Day 1. MARRAKECH.
On arrival you will be met by an English speaking representative who will accompany you on the transfer to your Marrakech hotel. Evening transfer to Restaurant Bo-Zin for your Welcome Dinner. At the gates of Marrakech, Bo-Zin invites you to spend a unique evening in an exceptional ambiance. The Terrace overlooks the exotic garden where luxurious fountains and summer lounges were designed for your well-being, an invitation to dream, a mixture of Zen spirit and elegance. The menu offers a trip around the world of multiple flavours. D
Day 2. MARRAKECH.
Following breakfast you will be picked up for your Marrakech Tour for a full day exploring the History & Souks of Marrakech. First visit of the day will be a photo stop at the foot of the Koutoubia Minaret . The Koutoubia is the largest mosque in Marrakech with a stunning 70 metre high minaret.
Following this, visit the Saadian Tombs, sealed for centuries until they were rediscovered in 1917. The tombs date back to the time of the Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour. There are two main mausoleums within the enclosure, consisting of 66 tombs while 100 more are laid outside in the gardens.
You then visit the 19th century Bahia Palace, surrounded by beautifully-manicured gardens filled with sweet-smelling flowers and fruit trees. The aristocratic palace has beautifully painted residential rooms and a lush Moorish style garden in the courtyard.
From here you take a walk through the medina to discover the colorful and exotic Moroccan handicrafts. Explore the market, which is divided into smaller souks according to goods sold. This grand labyrinth features hand-crafted Moroccan good such as babouche slippers, woodworks, brass works, ironworks, bronze works, jewellery, kaftans, carpets, spices, and pottery. You will also be able to visit the best galleries for leather, antiques and hand crafted gold jewellery.
Enjoy strolling in the world-famous Djemaa El Fna square, Marrakech’s most popular tourist attraction. This bustling square is listed by UNESCO as a « Masterpiece of World Heritage ». Snake charmers, acrobats, dancers and storytellers make it a lively hub of activity. The smell of exotic spices fills the air as stalls whip up lip-smacking Moroccan street delicacies. You now can rest for a while whilst enjoying a delicious lunch in Le Marrakchi a traditional Moroccan restaurant on the fringe of Djemaa El Fna Square.
Following lunch travel to the Menara Gardens. Covering an area of 250 acres, they are full of olive trees surrounding a large central lake that dates from the 12th century and is fed by a network of irrigation channels. At the water´s edge is a small Saadian pavilion. With the snow covered peaks behind it, this is a breathtaking sight in the evening when it catches the golden rays of the setting sun.
Your final visit of the day is to the botanical garden of Majorelle, designed by the expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle during the colonial period when Morocco was a protectorate of France. Since 1980 the garden has been owned by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. After Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008 his ashes were scattered here and a memorial erected.
Your tour ends with a drop-off at your hotel or alternatively you can choose to return to the area of Djemaa El Fna to browse independently and experience the changes the afternoon brings with street restaurants setting up for the evening trade.
Tonight you will be picked up from your hotel for a memorable evening of Moroccan dinner and folklore show. Set out in an air-conditioned vehicle with your English speaking guide for this evening tour.
Your Fantasia dinner takes place at the spectacular ‘Chez Ali’ restaurant where an Arabian Nights-like evening has been specially recreated for your pleasure. As the evening progresses, musicians, singers and dancers entertain in typical Moroccan style.
As you watch the performance, enjoy a sumptuous meal of authentic Moroccan food, comprising harira soup, Mechoui (steamed lamb meat), Couscous with fresh vegetables, and a platter of fresh fruit served to you under traditional Caidal tents. Round off a delicious meal with tea and Moroccan pastries.
This impressive evening comes to a fitting finale with the Fantasia show. Watch acrobats on Arabian horses firing rifles and demonstrating traditional forms of military combat. Then follows horseback acrobatics, a belly dance and suddenly up in the night sky a Sultan and his favorite fly to the stars on their magic carpet, as the evening comes to its end.
Drop-off at your hotel in Marrakech. BLD
Day 3. MARRAKECH / ESSAOUIRA / MARRAKECH
Following breakfast we set out towards west to the Atlantic coast and the ancient Phoenician town of Mogador – a corruption of the Berber word Amegdul, meaning ‘well-protected’ – and now, since Independence, called Essaouira.
