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From the dramatic slopes of the Atlas Mountains to the energetic squares and souks of Marrakech, Morocco is a treasure trove of landscapes and landmarks. Uncover the iconic imperial cities, camp on the dunes in the depths of the Erg Chebbi desert, and stand in awe of Todra Gorge's lunar canyons. This fast-paced tour brings you closer to Berber hospitality and Moroccan culture, while packing in all the highlights.
Explore Tour Leader
1 nights comfortable auberge
1 nights simple camping
1 nights comfortable guesthouse
5 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 15 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our tour of Morocco starts in the Red City. With its dusty rooftops, maze-like streets and bustling souks, Marrakech encompasses the essence of Morocco. Head to the medina and people watch while you sip a mint tea in Jemaa el-Fna (the main square) or visit the Jardin Majorelle, just a short walk from our hotel.
There are no activities planned for today, so you're free to arrive at any time. If you'd like an airport transfer, you'll need to arrive at Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK), which is around a 20-minute drive from our hotel. Our Explore Leader will meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for a welcome meeting and then an optional dinner. If you arrive later, they'll catch you up as soon as possible.
Note: This is a fast-paced tour with limited time in Marrakech, if you'd like more time to explore the city, there's the option to add additional nights onto the start or end of your trip.
Hotel Ayoub (or similar)
Today we dive straight into the heady delights of Marrakech with a guided tour of the city. We'll pass by the rose-coloured Koutoubia (booksellers) Mosque on the way to Bahia Palace, an open-air museum that fuses Moroccan and Islamic styles.
We'll fuel up on fresh pastries from a traditional bakery before continuing to the medina on foot. There, we'll be guided through the labyrinth of spice-scented souks, passing by craftsmen selling rugs, leather goods and crockery before dropping by a spice shop to sample ripe dates and almonds. Finally, we'll navigate our way out into the energetic Jemaa el-Fna Square.
As we bid farewell to the Red City, we'll journey on to the Ouzoud Falls, swapping the bustle and noise of city life for the tranquillity of nature and the sound of cascading water. There'll be a pit stop for lunch in Tamalet before we eventually reach our home for the night, Bin el Ouidane - a three-hour drive total. Here, our hotel rewards us with views of the Atlas Mountains and the Bin el Ouidane lake.
Bin El Ouidane Hotel (or similar)
This morning, we'll start very early to begin our full-day journey to Fes, via Meknes and Volubilis. We'll follow the northern slopes of the Middle Atlas into the Oued Boufekrane River Valley with a picnic stop en-route.
Arriving in Meknes, we'll have a guided tour of the city. Once the heart of the Moroccan Sultanate, Meknes was built by the tyrant, Moulay Ismail. While it was once teeming with opulent palaces and grand gateways, much of Meknes has crumbled, though its regal essence remains. We'll visit the old granary of Heri es-Souni and the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, before departing for Volubilis, a 45-minute drive away.
Morocco's best-preserved Roman site, Volubilis was once the capital of the province of Mauritania Tingitana and home to 20,000 people. We'll get the chance to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site with a tour amongst the ruins.
Today ends in Fes, a two-hour drive away, our home for the next two nights.
Note: During 2023/24, there are extensive renovation works taking place in Meknes and Fes and some sites may be closed during our visit. Our Explore Leader will adapt our itinerary to make the most of our time here.
Hotel Zahrat al Jabal (or similar)
Today, we'll wake up in the oldest of Morocco's imperial cities, Fes. In its golden age, Fes was a hub of art, philosophy and trade and is still referred to as Morocco's artisan capital.
This morning, we'll delve into Fes el-Bali, the oldest quarter of the city, with a guided tour. We'll meander through the medina and souks - where you'll see weavers, coppersmiths and tanners at work - before visiting the Royal Palace (Fes El Jedid). Once we've gotten lost in the winding streets, we'll head out and up to the viewpoint at Borj Nord for a look at the sprawling city from above.
This afternoon is free to enjoy at your own pace. You might like to head into the new town and take a seat at one of the European-influenced cafes that line the pavements in the French Ville Nouvelle district. Alternatively, return to the medina and get lost in Fes' addictive pandemonium.
Today's drive is long, but we'll be rewarded with unparalleled views of Morocco's ever-changing landscapes. We'll cross through land traditionally held by the Berber community (known as the Lords of the Atlas). The Berber way of life is unique and lost to most of North Africa, here, music, dance, language, and religion are far removed from the rest of the Arab world.
The road will take us via Ifrane and Azrou, where we'll stretch our legs with a short walk through the Atlas cedar forest, home to endangered Barabary macaques. We'll continue into the Gorge du Ziz towards the desert settlement of Erfoud before following the meandering course of the Ziz River into the dunes of the Sand Sea - the homeland of the Alaouite who ruled this region 300 years ago.
In the afternoon, we'll move on to Merzouga, a small village on the outskirts of the desert where we'll swap our bus for 4WD vehicles and journey into the dunes of Erg Chebbi. Our home for tonight is right here in the desert, at a Berber camp, where we can relax by the campfire and fill up on traditional tagine.
