12-day tour in Morocco(1)

D1: Beijing - Dubai - Casablanca

Assemble at the Capital International Airport to Casablanca (flight for reference: Emirates Airlines EK307 from 00:40 to 05:00, Transit Stop in Dubai for 2h25m, EK751 from 07:25 to 12:45, the total flight time about 17h40m).

Casablanca, also known as “Dar el Beida”, 88 kilometers away from the capital Rabat bordering the Atlantic Ocean, is the biggest city in Morocco. It has evergreen trees and mild weather. Overlook the city from the sea, you can see the blue sky and sea with a white outline in the middle. It is also the famous historical city and economic center of Morocco, which is praised as “the Lung of Morocco” and “the Bride of the Atlantic”. Besides, Casablanca is home to the world’s famous Hassan II Mosque.

“Casablanca” derives from Spanish meaning the “white house” because you are able to see the white houses spread all over the city elegantly against the blue sea of the Atlantic. The romantic love story “Casablanca” was premiered here.

Visit the Hassan II Mosque after arrival. Located in the westernmost of Islam, Hassan II Mosque is the third largest mosque and the most modern mosque in the world. It is the only mosque open to foreigners that was built in memory of the sixtieth birthday of the former king. Established in August 1987, the Hassan II Mosque covers an area of two hectares, in which one-third of the total area is in the sea. The roof can be opened and closed and all the 25 doors are made of titanium alloy to resist seawater corrosion.

Known as the “Miracle in the Architectural Industry of the 20th Century”, the Hassan II Mosque is the third largest mosque after the Mecca Mosque and the Medina Mosque, and is able to accommodate 100,000 people to pray at a time. Then you can continue to visit the Place Mohamed V and Hassan II Mosque, and walk on the beach road of Miami, Casablanca, overlooking the blue Atlantic against the sea wind.

Check in hotel after dinner.

Meal: lunch, dinner.

Accommodation: Casablanca (hotel for reference: Kenzi Basma Hotel or the hotel at the same level).

D2: Casablanca - Essaouira

Go to the city of art in Morocco—Essaouira after breakfast (about 380 kilometers, a 5.5-hour drive)

Essaouira means “as beautiful as a picture” in Arabic. It may not have the greatest beach of Morocco, but it boasts the most notable wind. Its reputation “the Wind City of the Africa” is worthy of the name, with the wind blowing from the Atlantic all the year round, attracting lots of surfers and windsurfing enthusiasts. It has been a “melting pot” that converged multiple nationalities and cultures since ancient times. The Arabs, African tribes, Berbers, Jews lived together peacefully, forming a unique human landscape. We are able to select different subjects to shoot here: harbors, Moroccan paintings, the engraving art, tree climbing goats and organ forests with local characteristics.

Check in hotel after dinner.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Accommodation: Essaouira (hotel for reference: Ryad Mogador Essaouira Hotel or the hotel at the same level).

D3: Essaouira - Marrakesh

Go to Marrakesh after breakfast (about 185 kilometers, a 3-hour drive).

Marrakesh, known as “the Pearl of the South”, is located in the southwest of Morocco and lies at the foot of Atlas Mountains. Derived from the Berber, “Marrakesh” means “the Hometown of the God”. As one of Morocco's four former imperial cities, Marrakesh has been the capital of Morocco twice. With the exotic charm, it was a place to rest for the camel business group from the South. It is a warm red ancient city that was given the nickname “Red City” for its reddish-brown buildings. Marrakesh boasts Morocco’s biggest square, the Berber Market. And the Jemaa el-Fnaa was regarded as the busiest square in Africa and even the world, from sunrise to sunset, injecting Marrakesh the infinite vigor.

After arrival, visit the Koutoubia Masque, the landmark of Marrakesh and the center and the highest point of the Medina of Marrakesh. It was built in 1195 by the architect Yakub Ehle Mansour, the constructor of the Rabat, in honor of the victory against the Spanish. With a 67-meter high spire and the magnificent exterior, the Koutoubia Mosque is the most graceful building in North America and what makes it unique among other mosques is its distinctive flavor. Thousands of bags of precious spice were stirred in the mud that was used to bond stone, making the mosque exude the rich aroma until today and gain its name the “Fragrant Tower”.

Next, take photos in the private garden of Yves Saint Laurent. Visit the Bahia Palace, one of the few that is well-preserved and opened to outsiders, and every place, including gardens, courtyards, geysers and gorgeous rooms, is designed elaborately.

Visit the Sleepless Square, where you can shoot the Indian snake charmers, the Arabian spices and tea sellers, storytellers, Moroccan fortune-tellers, a variety of performances, countless foodstuffs, beverages, clothes, carpets, furnishings, leathers, and handicraft stalls. It is just like the Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong and Xintiandi in Shanghai.

Have a rest at the hotel after dinner.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Accommodation: Marrakesh (hotel for reference: Hotel Les Ambassadeurs or the hotel at the same level).

D4: Marrakesh - Ait Ben Haddou - Ouarzazate

After breakfast, go to Ouarzazate (about 185 kilometers, a 3.5-hour drive) across the mouth of the Atlas Mountains at an elevation of 2260 meters. The road extends in the valley and the steep mountain, showing people the primitive sightseeing. We can feast our eyes on the glorious landscape during the trip.

Climb the hill in the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou near the river valley (you should stop shooting if the river begins to rise). The Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, originally built in the 8th century, is a small village in the Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco. It is a defensive residential area built by the Berbers who lived here for generations with the purpose of preventing bandits from plundering. In 1987, the UNESCO added it to the List of World Heritage. Besides, it is Hollywood directors’ favorite shooting site and the filming spot of more than 20 Hollywood blockbusters, such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Jewel of the Nile and The Mummy.

Later, go to Ouarzazate (about 30 kilometers, a 30-minute drive) and visit the film city. Known as the “Hollywood of Africa”, it is a shooting spot of many famous films, including Gladiator, The Four Feathers, Romancing the Stone, Cleopatra, The Sheltering Sky, The Jewel of the Nile, Lawrence of Arabia, Spy Game and so on.

Have a rest at the hotel after dinner.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Accommodation: (Hotel Club Hanane or the hotel at the same level).

D5: Ouarzazate - Todra Gorge - Merzouga

Go to Merzouga via Todra Gorge after breakfast (about 170 kilometers, a 2.5-hour drive).

On the river bed at the bottom of the valley, the green willow, flowers, plants, and all kinds of trees sway in the breeze, making a picturesque scene. On the contrary, the view around the canyon is a barren reddish brown. The two opposite scenes shape a wonderful landscape.

Arrive at the gate of Sahara Desert—Merzouga (about 258 km, about 4 hours by car).

Enter the desert by 4*4 SUV (Please bring sunscreen products and sunglasses) to experience the adventure of sand flushing. The Sahara here is unique, which is famous for its various sand dune. With the change of natural light, it displays beautiful colors, such as golden and pink, forming particularly spectacular landscape, especially at sunrise and sunset. With the distinctive desert landscape in Morocco, it is the Sahara in the dream of countless people. It is one of the shooting sites of the Lawrence of Arabia, and we can also see the highest sand dune of Africa.

Have a rest at the hotel after dinner.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, lunch.

Accommodation: Alfred (hotel for reference: Hotel Xaluca Erfoud or the hotel at the same level).

D6: Merzouga - Fez

Go to Fez after breakfast (about 467 km, about 7 hours by car).

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Accommodation: Fez (hotel for reference: Across Hotels & Spa or the hotel at the same level.

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