Discover exotic tapestried mountains, sparse rolling deserts and time frozen villages as you stay in true style in Morocco’s most prestigious and traditional riads.
Delve deep into the ancient lifestyle of local Berbers and nomads, explore tangles of medina lanes leading to bustling souqs. Travel in comfort through the Saharan dunes to the peaks of the High Atlas Mountains. Follow your taste buds through Fes, star gaze in the open desert. Glide over Marrakech in a hot air balloon, relax in a traditional hammam. Hike on foot to get truly off beat and away from the crowds for a more exclusive experience as you access remote Berber villages where you will feast with the locals.
Explore this land in pure class as you uncover the countries best kept secrets through exclusive experiences and expert local knowledge.
Salam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Upon arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to Rabat. Rabat is enchanting with unspoilt public beaches and a fairy-tale 12th-century kasbah perched over the water. This afternoon, you will enjoy a city tour of Rabat which includes the Kasbah Oudaya – the ancient city located at the mouth of the Bouregreg River which provides you with a beautiful peak into this UNESCO world heritage city.
Continue on to Chellah Necropolis and step into Rabat’s ancient history whilst exploring the medieval fortified necropolis of Chellah with structure dating back past the Almohads, past the Romans and all the way into the Phoenician times.
Pause for a tea break at one of our favourite local haunts. Tucked behind the blue alleyways of the Kasbah of the Oudayas, Café Maure is a favourite spot for a mint tea break with a panoramic view of Rabat and the Bouregreg River.
Just a 10 minute walk from the Kasbah des Oudayas, Euphoriad is a tranquil oasis within the charming and traditional Rabat medina. Euphoriad features an outdoor pool, hamman and a terrace overlooking the medina to help you relax after a busy day of sightseeing. Rooms feature luxuries like flat-screen TV’s, bathrobes and slippers that make lounging around all the more comfortable. (D)
Overnight Riad Dar Shaan or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Transfer to Rabat approx. 1.5hrs drive
Following breakfast, you will transfer to the isolated town of Chefchaouen today via the Rif Mountains. The first and lowest of the mountain ranges that ripple south through Morocco, make perfect trekking country. Take in the magnificent ranges, gorges and valleys, cloaked in forests of cedar, cork oak and fir. Unlike the extremely popular Atlas Mountains, there are no deep, well-worn trails or tourists – these mountains offer you a unique, sprawling look at undiscovered terrain. Situated close to villages and cities, you can still venture far away without leaving behind the comforts of Moroccan culture and hospitality. Overlooking the entire Chefchaouen town on Rif mountains, enjoy the peaceful vibe of white and blue. Visit the little Spanish church which you saw when you entered Chefchaouen. You are also likely to meet troupes of Barbary apes around the edge of Talassemtane National Park.
Chefchaouen, or the ‘blue city’, is arguably one of the prettiest places in Morocco. Set against a wide valley and nestled between two peaks in the stunning Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen may take you by surprise. Its medina has been lovingly cared for with striking blue and whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs and artistic doorways. Much of Chefchaouen was recreated by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquistia, so you might feel like you’re in the hills of Spain while exploring its streets. Ease into the relaxed pace of life in this rural retreat. Enjoy lunch before taking a stroll through the ancient medina and shop for handicrafts.
Enjoy a guided tour of the city. Chefchaouen is a photographers paradise with countless shades of blue painted on every wall, alleyway and door in the village. You’ll be led by an amazing local photographer who will show you the town’s best spots, many only known by the locals of the blue village.
Then it is time for sunset! After a short hike, join the dreamers to watch the sun fall over the mountains behind the beautiful blue city. Ask any local for the ‘mosquita’ and they’ll point you in the right direction – to the Spanish Mosque If you’re feeling peckish, the goats’ cheese on offer is a popular treat enjoyed by many visitors. (B,D)
Overnight Vancii Hotel or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Rabat – Chefchaouen approx. 3.5hrs drive
This morning, depart for Volubilis and explore the ancient ruins. Volubilis is one of the largest and most important archaeological sites in Morocco, with the remains of settlements dating from the pre-Roman to the early Islamic periods.
