10 NIGHTS

MAGICAL MOROCCO TOUR SUMMARY: Step back in time as you discover the ancient imperial cities and Berber villages of Morocco. Inhale the exotic spices...
Author: Kelley Bennett
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MAGICAL MOROCCO

TOUR SUMMARY: Step back in time as you discover the ancient imperial cities and Berber villages of Morocco. Inhale the exotic spices at the souks, experience the captivating landscape of the desert, and watch in amazement the musicians and snake charmers of Marrakech. We dine at Rick’s Café in Casablanca, sleep in a deluxe Bedouin tent in the Sahara, and share a day in the life of Berber women.

NOVEMBER 4-14TH, 2017 11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS PRICE: USD $2860 - 3 % MEMBERSHIP TO BRAVE WOMEN TRAVEL

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $730 USD DEPOSIT - $950 DUE IMMEDIATELY

BALANCE DUE 90 DAYS PRIOR - AUGUST 4, 2017

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS •Shop at the Souks for ingredients and create delicious Moroccan dishes with a female chef •Learn the art of Henna hand painting with a professional artist in her home •Share a day in the life of Berber women in an authentic setting •Visit a women’s cooperative for weaving and textiles

DOES NOT INCLUDE AIRFARE TO MOROCCO

YOU MUST HAVE INSURANCE (HEALTH & ACCIDENT) LADIES! THIS PRICE IS BASED ON 10 PASSENGERS. THE MORE GALS WE HAVE CONFIRMED (PAID FOR) THE PRICE WILL GO DOWN. LET’S GET 22 WOMEN GOING AND WE CAN REDUCE THE COST SIGNIFICANTLY!!

SIGHTSEEING AND SPECIAL EVENTS AT A GLANCE In Casablanca: External visit of Tour the Hassan II Mosque Visit the Squares of Mohammed V and Place des Nations Unies See the Port of Casablanca, Cathedrale Sacre Coeur and Parc de la Ligue Arabe Stroll along the Ain Diab Corniche In Rabat: See the Royal Palace from the Entrance Square Visit Place Mohammed V Tour the Mausoleum of Mohammed V Walk Through Almohad Gate, Entrance to the Kasbah des Oudaias Brief Stop at the Museum of Moroccan Arts In Rabat: See the Royal Palace from the Entrance Square Visit Place Mohammed V Tour the Mausoleum of Mohammed V Walk Through Almohad Gate, Entrance to the Kasbah des Oudaias Brief Stop at the Museum of Moroccan Arts Visit the Andalusian Gardens and the Hassan Tower

In Meknes: See the Bab El Mansour Gate Visit Place El Hedim See the Royal Granaries and Stables Drive Past the City Ramparts. In Fes: See Jemaa Karaouine University Visit the 14th Century School, Madrasa Bou Inania Walk Through the Blue Gates of Bab Boujloud Tour the Leather Tanneries Visit the El Attarine Souks Market Shopping with a Female Chef Cooking Demonstration with Lunch Tour the Roman Ruins of Volubilis Shopping in the Medina En Route to Merzouga: See the Swiss-like Town of Ifrane Stop in the Berber Village of Azrou Travel Through the Middle Atlas Mountains Visit the Market Town of Midelt See the Oasis-Dotted Ziz River Valley Stop in Erfoud, a Favorite Location of Filmmakers Pass Through the 8th Century Town of Rissani

In Merzouga: Enjoy A Desert Camp Fire Under the Stars Spend the Night in a Deluxe Bedouin Tent Take a Sunrise Camel Ride on the Dunes En Route to Ouarzazate: Visit the Oasis of Tinghir Walk in the Rare Landscape of Todra Gorge Travel Through the Dades Valley See the Rose Garden Village of El Kelaa Mgouna In Ouarzazate: Tour the Dazzling City of Ouarzazate Visit the Kasbahs of Taourirt and Tifoultoute Visit the Fortress of Ait Ben Haddou En Route to Imintanout: Cross the High Atlas Mountains Travel Through the Spectacular Tizi N Tichka Pass

In Imintanout: Experience Life in a Berber Village Take Part in Hands-On Activities with Berber Women Learn to Make Moroccan Mint Tea Prepare a Berber Lunch In Marrakech: Visit Menara Gardens Tour the Saadian Tombs Stop at El Bahia Palace See the 12th Century Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret Take a Walking Tour of the Medina Spend Time in Lively Djemaa El Fna Square Enjoy Tea and Sweets with a Moroccan Hostess Receive a Professional Henna Hand Application Visit the Majorelle Gardens Return to the Medina with Time for Shopping

