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Morocco Itinerary: Too fast?

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Hi all,

My family and I have around 8 days to spend in Morocco. We have hired a tour guide come highly recommended to us by a friend, but I am concerned that our trip is going to be too fast paced. We are a fit family and have no issues keeping up in terms of the physicality of it, but I do want time to soak everything in.

Here is our itinerary:
Day 1: Pick up at the airport - Marrakech guided sightseeing tour.


We will welcome you at Marrakesh airport. Transfer to the riad. then we will start exploring Marrakesh, [ the red city of Morocco], also known as the pearl of the south. Our guide/ driver will ensure that we see the most important places of historical and cultural interest:the main square « Jmaa Lfna », the Saadien tombs,the Koutoubia tower, the palaces of El Bahia and Badi and the markets... in the afternoon visit the garden at Majorelle, Overnight, stay at the riad. http://ksaranika.com/

Day 2: Marrakesh - Kasbah Ait Benhaddou - Ouarzazate - Gorge Dades.

We will pick you up from your riad/hotel in Marrakech ,in order to drive to Ouarzazate, a former caravan town on the silk and salt route in the eastern foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Ouarzazate is known as the Gateway to the Sahara. First of all, we will travel through the dramatic landscape of the High Atlas Mountains passing through the berber town of Taddert and over the 2260 meters high Tizi-in-Tichka pass. We will stop at the famous Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, 30 kilometers from Ouarzazate. The kasbah is one of the most intriguing red earth castles lining the ancient road of the Kasbahs, and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Lunch by the Kasbah and continue on our way to Dades Gorge via Ouarzazate. “the Hollywood of Africa”. On, through the “Road of the thousand Kasbahs”- the fascinating “sand castles”.we will continue in our journey to stop at Kalaat Mgouna, “the rose’s city” known for roses and its annual festival during the roses harvest in May, and then continue to our hotel in Dades valley.
http://www.chezpierre.org/

Day 3: Dades Valley – Todra Gorge – Erfoud – Merzouga Desert Camel Trekking.

After breakfast in the hotel, drive back through the valley to see the amazing rock formation “the monkey toes”, and the still-standing 19th century Kasbah of Ait Yul. Leave the Dades valley towards Tinrghir and the Todra valley. Watch the panoramic views of the old mud Berber villages overlooking the valley. Get to the Gorge and walk under the 300m high red cliff, where many Rock-climbers come to enjoy their preferred sport. Continue our trip to Erfoud and Rissani where we have lunch; afterwards, we leave for the village of Merzouga , where your camel will be awaiting you. before you mount your camel, guided by an experienced Camel man, to explore within the mysterious sand-sea of the Erg-Chebbi.This trip begins in evening, we organise the camel ride for the night in desert from Merzouga village. The trek will start right into the desert for 1:30min, We will spend the night in an equipped camp in the middle of the Sahara,this is a great opportunity to take lovely pictures of the sunset and sunrise, when we arrive at the camp we walk to the high dunes to see the sunset ,It will be a magical night when the sky is clear of cover and stars sparkle and shine with intensity, there will be a wonderful dinner around a campfire, Here you will spend your night under the stars, in a Luxury camp with private shower & bathroom inside your tents. http://www.desertcampbouchedor.com/web/en/desert-camp-bouchedor-3/

Day 4: Merzouga Desert - Rissani – Ziz Valley – Midelt – Ifrane – Fes.

Today we will travel to Fes via Errachidia along the magnificent Ziz Gorges carved through volcanic rock, and through the Tizi Ntalghamt Pass to Midelt, then continue our journey to Azrou, a berber village in the Middle Atlas Mountains, before which we stop to see the Barbarian apes in the famous Cedar forest. On to Ifran “the French village”, stop for a picture or a drink then drive to Fes. http://riadsalamfes.com/

Day 5: Fes Sightseeing Tour.

