Exotic Flavours of Morocco

Morocco

Culture | Culinary

Discover Berber culture & cuisine

Dates & Prices

Intro

From the melting pot of its medinas to the remote reaches of the High Atlas, Morocco’s food reflects it diverse cultures and environments. Starting in the Imperial City of Fez, you will try your hand at bread-making and other Fassi specialities, and visit the wine-producing area of neighbouring Meknes. Meet the locals who tend to the olive groves and produce their own honey, blending seasonal herbs. Enjoy a night of desert luxury at the Scarabeo Camp en-route to Marrakech. Go spice shopping in the souks after which your dada will teach you the secrets of the perfect tajine and couscous. Finally, wash it down with a glass of refreshing Moroccan mint tea.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sample wines in Meknes
  • Make bread and soups in Fes
  • Cook Moroccan delicacies
  • Meet local honey producers
  • Walk through olive groves
  • Spice shopping in Marrakech
  • Eat street food in Djemaa el-Fna
  • Dine in a hidden Marrakshi palace
  • Stay in stunning riads and kasbahs

Places Visited

Hassan II Mosque - Rabat - Meknes - Fes - High Atlas - Demnate - The Ouzoud Waterfalls - Marrakesh

What's Included

Airport transfers
Ground transport with driver
Accommodation
Cooking class with local chefs
Entrance fees to sites on itinerary
Most meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
Sight-seeing with English-speaking guide
Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Casablanca - Rabat

Arrive into Casablanca. Transfer to capital Rabat. After checking in, refresh and then do some sightseeing in the afternoon, with a visit to the Mausoleum of Late King Mohammed V, a classic example of Hispano-Moorish architecture. Also visit the Hassan Tower and the Oudayas Kasbah overlooking the mouth of the Bou Regreg river.

Meal plan: n/a

The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is one of the largest mosques in the world. It took seventeen years to build and cost over 800 million dollars. Its spectacular setting above the Atlantic Ocean makes it one of the most scenic religious sites in the world.

Rabat is Morocco’s capital city and has a more sedate air about it than other cities in the country. It has an interesting medina and important monuments, such as the Tour Hassan II and the Mohamed V mausoleum. It is always worth taking the time to explore the Oudaya Kasbah which is picturesquely-situated overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the new marina.

The new town is one of the largest and most ambitious modern urban projects built in Africa in the 20th century and probably the most complete. The older parts include Hassan Mosque (begun in 1184) and the Almohad ramparts and gates, the only surviving parts of the project for a great capital city of the Almohad caliphate, as well as remains from the Moorish, or Andalusian, principality of the 17th century.


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Day 2 : Château Roslane - Meknes - Volubilis - Moulay Idriss - Fes

Leave for the Château Roslane, close to the former Imperial City of Meknes. This stunning property comprises among other things, a 70,000 hecto-litre cellar, stainless steel tanks, 3 sorting conveyor tables for unloading grapes, a coaxial heat exchanger for colouring the entire harvest, pneumatic presses, underground ageing cellars with a capacity of 3000 oak barrels and 3 million bottles. Take a tour of the vineyards (spanning 700 hectares) and do some wine-tasting.

Afterwards, drive to nearby Meknes. The city was built at the end of the 17th century by King Moulay Ismael. Visit the old ramparts, the Moulay Ismael stables, granaries, the House of Water, Bab El Mansour (one of the most beautiful gates in Morocco) and the impressive Moulay Ismael Mausoleum facing the Aguedal Basin. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch, drive to Volubilis, which contains Morocco’s finest Roman ruins. Continue on to the village of Moulay Idriss, beautifully hanging on the hills and sheltering the tomb of Moulay Idriss.

Proceed to Fes and check into your stunning riad. Dinner and overnight in Fes.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknès became a capital under Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672–1727), the founder of the Alawite dynasty. The sultan turned it into a impressive city in Spanish-Moorish style, surrounded by high walls with great doors, where the harmonious blending of the Islamic and European styles of the 17th century Maghreb are still evident today. Due to its numerous mosques Meknès has earned the nickname of a "city of a hundred minarets". Among them, the Great Mosque, probably founded in the 12th century, is remarkable for its gates with beautiful sculpted canopies. Its medina and the remains of the royal palace earned Meknès a place on Unesco's world heritage list. The city is still prosperous, benefiting from the harvests of the fertile Saïs plains (grain, olives and grapes).

