Morocco

MOROCCO TOUR ITINERARY

May 27-June 5, 2017
$2,755 per person in double, based on minimum 10 travelers
$620 single supplement

Optional Essaouira extension: June 5-8, 2017
$685 per person in double, based on minimum 6 travelers
$375 single supplement


DAY 01   MAY 27     SATURDAY     JFK – CASABLANCA
Overnight flight from the U.S. to Morocco. Meals aloft.

DAY 02   MAY 28     SUNDAY     CASABLANCA – FES

Upon arrival in Casablanca, we will be met by our Moroccan guide and our Study Leader Susan Davis, and drive approximately 3 1/2 hours to fascinating Fes, the oldest intact Islamic city in the world. En route you will have a brief introduction to Morocco and the tour.
Founded in 909 AD, Fes is a World Heritage Site and the intellectual, spiritual, and gastronomic capital of today's Morocco. After lunch, enjoy an orientation drive around the city. We check into our charming classic riad (literally 'garden' in Arabic), a beautifully renovated former private home built around a courtyard; it will give you a feeling of how some traditional Fes families still live today.

HOTEL RIAD SALAM FES     LD

Morocco photos

DAY 03   MAY 29     MONDAY     FES – BEN SMIM – FES

An hour drive out of Fes takes us through fertile fields of wheat and olive trees into the Middle Atlas Mountains. Our destination is the tiny village of Ben Smim. There will be carding and spinning demonstrations by local women, plus an exhibit of rugs made in this village. We'll take a delightful 45 minute walk, on an unpaved path, through the beautiful countryside, past orchards and fields, wildflowers in bloom, sheep and goats watching us from a hill, and arrive at the farmhouse of Susan's friends Habiba, Khalid and their parents, who have made us a delicious lunch. We can talk about their trials and successes in selling their traditional weavings, including how Susan has assisted villagers in their marketing efforts.

Visit Susan's website Marrakesh Express and click on "Women Weavers Online" and "Ben Smim" for more information and photos of the area, local women and their rugs. After lunch with the family, we return to the town center and visit a small co-op where women produce excellent herbal products from the local lavender, roses and thyme, creating soaps, lotions and dried herbs for cooking.

We return to our hotel, where, at 7 p.m., you'll have a special viewing of the video Susan assisted three textile curators in making, “Threads of Time: Wedding Textiles in Fes, Morocco.”. You may read about it at the Zawaj Wedding Stories site or at the Saudi Aramco World site. If you're really interested, you can get a copy of the video at McNabb Connolly. Dinner on own.

HOTEL RIAD SALAM FES    BL

Morocco photos

DAY 04   MAY 30     TUESDAY     FES

We visit a pottery workshop for demonstrations of how the famous Fes pottery and mosaics are created; purchases may be made, and shipping can be arranged.
Returning to the medina, we'll visit the tanneries, where men toil in the colorful vats of dyes as in ancient times. Strolling the narrow streets, we pass traditional textiles hung on the walls, to tempt us into shops. We'll hear the clacking of floor looms before we see the men working them, producing beautiful scarves and cloth which can be purchased at excellent prices (think gifts!). A visit to the last working drawloom in Fes is the afternoon highlight. The drawloom was the predecessor of the Jacquard loom, and is programmed like a computer. Lunch will be in the medina in one of the marvelous local restaurants. Dinner on own.

HOTEL RIAD SALAM FES     BL

Morocco photos

DAY 05   MAY 31     WEDNESDAY     FES

Continuing our sightseeing in this mystical city, we learn each neighborhood has a mosque, a pubic bath house (hammam), a fountain, a bakery and a Koranic school for young children – we'll see it all, including kids playing in the narrow streets and women in their djellabas (long robes) shopping for ingredients for the next meal. A visit to the 14th century Attarine medersa reveals beautiful mosaics, carved wood and plasterwork. In a rug shop, Susan will discuss the different kinds of Moroccan rugs from each region of the country, showing several samples of each; if you might want to buy one, bring color samples and measurements, useful here or in other rug shops we'll visit later in the trip. Visit her web site, the Marrakesh Express, and click 'Gallery' to learn about the styles; that way if you like a particular one, you can ask about it while shopping. After a delicious lunch in the medina, you have the rest of the afternoon free. Dinner on own.

HOTEL RIAD SALAM FES     BL

DAY 06   JUNE 1     THURSDAY     FES – SEFROU – FES

This morning we drive about an hour to the small town of Sefrou, where Susan's friend Amina Yabis runs a women's co-op that makes djellaba fabric, scarves and rugs. Her specialty is needle-weaving buttons used on robes and made into jewelry; some of you may have seen her displaying the jewelry at the Folk Art Market in Santa Fe. We will have an opportunity to try these techniques ourselves. She is one of the few people in Morocco currently using natural dyes. She will demonstrate her techniques, show us local plants and the colors they produce. You can learn more about her work with women and girls at The Cherry Button Co-op. Lunch will be prepared for us and we continue the interesting dialogue which always ensues about our different cultures, education, health... and whatever else you, or they, may want to ask. We return to Fes, and enjoy dinner on our own.

