Days
18
Price from
R17,890ZAR

Check out the best bits of Morocco, in Casablanca, Fes, Merzouga and Marrakech and Hawaii..oh, no! Hawaii can wait – take a surf (and mountain!) trip to Taghazout and hang out in Aroumd, and Essaouria along the way.

Hang in Casablanca before a homestay in Moulay Idriss, see lots of cool old stuff in Fes, head on to Midelt, Mergouza and Erg Chebbi for walking, ruins and a sunset camel ride. Ride on through the dunes to Todra Gorge, before visiting Dades Valley, Ait Benhaddou and sexy Marrakech, but don’t get too caught up on the thought that Morocco is all about big markets and bigger deserts. The country’s beaches are pretty excellent too. Taghazout is a magnet for Moroccan chillers thanks to some A-grade Atlantic surf and other seaside towns like Essaouria are made for kicking back and soaking up some cultural vibes. Country living out by the Atlas Mountains can’t be beat either – the people are nice, the views are pretty and you ain’t gonna find food this good in a restaurant. Take the time to check out some of Morocco’s best secrets – from the mountains to the beaches.


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

Why we love this trip

  • Pre-2005, you wouldn't have been able to spend a night in holy Moulay Idriss if you weren't a Muslim. These days you can stay with an awesome local family and eat their delicious home-cooked fare no matter your beliefs

  • It's easy to get lost in a labyrinth (think less David Bowie film, more medieval maze), especially when there are enticing distractions at every turn. Never fear, your local guide knows the city of Fes like a lifelong friend

  • Don't get in a hoof when you're offered a camel burger in Meknes. Like all good food in the medina, this exotic lunch is cooked before your eyes at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant

  • Sleep under the stars in the Sahara, watch the sun rise over the dunes, ride a camel through the desert and explore the spectacular Todra Gorge. Is this all a dream?

  • Souq and ye shall find. The Marrakech marketplace is even more chaotic than you'd imagine. Take a deep breath before you start haggling your socks off with the locals

  • How about tasting some Berber Whisky? Even better, how about learning how to prepare this traditional drink? Learn from the experts on one of the exclusive demonstrations.

  • Who knows where the best street food is in Marrakech? Those who knows the streets of Marrakech best. Venture out for some street food tasting in the maze of Marrakech streets with the local expert.

  • Who doesn’t love a good walk? Enjoy alhike up the Atlas Mountains to the foot of Jebel Toubkal, the highest point in North Africa.

  • Run to Paradise Valley – you don’t want anyone to tell you the blue pools and waterfalls aren’t some of the most beautiful out there

  • It’s not a stretch to say that relaxing yoga lessons on the coast of South Morocco are a highlight of this adventure. You’ll get a chance to hang ten on a basic surf class too

  • Hendrix came to Essaouria for a reason – the city of the wind draws all sorts of artsy types thanks to its culture (and maybe it’s delicious grilled seafood too)

Is this trip right for you?

  • As this is a combination of two itineraries, your group leader and the composition of your group may change in Marrakech, before heading out to Aroumd.

  • In a full-day tour around the Medina of Fes (Day 4), you'll be on your feet for a good five to six hours. Keep in mind that this is one of the highlights of Morocco and well worth the exertion!

  • The camel trek through the Sahara (Day 6) is an amazing way to experience the desert, but it may be painful on your backside. If you'd prefer, it's possible to walk alongside the caravan on the sand for about an hour. Remember that you'll need to make the (quite easy) walk back in the other direction the next day.

  • The Todra Gorge visit (Day 7) takes you to a remote area of Morocco. It is an amazing place to discover on foot, but to do so you'll need a moderate level of fitness and suitable footwear and clothing. If trekking isn’t your thing, have no fear, as there are plenty of other activities to do in the valley.

  • 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.

  • In 2018, Ramadan will take place from 15 May to 14 June. It may cause some disturbance to your travel schedule. Some regular services may not be available or open during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars. Please consider your travel arrangements carefully.

  • 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. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at around 6 pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned until this important meeting. Check the hotel reception for the exact time and place of the meeting. If you can't arrange a flight in time, you might want to arrive a day early – we can book additional accommodation for you, depending on availability. If you're going to be late, please contact the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so make sure you have these ready to give your trip leader. If you do arrive early in Casablanca, get out and explore the city. A good place to start is the Old Medina. Try some hot, syrupy mint tea along the way.

