If you’re seeking a strip of land that’s not too far away, yet not too close, very safe, yet still adventurous, where you can unwind under palm trees or hike Saharan dunes and snow-capped mountains, surf till you drop or simply live the Oriental myth with its eclectic culture and mouth-watering gastronomy...welcome to Morocco! Let us be your guide to a memorable bespoke experience!
Short and Sweet.
Morocco has always been the epitome of the exotic destination one must visit at least once in a life time. Many artists and writers travelled to Morocco to seek inspiration or simply find themselves. We see it as a cathartic break that will take you to your limits and back, confront you with your prejudices and doubts and immerse you in the sweetest life experiences one can imagine.
But what exactly makes Morocco a bucket-list topper? Well, let’s see... The myth of Casablanca’s Rick’s Cafe that simply needs to be seen? A horse-drawn carriage ride along the walls of the “Red City”? A stay in a stunning traditional riad and a food tasting tour in Djemaa El Fna? Maybe not. There’s a little more to Morocco than meets the eye.
Whether you dream of getting lost in Fez’ medieval tangle of gnarled alleyways, riding a camel across Saharan dunes to an exhilarating Arabian night experience under the stars, watching djellaba-clad merchants wheel their fish-filled carts across the quays of Essaouira, hiking or biking the Atlas Mountains, chilling in the bewitchingly blue-washed town of Chefchaouen, doing some local wine tasting or simply lying low on the unique Legzira beach, the sky is the limit when it comes to journeying through Morocco.
That is why Morocco – superbly diverse, constantly bewildering, rarely exasperating yet totally compelling – is nothing short of amazing. And if you go for some of our hand-picked activities, be sure to live some of the most eye-opening experiences you can think of.
Good to know
• Morocco is a welcoming destination. Travellers of 70 nationalities can enter the country visa-free for up to 90 days. This applies to all North Americans and Europeans.
• There are frequent direct flights to many European cities from Marrakesh, Fez, Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier. Royal Air Maroc offers direct flights to New York, Montreal and Sao Paolo.
• No vaccinations are required to enter Morocco. Nevertheless, we suggest that you visit your health professional at least 4 weeks before your trip to check whether you need updated vaccinations or other preventive measures.
• The two official languages in Morocco are Modern Standard Arabic and Amazigh (Berber), but the spoken languages are Darija (Moroccan Arabic) and French, with English becoming more and more popular.
• The Moroccan Dirham is non-convertible currency. You cannot take Dirhams in and out of Morocco and you cannot exchange them outside the country. We suggest exchanging smaller amounts and keeping the exchange receipts. They are required for the conversion of Dirhams back to foreign currency before departure.
• Morocco is a fine blend of tradition and modernity. Although it has no imposed dress codes (apart from the mosque), we advise you to dress appropriately to avoid unwanted attention particularly in crowded places.
• People haggle all over the world, but Morocco will sharpen your negotiation skills. Don’t feel compelled to buy, but if you want to bring home a colourful souvenir, do take the time to haggle, exchange pleasantries and maybe even sit for a cup of fresh mint tea and a candid chat.
• Morocco is an incredibly family-friendly destination with plenty of sensory explosions to capture a child’s imagination. It’s not the playgrounds, but the simple things that will fascinate kids. Bring them with you and they will take away long-lasting memories of an exotic land full of warm and friendly people.
When to go
We strongly believe that the best time to travel is when you have time and Morocco backs us up with something great to see at any time of year. Although you can explore Morocco at its best in spring (March to June) and autumn (September to December), there is always something to do and somewhere to go in summer and winter as well. The coast, with its beautiful beaches and quaint towns, is a definite contender for Morocco’s year-round destination title. A summer hiking in the Atlas Mountains and a winter camping in the Sahara desert are wonderful options, too.
- Cooking affair Morocco is world famous for its cuisine and going home with a tried and true recipe might be the ultimate memento. Wrap it up in an authentic local market experience and pepper it liberally with the teachings of a charming and inspiring “dada” (traditional Moroccan chef) and you’ve got yourself the quintessence of Morocco in one go.
- Go local If typical medina souk just doesn’t cut it for you, head to a weekly village market and live the hassle-free local experience . As if dropped from centuries-old pictures, the scene brings together farmers, butchers, merchants and the occasional barber. You may savour a barbecued snack at the near pop-up restaurant, try a clean shave or simply wander around in stealth mode.
- Enlightening encounter Enjoy a private dinner in an outstanding riad in Fez with a local professor of sociolinguistics, who lifts the veil on many captivating social and political topics, among them the status of women in modern Morocco.
- Craft your art Spend a morning immersed in the fascinating world of Moroccan traditional crafts; design and hand-make your own souvenir in a zellij, leather, ceramic or textile local workshop.
Matter of Fact.
“Inshallah” (God willing) is a must-know word when you travel to Morocco.
Used for future actions and commitments, it has become a way to manoeuvre your way around socially. Moroccans are extremely kind and polite and it is considered rude to refuse a request or turn down an invitation. So, it is completely acceptable to Inshallah your way out of some awkward situations.
Shopping might just be one of them.