Travel to Meknes medina where you will enjoy lunch and tour the imperial sites as well as visit the Wooden Doors before returning back to Fes. Prepare to into the past as you explore the great doors of Meknes. Situated all around the medina, the doors harmoniously blend the Islamic and European styles of the 17th century Maghreb. Dinner this evening is included in your riad. An oasis of luxury in the middle of Fes’ busy medina, Palais Amani is a stylishly-decorates riad where the staff pride themselves on making you feel at home. The panoramic view and flower filled gardens are the perfect accompaniment to your drinks of breakfast on the rooftop terrace. The room showcase stunning Moroccan craftmanship in the intricate mosaics and hand carved wooden doors. (B,D)
2 nights Palais Amani or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Chefchaouen – Volubilis – Fes approx. (250km) 4.5hrs drive
Following breakfast, explore the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali. Your guided tour this morning will take in the Royal Palace, Jewish Quarter and Medrasa. Break for lunch (not included) before you visit the artisan quarters, tanneries and souks.
Descending into the labyrinthine of alleyways within the medina is like taking a giant step back to the Middle Ages. Walk through the twisting streets and alleyways, passing donkeys piled high with goods (this is one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world) and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Different areas of the Medina are known for specific types of food – from natural butters and fats, to pastries, to crepes and soups to dried and fresh produce. Pass dye-pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs and spices. With the squawk of chickens, the smell of spice and the sound of hammering copper filling the air, embark on a tasting trail to discover secret ingredients and fragrant flavours. Watch artisans craft pots, manipulate metal and tan leather with skills passed down over the centuries.
No stop in Fes is complete without a visit of Al Qarawiyyin, the oldest existing continually operator and the first degree awarding educational institution in the world. The university is equally well-known for its education and for the stunning architecture of its main building. This evening, let your taste buds guide you are taken on a Fes tasting tour for dinner. Experience the energy of the Fes street food scene as it comes to life in the early evening. On this walking tour, you can try all manners of Moroccan street food including dried meats, mlawi (pancakes), briwates (samosas), spicy sardines, potato cakes, snail soup, cured olives and an array of delicious wild honey plus more! (B)
Today, leave the intensity of the city behind for the simplicity of the scenic high Atlas Mountains to Erfoud a city known as “the Door to the Desert. Tonight you will overnight at Kasbah Hotel Xaluca, The Kasbah is listed as unique in Morocco due to its distinctive characteristics. It was built with adobes, the traditional Moroccan building bricks, and it is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the moment. (B,D)
Overnight Hotel Xaluca or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Fes – Erfoud approx. 7hrs drive
Continue the journey to Merzouga. With a backdrop of the orange-coloured Erg Chebbi sand dunes, the charming Saharan village of Merzouga feels wonderfully isolated, like the modern world has left it behind. The Erg Chebbi dunes are the most stunning in the country and an essential part of any visit to Morocco. An erg is a vast sea of shifting wind-swept sand that’s formed into picturesque, undulating crests and valleys. The Erg Chebbi is one of the world’s iconic landscapes, with towering dunes up to 150 metres in height. Located at the end of a sealed road and just 20 kilometres from the Algerian border this really feels like frontier country. You will leave your gear at a simple auberge and then ride camels into the edge of the Sahara Desert, enjoying a spectacular sunset along the way. The dunes are stunning, especially as the evening light plays across them and sets off the colours. Tonight, you will camp out in traditional style, with the chance to try some fantastic local cuisine while you sit around an open fire and listen to beats of tribal songs. Enjoy star gazing with a telescope and a short astrology lesson.
Your tents are comfortably appointed with double beds and access to a comfortable central terrace with plush pillows and rugs for you to relax and enjoy the surroundings. (B,D)
Overnight Desert Luxury Camp or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Erfoud – Merzouga (55km) approx. 1hrs drive, Camel Journey approx. 10-30min
Prepare to enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the desert. Your table will await atop the dunes along with freshly made coffee and mint tea to start your day with the view of a lifetime. From here, depart for the Dades Valley known as the Grand Canyon of Morocco. En route you will go fossil hunting! Set out on an expedition of discovery as you search for fossils in areas rich in fish, crocodile and Spinosaurus bones and teeth! Time depending, you may also have the chance to visit an active mine and explore an open quarry or perhaps even a quick visit to the local marble plant.
Continue to The Dades Gorges where you will enjoy a short walk through the gorge taking in the incredible scenery.
