MOROCCAN ADVENTURE

Globus tour QM 10 days
October 16-26, 2005

This was a wonderful trip and we had a great time. On this page we have put some of the best pictures along with the itinerary description. Click on the picture or the day number to see the full report and pictures for that day. Our comments are in red.

We had first taken the Globus Egyptian Splendor tour and flew into Casablanca from Cairo to begin the Morocco tour.

DAY 1:Overnight flight.
DAY 2: Check into your hotel in Casablanca. Meet your tour director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner.

DAY 3:CASABLANCA-FEZ. Follow the infamous Barbary Coast to the imperial city of Rabat, once the lair of the corsairs and now the country's capital. Sightseeing focuses on the Royal Palace, Mohammed V Mausoleum, Hassan Tower and the fortified Kasbah of Oudais. Today's second imperial city is Meknes, with its monumental gates and city walls. Visit the Old Granaries and Stables, and stop at the Market Square to admire Bab el-Mansour, the finest gateway in North Africa. Continue your journey to Fez.

This was a whirlwind day with may beautiful buildings to admire and a pleasant ride through the countryside. We had a government guide as well as our tour director, and both of them provided interesting commentary as we went along.

DAY 4: FEZ. Snap pictures of the magnificent entrance to the Royal Palace, drive through the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter, and travel on to beautifully ornate Bab Bou Jeloud, the entrance to old Fez. Today's highlight is a visit to the labyrinthine Fes-El-Bali, Morocco's largest medina; follow your local guide to exquisite Medersa Bou Inania, admire Nejjarine Square and its fountain, the Karaouiyne Mosque and University, and the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss. Enjoy a ten mile drive along the panoramic Route de Fez, stopping at its best vantage point. Tonight, an optional folklore dinner at a typical Moroccan restaurant.

Fez is an amazing city. The medina (a "medina" is the walled old center of the city) can hardly be believed. It is a teeming mass of humanity (and donkeys) and without our four guides we would inevitably have been lost, never to be seen again! The folklore dinner at a former wealthy merchant's house hidden in the medina was fabulous.

DAY 5:FEZ TO ERFOUD. An unforgettable scenic journey through ever-changing landscapes on your way to the mystical deep south. Morning break in the quiet Swiss-style village of Ifrane. Verdant cedar forests give way to volcanic mountains and wind-swept plains as you motor across the Middle Atlas range to Midelt. Pass fortified mud-and-straw villages and spot young shepherds driving their flocks to scant pastures. Descent into the spectacular Ziz Gorges, and arrive in Er-Rachidia, an important crossroad once controlled by the French Foreign Legion. Afterwards, the landscape becomes progressively more arid, and you enter a stony desert. On your last stretch to Erfoud, an unexpected and breathtaking surprise: the miraculous and peaceful oasis of Ziz Valley, dotted with palm-fringed towns, fortified strongholds, and scenes of timeless rural life.

WOW. What can I say. Obviously the Globus itinerary writer felt compelled to wax poetic here, and it is a perfect description of this wonderful day. One magnificent vista after another displayed itself through the bus windows. It was an absolutely wonderful trip.

DAY 6:THE SAHARA DESERT. A short drive takes you to holy Rissani, gateway to the Sahara Desert, where a few bowing date palms recall what was once a luxuriant oasis. For a thousand years this was the principal trading post for caravans from the Niger River, the principal trading post for caravans from the Niger River, where gold was exchanged for salt and sugar. See the Grand Gateway of the town and the Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Sharif, the first ruler of the Alawite dynasty. A thrilling experiencs is the visit to the colorful Souks, the desert tribe's market, where Taureg, Berber and Blue People meet and animatedly swap silver jewelry and rugs for vegetables, salt and other goods, by slapping one another's hands. This evening an exciting optional four wheel drive safari tour to the 450 foot-high Erg Chebbi sand dunes for a close up encounter with the Sahara Desert.

For my DW this day was the absolute highlight of the tour. What can match the immense sweep of the Sahara? At sunset the entire field of sand dunes turns a brilliant red color. It is wonderful beyond imagination!

DAY 7:ERFOUD-OUARZAZARE. Motor along the eastern slopes of the High Atlas mountains to the enchanting oasis of Tinerhir. Follow its lush valley where crops grow in the shade of date palms, hemmed in by mud-brick villages and barren mountains, to one of Morocco's most impressive natural sights, the Todra Gorge, or the "Grand Canyon of the Sahara." Drive further west through the Dades Valley, called "Valley of the Thousand Kasbahs" for its superb and noble fortresses, and "Roses Valley." Arrive at the resort town of Ouarzazate, famous for its film studios. Time for a visit to the carefully restored Taourirt Kasbah, where outstanding views of the fortified town and valley can be seen.

Just when you think you have seen all the scenery, this Gorge comes along! It is truly spectacular. Ouarzazate is a beautiful oasis and this whole day was one of wonderful sights.

DAY 8:OUARZAZATE-MARRAKESH. Pass through picturesque villages surrounded by craggy mountains while motoring towards the 7414 foot high Tizi-n-Tichka Pass in the heart of the High Atlas mountains. Each new twist in the road leads to a different, more dramatic landscape. Leaving the pass behind the landscape gradually changes to a green mantle. Lunchtime arrival in the red-colored imperial city of Marrakesh, situated in an oasis of more than half a million palm trees and surrounded by deep walls. In the late afternoon enjoy a leisurely carriage ride and a stroll through the exquisite Yves Saint Laurent Gardens. Tonight an optional excursion not to be missed: the 30-horse Fantasia and Moroccan Feast "Chez Ali."

Another day of stunning scenery. The change from the desert south side of the High Atlas to the verdant green north side is a great lesson in geography. Marrakesh is a bustling city combining the modern with the ancient. I am not sure, however, how anyone thinks a carriage ride along a bustling four lane street with crushing traffic and yelling drivers can be described as "leisurely"! Chez Ali is an absolute kick and a real highlight of our visit.

DAY 9: MARRAKESH. Guided half day sightseeing includes Menara Park with its man made lake and quaint pavilion, Bahia Palace, the elaborately decorated Saadian Tombs, and the Djemaa El-Fna, the palpitating town center dominated by the 222 foot high Koutoubia Minaret. Afternoon at leisure to bargain hunt in the souks.

Wonderful sightseeing, and the Djemaa El-Fna (The Marketplace of the Nobodies) is another assault on the senses at teeming masses of people surge through the narrow lanes and across the square. Among all the people we also met these Barbary Apes.

DAY 10: MARRAKESH-CASABLANCA. Head across farming country towards Casablanca, Morocco's modern seaport with a strong French accent. Sightseeing focuses on the magnificent United Nations Square, the Arab League Park, Anfa's residential quarters, the Synagogue, the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, and to top it off, the imposing Hassan II Mosque, built in a breathtaking setting on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Today's sightseeing brings us back to the modern age. It is a beautiful city, and the Mosque is an impressive sight indeed! This concluded a wonderful trip, and we highly recommend it to anyone.

ACCOMODATIONS. Most of the hotels on this trip were luxurious, and some were wonderfully local. Since many people ask about the hotels I have put up a page of them here.

BEGINwith the first day of the tour.


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