Until 1950s, Moroccan jews still lived in the country with an estimate number of around 300 000. The legend says they are originated from the Middle east jews who migrated to Morocco after the destruction of the first temple. In the 15th century they were met by a second wave of jews who escaped the Iberian peninsula. The influence of the migration wave changed the life of the Moroccan jews causing them to embrace the Andalusian Sephardic liturgy. Today, a small community of around 2000 Moroccan jews live in Morocco.
Most of the Moroccan jewish sites remain intact and recently retired. They are visited by thousands of tourists every year, as well as the Moroccan jewish diaspora who pay visits to their original country to celebrate different religious festivities.
Upon arrival at Casablanca airport, meet your escorting guide and driver.
Depart to Rabat, Morocco’s capital ( 1 hour drive )
Check into your hotel
Rest of the afternoon at leisure to get rid of the jet lag
Overnight at your hotel.
After breakfast, meet your guide and driver for a morning visit of Rabat
Visit the fortified Kasbah of the Oudays, a peaceful Andalusian garden before you continue to the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the late king and his successor Hassn II, who both maintained a good relationship with the jewish world.
Visit the nearby Hassan Tower, considered the landmark of Rabat, and the Royal Palace esplanade famous for its Royal guards and its bring gates.
After lunch at leisure at a local restaurant or café, continue your visit discovering the 12th century mysterious ruined of Chellah.
Optional visit of Rabat Archaeological museum before you return back to your hotel.
After breakfast in your hotel, drive east towards the imperial city of Meknes.
After an hour and a half smooth ride, be ready for a walking tour of Meknes to include the mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, the founder of the city, with Bab Mansour and the granaries which once hosted over 12 000 horses.
Visit the Mellah ( the old jewish quarter ) with its colorful courtyards and narrow lanes.
Continue to the Talmud Torah Synagogue.
After lunch at a local restaurant or café, continue to to the hill side holy town of Moulay Driss, one of the most spiritual sites in Morocco, hosting the mausoleum of Moulay Driss, the founder of Fes, and a great grand son of the prophet Mohamed.
From here, continue to the Roman archaeological site of Volubilis which hosts the largest and most preserved Roman ruins in Morocco.
Late in the afternoon, continue to Fes driving past vast acreages of vineyards producing good quality red and Moroccan wine.
Check into your Fes hotel or riad.
Today, you will explore Morocco’s oldest city, considered by many as ‘’ Athens of Africa ‘’ thanks to its cultural, religious, and educational institutions. Fes is also one of the best known cities in medieval Jewish history.
Discover the iconic sites of an ancient Imperial city accompanied with your guide. You will start with a visit of the broad esplanade of the Royal palace, famous for its cedar wood and bronze gates. Continue to the 16th-century Borj Sud to admire its architecture and a spectacular panoramic view of the walled city. From here, you will go deep into the UNESCO world heritage Medina to visit various jewish sites:
Over 650 years old, adjourned to the royal Palace neighborhood where local jews took refuge during the 1912 pogrom.
Considered a witness of real survivor of a pivotal time in Moroccan jewish history, Ibn Danan Synagogue is one of the oldest and most intact synagogues in Morocco.
Suffering from the Almohads dynasty’s persecutions in the 12th century, Maimonides migrated here to escape forced conversion. Maimonides home is now turned to a well established jewish community center with a Kosher restaurant and a modern synagogue.
Follow narrow lanes to covered bazaars and an eminent madrasa, and pass riverside tanneries and hillside shrines. Get a glimpse of daily life in bustling Nejjarine Square, discover Moroccan art in the Dar Batha Museum and leave the medina to visit potters’ studios and Borj Sud, an imposing Saadian watchtower.
Drive back to your hotel or riad, and spend the evening at leisure.
After breakfast, get ready for a fairly long drive today crossing the Middle Atlas Mountains and Ziz Valley, all the way to Tafilalt region.
Drive past the fertile landscapes south east of Fes towards Ifrane, a little town in the middle of the Atlas Mountains famous for being a ski resort in the winter and a holiday destination for the locals in summer and spring. You may want to take a panoramic drive to enjoy its European-like style as it was an alpine village.
From here you will continue to Azrou. On the way, you will meet the Barbary Macaques wondering in the famous cedar forests.
By noon, you arrive at Midelt, where you can choose to have lunch at leisure at one of the local cafés before you continue driving past little Berber Villages as you cross the Middle Atlas Mountains towards Ziz Valley where you will enjoy amazing scenery of vast valleys dotted with green date palm trees.
Arrive at Erfoud late in the afternoon, where you will enjoy a well deserved dinner at your hotel.
