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Festival of the Roses in Morocco

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The Festival of Roses is one of the sweetest celebrations in Morocco, devoted to honoring the season’s rose harvest. It is held in early May in El Kelaa M’Gouna, a town also called the Valley of Roses located in Dades Valley. It is here that Morocco produces the majority of its rose water, a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. Along the narrow streets of the souk in El Kelaa M’Gouna, you’ll find delicious food stalls, Berber dancers and singers, and even a parade of floats.

 The date of the festival depends on the collection of roses, exact date can be known one month before the festival. Various activities are held during the festival. Streets are covered with blankets of roses, Berber groups outdoors concerts, flower shows, etc. The last day of the festival is the day to elect Miss Roses. The most beautiful women come out to dance dressed in their best kaftans and decorated with roses.

 

 

 

 

Day 1: Casablanca - Marrakesh

Arrive at Casablanca International Airport. Have breakfast upon arrival, then visit the Mosque of Hassan II Casablanca's landmark building designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau. It is an extravagant symbol not only of the city, but also of Morocco itself.  Hassan II Mosque II  is one of the largest mosque in the world with a gigantic glass floor for over 24000 worshippers. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 meters.  Its location looking out to the Atlantic gives it an exceptional beauty. Intricately carved marble pieces, vibrant mosaics and zellige tile details pay honor to traditional Islamic architecture, and yet still manage to feel contemporary.

After visiting the Hassan II Mosque, take the road to Marrakesh. Check in your Riad and then you will be escorted to one of the best restaurant in the medina.

Day 2 :  Marrakesh Guided Visit

Breakfast at your Riad. Explore the fascinating city of Marrakesh starting from new part Gueliz or Nouvelle Ville of Marrakesh. Continue to the magical Majorelle Gardens designed by Jacque Majorelle and preserved by Yves Saint Laurent. Its bleu and yellow colored paths make of it a attractive garden with various ponds, cacti, and plants. On our return to your Riad, a stop at  Mamounia Hotel and Garden.

Explore the El Bahia Palace which is a set of gardens located in Marrakesh. It was built in the late 19th century, planned to be the greatest palace of its time. The name means "brilliance". As in other buildings of the period in other countries, it was intended to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan style. There is a 2-acre (8,000 m²) garden with rooms opening onto courtyards.

Visit the Saadian Tombs are mausolea in Marrakesh which date to time of the Saadian dynasty sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The tombs were discovered in 1917 and were renovated by the Beaux-arts service. The mausoleum includes the burials of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the valley of the Draa River. Among the graves are those of Ahmad al-Mansur and his family.

Next visit the old Medina. Explore this charming area on foot. In Djemaa el Fna, you will visit the famous 12th century Koutoubia Mosque. The guide will take you through the intricate streets and alleys of the Djemaa el Fna. Enjoy the smells of food and explore the souks specializing in Berber carpets, silver jewelry, handmade shoes, and leather tanneries. Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of Marrakesh’s most tasty restaurants.

After lunch, visit the Museum of Marrakesh, a Contemporary Moroccan Art Museum, a private museum devoted to popular arts & crafts situated within a beautiful Spanish-Moroccan house.

Visit the Jewish Mellah istablished in 1558 by Moulay Abdallah. During the Spanish religious wars, Jewish refugees escaping the country were welcomed by  the Sultan and offred this place to settle and live in peace.

Evening free to explore Marrakesh on your own. Your private driver will be available to escort you to a variety of restaurants we recommend.  B&B accommodation in a nice Riad

Day 3 : Marrakesh - Ait Ben Hadou - Ouarzazate - Kalaa Megouna

Breakfast at your riad and start your journey towards Boumalen Dades. you will pass the olive fields of the Oued Zat as you ascend to the Tizi n’Tichka pass (2260-meter-high) that will take you through spectacular mountainous land. Along the road you will see panoramic sights of the High Atlas Mountains as well as rich valleys, colorful villages, and striking geology

Explore Ait Benhaddou kasbah which is located at 32 km from Ouarzazate.  It is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. The site has been declared as a world heritage by UNESCO and many movies has been filmed there:  Lawrence of Arabia, Sodom and Gomorrah and Jesus of Nazareth. Ait Benhaddou was a caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. Most of the town’s inhabitants immigrated to other nearby villages and only few families still live within.

