Days
9
Price from
$895CAD

Roskilde? Coachella? Glastonbury? Pfft! The Gnaoua Festival is where the party’s at.

Attracting 500,000 revellers from all around the world each year, this massive Moroccan music festival is a melting pot of international jazz, rock and pop – plus dashes of local Gnaoua beats for that authentic local flavour. Kick things off in the chaos of Marrakech before living it up in seaside Essaouira. Swap lazy days spent exploring the medina with late nights in front of the festival’s ten different stages, then unwind in Sidi Kaouki and discover its coastal charms. With North African vibes you just won’t find anywhere else, this is a music festival that will earn you some serious bragging rights.


Start
Marrakech, Morocco
Finish
Marrakech, Morocco
Country
Morocco
Code
GEBF
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18 , Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Experience unique Gnaoua vibes at one of the world’s biggest music festivals in Essaouira.

  • Slip into the easy-going rhythm of coastal Sidi Kaouki.

  • Haggle your socks off with the locals at Djeema El-Fna, Marrakech’s chaotic central marketplace.

  • Learn how to prepare a traditional Berber whisky in an exclusive demonstration with an expert.

  • Track down some delicious street food in the maze of streets that is the Marrakech medina.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The weather in Morocco can be extreme. Summer temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, especially if you're not used to the heat. If you do travel in the warmer months, bring the necessary sun protection and drink plenty of water.

  • Although you shouldn’t expect any aggressive selling techniques in Morocco, please be aware that you may be approached regularly by shop owners and street vendors.

  • We've sourced our accommodation carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Geckos style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may be different to western standards.

Itinerary

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco and the sprawling, chaotic city of Marrakech. A welcome meeting will be held this evening in the hotel foyer/lobby. If you’re unsure where to meet, check in with reception for details. At this meeting we’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information, so make sure you’ve got everything on hand to give to your leader. After meeting your group, why not get to know each other while exploring the city’s main square – Djeema El-Fna. This hub is the perfect spot to see some street theatre, nibble some famous Moroccan pastries and keep cool with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Get to know the city better on an orientation walk and a half day tour through the twisting streets and alleys of the Medina. This 19 kilometre ochre-coloured maze is filled with crowded souqs and ancient architecture. Pass well-known monuments such as Koutoubia Mosque and its superb minaret, as well as the lesser-known tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). There's also the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, and the ruins of the Palais Badi, reputedly one of the most beautiful palaces in the world when it was built. After a morning of walking, the afternoon is then free to do as you like.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning board a local Supra bus headed to Essaouira (approximately 3 hours). This coastal city is home to the annual Gnaoua Festival, when the medina and city squares explode with street performances, roving theatre and a vibrant collection of jazz, pop, rock, soul and contemporary music. Many of the performances are free to watch and there are 10 concert sites, each with complementary programs showcasing the festival’s best music acts. All told, more than 500,000 revellers will flock to Essaouira over the four days of the festival. Get to know the city with an orientation walk led by a local guide, which will help make you familiar with the key festival venues. Later in the afternoon, take part in the opening parade of the festival.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After a late night at the festival opening, this morning is yours to relax. In the early afternoon, browse the seafood on offer at Essaouira port then take your findings to a hidden BBQ destination for a cook up. If you don’t like seafood, have allergies or other dietary requirements, please let us know and we’ll sort something out for you. Head out in the early evening for Day 2 of the Gnaoua Festival.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today is yours to do as you please, and by now you probably know Essaouira like your own home town! Perhaps go for a walk along the white sandy beaches, explore the Old Town, or do a spot of people-watching at one of the numerous hidden cafes and restaurants. If you’re feeling bold, step into a steamy Moroccan hammam (sauna) for a scrub or massage. After a relaxing day, get back into the festive spirit for your last night at the Gnaoua Festival.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Say farewell to Essaouira this morning before jumping on a minibus and travelling south to Sidi Kaouki. This small coastal town is one of Morocco's top windsurfing spots, but waves and currents here can be dangerous so don't get in the water unless you're an expert! Instead, stick to the land and enjoy brightly decorated cafes with laid back vibes. If you’re looking for thrills you can also hire quad bikes and roam the scenic headlands.
Accommodation
  • Multishare rooms (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After the late nights and revelry in Essaouira, today is all about unwinding. Perhaps wake up with a relaxing morning yoga class, or simply watch as surfers weave their magic on Atlantic Ocean waves. Another option is to jump into the saddle and explore the coastline on horseback. In the afternoon, visit the half-ruined white tower that stands on rocks at the edge of the sea. This building is a shrine dedicated to Sufi Saint Sidi Kaouki, who was known for his healing abilities. People still visit the shrine today hoping to receive good luck.
Accommodation
  • Multishare rooms (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Journey to Marrakech, stopping in at the little mountain village of Imlil, which sits at the foot of North Africa’s highest peak – Mount Toubkal. From Imlil, walk up to Aroumd, a small Berber village that is also the last village trekkers see before conquering the mountain. You can get to know the Berber people and their culture while sharing some mint tea and a hearty Berber lunch. Afterwards, head back down to Imlil and finish the drive to Marrakech for your final evening in town. Perhaps celebrate with one last visit to Djeema El-Fna, toasting the end of this tour in the bustle of Morocco’s biggest market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This tour comes to an end in the morning and you are free to depart at any time. If you’d like to stay in Marrakech for a few extra nights, we can easily arrange extra accommodation for you. Just let us know at the time of booking. If you’d like to explore more of Marrakech, you can also join one of our in-depth Urban Adventure tours. Just visit www.urbanadventures.com.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Minibus, On foot, Taxi, Local Bus

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)

Dates & availability

Trips were unable to load at this time.

Jump to a departure month

Important notes

Want to endear yourself to the locals? Simply remember to be respectful and exercise common sense. One idea is not to pose for photos at religious sites and, if you want to take a photo of people, always ask for their permission first. They may say no and it’s important to respect that. Even if it’s hot, cover your shoulders, knees and hair. Also, don’t shake someone’s hand or eat with your left hand – this is the one you use to wipe your butt!

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.