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Photographic Immersion

Into the Colors & Culture of Morocco

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14 Days/13  Nights of Picture Perfect Morocco

Dramatic landscapes and the colorful culture of the people make Morocco a dream destination for photographers of all levels. Morocco Immersion Tours & Adventures is teaming up with two award winning photographers (Frances Schwabenland and Bob Laramie) who will offer photographic coaching during the day and run a nightly photo review and clinic.  This tour will offer unique opportunities to photograph locals in addition to our authentic experiences.  We’ll cover a lot of ground, but you’ll have plenty of time to thoroughly photograph your immersion into the colors and the culture of Morocco!

 


Trip Summary

 

June 23 – July 6, 2019

$3250 USD Per Person*

*based on double occupancy

$490 USD Single Supplement

Daily Itinerary
  • Day 1: Welcome to Morocco (Marrakech)
  • Day 2: Marrakech Immersion!
  • Day 3: Marrakech to Dades Valley
  • Day 4: Dades Valley/Valley of Roses Local Immersion
  • Day 5: Dades to Merzouga
  • Day 6: Merzouga to Midelt
  • Day 7: Midelt to Fes
  • Day 8: Fes Immersion!
  • Day 9: Fes to Chefchaoten via Volubilis & Meknes
  • Day 10: Chefchaouen
  • Day 11: Chefchaouen to Asilah
  • Day 12: Asilah to Rabat
  • Day 13: Rabat to Marrakech via Casablanca
  • Day 14: Bon Voyage!
Includes
  • Daily Photographic Coaching and Nightly Photo Reviews with Professional Photographers
  • Ground transfers to/from airport (Marrakech)
  • Private Transportation
  • English Speaking Driver/Guide
  • Guided Tour of Marrakech
  • Visit to Photo Rich Day Markets
  • Guided Walk in Tinghir Palmeraie
  • Guided Tour of Fes
  • Guided Tour of Meknes
  • Guided Tour of Volubilis
  • Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque
  • Camel Trek
  • Overnight Stay in Luxury Desert Camp
  • Lunch with Local Family
  • All Entrance Fees
  • 13 Nights of Accommodations (Suites where possible)
  • 13 Breakfasts
  • 6 Dinners
  • 1 Lunches
Excludes
  • Airfare to/from Morocco
  • Meals other than specified
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Personal Expenses
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Morocco: Marrakech
Meals Included: Dinner

You can arrive in Marrakech anytime today. You’ll be transferred to your riad from the airport where you can relax and recover from your travels or venture out to explore the medina with its maze-like souks on your own or gather inspiration by visiting the Photography Museum. In the evening, the group will converge for a special welcome dinner at the home of a local chef. This will be the perfect opportunity to meet and mingle with the other participants AND sample some of the local specialties.

Day 2: Marrakech: Immersion into the Red City
Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning after breakfast, your local city guide will meet you at your riad and then take you on a guided tour of the city. There will be lots of excellent photo opportunities as your visit will include Ben Yousef Madrassa, the Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace, and Koutoubia Mosque. It will also take you through the artisan areas of the souks to see the traditional methods that these artisans still use today. After lunch, you’ll venture outside of the medina to Marjorelle Gardens after which you’ll return to the medina and back to your riad. After a little R&R, you can head to the main square, Jemaa El F’na, located less than a minute’s walk from your riad. Find a spot at one of the terrace cafes for a birds eye view to watch the sun set over Marrakech and the square come to life. When you are ready, come back down to earth and wade into the excitement of the square. When you’ve had your fill, you can head back to your riad for the night.

Day 3: Marrakech to Dades Valley: Glorious Mountain Vistas and Ancient Kasbahs

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, after breakfast, you will depart from Marrakech and head over the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka pass reaching altitudes of 7400 feet above sea level. This is a bit of a long day of driving, but there will be plenty of stops to photograph the breathtaking views along the way. After reaching Col du Tichka (the highest point), you’ll descend to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou. If this ksar looks familiar, it might be because it has starred (or at least made an appearance) in several movies and tv shows including Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, and Game of Thrones. You’ll have an opportunity to explore this area climbing to the very top for an amazing view of the ksar and the surrounding area. After visiting here, you’ll head through Ouarzazate, a city known as both the doorway to the desert and the Hollywood of Morocco. From here you’ll travel along the Road of a 1000 Kasbahs through the Rose Valley and into breathtaking Dades Gorge to your accommodations for the night. You’ll have a chance to relax a bit before dinner.

