Itinerary Inspiration


Souks, Sahara & High Atlas Mountains

Souks, Sahara & High Atlas

Journey from the Atlantic coastline through the famed blue city of Chefchaouen and ancient walled city of Fes, over the Atlas Mountains to the edge of the Sahara Desert where you can play amongst the sand!  Follow the Dades Valley, travelling from one village oases to another, before climbing back over the High Atlas Mountains, passing through Tizi’n’Tichka – on the highest navigable road in Morocco.  Spend days in the rose-coloured city of Marrakech then head to the peaceful seaside towns of Essaouira and Oualidia before coming full circle and ending your journey back in Casablanca.   This itinerary is peppered with fabulous activities from waterfall hikes to riding camels across the sand dunes of the Sahara at sunset.  You can shop ’til you drop in Fes, Marrakech and Essaouira where the souks are brimming with treasures for you to take home.  You will dine on authentic Moroccan delicacies, watch artisans in full flow and marvel at the ancient architecture and glorious gardens.  Fom the souks to the Sahara and into the High Atlas Mountains this itinerary will not disappoint!

You will love

  • A showcase of Imperial Cities
  • A complete contrast in landscapes
  • Ancient ruins & incredible architecture
  • Fascinatng history & enigmatic culture
  • Mouth watering cuisine
  • A shoppers absolute delight
  • The very best of Morocco!



Arrive in Casablanca, Morocco’s chief port and one of the largest financial centres in Africa, and travel 1 hour by road to the seaside city of Rabat for your first overnight in the Kingdom of Morocco!


After an insightful morning tour of Rabat, marvelling at its Islamic and French-colonial heritage, including the impressive Kasbah of the Udayas and the city’s iconic 12th Century Hassan Tower, drive to Chefchaouen. Nestled in the Rif Mountains this stunning blue and white Andalucian town is picture postcard perfect!


Your guided walking tour of Chefchaouen includes a visit to the ethnographic museum, Kasbah and the thriving medina. You will be awestruck by the blue hues of this gem of a village – a photographers dream. This afternoon you can wander the medina at leisure or, if you are feeling energetic, take a walk or hike through the forests & traditional villages in the surrounding Rif Mountains.


Heading south through the Rif you will leave Chefchaouen after breakfast, passing through quaint, picturesque villages, bound for Fes. On arrival spend the afternoon soaking up the atmosphere of your traditional, stunning Riad accommodation. The souk is on your doorstep if you are keen for a wander and your guide is on hand so you dont get lost!


Fes is one of the oldest of Morocco’s 7 Imperial Cities and it is believed that there are some inhabitants of the old walled city that have never step outside of the labyrinthine paths of the souk. This morning you will discover this intoxicating world exploring the old Medina, Qairaouine Mosque, the Sanctuary of Moulay Idriss II and Fez el Bali, being guided through the souk tasting traditional Moroccan delicacies (freshly baked bread, olives, dates and more) whilst also watching local craftsmen as they ply their centuries-old trade. Of course no visit to Fes is complete without seeing the giant gilded doors of the Royal Palace or visting the Qaraouine quarter to watch the dyers and tanners at work.


The Imperial City of Meknes and the ancient site of Volubilis, the region’s best-preserved Roman city, are a short drive from Fes. Today you will embark on a guided tour to see these 2000-year-old ruins with their intricate intricate mosaics of mythological images and towering columns. Lunch will be taken in one of Morocco’s holiest cities – Moulay Idriss, before visting the 10th century Berber settlement of Meknes that was once the capital of Moulay Ismaïl’s empire.


A long but incredibly scenic day will unfold as you cross the Middle Atlas Mountains to reach the edge of the Sahara Desert. Winding through spectacular cedar, oak and pine forests mountain scenery you willstop in the ski town of Ifrane & will be forgiven if you think you have been transported to the Swiss Alps – a fascinating juxtaposition so close to the desert climate and architecture of much of the rest of Morocco. Passing through the city of Midelt and the Ziz Gorge you will reach the colonial frontier town of Erfoud where you will overnight in preparation for your foray into the desert tomorrow.


