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stunning view of the sahara desert sand formations

Overview

A totally immersive experience

Few destinations offer as much exotic intrigue as Morocco, a land of impressive mosques, exquisite palaces and bustling souks. Morocco is home to a surprisingly diverse landscape with its snow-capped Atlas Mountains, vast Saharan sand dunes, haunting Roman ruins and quaint fishing ports. Above all else, Morocco’s people are welcoming and hospitable, inviting travelers into their homes in the centuries-old Berber tradition.

We’ll have a chance to experience the traditional, indigenous Berber culture by taking a mule ride at the base of North Africa’s highest peak and meet local educators and artisans who will share with us their experiences and perspectives as citizens living in a multifaceted kingdom.

Dates

April 21–May 4, 2023

Duration

14 days

Price

From $9,495 per person

Trip size

32 participants

Minimum age

18 years
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Faculty leader

A different kind of classroom

With renowned Stanford faculty and scholars leading the way, every Travel/Study trip is a one-of-a-kind educational experience.

Touria Boumehdi Tomasi

Language Center, School of Humanities and Sciences

Dr. Boumehdi has been teaching all levels of undergraduate and graduate courses in Arabic and Spanish at Stanford since 2012, and previously served as the co-director of the Spanish Department at the University of Rabat.

Insider Perspective

Dr. Boumehdi attributes her interest in teaching Arabic, French and Spanish to the role these languages played in her life growing up in Morocco. She believes that teaching languages not only provides students with new tools, but also introduces them to new worlds. She is excited to share her love of this multicultural country with Stanford travelers, introducing them to its rich history and incredible diversity.

Itinerary

An exploration from the Sahara to the sea

Discover the cultural, religious and geographical diversity of Morocco as we journey from Marrakech, where snake charmers and magicians still ply their ancient arts, to the sand dunes of the Sahara, the Atlas Mountains with its Berber enclaves, and then on to enigmatic Fez and the colorful capital city of Rabat.

  • Marrakech, Morocco

    Arrive in Marrakech and gather this evening for a welcome cocktail reception and dinner in the heart of the Old City.

    Accommodations:

    La Maison Arabe

    Included meal: Dinner
  • Marrakech

    Start the day with a trip to the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque—an exemplar of Islamic architecture—and the late-19th-century Bahia Palace of grand vizier Ba Ahmed, an example of Moorish-Andalusian art. Also visit the nearby private Tiskiwin Museum of fine rural Moroccan and sub-Saharan crafts. After lunch in the New City, stroll through the garden of French Orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle and visit its museum of Berber culture. After an afternoon at leisure, gather for a cocktail reception at the famed hotel La Mamounia.

    Accommodations:

    La Maison Arabe

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Marrakech

    Explore Marrakech’s vast reed-covered souks and its quarters, where all types of crafts are still fashioned by hand (and foot!). Stop at the sumptuous Dar el Bacha, the palace of early 20th-century city overlord El Glaoui, with its museum on interreligious confluences as expressed in crafts and traditions. After lunch in the medina, the rest of the day is free for personal pursuits before rejoining for dinner at a local restaurant.

    Accommodations:

    La Maison Arabe

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Marrakech

    This morning we visit the Saadian Toombs, a last window into the splendor of early-17th-century Moroccan interior art. Next, wander the ruins of the Badia Palace, once paved with gold, turquoise and crystal. One of its pavilions now houses the Koutoubia minbar, a wooden, 12-foot-high preacher’s pulpit inlaid with mother-of-pearl in Cordoba in the early 12th-C. and recently restored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Enjoy lunch at the Amal Association, an NGO that provides counseling, training in culinary arts and job placement to some of the most economically disadvantaged women in the city. Afterwards, venture out of Marrakech to explore the ruins of Aghmat, the first capital of the Almoravids, a Berber dynasty from the 11th century. Return to the city for an afternoon of independent exploration.

    Accommodations:

    La Maison Arabe

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Toubkal National Park

    Ride a mule through walnut tree–shaded, terraced fields at the base of 14,000-foot-high Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak, to observe the ways of Berber tribesmen. Savor a tea break in a local home and a Berber lunch at the award-winning Kasbah du Toubkal eco-lodge. Return to Marrakech to attend a private dinner at the home of the president of the Marrakech Biennale, set amid the palm groves outside the city.

