

March 20 BOUMALNA
Friday MARRAKECH

Enjoy a sunrise over the Dades Valley and its amazing rock formations. This region is also known as the “Valley of Roses” thanks to the many generations of local inhabitants who have planted roses in the fields for the making of perfume. Stop in the city of Ouarzazate before crossing the scenic Atlas Mountains back to Marrakech. Dinner at the hotel. (B-D)

***** Sofitel Marrakech, Deluxe Room

March 21 ESSAOUIRA
Saturday MARRAKECH

After breakfast, will take an excursion to the coastal city of Essaouira. The road goes across the western plains of Marrakech until we reach the Argan forest where unique trees grow and give argan oil, which has become internationally known as a natural cosmetic. Enjoy a comprehensive tour of Essaouira. A marvelous resort and fishing harbor, Essaouira is a 16th century Portuguese colony to which the Moroccans added a beautifully designed fortified town in 1760. Enter the city through one of its historical gates and explore the different colorful markets. Visit the old Portuguese fortress, the museum of the city and discover the art galleries and the cabinet making workshops. Our farewell dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant. (B-D)

***** Sofitel Marrakech, Deluxe Room

March 22 MARRAKECH
Sunday

After breakfast, transfer to the airport. We recommend the Royal Air Maroc flights AT402 and AT200 departing at 10:55 AM and connecting in Casablanca onward to New York’s JFK at 2:00 PM, arriving at 5:15 PM the same day. (B)

Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.

(B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)

 

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarahb@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

© 2015 Travel Concepts International, Inc. CST 2005743-40

Travel Concepts International, Inc.
Cultural Tours to Better Understand the World and Its People

5500 Bucks Bar Road • Placerville, CA 95667 U.S.A. • Voicemail/Telephone/Fax 1-530-621-3007
Voicemail/Tollfree in U.S.A. 1-800-762-4216
G
wen@SeriousTraveler.com • Web site www.tci-travel.comor www.SeriousTraveler.com