NPCA Next Step Travel - Morocco

08 Oct 2017 @ 9:00am EDT
21 Oct 2017 @ 7:00pm EDT
Event Details

Consider the sights and sounds of Morocco. Bustling souks. Daily calls to prayer. Hot desert sun. Cold mountain snow. Brilliant blue ocean.

Morocco sits at the crossroads between Europe and Africa with a rich history and culture.

Add in Peace Corps service by more than 4,800 Volunteers dating back to 1963 in education and youth development.

Absorb this amazing diversity of experiences with our unique Peace Corps perspective.

  • Walk the medinas and souks of Fes, Meknes and Marrakesh
  • Wander through Ait Ben Haddou, the UNESCO World Heritage site (and site for so many famous films)
  • Learn about local industries with visits to a women's coop, Berber villages and artisan factories
  • Spend a night by the desert dunes
  • Drive an ancient caravan route across the High Atlas Mountains
  • Travel in the company of Morocco RPCVs and other RPCVs from across the Peace Corps world and meet with serving PCVs and Peace Corps Morocco staff

This trip is coordinated in collaboration with Friends of Morocco and operated by Kristy of Morocco.

Join our all-inclusive travel experience in Morocco through NPCA Next Step Travel. 

$2,750 per person (single supplement: $460)

*Optional extension: $950-1,300 (single supplement: $125)

Please note that the optional extension cost is dependent on the number of travelers. 

 

Price includes:

  • All confirmations in the program
  • Double room accommodations in 4 star hotel (single supplement: $460)
  • Two to three meals a day, as indicated
  • Transportation by private, air-conditioned motor coach as well as transfers for group as appropriate
  • English speaking guide/interpreter to accompany during the whole touring period
  • Admission and fees to museums and program activities
  • Peace Corps Volunteers, Peace Corps staff and/or other guest speakers at many dinners

Price does not include:

  • Air flight to and from Morocco
  • Personal purchases
  • Beverages and tips
  • Trip insurance

 

A $100 non-refundable deposit from each individual will secure your spot on the trip. The remaining balance is due 65 days prior to the departure date, on August 4, 2017, along with health, liability and flight forms.

How to Register

This exclusive opportunity is open to NPCA members and their guests only. 

Not yet an NPCA member? Click the "Join Now to Register" button. It's free! 

Already a member? Just click the "Log in to Register" button.

Once logged in, this page will re-load and give you a dropdown menu to select your ticket quantity. Then, click "Purchase Tickets."

On the next screen, you'll submit your contact information and make the initial $800 payment, which includes a non-refundable $100 deposit. You will receive a confirmation email with an additional registration form attached and instructions on where to submit it.

Prefer to pay by check? No problem! Notify us at nstmorocco@peacecorpsconnect.org that the check is in the mail, then send the check payable to NPCA, 1900 L Street NW, Suite 610, Washington, DC 20036 (note "NST - Morocco, October 2017" in the memo line).

Cancellation and Refund Policy 

$100 of your initial payment is non-refundable. Additional refunds are based on land cost per person at the time KLA (the trip provider) receives written notice that a client must cancel the client’s trip. The following fees will apply (all dates are from departure date):

  • 90 days or more prior to departure: $150
  • 89 to 60 days prior to departure: $400
  • 59 to 30 days prior to departure: 50% of land cost
  • 29 days or less prior to departure: 100% of land cost.

All notices shall be sent to and received at kristylarson@hotmail.com.

Morocco: From the Medinas to the Mountains
Itinerary

Day 1: Sunday, October 8 

RAM JFK & DC arrivals met at Casablanca airport. Tour of Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. Drive to Rabat. Lunch and bank stop en route to Rabat and the Belere Hotel. R&R at hotel. Optional walk to medina and Oudaias. 6:00 pm Discussion of Morocco socio-economic situation and programs by US government expert (e.g. Embassy, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation).  Dinner with speaker and Peace Corps Morocco Staff at Hotel Belere (D)

 

