A trip to Morocco can feel like a step back in time. From the bustling medina of Marrakech to one of the seven wonders of the world, the Sahara Desert. As a coastal North African country, Morocco welcomes a mix of Arabic, French, Spanish, and indigenous Berber influences. The result is a unique and timeless style, one that will stay with you long after your return home. Our trip begins in Casablanca, journeys to the Sahara where we'll stay in a luxury desert camp, explores the Dades Gorges (known as Morocco’s Grand Canyon) and then finally to magnificent Marrakesh. There's an optional 2-night trip extension to the seaside town of Essaouira if you desire the perfect ending to your adventure. March is an ideal time to visit Morocco, with temperatures ranging from 58 °F (14 °C) to 72 °F (22 °C). We’ve set up meet-and-greet experiences with locals putting an emphasis on the women of Morocco, enabling us to have a deeper, more authentic perspective on the Moroccan lifestyle. Of course, we’ll spend time the markets where the shopping is incredible. We’ll experience a traditional hammam ritual and have a Moroccan cooking class in a Riad. Mosques and Palaces will fill our days, ubiquitous mint tea will relax us, and on our last night we’ll be throwing a party like you’ve never seen or experienced. We’ll be dressed in stunning silk traditional dress and music; dancing and feasting will ensue. This is the Morocco of your dreams.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
Arrival & Welcome to Morocco!
We start the trip in Casablanca, so book your flight for arrival at Casablanca International Airport on March 5 (or earlier). After customs and baggage claim, you’ll be welcomed to Morocco by our driver and guide, who will take you to our hotel, Le Casablanca. Rest and relax, and in the afternoon, we’ll get to visit Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Africa and a stunning example of Moroccan architecture! (Approx. 30 mins driving time).
We’ll all meet in the evening for a dinner at Rick’s Cafe.
Today, we’ll have the morning at leisure to relax before meeting for lunch at La Sqala, a great Moroccan restaurant with open seating in an outdoor garden.
We’ll then visit Casablanca’s Habous district in the afternoon, which is one of the most popular shopping areas in the city. Our guide will walk us through the district and give some background and will also be able to help us negotiate for any Moroccan goods that catch our eye!
After a day spent in Casablanca, we’ll have the rest of the afternoon at our leisure before meeting back at the hotel for dinner. Then, we’ll make our way to Casablanca Airport to catch a late evening flight to Errachidia, the closest airport to the Sahara Desert. We’ll be picked up upon arrival at the airport there and will drive south to Erfoud, where we’ll be spending the night at Palais Masondoia (Approx. 1.5 hours driving time).
After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll head out to the Sahara Desert! We’ll stop for lunch shortly before arriving at the Sahara and will then head through the dunes and into our desert camp (Approx. 1 hour driving time).
Upon arrival, we’ll be able to get settled in our luxury tents (complete with a bathroom and shower!) and enjoy the surrounding scenery. Close to golden hour, we’ll take a camel ride through the dunes to experience the traditional nomadic lifestyle.
We’ll eat a homemade dinner in the camp’s dining tent and will have the rest of the evening to sit by the campfire, enjoy some live music and stargaze! We will be staying at the Luxury Desert Camp.
If anyone in the group is in the mood to wake up early, we can set our alarms to catch the incredible sunrise over the Saharan dunes! Otherwise, we’ll meet for another delicious breakfast at the desert camp and have the option to sand-board in the dunes. We’ll then bid farewell to the desert and head to Dades, a town located halfway between the Sahara and Marrakech.
We’ll stop for lunch en route and will have the opportunity to stop for photos and take a quick walk through the Dades Gorges, also known as Morocco’s Grand Canyon. Once we arrive at our property, a rustic mountain lodge with charming rooms, we’ll have a gourmet dinner at the property, which is known for its Moroccan-European fusion that changes daily based on local ingredients (Approx. 5.5 hours driving time).
Overnight stay at Chez Pierre.
