Southern Treasures - 7 days
Day 1: Casablanca – Marrakech
Start your tour in Casablanca, the largest city and economic capital of Morocco.
A must- do: a visit to the impressive Hassan II mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. Originally commissioned to honor the former king’s father as well as create “the” landmark in Casablanca, it is a showcase of Moroccan craftsmanship and can accommodate more than 100,000 worshippers.
Then, climb aboard your own personal “Marrakesh Express” (thank you, Crosby, Stills & Nash!) as you make your way to the “Red City”.
Arrive in the early evening in Marrakech and stretch your legs in Jemaa el Fna Square. By day, this huge square is filled with snake charmers, henna artists, dancing monkeys, and even a dentist or two! But it’s at night when the square truly comes alive with more exotic acts such as belly dancers and storytellers, and hundreds of food vendor stalls offering quick eats such as dried fruits and nuts, fruit juices, snails and sandwiches. Take in all of the action from one of many coffee shops and tea houses bordering the square; their rooftop terraces offer great views as you unwind with your beverage of choice.
Day 2: Marrakech
Marrakech, former imperial capital of Morocco, is at the crossroads of the High Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert, as witnessed by palm trees against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
Today’s guided tour will take you through the medina, one of several UNESCO World Heritage sites in Morocco. The medina is surrounded by approximately 12 miles of fortified walls and gates, and its skyline is dominated by the minaret of 12th century Koutoubia Mosque.
Cures for whatever ails, along with traditional spices with proven medical benefits, can be found in a traditional Berber pharmacy. Indulge in some retail therapy in the medina’s seemingly endless souks.
Other places of interest: the Saadian tombs and mausoleum were originally built in the 16th century but later sealed and only discovered by the French in the early 20th century. El Bahia Palace gives you a taste of the life of a 19th century vizier and his harem. Ben Youssef Medersa, founded in the 14th century, was the largest Islamic college in North Africa at its time and showcases intricate woodwork and tile work.
In the afternoon, relax in the calm of one of many gardens. Majorelle Garden was designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle and showcases an intense cobalt blue hue named after him. Menara Garden, originally built in the 12th century features a large basin and green-tiled pavilion.Agdal Garden was considered a royal orchard filled with fruit and ornamental trees.
Day 3: Marrakech – Ait Ben Haddou – Ouarzazate
Leave behind the hustle and bustle of Marrakech as you follow the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs.
On the way, support one of the women’s argan oil co-operatives. Argan trees grow only in southwestern Morocco, and their nutty oil stars in both cosmetic and culinary uses.
Explore Ait Ben Haddou, a traditional ksar, or castle, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a fantastic example of a fortified village and has also been the location for such films as Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia.
Nearby is Ouarzazate, founded by the French and used as an outpost for the French Foreign Legion. Visit the Taourirt Kasbah, former property of the ruling Glaoui tribe before Morocco took independence from the French. Ouarzazate is Morocco’s Hollywood. Many international movies and television shows have featured its surroundings as sets and backdrops, such as Kudun, Kingdom of Heaven and most recently, Games of Thrones. These movie sets are open to the public.
Day 4: Ouarzazate – Todra Gorge – Tinghir
Leave Ouarzazate and breathe in the scent of Kelaa M’Gouna, as you pass through the Rose Valley. Though the name means “fortress”, this village is best known for its rose agriculture and distillation.
Pass through the impressive landscape of Todra Gorge. Dramatic steep cliffs border the road, and this is a natural starting point for the area’s hiking trips and rock-climbing expeditions.
Spend the night in Tinghir, a lively and charming town.
Day 5: Tinghir – Erfoud – Sahara Desert (Merzouga)
In the morning, drive to Erfoud, the area’s starting point for many Sahara treks.
Be sure to taste medfouna, a delicious local Berber specialty of stuffed or “buried” treasure of meat, onions, almonds and spices. Not a meat-eater? Don’t worry; the vegetarian option is just as tasty.
After lunch, meet your local 4×4 driver who will take you into the Sahara desert. The rocky flat landscape quickly gives way to rolling sand dunes. Choose a simple sunset camel trek or if you are more adventurous, consider a night under the stars. The swaying gait of your camel among the quiet peacefulness of the desert is typically the most favorite experience in Morocco.
Day 6: Sahara Desert (Merzouga) – Alnif – Boumalne Dades
Wake up early for sunrise photo opportunities and to make your way back to the hotel base camp for a quick dip in the pool or shower before starting today’s travel.
If time permits, choose to explore the old town of Erfoud Maadid, visit Rissani, a lively town with a Berber bazaar and frequent market days or learn about the local fossils in Alnif.
Continue on to Boumalne Dades. The route is spotted with ksour and palm trees, Berber villages and interesting rock formations, which are known locally as Monkey Fingers. Appreciate the final winding road into Boumalne Dades when you arrive at the top and gaze upon the serpentine route.
Day 7: Boumalne Dades – Marrakech
Early morning departure from Boumalne Dades for your transfer to Marrakech’s Menara Airport.
* * Note: If your flight departs from Casablanca, the itinerary will be adjusted to 8 days/7 nights. See below.
Day 7: Leave Boumalne Dades and return to Marrakech.
Today’s late morning arrival in Marrakech allows you to explore more of the Red City! Delve deeper into the medina, get refreshed at a hammam, a traditional steam bathhouse, try your hand at Moroccan cuisine in a local cooking class or stroll in Gueliz, the modern section of Marrakech filled with upscale shops, trendy restaurants and many art galleries.
Day 8: Marrakech -Casablanca
Bid farewell to Morocco during today’s transfer to the airport.
Payment: We currently accept PayPal and bank transfers. We also accept cash for any service when booked in Morocco.
Cancellation Policy: We can provide you an initial and informal quote. We will work with you to create your dream vacation, catering to your needs and tastes. Before we can proceed with reserving a driver and accommodations, we will require a deposit. When booking with Mint Tea Tours, you agree to the following:
- 50% of total service cost non-refundable deposit
- 30% refund, if service canceled 30 days in advance
- 50% refund, if service canceled 45 days in advance
- No refunds will be granted for cancellations 29 days or less of scheduled service