Exotic and alluring, Morocco offers a fascinating culture; we’ll follow the ‘trail of the kasbahs’ into the Sahara, hike in the High Atlas, bike along the coast to the resort town of Essaouira, explore the town of Marrakech and more…

Only Great Explorations:

  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences
  • An evening to remember: an evening in the desert being entertained by a troupe of berber musicians
  • A ride you will never forget: the descent from the Tin Mal mosque to Ouirgane with a view of Mt.Toubcal, Morocco’s highest
  • Private Land Cruiser for each 4-5 guests, with driver
  • Order off the menu at restaurants you won’t find in guidebooks
  • Distinctive, charming hotels too small for larger groups
  • We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises

Location

Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate

Day 1

Zagora

Zagora

Day 2

M’Hamid

M’Hamid

Day 3

Ait Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou

Day 4

Ouirgane

Ouirgane

Day 5+6

Essaouira

Essaouira

Day 7+8

Marrakesh

Marrakesh, Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz, Morocco

Day 9

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP

Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
10 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 9 dinners
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
All tips in hotels, restaurants etc. (excludes discretionary tips for guides)
All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)

Particulars

EVENT DATES

2019

Apr 3-13 (guaranteed departure)
Oct 8-19 (private departure)
Oct 30-Nov 9

2020

Apr 4-14 (guaranteed departure)
Oct 18-28
Oct 28-Nov 7

Custom trips available and can start any date. Call or email for details.

TRIP SIZE

8-16 participants

TOTAL DAYS

11 days/ 10 nights

ARRIVE / DEPART

Ouarzazate / Marrakech

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Moderate
30-40+ miles daily
Van supported

TERRAIN

Gently rolling with some short steep hills

COST

Land Cost (current year):
US $4350
Includes 9B/7L/7D

Single Supplement:
US $1090

Bike Rental:
US $280
Please note: Our bicycle fleet for this trip are 2014 Cannondale Quick 1 performance hybrids which are suitable for the roads in Morocco. Bikes come with flat pedals, rear racks and a map cover. Racing bikes available on request.

Extension Ouarzazate:

US$395 pp

Single suppl: US$75

1 night hotel in Ouarzazate at a 4 star hotel with 1/2 day guided visit, breakfast and airport transfer on arrival.

Extension Marrakech:

US$695 pp

Single suppl: US$175

2 nights hotel with breakfast daily, 1/2 day guided visit for each day and airport transfers on departure.

 

Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we gladly accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at info@great-explorations.com or by telephone at 604.730.1247

1

Day 1

Ouarzazate 

We suggest connecting by air through Casablanca; we’ll be at the airport in Ouarzazate to greet you on arrival and whisk you to our hotel where mint tea and sublime surroundings await. Flying into Marrakech is also possible but note it is a 4-5 hour drive from Marrakech to Ouarzazate.

2

Day 2

Zagora 

Following the magical Draa River, we cycle along this fertile valley where lush palmeraies secret date palms, olive groves, and citrus trees. We’ll stop close to Agdz for lunch before continuing on to lively Zagora, which dates from French colonial times.
Distance: 33 km, elevation gain 156 m or 67 km, gain 155 m.*
The distance between Ouarzazate and Agdz is 80 km.

3

Day 3

M’Hamid 

Our cycling route will lead us to Tamegroute, where we’ll visit an ancient library which boasts a magnificent collection of Koranic texts, dictionaries, and astrology works, some on gazelle hides. We will also visit a local co-operative to learn how the distinctive pottery found in this region is made. Afterwards, we’ll continue deep into the Sahara (Tomboctou is only 52 days away by camel caravan). Trading our bikes for camels, we’ll be led by Berber escorts to our private tented camp, where festivities await.
Distance: 49 to 100+ km, elevation gain up to 272m.*
The distance between Zagora and our drop off point is approximately 45 km.

4

Day 4

Ait Ben Haddou 

Up with the sun, we’ll enjoy breakfast surrounded by dunes before departing the desert. We’ll visit a local market, where fruit, vegetables, herbs, handicrafts, sheep, goats and donkeys are brought to be sold. Late afternoon, we’ll cycle a quiet road to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Ben Haddou. This is Morocco’s most spectacular ksour, a collection of towered and crenellated Kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas mountains. We’ll stay at the intimate Ksar Ighnda, a charming and luxurious hotel.
Distance: 35 km, elevation gain 235 m.*
The distance between M’hamid and Ait Ben Haddou is 280 km.

5

Day 5

Ait Ben Haddou

Up with the sun, we’ll enjoy breakfast surrounded by dunes before departing the desert. We’ll visit a local market, where fruit, vegetables, herbs, handicrafts, sheep, goats and donkeys are brought to be sold. There will be an option to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Ben Haddou. This is Morocco’s most spectacular ksour, a collection of towered and crenellated Kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas mountains.
Distance: 35 km, elevation gain 235 m.*
The distance between M’hamid and Ait Ben Haddou is 280 km.

6

Day 6+7

Ouirgane

Our first ride has the potential to be one of your favourites: 32 kms in a quiet valley. We’ll then transfer over the High Atlas, beginning our second ride along a flat stretch of magnificent road where views of snow-capped peaks and lush farmland provide a dramatic change of scenery. Reaching the Ouirgane valley, we’ll stay at the exclusive Domaine de la Roseraie with extensive gardens. Next day, we’ll hike into local villages where we’ll be offered tea and a chance to bake bread in community ovens. Afternoon options include cycling along the enchanting Oued Nfiss to the extraordinary Tin Mal mosque, built in 1156 and recently restored and open to visitors.
Distance D5 : 32 km, elevation gain 580m or 71 km, gain 745m.*
Distance D6 : 40 km, elevation gain 415m or 40 km, gain 775m.*
The distance between Ait Benhaddou and Ouirgane is 220 km.

7

Day 8+9

Essaouira

This could be another of your favourite days of riding as we cycle a quiet road from the mountains to the sea. Essaouira is famous for its artisan shops, European feel, and several kilometers of sandy beaches. On our second day, we’ll join a local historian exploring the medina here, where the maze of tiny streets reveal spice markets, marquetry workshops, ancient hammams and more. Cycling options include routes along the coast; for those who like to walk there are also hikes to secluded beaches from town. We’ll stay at the exclusive Villa De L”O, located in the heart of the medina.
Distance D8 : 22 to 50+ km, elevation gain 450+ m.
Distance D9 : 49 km, elevation gain 270m or 25 km, gain 127m.*
The distance between Ouirgane and Essaouira is 210 km.

8

Day 10

Marrakech

There may be a an opportunity for an early morning ride to Sidi Kaouiki before departing for Marrakech in time for lunch. Afterwards, we’ll visit the city’s sites including the Majorelle Gardens, Museum of Yves St. Laurent, and El Bahia Palace; as dusk sets on the extraordinary Jemaa El Fna, we’ll watch as snake charmers, acrobats and street performers of every kind imaginable entertain. We’ll stay at a wonderful Riad near the historical center and for our final night, dine at one of the most atmospheric restaurants in Morocco.
Distance: 40 km, elevation gain 415 m.*

9

Day 11

You can depart at your leisure anytime on this day.

*Distance and elevation gains may vary depending on hotels chosen for specific departure.

Le Berbere Palace, Quarzazate

This 5-star hotel is the best in Ouarzazate and was built in the Kasbah style. There is a large swimming pool, steambath and massage. The restaurant serves international cuisine and Moroccan specialities.


Azalai Lodge, Zagora

This palace style 4-star hotel is the best in Zagora. The rooms are well appointed and the grounds, surrounding the swimming pool, are opulent.


Berber Tented Camp

Located in the sand dunes of the Sahara, canvas tents with beds, cotton sheets and warm blankets will welcome you to this oasis in the dessert. With moroccan rugs underfoot, and the twinkling light of kerosene lamps we think you'll find this evening one of your most memorable in Morocco.


Riad Ksar Ighnda, Ait Ben Haddou

This charming Riad property with just 19 rooms, each with individual decor offering a luxurious ambiance of elegance and sophistication.


Domaine Roseraie, Ouirgane

La Roseraie is a magnificent property with delightful gardens, comfortable rooms (many with fireplaces), a full onsite spa, complete with heated indoor swimming pool and tradtional hammam, horseback riding, tennis courts and private grounds. This is the most luxurious choice in the Ouirgane Valley.


Villa De L'O, Essaouira

This is our newest find in Essaouira and is described as 'an impeccably manicured small hotel with a hint of Raffles and a dash of Eastern caravanseerai'. We also like the location, between the ramparts and the sandy beach and the fact that the roof terrace has an outstanding view. It is our favourite hotel in Essaouira.


La Maison Arabe, Marrakech

With 26 rooms and superb amenities, this hotel hits the sweet spot between hotel and riad. It has charm,
old-world elegance and history you won’t get in the city’s flashy nouveau (or newly redone) palace hotels. Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle and Jackie Kennedy have all been guests.



			


Trip Reviews

December 20, 2010

“This Morocco trip with Great Explorations was the best vacation we have ever had (and having been married 43 years, that’s saying alot). We would not have changed a thing, even doing it by ourselves. We have already decided that is the way we want to do the rest of our vacations. It truly was an eye-opening adventure to experience another culture so intimately in the medinas. In short, add up the accommodations, the sites, the biking and our guide, Sebastian and driver, and ours was truly a dream vacation.
Speaking of Sebastian, the trip would definitely not have been the same without him. He is truly a man of the world with an insatiable curiosity about all things and people who inhabit it. He went above and beyond granting our requests and anticipating things we would like to do. He arranged local guides, suggested eating places and answered innumerable questions about everything. He never said “no” to any of our requests. I never once saw any expression of fatigue or frustration on his part. (That fact, alone, was extraordinary.) In conclusion, we loved every second of our trip. We know it was the result of a lot of time-consuming work on your company’s part.”

October 25, 2015

“I LOVED the hike and trip through the Berber village. I also Loved the night in the desert and really appreciated all the work that went into preparing the fun evening for us.”

October 27, 2016

“It was a great trip. After 5 similar tours, three with Great Explorations and two with others, we wanted you to know that Mohammed the guide and Mohammed the driver were the best we have ever had. Mohammed the guide, besides being the best biker we have ridden with, was so thoughtful and aware of all riders of different speeds and abilities. Thanks for the enjoyable trip.”

December 4, 2018

“Lots to do with our guides, the rides and our group dynamics. The accomodations were unique and lovely, the terrain was also diverse and challenging. Morocco was such a surprise. The kasbahs are an incredible texture to the landscape, and food was fresh and interesting! Veronika and Adrian were amazing and really made the whole experience very special. Concerned, caring, organized and FUN!”

December 4, 2018

“Guide in Essaouira was great!”

March 27, 2019

“The hotels were unbelievable and met 5 star accommodation expectations. I enjoyed the guides positive attitudes and stories, hike to the village, access to swimming at stops and at the hotels. Excellent support! Always there’s to pick up tired riders as well as available for bike maintenance.”

April 17, 2019

“Excellent trip. Rides were good. Nice that some of the participants could use e-bikes. Sebastian & Mohamad were excellent!”

April 18, 2019

“Fabulous trip. Loved the country and the geography. We completely enjoyed ourselves. The e-bikes are perfect for the trip. Diversity of the regions was perfect: we saw and did a lot. We really liked the camel ride & the cooking class. The van support was excellent.”

April 22, 2019

“Guides and drivers were exceptional.”

April 22, 2019

“The trip was very well designed to show off the remarkable Moroccan landscape and culture. Both guides were terrific and they were outstanding together. Great overview of many Morocco landscapes and people. We enjoyed the unique character of the accommodations. The walk-up to the Berber village and personal sense of the lunch in the village home was unforgettable. We liked the cooking demonstration, the Sahara expedition and camp. Bikes were very good and the e-bikes were critical to the enjoyment of our trip. The information materials, especially the booklet that included phrasebooks and cultural tips was very helpful.”

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