Visit to Ouarzazate film studio, the Moroccan Hollywood where many famous movies were filmed. Continue to Kellaa Megoun ‘Rose Valley’ capital of the Damascus rose from Morocco and visit of local cooperatives of Roses local product. Accommodation in a hotel located in the valley of roses.

Day 4 : Kelaa M’Gouna – Festival Roses

Have breakfast and visit the Roses Festival. It is the day when Miss Roses is elected. Women dressed in their best kaftans decorated with roses come for dancing.  You’ll also have chance to visit local markets and place of Rose distillation where you will learn how pink rose water is made. Overnight in Riad.

Day 5 : Kelaa M'Gouna – Dades Valley– Todra Gorge

Rise and have breakfast and explore the unique atmosphere of the festival of roses before continuing to Dades Gorge which is carved through the walls of the High Atlas Mountains by the Dades River. It has stunning views which is best seen in the morning when the sun reaches the bottom of the canyon. Driving along you will pass fertile agricultural fields, riverbanks, and several fortified Ksours. Continue your exploration to Todra Gorge a series of limestone river canyons, or wadi, in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, near the town of Tinghir. Both the Todra and neighboring Dades Rivers are responsible for carving out these deep cliff-sided canyons, on their final 40 kilometers (25 mi) through the mountains. The height of the canyon walls can vary, but in some places, can be up to 400 meters high.  Accommodation and dinner in Todra Gorge

Day 6 : Todra Gorges – Merzouga

Breakfast and start your journey to Merzouga via the Todra Valley, Tinjdad, Erfoud and then to Merzouga, where you will see the Moroccan Saharan dunes. From there you will ride camels and cross the dunes of Erg Chebbi. Overnight in a nomad Bedouin tent in the middle of the dunes.

Day 7 : Merzouga – Khamlia 

Rise early and take your camel back from the desert camp to Merzouga. On the way wash the magnificent sunrise over the dunes. Once at your Riad, take a shower and get your breakfast and relax near th swimming pool of your Riad before heading for a 4x4 drive expedition that will take deep in the sahara desert where you can visit scattered Berber villages and nomad’s tents. During the 4x4 excursions around the dunes  you will visit the mines, fossil farms, visit nomad families; excursions to dinosaur prints, ancient rock, ruined Portuguese fortress, Lunch at Khamliya village, Dinner and overnight in a boutique Riad in Merzouga

Day 8: Merzouga - Alnif -  Agdz

 

Take you breakfast and return by a different route today through Alnif to Agdz, giving a taste of the Draa Valley. Agdz means ‘resting place’ and is set on the old caravan route that connected Marrakech with Timbuktu.

Go through Alnif,  a town in Tinghir Province, Drâa-Tafilalet, Morocco. It is located in  oasis of palm groves located between Ouarzazate and Errachidia frome onse side and the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara from the other side.

Continue to Agdz which is  a town in mid-southeastern Morocco, in the Atlas Mountains . It lies at the feet of Djebel Kissane and along the shores of the Draa River.

Dinner and overnight in nice Riad in Agdz

Day 7: Agdz - Marrakech 

Breakfast at your Riad in Agdz and drive to Marrakesh. On the way you will visit also Kasbah Telouet which is one of Morocco’s hidden gems. It is the ancestral home of the Pacha Glaoui Family and former route of the caravans from the Sahara over the Atlas Mountains to Marrakech. The Kashah was established in the 18th and 19th centuries and represented the El Glaoui family's power hence named Glaoui Palace. It can still be visited but it is steadily becoming more damaged and is slowly collapsing. In 2010, work was underway to restore the property.

On the way stop for lunch and visit the Argan Cooperative where argan oil, argan butter, and argan cosmetics are made by hand from argan nuts by Berber women. You will be invited to taste the argan natural products. Drive to Marrakesh; inner at a nice restaurant. B&B accommodation in a nice Riad in Marrakesh

Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Marrakech

Day 8: Marrakech Departure 

Breakfast at your Hotel. Departure for Marrakech’s Menara Airport

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