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Luxury travel with a transforming touch

Your Moroccan Adventure That Counts 10 days / 9 nights (5th September & 22nd December, 2013) Price per person US$3,479*

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call: +1 201 984 5372 (from USA)

+44 207 193 1062 (R.o.W)

* (Excluding flights, based on sharing a room with one other person)


Day 1:                                                                                                (-,-,D)

Day 2:                                                                                             (B,-,D)

  MARRAKECH  Upon arrival at Marrakech airport you are met by your local English speaking guide and transferred to your riad  Dar Silsila (a traditional Moroccan home that has been converted into a boutique hotel).

  MARRAKECH  After breakfast, you have a full day tour in this wonderful city. Known as the "Ochre City", Marrakech is the most important former imperial city in Morocco's history. Marrakech is the capital of the mid-southwestern economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, near the foothills of the snowcapped Atlas Mountains. It is also the fourth largest city in Morocco.

You have a welcome dinner in a restaurant near the Djeema el Fna, Marrakech’s magical main square that comes to life at night with snake charmers, musicians, and acrobats, filling it with a cacophony of drumbeats and excited shouts. Scores of stalls sell a wide array of Moroccan fare, and the fresh orange juice is fantastic. Enjoy the various shows, but be prepared to give some dirhams to watch.

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Like many Moroccan cities, the city of Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city (the médina) and modern neighborhoods. Marrakech has the largest souk (traditional market) in Morocco. A fabulous place to while away the time and practice your bartering skills.

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There is much to see and do in Marrakech. An entire day can be dedicated to wandering around all the different souks, seeking out the best bargains. The city also offers several historical and architectural sites as well as some interesting museums. The souks just adjacent to Place Djemaa El-Fna, are where you can buy almost anything. From

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spices to shoes, jellabas to kaftans, tea pots to tagine dishes and much, much more. Undoubtedly, being a foreigner means you will end up paying higher prices than a native would, but be sure to bargain nonetheless. It is after all a a game designed so that everyone feels like they got a good deal and very much part of the fun.

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call: +1 201 984 5372 (from USA)

+44 207 193 1062 (R.o.W)


If you happen to run out of dirhams, you will also find plenty of people in the souks who will eagerly exchange your dollars or euros (though a fair rate here is less likely than at an official exchange). All that said, the sellers here are much less aggressive than say, Egypt or Turkey, so enjoy!

Inside you will notice an abundance of Zelij (Moroccan tiles) and other beautiful decorations. It doesn't take a lot of time to explore, but it is definitely worth the visit. While here, look for the tombs of Jews and Christians; they are noted by their different markings and direction of the tomb.

Koutoubia Mosque, right besides Djemaa El-Fna, is named after the booksellers market that used to be located here. It is said that the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque is to Marrakech as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The minaret is visible from Gueliz which is connected to the MĂŠdina by Avenue Mohammed V. At night, the mosque is beautifully lit.

The Majorelle Gardens provide an excellent respite from the hustle and bustle of the city streets. The park boasts a collection of plants from across the globe, including what appears like every cactus species on the planet. The Museum of Islamic Art (additional entrance fee) is also situated in the gardens.

Saadian Tombs were not discovered until the beginning of the 20th century. They have been preserved just like they were during the glory days of the Saadian rulers. Unlike the El Badi Palace, they were not destroyed, probably for superstitious reasons. The entrance was blocked so they remained untouched for hundreds of years.

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Dar Si SaĂŻd Museum, on Rue Riad Zitoun Jdid, is located 5 mins away from Djemaa El-Fna. Set in an old palace, it houses Moroccan artifacts, such as wood carvings, musical instruments, and weapons, along with carpets, clothing, pottery and ceramics. These artifacts are all regional. They come from Marrakech and the southern regions, especially common are objects from Tensift, High Atlas, Soussthe, Anti Atlas, Bani, and Tafilal.

