Coast, Culture and a Desert Camp Out
From the coastal gem of Essaouira to the stark but stunning Agafay Desert, followed by the hustle and bustle of iconic Marrakech, prepare to truly unwind and disconnect from everyday life on this week long adventure around Morocco.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Explore Essaouira's traditional fishing harbour and fortified medina
- Spend the night glamping in the Agafay Desert
- Tour the private gardens and museums of Marrakech and then get to grips with the bustling souqs
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When To Travel
All of the holidays we create are completely tailor-made to you
Day 1: Arrive
Once you arrive in Marrakech, a driver will be waiting to collect you and drive you to your hotel in Essaouira, which will take around two and a half hours.
Spend your first evening becoming familiar with your surroundings in Essaouira. Take a stroll around, go for a delicious Moroccan dinner and feel the Alizés breeze on your face. We will give you a detailed Dossier of what to see and do, and where to eat, drink and shop in the town.
Day 2: Explore Essaouira
This morning you will be met by your guide at the hotel and taken to explore Essaouira in more detail.
Once named Mogador, Essaouira is an old Portuguese fort with an amazing mixture of Portuguese and Moroccan military architecture. With your private guide, explore the spice souqs, jewellery markets, different artisanal markets and the carpentry workshops devoted to cedar and thuya wood cabinet making. You will end your walking tour of Essaouira in the harbour, with its stalls serving freshly caught barbecued fish - we highly recommend you eat at one of these for lunch.
Then, walk lunch off by taking a stroll on the gorgeous golden beaches and head back up to the city to wander through the spice-scented lanes and palm-lined avenues of Essaouira's fortified medina, browsing the many art galleries and boutiques as you go.
Day 3: Wine Tasting
After breakfast this morning you will be met by a guide and driven to Chiadma, on the outskirts of Essaouira. Here you'll find many local vineyards where you will be taken for a tour and will then go on to taste some of the country's finest wines.
On your way to the vineyards you will stop at the belvedere of Essaouira for a fantastic panoramic view of the city and its two islands. Then, continue inland across the thuya and argan forests and stop at one of the Argan oil women's cooperatives. This oil is unique to south west of Morocco and has many benefits which make it a popular ingredient in beauty products.
After your morning, enjoy lunch at the property of Val d'Argan, admiring the stunning views over the vineyards and surrounding countryside whilst sipping on a glass of cool white wine. Post lunch your driver will take you back to the coast, where you can enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
Day 4: Agafay Desert
Say goodbye to Essaouira as you move on to the Agafay Desert today. During the two-hour drive you will see the change of the landscape, driving away from the windy ocean and golden beaches to a more sparse and sandy setting.
Scarabeo Stone Desert Camp - your seriously cool home for the night - consists of 15 charming and capacious tents dotted between the sand dunes in a secluded spot of the Agafay Desert. With Oriental and African inspiration, the design of the camp and its interiors matches the landscape, featuring caramel-leather chairs, travel artefacts, Moroccan lanterns, bleached wood, woven floor mats and Berber rugs - all made out of natural materials.
Once settled into your tent you will have a freshly prepared lunch waiting for you and can then choose from a range of activities, from desert hikes to horse riding and camel treks. For dinner, feast on fresh, traditional Moroccan cuisine around a candlelit table and afterwards enjoy some serious stargazing, thanks to the almost total absence of light pollution.
Day 5: To Marrakech
Enjoy the desert sunrise while taking part in a yoga session and then have a leisurely morning making the most of the peace and quiet, as your next stop is the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city of Marrakech.
Only a short drive away, you will be driving to Marrakech in the afternoon, where you can relax at your riad or hotel and chill out as you have a busy day exploring the famed Red City tomorrow.
Enjoy dinner in your riad/hotel or choose one of the city's restaurants from our detailed and up to date Marrakech Dossier. We can always prebook a table for you.
Day 6: Exploring Marrakech
The Marrakech gardens and parks are just as important to the city as its medieval monuments and palaces and this morning you'll find out why.
Marrakech quietly inspires artists, designers and scholars with its rich history and culture, and your guide will begin your private gardens and museum tour with a visit to the private museum created and owned by Birt Flint, a Dutch anthropologist who displays his collection of Berber and sub-Saharan artefacts and antiques.
Afterwards you will be visiting the famous Marjorelle Garden that houses a collection of plants from the four corners of the earth, and an Art Deco villa. For lunch there is a lovely terrace restaurant in the gardens that serves light meals.
Once refuelled your guide will take you to the beautifully designed Berber museum displaying Yves Saint Laurent's personal collection of Berber antiques, and then you will be driven through the palm groves of Marrakech before heading back to your hotel.
This evening we recommend heading to the Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech's main square, which transforms at dusk into a huge street food market. Embrace the bustling atmosphere and spend the night amid storytellers as you sip on mint tea. We recommend eating at one of the many food stalls for a true Moroccan culinary experience, and we can recommend our favourite stall.
Day 7: Last Day Adventures
Whether you would prefer to spend your last day exploring more of the streets of Marrakech, bartering for last minute purchases in the souqs; learning how to cook like a local or simply spending the day chilling at your hotel and treating yourself to a hammam steam room, we know the very best activities and can pre-book any to ensure you finish the trip on a high.
For your last dinner we have booked you into one of our favourite rooftop restaurants so enjoy the hazy sunset and admire the city from above as you polish off a final tagine.
Day 8: Heading Home
What a week! Sadly it's now time to return home. A private transfer from your hotel will take you to Marrakech Airport in time for your flight.
Isabel is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.