Date: March 17 - 27, 2017
Destination Description: Experience It! Sahara Desert
Covering over 3 million square miles of northern Africa, the Sahara is said to encompass a staggering 10% of the African continent. It is often referred to as the world's largest desert, but it is actually the largest “hot” desert, losing its overall status to Antarctica. Scientists believe that the Sahara Desert has been inhabited since 6000 B.C. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Europeans are just some of its former residents. Today, the population is around 4 million and consists mainly of nomads who move from place to place as a result of the harsh conditions. Imagine daily life with an average temperature of 86°F. Temperatures can regularly exceed 122°F during the hottest months of the year. Over time, the wind, heat and dry weather has created a tapestry of stunning landscapes that include sand dunes, sand seas (called ergs), barren stone plateaus, gravel plains and salt flats
Book Now & Save $200 Per Person
Highlights: Casablanca, Fes, MonkeyWatch, Sahara Desert, Camel Ride, High Atlas Mountains, Marrakech
Double $4,869*; Double $4,669
Single $5,699*; Single $5,499
*For bookings made after Aug 18, 2016 call for rates.
Prices Included: Round Trip Air from Victoria International Airport, Air Taxes and Fees/Surcharges of $620 per person (subject to increase until paid in full), Hotel Transfers
Day 1: Overnight Flight
Overnight Flight Embark on an alluring Moroccan adventure overflowing with centuries old customs and colourful culture.
Day 2: Casablanca, Morocco - Tour Begins - (D)
Tour Begins Your tour begins in Casablanca. Take a short drive to the city centre for a brief stop at the impressive Hassan II Mosque, a stunning, high-tech, architectural masterpiece. Arrive at your hotel and enjoy time to relax. Gather tonight with your fellow travellers for a welcome dinner at Rick’s Café, the mythical saloon from the 1942 film Casablanca.
Day 3: Casablanca - Meknes - Fes - (B/D)
Your first stop on today’s journey is the ancient Imperial city of Meknes. Lush rolling hills studded with ancient olive groves await you in this Ismalian capital, a UNESCO World Heritage site. After lunch we will explore the port of Bab El Mansour and Bab El Khamis before continuing on to the ancient ruins of Volubilis. Uncover the well-preserved remains of Roman palaces, baths, soaring arches and magnificent mosaics. Tonight’s dinner features traditional Moroccan delights, prepared and served by the family who owns the riad where you are staying.
Day 4: Fes - (B)
Discover Fes, one of the holiest cities in the Islamic world. This enchanting city takes you back in time. Learn of its historical importance as a centre of government, philosophy, medicine and religion while on your fascinating panoramic tour, including the Medersa Bou Inania, built in 1325. See the Jewish Quarter, the city ramparts and the gates of the palace. Take to the streets for a walking tour in the Medina. Founded in the 9th century, it is home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Amid the cobbled alleyways of this ancient market you’ll see donkeys and mules laden with goods walking alongside buyers. Spend time at the famous leather tanneries, a honeycomb of vats exploding in an array of brilliant colour.
Day 5: Fes - Midelt - Erfoud - (B/D)
Today you will learn about MonkeyWatch, a program dedicated to protecting the Barbary macaques that thrive in the forests of Ifrane National Park. You will have the opportunity to feed these unique creatures. Continue on towards Erfoud, making a stop in Midelt. Your overnight is in a kasbah.
Day 6: Erfoud - Sahara Desert Expedition - Merzouga - (B/L/D)
Your day begins at Erfoud’s fossil factory and museum where they turn fossil rocks into decorative items. Then, travel to the Saharaoui town of Rissani. Get a true taste of the region when creating homemade stuffed bread with potato, meat, onion and Moroccan spices. Jump into a 4x4 vehicle and make your way to various nomadic villages of the Sahara before arriving at the edge of the dunes. Pause to enjoy a cup of tea by the pool before boarding your camel for your ride to a nomad camp. Traverse the stunning fine sands of Merzouga as the red sun falls toward the horizon. Later, learn how to bake bread under the sand — nomad style. As night falls, listen to intoxicating Berber drum music and song during the traditional pouring of mint tea followed by a delightful Moroccan feast. Sleep in a luxury tent and experience an unrivalled sense of tranquility in the serene desert.
Day 7: Merzouga - Todra Gorge - Boumalne du Dades - (B/D)
Return to the edge of the dunes via camel. Then, set out for Erissani to begin the journey to Todra Gorge. Spend time in the Jewish quarter where you may choose to sample some local favorites at a bakery. Next, follow the rugged “Road of a Thousand Kasbahs.” These fortresslike kasbahs rise up like turreted sandcastles along the ancient trading route. This region is one of the most vibrant destinations. Along the river valleys, palmeries and burnished mudbrick homes light up in the desert sun.
Day 8: Boumalne du Dades - High Atlas Mountains - Marrakech - (B)
Drive through the Valley of Roses, stopping en route at a local cooperative for coffee. Then, it’s on to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Ksar Ait-Ben-Haddou, an impressive feat of Moroccan architecture. Continue along the High Atlas Mountains following the Tizi n’ Tichka Pass. This scenic route brings you through lush oasis valleys and past imposing mountains. Pause along the way at a Berber village before entering the exotic city of Marrakech.
Day 9: Marrakech - (B/L)
Explore Marrakech and its ancient El Bahia Palace where today, a sentry of nesting storks stand guard. Enter the royal Saadian Tombs, explore the vibrant and historic Jewish Mellah, and see the majestic 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque. Tour the ancient city wall, passing by the Royal Palace and Marrakesh palm grove. Savour lunch in the home of a local expert and his family and get a true taste of Moroccan hospitality. Then, enter the 9th-century walled Medina and enjoy time to mingle with the locals as you shop at the ancient market. (B, L)
Day 10: Marrakech - (B/L/D)
This morning, select the ingredients for your culinary workshop that takes place on the rooftop of the charming Kasbah Omar, located in the middle of the old Jewish Berber village. Join a Berber family in their home for a traditional cup of tea and a taste of the real Berber life. After lunch, experience another Moroccan tradition at a henna workshop. Afterwards, meet an artist and discover some of her work before heading to the souk for last minute shopping. Tonight, join your fellow travellers for a farewell dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 11: Marrakech - Casablanca - Tour Ends - (B)
Tour Ends A morning transfer brings you back to Casablanca to connect to your flight home. (B)