Moroccan Discovery

Travel to the imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech.

View the ancient Roman ruins at Volubilis; wander the alleys of Fez; visit a Berber Museum; take a sunset camel ride at the edge of the Sahara; and view the spectacular scenery of the High Atlas including the 984-foot Todra Gorge.

Explore Ait ben-Haddou, one of southern Morocco’s most scenic villages. Discover Marrakech’s medina and Djemaa el Fna Square. End in Casablanca, and visit the Hassan II Mosque.

Dates
May 12 - May 25, 2017  (14 Days)
Cost

$5,879 per person, double occupancy, including air, air taxes and fees from SFO

For more Information
travel@commonwealthclub.org

(415) 597-6720

Friday, May 12
Depart U.S. for Casablanca, Morocco
Saturday, May 13
Arrive Casablanca/Rabat

Upon arrival this afternoon in Casablanca, the commercial center of Morocco, we transfer by coach to Rabat and our hotel located near famed Hassan Tower. We have time to relax and refresh before dinner tonight at the hotel. (D)

Sunday, May 14
Rabat

One of Morocco’s four ancient capitals, or imperial cities, Rabat is again the country’s capital, at once historic and contemporary as we discover on today’s tour. We visit the fortified Kasbah of the Oudaias, the peaceful Andalusian Gardens, and the necropolis of Chellah, built on ancient Roman ruins. Then we cross the river to Sale for lunch in a private home, followed by a visit to the new Mohammed VI contemporary art museum and a walk through the medina. We return to our hotel late after­noon; tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner of tra­ditional Moroccan fare at acclaimed Dinarjat in Rabat’s Old Town. (B,L,D)

Monday, May 15
Rabat/Meknes/Volubilis/Fez

This morning we depart Rabat for Fez, stopping along the way in Meknes, Morocco’s youngest imperial city (and UNESCO World Heritage site). We visit the Bab el Mansour gate­way and the ruins of the imperial stables before lunch in a local restaurant. Then we continue on to the ancient Roman ruins at the UNESCO site of Volubilis, known for its intricate and colorful mosaics. Late afternoon we reach Fez and our elegant hotel. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, May 16
Fez

Today we explore Morocco’s oldest imperial city, considered the “Athens of Africa” for its wealth of cultural, educational, and religious institutions. We begin with a walking tour of Fez’s fascinating medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, focusing on the artisans’ quarters, the 14th-century Koranic schools, and Al Karaouine, the medieval theological university. After lunch together in the medina, we tour the old mellah (Jewish quarter) and its 17th-century synagogue, the royal gates, and the Museum of Fez. Tonight we enjoy a private din­ner at an intimate family-run riad in Fez. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, May 17
Fez

This morning we return to the medina to discover some hidden treasures, including the Blue Gate, the most picturesque of all the Old City’s historic gates; the medieval school of Bouanania; and the 12th-century home of Jewish scholar Maimonides. We also visit the traditional quarter to watch artisans craft the acclaimed Fez pottery and ceramics. Lunch is on your own in Fez before gathering for a private Arabic music concert where we learn about the different local music styles. Tonight we dine together in the hotel’s international restaurant. (B,D)

Thursday, May 18
Fez/Midelt/Erfoud

Traveling inland today, we cross the fertile plains beyond Fez and continue through the Middle Atlas mountain range. We stop in the small town of Midelt for lunch. Continuing on we cross the Ziz River, passing rows of sky-scraping palm trees and fortified villages before reaching our kasbah-style hotel in Erfoud late in the day. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. (B,L,D)

Friday, May 19
Erfoud/Rissani/Merzouga

This morning we visit the city of Rissani, with its 18th-century ksar, a virtually impenetrable warren of alleys. We enjoy a tour highlight this after­noon as we set out on a sunset excursion to the breathtakingly beautiful sand dunes at Merzouga on the edge of the Sahara. In the enormous silence we watch the sun set over the desert as we take a camel ride along the erg. (B,L,D)

Saturday, May 20
Erfoud/Tinehir/Todra Gorges/Ouarzazate

Our destination today is in the snow-topped High Atlas. The day features one beautiful scene after another, including the village of Tinehir, a stunning mountain oasis ris­ing on a series of riverside terraces lush with palm trees; and the spectacular 984-foot Todra Gorge, home to a variety of rare bird and plant spe­cies. Following lunch here we visit El Kelaa des Mgouna, known for its roses, then set out on the fabled “Route of a Thousand Kasbahs” ancient caravan route, a region of fortresses with elabo­rately decorated façades. Late afternoon we reach the town of Ouarzazate (the “door of the desert”) where we spend the night. (B,L,D)