Travel travel by 4WD into the sea of sand that is the Sahara. On arrival in the town of Merzouga you will set off on camels across the dunes towards your carpeted Berber tent where you will spend the night. The stars overhead will dazzle whilst musicians entertain and you dine on a Moroccan feast!


Sunrise in the Sahara is spectacular and it is worth rising early to climb a sand dune behind the camp to watch as the sun peeps above the horizon and bathes the world in its golden glow. After breakfast return to Mergouza to reunite with your driver and head to Skoura. Following the Dades Valley, driving through incredibly lush, green oases, you will visit the spectacular Todra Gorge before arriving in Skoura in the late afternoon.


Today is at leisure to wander the surrounding village, marvel at the communal wells and khettara (underground irrigation system) that feeds the vast surrounding palm groves, enjoy a cup of mint tea with a local and to relax by your own oases within the hotel – the swimming pool!


Today you are bound for the glitz and glamour of Marrakech, however just half an hour from Skoura lies the city of Ouarazate and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Ben Haddou. Spend the morning discovering one of Morocco’s most iconic Kasbahs that has been the backdrop for many famous films including Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones, Gladiator & the iconic series Game of Thrones. Crossing over the High Atlas Mountains, via the Tiz-n-Tichka Pass (2260 m) and the highest motorable road in Morocco, you will descend into the rose coloured city of Marrakech in the late afternoon.


A full day, guided walking tour of Marrakech awaits! Visit the Saadian Tombs, El Bahia Palace and delve into the labyrinth of narrow alleyways that are filled , filled with artisans trading everything from leather, antiques and hand crafted gold jewellery to spices, carpets and intricate lights. The colours, the aromas and the hustle and bustle will astound. After some respite in your riad return to Marrakech’s famous Djemaa el Fna Square as the sun sets. Once a site of public execution it is now like a scene from Arabian Nights, filled with snake charmers and storytellers, night markets and mouth watering food stalls.


For a change of pace you will depart Marrakech this morning heading into the tranquil snow-capped mountains to spend the day hiking beneath North Africa’s highest mountain (Djebel Toubkal 4167m). Donkeys are available for those who prefer, but whchever way you choose to ascend the views are spectacular. A delicious home-cooked lunch awaits you in a traditional Berber Village and once you have had your fill of fabulous food and lazing in the sun you will return to Marrakech for an evening at leisure.


A visit to Marrakech is not complete without participating in a Tagine cooking class or wandering the stunning Majorelle Garden; and today you will do both! The Majorelle Garden is a stunning artists landscape garden originally built by Jacques Marjorelle and then, famously, restored by Yves Saint Laurent. Be dazzled by the bright blue buildings and be sure to visit the onsite Berber Museum. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to roam the souk for any final treasures before participating in a cooking class this evening and then dining on your culinary creations!


Escaping the cultural melting pot of Marrakech you will head to the Atlantic coast & the seaside town of Essaouira. Staying in the heart of the old town is key to making the most of your visit as the souk, the beach and the port are all on your doorstep. Spend the afternoon on a guided tour of the key highlights before dining on fresh fish in a portside cafe.


After a leisurely morning take a short drive out of Essaouira today to enjoy lunch on a local estate cheese and wine tasting whilst being hosted by the engaging owner. The afternoon is at leisure to possibly ride a camel along the beachfront, photograoh the fishermen as they sort their catch or wander the many boutiques and market stalls.


Hugging the coastline you will travel north to the tiny town of Oualidia for your final night in Morocco. This little visited fishing village is like stepping back in time, Take a boat cruise on the salt water lagoon where the ocean and the coast merge and dine on freshly caught oysters as you watch a perfect sunset. Oualidia will captivate and soothe you in equal measure, and prepare you for your onward journey tomorrow.


Your journeys ends after breakfast today with a road transfer to Casablanca arriving in time to board your outbound flight, or continue your exploration of Morocco!


