Part circus, part grand bazaar, part history lesson but mostly a series of chapters from the book of earthly wonders, Morocco is a soul-stealing place. A fusion of Berber, Arab and African cultures, it’s a country of two halves, the cosmopolitan, European-inflected Morocco of the north and the traditional, conservative, Berber-dominated Morocco on the south side of the Atlas Mountains. It’s also a safe and secure Islamic country that opens its door to visitors.
Escorting this tour, travel writer, photographer and Tripologist Michael Gebicki and partner, Liz Ryan, have designed an 18-day tour of this extraordinary and intoxicating country. Michael is a passionate and curious traveller with photography skills that will help you capture the full flavour of Morocco. Liz has an instinct for culinary and cultural experiences that open windows, giving you an intimate perspective on the country and its people.
This is a small group tour, maximum 10 guests, travelling at a slow pace. We’ll taste the world’s best dates, visit mud-walled kasbahs, walk through villages and palm groves that might have come straight from the Book of Job, hear the strange and intoxicating gnaoua music that originated with African slaves, explore wonderful gardens, troll through labyrinthine souks, ride camels through the dunes of the Sahara to our luxury desert camp and stay in some beautiful small hotels and riads.
We’ll start in the former Portuguese coastal town of El Jadida, in a hotel that was once a Spanish church, visit Fes with its World Heritage-listed medina, tour the Roman ruins at Volubilis, cross the Atlas Mountains and spend nights among the majestic dunes of the Sahara with Berber nomads, walk through the miraculous Valley of the Roses, stroll through the Garden of Eden in the Ourika Valley, visit the old trading port of Essaouira and finish in the fabled city of Marrakech.
“Our first trip together was across Asia on the hippie trail way back in the 1970s,” Liz and Michael recall. “It was pretty gritty. Some of the hotel rooms we stayed in you wouldn’t want to walk through barefoot. The bus journeys were long and cramped but everything was a revelation – the sights, the sounds, the food, the hilarious things that happened along the way – we still dine out on those stories. And that’s what we want to bring to our small group tours. The hotels where we stay in Morocco are palaces compared to way back then but it’s that sense of being somewhere completely different, the excitement of discovery and surprise that we want to bring to our trips. We want to expose our guests to the place because that’s what makes it come to life. Expect thimbles of early morning espresso in cafes with the locals and perhaps an evening session of live Berber music at Café Barcelona in Fes. This is rock and roll like you’ve never seen before.”
“Morocco is unlike anywhere else,” says Michael. “If you want to experience a place that comes from the far reaches of the imagination, and do it at a slow pace, come and see Morocco with us.”
In preparing this itinerary Liz and I made two trips to Morocco, one in April 2017 and another in 2018. We’ve tried and tested the hotels, the experiences, the restaurants we’re including. I even spent four hours riding a camel through the Sahara, Liz too the Jeep option for the sake of balance. All in the name of research.
While you can do Morocco on your own, if you want to get the most out of the experience you need a guide. Morocco is a rich and multi-layered experience and it’s difficult to penetrate or even appreciate what you’re seeing without an expert eye. That applies even if you have conversational French, the main European language. Having said that, you don’t need a guide all the time. Wandering around in Fez and Marrakech on our own was a delight, although in both places we had a guide show us the highlights when we first arrived.
For this tour we’ve formed a relationship with leading adventure tour operator World Expeditions, under their exclusive trips banner
This is a great step forward for us. It enables us to focus on developing and refining the experiences that we offer guests on our trips.
This brings some real benefits for our guests – for example the ability to book air travel through World Expeditions to mesh with their tour booking. They also have easy access to a huge array of other World Expedition trips including hard and soft adventure packages in Europe, Asia and South America, either group travel or self-guided.
World Expeditions have been really terrific in supporting us as we develop our trips with their expertise, giving us a completely free hand to engineer our itineraries as we see fit. We’ve met with their ground operators in Morocco and we’ve been impressed with their professionalism, enthusiasm and knowledge.
Sept 08 – Sept 25, 2020
What’s not included
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