Day 4: Dades Valley/Valley of Roses: Dynamic Day Markets and Daily Life
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, you can get up early for photos in the early morning light of the unique rock formation known as the Monkey Fingers located near your auberge before returning for breakfast. After breakfast, you’ll follow the Dades River back to the heart of the Rose Valley, Kelaat M’Gouna, where you’ll visit the local Day Market – a souk that happens one day a week. This will be a great opportunity to experience and capture the everyday life of the locals. After the market, you’ll head to the home of a local family for lunch. The late afternoon light in this region is spectacular, so you’ll explore this area a bit and have plenty of opportunities for more photos before returning to your Auberge for another delicious dinner.

Day 5: Dades to Merzouga: Glowing Desert Sands under Saharan Skies
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, you’ll make your way to the giant sand dunes of the Sahara, but first you’ll visit Todgha Gorge where you will have a chance to walk through the most impressive part of this canyon. After this, you’ll have a guided walk in the palmeraie and Mellah (old Jewish neighborhood) of Tinghir. After this, you’ll drive to the edge of the big dunes where you will meet your camels that will take you into the heart of the dunes to your desert camp for the night. And don’t worry… there is no roughing it here. The luxury desert camp tents include furniture and en suite facilities. Upon your arrival at camp, you can climb the nearest dune to watch the sun set and the stars come out. Dinner will be served at camp followed by more star gazing.  Bring your tripods for nighttime photos of the gazillion stars!

Day 6: Merzouga to Midelt: Mountains, Gorges, and High Plains
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, you’ll want to get up early to capture the sun rising over the dunes. After this, you’ll have breakfast at camp and prepare for your day before once again taking your camels to the edge of the dunes where your driver will be waiting. From here, you will make your way along the Ziz River Gorge and over the High Atlas Mountains once again (although a different section this time). You’ll stop in Midelt, a market town located in the high plains between the High and the Middle Atlas Mountains. After checking in and having welcome tea, you can stretch your legs in the neighboring ecological park or enjoy the pool. Dinner will be served at the hotel.  Bonus: This hotel has a full bar, so you can enjoy a glass of wine as you review the magnificent photos from the desert!

Day 7: Midelt to Fes: Middle Atlas Mountains, Monkeys, and Magical Fes
Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning after breakfast, you’ll pass through the Middle Atlas Mountains to Fes, stopping along the way in the largest cedar forest in Africa, near Azrou, to visit the local inhabitants: Atlas Monkeys (otherwise known as Barbary Apes). These little guys are very photogenic, but they do demand payment in the form of peanuts!  After this, you’ll pass through the scenic city of Ifrane. Known as “Little Switzerland”, you may think that you’ve been transported to the Alps when you enter this garden city. You’ll want to be sure to grab a picture of the Atlas Lion, a statue that commemorates the now extinct species. After this rest stop, you’ll finish the drive to Fes, where you’ll check into your riad and have some free time to relax from the day’s journey before dinner and your nightly photo review.

Day 8: Fes Immersion: Ancient Alleyways and Artisans
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today after breakfast, your local city guide will meet you at your riad and you will head out for a guided tour of the city. First, you will go by car to the Royal Palace and from here you will head to the borj (tower) for a panoramic view of the city. Next, you’ll head to a local mosaic house and have a demonstration of traditional pottery methods. From here, you’ll enter into the city through the famous Blue Gate and visit all of the important monuments in the city, including the oldest continually operating university in the world. You’ll also tour the artisan areas of the medina. The tour will be over by mid-afternoon, after which you’ll be free to explore the city more on your own.

Day 9: Fes to Chefchaouen via Volubilis & Meknes: Morocco's Versailles, Roman Ruins, and the Blue Pearl
Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast, you’ll depart Fes and head to the Blue Pearl of Morocco, Chefchaouen. On the way, you’ll first stop to visit one of the lessor known imperial cities of Meknes. As a contemporary of Louis XIV, Sultan Moulay Ismail built his capital city to rival Versailles and included Agdal Reservoir, a royal granary and stables that once held 12,000 horses, and a dismal underground prison. You’ll have a chance to photograph it all before heading to the sacred city of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun for lunch.  Once forbidden to non-Muslims, this hillside city was the seat of the first dynasty of Morocco and the tomb of Idriss I is a pilgrimage site for those who cannot afford to go to Mecca.  After lunch, you’ll drive to the nearby Roman Ruins of Volubilis. After a guided tour here, with plenty of time for photographs, you will make your way north into the Rif Mountains to the beautiful small city of Chefchaouen.