This evening dinner is included at your riad, Chez Pierre. With amazing views of the Dades Gorge and Michelin-level cuisine, Ches Pierre is a surefire hit among nature lovers and foodies alike. Built into the hillside, your hotel cascades down the gorge with rooms on the many levels decorated with local artefacts from the region. (B,D)
Overnight Chez Pierre or similar
Walking: Time permitting (Approx 800m) 20min
Distance and Journey Time: A total of around 310kms today, 5-6hrs drive
Enjoy breakfast before leaving the Dades Valley today, set off on the fabled ‘Road of 1,000 Kasbahs’. The first stop is at Skoura Oasis, home to several privately owned kasbahs. Here visit the Kasbah Ameridhl, with its extravagant decorations and mud-brick fortifications. Continue on your journey to Ait Benhaddou. Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco’s most iconic sites. Its grant kasbah is one of the most beautiful in Morocco and the fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture. If you think you recognise the place, you probably do, as the town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Enjoy a walk through the winding streets of old town, making your way to the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy the views across the surrounding plains. (B,D)
Overnight Kasbah El Hajja or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Approximately 3hrs drive
Today, drive to Marrakech through Tichka and the High Atlas. Marrakech is an ancient, exotic city wrapped in European modernity. There’s no rush as the scenery through the High Atlas Mountain passes is magnificent, and there will surely be calls for several photo stops along the way. On arrival in Marrakech you will check in to your beautiful riad, or Moroccan mansion; beautifully decorated, cosy yet historical.
Tonight’s dinner is included in your riad. La Maison Arabe is famous for its world class cuisine, with a ‘milk pastilla’ dessert that’s to due for. At dinner time, local musicians alternate between soft traditional Moroccan music and luth solos providing a lovely accompaniment for your meal. (B,D)
3 nights La Maison Arabe or similar
Distance and Journey Time: approx. 6hrs drive
After breakfast today, meet your local guide and set off on a morning tour of the old medina, through the bustling souks that are the lifeblood flowing through the city. Explore tranquil courtyards filled with the scent of orange blossom, and the many salons and chambers that make up Bahia Palace. This splendid mansion was built in 1866 for a former slave who rose to power within the government. Visit Koutoubia, Bahia and Saadian tombs imposing palaces and relics of a different architectural and historical eras from Morocco’s imperial past.
Stop at Le Nomad today for lunch (not included) before taking an introductory tour to get your bearings, explore the souk and shop for everything from leather goods to Moroccan lamps and traditional crafts made from metal and wood. You will also visit a spice makers workshop where you will learn about the different Moroccan spices and herbs used in traditional Moroccan cooking.
Brace yourself as the experience is not finished yet, you will have also a Hennaya (a Henna tattoo maker) which is one of the oldest jobs of Moroccan women, this lady will make some cute Henna Tattoo art on your hand or feet while your tour leader is explaining about the origins and common use of this important traditional Moroccan cosmetic product.
This evening is at leisure so why not head to the great square of Jemaa el Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. When night falls it transforms into a hive of activity. (B)
Today, wake up early to enjoy hot air balloon ride in Palmary village. Take in birds eye views over Berber villages, desert oasis, deep valleys with the High Atlas Mountains in the distance. The different colours of the changing landscape will leave you breathless.
In the afternoon, enjoy traditional Moroccan hammam (traditional Moorish steam bath) at your riad. (B)
Distance and Journey Time: Hot Air balloon approx. 1hr
After breakfast today, you will be taken to Asni to Sir Richard Branson’s luxury retreat ‘Kasbah Tamadot’ located in the High Atlas Mountains. A magical walled complex, Kasbah Tamadot has peaceful courtyards, intriguing staircases, landscaped gardens and breath-taking views. The retreat’s core values involve supporting the local communities; initiatives include free English lessons, the hiring of local staff, a focus on sustainable development and energy-saving efforts.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure at Kasbah Tamadot. Dinner is included this evening. (B,D)
2 nights Kasbah Tamadot or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Marrakesh – Kasbah Tamadot (55km) 1.5hrs
Today you will enjoy a full day trekking in High Atlas Mountains with a picnic lunch. Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 9am and from there take you to Toubkal National Park and your adventure will begin from Kasbah Tamadot. You will cross the valley of the Ait Mizan, the main valley in the Toubkal National park which provides water to the farmers for their farms. After a small pause in this valley, you will carry on trekking towards the pass of Asadram, 1600 m above the level sea, passing by the richest forest by the juniper in the Toubkal National Park. You will then descend towards the village of Irghan, 1500m, where you will have a picnic lunch in a Berber house. You will then start your descent back to the hotel, taking a different path which passes by a village called Imasker situated at 1400 m before reaching your Kasbah. (B,L,D)
Walking Distance: Ait Mizan Valley 5kms, AitMizan – Imasker Village 4-5kms
Walking Time: Ait Mizan Valley 3hrs, AitMizan – Imasker Village 2.5-3hrs
Today you will drive to Marrakech airport for your flight to your onwards destination. (B)
Distance and Journey Time: Kasbah Tamadot – Marrakesh Airport (51km) 1.25hrs
(Its is recommended to be at the airport 4hrs in advance)
Download this tour’s PDF brochure and start your planning offline!
**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.