Sunday, May 21
Ouarzazate/Ait ben-Haddou/Marrakech

En route to Marrakech today, we stop first at uninhabited Ait ben-Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of south­ern Morocco’s most scenic villages that is often used as a location for fashion and film shoots. Its old section consists of deep red kasbahs packed together so tightly they appear to be a single unit. Then as we begin our descent from the High Atlas, we pass through typical villages with forti­fied walls and stone houses with earthen roofs. In Tizi N’Tichka, we traverse the Pass of the Pastures (alt. 7,415 feet), where life is much as it was centuries ago: shepherds bring their flocks to the high pastures every summer, then return with them to their villages in autumn. We arrive in Marrakech late this afternoon and dine tonight at our hotel. (B,L,D)

Monday, May 22
Marrakech

Once the capital of southern Morocco, the imperial city of Marrakech is an alluring oasis with a temperate climate, distinct charm, and fascinating sights. Our day-long tour includes the beautifully pro­portioned Koutoubia Mosque with its distinctive 282-foot minaret visible from miles away; the lovely Andalusian-style El Bahia Palace (part of which is still used by the royal family); and the ruins of 16th-century Palais El Badii. After lunch at our hotel, mid-afternoon we embark on a walking tour of the medina, ending at Djemaa el Fna Square, a UNESCO site and the heart of Marrakech, crowded with snake charmers, entertainers, storytellers, musicians, barbers, and sellers of fruit, water, and spices. Dinner tonight is on our own in this exotic city. (B,L)

Tuesday, May 23
Marrakech

This morning we travel by horse-drawn carriage from Menara Park to Majorelle Gardens, a private botanical garden with some 15 species of birds native to North Africa and known for its cobalt blue accents. Following a tour of the gardens we visit the newly renovated Berber Museum there, with art and arti­facts reflecting Berber culture in Morocco. Learn about Moroccan cuisine with lunch on your own or by taking an optional cooking lesson including a visit to the local market for ingredients. Before dinner at a local restaurant, we have a unique opportunity to visit with an Imam to learn more about the Islamic religion. (B,D)

Wednesday, May 24
Marrakech/Casablanca

We leave Marrakech this morning by coach for storied Casablanca, Morocco’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. After a brief orientation tour of the city, we visit the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, Morocco’s only functioning mosque open to non-Muslims. Tonight we celebrate our Moroccan adventure at a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Thursday, May 25
Depart for U.S.

After breakfast this morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S. (B)

Departing from:
San Francisco, Seattle: $5,879
Los Angeles: $5,779
Boston, New York, Washington, DC: $5,479

Please call if your city is not listed. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $684, which are subject to change until final payment is made. All tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Land Only: $4,395(transfers not included)

Single Room Supplement: $1,395 

Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
Business Class – $3,795 per person; Premium Economy – $1,195 per person (upgrades are subject to availibili­ty and pricing is subject to change). Upgrade costs are in addition to the costs above.

Included:
Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; 12 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and First Class hotels; 31 meals: 12 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 11 dinners; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Educational lecture program/study leader with a minimum of 15 guests; Additional Commonwealth Club representative at 20 guests; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; Luggage handling for one bag per person; Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers.

Not Included:
Airfare when purchasing a Land Only tour package; costs of passports and visas, if required; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only tour package; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities, $10-$15 per traveler, per day); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline prior to departure.

What to Expect

This trip is moderately active and involves walking up to 2-3 miles per day, walking up hills or stairs, or on uneven or cobblestone streets, and at sites of ancient ruins. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

Cancellations, Refunds and Changes
If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges:

Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge
Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price
Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price
Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price
Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund.

If a guest makes any changes to their reservation from 94 to 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy, for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Eligibility
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a national membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415)597-6720.

Insurance
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website.

Responsibility
The liability of the Commonwealth Club, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The Commonwealth Club and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.

Health and Medical Issues
We request that you be in good health to participate in this tour. There is a moderate amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. Please note that our itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. and the Commonwealth Club assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.

Air Transportation – Important Information
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities as shown and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct con­nection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own flight arrangements for an alumni tour and not use those provided by the tour company, we recommend that you do not do so until making your final payment to the tour company confirming details of your trip’s scheduled departure. However, if you choose to make your own flight arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes to tour dates.