Moroccan Souks & Sand - A Gay Cultural Tour of Morocco and Marrakech! Journey from Casablanca to Marrakesh through moody desert landscapes, kasbahs, and villages. Picnic in mountain gorges, learn to cook the perfect couscous, and immerse yourself in labyrinthine souks. You’ll also discover the partially excavated ruins of an ancient Berber city, explore the photogenic Blue City, stay in a truly authentic desert camp, and find tranquility in a traditional riad surrounded by the frenzy of a medina. All-in-all, the sounds, smells, and flavours of North Africa will infuse your memories for years to come on this magical adventure through Morocco.
The colour and commotion of this enchanting land will dazzle travellers looking to experience a way of life suspended in time. Learn the secrets to the perfect couscous and discover ruins of a city built by a sultan looking to create his own version of Versailles. Stay in a hotel made of Saharan sand and haggle hard amid frenzy of the medina. The sights, sounds and smells of the cities and the aromatic flavours of the cuisine will infuse your memories of Morocco for years to come.
• Explore a phenomenal mosque in Casablanca
• Get caught up in the energy of Marrakesh
• Discover the magic and artistry of The Blue City
• Weave through the twisting alleys of Fes' medina
• Enjoy a sunset camel ride through sand dunes
• Stay in a wide range of accommodations, from a traditional Berber desert camp in the Sahara to five-star luxury hotels.
• Learn the secret to cooking perfect couscous
• Arrival & departure transfers to/from Out Adventures joining/finishing point hotel
• Group leader from beginning to end of tour
• 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 9 dinners
• 3-star or higher accommodation (10 nights), Luxury Berber Desert Camp (1 night)
• Entrance and guided tour of Hassan II Mosque
• Guided tours of Chefchaouen, Volubilis, Fès, Skoura & Marrakesh
• Sunset camel ride in the Sahara
• Desert camp experience
• Entrance to Museum El Khorbat, Volubilis, Bahia Palace, Jardin Secret, Majorelle Gardens and Yves Saint-Laurent Museum
• Cooking class in Marrakech
• International Airfare
• Meals & Activities not mentioned in itinerary
• Travel insurance is mandatory for all travellers.
• Gratuities for Tour Leader ($55-$110 USD)
• Gratuities for drivers, hotel staff, porters (approximately $30-$50 USD)
Riads/Hotels (10 nights), Desert Camp (1 night)
We have carefully chosen these gay-welcoming properties with you in mind. They have the right balance of comfort while still being locally owned.
Joining Point Hotel
Le Casablanca Hotel, Casablanca
Featuring free WiFi, an heated indoor sensory pool and an outdoor pool, Le Casablanca Hotel offers accommodation in Casablanca. The hotel has views of the garden, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar.
The rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Certain units feature a seating area for your convenience. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea from your terrace or balcony. Every room has a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find bathrobes and slippers.
The nearest airport is Mohammed V International Airport, 25 km from Le Casablanca Hotel. If you are checking in to the hotel under your Out Adventures reservation, a complimentary arrival transfer will be included.
Standard check-in time is between 2PM and 3PM. We are unable to arrange early check ins, however you are able to store your luggage and explore the central area near the hotel while you wait. If you would like a guaranteed early check-in, you will need to reserve a pre-tour night of accommodation.
Finishing Point Hotel
Les Jardins de la Koutoubia Hotel, Marrakech
This luxurious hotel is a 2-minute walk from the famous Jamaâ El Fna Square. It features a Carita Spa, a hot tub and the outdoor swimming pool is surrounded by palm trees.
The air-conditioned guest rooms are spacious and open onto a patio. Each room is equipped with a minibar and a TV. Some rooms feature an elegant living room. All rooms at Les Jardins De La Koutoubia have a private bathroom with amenities.
Indian specialities are served in Les Jardins de Bala restaurant. Guests can enjoy a drink in the piano bar or on the rooftop terrace.
Guests have access to the hammam and the heated indoor pool under extra fees. Massages are available upon request and there is also a beauty salon.
Mrehba! Welcome to Morocco!
You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at 6:00pm. Following this meeting, we'll head for an optional dinner at the famous Rick's Cafe.
Our journey begins in the bustling Port city of Casablanca. Modelled after Marseille in France, Casablanca has since become much busier than its parent and is now the undisputed economic capital of the country, with one of Africa's largest ports. The architectural style of the city is curious; famous for its Art Deco French colonial buildings and Mauresque governmental institutions, an old Medina and of course the phenomenal modern day masterpiece - Hassan II Mosque, of which a guided tour is included on Day 2.