Our recommended Riads & Hotels for this journey

Villa Mandarine – Marrakech

Perfectly located within the exclusive Agdal area of Rabat, Villa Mandarin has been transformed by its French owners into a sunlit hotel upon 2 hectares of orange groves. Villa Mandarine is ideal prior to departure from Casablanca, and offers the opportunity to discover the historical wonders of Rabat. Read More

Palais Amani – Fes

As a former 17th century palace which has been lovingly restored to its former glory, Palais Amani is a masterpiece of local craftsmanship. Every tile has been hand cut and the internal courtyard garden is a sanctuary of chirruping birds and trickling fountains. Just moments from Fez’ ancient medina, this is the ultimate hidden urban retreat.
Read More

Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp – Sahara Desert

The elegant white tents of Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp stand silently amidst the shifting sands of the Sahara offering tranquility, luxury and friendly Berber hospitality at its most beautifully remote. Located strategically amongst the dunes of Erg Chebi Desert, it is dwarfed by the immense landscape in which it sits. Read More

La Maison Arabe – Marrakech

La Maison Arabe is a traditional riad in Marrakech, centrally located in the Medina. Housing just 26 rooms and suites, plus multiple courtyards, a large subterranean hammam and an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern antiques, it exudes intimate, old fashioned elegance and provides an oasis of calm within easy reach of the bustling souks. Read More

Villa de L’O – Essaouira

An elegantly furnished 18th-century colonnaded patio welcomes you to Villa de L’O and inside, the 12 unique guestrooms are exquisitely designed to reflect Morocco's rich heritage. While in town be sure to wander down to the bustling fishing harbour to feast on freshly-grilled seafood at one of its many covered stalls. Read More


17 inspiring nights that can be shortened or extended to suit

17 inspiring nights that can be shortened or extended to suit

Please enquire for pricing based on your preferences

Please enquire for pricing based on your preferences

START: Casablanca, Morocco     |     Finish: Casablanca, Morocco

Recommended Routings to Morocco | Emirates via Dubai | Etihad (or Qantas) via Abu Dhabi | Qatar via Doha

This itinerary provides the perfect inspiration for a spectacular journey and can be tailored to suit your style, pace, preferences and budget.  Elements of this trip may vary based on your chosen season and dates of travel and, once the timing of internal flights is known, this may also present the opportunity to see & do even more!

Exellent and wonderful, reaching way above expectations.

Elizabeth Mackintosh

Julia you did a fantastic job - everything was first class. Well organised, efficient and stress free. We all agreed it was the best holiday we've ever had. Cant wait to travel with CSC again.

Milford family

We are so happy we put our trust in CSC, we had an amazing adventure and would recommend them to anyone.

Kim & Brad Balance

The trip exceeded my expectations and was the best family holiday I have ever had. Our children simply loved it and now I know more about African wildlife than they do about our own farm animals.

Rowntree family

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Melanie McMillan & Iain Jones

We loved it all. Our son wants to go back tomorrow. We would ALL go back again!

Laurence & Remi Cunningham

An amazing experience - the best family holiday we have ever had. We were extremely impressed by the meticulous attention to our itinerary. I can't speak highly enough of all the elements of this exciting journey!

Sheryl & Robert Taylor

Thank you for making our trip to Africa so spectacular. The attention to detail really made it special. It really was the trip of a lifetime.

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Jane & Robert Happell

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Tim Bradley

You can't improve on perfection. I had my best birthday and holiday with my family celebrating my 80th birthday in Africa. Everything that Julia organised was perfect and the whole trip was a highlight!

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The trip of a lifetime, couldn't have dreamt of a better adventure if I tried.

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Their experience and knowledge of Africa is evident and we couldn't have been happier with the total package. This has given us a taste for Africa - now we are ready for more.

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The Classic Safari Company is the best I have dealt with. Extremely knowledgeable & professional, friendly, patient & understanding of first timers to Africa.

Annette Whiley

It certainly was the best trip we have EVER had. The experiences were mind blowing.  We want everyone we know to experience Africa - the animals, the people - magical.

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Would do it all again and not change a moment. Best holiday ever!

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An absolutely fantastic travel company - every one of the many trips they have organised for us over 22 years have been faultless and fabulous.

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