After breakfast, we’ll head to the Ochre City of Marrakech! We’ll make a stop at Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, a popular filming location where shows like Game of Thrones have been shot. We’ll take a brief visit of the Kasbah and have lunch nearby and will then continue the drive to Marrakech (Approx. 7 hours driving time in total).
After arriving and checking in to our riad, we’ll have yet another Moroccan adventure: a tagine cooking class! This class is hands-on and is taught by an expert chef, who will walk us through the process of how to make a traditional tagine. After prepping our tagines and side salads under the chef’s guidance, we’ll all get to enjoy our homemade creations for dinner!
Overnight stay at Riad Elegancia
On Friday, we’ll wake up to breakfast on the riad’s terrace and then head out to explore Marrakech’s old city. Our guide will take us on a walking tour of the most notable monuments, followed by a lunch break in the medina. We’ll then continue with a visit of the souks, where every imaginable good is sold, from spices to shoes to floor-length carpets. Once again, our guide will be able to help us negotiate at the souks!
In the evening, we’ll head to the famed Djemaa el Fna Square, which comes alive at night. Storytellers hold audience’s captive, juice vendors call out the flavors they have available, and live musicians perform in the middle of the square. After our guide helps us get our bearings, we’ll have the rest of the evening and dinner at our leisure.
This morning, we’ll head to the Majorelle Gardens for a self-guided visit through the colorful paths! The gardens are filled with exotic plants and trees from all over the world. Next door sits the YSL Museum, home to original work of the internationally renowned designer, Yves Saint-Laurent. Once you’ve made your way through the gardens, take some time to check out the museum and learn more about YSL.
Lunch today is at Amal Association, an organization dedicated to empowering disadvantaged women in Marrakech. We’ll eat a delicious lunch here and learn more about the work they do!
For those more inclined to a little pampering, we have an optional hammam spa trip planned to get you scrubbed and relaxed. The traditional hammam ritual involves several steps to cleanse, detoxify, and help in relaxation. You’ll experience one of the world’s most ancient traditions, a black-soap cleanse, followed by a cascading cold-water rinse. This prepares your skin for an invigorating scrub, which leaves you soft and free of accumulated toxins and impurities. After another rinse, a mask of Moroccan volcanic clay is applied to the body, face and hair. The last step of this centuries-old practice of purification is the relaxing massage using pure oils, Morocco’s precious youth elixir!
Finally, the trip concludes with a farewell dinner and party, where we’ll celebrate together with a gourmet dinner, entertainment, and henna artists!
We bid farewell to our new friends who we will surely count as friends for life, along with all the sights and sounds of the past week’s adventures.
Ideally, your return flight is from Marrakech airport (a 15 min drive from the airport), but if you booked a round-trip flight to/from Casablanca, we’ll arrange for you to be driven to the Casablanca Int’l airport. Casablanca is 2.5-3-hour drive from Marrakech, so make sure your departing flight is in the late afternoon or evening to ensure plenty of time to get to the airport, and for customs and security.
While others depart, you’ll have the morning at leisure in Marrakech. Then we’ll pack up and head to Essaouira, the charming coastal town just a few hours west of Marrakech – a UNESCO World Heritage site. (approx 3-hour drive)
We’ll stop en route to see the tree goats and visit an argan oil co-op to see how the famous health product is made by women and learn about its importance for the local economy. We’ll enjoy a vineyard lunch on the city outskirts.
We’ll check-on at the Riad Villa Maroc with some free time to relax before meeting up for dinner.
Upon arrival at our property, we’ll have some time to relax before meeting up for dinner.
After a breakfast of Moroccan pancakes or Viennese pastries we’ll be treated to a half-day guided visit of Essaouira. we’ll visit the city’s old ramparts, the Medina, artisan cooperatives, and heritage sites. With its brilliant blue and white architecture, windswept beach, and easy-going charm, Essaouira is a lovely change from the hectic pace of Marrakech. On your guided visit, you’ll learn all about the city’s history and the influence left over the centuries by the Carthaginians, Romans, and Portuguese. Behind the 18th century sea walls are thuya wood workshops, artists’ enclaves and silent alleyways where cats sun themselves and veiled women emerge from studded doorways. The harbor is a photographer’s dream, with fishing nets laid out on the quayside, boats unloading their catches and the smell of freshly grilled sardines and lobsters in the air.
