Morocco

A departure from Africa’s more familiar safari experiences, Morocco piques your senses. From wandering ancient alleyways that weave through the captivating medinas and into fascinating souks, to journeys of culture, craft and the tastebuds, Morocco will bewitch and enchant.

                                                         

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activities & experiences

Morocco serves as a wonderful complement to your safari experience or as a culturally rich journey in and of itself. Marrakech encapsulates many of the more iconic perspectives of this North African nation, but there is so much more to be explored and experienced, from coastal ports to desert oases.

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Immortalised by Humphrey Bogart’s classic 1942 movie of the same name, Casablanca is a bustling ocean port and a more contemporary aspect of this wonderful country. But stepping from the thriving metropolis, the diversity of opportunities begins to dawn on visitors, the turquoise Atlantic Ocean contrasting with the ochre sands of the Sahara.

  • Go on a journey of gastronomy, sampling traditional local dishes alongside award-winning modern cuisine
  • Explore the towering dunes of the Sahara on quad bikes
  • Witness the magic of dawn and dusk over the desert
  • Walk back in time through ancient cities
  • Indulge in some retail therapy amongst the fascinating and abundant souks
  • Experience the working fishing port of Essaouira
  • Spend an evening in a traditional Berber desert encampment
  • Visit the traditional tanneries of Fes
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destinations

What are you searching for? Artisan culture, mouth-watering cuisine, adventure and excitement, ancient history or perhaps some decadent luxury? Morocco has it all, and significantly more, all in its own inimitable style, a rich combination of French colonial, traditional Berber, African heritage and Byzantine influence. Whether you are a family of five or a more senior traveller with a love of history, Morocco has plenty to offer.

Essaouira


The establishment of the ancient fishing town of Essaouira is unknown, but it has certainly been active for several millennia, easily predating Christianity. Luring creatives from around the world, it inspires photography, poetry and creativity at every turn. It is also a Moroccan immersion of sorts, reflecting the quintessence of national crafts and cuisines, an abundance of souks and wares encapsulating many of the most iconic aspects of the nation.

The Atlas Mountains


Rising from the ochre sands of the Sahara, it surprises many to see snow atop the towering Atlas Mountains. Here you will find connection with the Berber, learning their ways, sharing in a meal and glass of mint tea, and viewing (and possibly purchasing) their exquisite handicrafts. Take a hike and find solitude amongst the foothills of the Atlas, returning to your luxurious oasis hotel for an evening of relaxation and pampering.

The Sahara Desert


Though you may only venture into the very fringes of its 3.6 million square miles, the Sahara will make no less of a lasting impression upon you. Venture the dunes on camelback or four wheels, drink in the silence and stillness and discover how mankind has grasped onto subsistence in this challenging environment for thousands of years. Nocturnal temperatures can plummet, but what you gain from these chilly nights is a canopy of stars unequalled by almost any other destination worldwide. Far from any light pollution, the dunes give you a hypnotising view of the heavens.

Aït Benhaddou


This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city has been seen by millions of people without even knowing it, having featured in numerous Hollywood movies, including blockbusters, Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and the hugely-popular TV show, Game of Thrones. Though thought to have been predominantly established over one thousand years ago upon one of the major trans-Saharan trade routes, the current buildings of Ait Ben Haddou are considered to have been built around the 17th Century. To walk through its streets is to be transported to another place and time and it truly is unfathomable to consider this a working town and not merely the remnants of a Hollywood film set.

Chefchaouen


The Blue City of Morocco, Chefchaouen is one of the most wonderful places to discover the spices for which Moroccan dishes are so renowned. Piled elegantly into conical towers, the vibrantly colourful spices fill the air with captivating aromas, while Berber women offer finely handcrafted jewellery and, of course, the hand-woven rugs so synonymous with Morocco. Surrounded by the pastel blue buildings, one feels refreshed, as if plunging into the cooling waters of the Atlantic. Two hours to the north lies Tangier, barely 20 miles across the Strait of Gibraltar and another of Morocco’s wonderfully fascinating towns.

Marrakech


Though the official capital of Morocco is Rabat, Marrakech is arguably its most renowned city. The Jemaa el-Fna marketplace is a hive of activity, the expansive square all but deserted throughout the day but coming alive as the cooler night falls. If you are searching for a more gustatory adventure, here is the place. Many locals shop and dine at Jema el-Fna and, if you are feeling particularly intrepid, you will experience flavours, ingredients and dishes found nowhere else in the world… for better and occasionally for worse!

accommodations

Morocco exudes a sense of opulence, even in its most rural and rustic regions. Berber tents are the original glamping experience, while even humble homes often feature exquisite tiling and exotic features. Accommodations are exception, and no matter the size, you will feel a certain sense of glamour and elegance wherever you stay.

