Aromatic Tour of Morocco in May (rose season) 2023 – the sooner you book, the better accommodation we can secure for you. A maximum of 10-12 persons per tour.
©Aussies In Morocco Tours™
We are pleased to offer the following 11 day/10 night Aromatic tour in May 2023, starting in Fez, going via the desert and finishing in Marrakech. Cara will accompany you (with optional add-ons of private tours in Tangier before and Essaouira afterwards).
Bookings Close 1 February 2023.
Pricing Table at the Conclusion of this Itinerary, with Early-Bird Payment Options.
We start in Fez, fly to the desert then following the blue line travel to Marrakech. (The orange train symbols from Tangier and the green line to Essaouira concern optional extras).
Please read our blog posts here, for example about traditional accommodation, to have some idea of what you are in for, so your expectations equate with reality.
Many tour businesses don’t publish their prices for bespoke tours. However, as we are not trying to compete on price, but on value for money, we have no problem with this – especially as we offer concurrent options for things to do on some days of the tour.
The closeness of Tangier to Europe is evident in its architecture.
Pre-tour May 1 – 3 (optional extra)
May 1: Tangier (Monday)
Arrive Hotel La Tangerina (or equivalent). We can organise your pick up if required and will secure the best room available. Only breakfast every morning is included. For more about the hotel access their website here.
May 2: Tangier (Tuesday)
Meals: Breakfast (B)
Half-day guided tour of Tangier. The guide we usually use is a film and ancient history buff (he’s a part-time actor) and quite well known around the Kasbah. It makes for a bit of a different and interesting tour from the usual. If you want a few tastes of Tangier along the way, such as Tangier’s chickpea pancakes, be sure to mention that to him. Ask him about good places to eat, as lunch and dinner are not provided while you are in Tangier. Suggest he point them out to you during the tour.
May 3: Tangier – Asilah – Tangier (Wednesday)
Full day in the nearby seaside town of Asilah. We will arrange for you to be driven there and back. We will provide you with some suggestions to do there as it is a relaxed, arty seaside town. (We may be able to plot these for you on our GINA-GO safety app, which you can read about here. Restaurants and art change all the time, but our information for you will be current up to about two weeks before you arrive.). No appointed guide in Asilah; just your driver for the day there and back, whom you may not see in-between. If you would like a lunch in a local home, we could pre-arrange it. However, as it is a seaside place with numerous cafe choices, this might not be what you want.
May 4: Tangier – Fez (Thursday)
We will arrange your drop off at the Tangier train station (your first class train tickets are available at front desk of your hotel) travelling to Fez to join the first day of the Aromatic Tour on May 4. Catching a train to Fez means you don’t see Volubilis’ Roman ruins or Chefchaouen the Blue Pearl of Morocco. So if you prefer to be driven from Tangier to Fez with a chance to drive to these places along the way, let us know when you book. Note that the price might change and the journey will be longer.
The fee for the 3-day pre-tour optional extra is $A990.00 per person and assumes that there are at least two of you, travelling together and sharing a room.
An olive seller in the Fez medina, which is always cloaked in a sombre ambiance.
Aromatic tour of Morocco – May 4 – 14
Fez: May 4 – 6
May 4: Fez (Thursday)
Meals – Dinner (D)
You’ll be picked up from the train station or airport and taken to Riad Jardin des Biehn (or equivalent). Included are breakfast every morning of the tour and dinner May 4, 5 and 6 as specified below. After all, we are in the food capital of Morocco and the aromas of different cuisines abound. For more information about the riad access their website here. On this first night in Fez, we’ll invite you to a special welcome dinner.
Tagines are commonly served in Morocco, usually in simple earthenware pots. However on this aromatic tour we will focus on a variety of cuisines served in a variety of contexts.
May 5: Fez (Friday)
Meals – Breakfast (B) & D
After breakfast, join either a half-day aromatic Herbs and Spices Tour or Artisan Tour to explore the medina. Lunch (not included) will be at the famous Cafe Clock – a well-known cultural hub of Moroccan music and story-telling that has recently revamped its menu of Moroccan food. We also offer an afternoon class in making traditional beauty products in a local home OR a hammam at the riad. (You book it and we pay for it). Any post-hammam massage is at your own cost. Restaurant dinner that evening features French food.
Given that the French were only in charge in Morocco for about 45 years you may consider the extent of the ongoing influence of French culture there rather surprising.
May 6: Fez – Bhalil or Seffrou – Fez (Saturday)
Meals – B & D
Day trip to either Bhalil, the town of cave-homes or Seffrou for a more artisanal experience. Then, back to the riad in Fez early-mid afternoon when you’re free to relax or wander on your own until dinner. This evening we’ll dine at a restaurant serving traditional Moroccan food with traditional Moroccan entertainment.
Erfoud – Marrakech: May 7 – 14
May 7: Fez – Errachidia – Erfoud (Sunday)
Meals – B & D
Today we fly from Fez to Errachidia and then drive to Erfoud in the desert. Stay at La Rose du Desert (or equivalent); bungalow standard or better. Welcoming barbeque in their palm garden and breakfast the next morning are included. Unfortunately, the hotel’s domain name appears to have been grabbed by someone else during the pandemic. However, there are some lovely photographs on Trip Advisor.
Cara wearing a comfortable desert Amazigh traditional dress in the garden at La Rose du Desert in date season. By the way, the date was sweet and juicy!
May 8: Erfoud – the dunes (Monday)
Meals – B & D
Depart Erfoud for the dunes – possibly look at the fossil museum on the journey. Quick stop off at our luxury riad in the village of Hassilabied near Merzouga to drop any excess baggage, have a tea and freshen up before enjoying a camel ride into the dunes. Stay overnight at a Luxury Camp (your bags will be waiting in your tent) where dinner and breakfast are included.
