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Morocco: Legendary Cities and the Sahara
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12 days

from $11,718 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($7,995 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Alongside a National Geographic expert, explore five UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the ancient adobe village of Aït Ben Haddou.
  • Delve into Berber culture during a stay at the Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World.
  • Set out from our tented camp at sunset to ride a camel across the magnificent sculpted dunes of the Sahara.
  • Visit a traditional Moroccan home for a special dining experience and Sufi musical performance.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed here are some of the experts that will be joining departures on this trip.

Morocco: Legendary Cities and the Sahara

Morocco’s mystique can be found in medinas that brim with color, soaring mountains that give way to endless desert, and stunning Moorish architecture. Discover the enchanting cities of Marrakech and Fez, venture into rose-colored kasbahs, and visit little-known mountain villages. Delve into the alleyways of spice-scented souks, and gaze at a star-studded sky while enjoying an astronomy talk in the Sahara.

Day 1: Casablanca, Morocco

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Arrive in Casablanca and meet your fellow travelers for a welcome lunch at a lovely restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This afternoon, stroll through the city’s Habous district and the mechouar, the ceremonial meeting place outside the Royal Palace. Tonight, gather for a festive welcome dinner.

Day 2: Casablanca/Marrakech

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Drive through the elegant Anfa neighborhood on the way to Marrakech, Morocco’s legendary “pearl of the south.” Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before exploring the city of Marrakech. See the splendid Koutoubia Mosque and the Saadian Tombs, and visit Bahia Palace. Explore the labyrinthine streets of the medina, lined with market stalls and craftspeople; and soak up the colorful chaos of Djemma el Fna Square, where magicians and musicians captivate the passersby. Tonight, gather for a rooftop reception and dinner accompanied by traditional Gnaoua music in the heart of the old medina.

Day 3: Marrakech

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Continue exploring the sites of Marrakech today. Meander through the stunning Majorelle Garden, once owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and see an exclusive collection of Berber objects originating from diverse regions of Morocco at the Berber Museum. Explore historic Moroccan architecture at the 14th-century Ben Youssef Madrasa. After lunch, go behind the scenes in the lively medina and explore its labyrinth of merchant stalls and artisan workshops. See shops dedicated to everything imaginable, from carpets to leather goods to colorful spices. Learn about the traditional apprenticeship that each artisan must undergo before being judged by a board of masters, and observe artisans at work

Days 4-5: High Atlas Mountains

On this special departure, immerse yourself in the rich culture of the High Atlas Mountains. Settle into the beautiful Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World set on a hilltop beneath the highest peak in the range. Experience Berber hospitality on walks in the village and visits to family homes and markets. On a half-day excursion in the mountains, set out on a variety of hikes and walks, and return to relax in typical Moroccan style: with a mint tea on the terrace or a steam bath in the traditional hammam. Alternatively, venture to the quaint mountain village of Imlil and explore its narrow streets, soaking up the timeless atmosphere of rural Morocco.

Day 6: Aït Benhaddou/Ouarzazate

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Cross the Tichka Pass. Then drive through the Ounila Valley to the ancient fortified village of Aït Ben Haddou, and delve into its warren of twisting lanes. Continue to the former colonial trading post of Ouarzazate.

Day 7: Aït Benhaddou/Boumalne Dades

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Learn about traditional adobe architecture in Taourirt Kasbah this morning. Then set out on the fabled Road of 1,000 Kasbahs. Arrive in Boumalne Dades, a small town nestled amid the crags and plateaus of the semidesert landscape. After lunch, head out on a walk in the dramatic Dades Gorge, admiring the spectacular scenery and enjoying an up close look at rural life.

Day 8: Erfoud/Rissani/Merzouga

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Follow the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs to Erfoud, passing spectacular rock formations, oases, and rose plantations. In Erfoud, climb into 4x4s for the drive into the desert. Visit the souk in Rissani, a historic camel caravan stop. Later, ride into the dunes on a camel to watch the sun set on the Sahara. Settle into our comfortable Berber tented camp to dine under the star-studded sky, followed by an evening of celestial exploration that includes an astronomy talk and stargazing.

Day 9: Merzouga/Fez

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If you wish, wake early for a walk in the nearby dunes as the rising sun paints the dunes orange and gold. Return to the camp for a hearty breakfast, then head north into the high-mountain plains on your way to Fez. Arrive in Fez early this evening, and check in to our hotel.

