Mosaic of Wild Morocco

About the Experience

Your journey through Morocco is like entering a mosaic of wild mystery, your senses enchanted with the gorgeous aesthetic of this ancient way of life.

On our 15 day tour, you’ll be enchanted by Morocco’s wild beauty: you will cross palm groves in the oasis and the golden dunes of the Sahara Desert, journey through the Atlas mountains and dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean.

You’ll climb aboard a camel to trek through the bronzed sands of the Sahara. At nightfall, enjoy a feast prepared by nomads, as you stretch out to sleep in a luxurious tent beneath an endless galaxy of stars. Or stroll the ancient medina of Fes, Essaourira or Marrakech where you can marvel at the magnificent rainbow-hues of the famous tanneries, which dot the city like a cartoon grid of polka dots. Meander around the market, baskets overflowing with spices and surrounded by tapestries of fine handmade weaving.

Hike the fertile valleys of the Ziz valley, where you can pluck an olive from a branch to roll its bitter delights on your tongue. Savour Moroccan tagine and chicken pastilla, sip mint tea and enjoy the authentic Moroccan hospitality with a local family in their home. Take part in a sacred henna ceremony with your Wild Women sisters.

On your journey, you will also visit the unique town of Ifrane – famous for its winter activities and the barbary macaque – the only primate found north of the Sahara. You will visit the dramatic Todra Gorge – a series of cascading limestone ledges that soar up to 400m. You’ll stay at the Kasbah Toubkal, perched on a plateau in the heart of the Atlas Mountains. Will the wonders ever cease?

Whether cycling the palm groves of Skoura past the towers and turrets of kasbahs, or riding a horse along the glimmering beaches of the Atlantic ocean in the artist’s hub of Essaouira, your adventure in Morocco is truly a marvel. And when you hold your hand to the sun, to admire the intricate elegance of your Henna tattoo, you will feel entwined in the swirls and beauty of its markings – knowing that you have been a part of this resplendent place.

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Mosaic of Wild Morocco

About the Experience

Your journey through Morocco is like entering a mosaic of wild mystery, your senses enchanted with the gorgeous aesthetic of this ancient way of life.

On our 15 day tour, you’ll be enchanted by Morocco’s wild beauty: you will cross palm groves in the oasis and the golden dunes of the Sahara Desert, journey through the Atlas mountains and dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean.

You’ll climb aboard a camel to trek through the bronzed sands of the Sahara. At nightfall, enjoy a feast prepared by nomads, as you stretch out to sleep in a luxurious tent beneath an endless galaxy of stars. Or stroll the ancient medina of Fes, Essaourira or Marrakech where you can marvel at the magnificent rainbow-hues of the famous tanneries, which dot the city like a cartoon grid of polka dots. Meander around the market, baskets overflowing with spices and surrounded by tapestries of fine handmade weaving.

Hike the fertile valleys of the Ziz valley, where you can pluck an olive from a branch to roll its bitter delights on your tongue. Savour Moroccan tagine and chicken pastilla, sip mint tea and enjoy the authentic Moroccan hospitality with a local family in their home. Take part in a sacred henna ceremony with your Wild Women sisters.

On your journey, you will also visit the unique town of Ifrane – famous for its winter activities and the barbary macaque – the only primate found north of the Sahara. You will visit the dramatic Todra Gorge – a series of cascading limestone ledges that soar up to 400m. You’ll stay at the Kasbah Toubkal, perched on a plateau in the heart of the Atlas Mountains. Will the wonders ever cease?

Whether cycling the palm groves of Skoura past the towers and turrets of kasbahs, or riding a horse along the glimmering beaches of the Atlantic ocean in the artist’s hub of Essaouira, your adventure in Morocco is truly a marvel. And when you hold your hand to the sun, to admire the intricate elegance of your Henna tattoo, you will feel entwined in the swirls and beauty of its markings – knowing that you have been a part of this resplendent place.

 

 

DAY ONE: WELCOME TO MOROCCO

Upon arrival at the international airport in Casablanca (CMN), you will be greeted and driven to your hotel for your first night in Morocco. Depending on when you arrive, this day will be at your leisure.  In the afternoon (approximately 3 pm) you will meet your group and tour leader and after introductions, you will begin with a tour of the magnificent Hassan II Mosque: the largest in Morocco and fifth largest in the world. On this tour, you will discover the most ambitious project of late King Hassan II, which was completed in 1993. Built partially into the water overlooking the Atlantic, it possesses the world’s tallest minaret (>200m) and can hold up to 25,000 worshippers inside the mosque hall.

Afterwards, you will have a trip briefing with your guide and then she will take you to a dinner hosted by a local family, supported by the Al Hidn, an association that empowers illiterate widow women in rebuilding their lives through a series of educational programs.