Morocco in a nutshell
11 days - starting at 250 Euros/person/day
Boots and Roses is all about bespoke experiences, so don’t think of this as a “prêt-à-porter” itinerary, but as a blueprint of one of the countless possibilities. To find out more, get in touch with us for a tailor-made trip based on your budget and interests.
Casablanca / Rabat.
Upon arrival in Casablanca, clear immigration and customs and proceed to the arrivals hall. Here, your private English speaking driver greets you, and together you drive along the coast to Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Overnight in one of our preferred accommodation.
Rabat - Volubilis - Fez ( 3 hour drive).
After breakfast, visit the medina of Sale with a local university professor and enter sites not accessible to the general public: the dungeons, the towers, etc. while learning about the Moroccan pirates and the typical elements of a Moroccan medina from someone that is conducting its restoration. On the way to Fez, stop and wander around Volubilis, the best preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. Arrive in Fez in the evening. Spend three nights in an exquisite traditional riad.
One day is hardly enough for all the wonders of the largest still standing enclosed city in the world and world-famous for its leather and metalwork to not mention the medersas or the leather tanneries, the 9500 derbs (narrow alleys), one of the oldest universities in the world and all the sounds, smells and sights that assault the senses. Fez conjures the image of the quintessential fabled Arab city as Baghdad at the time of the 1001 nights… Visit of the city with a local English speaking guide. Accommodation as per the previous night.
Leisure day. Spend the day catching up on the things you missed on the previous day and try not to get too lost... In the afternoon, try a traditional Moroccan hammam, have a cooking class or any of the many activities available in Fez. It is the day when you can do as much or as little as you wish.
Fez - Azrou - Midelt - Erfoud - Merzouga ( 8 hour drive).
After breakfast, our first stop is Ifrane and with its alpine chalets, trimmed gardens, leafy park surrounding a mountain fed lake, you could almost be in … Switzerland. Pretty walks are to be had in these forests where the cheeky Barbary macaques roam, to the delight of the visitors- keep your snacks close... The surrounding countryside is pigmented by apricots, walnut and pictures of rural Berber life as we approach Midelt. A few hours later we enter Ziz Gorges and apple trees give way to lush palm groves... In Rissani, the ruins of Sijilmassa, once the most important city of northern Africa border the route. Arrive in Merozuga and trade the 4x4 for camels (those that wish can also get to the camp by 4x4). Reach the desert camp by sunset. Dinner and accommodation in a luxury en-suite tent in the dunes.
Merzouga - Tinejdad - Tinerir - Todra - Skoura ( 5 hour drive).
Wake up early to admire the sunrise over the dunes. Have breakfast to, then, visit the Black People village and have a short Gnawa music show. Hop back in the 4x4 and continue your journey. Further on, in Tinejdad, visit a traditional fortified ksour village and its wells of light. Todra Gorges, lie only 15 km from Tinerir, presenting an arresting spectacle with its crystal clear river emerging from it, its huge walls changing color to magical effect as the day unfolds. Later, reach the Valley of Roses, skirt past Dades gorges and arrive in the palm grove of Skoura. Dinner and overnight in one of our preferred accommodations.
Spend a relaxing day enjoying the grounds of the guest house set within the palm grove. In the morning, have a guided tour of the palm grove and learn about the ingenious khettara irrigation system, the architecture of the kasbahs, the marriage customs and life in the community. Your driver can also take you for a picnic by the river or to see the nomads. If the right day, a village market is quite something to witness. Back at the guest- house, in the afternoon enjoy the pool and generous gardens. Dinner and accommodation as previously.
Skoura - Ouarzazate - Ait Benhaddou - Marrakesh (5 hour drive).
Leave Skoura to then cross through Ouarzazate ( stop for a photo at the film studions) and arrive at UNESCO world site Ait Benhaddou. Have a wander around the dramatic honeycomb village, before the tourist buses arrive. Later, follow the dramatic Ounila Valley with its ruined kasbahs and terraced gardens to then reach the salt mines and the ruins of the pasha's palace at Telouet. Take on the High Atlas mountains and cross the Tizi n Tichka pass at 2165 meters. Descend upon Marrakesh in the evening. Accommodation in one of our preferred accommodations.
Visit of the city with our local English speaking guide. Since you probably had visited a few medersas in Fez, the best is to start with the Bahia Palace and the ruined Badi Palace. Next door, the imposing marble columns of the golden dynasty , the Saadis, adorn the mausoleums. The small yet very richly decorated Douiria is a fine example of crafts and architecture from two centuries ago. Make some time to sample UNESCO world site Jemaa El Fna square by night, the ideal place to people- watch: the musicians, acrobats, snake charmers, henna tattooers and the food stalls. Accommodation as per the previous night.
This morning, discover the gardens of Marrakesh, starting with Majorelle Gardens and the next door YSL museum. Later, go for lunch at Richard Branson's Kasbah Tamadot up in the High Atlas mountains, experience hot air ballooning, browse the souks, do some shopping or have an afternoon at leisure. Accommodation as previously.
Marrakesh or Marrakesh - Casablanca.
Depending on your flight schedule and location, you will be escorted to the airport at least two hours before your flight. We will say goodbye to you, hoping that the Moroccan adventure will live on through the memories you share.