Thursday, October 5, 2017
: Depart Home (Depart the U.S. on your overnight flight/s to Morocco)
Friday, October 6
: Arrive Fes, Morocco
• Arrive in Fes and transfer on arrival to our boutique hotel in the heart of the medina for three nights: the Algila Fes.
• Join your fellow travelers and photography instructor, David Wells, for welcome drinks and an orientation at the hotel.
Accommodations: ALGILA FES
Saturday, October 7
: FES: Photo Workshops & Excursion
• Morning photography workshop with David at the hotel.
• We’ll then begin our exploration of fascinating Fes, said to be the most complete medieval city of the Arab world, still retaining the look and feel of the era. Following a panoramic view of the city, our expert guide will lead us head first into a sense-stimulating walk through the oldest part of the medina—across food and spice markets, handicraft quarters, auction markets and colorful souks. As we navigate the maze of narrow lanes, we’ll take our time to savor fantastic photography opportunities, including stops at the ancient tanneries, the Attarine Medersa, and by the ancient Kairouine Mosque. A fine lunch will be served at a restaurant in the medina.
• Gather for dinner tonight at a restaurant near the hotel, with an opportunity to practice night street photography en route.
Accommodations: ALGILA FES | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included
Sunday, October 8
: FES: Excursion & Photo Workshop
• Set out at dawn this morning for photos in beautiful morning light.
• Continue for a visit in of Fes El Jdid (“new Fes,” dating from the 14th century)—including a view of the Royal Palace and a stroll in the Jewish Quarter (mellah)—and then onto a pottery workshop to meet local artisans and learn about the production of traditional Moroccan tiles.
• By special arrangement, we will meet this afternoon with a well-known local photographer from Fes to join him on a photo shoot inside a humble family’s home in the medina.
• Time permitting, David will continue a second part of his workshop at the hotel after the shoot.
• Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to explore and dine independently.
Accommodations: ALGILA FES | Breakfast, Lunch Included
Monday, October 9
: Fes | JOURNEY SOUTH THROUGH THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS | Erfoud
• Well prepared by our two half-day photography workshops, we’ll depart south towards the Sahara Desert via the Atlas Mountains together with David, Temu, and our expert Moroccan guide. On our beautiful journey we’ll pass a remarkable diversity of landscapes.
• We begin with a short stop in Ifrane— a charming ski resort reminiscent of the Swiss Alps—accessible by road though one of the most fertile and well-cultivated valleys in Morocco.
• Continue for lunch at Midelt, at an altitude of 5,000 ft.
• Drive on through magnificent cedar, pine, and oak forests to reach the Saharan plateau before ascending up to the High Atlas for exceptional views of date palm valleys, fortified mud-brick villages, and varied geological formations.
• En route, observe lifestyles unchanged for centuries: nomadic shepherds living in black tents and moving seasonally between mountain and desert with their herds of goat and sheep.
• In the last leg of the journey, pass through Tafilalet country, home of the current royal family, and follow the legendary Ziz valley along a deep canyon down to Erfoud, gateway to the Sahara and our home for the night.
Accommodations: KASBAH HOTEL CHERGUI | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included
Tuesday, October 10
: ERFOUD | TISSERDMINE OASIS | SAHARA DESERT
• After breakfast, transfer to 4x4s for a thrilling ride into the Sahara Desert towards the massive dune field of Erg Chebbi, where a sublime sunset excursion in the dunes awaits this afternoon.
• En route, stop to admire the fascinating fossils (trilobites) and other minerals of the region.
• As we approach the dunes, visit a family of nomads living in the desert, and continue on to the Tisserdmine Oasis for a private BBQ lunch under the shadow of palm trees (one of several oases in the area where films have been shot).
• Sunset camel ride in the dunes with stops to capture amazing photographs of the shifting sands in the late afternoon
light. • Arrive at our private luxury desert camp at dusk, welcomed by local Gnawa musicians who will celebrate with us throughout the evening.
• Special Dinner in our private desert camp.
• Stargazing, star photography and “light painting” session after dinner.
Accommodations: PRIVATE DESERT CAMP | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included
Wednesday, October 11
: SAHARA DESERT | TODRA GORGE | DADES VALLEY
• Early risers can watch and photograph the sunrise over the sand dunes before breakfast.
• After driving out of the dunes by 4X4, continue by bus through a desert of stones and lunar landscapes towards the magnificent Todra Valley, passing through beautiful green oases inhabited for millennia.
• At Todra, take in spectacular views along a narrow canyon ending in striking gorges, and see its oasis as well as the old fortified villages in the valley.
• Continue to Dades to explore and photograph its imposing gorges and sheer rock formations.
• Evening recap, dinner, and overnight at the Xaluca Dades Hotel.
Accommodations: XALUCA DADES | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included
Thursday, October 12
: DADES VALLEY | SKOURA OASIS | AIT BEN HADDOU
• After several action-packed days, enjoy a morning at leisure. Sleep in, relax, and/or use this time to download and sort through photos, meet one-on-one with David, etc.
