Displaying items by tag: camel ride

Sunday, 14 July 2013 00:00

Feathers, Ivory and Gold ( 8 - 10 days)

fgdfgdfA private tour of Morocco over 8 to 10 days.

This tailor made 8 day Morocco trip tours the imperial cities, palm groves, Kasbahs, gorges, Atlas Mountains and Erg Chebbi desert dunes.Centuries ago, caravans laden with gold, ivory and feathers were delivering their loads at the sultan’s palace in Marrakech and Fes after weeks of crossing the Sahara. This Morocco tour follows some of the ancient route but before that, we start off with Casablanca and Rabat to then witness the splendor of the Roman heritage at Volubilis. After a stop in Fez, we cross Middle Atlas and lush countryside to reach the Sahara. From here, we uncover mysterious adobe honey-comb ksours and their wells of light, trek in the Dades gorges or explore lush palm groves. We then cross the High Atlas and end our tour in sensual Marrakech. The itinerary can start/ end in Marrakech/ Casablanca or be done in reverse order. If you can add an extra night, it would be best spent in Chefchaouen, Fes or Skoura.

Click here to see detailed map

Published in Morocco Private Tours
Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00

Fortress or palace?

kasbah ait bennhadou - Copy

A day trip from Marrakech to Ait Benhaddou and Telouet.

Best for Kasbah architecture, Atlas Mountains views and a taste of the Grand Sud.

UNESCO Ait Benhaddou site, Atlas Mountains, pasha's palace at Telouet, Fint oasis and film studios in Ouarzazate can be included in this day tour.

DETAILED ITINERARY 

Leaving Marrakech behind, our journey encounters beautiful scenery and small villages built in tiers succeeding among oak trees, walnut groves and oleander bushes. The road snakes up before arriving at the spectacular Tizi n Tichka pass. We are now at 2260 meters high. Once over the pass a totally different landscape is unveiled: the lunar landscape of the Anti Atlas and the plain beyond it. Scent of thyme from the bushes around fills the air. 

Just after the pass, our itinerary turns left and we find ourselves on the ancient route caravans used to bring the much sought- after goods at the court of the Sultan. We soon reach Telouet. The ruins of the pasha's palace dominate the village, a fortified citadel that is both a microcosm of an empire and its demise. He had managed to overshadow the sultan by controlling most of nowadays Morocco and decided to erect a palace in the middle of nowhere, where his family had originated from. He had employed the most skilled artisans to build and decorate his main residence and, in its golden age, armies, stables and Christian slaves were confined within its walls while a flourishing Jewish community managed the nearby salt mines.

Leaving Telouet behind, the trip crosses spaghetti western backgrounds to then meet the canyon. The gardens by the river bed melt into a gigantic green serpent imprisoned between the brown ridges, only to escape out into the horizon. The road follows the green serpent and on the other side, carved into the wall of the canyon, grottoes are still being used for keeping the stock or grains over the winter by the semi nomadic people of the area. Here and there, decaying kasbahs stand witnesses of an age soon resolute. 

Late afternoon. Then is the time to visit Ait Benhaddou, the postcard- like UNESCO adobe citadel. A fat, red sun, only underlines the beige tones of the mud and straws mixture and through the covered passages and stone walls, the past filters itself into the present. In spite of the local ‘guides’, the best is to just lose yourselves in its alleyways. There is always a new way to reach its peak, from where the snowcapped Atlas Mountains will steal your breath away. If the climb up hadn’t already. Half hour later, our trip crosses Ouarzazate, made famous by its film studios where recently scenes of 'Game of Thrones'  were shot. With this background, you may want to ride a camel along the kasbah's walls, by the river bed. Further away, the Oasis of Fint is a great example of life within an oasis.

We will then start our way back crossing the High Atlas, this time on the national road, once a camel track that was turned into a proper road suitable for vehicles in the 1030's with the help of the French Foreign Legion. The excursion serpents its way past abrupt valleys and mountain peaks to descend onto Marrakech later in the evening.

You are free to choose your time of departure. However, in order to make the best out of your day out, we recommend leaving no later than 8 AM. Forecasted return time in Marrakech is 7- 8 PM.

