Monthly Archives: August 2015

Discover the Diverse Region of Ouarzazate, Through Kasbahs, Berber Villages & Road Trips

Ouarzazate Region, Kasbah

Ouarzazate Region, Kasbah

Ouarzazate became famous when it’s nearby Kasbah; Aït Benhaddou appeared in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. This spellbinding quiet town is the perfect home base for exploring the southern region of Morocco which is comprised of ancient Kasbahs, the Dadès Valley, the Gorge of Todra, the Atlas Films Studios, the Skoura Palmeraie along with the Sahara Desert regions of Merzouga, Zagora and M’hamid / Erg Chigaga. On a private tour from Ouarzazate there are many site seeing opportunities ranging from visiting the historic Ait Benhaddou Ksar, Kasbah Taourirt, open air forts Atlas landscapes to the the Valley of Roses and Erg Chebbi Sand dunes.

Ouarzazate is often referred to as a city “without noise” and is a direct translation of its name. This dusty Sahara town has immense desert charm and is the Hollywood of Morocco. Ouarzazate’s unique combination arid and dry North African landscapes boast stunning views of the Atlas Mountains. Ouarzazate was once the leading administrative city in the region and was purely developed for this purpose by the French during colonization. As the region of the South expanded, Tinghir and Errachidia, became a provinces with Ouarzazate losing its name as a hub for administrative purposes.

“See Ouarzazate and die” are feelings often expressed by Moroccans with regards to this magical city that is the door to the Sahara desert. Located just four hours from Marrakesh, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south. It is also known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once crossing point for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative centre of the Zagora region.

As a diverse region Ouarzazate offers various site seeing opportunities ranging from the Atlas Film Studios, the CLA Film Studios, the Oasis of Fint, Ancient Ksars and Kasbahs along with Berber Villages.

 

Kundun, Atlas Film Studios, Ouarzazate

Kundun, Atlas Film Studios, Ouarzazate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Visit in the Region of Ouarzazate:

Atlas Film Studios/ The Oscar Film Studios are flanked by Holly-wood style Egyptian figures and cover 30,000 square meters of desert. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara along with the series Game of Thrones. Most of the filming takes place in the desert in the south however you can view the Tibetan monastery featured in Scorese’s Kundan and an Egyptian temple from Cleopatra.

Cleopatra, Atlas Studios, Ouarzazate

Cleopatra, Atlas Studios, Ouarzazate

CLA Film Studios was established in 2004 in partnership with Dino de Laurentis, Cinectittà and Sanam Holding. CLA Studios is open daily to travelers visiting Ouarzazate and the ideal place to see a combination of costumes, props, film sets other movie items used in major independent films and television productions. CLA studios is surrounded by varied landscapes, from desert to oasis. Renowned directors like David Lean, Bernardo Bertolucci, Martin Scorsese, Ridlye or Oiliver Scott Stone, chose to film at CLA Studios for its location. Films and television series shot at CLA Studios range from Lawrence of Arabia, The Sheltering Sky, Black Hawk Down, Kundum, Gladiator, The Mummy 1 and 2, Alexander the Great, The Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Troy, Exorcist 1 and 2, Hidalgo and Babel.

Ancient Moroccan Ksars & Kasbahs

Ait Benhaddou Ksar is located 32 km from Ouarzazate lies the picturesque village. Aït Benhaddou of Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss Massa Draa on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices. Aït Benhaddou is one of many locations in this region used for shooting Hollywood films.

Kasbah Taouirt was was built by the Pasha Glaoui. Kasbah Taouirt’s location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South it was then one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Explore its nooks and crannies and discover some local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.

Kasbah Tifoultoute is an ancient Kasbah (fortress) in Ouarzazate located 8 kilometers West of the city. Kasbah Tifoultoute once belonged to the family of Thami El Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakech. The kasbah of Tifoultoute served as decor for films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Jesus of Nazareth. There is a stunning view from the terrace of the Atlas Mountains.

Berber Villages:

The Berbers are the original inhabitants of Morocco. The Berbers once occupied much of North Africa before they were persecuted and driven out or into the mountain ranges by the Arabs who came from Yemen in the 7th Century. One-third of Moroccans are Berber and live in the mountains, in villages within the Middle-Atlas and within remote areas of Morocco. Today, most Berbers understand and speak Arabic but their primary language is Berber. During a private tour to Morocco you can visit Berber villages in the High Atlas, the Middle Atlas or Anti-Atlas Mountain regions of Morocco. Within the Berber Villages you can visit old ksars, have lunch with a Berber family, and also learn about their village life. Ait Ouzine is a small village of 1200 inhabitants nestled within the Middle Atlas Mountains. Aït Ouzzine-Nkob is a Berber village inhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock, and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani. On a private tour, travelers can meet a local Berber family, sip tea in the Saghro Mountains, and dine on couscous.