HOTEL RIAD SALAM FES     BL

Morocco photos

DAY 07   JUNE 2     FRIDAY     FES – MARRAKECH

We bid farewell to Fes and begin the approximately 7 hour drive south to Marrakech along the northern edge of the Atlas Mountains, with several stops for lavatories and lunch. The road goes through an interesting and varied landscape, passing hills, fields being harvested, and villages where we can glimpse a bit of everyday life. Late in the day we arrive in this world famous city, often called "Marrakech the Red" due to the soft red color of almost all the buildings. With its backdrop of the High Atlas Mountains, often snow-covered, it is a stunning setting. Time permitting, we'll stroll through the famous Jma el F'naa Square with its snake charmers, whirling dervishes, acrobats, musicians, purveyors of herbs to cure your ills... and so much more! We check into our hotel and have dinner there.

HOTEL JARDINS DE L´AGDAL     BLD

Morocco photos

DAY 08   JUNE 3     SATURDAY     MARRAKECH

After breakfast, we begin our day with a visit to the exquisite Majorelle Gardens, purchased and renovated by the late French couturier Yves St. Laurent. While there we'll also visit the new Berber Arts Museum, featuring artifacts, clothing, jewelry and rugs from different Berber groups. Then we'll spend the entire day strolling through the medina, so different from that of Fes. It is still filled with artisan stalls, antique shops, cafes, etc. but has a flavor all its own. Lunch will be in the medina. Dinner is on our own.

HOTEL JARDINS DE L´AGDAL     BLD

DAY 09   JUNE 4     SUNDAY     MARRAKECH

Today is free for you to explore the streets and markets on your own. You might want to take this opportunity to relax at the hotel pool, or have a traditional hammam (steam bath) and massage, or to have your hands decorated with henna. Susan will take anyone who wishes to her favorite small rug shop in the medina. Lunch and dinner are on our own OR we can arrange an optional cooking class with a famous chef in his beautiful organic garden outside Marrakech; this late afternoon activity will include dinner at $110 pp including transportation. Past clients have raved that it was one of the highlights of the trip!

HOTEL JARDINS DE L´AGDAL     B

DAY 10   JUNE 5     MONDAY     MARRAKECH – CASABLANCA

We have an early morning departure for the 3 1/2 hour drive to Casablanca to catch our flights back to the U.S. OR join us on the extension to delightful Essaouira.     B

Morocco photos

 


 

OPTIONAL EXTENSION TO ESSAOUIRA: June 5-8, 2017
$695 per person in double (based on 6 people)
$475 single supplement

DAY 10   JUNE 5     MONDAY     MARRAKECH – ESSAOUIRA

After bidding farewell to the group going home, a 3 1/2 hr. drive takes us west to Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. En route we stop to visit a women's argan oil co-op, producing products from this indigenous nut. Long known as Mogador, from the Phoenician word migdal, or lookout tower, Essaouira has been home to Phoenicians, Romans, Portuguese, and a large Jewish population, including the father of Benjamin Disraeli. The Romans were interested in the purple dye extracted from local shellfish. Pliny the Elder wrote of the dye's power to pacify the gods, and describes its use with gold in ceremonial dress reserved for the use of royalty. Essaouira is also the location where Orson Welles' "Othello" was filmed, and has long been a destination for artists and musicians from all over the world. You can even see Bob Marley's room in our hotel!

You may enjoy a delicious seafood lunch along the oceanfront, where you may see windsurfers enjoying the waves. Essaouira is charming: a clear blue sky accents the white shops and houses; motorized traffic in not permitted in most of the narrow streets. We'll stroll through town and along the colorful harbor, stopping to admire the plethora of crafts spilling out of tiny shops and the many art galleries. If you let Susan know ahead of time, she will try to arrange a private lesson in tapestry crocheting, the method used to make the colorful hats many men wear, and seen in one of our pictures under Day 2 above. Lunch & dinner on own.

HOTEL RIAD AL MADINA     B

Morocco photos

DAY 11   JUNE 6     TUESDAY     ESSAOUIRA

After breakfast in the charming tiled courtyard, with roses climbing up three stories, you have the whole day to explore. You can get up early and watch the fishing boats come in, have coffee or mint tea in the squares to watch the world pass by, lunch on fresh seafood in one of the many open air restaurants near the harbor, shop in the stalls and stores offering clothing of the local swiri cloth that drapes beautifully, handmade slippers, antiques, jewelry, rugs, paintings, CDs with all kinds of music – or perhaps stroll through the small souk and admire the beautiful displays of spices and fish fresh from the port. Photo opportunities abound! If you're a cat lover, this is the place for you, especially at the fish market. The tiny hammam in the hotel is a nice experience Or join the guide to visit a silver jewelry workshop and a thuya wood (unique burled wood indigenous to this area) workshop, still with plenty of free time afterwards. Lunch and dinner on your own.