    Accommodations:

    La Maison Arabe

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Marrakech / Ouarzazate

    Head south on a spectacular drive across the High Atlas on the Tizi-n-Tichka pass, with vistas of deep vales and their hamlets. After a light lunch, continue to the UNESCO World Heritage site Aït Ben Haddou, an assembly of multi-story granaries often used as a background for films (Gladiator, Game of Thrones). Next we reach our destination for the evening, Ouarzazate, noted movie-making locale whose surroundings have been used in dozens of films, starting with Lawrence of Arabia.

    Accommodations:

    Le Berbère Palace

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Ouarzazate / Dadès Valley / Todgha Gorge / Arfoud

    Today follow the Kasbah Trail with its fortified residences made of adobe. Drive up the Dadès Valley, regarded as southern Morocco’s most picturesque, with its variety of orchards and odd rock formations. Take an excursion to the dramatic Todgha Gorge, Morocco’s “Grand Canyon,” before settling in for the night in Arfoud.

    Accommodations:

    Kasbah Hotel Xaluca

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Arfoud / Tafilalet Oasis / Erg Chebbi

    Travel south to the Tafilalet oasis—Morocco’s largest—and admire the ruins of former caravan hub Sijilmassa. After lunch in Arfoud, board four-wheel-drive vehicles and head into the Sahara’s Erg Chebbi, one of Morocco’s great sand dune areas, rising more than 500 feet above the desert floor. Spend the night in a desert camp, ride a camel or clamber up the dunes to witness the sun set over the Sahara, followed by dinner and a bonfire at our overnight camp.

    Accommodations:

    Gold Sand Camp

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Erg Chebbi / Midelt / Ifrane National Park / Fes

    Follow the palm-filled Ziz Valley and the stark, multihued expanses of the Eastern High Atlas range to the Berber enclave of Midelt for lunch. Take a detour into Ifrane National Park, known for its giant Atlas cedars, and try to spot a band of indigenous Barbary macaques before arriving this evening in Fes, the country’s spiritual capital.

    Accommodations:

    Riad Fes

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Fes

    Walk the narrow alleys of Fes, considered the last true example of a typical medieval Arab town with its bustling bazaars, colorful tanners’ quarters and fragrant spice market. Stop at the restored al-Attarine Medersa, a Muslim school; the mausoleum of city founder Idriss II; the 17th-century Nejjarine caravanserai, which now houses an exquisite museum of wood arts; the nearly 700-year-old Bou Inania Medersa; the famed Blue Gate; and pottery and zellige mosaic tile workshops.

    Accommodations:

    Riad Fes

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Volubilis / Meknès

    Venture west to Volubilis, Rome’s commercial hub for the region dating from the 3rd century BCE, renowned for its numerous mosaics still in situ. Then travel south to the former imperial city of Meknès and its astounding granary, a UNESCO World Heritage site, built in the late 17th century by Sultan Moulay Ismail to feed the city’s population and his 12,000(!) horses. Explore the cave at Domaine de la Zouina, one of the kingdom’s prime wine producers, and enjoy a tasting of its finest crûs before returning to Fes.

    Accommodations:

    Riad Fes

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Fes / Rabat

    Drive to Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012. Indulge in a seafood lunch by the crashing waves of the Atlantic, a leisurely walk through the whitewashed Kasbah des Oudaias and the Chellah fortress, and an afternoon stop at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, considered to be the father of modern Morocco.

    Accommodations:

    Villa Mandarine

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Salé / Rabat

    Cross the Bou Regreg river for a morning tour of Salé, a traditional residential town with a restored 14th-century medersa, a gem that many tourists overlook. Return to Rabat for lunch and a lecture on post–Arab Spring developments at the Center for Cross Cultural Learning, situated inside Rabat’s medina. Visit the archaeological museum and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the latter in a magnificent structure with neo-Moorish architecture, followed by a farewell Moroccan dinner.

    Accommodations:

    Villa Mandarine

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Rabat / Home

    Transfer to the Rabat or Casablanca airports for flights home.

    Included meal: Breakfast

Trip details

Start preparing for the trip of a lifetime

From top to bottom, we’ve taken care of all the details, so you can enjoy a no-stress, worry-free travel experience.

“An immersive experience in the culture of Morocco, with all the colors, scents, tastes and sounds in full display.”

— Patricia Jones, MBA ’76

Pricing

Secure your spot today

The price of your trip covers a comprehensive educational program in addition to meals, accommodations, tours and excursions. Continue reading for a full list of what’s included.

beautiful hanging lighted lanterns

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