There is a strong musical tradition in the desert, carried on in large part by the descendants of the Moroccan slave trade.
May 9: Dunes – Hassilabied (Tuesday)
Meals – B & D
Return to the riad in Merzouga or Hassilabied, the adjoining village. Elect to do a tour of the desert, where you can choose to see abandoned villages, ancient animal engravings, an oasis, gigantic art installations which recall Chirico and drink a tea (perhaps with acacia sap) with the nomads. Or you can stay at the riad, lounge around the pool, learn how to cook a tagine with the riad cook and have some local ladies give you henna tattoos for a small fee. Dinner (and breakfast the next morning) at the accommodation is covered, or we can take you to another riad a short drive from our accommodation for dinner which has very good reviews for its restaurant, but this cost is not included.
May 10: Dunes – Valley of the Roses (Wednesday)
Meals – B & D
Drive from the Dunes, stop for a while at the famous Rissani markets to visit the apothecary and see some historical remnants of the Moroccan slave trade, then onward to Kasbah Itran (or equivalent) on the outskirts of Kelat M’Gouna, during the height of the roses season – the sensory highlight of our tour. We may be able to drop in on a rose farm (the only time of the year when it is possible) on our way. Dinner is covered as it is a little too remote for any alternative, as well as breakfast. The Kasbah website is here.
May 11: Valley of the Roses – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech (Thursday)
Meals – B & D
Drive to and explore the world heritage site Ait Ben Haddou, and later on to Riad Houdou (or equivalent) in Marrakech. We cover all breakfasts on Thursday to Sunday, and lunch or dinner as specified below. The riad website is here. Dinner at the riad is arranged.
May 12: Marrakech – Ourika – Marrakech (Friday)
Meals – Breakfast (B) & Lunch (L)
Today we take a day trip to Ourika to visit the saffron farm and enjoy a fragrant saffron lunch. Also, visit Anima Garden, just across the road with lots of artwork. We will as a group liaise with our guide on the day about other activities. These might include a visit to a mountain Berber village and/or a local herbalist, drinking tea at a table placed in a mountain stream as our feet cool off in it; it will all depend on time available, weather and group consensus. Evening is free.
Anima Garden is a small and charming locale at which to experience art and fragrant nature.
May 13: Marrakech (Saturday)
Meals – B & D
Guided tour of the Marrakech medina as well as Le Jardin Majorelle, formerly owned by Yves St Laurent. Hopefully have time to visit Dar El Bacha, a former palace now art gallery with a highly recommended coffee house, perhaps for lunch (not covered). Also, in the afternoon, choose to do a perfume-making session with Monsieur St Laurent’s former perfumer, drawing on your sensory experiences of the last nine days OR if you prefer, a hammam at the riad instead. (You book and we pay. Any post-hammam massage is at your own cost) Our final dinner together on the tour is a guided food tour of the night markets – an experience not to be missed!
Dar El Bacha coffee house, where obviously the aroma of coffee entices. The American entertainer Josephine Baker used to come here.
May 14: Departure (Sunday)
Airport transfers. You have experienced the aromas of many cuisines, the fragrant beauties of a valley of roses, a saffron farm and a perfumer’s craft. Not to mention, the distinctive scents of Morocco itself – perhaps from seaside to desert.
The fee for this highly curated tour is $A5,495.00 per person and assumes that we are a party of 10-12 (including Cara and possibly a photographer) and that most of us are prepared to share our room with another person, due to the limits on the number of rooms in traditional accommodation more than anything else.
Essaouira, You can buy seafood at the port and take it to a restaurant to cook for you. There is a risk though that certain vendors will surreptitiously swap your fish for something smaller and older. So you might prefer to simply go to a restaurant or café without bothering with this option.
Post-Tour: Winding down in Essaouira (optional extra)
May 14: Marrakech – Essaouira (Sunday)
Transfer by car to the old Portuguese port town of Essaouira. Stay at Salut Maroc, (or equivalent – although there really is no equivalent to Salut Maroc!). Relax and get yourself settled in. All breakfasts are included. The riad website is here.
May 15 – 16: Essaouira (Monday & Tuesday)
Meals: Only Breakfast (B)
Suit yourselves here. It is safe and easy to navigate: with a beachy, arty vibe – bit like Byron Bay. We suggest some things to do on our website, including a day tour of Essaouira that engages your five senses and that you can do on your own. Just use the time to wind down after our full-on Aromatic tour. There are so many nice cafes in Essaouira. We hesitate to recommend one in particular. However, there is one just footsteps from Bab (“Gate”) Doukla, outside the medina ramparts called Helle Compana. It is nestled within an old chapel of the Christian cemetery and run by an Algerian called Malik, who is a French chef and bio-connoisseur. We think it looks fabulous. Check it is open beforehand though, as things are always changing in Morocco. The country has a unique quality of timelessness, and yet change is constant.
Airport transfer. There are direct flights to the UK from here.
The fee for this post-tour optional extra is $A770.00 per person and assumes that there are at least two of you, travelling together. If you want a guide from Marrakech to drive you there and show you around too, that would cost a bit extra, but not a lot. We could probably organise for our Marrakech guide to do this whom you will have already met. You can let us know if you are interested.
To secure your place in the tour and either the Tangier or Essaouira optional extras, make a 30% deposit upon book-in, as set out in our diary notes below.
Et voila, the end of an adventure of a lifetime! Or maybe just the first instalment?
Please note that quoted prices do not include drinks, entrance fees to venues, meals not specified to be covered, airfares to and from Morocco, tips and personal expenses or anything else not specifically included.
Your diary checklist
February 1, 2023:
Bookings close (30% deposit payable to secure booking).