Cosmic Star-gazing Tour of Morocco 2024
(during the Australian school holidays)
©Aussies In Morocco Tours™
This 6-days / 5-nights October tour has been designed
in collaboration with a Moroccan astronomer
who goes by the name, Astro Ali.
He will accompany the tour from Marrakech to Erfoud.
Bookings close May 31, 2024
Numbers are limited to 10 people,
plus drivers, Cara and our astronomer.
See the pricing table at the conclusion of this itinerary
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.
If there is a date during our visit which is to be good for sighting shooting stars, we will adjust or add to the itinerary to include a star-gazing night to see them. This will be an extra cost and will depend on whether sufficient numbers in the group are prepared to pay for it and whether it can be slotted in. We cannot know the precise dates of shooting stars experiences in October 2024, at the time of preparing this itinerary.
Cosmic Star-gazing Tour
September 28 – October 3
Although we cannot guarantee clear conditions for night sky viewing, this time of year provides the clearest views of the Milky Way – we should see Venus, Jupiter and Saturn in October 2024 – and temperatures during the day are usually agreeable. We aim to try to provide at least 3 good night-sky viewing experiences, currently expected to be at the Fint Oasis in Ouarzazate, in the Erg Chebbi dunes at Merzouga and at Erfoud. If we need to adjust the star gazing nights to, for example, add a night in the Agafay desert in substitution for another, cloudy night, we will do that.
Day 1 – September 28, 2024: Marrakech (Saturday)
Meals: Dinner (D)
You’ll be picked up at the airport and driven to your accommodation Riad Houdou, or equivalent. Dinner will be provided this evening. Depending on your time of arrival, we can arrange for you at your own cost: to get a henna tattoo of your favourite astrological sign and take you for the best, most luxurious hammam experience in Marrakech. Alternatively you can book and pay for your own at the riad where we are staying.
If you’d like to arrive a day earlier at the riad in Marrakech to recuperate after a long flight, let us know and we can organise that for you as an addition to the tour.
Day 2 -September 29, 2024: Marrakech (Sunday)
Meals: Breakfast (B)
Cosmic and photographic experience today: the stars in the art and the local artisanry.
Full day tour of the medina of Marrakesh – the emphasis will be on things cosmological in the artisans we visit and the sights we see. Water fountains in Morocco are for example, often based on the 8-point Moroccan star. We will have lunch somewhere in the medina and then make an afternoon visit to Le Jardin Majorelle. (More details closer to the time.) The evening will be free so you might like to take yourself to the night markets for dinner. It’s an amazing place with musicians, acrobats, dancers, snake-charmers, food stalls, sizzling barbecues and more. If you let us know you would like it, we will arrange for someone to walk you to these night markets and later bring you back to the riad.
Optional extra: You might prefer to liaise directly with our tour astronomer for an extra (not alternative) night of star-gazing in the nearby Agafay desert. However, although there is no mark-up for this for Aussies in Morocco Tours™, you will not be entitled to any refund on your riad accommodation in Marrakech if you decide to stay overnight in the desert rather than return to the riad in Marrakech.
Day 3 – September 30, 2024: Ouarzazate (Monday)
Meals: B, D
Cosmic and photographic experience today: another star-gazing evening, this time in the Fint Oasis.
Following breakfast today, we drive towards Ouarzazate and the Fint Oasis stopping off along the way at world heritage hillside village, Ait Ben Haddou and also at some point, to have lunch. That evening we will stay either at a luxury camp at the oasis or accommodation at Ouarzazate, such as Dar Karma, or equivalent. Another possibility is a kasbah in the Valley of the Roses, Kasbah Itrane – depending on the driving situation given we will be coming out of Fint Oasis with only starlight and car lights to assist us.
Day 4 – October 1, 2024: Merzouga (Tuesday)
Meals: B L & D
Cosmic and photographic experience today: Cosmic and photographic experience today: visit three gigantic art installations in the desert depicting stellar constellations & view the carpet of stars in the boreal sky of the northern hemisphere from one of the clearest vantage points on Earth: the desert of south-east Morocco.
Today we will drive to Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi dunes. We will see the Golden Spiral, The Orion, and The Stairway to Heaven – these art installations were built by a German artist in the 1980s with the help of locals – very ‘Chirico’ to our way of thinking. We hear the local nomads were at first bemused, and then got into the groove by helping to construct the edifices.
Lunch will be a barbecue under the shade of an acacia tree.
That night we we will take a camel ride to a night under the stars of the Milky Way accompanied by our astronomer guide. The lack of pollution makes star-gazing here an incredible experience. Overnight accommodation is at a luxury desert camp (more details upon request) where our astronomer will position lamps to mimic one of the constellations.
Day 5 – October 2, 2024: Erfoud (Wednesday)
Meals: B & D
Cosmic and photographic experience today: This is the night of the new moon – explore a Martian-esque landscape and search the night sky for meteorites and comets.
After a leisurely breakfast, a 2-hour drive gets us to Erfoud, lunch there at a local café and then quadbike in the nearby desert landscape so similar to the images of the surface of Mars – NASA conducted experiments there for precisely this reason. If we have time, we’ll show you some meteorite debris collected from the desert over the years. Overnight at a charming auberge in Erfoud and our final opportunity to view the night sky through a telescope and with the guidance of our astronomer Ali.
Cara at the charming auberge where we will stay in Erfoud, October 2024, that is to say, at the height of the dates season.
Day 6 – October 3, 2024: Errachidia airport (Thursday)
After a very early breakfast, airport drop-off at Errachidia airport approximately one hour from Erfoud.
Options are either to catch a flight to Casablanca or, if you haven’t seen it before, drive to experience the medieval medina and world class food of Fez. We can organise a Fez visit for you, too. Just let us know.
Please note that we do reserve the right to adjust the dates slightly, if cosmological conditions closer to the intended time suggest the star-gazing might be improved with slightly different dates. Dates provided are accurate at time of publication. We will know for sure at the beginning of 2024. For example, the best dates to see shooting stars.
Also 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. If we don’t mention something is covered by the tour fee, best to assume that it isn’t.
Your diary checklist
May 31, 2024:
40% deposit received by AIMT™
July 31, 2024:
Final payment received by AIMT™.
Note: all prices are shown in Australian dollars.
STAR-GAZING GROUP TOUR
Sept 28 – Oct 3, 2024
Twin or double share
Sorry, no private tours offered for the star-gazing experience