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Gnaoua World Music Festival Tour

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The Gnaoua World Music Festival is a great festival for people looking to know Morocco’s multicultural past. This festival is held in the charming seaside town of Essaouira in the last week of June every year. The festival celebrates the Gnaoua people and their ancestral contribution to the world. Thousands of people join the festival to watch dance and musical shows. It witnesses a massive participation from international musicians and lasts about three days. This event focuses on hundreds of artists from various parts of the globe, a great mix of different styles of music…

Gnaoua Music Festival tour in Essaouira

The former Portuguese fishing village of Essaouira was previously known as Mogador by European sailors and traders. It is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakesh-Safi, on the Atlantic coast. The modern name means "the little rampart", a reference to the fortress walls that still enclose part of the city. The Medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE  site . It is an example of a late 18th century fortified town.

The Gnaoua Festival attracts a multicultural audience of 500,000 festival-goers annually and offers a rich program, reaffirming its goal to emphasize the Gnaoua heritage in all its variety and to invite the best world and jazz artists to come and perform in the unique and magical town of Essaouira. 

Day 1: Marrakesh - Arrival and Guided Historical Tour

Breakfast at your riad. 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.

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 2 : Marrakesh – Essaouira

Breakfast at your Riad.  Drive to the former Portuguese fishing village of Essaouira passing by roadside towns and Berber village. Essaouira previously known as Mogador by European sailors and traders, is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakesh-Safi, on the Atlantic coast. The modern name means "the little rampart", a reference to the fortress walls that still enclose part of the city.

Visit of the medieval town Essaouira with its lovely white-washed and blue houses and learn about the local tradition and enjoy the fresh seafood.

Essaouira is famous for its annual Gnaoua Music Festival that attracts many visitors in June. It also has a wide beach for surfing called Plage de Safi.

wander along the main square, Place Prince Moulay el Hassan, and then visit the Skala du Port, the fishing harbor, offers remarkable views of the Portuguese ramparts. Discover the ramparts, the spice and jewelry souks of the medina, and the Jewish Mellah. The medina of Essaouira, an example of a late-18th century fortified town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a delicious seafood lunch

After lunch visit Orson Welles’ Square and memorial, designed by Samir Mustapha, one of the towns artists, which pays homage to the filming of Othello in Essouaria.

In the early fifties, the film director and actor Orson Welles stayed in Essaouira filming his classic version of Othello which contains several memorable scenes shot in the labyrinthine streets and alleys of the medina. In the evening continue the second day of the evening festivities of the Gnaoua Festival. Return to your hotel, relax and then attend the Gnaoua Festival late into the night. 

Day 3: Essaouira

Breakfast at your Riad and explore the city at your leisure. You can visit the wood cooperative and shop in the famous Thuya wood carving. You can also go for the panoramic sights by Skala du Port. Down by the harbor, this place offers attractive views over the fishing port and the Île de Mogador. From here you can also see the walled medina, through a curtain of swirling seagulls. Or visit the nearby islands. Additionally, you can visit the daily auctions of fresh fish that take place in the market hall just outside the port gates.

You can also further explore the Mellah, where Jews lived between 1875-1900 exporting goods like salt and jewelry to London. You can also spend an afternoon climbing 15th century ramparts that were once sea fortifications. During the 19th century, Essaouira was the only part of port south of Tangier to trade with Europe.

Essaouira offers a good range of cafes and restaurants near the ramparts with views of the sea. For lunch the best place to eat is at one of line of grills down at the port offering the freshest of a variety of kinds of fishes.

Essaouira as well is known for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Numerous clubs rent material on a weekly basis. Camel excursions are also available on the beach and into the desert band in the interior.

In the evening continue the second day of the evening festivities of the Gnaoua Festival. Overnight in a boutique riad or hotel

Day 4 : Essaouira

After breakfast, take an excursion to a small village near Essaouira for horse riding trip that can be for 2 hours with Ranch Diabat. They can design various horse riding excursions according to your riding level,

Enjoy lunch in the old medina and relax at your hotel before attending the Gnaoua Festival.

Day 5 :  Essaouira - Safi - Essaouira

After breakfast, and take the road to Safi. Itis a port city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast famous for its ceramic crafts.  Visit the National Museum of Ceramics. Explore The Collines des Potiers—the potters’ quarter which is outside of Safi’s walls in the rolling hills above the city. Return to Essaouira and enjoy a relaxing lunch near the beach then and in the afternoon enjoy one of the many art exhibits or events surrounding the Gnaoua Music Festival. In the evening continue watching the Festival performances.

Day 6 :  Essaouira 

Have breakfast at your Riad, and then explore Essaouira at your leisure. Head back to your hotel for an afternoon rest and then take in the last evening of the Festival.

Day 7: Essaouira – Marrakesh

Depart Morocco. Private transfer to Marrakesh airport.

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