President’s Pick Morocco From Taroudant to Tamouda Bay
“Have you ever been to a destination where you received a glimpse of the what the future of the tourism there maybe? Well, this journey is just that, using a bullet train and a royal garden to offer a view into the future of Morocco”
Designed Differently. Explored Sustainably.
Price starts at 800.00 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.
Ride Africa’s first bullet train the Al Boraq named after a mythical creature that takes you on your journey between the coastal cities Rabat and Tangier reaching top speed well over 320km/200mph.
Immerse in the Berber fascinating culture along the untouched planes of Zagora.
Enjoy some of the most cutting-edge sustainable journeys through the untouched parts of Morocco.
Embark on your own private Royal Hot Air Balloon flight between sky and earth discovering fabulous landscapes over the desert of Marrakech with views on the most beautiful sites of the red city.
Venture off the beaten track to Taroundant often called the new Marrakech.
DAY 1: ARRIVE MARRAKECH, MOROCCO – PROCEED TO THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS
Welcome to Morocco, Today, you will arrive at Menara Marrakech airport Upon landing, you will exit from your plane and walk few meters and start looking for your Big Five Tours agent who will escort you and facilitate your immigration process. From there, your agent will take you to the luggage belt (please note that for security reasons, the agent is not allowed to take any of your luggage). You can still ask for a porter to assist you and you can tip him directly. Then, the agent will facilitate your custom process and escort you outside the airport (make sure to exit from the correct terminal) and your guide will introduce you to your private guide or master driver. Afterward, your journey will continue to unearth another side of Morocco, the gorgeous Atlas Mountains. You will travel admiring splendid views of the snow-capped mountains and small Berber villages nestled in the hills. As you approach the village of Asni, you will discover a view as beautiful as a picture with Kasbah Tamadot perched atop a hill that dominates a valley of lush vegetation and Berber villages.
On your arrival at the Kasbah, you will take some time to enjoy the ultimate luxury and blissful atmosphere of this retreat then you will have a pleasant lunch by the pool overlooking stunning views Situated in the spectacular Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the award-winning Kasbah Tamadot was bought by Sir Richard Branson during one of his famous ballooning expeditions. Each of the 28 rooms and suites has been individually decorated to reflect the beautiful architecture of the building and features antiques from all over the world. KASBAH TAMADOT (B)
DAY 2: ATLAS MOUNTAINS Cooking Class with a Berber Family
Upon your arrival in Imlil, you will exchange your car for a mule or go for a short hike, the traditional method of transportation in this region, and will take a journey of discovery through the fascinating Berber culture. Berbers are the original inhabitants of North Africa, and they are composed of several tribes scattered throughout the region. Known as very proud and hard-working people, they have their own dialect, customs, and traditions. During this inspiring excursion, you will have the amazing opportunity to discover a Berber way of life. Via a little road, you will reach a village located on a small hill, where Mohamed welcomes you to his family. You will meet his wife and children and learn about their habits. While visiting their humble house you will discover the traditional oven where they cook the delightful Berber bread. While savoring it with a mint tea, Mohamed, with the help of the guide, will talk to you about his family, his history and will answer any question you may have regarding Berber culture. Also, enjoy your Berber cooking class in the Atlas Mountains with a genuine Berber family in order to experience the local cuisine while enjoying the surrounding beautiful mountain landscape. Linger on the terrace over a delicious lunch admiring the stunning Atlas Mountains and small Berber villages. KASBAH TAMADOT (B)
DAY 3: MARRAKECH / SKOURA
Today, you will travel through the stunning Atlas Mountains to reach the edge of the desert and the city of Skoura, near Ouarzazate. Ouarzazate city was once a stopping point for African traders en route to the cities of Morocco and Europe. As you leave Marrakech, the silhouette of mountain peaks in the distance entices you to the journey ahead. En route, travel through picturesque villages, passing travelers going from one village to the next on foot or by mule. Admire the lush green of eucalyptus trees contrasting the red hue of rocky hills. You’ll notice the exotic smell of “chwaya”, grilled meat, or Berber tagine beautifully displayed with a tomato on the top. As you drive over the Tizi n’Tichka Pass, the highest in the region at 2,260 meters (7,415 ft), you will stop to marvel at the views and take some pictures. En route, you will also pause at the fortified village of Ait Benhaddou – the most exotic and best-preserved Kasbah in the whole of the Atlas region. The village has starred in many masterpieces of the cinema such as “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Jesus of Nazareth”, “Gladiator” and “The Mummy”.