Day 2: Monday, October 9

After breakfast, meeting with Peace Corps Morocco staff and tour of the Peace Corps office compound.  We then drive north to Asilah for Paella lunch (drive ~2 hours) at Casa Garcia. Tour of charming Asilah medina. Drive to Tangier with afternoon free time for exploring.  Dinner joined by Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM) staff at Hotel Continental. This must be the best location in Tangier!!!! (B, L & D)

 

Day 3: Tuesday, October 10 

After breakfast depart to tour Tangier, observing the great change to Tangier, now one of the finest cities in Morocco. Tour the Grand Socco, Petit Socco and medina. Lunch on your own. Free time explore the medina.  4:00 pm tour of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies led by Mohammed Jadidi, Curator of the Museum Collection, followed by a reception hosted by TALIM Director John Davison (Berkane, 83-85).  At the reception, we also hope to meet with the Directors of the American Language Center in Tangier and the American School of Tangier Subsequent dinner at the Hotel.  HB at Hotel Continental (B & D)

 

Day 4: Wednesday, October 11 

After breakfast, drive to the lovely blue mountain village of Chefchaouen. (2 hours 15 min.) Tour of the amazing medina--white or blue washed houses and intricate Andalusian architecture!! Lunch at Cafe Restaurant Sofia just off the main square, Place Outa el Hammam. Drive to Volubilis (2 hrs. 40 min.) Tour Volubilis.  Short visit to Moulay Idriss. Drive to Meknes. HB at Riad D'Or. This is a museum of a riad, deep in the medina, each room is original and different and a virtual maze!! We were joined at dinner by two Moroccan millennials and other guests. (B, L & D)

 

Day 5: Thursday, October 12

Tour the medina of Meknes: visiting Bou Inania MedersaBab Mansour, return to hotel to pick up bags and then to the great granary (Heri es-Souani).  Lunch at Collier de la Columbe with Moroccan politics expert. Tour of American Language Center in Meknes.  Drive to Fes (one hour).  Visit Marinid Tombs for view of Medina. Dinner and HB at the Hotel Zalagh Parc Palace in the Ville Nouvelle. (B, L & D)

 

Day 6: Friday, October 13

Guided tour of Fes medina.  Fes is a moving museum! Visit Bab Boujeloud, the tanneries, the Zaouia of Moulay Idriss and the Qarawiyin Mosque. Lunch in a palace in the medina. After lunch, visit the King's palace and the Jewish quarter. View Fes from above at the South Borg to get a view of the Medina.  Optionally, visit the pottery factory, rug and spice shops, relax or explore.  Dinner at 8:00 with PCVs and guests.  HB at Hotel Zalagh. (B, L & D)

 

Day 7: Saturday, October 14

Drive south to the Sahara. We will first drive up into the Middle Atlas to the town of Ifrane where the Al Akhawayn University is located! Continual driving through the Middle Atlas, to Azrou where we will visit a women’s coop and medina shops.  We continue up the mountains and make a short visit to the cedar forest where we might see some Barbary Apes. Drive down the Middle Atlas to the town of Midelt where we will have lunch at the Hotel Ayachi. Drive over the High Atlas Mountains and into the city of Er Rachdia and then through the beautiful Ziz Valley Oasis. We’ll take a walk through the oasis and visit a Ksar (walled village) in the town of Aoufouss. We will then drive toward Erfoud via El Rachidia. (5 hours) We will be staying the night at the Xaluca Arfoud just north of Erfoud. HB and dinner at the hotel. (D)

 

Day 8: Sunday, October 15

We strike out to the desert and soon in the distance appears a mound of orange - looking like a giant dip of orange sherbet!! We will spend the day in the peach colored dunes of erg Chebbi or riding a camel or merely basking by the pool!  Lunch on your own.  After a full day of relaxing, hiking or riding camels. We will be staying at the Xaluca Tomboctou, located just under the beautiful peach colored dunes of erg Chebbi. HB and dinner at the Riad. (B, L & D)

 

