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Splendors of Morocco (2015)
Limited to 18 guests
Days: 11 | From: $5,495 (was $6,495)
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, 1943 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. Continue 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. Travel to Fez for a special welcome dinner at a traditional riad, hosted by A&K.
Palais Faraj | 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 AD 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. Visit 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 | 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 some 12,000 horses. Also, see Moulay Ismail’s Mausoleum, one of the few shrines in Morocco that may be visited by non-Muslims, 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 the site’s 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. At day’s end, return to Fez.
Palais Faraj | 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. Join fellow guests for dinner this evening.
Kasbah Hotel Chergui | Meals: B L D
Day 6: Merzouga | Saharan Desert Dunes
This morning, set out to discover the fortified desert town of Rissani and explore the quarry, site of fossilized fish. Set off for 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. Then, return to your camp for a traditional meal before a campfire, along with local entertainment. This evening, 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. As you travel along the “Road of a Thousand Kasbahs,” view the 17th-century Amerhidl Kasbah, one of the grandest in the regions, its facade appearing on the Moroccan 50-dirham note.
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, site 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.) Proceed to the fascinating “Red City” of Marrakech. During tonight’s dinner at your luxurious hotel, meet the chef during a discussion about the nuances and history of Moroccan cuisine.
Day 9: Marrakech | Exhilarating Medina
Unearth the secrets of Marrakech, beginning 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 take the opportunity to explore the city’s fabled, labyrinthine souks, their bustling alleyways brimming with all manner of wares.
Day 10: Marrakech | Historic Gardens
Absorb the beauty of the 12th-century Menara Gardens. Set against the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains, olive groves, orchards and reflecting pools, scenic vistas abound. Continue as a local would 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 Moroccan children; A&K Philanthropy is proud to support this meaningful organization that assists homeless children.
Day 11: Depart Marrakech
Transfer to the airport and board your international flight home, or join an Essaouira Post-Tour Extension.
Essaouira Post-Tour Extension
4 days, priced from $1,695
Available on the Feb 22, Mar 8, Mar 15, Apr 12, May 3, May 24, Sep 6, Oct 4, Oct 25 and Nov 15 departures.
Day 1: Arrive in Essaouira and transfer to your hotel. L’Heure Bleue Palais | Meals: L
Day 2: Meet your guide and set out to explore the fortified town of Essaouira, seeing its medina (old town) filled with artisan’s workshops and boutiques. Gather tonight for a special farewell dinner. L’Heure Bleue Palais | Meals: B L
Day 3: Drive along dramatic coastline past stunning cliffs and ocean waves to Casablanca. Check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Hyatt Regency Casablanca | Meals: B D
Day 4: Transfer to the airport to depart Casablanca. Meals: B
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 2015
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