Travel

AACI Magnificent Morocco & Gibraltar   

May 9-23, 2022,  15 days – 14 nights

Visiting: Atlas Mountains, Erfoud, Fes, Gibraltar, Marrakesh, Meknes, Tangier, Volubilis.

AACI invites you into the world of Islamic, Arabic, African culture filled with stunning cities, Synagogues, medinas, minarets, desert and mountains. Morocco is an initiation into the magic of the Islamic, Arabic, African world of medinas, minarets, desert and mountain, and yet it retains a European patina. Imbibe the spirit of Morocco; wander the streets of the great cities. Fes is a stunning array of medieval buildings; the world-famous souk of Marrakech sells a fascinating array of goods; Casablanca, is a thriving commercial center, and Rabat reflects its modern French origins. The snow-capped Atlas Mountains lie inland. Beyond them are the fringes of the parched Sahara. Whether scaling distant ridges, haggling for exotic artifacts, gazing at ancient wonders or marveling at the pink of a desert dawn, in Morocco, you will be mesmerized. In addition, we will be visiting Tangier where we will discover a unique city bearing a multicultural heritage and, Gibraltar a British overseas territory occupying a narrow peninsula of Spain’s southern Mediterranean coast! This is a trip not to be believed.  Join us for this magnificent journey .

9.5 – Monday: Day 1, Tel Aviv-Marrakesh

We will meet at Tel Aviv airport and fly to Marrakesh, the Red City of Morocco. Depending on the time of landing, we will conduct an initial panoramic tour of Marrakesh and then a short drive to our hotel.

After a rest and dinner, we will tour “Jamaa El Fnaa”, the main square of Marrakesh known all over the world as the symbol and beating heart of the city. Every evening the square comes to life with acrobatics, magicians, fortunetellers, snake dancers and fairy tales. We will walk between authentic food stalls, Moroccan rugs, jewelry, perfumes and spices mixed with colors and dizzying smells.

10.5 – Tuesday: Day 2, Marrakech

After breakfast we will devote the day to a wonderful in-depth tour of Marrakesh, the Red City of Morocco. Marrakesh acquired its nickname due to the shades of compacted and red earth that created its structures. The walled desert city sits between the two great natural treasures of Morocco – on the seam between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. Some would call Marrakech the most romantic city in Morocco (Winston Churchill used to call it – “my beloved”).

We will visit the Menara Gardens and view the famous Koutoubia Mosque with its 250-feet-high minaret, which can be seen from every point in the city. We will continue on a tour of the Mellah Jewish Quarter, where a large Jewish population once lived, and visit the ancient Slat al- Azama synagogue. This synagogue was built by Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. We will walk through the various markets of Marrakesh and reach hidden corners like the “Secret Garden” in the heart of the market. Afterwards we will visit the new area of the city, where we will enjoy free time for wandering and shopping at the beautiful Menara Mall.

After dinner, we will be entertained at the “Fantasia at Ali’s” show, where folklore dances from all over Morocco and from the various tribes of Morocco perform, and we will watch watch an acrobatic horse show with dozens of horses and riders.

11.5 – Wednesday: Day 3, Jeep tour in the Atlas Mountains and the Eureka Valley – Varazazat

 

We will have a chance to walk on the bank of the Eureka River that flows in the heart of the valley.

A day trip of landscapes and nature in the High Atlas Mountains and the Ourika Valley. We will cross the Ourika valley and the Asni Valley towards Imelil at the foot of Mount Toubkal to Berber villages.

We will visit a typical Berber house and experience the local culture, meet with the lady of the house who will tell us about the Berber women’s lifestyle and introduce us to the traditional tea ceremony. We will also visit the home and grave of one of the famous rabbis of the valley, Rabbi Shimon Belchans and hear the legend associated with him. We will have a chance to walk on the banks of the Eureka River that flows in the heart of the valley. At the end of the tour, will travel to al-Ouarzazate the “Hollywood” of Morocco. We will check into our hotel and have a well-deserved dinner.

