Splendors of Morocco
October 4-13, 2024
9 Nights/10 Days
from $7,389 per person – Limited Availability
Experience the magical allure, where ancient traditions meet breathtaking landscapes.
Source Journeys invites you to join us on this small LGBTQ+ group luxury experience as we travel back to a slower time of aromatic mint tea in cool courtyards. Let’s stroll through sun-drenched bazaars overflowing with handmade jewelry and colorful tanginess. Morocco is a gateway to Africa and a country of dizzying diversity. Here we’ll find epic mountain ranges, ancient cities, sweeping deserts – and warm hospitality. Lodging is also a delightful adventure, whether we’re staying overnight in the Sahara in an exclusive tented desert camp or in Morocco’s most well-appointed and romantic Riads (traditional courtyard houses). With expert guides, learn the histories of Morocco’s ancient cities, discover ornate monuments to religious devotion, and savor one of the most diverse cuisines in the world.
- A small LGBTQ+ group of like-minded travelers
- Venture into the Sahara by 4×4 and Camelback
- Stay in a Luxury Tented Camp
- Explore Fez el-Bali, Morocco’s cultural heart, on a guided walk through its winding alleyways and past its myriad souks
- Tread the ancient Roman paths at Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Discover Marrakech at its most authentic, taking its sights, sounds, and scents of its UNESCO-listed Medina
- Visit local artisans works still reflect the influences of Morocco’s historic Roman, Moorish, and Berber cultures
This traditional greeting in Morocco means a warm “Hello and Welcome!”
Today is the official arrival day in Casablanca. On arrival, the guest will be met by an airport representative, and special arrangements have been made for us to pass through immigration formalities and clear customs. We are then transferred to our luxury hotel to start our unforgettable visit to Morocco.
Later this afternoon, discover the fascinating city of Casablanca. The name Casablanca evokes thoughts of good living, romance, and adventure in a tropical setting, an image that the 1943 Humphrey Bogart film conveyed to cinema-goers in the drab years of World War Two. Originally settled by Berbers in the 7th century, Casablanca’s fairly recent growth has made it the bustling, French-influenced business center of Morocco it is today.
Our visit starts with a tour of the magnificent Hassan II Grand Mosque, one of the two mosques that can be visited in Morocco. The mosque is among the world’s largest and can house as many as 25,000 worshipers. The mosque’s minaret is the tallest religious structure in the world.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency Casablanca
Casablanca to Fes via Rabat
This morning, drive to Rabat, the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco and the seat of its government.
Start our tour with Hassan Tower, or Tour Hassan is Rabat’s most famous sight. The massive minaret dates back to 1195 and towers over the city and the incomplete mosque below, which was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1755.
Continue our city tour of Rabat with a visit to Kasbah des Oudayas, a picturesque palace guarded by an impressive arched gate. Inside the Kasbah are some beautiful Andalusian gardens, as well as a broad terrace, where we can enjoy beautiful views of the river and sea while sipping a mint tea.
Next, continue on to the Mohamed VI Museum of Modern Contemporary art, a great introduction to Moroccan history and contemporary Moroccan artists.
At the conclusion of our tour, continue to the cultural heart of Morocco, the magical Fes. Founded in the eighth century, it is home to several famed historical monuments, among them the Karaouine, the world’s first university.
Overnight: Riad Fes
Take a step back in time to the Middle Ages with a visit to Fez El Bali, the world’s largest living medieval medina-city and the cultural heart of Morocco. Explore some of the 9,000 narrow lanes, alleys, and souks that make up the labyrinth of the city’s old quarter. The medieval Medina is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fes was a renowned center of medieval learning and at its heart lays the Karaouine, one of the oldest, still-functioning universities in the world. In the neighboring building is the Attarine Medersa (Koranic college) (Closed), a jewel of Hispano-Moorish architecture, built in the 14th century. Continue on to Nejjarine Square, whose centerpiece is a beautiful fountain, made up of mosaics and elaborate tile-work. The nearby Fondouq (Caravanserai) has now been converted into a museum of carpentry artifacts.