Merzouga Erg Chebbi Dunes

Merzouga Erg Chebbi Dunes

Sahara Desert Regions:

Merzouga is a small village in Southern Morocco which is home to the highest and most gold dunes called Erg Chebbi. Merzouga is located in the Moroccan Sahara Desert and has the largest underground natural body of water. It’s Erg Chebbi dunes are the most visited by Moroccan tourists who want a majestic and authentic Sahara experience for camel trekking and desert camping.

M’Hamid El Ghizlane is the last Oasis in the Great Sahara Desert and historically where caravans gathered before setting off on journeys to Timbuktu. M’Hamid is also referred to as Bounou which historically was a village of various Southern tribes such as the Ait Atta Berbers, Drawa and the Hassani.

Zagora is referred to as the “direct door to the Sahara” since it is the last town before one reaches the heart of the Dunes of Tinfo, M’hamid and Erg Chegaga also known as Erg Chigaga.

Erg Chegaga (Erg Chigaga) is one of the two major regions of dunes in the Sahara Desert, the other being Erg Chebbi of Merzouga. These dunes are located in the region  referred to as the Sous-Mass- Draa and approximately 50 kilometers west of M’Hamid El Ghizlane and 98 kilometers south of Zaogra. Erg Chegaga remains virgin and an untouched region of Morocco and can be reached only by 4×4 land cruiser or camel trekking on a private tour to Morocco.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.
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Morocco Tour Packages & Holidays, Customized Travel

Morocco Tour Packages- Destination Discovery

Morocco Tour Packages- Destination Discovery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a Classic Morocco Tour Package, Your Journey Begins Here. Morocco should be on everyone’s travel list. The best Morocco Tour Packages highlight a combination of sites and monuments along with the best kept secrets of a destination. On a Morocco Tour Package travelers will visit Imperial Rabat and Marrakech, UNESCO Fes, Mosaics in Volubilis, Camel Trek in the Sahara Desert and explore Hollywood featured  castles and ancient kasbhas in the Great South of Morocco’s Ouarzazate region. Morocco Tour Packages offer private, customized journeys that are comprehensive and unique as they tailor each city and experience to you as the traveler. Morocco Tours also take you off the beaten track.

Morocco Tour Packages, Travel Exploration

Morocco Tour Packages, Travel Exploration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Morocco Tour Packages have been hand curated to include handle all of our travelers needs. Each private tour to Morocco that is customized to include an English, Multilingual, speaking driver, Expert, Licensed Historical guides and up close experiences with locals that make for an exciting journey. Our Morocco Tour Packages also include stays at charming, boutique riads and hotels in Marrakech and Fes along with the best luxury desert camps. On a Morocco Tour Package you will discover the cultural diversity of contemporary Morocco.

Some Recommended Morocco Tour Packages are:

Morocco Tour Packages, UNESCO Fes Tour

Morocco Tour Packages, UNESCO Fes Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morocco Imperial Cities Tour: 8 Day, 10 Day and 12 Day Tour Options – From $2,500 P/P (Morocco Private Tour Rates)

Travel to the Moroccan Imperial cities of Marrakech, Fes, Meknes, Casablanca, Rabat and Agadir and Essaouira. Explore their ancient mosques, historic monuments, and rustic cobblestone streets. Indulge in Moroccan food traditions on a Fes Food Tour and explore Essaouira’s Portugese Ramparts.

Sahara Desert Tour: 4 Day, 5 Day and 8 Day Tour Options – From $1500 P/P (Morocco Private Tour Rates) 9-Day Tour to Morocco’s Sahara Region

Travel throughout Morocco’s Sahara in Merzouga. Visit the Erg Chebbi dunes and overnight in a luxury bivouac camp. Visit the old ksars and then continue the road to the village of Ait Ouzzine, located in N’kob, which is nestled within the Middle Atlas Mountains.

Travel to the Oasis of Fint, the Todra Gorge and Dades Valley. Spend the afternoon visiting the Atlas Film studios and Hollywood hit where Game of Thrones was filmed Ait Benhaddou Kasbah in Ouarzazate. Lawrence of Arabaia was filmed also filmed here. Move onwards to Marrakech, the Paris of Morocco.

 

Bread baking with the Berbers

Bread baking with the Berbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morocco Travel Berber Village Tour – From $2,200 P/P (Morocco Private Tour Rates)

7- Day Berber Village Tour

Travel across Morocco to Berber Villages to Imlil. N’kob and Agdz. Learn about the ancient traditions of the Berbers. Visit three villages and learn about Tamazaight traditions. Up close with the Berbers in ait Ouzzine.. Learn how to make couscous, bake bread in the mountains, and explore the art of henna design, local weaving traditions and the craft of pottery. Stay in an old Kasbah fortified village. Meet a local Berber family, sip tea in the Sagro Mountains, and dine on couscous.

Shop The Souks of Morocco – From $3,500 P/P (Morocco Private Tour Rates) 10- Day Shopping & Travel Tour to Morocco

Travel Morocco’s souks in Marrakech, Fes, Ouarzazate. Visit the old medinas and shop for the best goods in Morocco’s Souks and markets at the best prices. Fill your bags with traditional Moroccan shoes that glitter, quality leather goods, embroideries, pottery, Berber carpets in shades of orange, red and blue along with beautiful cactus silk scarves and blankets. The American dollar and Euro are strong against the Dirham. No Morocco travel experience is complete without shopping in the souks.