After a late breakfast in your Erfoud hotel, meet your 4×4 driver for an exploration of the city of Erfoud, famous for being the birth place of the Alaouites dynasty ruling Morocco since the 15th century. Visit the mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif and a nearby Ksar before you cross the stony desert south east of Erfoud driving past different nomads camps where the locals herd their camels in the middle of nowhere . Arrive at the dunes of Erg Chebbi where you will experience some sand bashing, then continue to the nomads Village of Khamlia, where things remain unchanged for centuries. From here we will continuee to your camp operator lodge where you will be having lunch at leisure and take a rest, or a swim before your camel caravan is ready for a life time experience riding your camels to your Morocco Sahara desert camp while assisting to a dramatic sunset scenery over Erg Chebbi color changing sand dunes.
Enjoy a Moroccan dinner under the stars while you are entertained by your nomads hosts playing their Tam Tam drums around a campfire.
Overnight at your private tent.
If you wish, your nomad hosts will wake you up early enough to climb the nearby dune and watch the sunrise before breakfast.
Today’s journey will start with a visit of a fossils workshop to learn more about how the locals dig for ammonites, orthoceras, trilobites and dinosaur teeth, and how they process them for sale.
From here we continue south west to the oasis of Tinnghir, where you will enjoy an our walk in the oasis, next to the stream, accompanied with your local guide. The walk will lead you to the magnificent canyons the Valley of Todra is famous of.
After a little break in a local café for lunch, you will drive along the road of 1001 Kasbahs to the Dades Valley famous for its Damascus roses plantations.
Upon arrival at Skoura oasis, visit the Kasbah of Amridil to learn more about the lifestyle of the local Berbers living in Morocco desert oases, Kasbahs architecture and amazing irrigation techniques used locally.
Arrive at Ouarzazate late in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
After breakfast, start your journey with a 30 minutes drive to the UNESCO world heritage village of Ait Ben Haddou, cross the river accompanied with your local guide to visit the famous Kasbah, famous for being used as a set of various Hollywood epics in the past ( Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, etc…… )
We will continue our journey crossing the High Atlas Mountains past adobe Berber villages and Tizi Ntichka pass to the ochre imperial city of Marrakech.
Dinner and overnight at your Marrakech riad.
Day 9: Marrakech
After breakfast in your hotel or riad, get ready for a full day guided tour of the Medina of Marrakech, with its palaces, historical sites, Souks, medina walls and gardens:
Your exploration of Marrakech will start with an outside visit of La Koutoubia Mosque with its majestic minaret, considered the landmark of Marrakech. From there, you will continue to the Saadian tombs, dating to the 14th century, and hosting the Saadian Dynasty kings tombs. After a short drive, visit the Mellah, the old jewish quarter built in the 16th century by the late king Moulay Abdellah. Here the jews enjoyed autonomy, even though they were not allowed to own property outside the Mellah. From here, enjoy a walk through the labyrinthine streets of the Medina watching the local craftsmen in their workshops, locals bargaining for their daily needs in the markets, and awaken your senses while walking t=in the spice markets.
Enjoy a quick lunch at one of the local cafés in the Medina before you head to Ben Youssef Medersa, a 14th century Islamic college containing 130 students dormitories around a courtyard richly carved in cedar, marble and stucco.
Right after the visit of the Medrasa, meet your horse drawn carriage just off Dar Elbacha Royal Palace and start a scenic drive through Gueliz, the French colonial district, and the new town to Majorelle Gardens, a 12 acre botanical gardens created in the early 20th century by a French architect, then reopened to the public after it was owned by the late French designer Yves Saint Laurent.
After the gardens visit, don’t miss a visit to the near by Bet – El Synagogue.
choose to spend the morning at leisure or take part in a cooking master class taking part at La Maison Arabe to learn how to cook a Moroccan Tagine, pastilla or Couscous.
In the afternoon, pumper yourself at a one of the most reputable oriental spas in Morocco: Les Bains de Marrakech: Enjoy an hour Hammam ( steaming bath ) and body scrub, followed by an hour relaxing massage with local aromatic essential oils.
Dinner tonight will be served at a Moroccan restaurant with a show.
After a late breakfast, transfer to Casablanca, the financial, and industrial capital of Morocco.
Upon arrival, visit Hassan II Mosque , the landmark of Casablanca, and the only functioning Mosque in Morocco allowing access to non Muslims.
After lunch in the Corniche of Casablanca, continue to the museum of Moroccan judaism, unique of its kind in the Arab world, created in 1997 with the support of the Foundation of jewish Moroccan cultural heritage. The museum demonstrates religious, ethnic and artistic rare objects showcasing the history, religion, traditions and the daily life of Moroccan jews. From here, continue your visit with a walk to Casablanca’s Mellah, which is the youngest in Morocco ( only one century old ) enjoy a walk through the bustling streets of the Mellah before you reach the jewish cemetery, famous for its well-kept white stones marked in French, Hebrew and some times Spanish.
A farewell dinner will be organized tonight at the legendary Rick’s Cafe.
After breakfast, spend the rest of the morning at leisure before your transfer to Casablanca airport for your return flight.