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Riads – traditional homes impeccably restored and refurbished into luxurious boutique hotels – are a wonderful way to feel a certain sense of connection to your surroundings. Many feature divine internal tiled courtyards, with water features, small gardens and occasionally a pool. An absolute oasis, both figuratively and literally, these courtyards offer unfettered tranquility.

Few places reflect this more perfectly than L’Heure Bleue in Essaouira. Five-star luxury combines with impeccable detail in a fusion of influences from African game lodges to French châteaux, colonial chic and endemic craftsmanship. The rooftop pools, bars and restaurants present expansive panoramic views of the cities and their towering minarets, bustling souks and glorious sounds and smells.

Venturing away from the more populous regions, you will find similar elegance reflected wherever you stay. Even more modern venues have been architecturally designed sympathetically to their surroundings and the nation’s traditions and furnished accordingly. Unlike some five-star hotels around the world, no matter how luxurious your accommodations, you will still feel unfalteringly intertwined in the cultures and crafts of Morocco.

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MOROCCO ESSENTIALS

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BEST TIME: Mar – Apr & Sep – Nov. Though some rainfall occurs, this avoids the coldest, wettest months and the stifling heat of high summer

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CLIMATE: LOW: 60-84ºF (6-21ºC) Dec – Jan / HIGH: 64-100ºF (18-38ºC) Jun – Aug

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SEASONS: DRY: May – Oct / WET: Nov – Apr

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BEST FOR: A historical and cultural journey. Photographers, gastronophiles and families will love the unique diversity.

Morocco does have some nature, such as the Barbary macaques of Ifrane National Park and the desert-dwelling caracal, fennec fox and not-so adorable slithering inhabitants, though these are rare and must be sought out. Wildlife watchers may find themselves a little disappointed by Morocco, but this is not why one should visit.

Instead, consider it a fascinatingly rich cultural journey, blending history, crafts, cuisine and architecture in spectacular fashion.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW LONG SHOULD I SPEND IN MOROCCO?

One might achieve the quintessential Moroccan experience in a long weekend, a book-end to a safari in the more traditional sense. However, this contrast can be equally as complementary as it is jarring, and the glimpse into the wealth of Morocco’s appeal may make you wish you had longer. With the primary destinations scattered throughout the country, some travel will be required to capture a true sense of Morocco, and at least 10 days is highly recommended to achieve all you might wish to see and do.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?

Unlike some other countries, the wet season in Morocco coincides with the colder months. Lacking monsoonal downpours, ‘wet season’ is a generous term, but nights can get very chilly, so the months of November to February in particular are best to avoid. On the other hand, summer months can be stifling, climbing to over 100ºF (38ºC). The border months of March and April, and September and October are the most advantageous times to visit.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM ACCOMMODATION IN MOROCCO?

In a word, excellence. Berber hospitality is ubiquitous, as is the fine attention to detail in service, facilities and architecture. While the more humble residences can be a little rustic, they still provide impeccable classical style and surroundings. Median accommodation is often well above the global average, and most venues feel like a tiny little palace all of your own. Exquisite tiling, regal archways, hand-carved doors and furniture and expertly engraved metalwork feature strongly throughout all levels of dwelling, forming a lasting and iconic impression.

OTHER DETAILS:

While you don’t require a visa for Morocco, you should consult your Travel Designer for any additional paperwork or onward travel details. Some inoculations are recommended for Morocco. We suggest you contact your travel designer or a travel medicine specialist for advice.

Some East Coast US airports fly directly to Casablanca and Marrakech. For other destinations, transit through an East Coast or European airport may be required.

Internal flights are available, though road and rail travel often take less time. The rail system is of an excellent standard and a wonderful way to see the country. Air-conditioned sleeping cars are available, and food and beverages are also available, though a little limited on board. Many of our clients opt to travel in a private vehicle by road, taking in the winding hillscapes and coastlines.

Linguistically, your guide will be essential at times. English is spoken in the tourist centres and more major destinations, with French also spoken in some regions. Arabic and Berber are predominant in rural regions, so a translator will prove invaluable.

Food is simply divine. Though much will cater to a Western palate and be perfectly acceptable to even the most fickle diner, we highly recommend you to be adventurous with your menu. Taking advantage of local produce and spices, Moroccans are masters of flavour and, regardless of what you may be eating, if you can overcome your more conventional eating preferences, your taste buds will thank you endlessly.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

- Amy Lundberg

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

- Betsy Robertson

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

- Dawn Jacobs

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

- George Kowalski

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

- Jackie Smith

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Jamie Scarlett

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Joe Moravec

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Kim Mather

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Lisa Anderson

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (& family)