June 20, July 3, 2018
Day 1: Casablanca – Rabat
After your flight arrives, you will meet your host at the airport and travel directly to Rabat, Morocco’s capital city. With a history that spans both centuries and dynasties, Rabat has accumulated a variety of architectural styles that represent its remarkable legacy. You will spend your afternoon visiting some of Rabat’s many landmarks, including the Mellah (Jewish quarter), the Mohamed V mausoleum, the Oudaya Kasbah, and the Andalous gardens, followed by dinner at the Hotel Chellah.
Day 2: Volubilis – Meknes – Fez
Your day will be spent en route to Fez, with stops in Volubilis, the Roman capital of Northwestern Africa, and Meknes, where you will visit the acclaimed citadel of Moulay Idris. Hidden in the hinterland and surrounded by centuries-old olive groves that have supplied the country with oils since Punic times, Moulay Idris was founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idris Al Akbar, the grandson of the Prophet Mohamed. It is the cradle of Sufism to Moroccan society and is considered the first Islamic city for the premier Arab dynasty, and has become the destination for those who don’t have the means to make the pilgrimage to Mekkah for the Hajj Duty. You will continue traveling through the region until you reach Fez, where you will visit the ramparts, the gates, and the Borjes (Moorish Forts). Afterward, you will end your day with dinner at your hotel.
Day 3: Fez – Moulay Yacob
You will begin your day with a colorful Mediterranean breakfast buffet, followed by a guided historic tour of Fez, featuring the Mellah, the King’s palace, and a walking tour of the world’s largest and most authentic Medina. A walled city with a maze of twisting alleys and blind turns, the Medina has mosques, shrines, fountains, workshops, and markets that go far beyond the scope of one’s imagination. After lunch in a typical Moroccan restaurant, you will spend the remainder of your afternoon exploring and shopping, followed by dinner at your hotel. In the evening, you will attend the Festival’s Grand Opening.
Day 4: Fez – Sidi Ahmed Al Barnoussi – Fez
Your morning will be spent on an excursion to the Rif Mountains, where you will visit the Sidi Ahmed al Barnoussi shrine and enjoy a picnic lunch over the red poppy fields with local scribes and a typical couscous meal. The Jajouka musicians and dancers will enchant you with haunting sounds of their oboes and drums – a ceremony that you will treasure for the rest of your life. After lunch, you will return to Fez for the afternoon Festival activities, dinner, and evening events.
Day 5: Fez
You will have the entire morning at your leisure, free to do whatever you please. In the afternoon, you will attend the afternoon concerts, followed by dinner and the Festival’s evening events.
Day 6: Fez
Your morning will be spent at your leisure, and after lunch, you will journey to go to the afternoon concert at Dar Batha. The evening concerts will be at Bab Makina.
Day 7: Fez
In the early morning, you will enjoy a sunrise Sufi ceremony offered over the Merinides dynasty necropolis looking East for a dramatic sunrise over the sleeping giant of the 9th
Day 8: Fez – Sefrou – B’Halil – Fez
Your day will include an optional day trip to the ancient Jewish city of Sefrou. Predating Fez by a thousand years, Sefrou once played a vital role as the last stop for the sub-Saharan caravans transporting goods to the European markets. There, you will visit the shrine of Sidi Lahcen Al Yussi, a venerated Sufi master who was considered the guardian of Sefrou. In addition, you will visit the mausoleums of other Rabbis, as well as the city’s synagogues. On your return trip to Fez, you will visit the ancient Christian village of B’Halil, which is known for its distinctive troglodyte dwellings. Upon your arrival at Fez, you will attend the Festival’s evening events.
Day 9: Marrakech
The historic visit of Marrakech will include the Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowers, reflecting the image of a beautiful moorish construction built in 1866 for the dignitaries. See glorious sunsets with the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. Also, the pool is a functional irrigation system to the surrounding areas. The tour will see several impressive sights: The Koutoubia Minaret (the twin tower of la Giralda in Sevilla, Spain), the Saadian tombs demonstrating Moorish architecture in its perfection. The tombs, consisting of splendid mausoleums built in the sixteenth century, were walled for some time, not to be discovered until 1917. Other sites include: the museum of Dar Si Said with the best display of Berber arts and crafts to be found; the remains of the Badii Palace, a historical monument chosen to host the annual National Festival of Popular Art, beginning the second Friday in June. The Bahia Palace still hosts dignitaries in the heart of the Mellah (Jewish quarter) today. Lunch is at the hotel then a walk through the colorful souks of Marrakech in the afternoon. Conclude the day with a sunset drink overlooking the exciting Jamaa El Fna Square. Dinner is at the Hotel.
Day 10: Fez
In the morning, you will attend a lecture, followed by the Festival’s afternoon events at the Dar Batha museum, dinner, and the evening Festival events at Bab Makina, the court of the King’s palace.
Day 11: Fez
You will spend your morning visiting the Andalucian part of the Medina, where you will learn the history of the settler Moors, who arrived from Spain during the 13th century. The Festival’s afternoon concerts with take place at Dar Batha, followed by dinner and the Festival’s closing ceremony.
Day 12: Fez – Khenifra – Marrakech
In the morning, you will depart for Marrakech via Azrou and Khenifra. As you travel across the Middle Atlas Mountains, you will visit Berber villages and wards, experience many scenic views, and explore some traditional markets. You will have lunch in Khenifra, and will find dinner and accommodations available at your hotel in Marrakech.
Day 13: Marrakech
Your guide and driver will assist you in your exploration of the marvelous city of Marrakech. You will visit the historic Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flower beds, which reflects the image of a beautiful Moorish edifice. The construction was built in 1866 so that the dignitaries might enjoy the country’s glorious sunsets, the snow-capped Atlas Mountains providing an ethereal backdrop. The pool itself is an innovative, functional irrigation system, built in an architectural style adapted to desert life. Your tour will also include visits to several notorious monuments, including the Koutoubia Minaret (identical to the la Giralda tower in Sevilla, Spain), and the Saadian tombs, which represent Moorish architecture at its finest. The tombs, which include several sixteenth century mausoleums, lay undiscovered behind walls until 1917. You will conclude your day with a drink at sunset, overlooking the bustling Jamaa El Fna square.
Day 14: Marrakech – Casablanca – Home
You will catch your flight transferring you back home from Marrakech to Casablanca Airport, accompanied by memories that will last you a lifetime.
What is included:
- Accommodations in your hotel, including half board (breakfast, dinner)
- Land transportation to specified events in a deluxe motor coach
- Assistance from Sarah Tours guides and tour leaders
- Fees for monuments, museums, and Festival activities
- Couscous lunch in the shrine of Sidi Ahmed Bernoussi
- All Excursions to notable places
- Bottled water in the bus, Teas and cookies in sufi gathreings
- Sufi music gatherings in Moroccan homes in the Medina of Fez
- Baggage handling, hotels and restaurant taxes
- Air Ticket (please ask for our discounted rates from NY)
- Lunches, Laundry, phone calls and drinks
- Colloquium attendence fee
- Personal needs
- Offerings for prayers in Sufi gatherings