12.5 – Thursday: Day 4, Quartzazate – Erfoud

We will tour the city of Ouarzazate the gateway to the Sahara Desert and the Movie City of Morocco. We will visit the studios where famous Hollywood movies such as “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Prince of Persia, Sands of Time” and even “Sex and the City 2” were shot.  We will continue our tour of this special city and then travel through the Dades Valley with its villages and orchards, colors and oases, reaching the road known as the “Thousand Kasbahs”. We will continue towards Todgha Gorge  in the heart of the Atlas Mountains and from there we will continue to Erfoud, a city at the mouth of the Sahara Desert. Erfoud serves as a base for hikers in Morocco for hiking in the desert and is close to the major dunes in the Merzouga area. The Sahara is the largest desert in the world, and extends across North Africa, from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. Its area is over 8 million square kilometers. By comparison, the entire area of the USA is only 10 million square kilometers! The entire Sahara Desert is home to about 5 million people, most of them living in the desert. There is very little vegetation in the Sahara and only that which can exist in arid areas. There is only   100 – 250mm of rain, and the temperature reaches 45 degrees in summer.

In the afternoon we will take a walk at sunset, go by jeeps to see the great dune and from there we will continue on camels to the largest sand dune in the Sahara Desert, the Merzouga Dune. From there we will have a spectacular and photogenic view of sunset in the desert.

At the end of the tour, we will go to our hotel in Erfoud.

13.5 – Friday: Day 5, Erfoud-Ifrane-Fes

We have an early morning departure as we leave the Sahara Desert and drive through the resort town of Ifrane, at a height of 1,650 meters, in the heart of the Middle Atlas Mountains. We will take a spectacular scenic route and cross cedar and oak forests until we reach the town of Ifrane, also known as “Switzerland of Morocco”. We will visit the town that has a European atmosphere and beautiful cafes. We will see the lion statue – the symbol of the city and hear the tragic story associated with it.  Onward to the city of Fes, the ancient capital of Morocco and its cultural and religious capital to this day. Time permitting we will take a panoramic tour to get to know the city of Fes, and drive to our hotel to prepare for Shabbat.

14.5 – Saturday: Day 6, Fes

After T’fillot with the community, we will have a well-deserved rest. In the afternoon, those who are interested can go on a walking tour in Fes with our guide.
In the evening, after Havdallah  we will attend an authentic Moroccan festivity with musicians, dancing and light refreshment.

15.5 – Sunday: Day 7, Fes

We will spend the day touring Fes. We will visit the old city, which was a Jewish metropolis. A large Jewish population settled in Fes, consisting mostly of the Jews expelled from Spain. Many of the Jewish leaders, writers and rabbis in Morocco lived in Fes, that was once called the ‘Pandek al-Yehudi’, (City of Jews).  The city of Fes grew to be a warm home for the Jewish population in Morocco. Quite a few prominent Jews wrote and worked in the city – the linguist and poet Yehuda Ben-Kurish,  R. Yehuda Haij, and R. Yitzhak Ben-Yaakov Alfasi (the Rif). Maimonides also moved to the city with his family and many other people who carved their names and work in the city of Fes, the symbol of Moroccan Jewish religion and culture. We will then continue our tour to the southern tower of the city from where we will have a great view of the Old City. We will walk around the “medina” built as a network of winding streets, a large maze where thousands of people live and work. We will walk through the alleys and visit a factory for dyeing and processing hides according to the methods used for centuries, and also visit the copper factory which also preserves ancient traditions. We will see the King’s Palace and the famous water clock of Maimonides, and then walk around the Jewish “Melach” neighborhood. We will visit the historic Ibn Danan Synagogue and the Jewish cemetery, where we will visit the tomb of the revered R. Yehuda Ben Attar and the pious Lalla Solika .

In the evening we will return to our hotel in Fes for a lovely dinner.

