November 27 – December 7, 2023 – Wait Listed Only 11 days / 10 nights
AACI’s Morocco tour is an initiation into the magic of the Jewish, Islamic, Arabic, and African world of Medinas, Minarets, Synagogues, deserts, and mountains. Imbibe the spirit of Morocco and wander this fascinating country visiting its main cities and sites. Fes a stunning array of medieval buildings, Marrakech with its world-famous souk; Casablanca, a thriving commercial center, Rabat reflecting its modern French origins. Essaouira a seaside town which once had 47 synagogues. Viewing these amazing places as well as the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and the parched Sahara. Whether scaling distant ridges, jeeping, haggling for exotic artifacts, gazing at ancient wonders, or marveling at the pink of a desert dawn, Morocco, will amaze you!
Day 1 Monday: Casablanca – Volubulis – Fes
Our journey begins with our arrival to Casablanca the most important city in Morocco. Arrival to Casablanca the most important city in Morocco. From there we will travel to Volubilis, one of Morocco’s best-preserved Roman ruins located between the Imperial cities of Fez and Meknes on a fertile plain surrounded by wheat fields. Established before the Christian Era, at a time when the area was part of Mauretania, Volubilis was considered the administrative center of the kingdom of Mauretania and also one of the most remote cities within the Roman Empire, located in the far southwestern region. We will continue to Fes for overnight.
Day 2 Tuesday – Fes Today will be mostly devoted to Fes, the religious and cultural capital of Morocco, which combines old and new. There will be a guided tour with a local guide. The area of Fes is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its narrow lanes with their workshops remain as they have been for hundreds of years. We’ll visit the Royal Palace square, which is by the Jewish quarter – the oldest mellah (Jewish quarter) in Morocco – as well as the Jewish cemetery and the Abu Danan Synagogue. We’ll view the Dynastic Tombs and city as a whole from the green roofs and walls of Fes. From the rooftops we’ll see the tannery quarter where hides are treated and visit a ceramics factory where we’ll learn about this unique local craft. The city’s ramparts surround a maze of winding alleys and a bustling market divided according to the guilds of its artisans. In the evening we will attend a Hafla, folklore celebration, which culminates with a reenactment of a traditional Berber wedding ceremony.
Dinner and overnight in Fes
Day 3 Wednesday: Fes – Ifran – Midelt – Erfoud Today we have a long but beautiful journey as we travel to Ifran, a Swiss-type Moroccan town, located at 1600 meters above sea level. The entire area is surrounded by magnificent monkey-inhabited cedar forests which we will visit. The town also hosts the Peace University, where members of the three monotheistic religions were supposed to have studied together. We will follow the old caravan trail South, stopping in Midelt, a market town set in the high plains between the Middle and High Atlas Mountain ranges. We continue along the palm fringed Ziz Valley, famous for date cultivation, to the Tafilalt oasis on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Our day ends in Erfoud, where beautiful views across the shimmering Sahara have made this a popular location with filmmakers.
Dinner and overnight in Erfoud.
Day 4: Thursday: Erfoud – Merzouga duens – Todra Gorge – Ouarzazate Rise and shine! We get up very early this morning and head out by Jeep to the Merzouga dunes of western Sahara, the largest dunes in the world, then on camels from where we will view a fantastic desert sunrise with Shacharit on the dunes and then return to Erfoud for breakfast. After breakfast we will visit the tomb of R’ Shmuel Abu Hatzeira, from the illustrious Rabbinic family and first cousin of the Baba Sali. Then we will travel to the Todra Gorge at the southern edge of the High Atlas Mountains. We’ll see some magnificent scenery, dotted with orchards and Berber villages. We will examine how the locals store water for the long dry season. We will continue to Tinghir, one of the most beautiful oases in southern Morocco. Toward evening we arrive at the French-built regional city Ouarzazate. We’ll see the traditional villages and picturesque Kasbahs which are often used as backgrounds in the production of Hollywood movies.
Dinner and overnight in Ouarzazate.
Day 5: Friday: Ouarzazate – Ait Benhaddou – Marrakech Today we will visit the Ksar off the fortified village of Ait Benhaddou in the High Atlas Mountains. We continue through the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass to Marrakech – the ‘Red City’. Like many other former imperial cities in Morocco, Marrakesh is comprised of an old, fortified city – the medina – and an adjacent modern city. Marrakech is home to Morocco’s largest traditional market (‘souk’) where you might like to do some shopping… we’ll arrive to our hotel and begin preparing for Shabbat.
Tefilah at the local synagogue and dinner with the community.
Day 6: Shabbat: Marrakech Tefillah and Shabbat Lunch. Enjoy an afternoon guided walking tour in the area.
Seudah Shlishit and Havdallah. In the evening, we’ll all go out to see “Fantasia” – a Berber folklore show, culminating with the Lab Al Baroud horseman ceremony.