Visit Dar Batha and the Museum of Moroccan Arts, which houses historical and artistic collections of wood carvings, embroidery, tribal carpets, and ceramics. Then, it is on to Fes El Jedid (New Fes), built by the Merinid Dynasty in the 13th century. Admire the Royal Palace, mosques, madrasas (schools), souks, and the city wall. Most notably, Fes El Jedid is home to the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter, which provides an interesting insight into Jewish architecture.
Overnight: Riad Fes
Meknes & Volubilis
Depart overland to Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the largest and best-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. With its triumphal arches, basilicas, and capitols, the Volubilis skyline is peppered with examples of Roman architecture. However, the greatest treasures of Volubilis are the superb mosaic floors, which have been excellently preserved and left in situ.
From here, continue on to Meknes, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Morocco’s great Imperial Cities. In Meknes, the impressive monuments recall the splendor of a city first built in the 17th century by the powerful sultan Moulay Ismail to rival the court of his contemporary, Louis XIV of France. During our visit, we will see the monumental Bab Mansour gateway, considered to be one of the finest gates in Morocco, as well as the Granaries and the Royal Stables, which were built to accommodate some 12,000 horses. We will also have the chance to see Moulay Ismail’s Mausoleum, one of the few shrines in Morocco that can be visited by non-Muslims.
Overnight: Riad Fes
Fes to Merzouga
Today, we travel into the desert, passing through the impressive Atlas Mountains, and discover the Tafilalet region, famous for its savory dates and gorgeous scenery.
Erfoud is a largely French-built administrative center and is known for its delightful palm dates. Take a look at Erfoud’s quarry, where fossils have been found from the sea that used to lie here. Nowadays, the mining of these fossilized rocks is a growing and popular industry in this part of Morocco, and the fossilized rocks excavated here are used to produce beautiful decorative objects ranging from crockery to furniture.
Upon arrival to Erfoud, we head south traveling by four-wheel-drive vehicle along the desert dunes to your tented campsite. For the final part of our journey to the camp, we will exchange our four-wheel drive for a more traditional mode of transportation as we cross the final dunes on camelback to reach our camp. On arrival, we will enjoy a reception of mint tea and pastries followed by a sundowner drink in the dunes.
Later this evening, we’ll savor a mouth-watering dinner served around a campfire, or in a tent, complete with traditional entertainment. Watching the sunset over the high dunes of the Sahara Desert is a highlight of Merzouga Luxury Camp, set in the middle of the golden sand dunes.
Overnight Merzouga Luxury Camp
Merzouga to Quarzazate
Ouarzazate was once a stopping point for African traders en route to the cities of Morocco and Europe. We will pay a visit to the Todra Gorges and the even more impressive picturesque oases that they hide. Travel through the southern slopes of the High Atlas range, following the Dades Valley and passing flourishing crops, irrigation canals, and palm trees. Following the 1000 Kasbahs road, we will marvel at the breath-taking vistas of impressive, ancient Kasbahs nestled in lush palm groves.
Along the way, we’ll make a stop to visit an amazing, small private museum in a Ksar near Tingherir, which houses exhibits that showcase the local art, culture, and history. Ouarzazate was built as a French garrison in the 1920s. Now, it is a regional trade center known for pottery and carpets.
Overnight: Berber Palace
Quarzazate to Marrakech via Ait Benhaddou
Today, we travel through the stunning Atlas Mountains to reach the thrilling and colorful city of Marrakech. En route, stop in the fortified village of Ait Benhaddou, the most exotic and best-preserved Kasbah in the whole of the Atlas region. The village has starred in an array of movies, such as Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, Gladiator, and The Mummy.
Continue by road over the Tizi n’Tichka Pass, the highest in the region at a height of 2,260 meters (7,415 feet), and stop to marvel at the panoramic views. As our journey continues, take note of the picturesque villages, passing by travelers going from one village to the next on foot or by mule.
Finally arrive in Marrakech. Pearl of the South, Jewel of the South, The Red City – just a few of the nicknames Marrakech has acquired over the years. Part Berber, part Arab, and part African, Marrakech is the heartbeat of Morocco where palaces and monuments of unrivaled refinement sit calmly alongside snake charmers and Gnaouan drums, pulsing constantly from Djemâa el Fna Square – the most exuberant marketplace in the world.