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Day 3 : Fes

After breakfast, spend the morning exploring the ancient souks of Fes. You will visit: Achabin square for spices, Chemaine square for dry fruit, the Joutya for salt, eggs and fish, the Kissaria for hand-woven textiles and other locally produced goods, the Henna souk, and the Attarine souks for more spices! You will also visit the nearby Maristan and the Attarine Medersa (Koranic school). Lunch at local restaurant.

Next, you will leave for a local riad for your first cooking class, learning to make some Fassi specialities, including some of their delicious breads and pastries. Afterwards, enjoy what you have cooked for dinner in the riad.

Rest of evening free. Overnight in Fes.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

Situated in rolling hills between the Middle Atlas and the Rif Mountains, Fes is one of the world’s last remaining pockets of medieval civilisation. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most impressive medina in Morocco, full of colour and movement. Fes is known as the intellectual heart of Morocco and the city boasts some of the country’s finest craftsmen and most impressive monuments, such as the Bou Inania and Attarine Madrassas. This bustling metropolis is full of sights, smells and sounds just waiting to be explored.

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Day 4 : High Atlas Villages - El Quidane - Demnate

Early morning, start your journey south through the High Atlas. Pass through stunning scenery and picturesque villages, including the village of Immouzzer du Kandar, the Lake of Daiet Aoua, Ifrane ski resort located in the heart of a cedar forest. Proceed through Azrou and Khenifra, through the Tadla Valley and the rich agricultural area of Beni Mellal, where you will stop for lunch. After lunch, continue to Bin El Ouidane via Afourer . Bin El Ouidane is knowing for its interesting dam. It was built on the Wadi-el-Bin Ouidane, forming a reservoir which brightens the landscape surrounding mountains. Due to its size, it allows both power generation and irrigation of the plain of Tadla.

Arrive early evening in the small town of Demnate. Check into the beautiful hotel Illy Kasbah, overlooking a gorge and verdant forests. Dinner and overnight in Demnate.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The High Atlas mountains form the largest and most dramatic range in Morocco. It extends northeastward for 740 km, from the Atlantic Coast to the Algerian border. Many peaks exceed an elevation of 3,660 metres, including Mount Ayachi (3,737 metres), Mount M’Goun (4,071 metres), and Mount Toubkal (4,165 metres), the highest point in the Atlas Mountains. Well-known passes include Tichka (2,267 metres), Test (approximately 2,225 metres), and Talrhemt (approximatetely 2,210 metres). The lower slopes enclose well-watered valleys in which the Amazigh (Berber) peoples cultivate tiny irrigated fields. The mountains’ southern flanks, exposed to the hot, dry Saharan winds, are generally destitute of vegetation.

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Day 5 : Iminifri - Demnate - Ouzoud Waterfalls - Marrakech

Take a wander in the morning to visit the nearby 1.2 million old natural bridge, Iminifri, set in a spectacular gorge. Demnate is known for honey production, so you will meet villagers who produce their own honey, mixed with seasonal herbs such as thyme and eucalyptus. Afterwards, drive to Ouzoud Waterfalls, Morocco's most impressive waterfalls, dropping some 120m. Ouzoud is the Berber word for olive, which is apt, as the walk to the base of the falls passes through olive groves, where you will often see locals harvesting olives from the trees. After your walk, have lunch nearby (try some delicious Berber omelette!). Afterwards, leave for Marrakech. Arrive in the evening, and check into your riad. Overnight in Marrakech.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Demnate is a small town in central Morocco, located about 215 kilometers from Casablanca, on the road between Marrakech and Beni Mellal, which is famous for its beautiful natural scenery. It is also famous for its honey, usually mixed with seasonal herbs and wildflowers like: thyme, juniper and zriga (local blue wildflower). Demnate has unique natural features for example: the natural bridge of Imi-n-ifri which means "door to the cave," in the local Berber dialect. It is a natural rock bridge, Mesozoic geologic formation, created by the collapse of an underground cave system. Views are spectacular from both above and down below, where the Wadi Méhasseur flows between the sheer, vertical rock walls while swifts and choughs flit about overhead. At the bottom of the ensuing gorge is an opening whose shape is similar to the outline of the African continent.
 