  • Distance: 40 min (30 km Drive)
  • Route: Travel from airport to hotel in Casablanca
  • Overnight: Hotel in Casablanca: JM Suites, Kenzi Basma Hotel or similar

 

DAY TWO: HORSEBACK RIDING IN MEKNES

This morning you will drive to Meknes and stop here for a short walk in the historical medina and have lunch at a local family owned restaurant. Afterwards, visit a horse riding club owned by a Moroccan/Suisse couple. Meet their beautiful horses and if you choose, embark on a one hour horseback ride exploring the countryside. If you prefer not to ride, you have the option to walk with your leader or simply chill out at the ranch.

After riding, you will drive onward to Fes which will be your home for the next two nights. This evening, you will be treated to a Fes signature dish – the sweet and salty chicken pastilla – a savoury Moroccan pie.

You will overnight in a riad. Originating from the Arabic term for ‘garden’ a riad is a Moroccan traditional house, normally two or more stories high, built around an inner courtyard with a garden and a fountain.  Dreamy!

  • Distance: 4 hours driving
  • Route: Casablanca to Fes via Meknes
  • Overnight: Hotel in Fes: Palais Amani or similar

 

DAY THREE: MAGICAL MYSTICAL MEDINA

This morning, meet your local guide for a tour of the old medina of Fes. You will walk the maze of streets passing by artisans doing their daily jobs, exploring what was once one of the world’s great centers of education and culture, both Islamic and Jewish. You will spend your day exploring the old city and stop by Fes’s famous tanneries and ceramic arts studio. View the stunning architecture of Medressa el Attarine and the beautiful Fondouk Nejjarine. You’ll also see the oldest university in the world, recognized by UNESCO and founded by a Moroccan Muslim woman, Fatima al-Fihria.

Tonight your dinner will be independent.  Your guide will provide you with several recommendations in the vicinity of your accommodations.

  • Overnight: Hotel in Fes: Palais Amani or similar

 

DAY FOUR: CEDAR FORESTS OF IFRANE

Today, we leave the bustling city market and head south to the region of Ifrane. Nicknamed Little Switzerland, its winter beauty and local ski resorts attract many who love to play in the snow.

Today you will visit a local park where you will discover and explore the beautiful cedar forests of the middle Atlas.  Enjoy a 1-2 hour walk through peaceful nature, gaze up into the canopy of the giant trees, and discover the flora and fauna of the region including the famous barbary macaque – the only macaque species found outside Asia and the only primate species found north of the Sahara.

If time permits and the group is up for it, you’ll head to another natural area to explore a local lake called Dayat Aoua: this lake is surrounded by a wet meadow, oak forests (Quercus rotundifolia) and cedar: Cedrus atlantica. A belt of poplars and willow surround the lake edges. You’ll have the opportunity to explore this park for about an hour before heading back to your hotel near the town of Azrou for dinner and a good night’s rest in the countryside.

  • Distance:  1.5 hours driving (70 km)
  • Route:  Fes to Azrou
  • Overnight:  Hotel in Fes: Palais des Cerisiers or similar

 

DAY FIVE: MIDELT AND ERRACHIDIA

Today, you will drive 4 hours to the Ziz valley through a variety of spectacular scenery – fertile valleys, cedar and pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes.  On the way, you’ll stop in Midelt: a market town, originally built as a base for mining in the area, but now surrounded by farmland and orchards. Continue to Errachidia, once called Ksar Essouk, the capital of the Ziz Valley and one of Morocco’s biggest date production areas.

Check in to your hotel, an elegant traditional guest house surrounded in spectacular beauty including red rock formations, a palmeraie (palm forest) and river.  Spend the rest of the day at your leisure before gathering for dinner.

  • Distance: 4.5 hours driving (~275 km)
  • Route: Azrou to Zaouit Amelkis (Ziz Valley)
  • Overnight:  Hotel in Zaouit Amelkis: Hotel d’Hotes Sahara or similar

 

DAY SIX: EXPLORING ZIZ VALLEY 

After breakfast, meet your local guide and prepare to explore and discover, by foot, the rich palmeraie that is the Ziz Valley including a tour of the ancient ksar of Zaouiet Amelkis. You’ll cross many fields and learn many fascinating facts about growing dates, grains, legumes and olives by using traditional irrigation systems. There may also be opportunities to help collect herbs, feed the animals, or even milk a cow!

Afterwards, you will visit a local Berber family to have a cup of tea, eat lunch and experience family life in the valley.

The rest of the day will be at your leisure – perhaps a nice time to relax in the gardens at your hotel.