Day 10: Chefchaouen: The Blue City and Crystal Clear Cascades
Meals Included: Breakfast

Today, you’ll have the whole day to explore this charming city. For those who wish to photograph a bit more nature, you will have the option to visit nearby Cascade d’Akchour. The hike to the big waterfall is a little bit challenging (it is 10 miles round trip), but there are plenty of smaller waterfalls and nice cool pools (perfect to photograph and cool off in) along the way, if you don’t wish to do the full hike. For those who opt to stay in Chefchaouen, we can arrange a guided tour. The hikers will be back in Chefchaouen by mid-afternoon and will have plenty of time to explore this small, but magical city.

Day 11: Chefchaouen to Asilah: Seaside Art Haven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Light snack with wine tasting

After breakfast, you’ll head to the beach town of Asilah, sometimes referred to as the Santorini of Morocco. Time permitting, you’ll stop to visit the Caves of Hercules on your way to this art haven.  Something about the sea seems to attract artists and this city is no exception.  Art is literally everywhere as even the white walls are painted with colorful murals and local artists of all ages display their art on the street. You’ll arrive to this picturesque seaside city by early afternoon and plenty of time to explore before heading to the ramparts to watch and photograph the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 12: Asilah to Rabat: Current Capital on the Coast
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

You’ll have the morning free to relax a little longer in Asilah and/or take photos in the morning light. After lunch, you’ll head down the coast to the current Imperial City of Rabat. You’ll have a short tour of the historic monument (Hassan Tower, Mausoleum of Mohamed V, and Kasbah of the Udayas) and the have the rest of the evening free to explore on your own.

Day 13: Rabat to Marrakech via Casablanca: Magnificent Mosque and Back to Marrakech
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today after breakfast, you’ll make your way back to Marrakech stopping along the way to visit the Hassan II Mosque. Because Friday is the big prayer day in Morocco, you’ll arrive in time for the 10 AM tour (the last one until after the prayers are finished). After your visit here, you’ll head back to Marrakech, where you’ll have some free time until you regroup one last time for our final photo review and farewell dinner.

Day 14: Bon Voyage!
Meals Included: Breakfast

Depending on your departure flight time, you may have some free time this morning before transferring back to the Marrakech Airport in plenty of time for your departing flight.


Accommodations

Whenever possible, we prefer to use locally owned and operated accommodations that are hand picked by us.  The following list represents our preferred accommodations for this tour, but these may change depending on the group size and availability.  Substitute accommodations will be at least the same level of comfort as the ones listed below.  Photos provided by hotel management.

Marrakech: Riad Mabrouk

This fabulous riad will be your meeting point for this tour.  Located in the medina and a 1 minute walk from Jemaa El F'na, this traditional guest house boasts amazing views of Marrakech from its rooftop terrace.  The rooftop terrace is also where you'll find a dipping pool -- perfect for cooling off after a long day of discovering Morocco.  No need to save leg power to climb steps -- the newly installed elevator will make getting to the terrace and your room a breeze.   Speaking of your room, the guest rooms all have air conditioning, a safe, a minibar, and a television.  The en suite bathrooms are furnished with toiletries and hair dryers.  And since there is free wifi, you'll be able to post all of your photos of magical Marrakech.

There We love staying here.  The rooms are spacious and comfortable and the service for our adventurers is impeccable.  It is the perfect place to start your Morocco Immersion!

Dades: Auberge la Vallée des Figues

Another one of our favorite places in Morocco, this warm guest house has clean and comfortable rooms decorated with a traditional Berber aesthetic.  All of the rooms have en suite bathrooms and air conditioning, and some have private terraces.  The Dades Valley is a breathtakingly beautiful area and the main terrace offers spectacular views of the valley and the opposite mountain into which time, wind, and rain has carved a face.  But the best part of this guest house is the family that owns and operates it who make you feel welcome and take care of all of your needs.  Should you want to go for a hike in the nearby Monkey Fingers, one of the guys will be happy to guide the way.  And the food here is delicious, plentiful, and served with an extra helping of the hospitality for which Moroccans are famous!

Merzouga: Hotel Yasmina Merzouga

Another of our favorites, this hotel is situated right on the edge of the giant dunes of Merzouga.  The comfortable rooms are equipped with en suite bathrooms and air conditioning.  There is a large terrace in the common area which is the perfect place for tea upon your arrival or prior to your camel trek.  Or, if you prefer, you can have your tea by their beautiful pool.  