You will be picked up from your Riad in Fez . An official local guide will accompany you on this tour.
The highlights include:
• Andalusia Mosque: This stunning mosque is easily definable by its imposing green and white minaret. Built at the end of the 9th century by a woman, its wood carvings are exquisite.
• Tanners’ District: One of the main attractions of Fez, the tanners’ quarters is where leather is produced using the same centuries-old methods. You can get a bird’s eye view from the raised platform and watch the entire process.
• El-Attarine Madrasa or the Medersa Attarine: Visit Fez’s most popular attraction, the El-Attarine Madrasa in the heart of the city, built in 1325. See the fine examples of Merenidcraftsmanship around the madrasa, especially the stucco and cedar wood carvings on the ceiling.
• Karaouine Mosque: One of the biggest religious structure in Morocco, this mosque lies in the heart of the medina. The university attached to the mosque has been the centre of Islamic learning in Morocco for more than 1000 years.
• Azouia Moulay Idriss: The tomb of Moulay Idris is a highly revered shrine. At the entrance, women pass offerings through a hatch, which is also as close as a non-Muslim can get.
• Place Nejjarine: A beautiful fountain can be seen at the Place Nejjarine, a square deep in the heart of the medina. It is also home to the Nejjarine Museum of Wood and carpentry and showcases Fez’s renowned wood-carving tradition. See exquisite furniture, thrones and objects of everyday use. Nearby is the souk of the carpenters.
The tour breaks for lunch at Moroccain restaurants in the Medina.
After lunch, continue with your guided exploration of the attractions outside Fez.
The highlights of this tour include:
• Gates: Royal Palace, Bab Boujloud: The Bab Boujloud gate is the most famous gate in Morocco. It is also the main entrance to the Medina. See the striking blue and green colors that cover either side of this monumental gate. The Royal Palace is one of the most elegant structures in Morocco with a huge and impressive gate.
• Tombs of the Merenid Dynasty: Get spectacular views over the city from this resting place of the Merenid Sultans who played a crucial role in making Fez the cultural and religious capital of Morocco. The ruins are a great place to take in the sprawling vistas of the Medina below.
• District of the potters: See where the world-famous cobalt blue enameled pottery is made.
Late afternoon we will drop you off at riad in Fez Medina. http://riadsalamfes.com/

Day 6: Fes – Meknes – Volubilis – Chefchaouen the blue town.

After the breakfast at the riad we will start our day towards Meknes ; one of Morocco’s ancient imperial cities, where you will have a break for drinking some coffe and strolls in its busy square and Medina(Lahdim); to discover this magnificent Imperial city.sightseeing of Meknes includes Mosolum Moulay Ismail,Bab Mansour,Sahrij Souani, Continue to Volubilis ,the best example of an ancient Roman city in Morocco, enjoy private visit of the ruins after that we will continue through the rif mountains to the bleu town Chefchaouen, small town with narrow streets all painted in blue and white,a holy city with more than 20 mosques, it's Chafchaouen which is the city of weavers,peaceful and wild, it enchants visitors with its doors and blue walls.Overnight accommodation at riad. http://www.linaryad.com/

Day 7: Chefchaouen guided sightseeing tour ( If you are going to fly early from Fes, we will have half day sightseeing of Chefchaouen then return to Fes )

After the breakfast we will start walking tour to explore the blue town Chefchaouen which also called chaouen'. Holy town, nestled between two mountains. with our guide to get know how the day’s steps and the visit starts with The medina, the kasbah, the Uta El Hammam square, the great mosque Jamaa El Kebir (15th cent.), the craftsmen centre, Ras el Ma source overlook its lime-washed walls soaking up the blazing sunlight give a beautiful landscape. Nothing could be better than a stroll through the twisting alleyways of the medina or to watch the locals stitching babouches (slippers) and djellabas, at the foot of the Kasbah, in the doorways of houses dating back to its foundation in 1471. Overnight accommodation at riad http://www.linaryad.com/

Day 8: Chefchaouen - Transfer to Fes Saiss airport, drop you off there where the end of our service.

The thing is, I am not entirely sure I need to see Chefchaouen, but our guide is convinced it is a necessity. Thoughts?

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