  • Overnight: Hotel in Errachidia: Hotel d’Hotes Sahara or similar

 

DAY SEVEN: INTO THE SAHARA 

This morning, you’ll depart the Ziz Valley. You’ll stop in Erfoud, a small town well known for its fossils, as well as Risaani and then continue your drive to the golden dunes of Merzouga, situated about 20 kilometres from the Algerian border.  

Upon arrival, enjoy a local lunch where you can try Berber pizza.  Later in the day, once the sun is starting to set (around 5 pm) and the desert heat is beginning to fade, you’ll store your main luggage (which will be transported to the dune camp by 4×4), and then be introduced to your camel who will then give you a ride to a secluded desert camp in the dunes.  Here, you’ll meet your friendly nomad hosts, enjoy a welcoming tea, and after settling into your luxury tents (yes, they have private bathrooms!), enjoy a desert feast, a campfire and live drumming by local musicians. Don’t forget to look up at the stars before going to bed!

  • Distance: 2 hours driving (~95 km), ~1-hour camel ride
  • Route: Errachidia to Merzouga
  • Overnight:  Nomadic desert camp: Jaimas Madu or similar

 

DAY EIGHT: THE TODRA GORGES

After taking in the Sahara sunrise and enjoying your nomadic breakfast, you’ll depart from the Sahara and drive towards the Todra Gorges: a series of spectacular limestone river canyons that soar up to 400 meters. You’ll stop here en route to your next destination to admire this stunning landscape. Continue on to Skoura, one of the few palm groves that is still inhabited and cultivated in Morocco. This beautiful oasis will be your home for the next two nights.

The beautiful kasbah, where you will be staying, is a traditional building carrying history and ancient architecture and features a spacious elegant garden, interspersed with palm, apple, olive and pomegranate trees. Candles and lights dangle from the trees at night creating a warm and magical atmosphere, reflecting in the luxurious outdoor swimming pool.

  • Distance: 5-hour drive (~325 km)
  • Route:  Merzouga to Skoura via Todra Gorges
  • Overnight:  Kasbah in Skoura: Ksar El Kebbaba or similar

 

DAY NINE: CYCLING THE PALM GROVE

After breakfast, meet your guide for a cycling tour of the palm groves of Skoura. This village is home to several privately-owned Kasbahs, and traditional houses of southern Morocco. You will visit the Kasbah Ameridhl, with its extravagant decorations and mud-brick fortifications, and learn what Kasbah life was like, historically. While cycling, you’ll ride through narrow town alleys, along trails and gravel roads and take breaks under the shade of palm trees as you explore this lovely oasis. You’ll also enjoy a picnic by a stream.

Afterwards, return to your hotel in the early afternoon, and have the rest of the day at your leisure. We highly recommend poolside!

  • Route: Within the town limits of Skoura
  • Overnight:  Ksar in Skoura: Ksar El Kebbaba or similar

 

DAY TEN: THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS

You depart Skoura this morning and en route to your next destination, make a short stop in Ourzazate, Morocco’s ‘Little Hollywood’ that has been featured in several films.  You will also visit the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou – a fortified red-earth city. We’ll drive to Toubkal National park and the small mountain town of Imlil. Upon arrival to the high Atlas Mountains, your luggage will be transported by mule, and you’ll have the opportunity to stretch your legs after the drive on a short (uphill) walk through the peaceful village and arrive at your accommodations (accessible only by foot).

Tonight you stay at the Kasbah Toubkal, an authentic eco-guesthouse that has been responsibly designed and has involved the local community throughout the process. Five percent of each booking is contributed to Education for All, an organization founded by the owner of the Kasbah that helps Moroccan girls living in rural locations receive continuing education.

  • Distance: 6 hours drive (~ 300 km)
  • Route:  Skoura to Imlil
  • Overnight:  Kasbah du Toubkal or similar

 

DAY ELEVEN: THE SHRINE OF SIDI CHAMHAROUCH

Today, rise and greet the mountains from your magnificent Kasbah view.  After breakfast, meet your leader and she will guide you on a moderate 4-hour mountain hike to the shrine of Sidi Chamharouch.  Set beside a waterfall, is a cluster of pisé homes, above which towers the shrine: a huge white-painted rock. After you return to your hotel, soothe your muscles by taking advantage of the on-site hammam (steam bath) with your fellow wild women sisters!

  • Distance: 12 km round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 400m gain (400m loss return)
  • Activity Pace: Moderate hiking (3km/hour)
  • Overnight:  Kasbah du Toubkal or similar

 

DAY TWELVE: THE OCEAN BECKONS

Today you depart the Atlas Mountains and drive 4 hours to the chill coastal town of Essaouira.  This charming blue seaside town was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations, and now possesses a vibrant art culture and is a hub for Moroccan contemporary art drawing artists from near and far.  

Essaouira is also a major fishing port and you’ll be able to enjoy some of the day’s fresh catch.  After checking into your hotel, meet your local guide who will take you out for a freshly cooked seafood market lunch.  

