UK - Marrakech
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Marrakech. On arrival we transfer to the Riad Al Jazira (4T). The rest of the day is at leisure to relax in the riad or wander through the streets of this fascinating, fast-paced city.
Marrakech is a former imperial city of Arab and African character, reflecting the city’s role as a caravan station on trans-Saharan trade routes. We take time to explore the city this morning, with sights like the 12th century Koutoubia mosque. Standing 225 feet high, it is one of the largest, most beautiful mosques in the western Muslim world, with a Moorish minaret that can be seen for miles. We may also see the Menara Gardens, the Saadian Tombs, the Bahia Palace and gardens that captures the essence of Islamic and Moroccan styles, and Djemaa el-Fna. This main square is full of entertainers, singers, storytellers, snake charmers and acrobats. This evening we take dinner in a traditional palace in the old Medina, where kings and queens have dined.
Enjoy a morning at leisure before we take a horse and carriage to the Majorelle Garden. French painter Jacques Majorelle spent 40 years creating this enchanting garden of exotic plants and cacti, and pools filled with water lilies and lotus flowers. As we take a stroll through the garden, you are bound to spot numerous birds enjoying this serene haven. We return to the medina for a lesson on Moroccan cooking. Glean the secrets of Moroccan culinary art as a reputed cook prepares a delicious Moroccan recipe for us.
Marrakech - Skoura
Today we take an unforgettable journey across the High Atlas Mountains and over the infamous Tizi n’Tichka Pass. The natural landscapes change continuously as we make our way along this snaking road, with valleys of fruit trees and large desert-like areas. See traditional Berber villages perched on the mountain sides, blending into their surroundings with peach-coloured walls, and see the local way of life, with women and children tending their goats and sheep. You can choose to take lunch overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, one of the most important fortress strongholds on the old Salt Road caravan routes, where traders once brought slaves, gold, ivory and salt from sub-Saharan Africa to Marrakech and beyond. Our journey continues to visit Kasbah Tifoultoute, a castle-like kasbah that was converted into a hotel for the cast of Lawrence of Arabia, and the fertile oasis of Skoura, renowned for the cultivation of roses and referred to as the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs. The fortified, 7th century Amerhidil Kasbah is the most imposing building here, and easily recognisable from its image on 50 Dirham notes. You have the option to take an excursion inside this Kasbah, or choose to relax in our hotel, the Ksar El Kabbaba (3T+) or Kasbah ait ben Damiette (3T+).
Skoura - Erfoud - Merzouga
Our adventure today starts with the Valley of Roses, where we visit the Capp et Florale distillation factories, which manufacture the nation’s eau de rose. Many rose products are sold in this small town. As we travel on, uniquely shaped limestone cliffs announce that we have reached the spectacular town of Boumalne Dades. Driving the precarious road alongside flower-filled fields, riverbanks and several fortified ksours, we enter the narrow Dades Gorge, naturally carved through towering red cliffs. The road takes us through to Erfoud, where you can visit the Royal Palace gate and take in the panoramic view from the top of the Borj-Est, 935m above the city. This modern city has the authenticity of a Moroccan Sahara Desert town despite being built up by French troops just 80 years ago. We travel in 4WD vehicles into the gorgeous surrounding landscapes to the dunes of Merzouga, where we mount awaiting camels for a two-hour trek further into the desert. Tonight we have an Arabian Nights dinner and stay at a Deluxe Desert Camp. Watching the ever-changing colours of the desert as the sun sets and the stars appear is a magical experience; and an astronomer will be at hand for an unbeatable star gazing opportunity.
Merzouga - Agdz - Ouarzazate
After a hearty Berber breakfast we set off for Erfoud by camels and 4WD. Our coach then takes us through yet more starkly beautiful scenery, between the peaks of the Jbel Saghro (the ‘Dry Mountain’), to Agdz, a town famous for the dates that grow here. Observe how agriculture survives in an otherwise arid region before we continue to Ouarzazate for dinner and an overnight stay at Riad Dar Chamaa (3T+).
Ouarzazate - Tazenakht - Taroudant
We set off for Tazenakht. As an important link in the caravan routes, grains, skins, dates, pottery, jewellery, salt, sugar and tea were all exchanged here, and records of this can be seen engraved on the walls of kasbahs and drawn with symbolic Berber shapes on its famous Glaoui and Ouzgita carpets. We continue to elegant Taroudant, the capital of the 11th Saadian Dynasty - one of the oldest cities in Morocco and once home of several Jewish saints. Explore the maze of narrow streets leading from magnificent red ramparts to find the authentic souk, where local craftsmen sell goods of leather, copper and silver, and the main square of Place Assarag, where storytellers, snake charmers and musicians perform in the late afternoon. Tonight we stay at the Almounia Hotel & Spa (3T).
Taroudant - Agadir - Essaouira
Today we drive towards the coast to Agadir, Morocco’s leading purpose-built seaside resort. With a 10km beach of fine sand and more than 300 days of sunshine a year, it is easy to understand its draw. After time to explore, we follow the coastal route to the Val d'Argan vineyard, to taste the various different wines produced in Moroccan vineyards then have lunch at the foot of an olive tree in the beautiful, quiet garden. Afterwards we travel to Essaouira, a major seaport decorated in the blues and whites of Berber, Arab, Jewish, French and Portuguese influence. Cars are not allowed through the narrow streets of the gorgeous, UNESCO-listed medina quarter, giving the impression that Essaouira remains rooted in the days when pirates and sailors thronged the town. Check in to the Dar L'Oussia (4T+).
Take a guided tour and enjoy time at leisure to wander through the Medina’s alleyways to witness artisans making their wooden tables, boxes and sundry items in lemon or briar wood and inlaid with mother of pearl. Head along the town’s coastal boundary to find the old Scala Fortress, where 19 bronze cannons still watch over the seas. Tonight’s farewell dinner is at the sumptuous L’Heure Bleue Palais. Former residence of a kaid (tribal chief) in Essaouira, this Relais & Châteaux-listed palace is remarkably restored, preserving the elegance of its past and offering hospitality and Moroccan cuisine to match.
Day 10 Essaouira - Marrakech - UK
We transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.