DAY 1 SATURDAY: CASABLANCA Welcome to Casablanca, a sprawling metropolis that is the economic and cultural capital of Morocco. Upon arrival today at Mohamed V International Airport, you will be warmly greeted by our local staff, and swiftly escorted by private vehicle for the 30 minute drive to our hotel, the Art Palace & Spa In central Casablanca. Our hotel offers an indoor swimming pool and spa center with hammam. Its suites include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TV. The décor of each air-conditioned suite at Art Palace & Spa is inspired by a celebrity or international icon. Art Palace’s restaurant serves international and local cuisine. Guests can enjoy a cocktail at Le 4 Lounge bar or relax at Le Living Room, for a tea and coffee with a variety of pastries. There is also a permanent art gallery, the Art Hall.

Once at the hotel, you are free to relax for the afternoon. In the evening we will meet to get acquainted as a group and depart for a festive welcome dinner. Our dinner venue; Rick’s Café is a sophisticated restaurant opened by visionary Kathy Kriger, an American living in Casablanca. The interior is stunning, the food is exquisite, and yes, the piano bar will make you feel as if you’ve just stepped onto the movie set. (Dinner)

DAY 2 SUNDAY:CASABLANCA– MEKNES - FES Although our stay in the capital of the Kingdom is brief, we will take in the city sights before departing. We’ll visit the splendid Hassan II Mosque, a breathtaking landmark of Casablanca with the tallest religious minaret in the world at 200 meters (over 656 feet). It is the only mosque that allows non-Muslims to enter its prayer hall. Then we’ll take in the lively squares of Place des Nations Unies and Mohammed V, before continuing along to the Ain Diab Corniche for a brief stroll. We’ll view the entrance to King Hassan’s stately Royal Palace with its massive doors, well decorated buildings and lovely gardens. Next to the palace is the impressive Mohammed V Mausoleum, the burial ground of the two late Alouite Kings, Mohammed V and Hassan II. We’ll visit the enormous Almohad Gate to the Kasbah des Oudaias, situated on a bluff with magnificent views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Inside the gates we’ll discover artisan galleries, an ornate 17th century palace now part of the Musée des Oudaia (Museum of Moroccan Arts), and the beautiful Andalusian Gardens near the famous Hassan Tower, a 12th century landmark of Rabat. In the afternoon we continue on toward Fes, stopping en route in the second imperial city of Meknes for a brief orientation tour. Attractions include the massive Bab El Mansour Gate, the Place El Hedim, the Royal Granaries and Stables, and a drive past the city ramparts. In the afternoon we will visit the 2,000-year-old ruins of the Roman City of Volubilis. From here, we’re less than 40 miles from the great city of Fes where we will settle for the next three nights. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 3 MONDAY: FES The holy city of Fes – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is Morocco’s spiritual and intellectual capital, as well as home to the largest and oldest Medina in the world. The city’s numerous monuments have thousands of stories to tell every visitor. We’ll stop to see Jemaa Karaouyine, the first university established in the world, and then Madrasa Bou Inania, a beautiful 14th century school that is still a center for education and worship. The Madrasa features an open courtyard with exceptional handcrafted walls of tile, plasterwork and arches. The workmanship of cedar and green stone motif is exquisite, as is the minaret towering above. Nearby is the gorgeous Bab Boujloud, or Blue Gate, the monumental entrance to the Old Medina. Seeing the minarets and the houses through its arched opening makes an exciting introduction to Fes. As you enter the gate, note that the color of the mosaics change: the outside blue reflects the color of Fes, while the inside green is the color of Islam. We’ll visit the Tanneries, where leather is seen soaking in the colorful vats of dye, and the artisan quarters where the craftsmen of the El Attarine Souks offer a non-stop spectacle. For hundreds of years such work has been regulated by traditional guilds, ensuring that its quality is worthy of the city. Each district has its own specialty: cobalt blue enamelled pottery, carpets, wrought iron, etc. In the Medina – a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets – the alleyways are crammed full of stalls and workshops. This is the famed commercial center and shopper’s paradise. Beautiful goods beckon from this incredible maze: cotton fabric, silk, brocade work, leather slippers, and much more. There will be time to browse and perhaps make a purchase or two! (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 4 TUESDAY: FES By now we will have experienced several days of delicious Moroccan cuisine. Everyone always loves the tagines and the pastilles. A tagine is the succulent stew of meat, chicken, or fish, often accompanied with vegetables or fruit. The dish is slow-cooked inside a ceramic or clay vessel with a dome-shaped lid, also called a tagine. Because the lid traps steam and returns the condensed liquid to the pot, a minimal amount of water is needed to cook the contents to buttery-tenderness. A pastille is the meeting of sweet and savory in a pie-like dish traditionally made of squab. Along with many additional ingredients – such as spices (cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, and ginger for example), plus almonds, dried fruits and meat – the mixture is then surrounded in layers of flaky dough and cooked to perfection. Yum!