The Ouzoud Waterfalls (Cascades d'Ouzoud), located in the Grand Atlas village of Tanaghmeilt, in the province of Azilal, are one of the most beautiful attractions in Morocco. El Abid River (in Arabic, "Slaves' River" ) plunges over 100 meters in a complex network of waterfalls that cascades one into another through three major and several minor drops. The word ouzoud means "olive" in the Berber language and there are many olive groves right around Ouzoud Waterfalls.

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Day 6 : Marrakech

Half-day sight-seeing of Marrakech in the morning, including the historical monuments such as Koutoubia Mosque (although entry is not allowed to non-Muslims), the Bahia Palace and the tranquil surroundings of the Saadian Tombs. The afternoon is free to explore the souks of Marrakech's vibrant medina. People watch in the famous square of Djemaa el-Fna, known for its excellent food stalls and open air entertainment, including snake charmers, astrologers, story-tellers, and much more.

Freshen up back at the hotel and then you will be whisked away to a palace restaurant. You would never know these amazing buildings are hidden within the walls of the medina. Feast on sumptuous Moroccan cuisine in elaborate surroundings, and wash down your meal with some fresh Moroccan mint tea. Late evening, transfer back to your riad. Overnight in Marrakech.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

Marrakesh (Marrakech in French) is the capital of the Moroccan south, an oasis town in hues of red, ochre and pink, rising up out of the dusty plains to the north of the Atlas Mountains. The ancient centre, a UNESCO Heritage Site, is said to be the second largest medieval complex in the world after Cairo. The medina (old town) of Marrakech is a beguiling labyrinth of alleyways, souks (markets) and workshops where little has changed since the Middle Ages. Although Marrakesh has a small selection of monuments and museums, such as the ancient Badi and Bahia Palaces, a world-famous botanical garden - Les Jardins Majorelle - and an impressive 12th Century rampart surrounding the city's medina, the real draw is the colourful, lively and exotic atmosphere of the main square, Djemaa El-Fna. The square is famous for it's orange-juice vendors, healers, henna tattoo artists, snake charmers, astrologers and acrobats. There are around 100 restaurants on Djemaa El-Fna, specializing in barbecues, tasty cooked salads and steaming snails. For the ultimate dinner theatre, look no further than the Gnaoua drummers, male belly dancers and Berber musicians surrounding the Djemaa dining action.

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Day 7 : Marrakech

Morning breakfast will be taken at a local Moroccan café. Order from the same menu and enjoy a bowl of harira soup, Moroccan pancakes and breads, eggs, fresh orange juice and Moroccan mint tea or coffee. Walk off your breakfast on a walking tour of the food parts of the souks. Take lunch near Djemaa el-Fna or back at the riad. In the afternoon, visit the stunning Maison Arabe, where you will participate in another cooking class. Learn how to cook traditional dishes, such as tajine or couscous, as well as delicious salads. Dinner will be taken here as well. Evening free. Overnight in Marrakech.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

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Day 8 : Marrakech - Departure

Enjoy a final breakfast in the riad before transferring to the airport for your return flight home.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Extensions

Southern Morocco Explorer (14 days)

The Anti Atlas, Berber villages & Sahara Desert

Classic Morocco (13 days)

Imperial cities, Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Coast

Exotic Flavours of Morocco (8 days)

Discover Berber culture & cuisine

Reviews

What`s staggering about this journey is the sheer beauty and drama of places which are hardly known to most travellers - from the jaw-dropping granite rock faces of the Anti-Atlas Mountains to the wild shores and tranquil fishing villages of the Atlantic Coast.

Charlie , Southern Morocco Explorer, Morocco

The trip was fabulous. I can’t imagine why it wasn’t booked fully immediately when you announced it. There were no major glitches, and really no minor glitches. The electrical grid was down for 13 hours at Traditional Maison area, but that is far beyond the control of Travel the Unknown, and, frankly, it adds to the charm of the experience!!! As for our guide Omar and our driver Mohammad for two weeks, they were the BEST !!!! Smart, bright, great sense of humor, good command of English — everything you could ask for. We highly recommend them, and would request them again, if we go to Morocco. Form & balance: perfect balance between travel, sightseeing and free time. Again, many, many thanks for a GREAT trip. We could not have asked for a better adventure !!!

Kenneth Gassman - Southern Morocco Explorer ,
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