With National Geographic Expeditions
November 11 – 21, 2011
May 2 – 12, 2012
October 31 – November 10, 2012
Experience Morocco’s mystique with a National Geographic photographer on a special photography expedition. With your camera in hand, discover the enchanting cities of Marrakech and Fez, venture into rose-colored kasbahs, and visit Berbers in their mountain villages. Along the way, our expert will share techniques and insights about how to best capture the variety of images you’ll encounter.
- Photograph the ancient adobe village of Aït Benhaddou lit up by the late afternoon light.
- Ride into the Sahara on a camel in time to capture the sun setting on the dunes.
- Snap portraits of the wizened snake charmers of Marrakech, tanners knee-deep in dye vats, and traditional Berber families.
- Experience the diverse landscapes of Morocco, from cool mountain forests and coastal towns to rocky outcrops that rise out of lush oases.
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Casablanca, Morocco
Depart on an overnight flight to Casablanca. After time to relax the following morning, visit the extraordinary Hassan II Mosque, whose 689-foot minaret is the world’s tallest. After lunch, photograph the city’s Habous district and the mechouar, the ceremonial meeting place outside the Royal Palace. Tonight, gather for a festive welcome dinner overlooking the sea. Sheraton Casablanca Hotel & Towers (L,D)
Day 3 — Casablanca/Marrakech
Drive through the elegant Anfa neighborhood on the way to Marrakech, Morocco’s legendary “pearl of the south.” After a poolside lunch at the hotel, meander through the stunning Majorelle Garden, once owned by Yves Saint-Laurent, and pay a visit to the museum here. See the splendid Koutoubia Mosque and the Saadian Tombs, and visit Bahia Palace. Explore the labyrinthine streets of the medina, lined with market stalls and craftspeople; and soak up the colorful chaos of Djemma el Fna Square, where snake charmers and magicians captivate the passersby. Le Méridien N’Fis (B,L)
Day 4 — Marrakech
This morning, you may choose to delve back into the medina on a photo shoot, or visit other sites, including the 16th-century Ben Youssef Madrassa and the Museum of Marrakech. Take advantage of free time after lunch to explore on your own.Tonight, gather for a rooftop reception and dinner accompanied by traditional Gnaoua music in the heart of the old medina. Le Méridien N’Fis (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Aït Benhaddou/Ouarzazate
Cross the High Atlas Mountains over the Tichka Pass, stopping for mint tea at a traditional Berber village. Proceed to Aït Benhaddou for lunch overlooking this ancient fortified village before venturing into its warren of twisting lanes and shops. Continue to Ouarzazate, a former colonial trading post now known for its movie studios, where films like Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia were shot. Le Berbère Palace (B,L)
Day 6 — Ouarzazate/Boumalne Dades
Photograph the traditional adobe architecture in Taourirt Kasbah this morning. Then set out on the fabled Road of 1,000 Kasbahs. Arrive in Boumalne Dades, a small town nestled amid the crags and plateaus of the semi-desert landscape. After lunch, head out on a hike in the dramatic Dades Gorge. Xaluca Dades (B,L)
Day 7 — Erfoud/Rissani/Merzouga
Continue along the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs to Erfoud, passing spectacular rock formations, oases, and rose plantations. In Erfoud, climb into 4x4s for the drive into the desert. Visit the well known suq in Rissani, a historic camel caravan stop. Later, ride into the dunes on a camel to watch the sun set on the Sahara. Return to our deluxe Berber tented camp to dine under the star-studded sky and enjoy an evening of Berber folk music and tales around the campfire. Bivouac Tented Berber Camp (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Merzouga/Fez
Awaken early for a walk across the sandscape as the rising sun paints the dunes orange and gold. Return to the camp for a hearty breakfast. Then head north into the high-mountain plains on your way to Fez, stopping for a walk in a lush cedar forest. Arrive in Fez late this afternoon, and settle into your room at the legendary Palais Jamai, your home for the next three nights. Palais Jamai (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Fez
Spend the day exploring this magnificent imperial city. Discover the 14th-century Bou Inania madrassa, characterized by its intricately carved stucco walls, arches, and cornices. See the Nejjarine Fountain, covered in exquisite mosaics, and the Kairaouine Mosque. With your camera in hand, venture into the lively medina, where merchants preside over colorful mounds of spices and tanners soak skins in vats of dye. Later, visit the Royal Palace and Fes Jdid, home to the historic Jewish quarter. Palais Jamai (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Fez/Volubilis and Meknes
Today you may choose to explore Fez at your own pace or take an excursion to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a World Heritage site; and Meknes, Morocco’s 17th-century capital. Tonight, toast our Moroccan adventure at a farewell dinner and belly-dancing performance at the Palais Jamai. Palais Jamai (B,D)
Day 11 — Fez/U.S.
This morning, transfer to the airport for your return flight.