This morning we will be joined by an esteemed female chef who will share with us some of the secrets to making these tasty dishes back home. First we’ll visit the local souks with her to purchase the ingredients. Notice how particular she is about her selections. Everything must be fresh! Back in her kitchen she will show us how to prepare a number of classic dishes, including a tagine and a pastille, plus several traditional Moroccan salads and a wonderful dessert. Of course, we will then get to enjoy the fruits of our labor! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5 WEDNESDAY: FES - MERZOUGA Leaving the historical, spiritual and intellectual world of Fes behind, we travel to a totally unique and special part of Morocco. Driving inland today, we will pass through some of the most stunning landscape in the region, eventually crossing the Middle Atlas mountain range. Our journey will cover 280 miles and will include multiple rest stops and points of interest. The first will be the cities of Ifrane and Azrou. Ifrane, a winter ski resort with charming European-style homes, could easily be mistaken for a town in Switzerland. Azrou is a Berber village known for its cooperative of fine-looking handicraft. Continuing on we’ll come to Midelt, a colorful market town in the high plains where we can buy our lunch. We’ll see beautiful countryside and many Berber towns as we travel along the oasis-dotted valley of the Ziz River en route to Erfoud. You will know when we’ve reach Erfoud, a popular destination for filmmakers because of the extraordinary views. On one side of town, a million palm trees (making the date the symbol of Erfoud). On the other side are billions and billions of grains of sand that make up the first rolling dunes of the Sahara. You will have some time to rest and relax at 4-star Hotel. From here we will switch into 4 x 4 jeeps and cross the desert, passing through the 8th century town of Rissani to reach Merzouga before sunset. Here we will check into our deluxe dessert camp located on a site with the largest and most spectacular dunes in Morocco – with sand as far as you can see. A delicious dinner will be served under the stars by camp fire. Then we’ll settle in for the night, heading off to our deluxe Bedouin tents with private bath, where we’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep in the calm of the desert. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 6 THURSDAY: MERZOUGA - OUARZAZATE A sight not to be missed is sunrise over the desert. It’s spectacular. Just before dawn we’ll mount camels and ride out onto the golden sand to watch the sun illuminating the dunes, casting magnificent colors of light all around. When we return to the hotel a hearty breakfast awaits us. Our destination today is Ouarzazate, a desert city framed by the distant snow-topped High Atlas Mountains. The day features one beautiful scene after another, including the village of Tinghir, a stunning mountain oasis rising on a series of riverside terraces lush with palm trees and olive groves. We’ll stop for a walk in the lush valley to soak up the incredible views. Just north of Tinghir is the spectacular Todra Gorge, home to a variety of rare bird and plant species. Two sheer cliffs 985 feet high, separated by a narrow corridor only 65 feet wide, form the enormous gorge cut into the mountains of the High Atlas to create one of the rarest landscapes ever. In this setting we will stop to buy our lunch in a little restaurant near the entrance to the gorge, followed by time to enjoy a walk inside. We continue travelling through the Dades Valley via El Kelaa Mgouna, a large village famous for celebrating an annual rose festival that is attended by thousands of people from all over the world. From here it is a short distance to Morocco’s Hollywood, Ouarzazate, also known as the gateway to the Sahara. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 7 FRIDAY: OUARZAZATE - IMINTANOUT Ouarzazate is best known for 2 magnificent kasbahs that we will visit today. Taourirt Kasbah, considered one of the most beautiful in Morocco, is located in the heart of the city. It was once the home and critical stronghold of the Pasha Glaoui, chief of a fearless Berber tribe, in the thirties. Now mostly in ruins, what is left of the painted ceilings, arches, beautiful small windows with wrought iron works and woodwork have made it a UNESCO site worth saving. Tifoultoute Kasbah, also named Glaoui Kasbah, is located on a strategic rock outcropping. Thought to be over 300 years old, the present structure is largely 20th century. It was converted to a hotel in the 1960s for the cast of Lawrence of Arabia and remains a hotel today. If you climb to the rooftop, you can take in amazing panoramic views over the countryside, as well as stork nests on the turrets.