You will cross Ouarzazate and will continue your way before reaching your secluded, unique property nestled in the Skoura palm grove. An imposing Kasbah in Ouarzazate, hugging the edge of the Moroccan desert. Arrive at Dar Ahlam and enter a cool, calm retreat. A clear swimming pool shaded by 100-year-old palms. Manicured lawns and mature gardens. All with the majesty of the desert on your doorstep. Breezy in summer and snug in winter, this traditional Kasbah forges an intimate connection with its surroundings. Each suite has been expertly designed to reflect the changing seasons, with contemporary colors and lavish fabrics. Sip an aperitif on your private terrace before donning a traditional Moroccan cape to take the stroll through the gardens to dinner. With no menu, every meal is a journey into the flavors of the region. Foraged from the garden or sourced from the souk, ingredients are fresh and vibrant.
When you have had your fill of indulgence, venture into the desert for an unforgettable night under the stars. Explore the sand dunes on camelback or tour the valleys in the comfort of a chauffeured 4×4. You can even start your stay with a five-day journey of discovery on the road from Marrakech. Near Dar Ahlam, Musee Theatre Memoire de Ouarzazate, Jebel Sahro, Musee du Cinema, Taourirt Kasbah, Ait Benhaddou (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Labyrinthe Du Sud, 4×4 desert safari, camel safari. DAR AHLAM – SKOURA – (B,L,D)
DAY 4 & 5: SKOURA
Today is at your leisure to relax and enjoy many of the activities the property has to offer. Go along an excursion in 4×4 with driver and guide, ride on the back of mule and camelback, take some time to join in some of the cooking demonstrations and events, if soaking is your preference, access to Hammam, traditional bath, and 25m heated swimming pool (indoor and outdoor massages, as well as scrubs with black soap, are with a supplement is also available and can be booked and paid directly. All meals and snacks, drinks (soft drinks, wines, and spirits) except certain wines à la carte and Champagne. DAR AHLAM – SKOURA (B,L,D)
DAY 6: SKOURA / ZAGORA
Today you will be transferred to Zagora, for a peaceful night in your desert camp. This morning you will meet your guide at the hotel lobby to commence today’s journey. The Sahara. Azalaï Desert Camp offers a unique encounter with the desert in the hollow of the Chigaga dunes. Accessible by 4×4 from M’Hamid, these dunes offer an extreme and wild spectacle. Here, time stops. Silence is enveloping. It is a perfect spot for contemplation. Marvel as the warm, lazy breath of the wind nudges the crests of sand ever further away. AZALAÏ DESERT CAMP (B,L,D)
DAY 7: ZAGORA DESERT
Today is at leisure, it is a perfect spot for contemplation. Marvel as the warm, lazy breath of the wind nudges the crests of sand ever further away. ZALAÏ DESERT CAMP (B,L,D)
DAY 8: ZAGORA TO TAROUDANT VIA AIT KIN
Today you are driven from Zagora to Taroudant en route stopping for lunch at Ait Kin. Distance is around 388 Kilometers and will take around 5 and a half hours. Located a few minutes from the historic ramparts of the medina, in the middle of dozens of hectares of fields and olive groves, Dar Al Houssoun has been entirely realized by local craftsmen, according to traditional techniques, with natural materials such as wood, raw or baked earth, etc. Our superb contemporary gardens, created by Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurières, renowned landscape architects, have been ranked among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean basin and have been featured in many magazines and TV documentaries. Both contemporary and traditional, the estate is managed in an eco-responsible manner. DAR AL HOUSSOUN (B)
DAY 9: TAROUDANT / MARRAKECH
Morning Sightseeing of Taroudant Afterwards heads back to Marrakech. (3h12 minutes – 277 km / 172 miles). Taroudant had its golden age under the Saadi Dynasty, particularly during the reign of Mohammed Ash-Sheikh. He constructed the city walls and built the great mosque and its minaret in 1528. The town became the capital of the Saadians who used it as a base to attack the Portuguese in Agadir. Although they later made Marrakech their capital, they made the town prosper through the riches of the Sous plain, marketing goods such as sugar cane, cotton, rice, and indigo. Today, Taroudant is fondly called the “Little daughter of Marrakech” and it retains the feel of a small market town on a caravan route, resembling Marrakech with its surrounding ramparts. However, unlike Marrakech, Taroudant contains nearly the entire city within its walls. It is also known for its jewelry and carpets, with a relaxed atmosphere to purchase these items. You will take a city tour of Taroudant to admire its beautiful orchards and gardens, the invaluable wealth of his craft, and some interesting colorful markets. After the tour of Taroudant head back to Marrakech where you check into your hotel. Inspired by the rose-hued buildings of old Marrakech and its 12th-century Menara gardens, palatial Amanjena lies just outside the fabled Red City. Amid shady courtyards with petal-strewn fountains, traditional earth-toned pisé-de-terre walls give way to the central basin that nourishes the gardens. Radiating from this ornamental irrigation pool are spacious standalone guest pavilions, each with its own garden and gazebo, and many with private pools. Vaulted ceilings and Moorish arches house cool, elegant interiors, with a generosity of space reflecting the Sahara all around.