After your seafood feast, you’ll have a guided tour of the city. The quaint narrow streets are ideal for exploration by foot.  

Dinner is independent today.

  • Distance: 4 hours drive (~ 235 km)
  • Route: Imlil to Essaouira
  • Overnight: Hotel in Essaouira: Hotel Cote Ocean Mogador or similar

 

DAY THIRTEEN: HORSEBACK RIDING ON THE BEACH

After breakfast, you will have the option to experience horseback riding along the beaches of Essaouira. This majestic experience will allow you to enjoy the early morning calm of the oceanside and recharge your energy. An alternative activity will be offered to those who do not wish to go riding.

Afterwards, you will have the option to experience the Moroccan hammam. Highly recommended and deemed an ‘essential Moroccan experience’, hammams are deeply rooted in everyday communal life and involve a steam bath and massage/scrub, and are yet another wonderful way to experience the local culture.  This activity is offered at an additional cost (~150dh).

The rest of the day will be at your leisure.  Maybe you’ll wish to return to the beach or visit the numerous art galleries and shops of Essaouira.

  • Overnight: Hotel in Essaouira: Hotel Cote Ocean Mogador or similar

 

DAY FOURTEEN: ANCIENT CITY OF MARRAKECH

Today, drive to Marrakech, an ancient city with a small touch of European modernity. Enjoy lunch upon arrival and after checking into your riad, meet your local guide for an orientation walk around the medina of Marrakech, including the famous Jemaa El Fna. Afterwards, your tour leader will take you to the Jewish quarter of the medina of Marrakech where you will share an authentic Moroccan dinner with a local family. Your host will serve Moroccan salads and fresh, home-baked bread while waiting for the main course. Dishes will vary depending on the season and availability on the day, but you can expect dishes such as lamb with prunes and almonds, couscous and roast Moroccan chicken. Vegetarian options will be available too.

And the Marrakech experience is not finished yet! A Hennaya, or Henna tattoo artist – ne of the oldest professions of Moroccan women  – will create a lovely Henna Tattoo on your hands or feet while your tour leader explains the origins and common use of this important traditional Moroccan cosmetic product.

  • Distance: 3-hour drive (~190 km)
  • Route: Essaouira to Marrakech
  • Overnight:  Riad in Marrakech: Riad Al Jazira or similar

 

DAY FIFTEEN: FAREWELL MOROCCO

This morning you will close your trip with one last community experience.  Participate in a morning cooking class at the Amal Centre – a Marrakech-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of disadvantaged women through training and job placement.  Share some laughs and enjoy a final delicious Moroccan meal together in the company of women.

Afterwards you can return to your riad if you have opted to stay an additional night in Marrakech, otherwise, a transfer can be provided to the Marrakech airport for return flights home scheduled for later in the day.

  • Distance: 30-minute drive to the airport

 

MOSAICS OF WILD MOROCCO CHEFCHAOUEN EXTENSION

If you would like to extend your journey with us in Morocco, we offer a unique 3-night program upgrade to tour the “Blue City”, Chefchaouen, for two nights and to the Rif Mountains for 1 night before your trip begins. This pre-trip extension costs $895 USD.

DAY ONE: HEADING NORTH

You will be met by your driver at your pre-trip hotel in Casablanca at 9 AM and driven to Chefchaouen or the ‘Blue City’, the centre of a mountainous agricultural region. Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide and she will assist with checking you into your accommodation. After settling in, your group will meet later for a welcoming dinner in the evening.

DAY TWO: EXPLORING THE BLUE CITY

Today, meet your local guide who will take you for a morning guided walking tour of the blue city. On this tour, you will learn about the history as well as the general life of a small Moroccan town and walk up a local trail for a magnificent view over the town.

Take the afternoon to explore the town on your own and when nights falls, enjoy a meal of delicious Moroccan fare.

DAY THREE: HIKING THE RIF MOUNTAINS

Today after breakfast, you will take a vehicle transfer (about 45 minutes) to a trailhead. You will then embark on a guided hike into the wilds of the National Park of Talassemtane in the Rif Mountains. Have a picnic along the way and arrive at a local village and overnight in a guest house (gite). On your hike you will see gorgeous views over the Rif mountains, passing by the unique geographical forms of Mount Larkrra and Tissouka. You will also reach a unique fir forest existing only in this part of Africa. Please note that this hike can be adjusted if you prefer not to walk the entire way. It will be a 5hr-6hr walk for full hike or less if combined with 4×4 support.

DAY FOUR: RETURN TO CASABLANCA

This morning, you will be taken to Casablanca to meet the rest of the group to start your Wild Women Expeditions Mosaic of Wild Morocco trip.


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