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Rose Festival Immersion Tour

Valley of Roses
Roses
Rose Queen
Fantasia
Erg Chebbi
Taroudant
Essaouiara Sunset

13 Days/12 Nights of Morocco's Roses and Culture

Every spring in the region between the Atlas Mountains and the sand seas of the Sahara, a sweet scent fills the air and the lush green oasis becomes dotted with pink.  At this time of year, when the roses are in bloom, it is obvious how this region of Morocco got its moniker "The Valley of Roses." At the height of the season, the locals celebrate the annual harvest of the roses with a big festival that attracts Moroccans from all over. With festival activities such as the selection of the annual Rose Queen, Fantasia (a Berber course sport that is as fantastic as it sounds), local sporting events, traditional music and dance performances, and the Rose Queen parade, there is never a dull moment. And this year you can attend with us! Since this is our hometown, we have special connections and have arranged for our guests to have VIP access to all festival activities.  Experience the joy of this special time of year with this exclusive tour!


 

Trip Summary

 

May 2 – 14, 2018

$3200 USD Per Person*

*based on double occupancy

$400 USD Single Supplement

Daily Itinerary
  • Day 1: Welcome to Marrakech!
  • Day 2: Marrakech to Valley of Roses via Ait Ben Haddou
  • Day 3: Rose Festival
  • Day 4: Rose Festival
  • Day 5: Valley of Roses Local Immersion
  • Day 6: Valley of Roses to Merzouga Camel Trek
  • Day 7: Merzouga to Agdz
  • Day 8: Agdz to Taroudant
  • Day 9: Taroudant to Essaouira
  • Day 10: Essaouira Immersion
  • Day 11: Essaouira to Marrakech
  • Day 12: Marrakech Immersion
  • Day 13: Au revoir! (Departure)

Note: If the Rose Festival falls on the second weekend of May, the itinerary will be reversed.

Includes
  • Ground Transfers to/from Airport (Marrakech)
  • Private Transportation
  • English Speaking Driver/Guide
  • VIP Access to the Rose Festival
  • Special Rose Experience
  • Lunch with Local Family
  • Hiking OR Traditional Hammam
  • Guided Walk in Tinghir Palmaeraie
  • Camel Trek and Overnight Stay in Desert Camp
  • Guided Tour of Kasbah Tamnougalt
  • Guided Tour of Taroudant
  • Wine Tasting
  • Guided Tour of Marrakech
  • All Entrance Fees
  • 12 Nights of Accommodations
  • 12 Breakfasts
  • 6 Dinners
  • 2 Lunches
Excludes
  • Airfare to/from Morocco
  • Meals other than specified
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Personal Expenses
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Marrakech
Welcome to Morocco! Tour will start in your riad in Marrakech (details provided upon booking). You can arrive any time, as today will be a day of leisure to recover from your travels and prepare for the journey ahead. In the evening, there will be a tour meeting and an opportunity for you to meet your fellow adventurers.

Airport transfers can be arranged by request and are complementary from Marrakech. Transfers from airport in Casablanca can be arranged for an additional fee.

Day 2: Marrakech to Valley of Roses via Ait Ben Haddou
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, today, you will begin your adventure traveling over the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka pass, reaching an altitude of nearly 7500 feet above sea level. They say that life is about the journey and not the destination and this is certainly true when you are on this road. There will be plenty of stops for tea and photographs as you take in the breathtaking vistas before arriving to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou. If this impressive ksar looks familiar, it is because it has starred (or at least made an appearance) in many movies and TV shows including Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, and Game of Thrones. After your visit here, you’ll follow the Road of 1000 Kasbahs to the Valley of Roses and your accommodations for the night.

Day 3: Rose Festival
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, after breakfast, you’ll head to the festival.  Today’s events include Fantasia, the selection of the Rose Queen, and traditional music and dance performances.  In between activities, you can visit the large expo or relax by the hotel pool.

