The Sands & Souks of Morocco

Escorted Tour of Morocco for Gay and Lesbian Travelers

September 30 to October 7, 2012

Trip Highlights

  • Roam the labyrinthine medinas of medieval Marrakesh and Fez
  • Explore tiny Essaouira, a charming walled village on the sea
  • Unleash your bargaining skills in the souks
  • Marvel at the best-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco
  • Dig into the country’s evocative mystique
  • Savor North African culinary delights
  • Download Detailed Itinerary

Introduction

Guided tour through Morocco for gay and lesbian travelersMorocco has historically conjured up images of ancient walled cities, desert-crossing camel caravans, Arab sultans, Berber tribesmen, and mud-walled kasbahs shaded by tall date palms. Morocco still delivers this, plus much more. At the crossroads of Africa, Arabia, and Europe, 21st-century Morocco is an exotic land of intriguing culture, mesmerizing landscapes, great shopping, memorable experiences, and is very welcoming of Western travelers. Morocco is filled with unforgettable travel experiences.

Having gained its independence from France just over 50 years ago, Morocco has, over time, been trodden by many different feet. Its mountains, coast, plains, and desert have hosted settlers, nomads, and conquerors. Today this is visible in the country’s religion (indoctrinated by marauding Muslims in the 7th century), artisans and musicians (an aural and visual mix of Berber, Andalusian, Jewish, and Arabic), and, of course, its cuisine!

Morocco’s arts and crafts are an extravaganza of delights. You can’t help being taken in by its ceramics, clothing, jewelry, leatherwork, metalwork, and textiles. Shoppers beware!

And our itinerary will take in five designated UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites:

  • the medina of Fez
  • the medina of Marrakesh
  • the archeological site of Volubilis
  • the medina of Essaouira
  • El Jadida (the former Portuguese city of Mazagan)

 

ACCOMMODATIONS

Throughout this trip we will be using very comfortable, upscale accommodations. The medina throughout Morocco is the ancient walled city constructed through the ages by the country’s various dynasties, protected from invaders by the imposing walls that now separate it from the rest of the city. The traditional dwellings within the medina go by the name of riad or dar, and many of these have now been converted into beautiful accommodations for tourists. The Arabic word riad translates to “garden,” while dar simply means “house,” and this is the main distinction between the two dwellings. Both typically have no windows onto the street outside, instead having all windows opening inward to an open-air central courtyard that is the heart of the house. The service areas — kitchen, hammam, and laundry — are normally on the entrance side near the street.

The courtyard in a true riad has both a fountain and garden, or at least some fruit trees. Riads tend to have many salons on multiple levels, often on all four sides but sometimes on only three sides, with the garden up against the fourth wall. A dar mirrors a riad in much of its design, but is generally smaller. While it might have a fountain, it lacks the central garden in the courtyard. The principal elevating characteristics of both dwellings are their sanctuary from the busy streets outside and their interior courtyards that are open toward the sky.

We will be staying in this type of accommodation for most nights on the tour, and we have carefully chosen a selection of beautiful, upscale properties.

TOUR MANAGER

At the time of publishing this program one of our favorite tour managers is scheduled to lead this fantastic journey through Morocco for us. Originally from Michigan, he is now based in Cairo and is involved in a couple of innovative businesses and knows the ins and outs of the North African way of life and culture — something that’s very important for this destination! Our tour manager has led dozens of tours through Morocco and is excited to share his knowledge of this beautiful country with you. He has also led many tours for Venture Out, not just in Morocco but through Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Syria as well!

Download Detailed Itinerary