Abandoned by the Portuguese in 1541, it was not until 1765 that the Alaouite Sultan Sidi Mohammad Ibn Abdullah transformed Mogador into a fortified city. The ramparts were never that effective in keeping out the marauding tribesmen but now enclose a charming artists’ town with its old port and cannons overlooking the fishing fleet. Perhaps a dip in the waters of the ocean or a camel ride along the beach (not included) before returning to the bustle of Marrakech? Lunch is at restaurant Le Chalet De La Plage where you’ll enjoy Essouaira’s famed seafood with views from the terrace.
Spend the afternoon wandering through the narrow alleyways which make up the Medina to witness artisans at work making their wooden tables, boxes and sundry items in lemon or briar wood inlaid with mother of pearl –the purple dye produced by the crushed shellfish were exported by the conquering Romans to colour the togas of the rich back home.
Essaouira is a charming historical town not to be missed. Return journey to Marrakech for early evening.
Tonight we pick up for dinner at Le Comptoir Darna, the first lounge-restaurant in Marrakech, its musical concept has made it famous.
This restaurant-bar-boutique is a place where a colourful, cosmopolitan clientele of the famous and the not-so-famous rub shoulders in a festive atmosphere created by exotic dancers. A fun and trendy place offering a menu featuring both European and Moroccan dishes. The perfect blend of the Orient and the West, this is the place in Marrakech where night time means party time. BLD
Day 4. MARRAKECH / OURIKA / OUKAÎMEDEN /ASNI / IMLIL / MARRAKECH.
Depart from Marrakech around 09.00am for an exciting drive South through one of Morocco’s longest and most beautiful, refreshing valleys – the Ourika Valley – teeming with lush vegetation, palmeraies, steep-sides gorges, ancient terraced irrigated fields and Berber hamlets.
Some 33km from Marrakech, this valley really starts at a small Berber village of Dar Caïd Ouriki, with its ruined, caïdal kasbah and mosque. Onward we drive up through hills of ever-changing colours – from red to grey to blue – in the midst of olive groves seeing the ochre-red villages set amongst terraced fields seeming to hang from the slopes. The majority of the villages we shall see are pisé, dug from the earth of the surrounding slopes. Taking a turn at Aghbalou the road takes us through the Jbel Oukaïmeden range, where the snow falls every winter, and we venture on to Morocco’s N°1 ski resort of Oukaïmeden with it’s ski lift 3273 metres above sea level taking in the breathtaking fairy tale valley below.
Travelling northward, with the magnificent peaks of the Western High Atlas always staring down on us, we circle down to the Berber hamlet of Tahanaoute. Making a turn south – up and over the hairpin bends of the Moulay Brahim Gorges and Upper valleys we make our way through the Asni Hills, which vary between 2020m and 2460m, passing through the village of Asni.
Upon arrival at the Berber trailhead town of Imlil, set way up in the foothills of the Western High Atlas Mountains, we leave our vehicles and mount our mules for the short journey to our outdoor BBQ lunch venue on a terrace overlooking the village. With the mighty Jbel Toubkal – at 4167m the highest peak in the Maghreb – and her sisters Aguelzim (3547m) and Aksouâl (3847m) almost within touching distance, we set off on our private, guided journey for some 4km. Passing the hamlets of Taourirt, Targa and Imoulato toward the Berber village of Aremd (1843m). Resting a while in this rather singular village built seemingly house upon house on a large moraine spur, overlooking ancient irrigated terraced fields of barley, corn and vegetables surrounded by walnut and almond trees we then regroup to return through spectacular scenery to rejoin our vehicle at Imlil arriving back in Marrakech earl evening.
Pick-up from hotel for this evening’s dinner at the The Yacout.
This restaurant is a landmark of Marrakech Medina owned by Mohamed Zkhiri, who presides over the destiny of the sumptuous venue. The décor is enchanting with its private rooms and breath-taking panoramic view from the terrace overlooking the Medina and the Koutoubia mosque. Highly traditional Moroccan cuisine with a menu incorporating an amazing succession of flavours, and service that lives up to anyone’s standards. BLD
Day 5. MARRAKECH.
Day at leisure then evening pick-up for dinner at the stunning Palais Gharnata.
This beautiful house with its heavy doors was owned by a financier to the Pacha of Marrakech. After the entrance, you come out onto an impressive patio, several dining-rooms, reception and banqueting rooms. Moroccan traditional cuisine is rooted in the Moroccan culture, passed down from mother to daughter. Relax to the musicians’ soothing oriental melodies as you enjoy a pigeon pastilla or tender roast lamb with herbs. BD
Day 6. MARRAKECH.
In accordance with your flight schedule transfer to the airport for departure flight.
B = Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner