This relaxed itinerary takes you on an off-the-beaten-path exploration of Morocco’s culture and landscapes. Explore the bustle and history of Marrakech, then travel through the Atlas Mountains. You’ll go on an off-road adventure and discover breathtaking scenery at Morocco’s tallest waterfalls. Climb aboard a camel to trek out into the desert, where you’ll camp for the night. Then find Taroudant, a fortified town with great shopping and souks that are easier to navigate than those in bigger cities. You’ll end your trip in Essaouira, a seaside escape where you can relax and tuck into fresh local seafood.
Explore Marrakech’s history, architecture, and food
Visit Morocco’s tallest waterfall, Ouzoud
Trek through the desert on a camel, then camp for the night
Visit Essaouira, a quaint seaside town
Day 1: Arrive to Marrakech
Welcome to Morocco! Your specialist will await your arrival in Marrakech and transfer you to your cozy riad, where you'll spend the night.
After you check in, your tour manager will make help you get settled; you can unwind at your riad or hit the streets of Marrakech to explore at your leisure. If you'd like some ideas of what to see today, would like dinner recommendations, or help with reservations, just let your specialist know!
Day 2: Explore Marrakech
After breakfast, your local city guide will meet you at your riad and show you all around Marrakech. Your tour will include visits to Bahia Palace, the Saadian Tombs, and the Koutoubia Mosque.
After, your guide will escort you through the souks of Marrakech, where you'll have a chance to visit various artisans and learn about their crafts. Your tour will end by mid-afternoon, and you'll have the rest of the day to explore on your own. Do some retail therapy here in the souks, sit down to a delicious traditional meal in one of Marrakech's fantastic restaurants, or wander the stalls of Jemaa el-Fna Square, where you can feast on incredible street food as you watch musicians and snake charmers perform for the crowds.
Day 3: Marrakech to Demnate via Ouzoud
This morning after breakfast, you'll depart from Marrakech and make your way into the High Atlas Mountains to Ouzoud, the home of one of Africa's highest waterfalls. This spectacular multi-step waterfall towers 330 feet (101 m) tall, and its banks are home to the Atlas monkeys (aka Barbary apes), who never cease to entertain. Climb to the top of the falls for a spectacular view, then make your way down to the bottom of the cascade, where you can go for a swim (weather permitting), take a boat ride under the falls, or just enjoy the view from one of the many terraces.
Wander around the beautiful enclave and enjoy lunch, then hit the road to reach today's final destination: Demnate. Before returning to your accommodations for the night, you'll check into your riad and then head for a walk around Imi n'Ifri, a natural bridge.
Day 4: Demnate to Dades via Bouguemez
Enjoy breakfast, then get ready to use your hands! This morning you'll head to a nearby eco-lodge for a traditional Moroccan crafts workshop; you'll learn carpet weaving or olive pressing.
After, you'll journey off the beaten path on an epic off-road adventure deep into the High Atlas Mountains to DadèsValley, where you'll enjoy a scenic picnic lunch, perhaps with a local nomad family. You'll also have a chance to stretch your legs with some light hiking in this beautiful area of Morocco. You'll arrive at your accommodations in the evening in time for dinner.
Day 5: Dades to Zagora (Desert Camp)
After breakfast, you'll say goodbye to Dades and head over the Saghro Mountains to the DraaValley, using a road less traveled. On the way, you can stop to visit Kasbah Tamnougalt, a kasbah that dates back to at least the 17th century. Take a tour of the grounds and walk through, then continue to Zagora, where you'll meet your next form of transportation: a camel.
Climb aboard and trek to your desert camp for the night. You'll enjoy dinner under the stars before settling in for the night in a cozy tent.
Day 6: Zagora to Taroudant
Get up early this morning to watch the extraordinary sunrise from your camp in the desert. Soak up the serenity, then enjoy breakfast before leaving your camp. Today you'll make your way through saffron country in the Small Atlas Mountains. If you're visiting in October, you can stop at a local cooperative to learn about this expensive spice's painstaking collection process during the harvest season.
You'll continue to the bustling market town of Taroudant. You'll arrive by early afternoon; check into your riad, then meet your local guide for a tour of this friendly city, known as "Marrakech's little sister." Taroudant is also a great place to shop without Marrakech's "big city" pressure!
Day 7: Taroudant to Essaouira
After breakfast, you'll head to the coast to the charming beachside city of Essaouira. Archeological evidence shows that this area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but the city as it is now was designed in the 18th century by the French engineer Thédore Cornut.
On the way to Essaouira, you will see groves of Argan trees from which Morocco's liquid gold (argan oil) is produced—with the unique help of local goats. You will arrive around lunch, just in time to make your way to the shore for an incredible meal of freshly caught local seafood. After, you will have the afternoon to discover this beautiful city and its adjacent beach.
Day 8: Explore Essaouira
Today, you'll have the day free to explore this charming little town. You may wish to head to the wharf to pick out your lunch from the fresh catch of the day and then take it to a local restaurant to have it grilled Moroccan-style, or you may just wish to sit at a café and watch the world go by.
Be sure to head to the ramparts in the evening to catch the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean. Your specialist will be available to you should you need transportation, guidance, or suggestions.
Day 9: Depart Essaouira
This morning after breakfast, depending on your flight schedule, you may be able to enjoy one last stroll by the sea and explore more of Essaouira before transferring to the Marrakech Airport in time for your departing flight.
After all the tranquillity of the mountains and desert, head back to the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. You may want to spend the rest of the afternoon at a slower pace, and enjoying a spa session at a traditional Moroccan hammam would definitely fit the bill! Traditionally, visitors partake in a steam session followed by a scrub, which is based on historical Roman bath practices. During the Arab conquest, the entire Mediterranean coast adopted these traditions, and a visit to a hammam eventually became common before prayer.
Hammams typically include three steam rooms with different temperatures. You'll start in the hottest room and work your way down, all of which is followed by a wash and scrub with traditional eucalyptus soap, and a Kessa glove. Finish with a rinse of cool water, then enjoy a relaxing massage using argan and essential oils to soothe and soften the skin. Later this evening, visit one of the many cafés surrounding the main square of Jemaa el-Fna, where you can enjoy a meal while watching musicians and other entertainers perform.