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The Ben Youssef Madrassa is one of the largest madrassas in the North Africa. It is a school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque and is home to beautiful art and architecture. The beautiful and ornate El Bahia Palace is popular with both guided tours and stray cats. The palace gives a great impression of what it must have been like to be a 19th century nobleman in Morocco. There is a gorgeous garden with tranquil courtyards steeped in banana flowers, and other lovely plants.

The ruins of the El Badi Palace are now a refuge for storks and the ever present stray cats. However, there are some fun underground passageways to explore and the view from the terrace is majestic. The Menara gardens, located west of the city, consist of a mixture of orchards and olive groves surrounding a central pavilion. The pavilion was built during the 16th century Saadi dynasty, and renovated in 1869. It has a small café where you can enjoy some of the ubiquitous mint tea. Overnight stay at your riad  Dar Silsila

Day 3:                                                                        (B,L,D)   MARRAKECH -ATLAS MOUNTAINS You have the morning free, to enjoy a spa treatment, relax or go shopping in the souk. After lunch we travel to the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, where you are welcomed by the local community, and check-in to your hotel. Dinner is at your hotel Oliveraie de Marigha.

Day 4-6:                       

(B,L,D) 

 GIVING BACK IN THE COMMUNITY The next three days promise to be the most rewarding, and will create memories that will endure long after the trip has finished – enjoy your time working alongside locals constructing the very first library for this small community school. Books still play a vital role in the education of the children in this impoverished region, especially as they lack access to reliable internet connection, and a library will help

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to grow the prospects of these children. It is thanks to your donation (included in the trip price) and your time working hands-on that their thirst for more information can be realized.   It is a wonderful way to get to know the  local inhabitants, share stories and laughs, gain insights into each others’ way if life, and experience the culture and bond together as a group, as you all pitch to get the library built. Your giving back days run from 9am to 4pm each day, with a two hour lunch from 12pm to 2pm. 

(1,740m, 5,220ft), called Morocco's 'Little Chamonix', set way up in the Western High Atlas Mountains. Our route to Imlil takes us past the Berber villages of Tahmoute, with its traditional horse and donkey-drawn ploughs, Ougmadane, with its old kasbahs, and finally the road winds through the kasbahs of Tamadout. At Imlil, we leave our vehicle to enjoy a welcome glass of mint tea or coffee on the river bank prior to setting out along rocky mule

You have the late afternoons and evenings free to explore this gorgeous area. Overnight stay at the hotel Oliveraie de Marigha.

Day 7:       

                    (B,-,D)

  ATLAS MOUNTAINS-MARRAKECH Today you get to explore the Atlas Mountains, with a day hike. We begin by driving along a breathtaking road to the Berber town of Imlil info@handsupholidays.com

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tracks, through the Berber village of Tamatert (1,830m, 5,490ft) and up to Tizi n'Tamatert (2,262m, 6,786ft) (around 2 hours). This is a great vantage spot and you can marvel at the splendid panorama of the peaks and valleys that surround Imlil. From here we hike to the foot of Jebel Aksouâl and on to Ouanskhra (2,100m, 6,300ft). Continue along the pretty Imenane Valley, in the upper foothills of Oukaïmeden, passing through the little Berber hamlets of Tamgisste, Tinerhourine and Ikiss (around 2 hours), where we shall picnic on a river bank surrounded by walnut trees. After lunch we ascend up to the Tizi n'Aguensiouâl (1,938m, 5,814ft) until we reach the Berber village of Aguensiouâl (1,600m, 4,800ft) where we shall rejoin our vehicle to take us back over the Tizi n'Techt to Marrakech by around 7 in the evening. Overnight stay at your riad  Dar Silsila

Day 8:                                                                                              (B,-,-)   MARRAKECH-ESSAOUIRA

Mohammed Ben Abdallah encouraged Moroccan Jews to settle in the town and handle the trade with Europe. Jews once comprised 40% of the population, and the Jewish quarter, or mellah, contain many old synagogues. The town also has a large Jewish cemetery. The city flourished until the caravan trade died, outmoded by direct European trade with sub-Saharan Africa. The Medina of Essaouira (formerly "Mogador") is a UNESCO World Heritage listed city, as an example of a late 18th century fortified town. The medina is home to many small arts and crafts businesses, notably cabinet making and 'thuya' woodcarving (using roots of the Tetraclinis tree), both of which have been practiced in Essaouira for centuries.