After our visit, we leave Ait Ben Haddou behind, crossing the High Atlas Mountains via the spectacular Tizi N Tichka Pass (over 7,400 feet high) to Imintanout where an exceptional overnight experience awaits us at the Berber Cultural Center in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 8 SATURDAY: IMINTANOUT - MARRAKECH Today we awake to experience a day in the life of a Berber woman. We will be involved in the daily activities that support the local population . . . drawing water at the well on a donkey, kneading dough to make bread, cooking the food, helping with a harvest, milking goats, weaving a rug, and making tea. In fact, not only will we learn the correct way to make Moroccan mint tea, but we will all take part in a tea-making contest! In the afternoon, we’ll take a walk in the village and spend a little more time sharing in the lives of the locals. Later in the day we will depart for the remarkable “Red City” of Marrakech.

The Berber Cultural Center was conceived by Mohamed Elhansali, the owner and a cultural conservationist, as an innovative way to preserve, protect and demonstrate the rich heritage of Morocco. The Berber people are famous for their hospitality. Mohamed and his staff are renowned for treating guests with an insight into a way of life that has disappeared in many parts of the world – where family and community are not only important, but entwined in daily life. Although it resembles a Berber fortress, the Center is a modern facility that was built using ancient methods of construction such as an authentic adobe exterior. The interior decor and furnishings are just as if you have stepped back in time 100 years. Inside is a courtyard with covered seating. The living and dining room is a carpeted area with comfortable pillows where delicious meals are served. Late this afternoon continue on to the remarkable city of Marrakech. (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 9 SUNDAY: MARRAKECH The imperial city of Marrakech is an alluring oasis with a temperate climate, distinct charm, and fascinating sights. Our full day tour showcases the historical highlights, including the Menara Gardens, the Saadian Tombs, the Andalusian-style El Bahia Palace (part of which is still used by the royal family), and the 12th century Koutoubia, a beautifully proportioned mosque with a distinctive 282-foot minaret that is visible from miles away.

In the afternoon we’ll take a walking tour of the Medina, ending at the famous Djemaa El Fna Square, an incredible sight to behold. This is the heart of Marrakech, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Crowded with snake charmers, entertainers, story tellers, fortune tellers, musicians, barbers, and sellers of fruit, water, and spices, the square is symbolic of Marrakech’s magical charm. Enjoy a few hours of walking and shopping time along the narrow alleys of the old medina. Sip mint tea or fresh orange juice at a terrace overlooking the square and watch the action all around you. Mesmerizing! (Breakfast)

DAY 10 MONDAY: MARRAKECH Women have been dying their hands with intricate Henna designs for centuries, mostly in preparation for attending important social events. This is a tradition dating back over 9,000 years and practiced in over 60 countries around the world. Not only will we have the opportunity to learn about henna, but we’ll visit the home of a professional painter who will show us the art of henna. While chatting with her over mint tea and Moroccan sweets, we’ll enjoy having our own hands decoratively painted.

This afternoon you’ll visit the magnificent Majorelle gardens then the rest of the afternoon will be dedicated to your personal interests. Perhaps you’d like to visit a hammam for a steaming bath and massage, or spend more time shopping in the medina. Our guide will be delighted to assist with group or individual requests. Tonight we will celebrate our final evening together with a farewell dinner at a special restaurant with entertainment that overlooks the Djemaa El Fna. At night, the lively square transforms into another world – with music, lights, bonfires and incredible entertainment everywhere you look. As we dine on another delicious Moroccan meal, and prepare to return home, we will take with us the many inspiring images of our visit to this fascinating country. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 11 TUESDAY: MARRAKECH Today you will be transferred to Marrakech Menara International Airport for your onward flight. (Breakfast)

INCLUSIONS: Accommodation on a twin sharing basis at listed hotel or similar Private Airport/Hotel Transfers Licensed, English-Speaking Female Local Tour Leader Private Sightseeing in a Modern, Air-Conditioned Vehicle 10 Breakfasts 2 Lunches 8 Dinners Sightseeing & Entrance Fees as per the itinerary

