St Petersburg, Russia
Kingdom of Morocco
May 24 - Jun 2, 2012
Join Photo Quest Adventures in Morocco for the visual feast of a lifetime in one of the most intoxicating countries in the world. From the shifting sands of the Sahara Desert and the snowcapped Atlas Mountains to the impressive imperial cities and lively medieval-like markets, Morocco is the perfect location. You are destined to have lasting impressions of Morocco’s rich history, striking landscapes, colorful cities and fascinating people.
© Mirjam Evers
May 23rd - U.S./Casablanca, Morocco
Travel Date- Depart on an overnight flight from the USA to Casablanca.
May 24th - Casablanca, Morocco
Transfer to the Golden Tulip Farrah hotel and check in. Then we are off to a lunch and a wine tasting at a local vineyard near the town of Ben Slimane. In the evening, we return back to the luxury of our hotel for a Moroccan welcome dinner. Overnight at Golden Tulip Farrah Casablanca (L,D)
May 25th - Casablanca/Marrakech
Morning shopping in Casablanca’s famous shops/markets. Depart late afternoon to Marrakech, drive through Morocco’s legendary “Pearl of the South,“… the elegant Anfa neighborhood. After check in and lunch at our hotel we visit the Majorelle Gardens and the magnificent architecture for sunset. Dinner in local restaurant or in our hotel. Overnight at Le Méridien N’Fis (B,L,D)
May 26th - Marrakech
After breakfast we visit Koutoubia Mosque and the Bahia Palace. In the afternoon capture the twisting streets of the Marrakech medina exploding with food vendors and craftspeople. The Djemma el Fna Square -Morocco’s UNESCO-recognized platform for halqa (street theatre) where snake charmers, magicians, dancers entertain daily. Get a hanna tattoo from the locals or a traditional tea as we watch the sunset from our balcony overlooking the vast square. Overnight at Le Méridien N’Fis (B,L,D)
May 27th - Marrakech/High Atlas Mountains
Set out in the morning for full-day excursion to the High Atlas Mountains – North Africa’s highest peaks – where we will hike the lush, quiet mountain trails and enjoy striking landscapes. Walk though groves of apple, cherry, peach and walnut trees; green valleys with waterfalls surrounded by mountain peaks and lakes. Along the hike we’ll stop to explore the local markets and traditional Berber villages. Back in Marrakech enjoy a rooftop dinner and sunset accompanied by traditional Gnaoua music in the heart of the old medina. Overnight at Le Méridien N’Fis (B,L,D)
May 28th - Aït Benhaddou/Ouarzazate
Today we will traverse thru the Atlas Mountains by bus to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Aït Benhaddou and have lunch overlooking this ancient fortified city. In the warm afternoon light, explore the winding lanes and earthy dwellings of the Kasbahs (mud brick buildings) located along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech. Stop for tea in a traditional adobe home and local souvenirs and gems shopping. Take an optional horseback ride along the Ouarzazate River before continuing to Ouarzazate, a former trading post now known for its movie studios where many films, including Lawrence of Arabia, were shot. Overnight at Le Berbère Palace (B,L,D)
May 29th - Ouarzazate/Erfoud/Merzouga
Experience traditional adobe architecture in Taourirt Kasbah this morning. Then we’ll drive along the legendary “Road of 1,000 Kasbahs” to Erfoud passing unique rock formations, oases, and rose plantations. Stop for a hike through a palm and tamarisk grove in Skoura. Then meander the steep and narrow Todra Gorge – a highlight of the south- and have lunch at the foot of the soaring, pink canyon walls. In Erfoud, we’ll take 4×4s jeeps into the desert to a traditional tented camp located in the Merzouga dunes with dinner under a star filled Saharan sky and Berber folk music around the campfire. Overnight Tented Berber Camp (B,L,D)
© Mirjam Evers
May 30th - Merzouga/Erfoud/Fez
Rise for an optional early morning ride on camels with Berbers as our guides across the Sahara dunes as the rising sun casts orange and gold hues. After breakfast back at the camp, head north into the high-mountain plains on the way to Fez, stopping for a walk in a lush cedar forest. Arrive in Fez in the late afternoon and check into your room at the Palais Jamai for a three-night stay. Free evening to relax pool side or treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment (Hammam and spa treatments available at hotel on your own). (B,L,D)
May 31st - Fez
In the walled, old city of Fez, known as “Fes-el-Bali,” we explore the narrow and twisting streets bursting with activity from the outdoor markets. This former capital of Morocco is one of the oldest and largest medieval cities in the world. We take a tour of the imperial city where UNESCO World Heritage sites include: the Royal Palace and Fez Jdid, home to the historic Jewish quarter; the 14th-century Bou Inania madrassa known for its intricately carved stucco walls, arches and cornices; the Nejjarine Fountain, covered in exquisite mosaics; and the Kairaouine Mosque. We visit the famous tanneries, for shopping and to witness leather skins being cured and dyed in hundreds of enormous, colorful vats.. Overnight at the Palais Jamai. (B,L,D)
June 1st - Fez/Volubilis and Meknes
Take an excursion to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a World Heritage site; and Meknes, Morocco’s 17th-century capital or stay in the city and explore Fez at your own pace for shopping and adventure. Farewell dinner at the Palais Jamai. Overnight at Palais Jamai (B,D)
June 2nd - Fez-Casablanca /U.S.
This morning, transfer back to Casablanca. Fly to US out of Casablanca. (B)
Itinerary is subject to change.