Overnight: Villa des Orangers
This morning, we will each take a seat in a horse-drawn carriage for a ride through Marrakech’s famous, beautiful gardens which are dotted around the city. The area is fed by a basin that was created to irrigate the surrounding gardens and orchards using a sophisticated system called Qanat. The basin is supplied with water via an old hydraulic system that conveys water from the mountains located nearly 20 miles away.
We begin with a visit to the Menara gardens, which date back to the 12th century and are set among extensive orchards and olive groves. At the center is a rectangular pool with a fabulous view of the Atlas Mountains.
From here it’s on to visit the Jardin Majorelle (Majorelle Gardens), originally designed in 1924 by French artist Jacques Majorelle. After taking up residence in Marrakech, Majorelle transformed the property’s existing garden into a tropical paradise, surrounded by vivid cobalt blue buildings with verdant exotic groves, lily-covered pools, and enormous sculptural cactuses.
These peaceful garden settings offer a variety of exotic plants such as bamboo, cacti, bougainvillea, and palms. Streams and fish-filled pools also flow through the tranquil gardens.
Near the Majorelle Gardens, is the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, where the most precious YSL works are gathered. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé fell in love with the colors of Marrakech and therefore resided here for some of the most beautiful years of their lives.
The Museum, a 43,000-square-foot building, was designed by the Paris-based firm Studio KO. Inspired by contemporary and Moroccan architecture, we will find blues and greens on one side of the entrance hall, reds, and tangerines on the other.
The museum has a bookshop, research library, an auditorium, and a cafe serving French-leaning fare with a terrace overlooking a reflection pool.
Overnight: Villa des Orangers
Today, we discover the Mysteries of Marrakech and the city’s architectural attractions, the majority of which are located inside the Medina, the old walled section of the town.
Together, we begin by exploring the labyrinthine souks and perhaps indulge in some shopping! Souk Smarine is an important thoroughfare, traditionally dominated by the sale of textiles, clothing, and Moroccan handicrafts. This maze of colorful alleys and small squares is home to a bewildering array of stalls and ateliers devoted to specific crafts.
Next, we will explore Jemaa El Fna, the city’s main square, which is home to a multitude of street artists and food stalls. Over the years the square has become the beating heart of Marrakech, where fire-eaters, acrobats, snake charmers, and street musicians perform at every turn.
We’ll continue to the Koutoubia Mosque, an emblem of Marrakech. It is not possible to enter the mosque, but its beauty can be admired from the gardens and the square. Built-in the 12th century, the Koutoubia’s minaret is one of the highlights of Islamic religious structures in North Africa and the inspiration for the architects of the Giralda in Seville and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. This famous landmark dominates the local skyline and can easily be spotted from all over Marrakech.
Our small LGBTQ+ group will take a look at the Dar El Bacha. Formally the private residence of Thami El Glaoui (who ruled over Marrakech from 1912 to 1956), Dar El Bacha Palace has historically hosted magnificent celebrations and receptions in the presence of the Greats of this world, including Winston Churchill and Jacques Majorelle. After several years of heavy rehabilitation work, the palace was reopened by his Majesty King Mohamed VI in 2017. The colorful, geometric tiles painted ceilings and carved cedarwood is an exhibition on their own, but the palace also boasts an area for the Art of Islam, an international collection of Patty Cadby Birch that represents the four continents as well as a private, temporary, exhibition space.
Overnight: Villa des Orangers
Hyatt Regency Casablanca
Located between the art deco facades and the old medina, Hyatt Regency Casablanca invites you to a refined and energizing 2.0 inspired by the city of Casablanca and its’ Moroccan legendary hospitality. At Hyatt, Regency Casablanca enjoys the amazing view of the city. Provided with free Wi-Fi, all of the air-conditioned rooms and suites at Hyatt Regency Casablanca are overlooking the Art Deco or Hassan II mosque.