Orientation tour in the Medina of Marrakech. Embark on a light orientation tour that ends with a stop at Djemâa El Fna, the city’s main square, home to a multitude of street- artists, stalls of dried fruit, and freshly pressed orange juice. The numerous small restaurants that take over its center from the early evening contribute to the scent of its surroundings. No one can really be certain how it came into being but over the years the square has become the beating heart of Marrakech, where fire-eaters, acrobats, snake-charmers, and street musicians perform at every turn. Afterward, you will return to your hotel for the evening. AMANJENA (B)
DAY 10: MARRAKECH
Today will be a full day of sightseeing in Marrakech and shopping at the Souks. You will be met by your guide at the main lobby where you will begin an exciting day in Marrakech. Marrakech, Pearl of the South, Jewel of the South, The Red City – just a few of the nicknames Marrakech has acquired over the years. A former imperial city and one of the most popular cities for tourists in the Maghreb. Home to beautiful mosques, palaces, and gardens; unrivaled refinement sits calmly alongside the snake charmers and Gnaoua drums pulsing constantly from Djemâa el Fna Square – the most exuberant marketplace and a UNESCO World Heritage, Oral place. Plenty of things to do and see in both the medieval and modern parts of town, Marrakech is the most captivating city of all Morocco. Your sightseeing will include The Old Spice Market – The Rahba Kedima which is a colorful market filled with a wide array of spices from Cumin, Cinnamon, Saffron, Dried Pepper, and more.
Next visit the sixteenth century Saadian Tombs with its stark towers, the tombs were only recently discovered (in 1917). Due to the beauty of their decoration, the tombs have been a major attraction for visitors of Marrakech. The mausoleum comprises the corpses of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the valley of the Draa River. Then the ruined 16th century El Badii Palace dates back from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansour (1578-1603). Next to El Badii Palace – The Bahia Palace in Marrakech is a beautiful building and an excellent example of Eastern Architecture from the 19th century that represents trends and standards of the wealthy who lived at that time. It was built for Ahmed Ibn Moussa between 1894 and 1900 in the Alawi style that was popular at the time. Visit 12th century Koutoubia Mosque and its influential minaret along with its gardens. The largest mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. Walk through the labyrinth-like streets and alleys of Djemma El Fna Square. the city’s main square, home to a multitude of street artists, stalls of dried fruit, and freshly pressed orange juice. The numerous small restaurants that take over its center from the early evening contribute to the scent of its surroundings. Visit the Jewish Mellah – Founded in 1558 by Moulay Abdallah, the Mellah district was designated as the Jewish quarter in Marrakech. The sultan at that time offered this little piece of security for Jews who were escaping to the country. Now the Mellah is almost completely Muslim but There are approximately 250 Jews still living in Marrakech, and most live outside the medina. Visit the Lazama Synagogue located in the old medina. The Synagogue dates to the 16th century and is an important testament to Morocco’s deep Jewish history. The lazama synagogue is one of several synagogues remaining in the Mellah quarter of the Marrakech medina. To our best knowledge, it is the main one and the only one that is open daily to the public and very popular for weddings. This site was built in 1492, the year the Jews fled from Spain following the Inquisition. The current building was built at the turn of the 20th century, also explore the Jewish Cemetery which is only 5 minutes walking from the synagogue. Afterward, have some time to explore some shops and later you will explore the most ancient bakery called Farnatchi to taste freshly baked bread with olive oil degustation, even go for a ride on the second world war sidecar.