EXCLUSIONS:

International or Domestic airfare Items of a personal nature Tips and gratuities Beverages with meals Meals not specified on the itinerary Travel Insurance (highly recommended) Optional tours and activities

10 Nights Accommodation is provided on a twin sharing basis Accommodation Type - Superior

BERBER CULTURAL CENTRE (IMINTANOUT) Our Rating: 3 Star | Local Rating: 3 Star | Accommodation Type: Superior

The Berber Cultural Center (BCC) is an innovative new idea to preserve, protect and demonstrate the rich heritage of Morocco. The Berber Cultural Center is a modern day facility using the ancient methods of construction such as an adobe exterior. The interior decor and implements are just as if a guest is stepping back in time, one hundred years ago. Morocco has pride in its culture and welcomes visitors into it. The heritage of the Amazigh is too special to let die. The center is this kind of Berber fortress with a huge door and iron lock-and-key that goes 'clang, shunk, rattle, shunk' when you try to open it. Inside is a courtyard and lots of rooms, a kitchen, 8 bedrooms, a dining room (a carpeted room with pillows where you eat delicious meals) and we also have complete bathroom facilities.

ART PALACE & SPA (CASABLANCA) Our Rating: 5 Star | Local Rating: 5 Star | Accommodation Type: Superior

In central Casablanca, our hotel offers an indoor swimming pool and spa center with hammam. Its suites include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TV, and some feature a private Jacuzzi. The décor of each air-conditioned suite at Art Palace & Spa is inspired by a celebrity or international icon. Nespresso machines are provided and there is a DVD player, iPod docking station and minibar. Some suites have a private terrace and therapeutic bath.

PALAIS OMMEYAD (FES) Our Rating: 5 Star | Local Rating: 4 Star | Accommodation Type: Superior

Placed right in the heart of the old Medina of Fez (spiritual Capital of Morocco), The Ommeyad palace is among the most beautiful palaces of the imperial city. Marrying modernity, luxury and tradition. This Magnificent completely renewed palace while keeping the charm of its zelligs, its sculptured plasters, high wooden ceilings of cedar, its wooden and copper sculptured triumph gates, the patio, its fountain and its restaurants which give onto the swimming pool which make of this palace a haven of peace, far from the tourist places.

DELUXE BIVOUAC (XALUCA GROUP) (MERZOUGA) Our Rating: 3 Star | Local Rating: 3 Star | Accommodation Type: Superior

Strategically located in the middle of the big dunes of the Erg Chebi Desert. It’s especially attractive because of the organization of bivouacs of tents made of camel skin. Marvel at the spectacular sun at dawn, and then at the warm colours of the sunset, before experiencing a night in the desert, with its silence and magnificent starry sky.

DAR CHAMAA (OUARZAZATE) Our Rating: 4 Star | Local Rating: 4 Star | Accommodation Type: Superior

Nestled in the heart of Tigami Ljdid du Nord, Dar Chamaa Hotel is an ideal spot from which to discover Ouarzazate. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. Also within easy reach are Ouarzazate Airport. Dar Chamaa Hotel also offers many facilities to enrich your stay in Ouarzazate. The hotel provides laundry service/dry cleaning, Wi-Fi in public areas, restaurant, car park, smoking area to ensure our guests the greatest comfort. The hotel's garden, outdoor pool are ideal places to relax and unwind after a busy day. Whatever your reason for visiting Ouarzazate, the Dar Chamaa Hotel is the perfect venue for an exhilarating and exciting break away.

RIAD LE PERROQUET BLEU (MARRAKECH) Our Rating: 4 Star | Local Rating: 4 Star | Accommodation Type: Superior

The Blue Parrot and its three patios open the doors of a secret and magical universe: an invitation to dream. Le Perroquet Bleu is made up of 3 connecting riads, located just a 10-minute drive from Menara Airport and offering a swimming pool with a waterfall on the patio. A continental breakfast is prepared every day and free private parking is available on site. Decorated in a typical Moroccan style, the air-conditioned rooms are feature a seating area and free Wi-Fi. The en suite bathrooms are fitted with a bath, and a hairdryer and bathrobe are supplied.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY INDUS TRAVEL & WOW TRAVEL Susan James Travel Consultant Brave Women Travel Vellinga’s Travel & Cruise Holidays 1422 Fanshawe Park Rd London, Ontario Canada 001-226-688-4750 TICO# 50016006 www.bravewomentravel.com [email protected]