Yasmina's standard desert camps are located in the heart of the big dunes.  The tents have electricity and comfortable mattresses with plenty of warm blankets.  Of course, if the weather is nice, you may prefer to bring your mattress outside and sleep under the stars.  The standard tents are not en suite, but there is a tent that houses multiple flushing toilets and sinks with running water.  In the morning, you'll camel trek back to the hotel where you will have time to shower and prepare for your day.

Midelt: Ksar Timnay

Owned and operated by the former director of the regional tourism ministry and Amazigh activist, Ksar Timnay is more than just a hotel.  It is also a culture center for the local people.  You'll be comfortable here as the guest rooms are equipped with air conditioning an en suite bathrooms.  The hotel offers a beautiful swimming pool and free wifi and it is located next to an ecological park (15 minutes by foot) perfect for stretching your legs.  Since this is a place where artists and musicians gather, don't be surprised if a party breaks out after dinner!

Fes: Riad Al-Makan

Your immersion into the history of Fes will be complete when you return to this 17th century traditional riad.  Ideally situated inside the medina near the famous Blue Gate, this gorgeous riad serves as your home base for exploring the winding alleys of this ancient city.  And don't worry... you will be able to enjoy the traditional Moroccan features from hand-carved wood and plaster to mosaic tiles without giving up modern conveniences like air conditioning, en suite bathrooms, and free wifi!  The riad also features a sun terrace with breathtaking views of the city.

Chefchaouen: Hotel Al-Khalifa

This boutique hotel situated on a hill just outside of the medina offers panoramic views of this beautiful small city.  Just a 10 minute walk from the main square, this warm and friendly guest house provides an excellent base for your Chefchaouen explorations.  And, like all of our accommodations, the rooms are clean and comfortable and include en suite bathrooms and air conditioning. Free wifi is also available here.  

Asilah: Hotel Al Alba

Situated a little outside of the hustle and bustle of the medina in a neighborhood with several nice restaurants, Hotel Al Alba is the perfect place to unwind a little from your travels.  This quaint hotel is located across the street from the beach and about a 15 minute walk along the promenade to the medina. The cozy rooms are clean and comfortable and the onsite traditional hammam maximizes your relaxation with a good scrubbing and massage for a reasonable price.

 

 

Rabat: Hotel des Oudaias

This charming hotel originally opened in 1918 as L’Hôtel des Oudaias dit Transatlantique and is itself immersed in the history of the current capital city of Rabat.  Hotel amenities include free wifi and air conditioning.  The en suite bathrooms are equipped with hairdryers, bathrobes, and even slippers.  Situated just a couple of blocks away from the Kasbah of the Udayas with many shops and restaurants within walking distance, the terrace boasts amazing views of the Kasbah, the ocean, and the Bou Regreg River.  The interior with its mix of traditional Moroccan and French aesthetic won't disappoint either.  

 

 


Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find the answers to some frequently asked questions about this tour and visiting Morocco. If you don't see the answer to your question, feel free to give us a call or contact us using the form below.

What make this tour so special?

While all of our tours include authentic experiences and opportunities to take frame-worth photos, this tour will specifically focus on photography and will provide the opportunity to improve your craft with expert guidance from Frances Schwabenland and Bob Laramie. They will offer coaching during the day and conduct nightly photo reviews. You will be immersed into the colors and cultures of Morocco and you’ll have time to capture it all on film! This tour is perfect for passionate photographers of all skill levels.

Where should I meet the tour group on arrival day?

The tour meeting point is Riad Mabrouk in Marrakech.They will be expecting your arrival. We will meet on the rooftop terrace at 7 PM on your arrival day to answer any questions and give you a chance to meet your fellow adventurers. Just look for the Morocco Immersion Sign.

Note: The meeting time may change depending on the arrival time of the majority of the participants. You will receive more details prior to your tour start date.

What time should I arrive on the first day?

You can arrive any time on Day 1, as there are no set activities until the welcome dinner at 7 PM (19:00) in Marrakech. If you will be arriving later than 7 PM, just let us know.

Remember when you are booking your flights that most flights depart in the evening and arrive the following morning. Double check your flight to be sure that the arrival date is the same as the Tour Start Date.
Where and what time does this tour end?

This tour will end at Riad Mabrouk in Marrakech where you will arrive in the evening of Day 7.  No activities are planned for Day 8, so you can depart whenever you like.

