Phone: (607) 756-8676
Our Experience, Your Discoveries
We want to show you the world, and to have you truly inspired by it - exploring its breathtaking diversity. Our enthusiasm is stronger than ever to reach out and expand your horizons.
We hope you accept this invitation and join us on one of our journeys so that our experience becomes one of your many discoveries.
Mystery of Morocco
Travel from the fortified harbor of Essouira, to the circus-like atmosphere of Marrakech, on to the Sahara, and finally the heart and soul of Morocco, Fes el-Bali medina.
Day 1: Home
There are overnight flights from the U.S. to Casablanca, Morocco.
Day 2: Casablanca
The local guide will meet you upon arrival in Casablanca, and assist in checking in to hotel. You will have an interior tour of King Hassan II Mosque. North of the medina and rising up on a point above the Atlantic Ocean, the mosque is the largest religious monument in the world after Mecca. King Hassan II Mosque, building cost estimated at $750 million, is entirely funded by citizen donations. It was completed in 1993, after 6000 Moroccan craftsmen worked on it day and night for five years. The 200m high minaret of this vast new mosque floats above the skyline of Casablanca, the sun glancing off its façade of pale marble and glazed tile and from the three gilded balls at its summit. The tower is offset from the enormous rectangular twenty-two acre prayer hall; three times the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In North Africa, only Cairo can compete with Casa in growth, verve and vibrancy, but it is this city facing out to the Atlantic that seems the more oriented to the international pattern of trade and sympathetic to Western influences. (L, D)
Days 3 - 4: Essouira
Driving south, travel through the Moroccan countryside, passing through small villages bustling with people, donkeys, and bicycles. Lunch will be at a lovely oceanfront restaurant with incredible gardens. The final destination is Essaouira, a charming place of white shops and houses, set against a clear blue sky. Over the centuries it has been home to Phoenicians, Romans, Portuguese, and a large Jewish population. In the evening you can take a leisurely stroll through the town or along the colorful harbor.
Essaouira (pronounced Esa-weera) is the most popular of the coastal towns, with magnificent beaches and relaxed atmosphere. The fortifications of the old city are a mixture of Portuguese, French, and Berber military architecture, and their massiveness lends a powerful mystique. You’ll find narrow lanes, whitewashed houses with blue painted doors, tranquil squares, pleasant cafes, and artisans in tiny workshops carving away at fragrant thuya wood. Spend the day exploring this delightful place, with time to absorb the unique flavor of the old town, the harbor, and the friendly people. Essaouira is full of the irresistible angles and picturesque sights that are so attractive to photographers. (B, L)
Days 4 - 5: Marrakech
After breakfast continue your exploration of Essaouira with its ramparts and colorful markets. You will take a picnic lunch to enjoy enroute, or dining just outside Marrakech, the city of drama. In the afternoon you will have your first introduction to the famous Djemaa el-Fna Square, perhaps the greatest open-air spectacle in the world, where one can see the colors and feel the pulse of Morocco. Drift with the smells and sounds of the souks. Marrakech follows the beat of an African drum. This imperial city has been almost continually occupied since Neolithic times, and was once the Berber capital. Traveling back in time 2,000 years, we’ll see snake charmers, magicians, acrobats, and dancers, delighting children and adults alike.