Day 9: Monday, October 16 

Leave the peach colored sand behind but ahead we have beautiful landscapes! Drive through the town of Rissani, birthplace of the Alaouite Dynnasty and northward through the palmed Ziz Valley until we arrive in Erfoud again. Visit a fossil factory where we will see that the ammonite and ortheciras fossils which have been mined in the Erfoud region and then carved and polished - producing bowls, countertops and tables- seen worldwide. We will drive northwest to Tinjedad, stop at Oasis museum, and on to Tineghir. And then drive up the fabulous Todra Gorge. We will be just on the south side of the breathtaking High Atlas Mountains. Tagine lunch on the road.  We'll watch the Berber women harvesting their crops, as their lives continue the same as it has for centuries. We will be staying at Xaluca Dades in the scenic Dades Valley. HB (B, L & D)

 

Day 10: Tuesday, October 17 

Drive to El Kelaa Mgouna, land of the roses, where local Berbers make fortunes in rose oil and rose petals. Drive along the Mgoun River to Bou Thrarar. Marvel at the stunning rock landscape and Berber villages built as an extension of the land. Explore the village of Bou Thrarar. We will then return to the Dades Valley to the land of the "Kasbahs"! Visit the Amerhidil Kasbah and take a walk through the Skoura Oasis. Lunch with a view over the Skoura Oasis at Chez Talout. Drive through Ouarzazate to Ait Ben Haddou. Our fabulous hotel is built into a kasbah. HB Riad Ksar Ighnda. joined at dinner by PCVs. (B, L, D)

 

Day 11: Wednesday, October 18

Ride in the van or hike 3km through lush agricultural fields bordering the river to the Ait Ben Haddou UNESCO World Heritage site where so many films were made---Lawrence of Arabia, Jewel of the Nile and Hideous Kinky. Drive up the ancient caravan route from Ait Ben Haddou to the top of the High Atlas Mountains. We will pass through Berber mud-bricked villages and by crumbling kasbahs to Telouet, the capital of the Glaoui empire. Lunch will be at a Berber truck stop in Taddert. Drive down the High Atlas Mountains to amazing Marrakech. (Driving-‐3 1/2 hrs.) We will be staying at the lovely Villa El Gada and the Hotel Toulousain in Gueliz Marrakech.  It is centrally located, with available massages and jacuzzi on the roof top terrace! Dinner at Hotel Toulousain with RPCV working the American School of Marrakech.  After dinner, optional nighttime visit to the famed Djemaa el Fnaa. HB (B, L & D)

 

Day 12: Thursday, October 19

Tour of Marrakech including the Essaadi Tombs, Bahia Palace, Djemaa El Fna, and the Koutoubia Mosque. In the souks watch the artisans work at their leather crafts as they have for generation after generation. Lunch in Gueliz at the Amal Women's Center. Visit the Majorelle Gardens and the Yves St. Laurent Berber Museum (VERY fabulous). Visit the Project Soar. HB and dinner at the lovely Villa El Gada in Marrakech with RPCV and PCV dinner guests! Optional after dinner nighttime visit to the famed Djemaa el Fnaa. (B, L & D)

 

Day 13: Friday, October 20

Drive to Essaouira. (2 hours 45 min.) with stop at argan oil women’s Coop on the road to Essaouira.  Lunch free. Tour the medina and port. Meet Fatima at her home in the medina.  She was trained by Peace Corps volunteers as a teacher for handicapped children for decades. She then became a teacher for women who were illiterate. She is a star! Henna opportunity for the women.  HB and dinners with PCVs at beautiful Riad Al Madina (where Jimi Hendrix used to hang out drinking coffee). (B & D)

 

Day 14: Saturday, October 21 

Transfer to Casa airport (5 hrs) after breakfast (B)

 

*Optional 1 week extension trip

Take an adventure to "Soussi Berberland" for our post trip to Next Step Travel Morocco, presented by Kristy of Morocco These Soussi tribes of Berbers, located in southwest Morocco, are recognized for having their own specialized traditions, language, music, dress and jewelry, and have strongly held on to these unique traditions.