Day 7: Sunday: Marrakech – Ourika Valley – Marrakesh “The Red City” or the “Pearl of the South” are but two of the names given to Marrakesh – the most beautiful city in Morocco that lies at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. The city is divided in two: the new and the ancient. We will visit the Majoelle Gardens and the city center with its lively markets. We will pass through the Mellah, and stop by the Koutoubia Mosque, visit a Berber pharmacy and the Bahia Palace. Out next visit is the Mellah where Jews no longer live, but where there is an ancient 500-year-old synagogue. We’ll tour the “medina” – the market quarter of the city.
The market is a mass of colors, voices and smells, a polyglot of all the treasures that exist in this country. The ‘medina” is divided according to type of product: an area for silver houses silversmiths and silver copper and jewelry. We will end the day with a visit to the Ourika valley also known as “Valley of the Jews” and enjoy a view of the red wild scenery and the picturesque villages among the mountains. We will return to Marrakech for dinner and overnight. Optional evening outing to experience the lively activity at the Jmaa El Fnaa square at night.
Day 8: Monday: Marrakech – Essaouira Today our sightseeing begins in Essaouira, a former Portuguese Mogador stronghold which. In the 18th century, the Alaouite Sultan Mohamed Ben Abdallah charged some prominent Jewish families to promote international trade from the port. Essaouira’s mellah covers over 10 percent of the town, but Jews constituted almost 40 percent of the population in the late 1880’s.
Jewish stars on the doors to the mellah show the degree to which Jews were accepted in Essaouira, to the point that some of the richer Jews did not even live in the mellah. Commemorative plaques indicate the buildings in which synagogues were located (47). Former inhabitants of Essaouira, most of them Jewish, formed a committee to rehabilitate the town. The Jewish cemetery, just outside the city gates, is extremely well kept. Two historical synagogues should be renovated soon “Slat Rabbi Haim Pinto and Slat Attias-Beit Dakhira”.
Dinner & Overnight in Essaouira.
Day 9: Tuesday: Essaouira – El Jadida – Casablanca This morning we will visit depart Essaouira and visit El Jadida, a major port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The city’s appearance is a beautiful and and unique architectural mixture of Moorish-Portuguese French influence. El Jadida has a stunning, long coastline that attracts over 10 million visitors from around the world each year. After the tour we will continue to Casablanca.
Upon arrival we’ll take a panoramic tour of the city during which we’ll see the newer part of this North African metropolis, including the United Nations Square, renowned for the Neo Moorish buildings that surround it, and the fountains, which sprays water all around. From there we’ll head to the Beit El synagogue, which is often considered the center piece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained-glass windows and other artistic elements is what attracts tourist to this synagogue. We will see the new and old cities, the colorful bazaars, and the promenade along the ocean.
Dinner and overnight in Casablanca.
Day 10: Wednesday – Casablanca – Rabat Today, after Tefilla and breakfast we will visit the Hassan 2 Mosque built half on land and half on water. Many of Morocco’s finest artists and artisans worked for six years to create this magnificent edifice. In fact, every Moroccan citizen donated funds for the project in one way or another to ensure that the project’s costs, which soared to over $800 million,
would be covered. The mosque’s minaret rises to a height of 200 meters, and its central prayer hall can contain twenty-five thousand o worshippers. This is a true architectural wonder. We will also visit the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, the first Jewish Museum in an Islamic country. We will then proceed to our visit to the capital of Rabat, where we’ll visit the Tour Hassan, the yet to be completed mammoth mosque. Then it’s off to see the King’s Palace and the mausoleum of King Hassan V, the Jewish mellah and the Kasbah. After the visit we will drive back to our hotel in Casablanca.
Dinner and overnight in Casablanca.
Day 11 Thursday: Casablanca – flight back home After Tefilla and breakfast we begin our farewell to Morocco. Our tour is drawing to a close and we will take our memories with us as we head to the airport from where we take our flights home.
Flights: Depart: ROYAL AIR MAROC AT0229, from Tel Aviv, Monday, November 27 at 07:15, arrival in Casablanca at 12:1 Return: ROYAL AIR MAROC from Casablanca, Thursday December 7, 2023, at 23:10, arrive Tel Aviv on Friday, December 8, 2023, at 05:55.
Itinerary is subject to change.
Price not including flights*: Price pp/dbl without flights: $2,950 / SINGLE SUPPLEMENT without flights $3,720.
Direct flights from $950 pp (as of July 16, 2023)
$75 pp for non AACI member
Prices are subject to change due to possible rise in port and fuel taxes to be determined by the airlines after.
*10 night’s hotel accommodation at good 4- & 5-star properties
*Kosher full board including provisions to make sandwiches for lunch
*Sightseeing and other activities, and attractions as mentioned in the itinerary.
*Fantasia – Berber Folklore Show
*Tips for driver, local guides, waiters
*English-speaking tour leader from Israel
*AACI staff escort
*Water on the bus.
*Drinks during the meals
*Any other item not mentioned in “Included”
Terms of payment: Registration – 50% / 100%
Balance due September 27, 2023
Cancellation: From time of registration until September 27, 2023: 50%
From September 28 to day of departure: 100%