Want to travel this Morocco route in 2025?
Just send your Expression of Interest in a group tour to
by February 1, 2024
For private tours, contact us anytime
Patterns connect and patterns direct.
In the desert of southeast Morocco, patterns are ubiquitous – their elements signposts of a cultural cosmology.
Spend an entire tour discovering and exploring these desert configurations.
Some examples follow:
Mosaics @ Zagora -> Constellations of Stars and the traditional stories about them @Zagora -> Animal tracks at sunrise @ Zagora -> Carpet weavings and the symbols they bear @Rissani -> Amazigh building facade symbols on Ksars @ Rissani -> Traditional Amazigh women’s facial tattoos @ Rissani -> Marrakech for zouaq painting and the design of an Andalusian garden
(Note: Reading this introduction and the itinerary, it might all sound a bit intense. It’s not. It’s fun and interesting and the accommodation is at all times very comfortable. I guess you need a bit of a desire to learn though, like me. Cara)
We will start the tour at Zagora airport where you will have arrived from Casablanca on a Royal Air Maroc flight, probably around midday. Stay at Kasbah Aitisfoul or equivalent. Website is here.
DAY 2 (Has to be a moonless night)
Next morning, after breakfast, we will investigate downtown Zagora in a low key walk around to see the underground community, the local pottery works, the Koranic manuscripts museum and the associated mausoleum with its magnificent patterns of Mosaics. Tonight, we stay and dine at a camp near Zagora to see the constellations of the northern hemisphere through a telescope (provided the weather is clear and it is moonless) and hear Berber stories about them. Next morning at sunrise we check out the various animal tracks made through the night near the camp.
We return to Kasbah Aitisfoul for a shower, tea and to pick up our luggage and then drive about 3 and a half hours to Erfoud.
Erfoud is the date and fossil capital of Morocco. If you are travelling in date season in October we might do the southern Moroccan equivalent of a wine and cheese experience at the Auberge in the date palm garden; that is to say fresh (unpasteurised but if October, it is Autumn so should be okay) camel milk and a variety of dates on which to nibble! Maybe visit the fossil museum there for those who want to do so.
Accommodation: La Rose du Desert or equivalent. Its website is here.
Rissani and back to Erfoud
DAY 4 (Has to be a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday)
Next day we go to Rissani, once a significant meeting point for caravans from the north carrying leather goods from Fez and other items and slaves and salt from the south. Perhaps these caravans were also how the significant Arab population at Rissani and nearby Erfoud came to this part of Morocco, apparently from Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Even today while there are also Arab nomads along with their Amazigh nomad cousins, they more usually carry on traditional merchant-type activities.
Here, over the next few days we will, with the guidance of an Amazir language specialist:
- Visit the markets to check out Amazigh rugs with an explanation of the symbols they bear and obviously an opportunity to purchase IF YOU WANT
- Lunch at the markets with fresh turkey meat bought and cooked for us in one of the market alleyways
- Visit an old Ksar to see the traditional Amazigh markings on its facade and explore its fading interior also replete with symbolism in its ornamentation, for example, on the wooden ceilings
- A glass of tea hosted by an elderly lady bearing the traditional amazigh tatttoos on her face and with our guide giving us an explanation for different facial tatttoos at some appropriate time. These might include references to tribal affiliation, family, puberty and social status more generally. As these tatttoos are usually applied at puberty you can expect that the tatttoos on a mature lady’s face will be somewhat faded, perhaps almost indiscernible to the naked eye.
Back to our hotel at Erfoud. Dinner. We will arrange with the hotel a packed lunch for each of us tomorrow.
Errachidia and Marrakech (via Casablanca)
Very early morning drive to Errachidia airport one hour. Flight for Casablanca. Tour ends here for those who wish.
Otherwise, be greeted by our contact at Casablanca airport, who will assist us to catch the train to Marrakech. It is not a bullet train but is nonetheless a well-regarded train journey. Arrive Marrakech. Be picked up at Marrakech train station, organised with the management of the riad at which we will be staying. Stay at a riad that focuses upon traditional mosaics and decorative plaster work, as well as being conveniently located. To be advised. Dinner at the riad for those who have opted into it and pay the riad directly for it. Otherwise evening free to explore Marrakech’s restaurant scene at night, if you wish.
Morning class of zouaq painting at the bottega of a Mallam or Master of this artisanal skill. (We have details about him in the Client Resources part of our website available to clients only). Lunch at the Henna Cafe with an opportunity to have henna tatttoos in an ethical environment for those who want one (or more). The cafe’s website is here. Afternoon tour of a picturesque Andalusian Garden by a guide. Evening food tour.
Drop-off at Marrakech Menara airport.
For the proposed Group Tour in March 2025, we will provide 2 prices per person for 2 people travelling together (twin or double share) and on the basis of the following 2 scenarios:
- those who leave us at Casablanca (Day 5)
- those who leave us at Marrakech (Day 7)
Plus the airfare from Errachidia to Casablanca as at the time of booking those air tickets, in addition.
Obviously for any group tour, booking flight tickets will have to occur at the earliest opportunity, to ensure we can book a sufficient block of seats. This may mean that bookings for the group tour options, may have to close as much as 12 months before the group tour. It will depend on when Royal Air Maroc first releases the tickets for sale for the relevant date. We will refine the arrangements for this in 2024.
For any private tour at any time, please contact us to find out pricing and to confirm itinerary details.