* All Travel Exploration’s Tours Packages to Morocco are private tours and geared towards couples, families and small groups. Inquire within for more information on tour rates and exclusive offerings.

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Fes Gourmet Festival, A Taste of Morocco in 2015

Fez Gourmet Cuisine Festival

Fez Gourmet Cuisine Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Exploration announces our Imperial City fall cuisine tour slated for November 2015 with a focus on Fes-Gourmet. Inclusive in this gastronomic adventure for foodies are daily Morocco food tours and evenings of delight at the celebrate the Fes-Gourmet festival. The Fes Gourmet Festival is an experience not to be missed and a perfect inclusion on a private tour to Morocco for foodies and leading chefs. Visit Fes with Travel Exploration this November for a once in a lifetime culinary adventure and a Taste of Morocco. Participate in dining at over 10 riads in the Fez medina who offer up unique dishes indigenous of traditional Fes.

Fes-Gourmet is the premiere cuisine festival that takes place annually in Fez and was created by the Regional Association for Maison d’Hotes to celebrate and highlight traditional cuisine of Fes. During the period of November 1st – 11th, 2015 a selective group of boutique riads in Fez renowned for their magnificent cuisine traditions will offer exclusive three course menus created specifically as a part of Fes-Gourmet. Guests who participate in the Fes-Gourmet Festival will respectively enjoy a gourmet menu chosen by each riad in Fez. Each menu offers main courses unique to Fes and traditional Moroccan tea. Other amenities on Travel Exploration’s Taste of Morocco adventure are a Fes Souk Tasting Trail Tour of the old Medina, a Cooking Class in Marrakech led by a Daada Chef and a five-course dining experience in Djemaa El Fna Square.

Fez Gourmet Culinary Tour

Fez Gourmet Culinary Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following menus have already been selected for the Fes-Gourmet Cuisine Festival:

FES GOURMET: Prefixed Rate, Water & Tea Included
RIAD DAMIA Quail Know to honey stuffed to the semolina & raisins
RIAD SOUAFINE Couscous Medfoun of Lamb
Ryad Mabrouka Tagine of Lamb Mrouzia, Raisins & Almonds
DAR VICTORIA Kefta of Whiting & eggs of trout in the Atlas,Saffron Rice
DAR EL BALI Tagine of Chicken with Almonds and apricots stuffed
RIAD Bearded Owl-clover Mekfoul of Shin of beef, onions and tomatoes caramelized
DAR ATTAJALI Tagine Vegetarian the Cardoons, turnips, potatoes, artichokes, Dates & walnuts
RIAD THE SUGAR BOWL OF FEZ Tagine of chicken farmer to tomatoes candied
DAR AL SAFADI Fillet of Beef with sweet spices, vegetables in season
RIAD ANATA Tagine of Lamb with Prunes & Almonds

Luxury and Comfort Boutique Riads in Fez participating in “Fes Gourmet” are: Ryad Mabrouka, Dar El Bali, Dar Attajalli, Riad Braya, Riad Norma, Riad Souafine, Dar Damia, Dar El Ghalia, Riad Al Bartal, Riad El Amine, Le Sucrier de Fès

Fez Gourmet Best Riads

Fez Gourmet Best Riads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join Travel Exploration’s Fes- Gourmet and Imperial City Cuisine Tour A Taste of Morocco Today 11 Days/ 10 Nights of Blissful Dining and Culinary Exploration for Foodies

November 1st: Casablanca Arrival. Visit the Grand White Mosque. Seafood tasting and fresh grill of Casablanca. Overnight Casablanca.

November 2nd: Visit Imperial Meknes, the Olive Market, Local Fare and the Roman Ruins of Volbuilis en route to Fes. Fez Gastronomy at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.

November 3rd: Fes Site Seeing Tour. Fes Gastronomy at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.

November 4th: Fes Palaces and Gardens Tour. Fes Gastronomy Dinner at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.

November 5th: Fes Souk Tasting Trails. The best Fes Food Tour. Fes Gastronomy Dinner at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.

November 6th: Cook Up Fes – Participate in a Cooking Class – Options are family style with local specialties or pastry class. Fes Gastronomy Dinner at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.

November 7th: Fes – High Atlas Ifrane Region – Tasting of Local Pastries. Tea with a local family and continue to Marrakech. Marrakech gastronomy dinner. Overnight Marrakech.

November 8th: Marrakech Site Seeing Tour. A Taste of Marrakech- 5 Course Dinner in Djemaa El Fna Square. Overnight Marrakech.

November 9th: Marrakech Cooking Class Led by a Daada Chef. Marrakech gastronomy dinner. Overnight Marrakech.

November 10th: Marrakech Excursion to the High Atlas for a Berber village lunch and Hike or Excursion to the Coastal town of Essaouira. Seafood gastronomic lunch.  Overnight Marrakech.

November 11th: Marrakech – Casablanca Departure.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Filed under Morocco Travel