- Tour the winding medinas of Fes and Marrakesh
- Take a camel trek into the dunes of the Sahara
- Hike some of the most scenic spots in the Atlas mountains
- Swim under Morocco's highest waterfalls at Ouzoud
|Day 1||Arrive in Fes||Fes|
|Day 2||Guided Tour of Fes||Fes|
|Day 3||Transfer to Merzouga, Camel Trek & Desert Camp||Merzouga|
|Day 4||Transfer to the Dadès Valley||Boumalne Dades|
|Day 5||Spend a Day with the Locals in the Valley of Roses||Boumalne Dades|
|Day 6||M'Goun Mountain Hike, Transfer to Aït Bouguemez||Aït Bouguemez|
|Day 7||High Atlas Hike, Transfer to Demnate||Demnate|
|Day 8||Transfer to Marrakesh via Ouzoud Waterfalls||Marrakesh|
|Day 9||Guided Tour of Marrakesh||Marrakesh|
|Day 10||Depart Marrakesh|
Day 1: Arrive in Fes
Welcome to Morocco! Upon arrival, meet your transfer at the airport in Fes to head to your hotel and settle in.
Fes is home to the largest medina (old town) in the world, and its meandering, narrow stone pathways and blue tiles have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. At the center of the medina, you'll find the Qarawiyyin Mosque and University, as well as 14th-century schools, a museum of woodcut art, and more. It's best to follow a guide through the maze to make sure you can learn about all the history surrounding you and cut down on your potential time spent getting lost.
Day 2: Guided Tour of Fes
Set out for a guided tour of the city with a local expert today. You'll start at the Royal Palace and walk through the old Jewish Quarter, up to one of the Borj towers, for a panoramic view of the medina. Next, you'll head to a mosaic house, where you'll have a demonstration of the traditional pottery methods utilized by Fassi artisans. You'll see every step of the process, from the formation of the clay to the piecing together of the mosaics.
After the demonstration, the tour will take you into the medina of Fes, where you can discover the ancient streets and neighborhoods, visit the various artisan sections (including the tanneries), and see the important historical monuments, including the tomb of Idriss II and the Al-Qarawaiyyin University, the oldest continually-operated university in the world. Your tour will end after lunch, at which time you'll have the rest of the afternoon and evening free to explore the medina. Don't worry if you get lost—that's all part of the experience!
Day 3: Transfer to Merzouga, Camel Trek & Desert Camp
Meet your driver this morning and hit the road for today's epic seven-hour road trip into the desert. On the way, you'll pass through the largest cedar forest in Africa, which is home to playful Barbary apes (aka Atlas monkeys), whose antics are always sure to entertain. Cross the Middle Atlas mountains to reach the high plains city of Midelt, where you'll break up the trip with a stop for lunch.
Continue into the High Atlas mountains via the Ziz River Gorge and watch for the large dunes of Erg Chebbi, which signal your arrival in Merzouga. Take some time to explore the area before meeting your camels and trekking into the heart of the dunes to your luxury camp for the night. (If camels aren't quite your style, you can opt for a 4WD instead.) Once you arrive, you can climb the nearest dune to watch the sun go down, and the stars come out. Enjoy dinner, traditional music, and stargazing well into the evening, then retire to your comfortable tent to fall asleep to the sounds of the desert.
Day 4: Transfer to the Dadès Valley
Get an early start to watch the sunrise over the dunes before you hop on your camel once again and ride back to the edge of the dunes. From there, it's time to get on the road to the Dadès Gorge, passing through some of Morocco's most magnificent natural landscapes on the way to tonight's destination of Boumalne Dades.
Along the 3.5-hour drive, you'll stop to visit the ancient irrigation system that once brought water to the desert from the distant Saghro Mountains, as well as pay a visit to the oasis town of Tinghir, where you'll take a guided walk through the Palmery and old Jewish area. Next, you'll visit the nearby Todra Gorge for a walk through the most impressive part of the canyon before you reach the Dadès Valley and the quaint town of Boumalne Dades.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Spend a Day with the Locals in the Valley of Roses
Join your driver for a short drive to the "next valley over" to spend the day in the heart of the Valley of Roses. On the way, you can visit a local market if your trip aligns with market day. Continue to the home of a local family, where a warm welcome awaits. Learn some secrets of Moroccan cooking as you help prepare lunch, then sit down with the family for a traditional meal of couscous. After lunch and some downtime, you can explore a little more of the valley, either by car or by foot.