• Around midday, set off westward towards the beautiful Skoura Oasis, where a Berber family will graciously welcome us into their humble home for lunch (and wonderful photography opportunities!).
• Continue in the afternoon across a spectacular barren region—where many movies have been filmed—to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Ben Haddou, one of the most beautiful displays of Berber architecture. Take a guided tour of the impressive 11th-century Kasbah, and enjoy time to explore and photograph this wonderful place in late afternoon light.
• Dinner and overnight at beatiful Ksar Ighnda hotel, a short drive from the site.
Accommodations: KSAR IGHNDA | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included
Friday, October 13
: Ait Ben Haddou | ATLAS MOUNTAINS CROSSING | MARRAKECH
• Cross the beautiful High Atlas Mountains this morning, through stretches of desert and farmlands, passing picturesque rock formations and remains of historical Kasbahs en route. The road zigzags higher to Tizi N’tichka pass (7500 ft), snow covered in winter, and then descends into cultivated terraces of pine and oak forests as it leads towards Marrakech. We’ll make several photo stops and have lunch en route.
• Early to mid-afternoon arrival in Marrakech, for check-in at our hotel for the last three nights: Riad Al Rimal.
• In the late afternoon, those interested can join Temu and David for our first walk into magical Djemma el Fna Square at sunset, precisely when it comes alive with snake charmers, dancers, story tellers, food vendors, musicians, and more.
Accommodations: Riad Al Rimal | Breakfast, Lunch Included
Saturday, October 14
• Optional sunrise walk in the medina, followed by one-on-one time with David through breakfast and mid-morning.
• Our excursion today will feature Marrakech’s ancient medina, including a guided walk through its dizzying lanes, artisan areas, souks, the Ben Youssef Medersa, and the excellent Photography Museum—where we will be personally welcomed by the Director and also enjoy lunch on its breezy terrace (which has one of the best views in the city).
• After lunch, join the Museum’s director on a private visit to an amazing 16th-century apartment he is restoring in the medina.
• The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore independently. Those interested can join us on our second photography outing into the magical central Square at sunset.
• An optional night street photography walk will be offered in the medina.
Accommodations: Riad Al Rimal | Breakfast, Lunch Included
Sunday, October 15
• Morning excursion to visit and photograph some of Marrakech’s most important monuments, including the Bahia Palace (before crowds arrive), the crumbling remains of the 16th-century Badia (with its new photography exhibit) and the 11th-century Koutoubia mosque.
• After a visit and demonstration at a local spice shop, the remainder of the day is officially at leisure. Nonetheless, you may join a number of options in the afternoon, such as:
• A visit to Yves St. Laurent’s beautiful Majorelle Gardens followed by lunch at the nice on-site cafe.
• A “shopping expedition” in the souks.
• A relaxing afternoon massage/hammam at a highly-rated spa in Marrakech.
• Or, simply more independent time to explore and photograph in the souks.
• Enjoy a special final dinner and slideshow tonight at a beautiful locale near the hotel.
Accommodations: Riad Al Rimal | Breakfast, Dinner Included
Monday, October 16
: Marrakech | Fly Home
• Morning transfer to the Marrakech Airport for your flights back home.
OPTIONAL 1-NIGHT PRE-TRIP EXTENSION to CASABLANCA:
Travelers interested in seeing Morocco’s largest city can fly in one day early and stay overnight in Casablanca before transferring to Fes to meet the group.
Schedule as follows:
October 4 - Depart U.S.
October 5 - Arrive Casablanca and transfer to city on arrival. Overnight at the newly opened Imperial Hotel.
October 6 - Morning city tour of Casablanca’s main highlights including the awe-inspiring Hassan II mosque, the largest on the continent and one of the grandest in the world. After lunch, transfer to Fes in the afternoon (breakfast and lunch included).
Additional $365 per person double occupancy or $465 for single occupancy.
Requires minimum of 4 travelers participating.
OPTIONAL 2-NIGHT POST-TRIP EXTENSION to ESSAOUIRA:
Beautiful, laid-back Essaouira on the coast serves as a wonderful counterpart to the buzz of Marrakech for those who can stay an extra two days. The pace is intentionally relaxed, with more time at leisure to photograph and explore the whitewashed medina (encased in an old Portuguese fort).
Schedule as follows:
October 16 - Late morning drive to Essaouira. Afternoon guided walking tour in the medina. Overnight at the deluxe Madada Mogador Hotel. (Breakfast Included)
October 17 - Photo activity with David and time to explore at leisure (or, we can facilitate any activity you’re interested in). Final dinner at the whimsical Caravan Cafe restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner Included)
October 18 - Departure after breakfast back to Marrakech (or potentially Casablanca) for flights back home. (Breakfast Included)
Additional $645 per person double occupancy or $880 for single occupancy.
Requires minimum of 6 travelers participating. Add $50 extra for 4 or 5 travelers.