Day 4: Rose Festival
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, after breakfast, you’ll have another day at the festival. Today’s highlight is the Rose Queen parade, but there also be more Fantasia, folklore and traditional music performances, and a concert.

Day 5: Rose Valley Local Immersion!
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, after breakfast, you will head to the fields with the locals and pick the petals and then head to the local scale to weigh your bounty and see how successful you were.  Next, you’ll head to the local rose cooperative to distill your petals into your own bottle of rose water.  After all that work, you’ll be hungry, so you’ll head to the home of a local for a traditional couscous lunch.  After a little Berber hospitality (and a little rest), you will have the option to visit a traditional hammam OR do a little hiking in the Valley of 1000 Kasbahs.

Day 6: Valley of Roses to Merzouga Camel Trek
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, you’ll make your way to nearby Todgha Gorge where you will have an opportunity to walk through the most impressive part of the canyon. Next, you will continue on to the city of Tinghir, where you will have a guided walk of the palmeraie and old Mellah (Jewish neighborhood). After your visit of Tinghir, you will continue on to the giant dunes of the Sahara where you will transfer to a more traditional mode of travel and make your way via camelback into the heart of the dunes to your oasis desert camp for the night. Upon your arrival, you can climb the nearest dune to watch the sunset and the stars come out. Dinner will be served at camp followed by traditional music and more stargazing. Whether you sleep in the warmth of your Berber tent or under the gazillion stars of the Sahara, this is likely to be a night that you will remember for a lifetime.

Day 7: Merzouga to Agdz via Rissani Market Day
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today your camel guide will wake you early so that you can watch the sunrise over the dunes. After the spectacular sunrise, you will camel trek back to the kasbah on the edge of the sand sea where breakfast will be served and you will have an opportunity to shower and prepare for the day. After breakfast and showers, you will head to the first city of any size from the dunes: Rissani. Today happens to be the open day market where people from all of the region come to buy and sell goods for the week.  You’ll visit the hustle and bustle of this small city and have the opportunity to sample the local speciality, Medfouna (also know as Berber Pizza).  While you’re here, you’ll also visit the Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif, the founder of the current ruling dynasty of Morocco. After your visit to this city, you will continue through the Draa Valley (the Valley of a Million Palms) towards the oasis city of Agdz. You’re stop for the night will be at a guest house in the historic Kasbah Tamnougalt.  This kasbah served as a capital of the region during the days of the old salt caravans and dates back at least to the 18th century (though it is likely much older than that).  You’ll have a guided tour of the Kasbah and the adjacent palmeraie before heading back to the terrace of the guest house for a delicious dinner.

Day 8: Agdz to Taroudant
Meals Included: Breakfast

Today after breakfast, you will head through the Small Atlas Mountains to the bustling market town of Taroudant.  Sometimes referred to as “Little Marrakech”, this city is known for its two side-by-side souks.  You’ll have a guided tour of this friendly place before retiring to your accommodations for the evening.

Day 9: Taroudant to Essaouira via Agadir
Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast, you’ll make your way to the coast and to the laid-back city of Agadir.  You’re first stop will be Kasbah Oufella where you will get a panoramic view of the city.  Afterwards,  you will head down to visit the marina and the beach followed by a visit to Souk El Had, the largest market in the region.  When you’ve finished your visit of Agadir, you will head up the coast to the walled city of Essaouira, also known as Mogador from the Portuguese word meaning “wall”.  Archeological evidence shows that this area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but the city as it is now was designed in the 18th century by the French engineer, Thédore Cornut.  On the way to Essaouira, you will see groves of Argan trees (some may even have goats on them) and you’ll stop at a local women’s cooperative to see how argan oil (Morocco’s “liquid gold”) is still produced today with the help of the local goats.

Day 10: Essaouira Immersion!
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, you’ll have time to explore this cool little city.  At lunch time, you’ll head with the group down to the wharf to pick out your lunch from the fresh catch of the day.  After you pick out your fish, you’ll have it grilled Moroccan style. After lunch, you will be free to explore the medina and the adjacent beach on your own.