Notes: Some travellers in Casablanca are being approached by locals offering excursions before their Geckos trip commences. This has been particularly common in and around the hotels used by Geckos. These guides are in no way connected to Geckos and we cannot guarantee the safety or quality standards of their tours. We strongly advise customers not to join any tour offered by unauthorised guides. Geckos assesses the safety of all optional excursions offered by our local leaders. If you would like more information on the excursions available, please contact us before you travel, or see the Geckos-branded notice in the reception of your hotel.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After breakfast it's time for an optional guided tour of the Hassan II Mosque. Please advise your leader if you would like to take this option. Entrance fees are paid locally. More than 6,000 craftsmen joined forces to build this beauty in 1993. It's one of the few mosques in Morocco that foreigners are allowed to enter. You'll be joining other people for this tour, but you can upgrade to your own guide if you like – just talk to your leader. Later, head to the station and take a local train to Meknes (approximately 2.5 hours). When you arrive, you'll jump into a taxi and pop over to the whitewashed village of Moulay Idriss, one of Morocco's most important pilgrimage sites. You'll stay with a local family here this evening. Staying overnight here has only been allowed for foreigners since 2005. Lucky you!

Notes: Your guided tour of Meknes will be either today or tomorrow.
Included Activities
  • Mint tea making demo
Optional Activities
  • Casablanca - Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque - MAD120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a drive through the beautiful rolling hills to Volubilis for a guided tour of these epic Roman ruins. After Volubilis, head back to Meknes where you'll meet your local guide for a tour. Prepare for an unusual lunchtime – you'll be able to get a camel burger. Now that's a burger bar with a difference! Fear not if you’re a vegetarian, there will be an option for you too. Travel by train from Meknes to Fes (approximately 40 minutes). It's an amazing living museum, like stepping into medieval times. Fes is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco; vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses – with a huge, well-preserved medieval old city that’s the mother of all medinas. With the free afternoon, take a walk around, perhaps find a quiet place and listen to the evening ‘call for prayer’. It’s a cool thing to do.

