MOROCCAN HIDEAWAYS EXPRESS
This week-long holiday tour includes stays at Riad Africa in Marrakech Medina, Nkhila Lodge in the Agafay Desert, Dar Assarou and Kasbah Africa in the Atlas mountains plus Palais des Remparts in Essaouira.
This classic Moroccan highlights itinerary provides a contrast of experiences including city culture, stone desert wilderness, mountains, river valleys and Atlantic coast.
At Riad Africa you'll sleep in a comfortable superior room overlooking the central courtyard pool. At Nkhila you'll stay in a tented ‘stargazing’ room built on stilts, on the top of a white dune. In the Atlas mountains, at Dar Assarou in Imlil, a superior room offers views of the High Atlas mountains from a private balcony. At Kasbah Africa, your room will be a stone-built junior suite with river and mountain view. Finally in Essaouira, at Palais des Remparts, accommodation is a spacious deluxe room.
Day 1 – To Riad Africa in Marrakech Medina
On arrival in Marrakech you will be met at Menara airport and transferred to Riad Africa, your accommodation in the heart of Marrakech medina. With palaces and palm groves, rose gardens, and a backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is the capital of the Moroccan South, a cultural crossroads and keeper of tradition and folklore. After time to settle in the famous souks of Marrakech offer an intoxicating passage to Africa’s most famous meeting place – the huge medieval square of Place Djemaa el Fna.
Day 2 – At Riad Africa; included activity: Highlights of Marrakech tour
For first time visitors to Marrakech, a great way of getting to grips with this magical city is on a half day guided highlights walking tour of its World Heritage listed medina. The rich history of Marrakech is reflected in its numerous attractions and the wealth of monuments, mosques, museums and palaces this city offers. The minaret of Koutoubia Mosque is the landmark and emblem of the city and a good start point for a day of sightseeing. Other important quarters within the old city ramparts include Kasbah and Mellah (the Jewish quarter), both in the south and close to the Royal Palaces. Popular attractions include the Saadien Tombs, Palais Badia, the 16th century ruins of the Badi Palace and the Dar Si Said Museum (Museum of Moroccan Arts). Just north of the souks are the Musee de Marrakech, the impressive Ben Youssef Medersa and the Koubba Ba’ Adyin – the remains of an Almoravid mosque built in 1106.
Day 3 – To Nkhila Lodge in the Agafay Desert. Sunset camel ride or walk
From Marrakech medina it takes just under an hour to reach the Agafay Desert and Nkhila Lodge. As we leave the bright lights of the city behind and enter the rural province of Al Haouz, the landscape changes from olives groves to the rolling barren hills of the Agafay Desert. Eventually we leave the asphalt behind and follow desert tracks to reach Douar Nkhila village on the eastern edge of Agafay. Our final approach is spectacular: we twist around arid hillsides until reaching Nkhila Lodge, perched on stilts, with the High Atlas mountains looming in the distance. On arrival at camp we will be greeted with a refreshing glass of mint tea and briefed by our host. In the early evening there's time for a camel ride to enjoy the setting sun over western Agafay. If camel riding is not your thing, there are several short scenic walks to enjoy. Tonight dinner will be served in your choice of location – either in the privacy of your tent, on the balcony, in the dining tent, or under an outside canopy-covered dining spot. Lunch and dinner is included today.
Day 4 – To Dar Assarou in Toubkal National Park via Kik Plateau
This morning, if you are feeling active, there is an option to join a quad-bike adventure and ride desert tracks over rolling hills and along river valleys close to Nkhila. Alternatively, choose to ride around the shores of Lake Takerkoust on an optional quad bike adventure en route to Dar Assarou. It is also possible to ride a quad from Nkhila to Lake Takerkoust, then continue by 4x4 to Dar Assarou. From Lake Takerkoust, in the foothills of the Atlas mountains, head up to the Kik Plateau for amazing panoramic views of the Agafay Desert and beyond. Try and spot Nkhila Lodge on the east side of the desert! Next, cross the Kik Plateau passing fields and farms with a backdrop of High Atlas peaks. We descend the Plateau and drive into the Mizane Valley to reach Imlil in Toubkal National Park. Lunch and dinner is included today.
Day 5 – Imlil Valley walk; afternoon transfer to Kasbah Africa in the Azzaden Valley
This morning take a short guided circular walk to explore the Imlil Valley and the dramatically located Berber village of Aremd (1,967m). This 3 hour guided walk offers many scenic contrasts as we complete a circuit following ancient footpaths on both sides of the Imlil Valley. The views of the valley and surrounding Atlas peaks are wonderful as we slowly descend to arrive back at Dar Assarou. This afternoon the transfer to Kasbah Africa in the Azzaden Valley takes about an hour. Lunch and dinner is included today.
Day 6 – At Kasbah Africa; included activity: Berbers of Tassa Ouirgane
One of Kasbah Africa's most popular excursions, the Berbers of Tassa Ouirgane trip offers an insight into traditional Berber life in the Azzaden Valley. Enjoying a half or full day with the Berbers you will gain an insight into Berber culture, local community, farming and more. This excursion is on foot (approx. 6 km of tracks and trails) from and back to Kasbah Africa but transport can be arranged if necessary. You'll also have time to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and nature at Kasbah Africa. From deep-green olive groves to dramatic dark night skies, this is a slice of North African wilderness at its best. Manicured lawns lead out to a big swimming pool and landscaped gardens abundant with fruit trees. Lunch and dinner is included today.
Day 7 – To Palais des Remparts in Essaouira; afternoon medina tour
From Kasbah Africa it is a scenic 4 hour drive via Amizmiz to the Atlantic Coast and the former Portuguese stronghold of Essaouira. With a whitewashed medina enclosed by huge sandstone ramparts which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with a rich Portuguese and Andalusian heritage, Essaouira holds great appeal. From a long sandy beach and dunes to a bustling fishing port with excellent seafood and colourful wooden fishing boats, Essaouira has always been a favourite retreat of hippies, sailors, artists and musicians. Local attractions include the Sidi Med Ben Abdallah Museum, the souks, the old city gates, and the impressive sqalas - fortified sea bastions. A stroll along Essaouira’s beach promenade is a favourite activity. In the afternoon a local guide will take you on a walking tour of the medina.
Day 8 – Transfer back to Marrakech. The experience is over!
A 3 hour transfer today will return you to Riad Africa, or directly to Marrakech airport.
HOLIDAY PRICE PER PERSON
SHARING A DOUBLE OR TWIN ROOM/TENT
Private transfers from Marrkech to Agafay, to the Atlas, then to Essaouira and back to Marrakech; five activities as detailed in itinerary with English-speaking guide; accommodation in a double or twin Riad Africa superior room, Nkhila Lodge stargazing tent, Dar Assarou superior room, Kasbah Africa junior suite & Palais des Remparts deluxe room; seven breakfasts, four lunches, four dinners; local tourist taxes.
Tips, beverages, optional activities and items of a personal nature.
Standard: 05 January to 28 February, 01 June to 30 September, 21 November to 20 December.
High: 01 March to 31 May, 01 October to 20 November, 21 December to 04 January.
It is possible to book this package at any time of the year subject to availability.
Bring walking shoes if planning to walk some of the many excellent trails around Nkhila Lodge and in the Atlas mountains. We also recommend a camera, sun hat and sunglasses.