Day 11: Essaouira to Marrakech
Meals Included: Breakfast, Small Plates Snack with Wine Tasting

You’ll have a little more time to enjoy Essaouira this morning and then you will head back to Marrakech.  On the way, we’ll stop at a local winery for a wine tasting.  You’ll arrive in Marrakech by mid-afternoon and will be free to explore on your own.  Don’t worry if you get lost – that is all part of the experience!

Day 12: Marrakech Immersion!
Meals Included: Breakfast

Today is your last full day in Morocco and after breakfast, you will meet your local city guide who will show you all around Marrakech. Your tour will include visits to the old Ben Youssef Madrasa, El Badi Palace, the Saadian Tombs, and the beautiful Koutoubia Mosque. After you’ve visited these monuments, your guide will escort you to the souks of Marrakech to see how artisans still use traditional methods for their handicrafts today. In the evening, after your tour, you will be free to explore the Medina and Jemaa El F’na on your own.

Day 13: À Bientôt! (Departure)
Meals Included: Breakfast

Nothing schedule for today, so you can have a leisurely breakfast or do some last minute shopping before transferring back to the Marrakech Airport in time for your flight. We’ll say au revoir until your next trip.

Ground transfers to Casablanca airport available upon request for an additional fee.


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. 

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!

Valley of Roses: Ksar Kaissar

This recently renovated hotel just outside of the center of Kelaat M'Gouna offers comfortable rooms in close proximity to the Festival activities.  The Fantasia field is located within walking distance.  All rooms are en suite and have air conditioning.  There is also a hotel pool and a bar. The location of this hotel makes it ideal, but it is also the "official" accommodations of the Festival. If rooms availability, we will use accommodations slightly further away.

Erg Chebbi: 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.

Agdz: Auberge Chez Yacob

This cozy bed and breakfast is housed in an authentic kasbah that dates back at least to the 18th century - although, no one really knows how old it really is.  Once an important stop on the old salt caravans, staying here is like stepping back in time and one can feel the history of this special guest house.  The rooms are clean and comfortable and equipped with air condition and en suite bathrooms.  If the weather is accommodating, meals (which are locally sourced and delicious) are served on the terrace overlooking the adjacent palmeraie. The thing that make this guest house so special, though, is the people.  From the moment you arrive, you are welcomed as if you are family.   In the evening, locals often gather here and, if you are lucky, you may be treated to an impromptu concert.  This relaxing spot is the perfect place to experience the simplicity and joy of the Berber way of life.

Pictures coming soon. . .

Taroudant: Riad Dar Tournai

This charming and bright riad feature a gorgeous pool and lush grounds with views for the medina wall.  Located in a quiet area in the heart of this bustling market town, you are a short walk away from the main square and souks, but you can also just relax and enjoy the quiet of this beautiful riad.  All the guest rooms have private en suite bathrooms and air conditioning.

Essaouira: Riad Ben Atar

Located in the heart of the medina, this traditional Moroccan riad is just a short walk away from both the beach and the shops of the medina.  The rooftop terrace furnishes a place to relax and enjoy the breeze with spectacular views of the medina and the sea.  The comfortable rooms are a great place to unwind after a day of exploring.  Rooms are equipped with en suite bathrooms and televisions and there is free wifi that is accessible throughout the riad.

 


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 offer opportunities to experience Moroccan culture and life, this tour will feature the annual Rose Festival in Kelaat M’Gouna where our guests will have VIP access to all of the festival activities.  This is a unique opportunity to celebrate this special time of year in the Valley of Roses.

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 tour meeting at 7 PM (19:00) on the rooftop terrace at Riad Mabrouk 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 12.  No activities are planned for Day 13, so you can depart whenever you like.

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 select the appropriate option when booking. If you would like a single room, be sure to add the single supplement.

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.

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. We request a 30% deposit at the time of booking. The balance is due prior to the Tour Start Date.

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 up to 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!  
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