Although there are no scheduled activities for Day 14, do not book your departing flight for Day 13 as we will arrive back to Marrakech late in the day and cannot guarantee that we will arrive in time for a flight that night. 
Which airport should I fly in and out of?

This tour will start and end in Marrakech which makes the Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) the ideal place to fly in an out of. We will also provide complementary ground transfers to/from this airport.

If you prefer to fly into Casablanca, we can arrange ground transfers for an additional fee (per transfer).

What if I want to stay in Marrakech an extra night before or after my tour?

No problem. Just reply to your booking confirmation email to let us know how many nights you require and we will add it to your booking for an additional fee (normally around $70 USD per room per night, but this can vary depending on the season).

Will ground transfers to and from the airport be provided?

We are pleased to provide complementary ground transfers to/from the Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK). We will ask for your flight information during the pre-Adventure registration process (after booking).

Ground transfers to/from the airport in Casablanca are available upon request for an additional fee. Contact us for more information.

What is the minimum number of Adventurers for this tour?

We will operate the tour as long as we have a minimum of 2 participants.

What is the maximum number of Adventurers for this tour?

Maximum: 16 PAX. We are not a “big bus” tour operator and prefer to keep our group tours small so that you can truly experience Morocco’s rich culture and way of life. And keeping the group small will allow you to have hands on coaching from our expert photographers.

What if I have a large group that would like to do this tour?

Contact us! Groups of 10 or more qualify for special discounts and groups of 17 or more can be accommodated as a private tour (again for special pricing).

I'm ready to go! How do I book this adventure?

Simply follow this book now link. If booked before 15 Jan 2019, you can reserve your spot with just $500 USD down. See our payment schedule for more details.

After you book, you will be contacted by the Morocco Immersion Adventure Organizer who will guide you through the pre-Adventure registration process, keep you updated on any tour changes, and answer any questions you might have.

What if I book and then the tour does not get the minimum number of Adventurers?

If we must cancel the tour due to a lack of participants, we will give you the following options:

  • Switch to a different tour.
  • Convert your tour to a private tour for an additional fee.
  • Refund 100% of your deposit and any other additional payments made to us.
We will not refund any loss not paid to us such as airfare change or cancellation costs. For that reason, we STRONGLY recommend the purchase of travel insurance.
What if I need to cancel after I have booked?

If you cancel 36 days prior to your Tour Start Date, we will refund 80% of your tour deposit and 100% of any additional monies paid to us.  Cancelling 35 or fewer days prior to your Tour Start Date will result in 100% loss of your deposit, but any additional monies paid to us will be refunded.  No monies will be refunded by us for no shows or trip interruptions.  Our complete cancellation policy can be found in our terms and conditions.

If you must cancel for any reason, please contact us as soon as possible.

Is travel insurance required?

No, it is not required, but we strongly recommend it to cover any losses due to trip cancellation or interruption.  Travel insurance that includes medical evacuation is also advised as some areas of Morocco are remote and may lack proper medical facilities.  Please be sure to thoroughly review our terms and conditions.

I am a solo traveler, but would like to share a room. Can you help me find a roommate?

Yes!  We will help you with that during the pre-Adventure registration process.

Will I need any vaccinations to travel to Morocco?

No vaccinations are required for travel to Morocco; however, it is generally advised that you be up to date on your normal vaccinations and consider vaccinations for Hep A and Typhoid to prevent food borne pathogens. For more information, you should contact a travel clinic or review the CDC guidelines for travel to the area.

Do I need a Visa to travel to Morocco?

US Passport holders currently do not need a visa to travel to Morocco for a duration of less than 3 months for tourism purposes.  If you do require a visa, you are responsible for acquiring it.

It is your responsibility to acquire and bring required travel documents such as passport and visa (if applicable).  Be sure to put that on your packing list!  
More Questions?
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Payment Schedule

Please Note - You can still join the tour beyond the initial deposit due date, but your deposit will be the total amount due at the time that you join the tour.  Contact us for more information.

PaymentAmountDue Date
Final Payment $1250.00 USD plus single supplement (if applicable)15-Jun-19
3rd Installment$750.00 USD15-Apr-19
2nd Installment$750.00 USD01-Mar-19
Deposit$500.00 USD15-Jan-19

BOOK NOW!

To create a customer account prior to booking click on the "log in" tag and then click on Create New Account.  You can optionally log in using your Google ID.

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