16.5 – Monday: Day 8, Meknes, Volubilis, Fes

We will initially travel to the city of Meknes, which is one of Morocco’s four “imperial cities” and is famous for its royal palace, Surrounded by magnificent gardens, it was declared a World Heritage Site. Meknes was founded in the 10th century and its name is derived from the name of the Beber “Meknesa” tribe that founded the city, most of its inhabitants  are Berbers. In the days of Ismail King of Morocco, the city was the capital of the country and during this period the monumental buildings that characterize it were built.

The city also produced an impressive Jewish community. The historic part of the city also includes the Melah (Jewish neighborhood). The Jewish refugees from Spain arrived in Meknes in 1492 and made their mark on the community. King Ismail moved the Jews from the “Melah” in the Arab city and established a neighborhood (ghetto) for them near his palace, which still exists today and is called the “old melah” of Meknes. We will tour the city and the important sites of Meknes.

From  Meknes we will travel to Volubilis, one of the most important and interesting sites in Morocco. Volubilis, was one of the most important cities in Morocco in the first century CE and today is the largest Roman antiquities site in the country, and the one that has been best preserved.  Volubilis reached greatness in the 3rd century CE, but excavations revealed that the site was first settled by the Carthages. The city served as an important commercial center, through which goods passed from the Sahara area to the north, to the ports of the Mediterranean and to Rome.
In the center there is a commercial street with arch buildings and remnants of a Byzantine-era basilica. In addition, one can see wonderful mosaics on the houses of the rich, located from the eastern gate towards the heart of the city, and many of them include elements taken from Greco-Roman mythology. All these testify to the great status and wealth of the city in its time.
The city had a mixed population consisting mainly of Jews, Berbers, Romans, Greeks and other peoples. The city became Christian in the Byzantine period and later Muslim. It continued to exist until the 18th century, when the beautiful public buildings were looted by the ruler Moulay Ismail to glorify his capital, Meknes.

We will tour the archaeological site and visit the on-site museum. At the end of the tour we will drive back to our hotel in Fes.

17.5 – Tuesday: Day 9, Fes, Wazan, Chefchaouen, Tangier

This morning we will leave Fes and drive to the town of Chefchaouen the capital of the Rif Mountains. On the way, we will stop for a short visit to Ouazan, located on the edge of the Rif Mountains, to visit the tomb of Rabi Amram ben Diwan, known as “Creator of Miracles”  whose grave is frequented by many, including Muslims, praying that their wishes will be fulfilled. We will continue our trip and reach Chefchaouen, which is tucked between the Rif Mountain ranges and the capital of the region. Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 by Mulay Ali Ben Rashid and for many years foreigners were not allowed in. We will walk through the beautiful city, through the alleys that combine the traditional Iberian and Moroccan period. Chefchaouen is a unique and picturesque city and the colors that dominate it are blue and white, which give the town its special atmosphere.

Onward to the city of Tangier, the third largest city in Morocco.

18.5 – Wednesday: Day 10, Gibraltar

Today we will travel to Britain. Yes, it’s not a mistake! We will take advantage of our time in Morocco to visit the famous British colony of Gibraltar, located at the southernmost tip of the European continent.

In the morning, we will take the ferry from Tangier to Gibraltar, nestled on a huge cliff, which rises abruptly to an altitude of 426 meters above sea level.

The colony is located at the southernmost tip of Spain, almost touching Africa and from the top of the cliff one can see two continents (Europe and Africa), three countries (Gibraltar, Spain and Morocco), the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Definitely a unique phenomenon. Gibraltar covers an area of ​​six square kilometers (about the size of Ramat Aviv). It has some 30,000 proud British residents and an unknown number of cute and playful Barbary Macaque monkeys. Besides human, they are the only free living primate in Europe. We will conduct a comprehensive tour of the colony that includes a visit to the “European Point” (which is the southernmost point in Gibraltar and is a special attraction, combining historical buildings and an observation site facing Africa. At this point the waters of the Atlantic Ocean meet with those of the Mediterranean. Here you can see one of the prominent symbols of Gibraltar – the lighthouse. This lighthouse is the only one outside the UK still controlled and operated by the British authorities.