Our camp is basic but comfortable - tents fit up to four people and are fully equipped with mattresses, blankets, and pillows. Note that the showers are simple and hot water and good water pressure aren't guaranteed.
Nomad Camp - Chebbi Dunes (or similar)
We'll wake before dawn and head up the sand dunes to watch the sun rise over the desert plains before breakfast. Fuelled up, we'll have the option of a camel ride along the dunes, back to Merzouga where our bus will be waiting to take us south.
Today's long drive takes us along the southern slopes of the Atlas, towards Rissani and Tinjdad, where we'll stop for lunch. Our next stop is the town of Tinerhir, set amongst the dramatic cliffs of Todra Gorge. After a long day of driving, we'll have the opportunity to get lost in the gorge's narrow pathways. Alongside our Explore Leader, we'll take a slow two-hour walk to experience the towering 300-metre-high gorge walls up close.
Dar Ayour Guesthouse (or similar)
Our drive this morning will take up through the sweeping scenery of the Dades Valley. We'll follow the famous 'Road of 1000 Kasbahs', home to authentic Berber settlements. While many of the original kasbahs lie in ruins, the remains give us a flavour of Morocco's ancient heritage. We'll continue through El Kelaa Mgouna via the Valley of the Roses, where we'll stop for a walk through the fields and learn about the local agriculture.
In the afternoon, we'll arrive in the Berber village of Bou Tharar, at the entrance of the Mgoun Gorge, where our Explore Leader will guide us along the well-trodden walking route to a panoramic viewpoint where we can gaze at the surrounding villages.
After a busy day, we'll finally sit down to unwind and share a tagine at our small, locally run auberge.
Hotel Awayou (or similar)
We'll begin today with an early breakfast before heading towards Skoura, where we'll pay a visit to Kasbah Amredhil, which you might have already spotted on the 50-dirham note. Dating back to the 17th century, this Moroccan icon is now an open-air museum.
Next, we'll head to Ouarzazate, a desert outpost sandwiched between the high mountain and the expansive sands of the Sahara. We'll journey over the Tizi n'Tichka Pass and watch the desert landscape change colour as we get closer towards the Atlantic coast.
Our final destination is Marrakech, where we'll spend our last night of the trip. Here, you can witness the delightful chaos of Jemaa el-Fna square and get a final taste of Moroccan cuisine in one of the local restaurants.
Our tour of Morocco ends at our hotel in Marrakech.
There are no activities planned today, so you're free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you'd like an airport transfer, you need to depart from Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK).
The climate is both Mediterranean and Atlantic. The dry, hot season is from May to October when summer temperatures can reach 38°C and above (if sight seeing is included we will do our best to avoid the heat of the day during this period). Temperatures may drop significantly at times during the night as the day's heat rapidly diminishes. From December to January snow can be expected on mountain passes and it can be wet. In winter, day temperatures will probably be around 18-25°C, dropping to perhaps 0-5°C.
2 Pin Round
Arabic, Berber, French.
Marrakech - Hammam £20
Summer: Clothing should be lightweight. However, a warm sweater is also advisable, as the desert can sometimes get cold at nights, even in the summer. Winter: Usually warm during the day but thicker clothing is essential for cold nights (Nov-Mar). It is advisable to take warm clothing (eg. track suit or thermal underwear) to sleep in, as the quality of heating in Moroccan hotel rooms can be variable. A waterproof jacket, trousers and fleece are recommended in the winter months. Morocco is a Muslim country and it is important to dress with respect for local customs. People may be offended by shorts or revealing dresses, which can attract unwelcome attention. We advise that in general both men and women should cover shoulders, upper arms and knees. Transparent, plunging necklines and tightfitting clothes should be avoided. Women should also cover their heads when entering a sanctuary, though in general, mosques are forbidden to non-Muslims.
We recommend sandals and walking boots with good ankle support if planning to do the walk in the Todra Gorge.
One main piece of baggage and daypack.
A filter water bottle, sunhat and high factor sunscreen are all essential, whilst we recommend swimming costumes and towels.
Few destinations give you as warm a welcome as Morocco and our accommodation has been chosen to reflect that. We choose our accommodation based on location, quality, and traditional style to give you a real taste of life in the country. It's worth bearing in mind that Morocco is a developing country and standards might not always be equivalent to those at home. Some properties might be simply furnished, access to hot water may be sparse in certain stays and the level of service might vary from place to place. Older buildings can get cold in the winter months and don't have heating facilities, so you might want to pack an extra jumper - hotels will provide extra blankets. During this trip, we'll spend one night camping in the desert. We'll stay in a simple camp with communal tents and mattresses, blankets and pillows are all provided. During the winter months, it can get cold in the desert so warm clothing is a must.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Morocco: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. UK passport holders are requested to have at least 3 months validity from the date of entry into Morocco. All other nationalities please check with your nearest embassy for requirements of passport validity.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
In 2024, Ramadan runs from the 10th March to the 9th April. Read more about travelling during Ramadan.
The following 2024 departures will coincide with Ramadan.
9th, 16th, 30th March 2024
6th April 2024