You will meet your guide at Café de laPoste. Full of vivid colors and enchanting scents take a glimpse at the Medina’s local life comfortably seated in our vintage sidecars. You can also choose to take a break from this frenzies while riding in the mythical palm grove with its thousands of palm trees and beautiful viewpoints on the jbilets mountains. The old french neighborhood of Gueliz is also of great interest with its art deco buildings and remaining of the 1930’s local life. Your ride is tailor-made, off the beaten path, and designed according to your level of knowledge of the area and your centers of interests, respectful of the local culture, and all-inclusive to offer you a memorable experience. Afterward, you will return to your hotel for the evening. AMANJENA (B)
DAY 11: MARRAKECH
Very early Departure to the Palm grove desert to embark on a Royal flight between sky and earth, with all the refinements of an intimate and personalized welcome. Moroccan mint tea and coffee during the flight. A seated gourmet breakfast will be served in the air, including fresh fruits and juices and Moroccan delicateness. Before leaving, you will receive your own flight certificate. Discovery the fabulous landscapes of Marrakech in your private hot air balloon. We guarantee you an “impregnable” view of the most beautiful sites of the red city (desert, Berber villages and oasis, mountains, and cased gorges…) and a unique sensation in the Moroccan azure. Later in the afternoon Indulge yourself in a half-day day shopping! You will be amazed by the variety of leather, copper, maichor products….in addition to lamps, pottery, carpets. Afterward, return back to your hotel. AMANJENA (B)
DAY 12: MARRAKECH / FEZ Domestic Flight 1hr
Today, you will embark on a domestic flight from Marrakech airport to the airport of Fez. Born out of the mind of Evelyne and Driss Faceh, Palais Faraj expresses the desire to share Fassi immemorial stories and Moroccan lifestyle with the world. This unparalleled and timeless retreat not only provides travelers with exceptional hospitality experiences but also offers unique privileged access to Fès and its beautiful region.
With the most attentive concierge service, Palais Faraj will plan out individually tailor-made journeys where your desire is key. Discovering and understanding Fez within a few days is impossible, but for sure every traveler is immediately attracted to this city – its ancient culture, unparalleled spiritual heritage and countless secrets never let the sensitive adventurer go. Palais Faraj Suites and Spa (B)
Day 13: FEZ
Fez is the fourth largest city in Morocco and known as one of the ancient Imperial Cities that had one of the largest Jewish populations. It is separated into three parts, Fès el Bali (the old, walled city), Fès -Jdid (new Fes, home of the Jewish Mellah), and the Ville Nouvelle (the French-created, newest section of Fes. The Jews of Fes were leaders in trade, the garment business, experts in agriculture, and jewelry designers. Step through Bab Boujloud and plunge into the world of Fez’ old medina, that many refer to as a living museum. a riot of colors, smells, sights, and sounds. Wander along the narrow alleyways, then step through a large, ornate wooden door and find yourself in an astonishingly different world. Visit The 14th Century Palace Gates of the King. The Royal Palace in Fes is one of the oldest (14th Century) and largest in Morocco. Next, visit the Jewish Mellah, the name of the Jewish quarter in Morocco. The Fes Mellah is the first in Morocco originated in 1438, walled with a fortified getaway. It was once solely inhabited by Jews who were confined to living in the walled Mellah for their protection and to the benefit of both royalty and the government. Continue to the sacred site that many women are especially fond of: The Jewish cemetery and Tomb of Solica. The Jewish cemetery contains the tombs of more Jewish saints than any other cemetery in Morocco. One of the more important saints is Lalla Solica, Fes was also once home to a flourishing Jewish community during the 17th century and was also the location of two well-known temples. The Ibn Danan synagogue has been added to the 1996 World Monuments Watch List and Fund. Throughout the old city of Fes, there are traces of ancient Jewish life, including the home of Maimonides, who lived in the city from 1159- 1165.
