Journeys in Time: Discovering Morocco

Fully escorted by Charles Whitlock, Walkaway Treks

Journeys in Time: Discovering Morocco  |  April 9 to 19, 2021

NOTE: Wait-list ONLY
There are numerous ways to explore Morocco – many opportunities to join a large bus group, herded from town to town as 40 other participants vie for position. Not so with this unique tour as we travel in 4x4 Land Rovers, off the beaten track, experiencing the old and new of this fascinating country. We stay in local Riads and guest houses, welcomed by Berber families, walk some of the most picturesque areas in North Africa and visit cities old before Canada was born. A select few will opt to join Walkaway Treks’ Charles Whitlock as we explore “Journeys in Time”. We invite you to be one of these travelers on this extraordinary itinerary.

Itinerary

Walkaway Treks Journeys in Time: Discovering Morocco  |  April 9 to 19, 2021

Toronto – Connecting to Casablanca April 09

Saturday April 10: Casablanca - Volubilis (3 miles walking)
Once we land at Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, our guide will meet us at our arrival gate to take us to check-in to our hotel in Moulay Idriss Zerhoune. This is a wonderful short drive of about 125 miles through the lush farms and exotic plants leading from Casablanca to Moulay Idriss. We will reach Moulay Idriss, an ancient city nestled on Mount Zerhoune, shy of modern times. It is sacred to Moroccans as first Islamic settlement founded by Moulay Idriss in the 8th century. Check-in and relax for the remainder of the morning.

After lunch, our guide will take us on a historic tour of the holy city of Moulay Idriss Zerhoune. This town is the cradle of the spiritual life of Moroccans opened to non-Muslims only in 2005. Pilgrims come to this town from all over North Africa and the Middle East seeking the healing powers in its shrines. This a totally medieval mountain town, to visit is to hike up and down narrow streets and steep stairs. But the town itself is a medieval jewel set on the peak of Mount Zerhoune and a great place to start our Morocco walking tour. Dinner and accommodation will be at our guest house. L / D

Sunday April 11: Moulay Idriss and Volubilis (8 miles Walking)
The morning will be devoted to rural walking starting at Douar Msamda. We will walk the valley and hills to the hidden troglodyte village of Karma Ben Salem. Our first stop will be the hill of Karma where we will have a freshly cooked lunch in a local Berber compound. Then we continue along the Mount Zerhoune old footpaths exploring Sufi Retreat places in ancient olive groves visiting Fartassa village and an ancient Roman outpost. A stop at the panoramic view overlooking the Moulay Idris then walk in the biblical olive groves to the Roman site of Volubilis for an archeological walking tour with a special local site guide.

Return to the hotel for dinner and accommodation. Hop into the Hot Springs of Moulay Yacoub and enjoy the Spa before and after dinner if you wish. Lodging will be in a guest house in the Village. B / L / D

Monday April 12: Fez - Moulay Yacob and Mount Zalagh (8 miles Walking)
After breakfast, hop into our van towards the Hot Springs of Moulay Yacoub. Enjoy the spa in the morning then, in our 4x4, we take the back roads to Oued el Maleh and start our walk off the beaten path to Mount Zalagh. Here we walk the Valley of Tghat to climb to Sidi Ahmed Bernoussi Hill overlooking three valleys and the distant old city of Fez. We continue climbing Mount Zaalgh to Bab Berred to enjoy the vista overlooking the ancient Medina of Fez. See wheat fields and lushly terraced plots all the way to Mount Zalagh where we will climb to Sidi Ahmed Bernoussi Mausoleum and be received by Jajouka musicians.

We will spread Berber rugs under the thousand-year-old Dardar trees and feast on a festive lunch in nature. A couscous will be prepared for us by a Berber family compound and brought to us as the traditional hospitality calls for when visitors come to this shrine. After our lunch, followed by a mint tea traditional ceremony, we will proceed our quest exploring Mount Zalagh. We enjoy an afternoon trekking the slopes of this mountain with our guide. Dinner and accommodation will be at our guest house. B / L / D

Tuesday April 13: Guided Tour of Fez Medina (5 miles walking)
Today will be devoted to our historical walking tour of the Medina of Fez. Undeniably fascinating, Fez stimulates the senses with its haunting yet beautiful sounds, visual splendor, and evocative smells. The most ancient of the imperial capitals and the most complete medieval city of the Islamic world, Fez is reminiscent of a city suspended in time, unfazed by the constantly evolving world outsides its walls. Fez owes nothing to the modern world, save electricity. Fez is not only the heartbeat of Morocco but a world heritage of humanity.