Day 10: Fez

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Spend the day exploring this magnificent imperial city. Visit the Royal Palace and Fes Jdid, home to the historic Jewish quarter. Delve into the lively medina, where merchants preside over colorful mounds of spices and tanners soak skins in vats of dye. Discover the 14th-century Bou Inania Madrasa, characterized by its intricately carved stucco walls, arches, and cornices. See the Nejjarine Fountain, covered in exquisite mosaics, and the Kairaouine Mosque.

Day 11: Fez/Volubilis and Meknes

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Today you may choose to explore Fez at your own pace or take an excursion to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a World Heritage site, and Meknès, Morocco’s 17th-century capital. Toast our Moroccan adventure at a special farewell dinner at a traditional Moroccan home, where you will enjoy a three-course private dining experience and Sufi musical entertainment.

Day 12: Fez

This morning, transfer to the Fez airport for your return flight or transfer to Casablanca for flights departing in the afternoon.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light\/moderate; travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods, navigating uneven terrain, and climbing stairs without handrails. Excursions include walking in desert sand and on narrow, rocky paths, and travelers must ascend a steep hill to reach Kasbah du Toubkal. There will be options for longer hikes in the Atlas Mountains. Please note that there are some long travel days.

Accommodations
Throughout the expedition, we stay in ideally located, high-end hotels and lodges with many amenities, including Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. We spend 1 night in the Sahara in comfortable, Berber-style tents with en suite bathrooms and generator-powered electricity.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

ACCOMMODATIONS
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Kasbah du Toubkal - High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

On a hilltop high in the Atlas Mountains, Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World is a tribute to Berber culture and hospitality built upon the ruins of an ancient Kasbah.

2 /4

Kasbah du Toubkal - High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

On a hilltop high in the Atlas Mountains, Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World is a tribute to Berber culture and hospitality built upon the ruins of an ancient Kasbah.

3 /4

Kasbah du Toubkal - High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

On a hilltop high in the Atlas Mountains, Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World is a tribute to Berber culture and hospitality built upon the ruins of an ancient Kasbah.

4 /4

Kasbah du Toubkal - High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

On a hilltop high in the Atlas Mountains, Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World is a tribute to Berber culture and hospitality built upon the ruins of an ancient Kasbah.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Oct 26-Nov 6, 2019
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $11,718 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,869 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Mar 14-25, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $11,718 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,869 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Mar 28-Apr 8, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $11,718 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,869 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Apr 11-22, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $11,718 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,869 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Sep 14-25, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $11,718 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,869 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Oct 3-14, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $11,718 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,869 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Oct 10-21, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $11,718 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,869 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Oct 24-Nov 4, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $11,718 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,869 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
Dirk Booms
Archaeologist
"

Archaeologist Dirk Booms has lectured at Cambridge, Oxford, and the University of London, Birkbeck. He was Curator of Roman Mediterranean Archaeology at the British Museum. His main research interests are architecture (including 3D reconstructions) and inscriptions, and he has excavated in Italy, Belgium, Turkey, and Tunisia. He has worked in Italy over many years, and curated the major Sicily: Culture and Conquest exhibition at the British Museum, for which he also co-authored the companion publication and organized a conference and public events programs. Dirk has curated three other exhibitions for the British Museum, all focused on the Roman Empire. He has been involved in the excavation and reconstruction of the imperial villa of the emperor Marcus Aurelius at Villa Magna, Italy. His doctoral research focused on life at Roman Imperial villa complexes and their usage and decoration as statements of power and identity by the emperors.

"
  • Oct 26-Nov 6, 2019
Chloé Capel
Archaeologist
"

Chloé Capel is a field archaeologist who specializes in the medieval history of northern and western Africa. She earned her Ph.D. in medieval archaeology from the Sorbonne University in Paris, and has been a lecturer in Islamic Arts at Paris's Ecole du Louvre for ten years. Chloé has taken part in archaeological expeditions across the Sahara in Egypt, Mauritania, Ethiopia, and Niger. She currently works in Morocco, where she participates in several ongoing archaeological projects, including excavations in the caravan city of Sijilmassa. She also co-directs the archaeological excavations of Aghmat, which was a powerful and thriving medieval city located close to present-day Marrakech.

"
  • Oct 3-14, 2020
David Silverberg
Geographer Geologist Conservationist
"

David Scott Silverberg is a geographer working on conservation projects spanning six continents. His mix of exploration, research, and digital photo-video storytelling has been popular with National Geographic travelers for many years. A fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Asia Society, David was the executive science director at Earthwatch Institute, set up and managed Boston University environmental field research programs in British Columbia and eastern Africa, and was a founding White House staff member for AmeriCorps. David has worked in more than 100 countries, manages the Environmental Learning Institute, and teaches at several international universities.

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  • Mar 14-25, 2020
  • Oct 24-Nov 4, 2020