The next morning stop to visit the exquisite Majorelle Garden. It is part of the former residence of French artist Louis Majorelle, now owned and beautifully renovated by couturier Yves St. Laurent. In among the floral smorgasbord is what was Majorelle’s deep-blue villa, which is simply breathtaking. The afternoon will be spent exploring more of Marrakech and its fabulous souk (market), home to a maze of Berber rug vendors, dried fruit and spice stalls, leather and ironworkers’ shops. There is a wonderful Berber pharmacy in a local neighborhood. Capture a glimpse of daily life, as you stroll the narrow streets; perhaps seeing a young boy taking his family’s bread to the community bakery, veiled women carrying bags of food for the next meal, or children playing in the streets. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Skoura
Driving south from Marrakech, across the High Atlas Mountains at 7,400 feet, with panoramic views of arid mountains and lush oases shadowing the rivers far below. Continue on to one of the most exotic and best-preserved Kasbahs in the whole Atlas region; it has been used for scenes in films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Jesus of Nazareth. Eat lunch with the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou in view; UNESCO has designated this as a World Heritage Site. The destination for tonight, a renovated kasbah hotel provides and ideal location. A walk through a small palm grove leads to the gorgeous site of Amerhidil, a Kasbah located on the opposite side of the river behind the hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Tinerhir
A drive along the “Valley of the Thousand Kasbahs” will take you through stony desert landscapes with many villages and Kasbahs. Turning off the main road this morning, enter the stunning Dades Gorge, filled with unusual red rock formations and fascinating villages and kasbahs. On the way you may see Berbers tending their camels or sheep, women swathed in dark haik, embroidered with vivid colors, or children playing soccer in a stony desert field. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Merzouga
Resuming the drive, you will arrive at the Todra Gorge, where soaring cliffs and massive walls interrupt the path of the sun. There will be time for photographing this amazing gorge, enjoying time for a short walk or relax while watching the enthusiastic rock climbers. Continue to Erfoud, an oasis region at the edge of the Sahara. You will travel by Land Rovers to Berber tents in the desert. A camel ride awaits at sunset, or sunrise, taking you into Morocco’s only genuine Saharan Erg – a huge, drifting expanse of sand dunes that typify much of the Algerian Sahara. The dunes themselves are fascinating, especially as the sun reaches the horizon and the colors change from pink to gold to red. This will be your most extraordinary and unforgettable desert experience. (B, L, D)
Days 9 - 11: Fes
Enjoy photographing the sunrise in the Sahara, then return to Erfoud, re-boarding your vehicle and begin the drive to Fes. Since this will be the longest day of driving, your guide will take into account the interests of the group, with stops along the way. Examples of such locations are the spectacular Ziz Valley, often called the “Grand Canyon of Morocco,” which offers sweeping vistas and fascinating rock formations. After lunch, climb into the Middle Atlas, the moorlands, and granite outcroppings; brooding skies and sheep pastures may remind you of the British Isles, driving through majestic cedar and cork forests, where troops of Barbary apes forage and bird songs fill the chilly air. You may have time to stop in the quaint village of Ifrane, where you’ll have to remind yourself you are in Morocco. The French built it in the 1930’s as an alpine resort. The final destination is Fes, the most completely Islamic medieval city in the world. The next day enjoy a full-day guided tour of Fes, Morocco’s oldest imperial city and the center of culture and religious learning. Fes is arguably the symbolic heart of Morocco, as all the great dynasties have left their mark on the city; it has, however, retained its Arab identity. The medina, Fes el-Bali, is one of the largest living medieval cities in the world. Its narrow winding alleys and covered bazaars are intricate in their design and are awash of brilliant colors – a veritable assault on the senses as you squeeze past recalcitrant donkeys and submit to the sounds and smells of this jostling city. The dye makers, hills of spices, vats of tanners, and palaces of merchants will beckon us. During a visit to a tannery you can watch the tanners as they work in the varied colors of this land. After lunch in the medina, continue your explorations, with time to shop for beautiful craft caftans. Return to the beautiful sights and sounds of Fes el-Bali, where you will learn about the different styles and techniques employed in the creation of Moroccan rugs. If you want to make a purchase, follow the ancient Moroccan custom of bargaining for your choices, as you sip mint tea. (B)
Day 12: Fes-Casablanca
This morning depart early for the Capital City of Rabat. The Oudaia Kasbah interior is a delightful whitewashed Andalusian village built by refugees, combining winding city streets, public gardens and iridescent blue and white houses. Arrive in Casablanca in time to freshen up before enjoying a farewell dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 13: Casablanca-Home
Depart early this morning for the Casablanca Airport, for flights home. (B)
Accommodations range from four and five star hotels in cities, to quaint traditional lodging in countryside, and an overnight stay in berber tents in the Sahara.
Tour land cost: $2,495 US Dollars based upon minimum of 2 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.
Single room supplement: Please contact us for more details about the single room supplement. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.
Note: The land costs on international tours is based upon current exchange rates. Although the rate has been relatively stable, should it change, there may need to be an adjustment in the land cost.
Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds
A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic programs) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.
Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities listed as optional, or those taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, film or processing, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.
Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties.
Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.
Fitness and Health
If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).
You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.
Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.
Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.
There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.
Subject to Change
This itinerary has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best this destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. Above is a summary of typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.