After breakfast we head to the coast, for a couple of days to enjoy the beach and the charming old town of Essaouira. The white and blue city of Essaouira invites you to walk and discover the delights inside its walls, and along the harbor.

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The fishing harbor remains rather small, as a result of a long standing competition with Agadir and Safi. However, the coastal upwelling generated by the powerful trade winds means the catches (sardines, conger eels) are surprisingly abundant and Essaouira remains one of the major fishing harbors of Morocco.

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The strong winds that prevail in Essaouira make it ideal for kitesurfing and windsurfing if that is your thing (not suited for beginners). The nearby town of Diabat is at the other end of Essaouira's beach, and is allegedly where Jimi Hendrix once spent some time. Even if the stories aren't true, this long, windswept beach with its ruined fort is a fantastic walk. Diabat is an empty, concrete Berber village that is practically devoid of attractions except for the Hendrix ruin and a Hendrix Cafe. It's best visited in the early morning by taxi and then return to Essaouira via a short walk on the beach past the “castle in the sand” of Hendrix fame. Overnight stay at Riad Watier.

Day 9:                                                                   

               (B,-,-)

  ESSAOUIRA You have today to relax and explore this charming, perfect example of a late 18th century fortified town, with the original canons still in place.

Overnight stay at Riad Watier 

Day 10:                                                                     (B,-,-)   ESSAOUIRA-MARRAKECH Today we head back to Marrakech for your flight home (if your flight is before 2pm, please let us know so we can make alternative arrangements for you). If time permits before your flight, we can stop in at Argan oil vendors en route, and can also revisit the souk for some last minute purchases. info@handsupholidays.com

call: +1 201 984 5372 (from USA)

+44 207 193 1062 (R.o.W)


CONDITIONS Your trip price does not include:

Your trip price includes: ✓ All accommodations in guesthouses (riads) & small hotels ✓ All breakfasts; lunches & dinners where indicated (excluding beverages) ✓ Airport pick up & drop off ✓ Private transport with English-speaking driver throughout ✓ Private tour of Fez ancient Medina (with lunch) ✓ Village visit and meals in local homes ✓ Mountain guides, translators, and project support ✓ Supplies, materials, and tools needed for volunteer project ($200 per person) ✓ Private tour of Marrakech ancient Medina (with lunch) ✓ Tips for guides & drivers ✓ Entrance fees

✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Alcoholic drinks and drinks at mealtime in restaurant, optional visits, spa treatments not mentioned in inclusions, personal expenses (telephone, laundry...) Personal travel insurance. Tips for hotel help or porters Any meals not included in the itinerary All flight tickets and departure taxes

   CONFIRMATIONS: ✓ No services are booked yet. We will not process reservation before receiving your reservation request. ✓ We reserve the right to reserve alternative options if the proposed service is not available at the time of booking.  

 IMPORTANT NOTES: ✓ We require the purchase of travel insurance

that covers the cost of emergency medical evacuation for this trip. We recommend World Nomads. Click here to obtain a quote. ✓ Volunteer activities may change from those noted above, depending on the needs of the project.

info@handsupholidays.com

call: +1 201 984 5372 (from USA)

+44 207 193 1062 (R.o.W)


info@handsupholidays.com

call: +1 201 984 5372 (from USA)

+44 207 193 1062 (R.o.W)


Your Moroccan Adventure That Counts