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 village; take a sunset camel ride at the edge of the Sahara; and view the spectacular scenery of the High Atlas Mountains. Discover Marrakech's medina and Djemaa el Fna Square. Conclude in Casablanca.
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. La Tour Hassan Hotel (D)
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. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner of traditional Moroccan fare at acclaimed Dinarjat in Rabat’s Old Town. La Tour Hassan Hotel (B,L,D)
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 adjacent to the medina, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Hotel Sahrai (B,L,D)
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 comfortable walk through the Fez medina, where we see some hidden treasures, including the Blue Gate, the most picturesque of the Old City’s historic gates; the medieval school of Bouanania; the 12th-century home of Jewish scholar Maimonides; and the authentic food market. We also visit the traditional quarter where we watch artisans craft the acclaimed Fez pottery and ceramics. After lunch together in the medina, we tour the old Mellah (Jewish quarter) and its 17th-century synagogue and the royal gates. Hotel Sahrai (B,L,D)
Today’s touring features the Museum of Fez, housing traditional arts. Then we embark on a walking tour of the medina focusing on the artisans’ quarters, the 14th-century Koranic schools, and Al Karaouine, the medieval theological university. 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 enjoy a private dinner at an intimate family-run riad in Fez. Hotel Sahrai (B,D)
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. Le Palais de Desert (B,L,D)
This morning we visit the city of Rissani, with its 18thcentury 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. Following this experience, we’ll have dinner together in this desert setting before returning to our hotel tonight. Le Palais de Desert (B,L,D)
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. Le Berbere Palace (B,L,D)
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. Sofitel Marrakech (B,L,D)
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. Sofitel Marrakech (B,L)
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 here, 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. Sofitel Marrakech (B,D)
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. Hyatt Regency Casablanca (B,D)
After breakfast this morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S. (B)
Cost and Details
San Francisco, Portland, Seattle: $6,079
Boston, New York, Washington DC: $5,679
Los Angeles: $5,979
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: $4,895 (transfers not included)
Single Room Supplement: $1,395
Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
Premium Economy - $1,195 per person
Business Class - $3,795 per person
Upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change. Upgrade prices are in addition to the costs above.
This trip is moderately active and involves walking up to 2–3 miles per day, up hills or stairs, 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.
Terms and Conditions
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 within 94 and 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.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415)597-6720.
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
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 an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a reasonable 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 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.
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40