 

Day 15: Saturday, October 21

We will spend an additional day in gorgeous Essaouira. Our morning will begin with a walk along the moon-shaped beach leading to the palace ruins of Dar Sultan, Jimi Hendrix's past abode. Lunch will be at the Chalet, the best fish in town, and the view of the bay cannot be beat! In the afternoon, we will further explore the fascinating medina. (B & L)

 

Day 16: Sunday, October 22

We leave charming Essaouira behind and head southward to the Atlantic coast, taking walks along enchanted beaches and passing through argan forests. Arriving on the outskirts of Agadir, we find ourselves passing into a different time with the beach capital of Morocco. Soon after we find ourselves in Taroudant, a walled bustling pink city, a mini Marrakech. For the next two nights, we will be staying at a pasha's farm, just outside of Taroudant. From this beautiful old style farm, we will swim in the spacious pool where with magnificent views of the High Atlas Mountains. (B & D).

 

Day 17: Monday, October 23

After a luxurious breakfast in the gardens we will explore the souks and city of Taroudant, and later return to the hotel for a refreshing dip in the pool. Dinner will be at a small garden restaurant. (B & D)

 

Day 18: Tuesday, October 24

Today we leave behind our Pasha's palace and the city of Taroudant to head high into the Anti Atlas Mountains, the ancient remote kingdoms of the tribal Berbers. On the tip tops of the rough mountains, we will see ancient buildings which were the treasure trove fortresses of the tribes. We will return to a time long forgotten and to a wonder of incredible landscapes. Arriving in Tafraout, we'll find ourselves surrounded by palms, almond trees, high mountains, exotic boulder formations, and see lovely ladies walking silently about dressed in their wrapped robes. (B & D)

 

Day 19: Wednesday, October 25

After enjoying breakfast from the amazing view of our hotel, on a hill overlooking the pink village and jagged mountain range, we will visit the local weekly vegetable souk. Next, we will tour a magnificent gorge, Ait Mansour, truly a paradise, hidden among palms, almonds, and villages built into the cliffs. On the trek back to Tafraout we will tour the "Painted Rocks" located on a surreal landscape of sculptured giant rocks! (B & D)

 

Day 20: Thursday, October 26

We will drive down the Anti-Atlas Mountains toward the Atlantic to the town of Tiznit, known for its Berber silver work and its delicious mint for tea. Again, we will skirt the beaches of the Atlantic from Aglou to Sidi Ifni, a port that was not relinquished by the Spanish until 1969. In the late afternoon, we will tour the bustling Tiznit silver souks, and enjoy watching the women shop in their gauzy multi-colored wraps. (B & D) 

 

Day 21: Friday, October 27

Drive northward across a sandy desert terrain to the oasis riverbed of Massa and then over the High Atlas Mountains to arrive in Marrakech in the afternoon. Dinner at an Italian restaurant in Gueliz. (B & D)

 

Day 22: Saturday, October 28

Depart Morocco via air from Marrakech or from Casablanca after a train ride

 

In addition to scheduled visits, we will invite Americans active in Morocco, especially former Peace Corps Morocco volunteers, and English-speaking Moroccans to join us for meals and as we travel Morocco.  While we can make some appointments, exact opportunities will depend on our schedule and group interest as well as the availability of individuals who would like to meet our group. 

Institutions and guests might include:
US Embassy in Morocco
U.S. Agency for International Development  (USAID)
Millennium Challenge Corporation
The Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (MACECE)
Morocco Exchange with staff in Rabat, Fes and Marrakesh
DARNA women’s center in Tangier
High Atlas Foundation (HAF) in Marrakesh
CorpsAfrica in Morocco volunteers
American Language Centers (ALC) in Rabat, Tangier Tetouan, Meknes,  Fes, or Marrakech
American Schools in Rabat, Tangier, Fes or Marrakech
American Fulbright and Boren Fellows in Morocco and returned Moroccan Fulbright Fellows
 

A Note on the Final Itinerary:

Itineraries and pricing are subject to change. This particular tour has been designed with specific events in mind, and schedules and availabilities may change in coming months. If any activity or person that is advertised is missed or not available, it will be replaced with an activity or person of equal interest and value.  A final itinerary and briefing packet will be ready two weeks before the trip

 

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08 Oct 2017 @ 9:00am EDT
21 Oct 2017 @ 7:00pm EDT

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