PRICE.............................................................................................. 75 EUROS PER PERSON ( BASED ON 2 PERSONS SHARING THE VEHICLE). DISCOUNTS APPLY FOR 3 OR MORE PERSONS.

The rate includes: private ( sole use) of the modern air conditioned Toyota 4x4 and the English fluent driver- guide, entrance fees to all sites and monuments, refreshing drinks inside the vehicle, pick up and drop off from/ to the hotel/ Riad and transport insurance.

Published in Day-Trips
Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00

Atlas & the 3 Valleys

landscape atlas mountains2

A day trip from Marrakech into the 3 valleys.

Our day trip from Marrakech shows you the most diverse of landscapes while immersing you into the Berber culture. Ourika Valley, visit of a Berber market, camel trek, Lalla Takerkoust lake, tea with a family are all highlights of this itinerary.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Starting off on the road to Ourika Valley and leaving Marrakech behind, the journey reaches Rhmat, to then skirt the river past Berber villages, while the snowy peaks of the High Atlas take shape in the background. Before taking on the Atlas Mountains, we recommend a break in the village of Tafza, to visit a typical Berber house overlooking the area. The house used to belong to a noble local familly and has been restored to its original state by its French actual owner. The traditions and customs of Berbers can be admired throughout the rooms and hallways where the different objects and furniture intertwine with ancient photos, some of them taken as early as 1900's. 

Back on the road, our excursion takes us towards Oukaimeden, one of the few ski resorts in Morocco. But just when you start wondering when was the last time you skied, we turn rightand dwell into back- roads. If so far we were crossing valleys and gorges, we are now immersed in complete wilderness. Slide down the car's window and reach out - you can almost reach the pine trees lining the road. We are not likely to encounter anyone here, except maybe the local forest guard waving his hand as we pass him by or the ladies of the village nearby doing the laundry in the river. Time to take out your cameras- there are quite a few photo opportunities along the way. Starting the descent towards Asni on the other side of the valley, you can admire Richard Branson's mesmerizing Kasbah Tamadot in the distance, tucked between the cliffs and the lush vegetation. Lunch at Kasbah Tamadot can be arranged on request. 

After the impressive landscapes, your appetite might call for some attention too. Lunch can be had either inside a traditional Berber house or just by the road in one of the impromptu snack- restaurants serving succulent, fresh tagines. Each village around the area has its own Berber market a certain day of the week, something to witness if you get the chance.  

After lunch our excursion takes us up onto Kik Plateau, crossing Moulay Brahim, a picturesque village famous for its shrine where women from the surrounding villages come looking for the baraka. The limestone plateau is set at 1800 meters altitude and offers spectacular 360 degrees views and, in the spring, a marvellous spread of alpine flowers. The contrast between the two mountain ranges is nothing short of amazing: a barren plateau with hardly any vegetation, the deserted landscape occasionally interrupted by scattered Berber hamlets. It is certainly worth stopping and having tea in a Berber house.

Starting the descent on the other side, you may be suprised by strange objects flying above you - paragliders shooting off from the cliffs above. We can stop for a moment if the light is right and capture the amazing landscape unfolding in front of our eyes. The vast panorama is only interrupted by Lalla Takerkoust lake, spreading out for miles. In the distance, on a clear day, you can see Marrakech as our day tour passes by the ruins of Kasbahs once property of the local Pasha. We will stop for a tea and a camel ride by the lake before returning to Marrakech. 

You are free to choose your time of departure. However, in order to make the best out of your Marrakech day trip, we recommend leaving no later than 9 AM. Forecasted return time in Marrakech is 5 PM.

PRICE.............................................................................................. 65 EUROS PER PERSON ( BASED ON 2 PERSONS SHARING THE VEHICLE). DISCOUNTS APPLY FOR 3 OR MORE PERSONS.

The rate includes: private ( sole use) of the modern air conditioned Toyota 4x4 and the English fluent driver- guide, entrance fees to all sites and monuments, refreshing drinks inside the vehicle, pick up and drop off from/ to the hotel/ Riad and transport insurance.

If you wish to walk / trek in the High Atlas for a few hours, we can include that with our other day trip, Atlas and the Lake

Published in Day-Trips