Riad Fes – Relais & Châteaux is renowned for its luxury, impeccable service and fine restaurant. Restored to its original glory, Riad Fès – Relais & Châteaux is located in the heart of the ancient city of Fez. It has succeeded in combining refinement with inspiration and invites you to relax and enjoy your stay in a serene atmosphere with decor reminiscent of Arabian Nights. Riad Fes provides guests with the opportunity to travel back in time and enjoy the splendour and authenticity of the lifestyle of Fassi nobility
Merzouga Luxury Camp
Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp is your special home in Morocco. It demands nothing much of you, but to relax and gaze at the ever-changing colors of the desert. Situated in the quiet and idyllic sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, this splendid desert camp caters to your memorable vacation. This Private Luxury Camp offers Ten spacious luxury tents with a sense of comfort and prestige. The Private Camp is designed for those who enjoy the peace that utter silence can afford. Getaway for a day or two and revel in the luxury atmosphere, reflecting or taking walks in one of the most enchanting Sahara Desert of the world
Enjoy your special night under the stars at this beautiful Oasis in a premium tented camp. Experience a camel ride at sunset and sunrise from the top of the dunes. Your desert experience includes an authentic Moroccan dinner under the stars and breakfast in the morning
Located in Ouarzazate town center, the Berbere Palace is just 5 minutes from the famous Kasbah de Taourirt and 5 minutes from the Airport. It offers an outdoor swimming pool and a spa center with a hammam, sauna, and hot tub. Each room and suite at Berbere Palace are air-conditioned and equipped with free Wi-Fi access and satellite TV. Rooms also have en suite facilities and a private balcony or terrace. The Berbere features 3 restaurants that serve French, Italian and traditional Moroccan cuisine.
Villa Des Orangers
Located close to the famous Jemaa El Fna square, the Villa des Orangers is a riad, a traditional medina house. This elegant and pleasant hotel with 27 rooms and suites is built around three verdant patios with a fountain, leading to galleries with carved plaster arcades. Upstairs, suites with private terraces overlook the medina. Rooftops converted into swimming pools, gardens, and sun decks overlook the old town and the Koutoubia Mosque and have an unobstructed view of the Atlas mountains.
The Source Small Group Experience
Discover the Magic of Morocco with LGBTQ+ Travelers on a Source Journeys Small-Group Luxury Experience
Embark on a one-of-a-kind journey with Source Journeys to explore the enchanting culture, stunning landscapes, and diverse flavors of Morocco. Our luxurious small-group tour is designed exclusively for LGBTQ+ travelers, offering an unparalleled travel experience backed by a team of seasoned travel experts.
Experience the best of Morocco with our signature luxury tour, handcrafted to showcase the country’s hidden gems, including the medieval wonders of Fes, the boisterous alleys of Marrakech, and the majestic Sahara desert. Indulge in award-winning accommodations, handpicked by Source Journeys, and savor the exquisite local cuisine.
Our all-inclusive tour provides exceptional service, from airport transfers to expert local guides and 24/7 support. Thoughtfully curated by Craig Smith, Founder and President of Source Journeys, a seasoned traveler with decades of experience, our Morocco tour promises to be a magical adventure every day. Join us and discover the true essence of Morocco with fellow LGBTQ+ travelers on this exclusive Source Journeys experience.
|$7,389 / person
|$10,289 / person
Deluxe Accommodations - Double Occupancy
Deluxe Accommodations - Single Occupancy
Included in this Journey
- Meet & Greet and Fast track service upon arrival at Casablanca Airport
- 5-Star Deluxe Accommodations throughout
- Daily Breakfasts
- Welcome Dinner in Casablanca
- 8 Lunches & 4 Dinners
- Private English-speaking guide
- Transfers and excursions by a private modern air-conditioned bus
- All entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the itinerary
- Excursion in Desert camp by a 4×4 vehicle and Camel Ride
- Portages at Airports and Hotels
- Fully escorted by Source Journeys
Not Included in this Journey
- International Airfares
- Visa Fees (If applicable)
- Meals not mentioned in the program
- Travel Insurance (Highly recommended)
- Personal Expenses
- Airport taxes (if any)
- Covid-19 Test (if applicable)
Travel Details: Your valid passport should have at least two consecutive blank pages and should be valid for at least six months after your planned departure from the country you are visiting. An entry visa may be required. Arrival Airport Casablanca (CMN) and Departure Airpot Marrakech (RAK)