HOTEL RIAD AL MADINA     B

DAY 12   JUNE 7     WEDNESDAY     ESSAOUIRA – CASABLANCA

After breakfast, we leave this charming town and drive north along the coast towards Casablanca. We stop for lunch at a delightful restaurant on the beach; Susan thinks they have the best oysters in the world, and indeed they are raised right there. The colorful garden is worth the stop, and a wonderful spot for a group photo! We arrive in Casablanca late afternoon, allowing time for last minute organizing and packing. Lunch and dinner on own.

HOTEL SOFITEL CASABLANCA TOUR BLANCHE   B

DAY 13   JUNE 8     THURSDAY     CASABLANCA – USA

This morning we leave the hotel and transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S., taking with us memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime.   B



Please note: Changes in content, pacing, hotels, etc., may occur due to circumstances beyond our control. Be assured we strive to make necessary changes equal or superior to original plans.




MAIN TRIP PRICES:

   $2,755 per person in double, LAND ONLY (based on 10 people)


    $620 single supplement



PRICE INCLUDES:

  • All hotels as indicated, or similar
  • All meals as indicated (B=7, L=7, D=3)
  • Deluxe air-conditioned private bus, driver with assistant to aid in baggage handling
  • Bottled water in bus
  • Special English-speaking guide
  • Anthropologist Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis as Study Leader
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Specially-arranged home visit and meals in villages
  • Weaving, spinning, dyeing demonstrations
  • Baggage handling
  • Taxes and services in restaurants and hotels

PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • International air fare
  • Meals not included in itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature (i.e. phone calls, alcoholic drinks, laundry, etc.)
  • Tips for guide and drivers

ESSAOUIRA EXTENSION PRICES:

   

$695 per person in double, based on 6 people

   

$475 single supplement



PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Hotels as indicated, or similar
  • All meals as indicated (B=4) including bottled water and soft drinks
  • Private vehicle with English speaking driver
  • Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis as Trip Leader
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Baggage handling
  • Taxes & services in restaurants and hotels

PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Meals not included in itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature (i.e. phone calls, alcoholic drinks, laundry, etc.)
  • Tips for guide and drivers

FLIGHTS: Royal Air Maroc is the only airline flying direct to Casablanca from the US. The trip begins the morning of May 28 at 9:00 a.m. If you fly Royal Air Maroc from JFK, the only direct non stop flight from U.S., the plane arrives around 7 a.m. Other airlines fly to Casablanca via Europe, arriving the following day around noon or later; if you choose this routing, you would need to arrive in Casablanca the day before the trips begins. Many of our travelers come in a day or two early to beat jet lag, so this flight arrangement would work. Whenever you arrive, you will be met by our representative and join the group.

EARLY ARRIVAL: We can make hotel and transfer arrangements for you if you want to arrive early.
$115 pp in double room; $225 single; private airport transfer $50 for 1-3 people.

ADDITIONAL COSTS:

  • Additional meals are approximately $25.00 per person for a full dinner. The guide and your tour leaders are always available to make dinner recommendations and assist in every way to make your trip enjoyable.
  • Tipping is recommended but optional to guide and driver. Suggested tips are $10 a day for the guide, $5 a day for the driver.

A NOTE ABOUT HOTELS: We have chosen comfortable, centrally located hotels in the cities.

FITNESS AND HEALTH:

The trip is not strenuous, and anyone who is reasonably fit and in good health should be able to participate. The international flight from JFK/New York City is six-and-a-half hours. Some days the group will spend several hours in a vehicle traveling between destinations. Rest stops and photo stops are planned approximately every two hours. You may need to walk up to 3 miles some days, over cobblestone streets and uneven dirt paths; some hotels and the tanneries require climbing steep stairs.

The maximum altitude you will reach on this trip is about 10,000 feet above sea level, while crossing over the mountains. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in this trip, please contact us for more information. We rely on you to correctly assess and inform Noble Journeys of your health and physical abilities, and to confirm you have not recently been treated for, nor are aware of, any physical or other condition or disability that would create a hazard to yourself, or a hazard or inconvenience to other tour participants. The tour operator and/or tour leader has the right to decline any person as a member of the tour, and to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time. (See Assumption of Risk in the Conditions & Responsibilities attached to the Reservation Form.)

Travel Insured InternationalINSURANCE: You should also be aware that medical services or facilities may not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication. It is strongly recommended that each traveler be covered by trip cancellation, interruption, medical and emergency evacuation insurance. Noble Journeys recommends, but is not responsible for, insurance through Travel Insured International.

PRICES BASED ON CURRENCY EXCHANGE AS OF TODAY'S DATE

8/07/2016



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