Notes: The tour of Meknes, if it hasn’t happened yesterday, will take place today morning.
Included Activities
  • Guided walking tour - Meknes
  • Guided tour of Volubilis
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Fes. Getting lost here is half the fun, but you'll have an orientation walk, so you won't actually get lost, or at least you shouldn’t, however, noting down the name and address of your hotel isn’t a bad idea. Just in case. Browse market stalls, meet craftsmen and see beautiful mosques. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city's coolest buildings which has recently been restored and is now open to visitors. You'll also visit the famous tannery, which is also famously stinky, but famously well worth it. Stop for that famous view, overlooking the dye pits. You'll also visit a ceramic factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. Then enjoy some free time and maybe check out the exquisite carvings and magnificent tile work at the Medersa el Attarine (near the spice and perfume market). Fes is a shopping heaven for those who want to pick up a souvenir or two. Just bury in mind, today is going to be long. Very long and quite tiring, but well worth the tiredness at the end.
Included Activities
  • Guided walking tour Fes
  • Medersa - Fes
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travelling south across a bunch of different terrain, you will reach Ifrane, a mountain resort established by the French in 1929. After a short stop for coffee and a leg-stretch, continue further south. Then, at Midelt, the landscape opens up, giving way to awesome views to the west. This smallish market town, surrounded by farmland and orchards, is a great spot to break up the journey to the Sahara. It was originally built as a base for mining in the area. You'll see Berber people and nomadic shepherds tending to their flocks. You'll stay the night in Midelt. But first it's time for a nice walk (approximately 1.5–2 hours). The walk itself is easy, but the terrain is rocky in some places, so wear your best walking shoes. Bring your camera too, or your smartphone or whatever, because the scenes along the way might just make your Instagram account explode.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
On your way to the desert, stop at the spectacular narrow defile known as the Gorges du Ziz. Then head to the large town of Er Rachidia. Pass the 500-year old ruins of the Ksar of Meski then descend into the Ziz Valley, a particularly fertile region that produces figs, olives, dates and tamarisk – a fruit grown for its tannin and used in the curing of leather skins. Arrive in Merzouga, drop your main bags off at a simple Auberge (that's French for 'inn'), then take your day pack filled with overnight essentials. Time to experience a desert full of awesome. The mode of transport: camel, of course. Brace yourself for one heck of a sunset. This ride takes about an hour, going through the sea of sand to your private desert camp for an overnight stay. In the camp, you'll have a thin mattress, blankets and sheets. Make sure you bring a sleeping sheet if it's winter (you'd be surprised how cold it can get). Sleep under the stars and have a really romantic 'I am so far from home' kinda moment.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Hope you remembered to set your alarm this morning, because you'll be getting up well before the crack of dawn. Climb to a nearby sand dune to catch the sunrise. Watch the Sahara come alive! You'll also enjoy another fun camel ride through the sand dunes while the sun is rising higher and higher. Head back to the Auberge, collect the rest of your gear and then travel west to Todra. Then you'll come across a bright tablecloth of green that might seem so out of place you'll think you are dreaming. This valley is pretty impressive, with all its palm trees and mud-brick villages. Arrive at your hotel at the top of the valley, then take a hike into the gorge where sheer cliffs rise more than 1,000 feet above you.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
From Todra Gorge, travel along the ‘Road of 1,000 Kasbahs’ and enjoy views of the Dades Gorge. You'll also travel past the town of Skoura, home to the beautiful little houses rising like a mirage beyond a dry riverbed. Continue to the medieval mud-brick town of Ait Benhaddou, which is at its best in the late afternoon sun. If you wonder why Ait Benhaddou looks familiar to you, it is because you have seen it before! Perhaps not live, but certainly on the silver screen. Gladiator, Game of Thrones and loads of other movies and shows were filmed in this kasbah. Explore the many old streets and climb up to the fortress for a superb view over the old town. You can also – for a small fee – enter one of the most interesting of the old houses, climbing up to the turrets for a view over the river. You'll spend the night just outside the walls.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Continue west, passing a few Berber villages. Take in those epic views of the countryside. Wind your way up towards Tizi ‘n Tichka. This is a whopping 2,260 metres above sea level, the highest pass on the road to Marrakech. It often gets covered with snow during the winter months. Leaving the Atlas behind, you'll descend into the plains that surround Marrakech and arrive late afternoon. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Take an orientation walk around the old medina and the city's seemingly endless mosaic of souqs. Each is devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. Sample some of the best street food in the world on the way. Then enjoy some free time. This is a good chance to get lost in the fun of Jemaa el Fna, where there are so many fire-eaters, fortune-tellers, actors, musicians and hawkers vying for your attention.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Free day in Marrakech so where to start? Cycling trip, maybe a day trip out for some walking? No? Luxury Hammam and Spa, cooking class, quad-biking? Options are endless. Or, if you want to keep it simple, make a beeline to the food stalls for some tagine or some other Moroccan treat (nothing says 'I can't give you any money' like a face full of fava-bean dip). You might also like to visit the 16th-century ruins of the El Badi Palace, the famous Majorelle Garden or the adjacent Museum of Islamic Art. In the evening you will no doubt be drawn back to Jemaa el Fna for a night out with your new pals. Remember, some of them may not continue with you on to the next part of this trip, so take a chance and say farewell in style.
Included Activities
  • Marrakech - Guided walking tour
  • Marrakech - Palais Bahia
  • Saadian Tombs
  • Street food tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is another free day in Marrakech. As this magical city has so much to offer, it would be impossible to get bored. Also, take a chance to meet new members of the group, who maybe joining for the coming part of the trip. There will be a welcome meeting at 6pm today, feel free to join, you’ll surely learn what to expect in next few days.
Optional Activities
  • Palmery cycling tour - MAD350
  • Heart of the Atlas Mountains cycling day tour - MAD900
  • Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove - MAD752
  • Urban Adventures - A Taste Of Marrakech - MAD509
  • Quad biking Barrage Lalla Takerkoust - MAD1650
  • Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Hot Air Ballooning - MAD1990
  • Hammam & Massage in a luxury spa - MAD750
  • Urban Adventures - Tajine cooking class - MAD546
  • Asni & Ouirgane with lunch - MAD1806
  • Cascades d'Ouzoud day tour - MAD2207
  • Oukaimeden day tour - MAD1882
  • Ourika Valley day tour - MAD1817
  • Imlil & Aroumd day tour - MAD1817
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Wake up in the morning and catch a private bus towards the Imlil Valley. Calling dibs on a window seat would be a smart move ¬– the two-hour drive has got some awesome scenery to keep you occupied on the way. Arrive at Imlil, a little village that sits at the foot of North Africa’s highest peak, and then lace-up for a scenic one-hour trek to the mountain village of Aroumd.

