An Exploration of Local Life, Culture & Textiles
Tuesday, May 26th – Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Tuesday, May 26 MARRAKECH
Marhaba! Welcome to Morocco! Get settled into the bustling medina and enjoy the riad facilities. We’ll gather this afternoon for a Welcome Meeting to get familiar with one another and prepare for our time together. Then we’ll head out for a tasting-style dinner in the famous Djemma El Fna night market.
Wednesday, May 27 MARRAKECH
Then we’ll head out to visit the stunning Majorelle Garden and museum depicting many beautiful traditional Moroccan textiles and jewelry followed by a visit to a traditional formalwear designer known for her stunning hand-sewn wedding gowns. We’ll enjoy a private gathering in her shop where we’ll learn about her beautiful handiwork and the Moroccan wedding tradition. Those wishing to get fitted for their own hand-made piece may do so! The evening is free for a hammam, massage or night wander.
Thursday, May 28 SKOURA
Today we journey through the High Atlas Mountains, stopping to visit a UNESCO World Heritage kasbah on the way. We’ll cross the highest pass in Morocco and stay in a cozy guest house along the Route of the Kasbahs this evening.
Friday, May 29 SAHARA DESERT CAMP
Head deeper into the changing desert landscape, passing through the arid, rocky desert known as the hammada. Tonight we store our luggage at a desert hotel before mounting camels to ride through red Sahara dunes to our campsite. A traditional Saharan tagine and maybe some drumming lull us to sleep under the spectacular starry sky.
Saturday, May 30 AOUFOUS
Enjoy a leisurely morning in the desert and a peek at the Thursday market before heading to Aoufous, a village nestled in one of the largest palm oases in North Africa. Here we’ll settle in for the next few days, as we learn what it’s like to be a Berber weaver in the south of Morocco! This afternoon we’ll learn how our looms are set up so we can get a fresh start in the morning.
Sunday-Tuesday, May 31-June 2 WEAVING WORKSHOP
Mornings and afternoons will be dedicated to learning how to weave with the ladies of the house and creating your own small tapestry to take home. Optional activities will be available such as learning to cook Berber pizza, getting traditional henna, guided walking through the palm oasis or dancing to local music with the family. (Activity costs range from $5-15 per person). All meals included during our stay..
Wednesday, June 3 BHALIL
Gather your weaving and say goodbye to our hosts as we head north. Our journey today takes us through the Middle Atlas mountains and more beautiful and varied landscapes into the “Switzerland of Morocco”. We enjoy a restful evening in a simple guest house.
Thursday, June 4 BHALIL/SEFROU
Head to Sefrou this morning, a small town famous for its cherry trees, to visit a nearby women’s cooperative and participate in a button-making workshop. Learn how to make the beautiful buttons the region is famous for and enjoy lunch with a local family. After lunch, return to our guest house for a free afternoon to enjoy the authenticity of the local medieval village.
Friday, June 5 FES
This morning head into Fes to visit the original Bencherif fabric store, where all their traditional fabrics are made on hand-operated looms. These handmade fabrics will be available for purchase and are truly a treasure. Then we’ll check into a traditionally restored riad overlooking the chaotic medina, home to some of the oldest mosques, universities and Quranic schools in the world.
Saturday, June 6 FES
Soak up the sights and sounds of the Fes medina with a guided tour then Enjoy a free evening for fine dining, drinks on the terrace, or time off to relax! Many charming choices for dinner abound in the medina.
Sunday, June 7 CASABLANCA
Morning departure to Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco. It wouldn’t be Casablanca without a dinner at the elegant and convivial Rick’s cafe!
Monday, June 8 CASABLANCA
This morning we’re off to the industrial area of Casablanca to visit the factory of one of the oldest fabric producers in Morocco. Meet members of the family, sift through their beautiful fabric and go behind the scenes to see how it is all made. We’ll return to Casablanca for lunch and a free afternoon to see the Hassan II Mosque, enjoy a hammam or visit other sites as you please.
Tuesday, June 9 ESSAOUIRA
Today we’re off down the coast to the seaside town of Essaouira, a beautiful city with an artistic and bohemian vibe. Essaouira’s colorful artisan goods include thuya woodwork, leather and silver jewelry. We’ll take a walk through the city’s beautiful medina before enjoying our final dinner and local live music together.
Wednesday, June 10 DEPARTURE DAY
Goodbye Morocco! Please give yourself time to get to your departure airport (see notes below) or consider staying on to relax and unwind in Essaouira’s peaceful seaside setting. The vibe is laid back, the shopping is good, and the cool air is a welcome respite after our long journey.