We will also stroll along Main Street, the principle street of Gibraltar and in Casemates Square where there are a few kosher restaurants and bakeries for you enjoyment. This is the main shopping area of the colony and because Gibraltar does not have VAT and customs duties on most products, the shopping area is considered to be one large duty free store, where many products can be purchased at significant discounts.

We will continue touring around Gibraltar and towards evening we will return by ferry to our hotel in Tangier.

19.5 – Thursday: Day 11, Tangier

We will spend the day in Tangier, the third largest city in Morocco.

Tangier is a city in northern Morocco located at the western entrance of the Straits of Gibraltar, where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. The uniqueness of Tangier is that it is located in the northernmost point in Africa and from there you can see Europe.

We will visit the markets and the boardwalk, and also the Hercules Caves. According to legend, the god Hercules lived there after separating the continents.

We will continue to the observation point at “Cape Vera” which is actually the meeting point of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. Later we will visit the old city and the new city.
In the evening we will return to our hotel in Tangier.

20.5 – Friday: Day 12,  Rabat, Casablanca

Immediately after breakfast, we will travel to the capital of Morocco, Rabat. The translation of Rabat is “the fortress”, after the historic citadel overlooking the city, which throughout its history has served it faithfully. Alongside this ancient landmark in Rabat, there are many green gardens that adorn the city. We will visit the plaza of the King’s Palace and view the Hassan Tower and the bridge that crosses the Bouregreg River. We will also see the impressive mausoleum where King Mohammed V and his son Hassan II are buried, that was built and designed by the best Moroccan artists.

After visiting the kingdom’s capital, we will travel to Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city.
We will arrive at our hotel in time to prepare for Shabbat and plan to pray with the locale community.

21.5 – Saturday: Day 13, Casablanca

After T’fillot with the community, we will have a well-deserved rest. In the afternoon, those who are interested can go on a walking tour with our guide.
In the evening, after Havdallah, we head out to Casablanca’s promenade along the Atlantic coastline and meet mesmerizing street performers, restaurants and cafes. We will also visit the “Mall of Morocco”, the largest and most luxurious mall in Morocco with the best brands and stores.

22.5 – Sunday: Day 14, Casablanca

The last day of our fascinating trip to Morocco will be devoted to a comprehensive tour of the country’s largest city. We will visit the Hassan II Mosque, probably the most ambitious construction project in the city since the days of the king who is considered the spiritual leader of the locals. It is the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest in the world after the mosques in Mecca and Medina. It is the only mosque in the world that part of it is built over the sea. At the top of the minaret, built in the Andalusian style and rising to a height of 210 m, there is a laser beam pointing towards Mecca. The mosque tower is the largest religious structure in the world. The prayer hall covers an area of 20,000 square meters and can accommodate up to 25,000 worshippers and in the courtyard of the mosque there is space for another 120,000 people. The roof of the prayer hall opens at the push of a button and allows light and natural air to enter. 2,500 artists and 10,000 workers labored for six years to build the mosque to fulfill the king’s vision of building a mosque above the sea, thus upholding a verse from the Koran: “May his honor be on the water.” The king’s idea was fulfilled completely, and the mosque was built above the sea so that worshippers could see the seawater through a transparent glass floor.

After our visit to the magnificent mosque, we will continue to tour the city and see the Muhammad V Square from which the main streets in the city branch out. The square is surrounded by gardens and in the center stands a magnificent fountain, around which you can see the main post office building, the Palace of Justice, the French Consulate and many other impressive buildings.

We will continue to the “medina” of Casablanca, the oldest part of the city where we will wander through the maze of narrow alleys, breathe intoxicating smells of authentic spices and meet local art and craft items (at not bad prices at all). At the end of the day of the Casablanca tour, we will return to our hotel.