A pleasant way to spend the day exploring Casablanca is to wander around the old medina and the old city walls, then jump in a taxi to visit the Quartiers des Habous - the new Medina which is full of shaded squares, and narrow streets lined with arcades that lead from one souk to another. This is a great place to enjoy a Moroccan coffee and maybe start improving your bargaining skills in the souks or the interesting local food markets that stretch behind the quarter. Finish the day with a walk along the Corniche watching the locals enjoy sunset football on the beach.
After breakfast we have a guided tour of the Hassan II mosque. Perched oceanside at Islam's western extremity, it was completed in 1993 after years of work by around 30,000 craftsmen. The mosque was the late King Hassan II's most ambitious project and was funded by public subscription - all $800 million of it! Only the mosques at Mecca and Medina are bigger, and its 200m-high minaret is the tallest in the world.
In the afternoon hit the road towards the Rif Mountains and Chefchaouen, aka The Blue City. After checking into our hotel, we'll enjoy an orientation walk and learn about the Blue City's Andalusian history and how it got its namesake coat of blue paint. Finally, we'll end the day with dinner at a local restaurant.
We'll begin the day with a relaxed breakfast at our accommodations before heading to the city's beautiful medina for a guided tour. It is here we'll indulge in the sights, sounds and smells of the city's famous district. We may even taste some local goat cheese.
After an included lunch at another local favourite, you'll have the afternoon free to explore. May we suggest a hike through the surrounding hills towards Akchour falls?
We'll rise early for a quick breakfast at our accommodations. Then it is off to Fes vis-a-vis UNESCO World Heritage Volubilis, a partly-excavated Berber city.
After arriving in Fes you'll have plenty of time to unpack, get acquainted with the city or just indulge in our stunning hotel. Loosen your belt buckles because tonight we'll enjoy a memorable, included meal.
Today, a local guide will introduce us to the incredible Medina of Fes; the spiritual heart of Morocco. We’ll but scrape the surface of this mysterious place, as we explore just a few of its 10,000 streets. Laden with souks, markets, and handicrafts quarters, the potential for discovery is limitless. This will be followed by free time in the afternoon.
To round out our day, we'll enjoy a fabulous home-cooked dinner with a local family. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know Moroccan culture and customs.
Today we have a short flight to Errachidia, before we transfer to 4WDs and drive to our riad in Merzouga.
Our boutique hotel, beautifully situated, is nestled into the sandy surrounds. After check-in, you can strip down to your swimsuit and luxuriate by the pool, before we feast on an included dinner.
A big day awaits as we jump aboard 4WDs to visit the Merzouga desert, the village of Hassilabiad and the very popular village of Khemlia. Khemlia is populated by a nomadic group that arrived in Morocco in the 15th century from sub-Saharan countries like Ghana. You'll have time to enjoy their music, dance and unique fashion before a Madouna lunch – a local bread stuffed with meat (optional), veggies and herbs.
Tonight we'll saddle a caravan of camels and ride into the desert sunset for one of the most memorable evenings of the tour. Finally, back at our desert camp we'll enjoy another included dinner.
Today we travel towards Ait Benhaddou with a stop en route at Kasbah Amerhidil, part of the oasis town of Skoura.
We’ll have lunch here before continuing to Ait Benhaddou - one of the most beautiful in all of Morocco and a UNESCO World Heritage site, where we’ll check in to our comfortable hotel located near the old kasbah. Today, Ait Benhaddou is inhabited only by a handful of families and we can explore the maze of its streets at our leisure, or soak up the atmosphere from our hotel terrace while watching the sun set over this magnificent site.
Today is defined by a spectacular drive across the High Atlas Mountains.
Driving through the Tizi n’ Tichka pass – the highest in Morocco at 2,260m/7,400ft – our final destination is Marrakech. Once there, you’ll be able to enjoy the comforts of our centrally located accommodations.
A Moroccan feast awaits for dinner at a beautifully restored riad – in fact, one of the oldest riads in the city!
Rise and shine, Habibi. After a simple breakfast we head to La Maison Arabe for an informative Moroccan cooking class where we'll discover the secrets to North African cuisine. Lunch is included today followed by a guided tour of Marrkesh's wonderful Medina, or Arab Quarter.
We'll explore hidden shops, secret courtyards, lush Islamic gardens and Bahia Palace, a splendid mansion built by a former slave who rose to power within the government. Dinner and the rest of the day is at your leisure.
For our last full day of exploring we’ll venture into Marrakech's serene Majorelle Gardens, originally owned and tended to by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. The tropical gardens are also where the ashes of Yves Saint-Laurent were scattered in 2008. Speaking of whom, we'll spend an hour or so at the Yves Saint-Laurent museum, appreciating the gay icon's contributions to the world of fashion.
The adventure finally ends with a Farewell Dinner at one of Marrakech’s most popular restaurants, where we can reminisce over the 11 past days before we part ways.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at your leisure.