Mountain and medina adventures in Morocco

Color and action in the World Heritage-listed Jemaa el Fna of Marrakech

Mountain and medina adventures in Morocco: With some of the Middle East too unsettled for tourism, travellers’ tastes for adventures are turning to Morocco. Peregrine’s Moroccan Caravan mixes mountains and medinas, camels and Kasbahs in a 16-day adventure that starts in Tangier and ends in Marrakech.

Along the way, it visits the blue-and-whitewashed village of Chefchaouen, tucked into the rugged Rif Mountains of the north, and the imperial cities of Meknes and Fes, where the labyrinthine medina is redolent of tantalising spice mixtures and the narrow alleys are packed with stalls selling everything from dates to donkeys. It’s best to travel with a companion or two, especially in the medinas, as single Western women are easy prey for harassment, with calls of  “gazelle” and random marriage proposals a common experience.

The caravan includes a camel ride into the Sahara at sunset,  a night in a Bedouin camp under the stars; a day exploring the Roman ruins at Volubilis and another among the crumbling, rose-coloured Kasbahs of the Dades Valley. Crossing the High Atlas Mountains, the trip ends with a couple of days in Marrakech among the sorcerers, snake charmers and assorted wares of the World Heritage-listed Jemaa el Fna – the enormous public square that is the heart of the city. The Moroccan Caravan departs monthly (more frequently in peak periods) from Tangier, costing $A2195 per person, twin share, land only. This includes all transport, transfers, accommodation, entry fees, some meals and a local Peregrine leader.

The Colours of Morocco is a shorter, 11-day adventure that also starts in Tangier – one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011 – and ends in Marrakech. It takes in Chefchaouen, Meknes, and Volubilis, but then travels by train from Fes to Marrakech, via Casablanca. The trip has been designed for those with limited time, as an introduction to northern Morocco while still including the three imperial cities of Fes, Meknes and Marrakech.

 The Colours of Morocco has between one and three departures per month from Tangier, year-round, and costs $A1595 per person, twin share. This includes all transport, transfers, accommodation, entry fees, some meals and the services of a Peregrine local leader.

The new Moroccan trips are showcased in Peregrine’s just-released North Africa and Middle East 2011-13 brochure. For further information, contact your travel agent, or visit www.peregrineadventures.com to download an online version.

Have you been to Morocco? We’d love to hear about your adventures.

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