Lunch is included near the beach for some fresh seafood.
After lunch, the rest of the afternoon will be at your leisure to enjoy the nearby beach and soak up the sun! We’ll meet back up later in the evening for our final dinner together.
Bid farewell to your new friends, driver and guide and drive back to Marrakech airport (~3 hours) or Casablanca airport (~4.5-5 hours). Please make sure your departing flight is in the late afternoon or evening to ensure plenty of time to get to the airport, and for customs and security.
Located in one of the residential and green areas of the city of Casablanca, 5 minutes from the business center, the corniche and the royal golf course, Casablanca Hotel is the essence of this destination. With an uncluttered architecture reminiscent of the beautiful Art Deco period, and an exceptional garden planted in the city center, it asserts its imprint of an Urbain Resort with its cozy elegance.
The Palais Masandoïa hotel is the promise of a magical and timeless stopover at the gates of the Sahara desert. Sheltered from view at the exit of Erfoud, the hotel offers everything that makes a trip through southern Morocco a privileged interlude during which everything becomes possible.
Luxury Camp Chebbi brings you the perfect combination of a nomadic lifestyle with all the accoutrements of a super-luxury stay.
In the middle of the desert of Merzouga, in Erg Chebbi, is the Luxury Camp Chebbi. A unique space where you will enjoy the tranquility and Berber hospitality.
The Auberge Chez Pierre is located just below the Dades Gorge, six hours from Marrakech on the road to the dunes of Merzouga. You can be sure of a warm welcome and a peaceful stay in this idyllic setting in the High Atlas.
Jewel of tradition and Moroccan hospitality, Riad Boutique Elegancia invites you to a timeless journey in complete privacy that bears witness to the most beautiful expressions of the ancestral know-how of Moroccan craftsmen. A private residence reduced to 11 keys which offers a highly personalized service in complete privacy.
Your host for this trip is L. Leigh Rhoads (“Linda Leigh” to her friends, of which you will assuredly be one after your travels) who calls the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia home. A Civil Rights attorney by trade, Leigh has taken every gift of time available to her, between practicing law and being mother to an extremely fun and mischievous set of twins, to seek out adventurous and meaningful travel experiences like this one.
Includes airport transfer & 1 night at Le Casablanca Hotel w/ breakfast.
Jewel of North Africa
Moroccan culture is a unique blend of African, Arabic (or Moorish) and European influence where the past and present live together in fascinating harmony. Get ready for endless diversity and constant surprises!
A registered country guide, driver and host to look after your every need
A GG2P welcome gift
All meals specified in the itinerary
All trips, entrance fees and transportation in country
Souk Cuisine cooking class
Meals and visits with artists, women at the cooperative as well as a Moroccan family
Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals.
Souvenirs & shopping
Your international airfare
Hammam & Spa experiences
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
The airport you will want to fly into is the Casablanca Airport (CMN) -The Mohammed V Airport.
The trip officially starts on the afternoon of March 5th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Morocco, you may want to consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and get acclimated to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, you can book directly through the website under the Ad On's button. . We will take care of making sure that you are kept in the same room as you will be in when the trip starts.
Airport transfers are included on the day the trip starts. If you are arriving early they will not be included in the cost of the trip but we can make arrangements to have you picked up at the airport and brought to the hotel.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
March is a great time to visit Morocco. It is the beginning of Spring. The temperature in Morocco in March grows warmer during the day, with average daytime temperatures of 68F-75F, depending on the area of the country that you visit. Nights are still chilly, though with nighttime temperatures between 50F-55F. March tends to be the second rainiest month of the year.
To travel to Morocco you do not need a special visa to enter the country. Don’t forget your Passport. It’s the one item that’s tough to replace. Please be sure you have enough empty pages without stamps in your passport and that it is good for a full 6 months after the date you return from your trip.