- Expedition Team
- Trip Preparation
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Depart USA / Casablanca, Morocco
May 2 — May 3
Board your independent flight to Morocco. Arrive in Casablanca on May 3 and transfer to your Club Floor room at the Hyatt Regency. This evening, attend a welcome reception with dinner at our hotel.
A morning tour of Casablanca includes the majestic and impressive Hassan II Mosque. It is the largest religious monument in the world after Mecca, with space for 25,000 worshipers inside and an additional 80,000 outside. Take a drive along La Corniche Aïn Diab, one of the liveliest and most scenic areas of the city. Next, explore Place Mohamed V, a busy shopping street and Casablanca’s main square which links the old town and new town. See United Nations Square, designed by French architect Joseph Marrast, and the League of Arab States Park, built in 1925. The Habous District (Quartier des Habous) offers shaded squares and narrow streets lined with arcades that lead from one souk to another. After lunch at Rick’s Cafe, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore on your own. This evening, take advantage of the Dine-Around Program and enjoy dinner at a restaurant of your choice.
Casablanca / Rabat / Fez
Rabat is the political capital of Morocco and the fourth of Morocco’s Imperial Cities. Your tour begins at the Kasbah of the Udayas, whose alleyways are reminiscent of a whitewashed Andalusian village. Take a stroll along the narrow streets, with a stop to examine the ornate Oudaya Gate. Visit the well-preserved 12th-century Hassan Tower that stands on the hill overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg, the iconic symbol of the city, as well as the beautiful Mohamed V Mausoleum. After lunch in the heart of the medina, enjoy free time to browse the souk for exotic treasures. In the afternoon head inland to Fez and check in to your medina-view room at Riad Fez, your home for three nights.
Founded in approximately 809 AD, Fez is the oldest traditional city in Morocco, regarded not only as the religious and cultural capital of the country, but also the spiritual and intellectual center of Islam in the West. Holding an enduring fascination for visitors, Fez has one of the largest historic medinas, full of monuments reflecting the different periods of Morocco’s imperial and architectural development. This morning, explore the ancient Fez Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander the labyrinth of streets and browse the markets and souks, where brass makers, storytellers, and performers ply their trades. Within the medina you will also see the Karaouine Mosque, one of the most important religious buildings in Morocco, as well as the 18th-century Foundouk Nejjarine. Formerly a way-station inn, today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an excellent museum housing various period artifacts. After lunch at a local riad, view the seven impressive bronze gates of the Dar el Makhzen (Royal Palace), then continue to Fez Mellah (the Jewish quarter). This area is filled with 15th-century examples of Hispano-Moorish architecture, including the renowned cemetery. Return to the hotel and take advantage of the Dine-around Program at a restaurant of your choice for dinner.
Fez / Volubilis
This morning, venture outside Fez to explore Volubilis, an imposing Roman ruin and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since the beginning of the third century BC, Volubilis was an important outpost of the Roman Empire. It became the administrative center for Roman Africa and the capital of the Roman Province of Mauritania. Stroll through the ruins as our guide relates the history of the city and the region. After lunch, return to Fez, where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, enjoy a special Moroccan dinner at a local restaurant in the medina.
Fez / Marrakech
After a morning at leisure and lunch, depart overland for magical Marrakech. Founded in 1062, at the crossroads of Arab, Berber, and Sudanese civilizations, Marrakech is one of the world’s most mysterious and fascinating cities. This beautiful city boasts palm-lined streets and red-earth walls surrounding a huge medina of red, flat-roofed houses, backdropped by the snow-covered peaks of the High Atlas Mountains. After a short orientation tour, check in to La Mamounia for dinner and overnight.
A morning tour of the city’s most important monuments includes the stately 12th-century Koutoubia Minaret and Mosque and the aristocratic El Bahia Palace, former home of the 19th-century Grand Vizier. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the lush Majorelle Garden designed by the French painter Jacques Majorelle in 1924, and later purchased by the late French couture designer Yves Saint Laurent. Explore the colorful souks, overflowing with exotic spices, carpets, jewelry, enamel, copper, brass, and cedar. Today’s grand finale is frenetic Jemaa el Fnaa, the greatest square in all of Africa. Twilight is the magical hour when all of Marrakech seems to descend on the city’s central plaza, with a tumult of acrobats, boxers, storytellers, snake charmers, water carriers, and henna-painters.
High Atlas Mountains
Depart early for a drive across the Glaoua Plains and into the High Atlas Mountains. Make a stop at a Berber village and sip traditional Moroccan mint tea in the home of a local Berber family. Arrive at the village of Asni for lunch at Sir Richard Branson’s luxurious and intimate retreat, Kasbah Tamadot. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the High Atlas, this kasbah (citadel) was extensively renovated with a unique blend of Moroccan colors and textures. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Embark on a full-day excursion into the desert. Enjoy a delicious lunch surrounded by stunning desert scenery, then take a camel ride over the undulating dunes. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Enjoy free time today to pursue your own interests. Gather this evening for a farewell cocktail party and dinner at our hotel.
Marrakech / USA
Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.