If you're visiting while the roses are in bloom, don't miss the chance to head into the fields to try your hand at picking the flowers and seeing how much you would earn from your work. Pay a visit to the local rose cooperative to observe the distillation process involved in creating the valley's signature rose products, or see a different sort of creative process at the Azlag Cooperative, where they craft ceremonial Berber daggers. Linger in a coffee shop with views of the valley or stop for a steam in a traditional hammam, then return to your hotel in Boumalne Dades for the evening.
Day 6: M'Goun Mountain Hike, Transfer to Aït Bouguemez
This morning, lace up your walking shoes for a hike near M'Goun mountain, one of the highest peaks in the region. You'll make your way through the M'Goun River Valley, passing local Berber villages and kasbahs in the hills below the mountain's peak. Once you've worked up an appetite, enjoy lunch at a local home before hitting the road for the four-hour transfer to Aït Bouguemez.
Using one of the less-traveled mountain roads, you'll head into the High Atlas, including nearly 50 miles (80 km) of off-roading as you make your way over the peak of M'Goun to the serene oasis town of Aït Bouguemez.
Day 7: High Atlas Hike, Transfer to Demnate
Start your day with another morning hike, striking out into the spectacular mountain scenery of this unspoiled region. There are multiple hikes available for different levels—if you'd like a challenge, summit the peak known as the Cathedral for its church-like shape, which takes about three hours and is a highly technical trek. If you'd prefer something simpler, head deeper into the Happy Valley through its terraced agriculture and rock kasbahs on a trek that can be customized to your preferred length.
Then get back on the road and head two hours west to Demnate and a local ecolodge for lunch, followed by an interactive carpet-weaving workshop. Carpets are one of the crafts most associated with Morocco, and you'll get to try your hand at creating one during this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Hit the road to your evening lodgings, but finish your day with one more hike over a nearby natural bridge before you turn in. You'll walk to some fossilized dinosaur tracks to admire the footprints of these ancient creatures and then cross the natural bridge for a total hiking time of about 2.5 hours.
Day 8: Transfer to Marrakesh via Ouzoud Waterfalls
Make your way to Ouzoud this morning, home to one of the highest waterfalls in Morocco. This multi-step waterfall is over 330 feet high (100 m) and is also home to the Atlas monkeys, which you may spot frolicking in the trees. Meet your guides and set out on a two-hour hike along the Ouzoud River to the top of the falls. Then head down to the base, where you can swim, take a boat ride under the falls, or just enjoy the view from one of the many terraces.
After lunch, you'll continue 2.5 hours west to Marrakesh, where you'll spend the evening at your leisure. This colorful oasis city's medina offers up a tangle of colorful bazaars alongside Moorish riads (traditional townhouses with a central courtyard) and palm trees. Make your way through the alleys of the medina, where woven carpets, ceramics, parchment lamps, and huge spice stalls are stored up to the roof in the narrow, winding streets characterized by stairs and vaults.
Day 9: Guided Tour of Marrakesh
After breakfast, meet your local private guide for an immersive tour through the historic center of Marrakesh. As you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll come across lively souks and maze-like alleys. You're sure to be dazzled by displays of djellabas (robes), brightly colored babouches (slippers), intricately-pierced lanterns, conical mounds of exotic spices, and the intense hubbub of medina life. Along the way, your knowledgeable and energetic guide will regale you with the history and stories of the medina, the souk, and the Mellah neighborhood of the "Red City."
In the afternoon, you'll continue your private tour, exploring places like the Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia and El Badii Palaces, and the Saadian Tombs. Your tour will end by mid-afternoon, giving you the rest of the day to explore on your own. Do some retail therapy in the souks, sit down to a delicious traditional meal in one of Marrakesh's fantastic restaurants, or wander the stalls of the central square of Jemaa el-Fna, where you can feast on incredible street food as you watch musicians and snake charmers perform for the crowds.
Day 10: Depart Marrakesh
Spend the morning scouting out any spots you missed in Marrakesh before you head to the airport to catch your flight home or onto your next adventure. Safe travels!