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Imperial Cities & the Desert
11 days from CAD4,950pp
Relax in a traditional hammam in Marrakesh.
Enjoy a camel ride through the dunes in the Erg Chebbi.
Marvel at the ancient Roman ruins and well-preserved mosaics of Volubilis.
Visit the historic kasbahs - Telouet and Ait Benhaddou.
Perfect your bartering skills in Fez's labyrinthine souqs.
- The Erg Chebbi
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Day 1 Marrakesh
On arrival in Marrakesh, you're met by a private driver and transfer to your hotel in the city. Once you've settled into your accommodation, spend the rest of the day relaxing or begin your exploration of Marrakesh, perhaps heading out to visit the souq or sampling some of the city's delicious street food.
Day 2 Marrakesh
In the morning you have a privately guided tour of the main sights of the city, including the intricately decorated 16th-century Saadien Tombs, the Bahia Palace and the Koutoubia Mosque, which dominates the city's skyline. This afternoon explore the souqs, where you can watch men and women at work on their crafts and learn about the techniques used by dyers, tanners and coppersmiths. The afternoon ends at Djemaa El Fna, Marrakesh's main square, where street performers entertain the crowds and you can sample all manner of food.
Day 3 Marrakesh
You have today free to spend as you wish. You might like to try your hand at bartering in the souqs, visit a traditional hammam for a spot of relaxation, or take a day trip out to the High Atlas, enjoying lunch at one of the luxurious properties set in the mountains.
Day 4 Skoura
Leave the city behind and set off over the High Atlas to Skoura. As you wind through spectacular scenery, look out for tiny villages clinging to the mountainsides. Part of your journey is by 4x4, allowing you to visit the more remote areas on your way south. You can stop at the historic kasbahs of Telouet and Ait Benhaddou and learn about their history, before driving along the lush Dades Valley to your accommodation in Skoura.
Day 5 Skoura
Today you might want to relax at your hotel or explore the nearby kasbahs and palmeraies. The green of the palm trees contrasts with the orange stone of the kasbahs and surrounding landscape, making for some excellent photo opportunities. The most impressive kasbah is the 17th-century Kasbah Amridil, which appears on the 50-dirham note.
Day 6 The Erg Chebbi
Continuing along the Dades Valley, visit the Todra Gorge en route to Erfoud, on the edge of the Sahara Desert. From here you can travel into heart of the desert on a short camel ride, stopping to watch the sun set over the dunes before settling into your desert camp for a night under the stars.
Day 7 Fez
A long but interesting journey today as you're driven for around eight hours to the north of the country. You can observe the country's wide range of landscapes as you travel up the Ziz Gorge with its steep canyon walls scattered with green palm trees, across the barren and rocky Middle Atlas plateau and through the Alpine Middle Atlas, where many buildings have a Swiss or Austrian style. You finally arrive in the ancient city of Fez, where you can settle into your accommodation.
Day 8 Fez
Explore Fez on a private guided tour of the city and its ancient, maze-like medina. Visit the tomb of the city's founder, Moulay Idriss II, admire the architecture and intricate decoration of mosques and madrasas (Islamic colleges) and gaze over the centuries-old tannery, where you can watch men carrying out the complex process of turning animal hides into leather. End the day relaxing on the roof terrace of your riad, listening to the evening call to prayer echo around the city.
Day 9 Fez
Spend the day visiting the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the imperial city of Meknes with your private guide. The extensive ruins show how large the Roman city would have been, and there are still lots of incredibly well-preserved mosaics on the ground. The impressive ruins of the courthouse and the Capitoline Temple suggest this was once a prosperous city. Meknes was once a capital city within the kingdom, but has gradually faded into ruin. Your guide will tell you about its turbulent history and you can see remnants of its former glory in the city walls' monumental archways.
Day 10 Casablanca
Day 11 Return home
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