Tonight’s stay is in a family-run mountain home (gite) in the village. The Berber’s are famous for their hospitality, so make the most of this opportunity to sit down, break bread with the family and learn about their culture. Facilities at the homestay are shared (both the bathroom and sleeping arrangements) but they’re cosy, comfortable and definitely offer an experience that blows hotels out of the water.
Accommodation
  • Mountain Gite (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you’ll hit up some of Morocco’s best surfing locations so make sure you have your swim suits ready. First stop is the appropriately named Paradise Valley, full of gorgeous pools and massive canyons. After a dip in the water, roll on to Taghazout. This scruffy little roadside village might not look like it at first, but it’s quickly gained a solid rep as an awesome surfing location. The waters stay warm from September through to April and the surf is top notch for starters and adept wave riders alike.
Accommodation
  • Surf Camp (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Kick off your adventures through this sleepy town with an early morning yoga session, helping you relieve any tension before diving into the water later on. Oddly enough, the skills required for both surfing and yoga complement each other through the principles of concentration, flexibility and balance. Good news if you were planning on hitting the waves later. Don’t know how to ride a board? No stress. Today includes a half-day surfing course to teach you the basics.
Accommodation
  • Surf Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Half day surfing course
  • 1 hour yoga class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You’ve got a free morning in Taghazout, so why not get up early and watch the sunrise, then take an optional yoga class or rent out a surfboard and hit the waves. Later, travel to the old fishing town of Essaouira, a place where the medina brushes up against the Atlantic Ocean. This artists' town has drawn people like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix who (according to local legend) spent a lot of time here in the ‘60s. Join your local leader for a walking tour through the old medina, Jewish mellah, port and skala (sea wall). Spend the night in a restored riad, a traditional nobleman's house unique to Morocco. The riad is beautifully designed and decorated in traditional Moroccan style, cosy yet historical. It’s definitely one of the more memorable stays of the journey.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Horse riding - MAD250
  • Seafood Market Lunch - Essaouira - MAD80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Yesterday’s walking tour should have you well up to scratch with the ins and outs of Essaouria, so go crazy! Get exploring! Grab a traditional Moroccan breakfast, and maybe wander to the harbour and its adjacent fish markets (you’ll have to get up early if you want to see the daily catch being auctioned off). You might like to check out the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum for a look at its collection of artefacts, woodwork, carpets and stringed instruments. If you feel like something more active, why not go on an optional horse ride along the sandy beaches of Atlantic Ocean.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Chat with locals on a shared bus ride back to Marrakech (approximately 3 hours). Once the bus arrives back in the city, tuck in for an awesome dinner experience at the famous Djemma el-Fna. This square is known as one of the largest public spaces in the world – it’s a truly iconic part of the city. As soon as the sun sets, the square comes to life with henna-painters, performers and storytellers sharing the space with street food stands. The smells of the stalls will lure you in and the tastes will keep you coming back for more. There’s all sorts of excellent pastries, fresh juices, teas and even bowls of snail soup to go round if you’re feeling a little adventurous! As the evening closes in, say goodbye to your new friends over some of these delicious snacks as you dine on a roof-top restaurant that overlooks the square.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Oukaimeden day tour - MAD1882
  • Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Palmery cycling tour - MAD350
  • Ourika Valley day tour - MAD1817
  • Hammam & Massage in a luxury spa - MAD750
  • Asni & Ouirgane with lunch - MAD1806
  • Urban Adventures - A Taste Of Marrakech - MAD509
  • Cascades d'Ouzoud day tour - MAD2207
  • Hot Air Ballooning - MAD1990
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your Moroccan adventure comes to an end today. Check-out time is usually around midday and you are free to leave at any time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring here. 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

17 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners

Transport

Camel, Minibus, On foot, Taxi, Train, Private vehicle, public bus

Accommodation

Desert camp (1 night), Guesthouse (2 nights), Budget Hotel (11 nights), mountain gite (1 night), surf camp (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Mint tea making demo
  • Guided walking tour - Meknes
  • Guided tour of Volubilis
  • Guided walking tour Fes
  • Medersa - Fes
  • Marrakech - Guided walking tour
  • Marrakech - Palais Bahia
  • Saadian Tombs
  • Street food tasting
  • Half day surfing course
  • 1 hour yoga class

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Epic Morocco trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

How to endear yourself to the locals: don’t pose for photos where the holiest of holy people pray. If you want to take a photo of people, always ask - they may say no, so respect that. Even if it’s hot, cover your shoulders, knees and hair. Don’t shake someone’s hand or eat with your left hand - this is the one you use to wipe your butt.

Single Supplement is available on this trip with the exception day 6 Merzouga (Desert camp). Ask your travel consultant for more details.

COMMISSION
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Moroccan tourism industry. In an effort to best control and monitor shopping and activities with an aim for the best experience possible, Geckos has established a system of carefully selected shopping experiences and activities based on positive feedbacks from our previous travellers. On occasion these will be as part of included walking tours or outside of included activities in free time. Please note that if you feel that you do not wish to join in on these shopping experiences we assure you there is no obligation and if you indicate your desire to not partake your group leader will help to facilitate a suitable alternative during this time.
Geckos have set up a centralised system of receiving payments from these recommended suppliers, of which are then distributed towards local Responsible Travel projects (such as 'say no to plastic' cotton bags for our travellers and drinking water refilling stations), traveller information packs, and leader bonuses. Further details of these arrangements can be provided by your group leader on request.
While Geckos endeavors to ensure that these suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality, please note recommended suppliers are chosen based on past travellers feedback and experiences and Geckos cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of the product. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of you our traveller is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.

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.