Retreat to the riad in the late afternoon for a cooking class with Chef Rabiaa who will open her riad kitchen for you and teaches us how to cook a refined Moroccan tagine. Our dinner will be at the riad to celebrate our journey in Fez. All our encounters will be in the most authentic fashion as locals do. B / L / D

Wednesday April 14: Travel from Fez to Taza (8 miles walking)
Travel this morning across the Atlas Mountain valley of Amlil and Sidi Abderazzak remote areas to reach the National Park of Tazekka off the beaten path by Bir Tamtam and Menzel Berber villages toward the Bouyeblan Summit. At Bab Boudir village we will take a break for lunch. Later we cruise to Bou Salma ward, where we will leave the vehicles and walk up the slopes to the snow caped summit of Bouyeblan. Our two-hour walk will be spectacular as scenery changes at every bend. We meet our Land Rovers at the Refuge of Bouyeblan summit then descend the slopes to Sidi Mjber.

Today is a day to trek the beaten paths of the Bouyeblan and Bou-Adli plateau, at heights exceeding 11,200 feet. Our vehicles will take us up to Bou Adil plateau at app 6,800 feet where we walk for about 5 km to a very small village. Breathtaking scenery and exquisite Berber villages fill the vistas. We will be visiting the highest pass of Tizi Bou Zabel then start descending to the Bouslam Plateau after hiking around the ward of Sidi Majber. The ceremonial trek will lead us to Lake Dayet Chiker overlooking the vistas of the Taza Valley that separates the middle Atlas Mountains south to the Rif Mountains north. We enjoy an active adventure excursion back in time, crossing one of the most remote Berber nomadic territories exploring superb natural landscapes unique to this less traveled area of Morocco. Dinner and overnight are in a local auberge. B / L / D

Thursday April 15: Bab Boudir – Taza (8 miles walking)
After breakfast, we walk from Lake Chiker to Friouato Caves, the deepest in Africa. We will enjoy lunch in a Berber compound in local fashion known for its best goat Tagines and best varied Moroccan salads. Visit the Taza Haute Kasbah in the afternoon, then retreat to our hotel for a festive dinner and a relaxing night sleep. B / L / D

Friday April 16: Fez to Chefchaouen (7 miles walking)
Travel the back roads to Chefchaouen exploring vistas and landscapes unique to the Rif Mountains in the north. Chefchaouen is one of the best white towns in the Mediterranean, a Moorish emblem of purity and sophistication. Our local guide will take us around its narrow streets and vibrant markets. Check in to our guest house in the heart of the Akchour Talassmatane National Park.

After lunch, enjoy nature at its best in the high evergreen cedar forests discovering the rural environs of the Atlas Mountains Berber villages, wards, and nomadic settlements. Covered with evergreen pines, tall cedar trees, and poplars, laced with flowing streams, our first view of the Atlas Mountains will appear oddly un-Moroccan. Our guide will introduce us to this environment of mountaineers and their culture; not to forget the wildlife of these rugged mountains. The perfect natural setting for a walking afternoon. Moorish bath (spa) with its traditional ingredients "hammam" is offered tonight.
B / L / D

Saturday April 17: Chefchaouen to Rabat (5 miles walking)
After breakfast, we proceed to Moulay Bouselham to visit Merja Zarka and walk around the lake. Here we enjoy bird watching as this laggon is considerd to be the connecting point between Europe and Africa for bird migration. We walk for a full morning exploring the sanctuary of Bou Hachem Natural Reserve.

Lunch in a local restaurant in Moulay Bousselham overlooking the Atalntic Ocean. We then travel to Rabat for our overnight and dinner. B / L / D

Sunday April 18: Rabat and surrounding (8+ miles walking)
Our local guide will meet us this morning to take us walking visit to the historic centre of the city of Rabat. Our special lunch today will be at a ranch in Ain Aouda. The afternoon will be devoted to walking in Maamora the largest cork forests in North Africa for around 8 miles. Tonight we are invited to a festive dinner at a local guest house – a fitting final evening to our Moroccan tour.
B / L / D

Monday April 19: Transfer to Casablanca Airport
After breakfast, we depart for Casablanca Airport to connect with our flight home or to continue to Malaga (for those doing both the Moroccan and Spain tours).
B

* For those travelling with Charles to Spain (Malaga) to continue with the Andalusia tour, transfers and two pre-tour nights are included in Malaga. Please see notes on back-to-back pricing for these tours.

Casablanca - Connecting to Toronto April 19


Cost

Tour Price
  • Tour cost per person twin / double: $3,770 Canadian (includes projected air)
  • Single Surcharge: $540 Canadian – Very Limited
  • *LAND ONLY Cost
    $2,570 Canadian per person / twin
    Single Surcharge: $ 540 Canadian – Very Limited
Payment Requirements
  • Deposit required to secure your booking:
    $750 Canadian per person
  • Final Payment Due: February 5, 2021

COMBINING TWO TOURS
When travelling on both the Morocco and Andalusia tours, take the land only rates for the two tours and add the projected $1,200 air fare. A combined cost then based on per person double / twin would then be $7,320.