Cost per person $6,200 Per person-Based on double occupancy from Casablanca, Morocco
Single supplement $1,450
© Mirjam Evers
Najat Naba is a Brazilian born that grew up in between the mountains of Lebanon and the skyscrapers of New York. Her diverse upbringing helped shape her desire to travel the world. Leading workshops, she has introduced many groups to photography while still exploring the cultures and diversity of the more than 40 countries she's visited. Her gift for languages, speaks Arabic, Spanish and English fluently and a bit of Dutch and Portuguese has enabled her to put people at ease through out her travels. She enjoys leading workshops and the opportunity it gives her to meet many different types of people and introduce them to the beauty and marvel of the world. A huge believer in giving back she is dedicated to supporting local charities through out her travels.
Her work has appeared in NY Times Magazine, American Photo, Financial Times, Interior Design, Popular Photography, The Editor at Large, HGTC.com, Trail of Inspiration.com, mocoloco.com and Oprah.com
Quest Leader's website: http://www.najatnaba.com
Mirjam Evers is a New York City based travel photographer who specializes in international environmental portraiture, landscape photography and adventure images. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Evers has photographed in more than 75 countries, including many of the most exotic places in the world. Evers' photographs are indicative of her unique capacity to personally connect with diverse cultures and communities. Her eye for location lighting is highly stylized and works to illustrate and heighten the unique characteristics of each international locale. She is able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that is conveyed in every image. Evers is available for worldwide assignments, travel essays and editorial work. Her photographs are available for licensing in print and online, exhibitions and fine print sales. Selected Corporate Clients: Nikon, Lowepro, Lensbaby, Epson and Visa. Selected Publications: AFAR, The New York Times, AARP, Outdoor Photographer, PDN, American Photo, Popular Photography, Digital Photo, Departures, MSN Travel.
"She's able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that comes through in every portrait." -Mark Edward Harris, PC Photo
Quest Leader's website: http://www.mirjamevers.com/
Morocco is a country full of fascinating extremes from its geography to its culture. Located in North Africa, Morocco is home to a combination of stunning coastlines on the Atlantic Ocean reaching past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea, hot white sands of the Sahara desert, green fertile valleys and the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains. Morocco also has some of the world’s most unique and vibrant city markets and interesting people due to its ancient history as a crossroads of African, European and Middle Eastern cultures.
Though the ancient culture of Morocco has influenced its people for centuries, its diversity seems to have been a derivative of several other ancient cultures. The original inhabitants of Morocco were the Near Eastern nomads who were most likely distant cousins of the ancient Egyptians. Also known as Berbers – a name the Roman’s gave them meaning barbarians. The Near Eastern nomads or Berbers were people who made up their own rules according to their different tribal leaders, creating a lack of unification of authority inciting many invasions by the Phoenicians in the 12th century B.C. and then the Carthaginians in the 2nd century B.C.
After the Romans came in and seized the Carthaginians, the Roman Empire soon fell apart and the Arabs were able to move in, take over and bring Islam to the country. Then the Arabs and Jews fought for control of the country that ultimately left the region unstable. When Ahmed I al-Man-sur became the ruler, stability prevailed in Morocco. The country flourished between 1579 and 1603 as Jews and Moors from Spain settled in Morocco bringing their different cultures and art to the country and in the end giving Morocco much of its current culture. From the 800’s till France took control in 1912, Morocco experienced a cycle of rising and falling Islamic dynasties.
Arabic, French, Berber
The Moroccan climate varies according to season and region. We will be there in June when temperatures range from the low 70’s to the mid 90’s during the day. And then down to the low 60’s in the evening. The cities can get very warm during the day as well as the Sahara Desert, which cools down considerably in the evening. The mountains are always comfortable.
Bring light colored and lightweight comfortable clothes for the days and something medium weight to layer with in the cooler evenings. As always, bring a thin, waterproof shell – chances are you will not need it in Morocco, but you never know. Wear good walking shoes with toe protection for walking through the medinas and streets. For trekking in valleys and mountain trails, low hiking/trail shoes will due.
© Mirjam Evers
Travel InformationUS citizens do not need a visa to enter the Kingdom of Morocco and may stay up to 90 days. A passport valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond intended stay and containing at least 2 facing blank pages is required.
Moroccan food is based on meat, usually lamb or chicken, vegetables, couscous and a large selection of bread. Each recipe tends to carry very strong flavors, and will surely provide a wonderful gastronomic experience. Soups are very popular and often a meal starts with a rich and spicy pulse soup called the harira; harira is also served in many cafes at breakfast time as well as the bisara, a rich chickpea soup with fresh olive oil poured over the top. Dates, yogurt, fresh cheese and olives are popular snacks. Mint tea is the national drink and is often offered in sign of friendship and during negotiation over price in shops. Alcohol is not readily available in Morocco in accordance with Islamic tradition, however beer and wine are served in some restaurants and bars in the new part of the city.
To avoid stomach upsets, stick to purified or bottled water. Choose restaurants carefully; steer clear of salads and stick to piping-hot tajines, couscous, soups and omlettes. Markets here are full of delicious fruit and vegetables, but be sure to wash or peel them.
Moroccan currency is called Dirham (Dh); US$1 = Dh8.5. There are ATMs (Guichets automatiques) throughout the country except in small villages.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in the main tourist centers with a surcharge of around 5% from Moroccan businesses.
Tipping and bargaining are expected in Morocco. Most services can warrant a tip, and a few dirham for a service can make life a lot easier. Tipping between 5% and 10% of a restaurant bill is appropriate. Make sure to carry a bunch of small coins with you for taxis, tips and guides.
The voltage in Morocco is generally 220 V, and outlets will fit the two-pin plug known as the Europlug.
Capital City is Rabat
Telephone Country code is 212; international access code 00
Gear to Bring
If you plan to photograph on our trip we recommend you bring the following camera gear with you.
Computer & Accessories