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Splendors of Morocco (2016)
Limited to 18 guests
Days: 12 | From: $6,245 (was $6,995)
Day 1: Arrive Casablanca, Morocco
Fly to Casablanca, where you clear customs and immigration and transfer to your hotel. After settling in, spend the rest of the day at leisure in this romantic city, its tropical setting the inspiration for the eponymous, 1942 Humphrey Bogart film. Gather tonight for a special cocktail reception hosted by Abercrombie & Kent.
Day 2: Rabat & Fez | Ancient Traditions, Rich Heritage
Begin the day exploring the port city of Casablanca, Morocco’s largest metropolis and its industrial hub. Visit the Hassan II Mosque, which accommodates up to 25,000 worshippers; its minaret stands as the tallest religious structure in the world. Then, travel to the Moorish city of Rabat and the Mohammed V Mausoleum, dedicated to Mohammed V, the founder of modern Morocco and grandfather of the current king. See the stunning Mauresque-style Hassan Tower and Oudaya Kasbah, along with its scenic Andalusian garden. Continue to Fez for a special welcome dinner hosted by Abercrombie & Kent.
Palais Faraj Suites & Spa | Meals: B L D
Day 3: Fez | Timeless Medieval City
Explore Fez el-Bali (Old Fez), the cultural heart of Morocco, originally founded in the eighth century by Moulay Idriss I. The imperial capital was a renowned center of medieval learning; at its heart still remains the Karaouine, one of the oldest, still-functioning universities in the world. Stroll the labyrinthine old quarter, with its 9,000 narrow lanes, alleys and souks, on a Market Visit of exceeding authenticity. Watching local craftsmen in action, working with bronze and pottery, makes for an engaging Artisan Visit as well. Next, proceed to the 14th-century Karaouine, the Hispano-Moorish Attarine Medersa (Koranic college) and Nejjarine Square. You also see the Royal Palace, madrasas and mellah (Jewish quarter) in Fez el-Jadid.
Palais Faraj Suites & Spa | Meals: B L
Day 4: Meknes & Volubilis | Mausoleums & Roman Ruins
Journey overland to Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the imperial cities of Morocco. Its impressive monuments recall the splendor of a city, first built in the 17th century by the powerful sultan Moulay Ismail, to rival the court of his contemporary Louis XIV of France. See the monumental Bab Mansour gateway — considered one of the finest great gates of Morocco — as well as the Granaries and the Royal Stables, which were built to accommodate 12,000 horses. See Moulay Ismail’s Mausoleum, one of the few shrines in Morocco that non-Muslims may visit, continuing to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in North Africa. With its triumphal arches, basilicas and capitals, the Volubilis skyline brims with iconic examples of Roman architecture. Among its greatest treasures, however, are the stunning mosaic floors, which include Orpheus charming animals with his lyre, nine dolphins signifying good luck and a portrait of Amphitrite in a seahorse-drawn chariot. Return to Fez.
Palais Faraj Suites & Spa | Meals: B L
Day 5: Erfoud | Desert Oasis
Travel to small, desert-fringed Erfoud, pausing for lunch in Midelt en route and marveling at everyday life as you pass Berber villages, endless palm plantations and the majestic Atlas Mountains. Settle into your hotel, set amid dunes and lush vegetation, with the remainder of the day to spend at leisure. Gather for dinner this evening.
Kasbah Hotel Chergui | Meals: B L D
Day 6: Merzouga | Saharan Desert Dunes
This morning, discover the fortified desert town of Rissani. Continue to the desert dunes of Erg Chebbi by four-wheel-drive vehicle, where a reception with mint tea and pastries awaits at your nomadic tented camp. Erg Chebbi’s stunning dunes can reach up to 500 feet high, creating an otherworldly landscape. Experience it like a local on camelback. As the sun sets over the dunes, celebrate your unforgettable desert foray with a Scenic Sundowner. Then, return to your camp for a traditional meal before a campfire, along with local entertainment. Then, slumber in comfort as the sounds of the Sahara lull you to sleep.
A&K Exclusive Desert Tented Camp | Meals: B L D
Day 7: Ouarzazate | Road of a Thousand Kasbahs
Journey overland to Ouarzazate, once a stopping point for African traders travelling to the cities of Morocco and Europe. En route, absorb views of the High Atlas’ southern slopes, intersecting the Dades Valley’s flourishing crops, irrigation canals and palm trees. Travel along the “Road of a Thousand Kasbahs” and make a stop to visit an amazing, small private museum that houses exhibits showcasing local art, culture and history, before proceeding to Ouarzazate and your delightful oasis of a hotel.
Le Berbère Palace | Meals: B L D
Day 8: Ouarzazate | Door of the Desert
Begin the day by exploring Ouarzazate, a city originally built as a French garrison in the 1920s. Today, the city is a regional trade center, known for its pottery and carpets. See the Taourirt Kasbah, which now consists of simple clay houses and crenellated towers that are beautifully decorated with geometric motifs. Continue to elaborate Aït Benhaddou, dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of the region’s most exotic kasbahs, where structures all but defy the laws of gravity as they perch upon the steep slope. (Some of these buildings have been featured in films, including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator).
Le Berbère Palace | Meals: B L D
Day 9: Ouarzazate | On the Road to Marrakech
Today, proceed to the fascinating “Red City” of Marrakech and settle into your luxurious hotel. Enjoy a Chef’s Table experience tonight at the hotel restaurant, when you meet with the chef to discuss the nuances and secrets of Moroccan cuisine.
Day 10: Marrakech | Exploring the Red City
Begin unearthing the secrets of Marrakech, starting in the medina, the old walled section of town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This thousand-year-old city was long a political, economic and cultural center. Marvel at its architectural jewels, including the soaring Koutoubia minaret and Dar Si Said; housed in a palace, it is among the most beautiful of its kind in the world. Continue to the Bahia Palace, an exemplary specimen of privileged life in the 19th century. Visit Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech’s main square, which is filled with orange juice stalls and vendors, along with fire-eaters, mime artists, snake charmers and street musicians performing at every turn. You may also wish to explore the city’s fabled, labyrinthine souks.
Day 11: Marrakech | Historic Gardens
Ride Like a Local this morning — by horse-drawn carriage — to Jardin Majorelle, a picturesque garden created by French painter Jacques Majorelle. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Tonight, attend a special farewell dinner with entertainment by a local gnaoua band.
You may also choose to visit Al Karam, a rewarding opportunity to interact with homeless Moroccan children, at a project supported by A&K Philanthropy.
Day 12: Depart Marrakech
Transfer to the Marrakech airport and board your international flight home, or join an Essaouira Post-Tour Extension.
Extend Your Journey | Enhance your journey with a post-tour extension to Essaouira (4 days, from $1,795).
Take This Journey Private | This itinerary is also available as an independent journey, Signature Morocco & the Desert, with A&K local guides.
Luxury Small Group Journeys 2016
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