Cancellation Penalties

  • From date of booking to February 4, 2021: Loss of deposit paid
  • From final payment date to departure: 100% Non-refundable

Insurance
We strongly recommend adequate travel insurance and will provide details of insurance suggestions at the time of booking.


What is Included:

  • Fully escorted by Charles Whitlock
  • If selected, return air with our group departure including all taxes
  • Nine-night accommodation in great Riads and guest houses
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily (as indicated B/L/D)
  • Land transportation in chauffeured 4wd vehicles
  • Moulay Yacoub spa and traditional hammam in Fes
  • Services of English-speaking guides & tour leader
  • Entrance fees to monuments and museums
  • All gratuities for all features listed including tour manager, guides and drivers

Single Occupancy:
Single occupancy is extremely limited on this tour and on a request basis only. We also offer the opportunity of share single. In this case we will attempt to provide suitable share accommodation for single requests however this is not guaranteed.

SPECIAL NOTE / CANCELLATIONS:
From time of booking until final air is confirmed there is only an administrative cancellation penalty at $50 p.p. At the time final air is confirmed and accepted, full cancellation penalties will come into effect.

From Final Air Confirmation To 31-Days Prior:
In the event that we are able to find a replacement from waitlists or other requests received for the land tour between date of booking and 31-days prior to date of departure, a flat $50.00 p.p. administration charge will be accessed. Within 31-days prior, we regret that all payments become non-refundable with or without a replacement. We do not guarantee a replacement for any cancelled passenger.

Our Very Special Accommodation

Auberge Khawlani - Fez
Auberge Khawlani
Fez

Featuring a shared lounge, garden and views of garden, Auberge de Jeunes de Fès is located in Fez, a 17-minute walk from Royal Palace Fes. The property is around 2.6 km from Batha Square, 3.2 km from Medersa Bouanania and 5.6 km from Medina. The property provides a shared kitchen and free WiFi. At the hostel, each room includes a closet.

Guest House - Bab Boudir
Guest House
Bab Boudir

Hotel Friouato - Taza
Hotel Friouato
Taza

Hotel Friouato is located between Taza-Bas and Taza-Haut, Quartier El-Messaoudia, next to the Boulevard Bel Hassan al Ouazzani, near the Boulevard de 3 Mars. Nice clean rooms with bathroom (hot shower) and TV. The service is friendly and obliging! Functional swimming pool, bar and restaurant.


Dar Zerhoune Guest House - Volubilis
Dar Zerhoune Guest House
Volubilis

Dar Zerhoune is nestled in the white-washed hilltop of Moulay Idriss Zerhoune town and is an off-the-tourist-track addition to your tour of nearby Imperial Meknes and Fez. Dar Zerhoune combines a modern twist on a traditional Moroccan home, with local insider knowledge and local female staff, the best terrace views of Volubilis, Zerhoune mountain range and Moulay Idriss to allow you to experience and explore this unspoiled crossroads of cultures and spirituality.

Maison d’hotes Akchour - Chefchaouen
Maison d’hotes Akchour
Chefchaouen

Due to its geographical location in a rural area and the calm atmosphere that prevails, the rooms of our guests house offers you the serenity, tranquility and peace that you needed. The Akchour guest house offers rooms which are all characterized by the quality of their finish, the design and the comfort of their equipment. Very spacious with a splendid view over the rif mountains and the village,

Hotel Oudaya - Rabat
Hotel Oudaya
Rabat

Offering a sun terrace and views of the sea, Hotel des Oudaias is located in Rabat. Each room at this hotel is air conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV. Some units feature a seating area for your convenience. You will find a kettle in the room. The rooms have a private bathroom. Hotel des Oudaias features free WiFi throughout the property. It was built as a solid building with an heiress architectural elegance of its past Arab-Andalusian and French protectorate. The design and warm atmosphere will make you live a historical journey in our charming boutique hotel.


Who Is Charles Whitlock

Charles is a passionate hiker who shares his love of hiking with both new and experienced walkers. In 2003 Charles established Walkaway Treks to better serve his hiking adventures and to provide a variety of hiking services. Charles Whitlock is the owner/operator of Walkaway Treks.Charles Whitlock

  • 30 years outdoor adventure leadership experience
  • Certified Wilderness First Responder
  • Certified hike leader with the Toronto Bruce Trail Club and the Grand Valley Trails Association
  • Tour Manager for Novacks Adventure Tours, London, Ontario. Tours in the United Kingdom, France and Guernsey
  • Tour Manager Worldwide Central Trips and Frederick Travel Waterloo
  • Advisor to the Grand Valley Trails Association
  • Freelance hike leader and tour manager for travel agencies and individuals or group seeking customized trips
  • Leader and organizer for Walkaway Treks independent adventures since 2003

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