23.5 – Monday: Day 15, Casablanca – Tel Aviv

After breakfast, we will drive to Casablanca airport and fly back to Tel Aviv. Our wonderful journey to Morocco is over and we know you enjoyed this amazing itinerary taking great memories back home to Israel.

Price:
NIS 11,500 pp/dbl / Single Supplement: NIS 14,000 – Includes flights
For non-Israeli citizens $ 3,300 pp/dbl/ $ 4,000 single – Does not include flights
NIS 250 pp addition for non AACI member or join AACI
  • Minimum participants required
  • Program, itinerary, timing, sites subject to change
  • Corona restrictions observed

Terms of payment: Upon Registration – 50%
By April 10, 2022 final balance
Cancellation fee after April 10, 2022– 100%

The trip includes:

  • Jeep tour in the Atlas Mountains and the Eureka Valley, including a visit to a barbaric house and a meeting with the mother of the house.
  • A fantasy show in Marrakech of many acrobats, horse riders and actors including drinks and fruit.
  • A visit to a women’s cooperative to create argon oil.
  • “Desert experience” – riding camels at sunset.
  • A visit to the Tudra Canyon, crossing the Dadas Valley, through the Thousand Kasbahs.
  • An evening of Moroccan celebration with live music, dancing and light refreshments.
  • Visit to the cities: Marrakesh, Varazazat, Pes, Wazan, Shepshuan, Rabat, Tangier, Aswira, Al Jadida and Casablanca.
  • 3 days’ vacation Hotel and resort “Air Conditioner Beach”
  • Flights – not charter
  • 5 & 4 star hotels
  • Half board: breakfast and dinner / sandwiches for lunch
  • Entrance fees to the sites according to the itinerary
  • Tips
  • Group Leader
  • Local Guide
  • AACI staff escort
  • Deluxe air-conditioned tourist bus.

The trip does not include:

  • Corona check (passengers are required to check before leaving for Morocco as well as check in Morocco before returning to Israel and for another check after landing at Ben Gurion Airport)
  • Extra for a single room
  • Visa to Morocco in the amount of $ 55 per passenger
  • Everything that is not under the section “The price includes”
  • Personal expenses during the trip
  • Medical insurance and luggage – extended insurance must be taken out, which includes medical coverage and cancellation fees due to the corona virus.
  • Increase in fuel taxes and levies as of March 2022.

It is important:

  • The trip is operated according to the conditions of the purple certification or similar, subject to the Corona  restrictions in Israel and Morocco.
  • The trip is for those with a green badge and similar only. Corona instructions will be given closer to the departure date.
  • Due to Corona conditions in Morocco, there may be changes in the route, in such cases visits will be made, to appropriate alternative sites.

General Information:

Clarifications:

  • Any change related to the flight times and / or other default related to the airline, is their sole responsibility and does not in any way constitute grounds for a claim/compensation against Discovery/AACI
  • Due to optional changes in the flight schedule, the order of visiting the sites may change and it is possible that a few visiting sites will be replaced by others.
  • Registration fee and cancellation policy
  • Registration using the registration form and payment of registration fee. Cancellation Terms as detailed in the ‘General Terms’ section of the Website.

Insurance:
It is the duty of every passenger to insure themselves with appropriate medical insurance, including an extension to airlines. It is recommended to activate the insurance in accordance with the cancellation conditions in the trip plan, to be covered in cases of cancellation of the trip under conditions covered by the insurance policy. If you choose to insure expensive equipment, when leaving Israel .

Health and vaccines:
There is a duty to report every passenger, the trip organizers and their carriers about the medical problems he suffers from (if any). A lot of effort is invested in the journey and its success must be ensured as much as possible. We need to be familiar with the precautions to prevent disease transmission and the requirements regarding vaccines. A geographer and dentist should be consulted at least 4 weeks before the trip.

Please click here to upload our registration form: AACI Kosher Morocco Registration Form.docx