Afternoon walk to Dyer’s souk of silk, wool, and cotton. Cross the local fruit and vegetable market where you will witness the stalls of local traders and people buying their daily goods. The Tannery, a real tradition of Fez, it is the liveliest and picturesque souks in Fez. The tanneries are often located near watercourses like the Wadi Fès and at a distance from residential areas due to the strongly unpleasant smells they produce. See the wide array of leatherwork. Visit the Weavers Cooperative specialized in weaving the ﬁnest jellaba fabric, made of silk and wool threads imported from Italy. You will also visit Zawiya of Sidi Ahmed al-Tijani which contains the tomb of an 18th century Sufi Shaykh, founder of the Tijaniyya order. Also, the Mausoleum (Zaouia Moulay Idriss) A zaouia (shrine) dedicated to and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fez for the second time in 810. Also visit the University of Karaouine, one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and considered as the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world. Nejarine Square This interesting square is dominated by the beautifully restored Nejjarine Wood Museum housed in an 18th-century funduq. Cross the carpenter area and enter El Attarine street, filled with scents of Fes such as spices and oils. Visit the Bou Inania Medersa. Founded in 1351-56 by Abu Inan Faris, who also founded the Madrasa Bou Inania in Meknes. It is widely acknowledged as a major example of Merinide architecture. The madrasa functioned as both an educational institute and as a congregational mosque at the same time. the only madrasa in Fes has a minaret. PALAIS FARAJ SUITES AND SPA (B)
DAY 14: FEZ / RABAT 2hr 14 min
Today you will be transferred to Rabat, the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco and the seat of its government, situated at the mouth of the River Bou Regrag, opposite the city of Sale. You will check in to the Sofetel Rabat Jardin des Roses. This property lies in the heart of the capital, near the Royal Palace and Rabat International Airport. The 5-star luxury hotel has contemporary art combining French design with Moroccan touches, with a 9-ha. Andalusian garden with thousands of roses is an urban oasis renowned for major events like the Mawazine Festival. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. SOFITEL RABAT JARDIN DES ROSES (B)
Day 15: RABAT / TANGIER Bullet Train 1hr 32 min
Today you will leave Rabat on board the Al Boraq towards the capital city of Tangier. The first of its kind on the African continent, Morocco’s much anticipated first “Train à Grande Vitesse” (or TGV), Reaching a top speed of well over 320km/200mph, the journey’s 1h20m is far quicker than the 3h45m it would normally take. King Mohammed VI named the high-speed service Al Boraq, in reference to the mythical creature that transported the Islamic prophets, notably the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem during the night journey. Today it takes you on your journey between the coastal cities of Rabat and Tangier. After your sightseeing. You will be transferred to Banyan Tree. BANYAN TREE TAMOUDA BAY (B)
DAY 16 & 17: TAMOUDA BAY
For the next two days are to relax and enjoy yourself at your leisure. The Banyan Tree is a Sustainable luxury all-poll beachfront resort set along the Mediterranean Sea shoreline in Tamouda Bay with 92 elegantly designed villas offering privacy and charm, The Moroccan-styled villas feature spacious and airy outdoor areas, private pools and unique layouts experience our stunning beach retreat that blends romance with exotic Moroccan charm and provides complete relaxation with its understated Mediterranean vibe and activities to indulge in. Here you will find Culinary Experiences for every occasion and every palate. Whether you are looking for a casual meal, a beachfront experience, or just delicious eastern Mediterranean, savoring flavorful Tai cuisine. If a Spa Day is more of what you have in mind, takes a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well-being, providing a Sanctuary for the Senses. Drawing on Asian traditions that date back centuries, these intimate retreats blend romance and serenity. The Banyan Tree was founded with the core value of driving sustainable development and employs an integrated and participatory approach, to minimize the impact while safeguarding and enhancing the human and physical environment for present and future generations.
Plastic-Free Banyan Tree
The resort is committed to a brand-wide pledge to reduce and ultimately eliminate single-use plastics from their operations, as part of the continued effort to directly address the detrimental effect that plastic has on the environment and marine life. As part of the efforts to decrease the use of plastic, our laundry team collects old bedsheets that have been repurposed as laundry garment covers.
Supporting Local Communities
Supporting long-term societal prosperity is central to Banyan Tree’s ability to create value for local communities and this is achieved by empowering them through job creation, education, supporting artisanal cooperatives, community impact initiatives, humanitarian relief, and connecting travelers to local culture and heritage. BANYAN TREE TAMOUDA BAY (B)
DAY 18: TAMOUDA BAY / TANGIER / CASABLANCA Al Borag Bullet Train
Today, you will be transferred to Tangier Ville station, for your bullet train to Casablanca. On arrival, you begin your tour. your visit will include the magnificent Hassan II Grand Mosque, one of the few mosques that can be visited in Morocco. Built on reclaimed land, almost half of the surface of the mosque lies over the waters of the Atlantic. This was inspired by the verse of the Qur’an that states “the throne of God was built on the water”. Part of the floor of this facility is glass so worshippers can kneel directly over the sea; above, lasers shine at night from the top of the minaret toward Mecca. The mosque is amongst the largest in the world and can house as many as 25,000 worshipers. Its minaret is the tallest religious structure in the world. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL CASABLANCA (B)
DAY 19: CASABLANCA/ DEPART
Today you will bid farewell to Morocco and be transferred to the airport where your flight awaits. Upon arrival at the airport, you will meet your Meet & Greet agent who will escort you to your registration counter. From there, your guide will assist you and facilitate your custom then immigration process. You will then be escorted to your VIP lounge where you will relax while waiting for your boarding and departure. (B)