Itinerary: Trip by bus from Berlin or Hamburg via Frankfurt - Freiburg, West Germany - Lyon, France - Perpignan, France - Alicante, Spain - Elche, Spain - Almeria, Spain - Algeciras, Spain; by ferry from Algeciras to Ceuta; by bus via Moulay Bousselham, Morocco - Fes - Meknes - Meski - Merzouga - gorges of Todra - Marrakech - excursions to the Ourika valley and Ouikemeden - bridge of Cascades Ouzoud - Essaouira - Ceuta; by ferry to Algeciras; by bus via Sevilla, Spain - Cordoba, Spain - Andujar, Spain - Madrid, Spain - Burgos, Spain - Bordeaux, France - Paris - Aachen, Germany - Cologne, Germany - to Hamburg or Berlin.
Accommodations: To Elche on bus with reclining seats or on Futon-type sleeping area, in Elche at camping site under palm trees, to Algeciras on ferry with Pullman seats, in Moulay Bousselham at camping site, in Meknes at camping site, in Meski at camping site under palm trees, in Merzouga in tents, in Todra in multiple-bed rooms at the inn down in the gorge, in Marrakech at centrally located hotel in multiple-bed rooms, in Cascades Ouzoud in tents by the waterfall, in Essaouira or El Jadida at camping site, to southern Spain on bus with reclining seats, in southern Spain at camping site, from Andujar to Paris on bus with reclining seats.
Meals: For meals you should expect to spend approx. $10 per day
At Your Disposal: We will provide camping equipment, such as double-burner camping stoves, gas canisters, large cooking pots, foldaway tables and benches, etc.
Tour Escort: Tour coordinator
Extra: Entrance fees, food, drinks, additional excursions: for example, expedition by truck through the gorges of Todra and Dades for approx. $12, donkey ride through the oases for approx. $6, boat ride at Moulay Bousselham for approx. $10, rooms in Meknes, Merzouga, Todra and Andujar for approx. $15 per person per night, etc.
Climate: Spring and fall: day 82 degrees, night 68 degrees, water 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer: day 100 degrees, night 80 degrees, water 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Currency: US $1 = 7.7 Moroccan Dirham
Visa: A tourist visa is required for France, and your passport should be valid for at least 3 months.
Vaccinations: Vaccination against hepatitis is recommended
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Unforgettable Adventure in the Kingdom of Morocco
Alternativ Bus Reisen is pleased to present one of the most interesting and exciting trips you could ever experience. After numerous trips and excursions to Morocco over the past seven years, we are prepared to offer a cross-country tour filled with more charming locations than ever before. Since we'll leave the duration of the stay at the individual locations open, you'll have the opportunity to make spontaneous changes en route. You'll have the absolute maximum of flexibility!!
From Hamburg and Berlin, we'll start off by passing south through Frankfurt, Baden-Baden, and Basel to Lyon and down through France. Continuing along the eastern coast of Spain, we'll make our first overnight stop in Elche, just south of Barcelona. Our campsite lies in the largest forest of palm trees in Europe...and believe us...this is just a foretaste of what you'll find in Africa!! The following morning, after an early morning dip in the pool, or a walk through the sweetly-scented pine forest, we'll set off through "cowboy country." This area of Spain, from Murcia to Almeria, is where most of Europe's "spaghetti westerns" have been filmed. After a short stay in one of these film locations, you too will be in a better mind set to forget reality...and set off for Africa.
After another overnight stay, we'll take the ferry from Algeciras to Ceuta, and enter a world completely different from what we know. The Kingdom of Morocco offers contrasts few countries can: sea coasts in the north with fertile, green valleys; deserts in the south with palm-lined oases; vast sand dunes in-between snowy mountains. We could go on indefinitely describing the enchantment of this region of the world. Our trip will be filled with gigantic gorges, meager huts in lonely wastelands, old palaces and mosques, as well as hectic action in city streets. We'll see all sorts of people, whose living standards range from dirt-poor to filthy rich. Our trip will be filled with irreplaceable images and experiences!!!
As we move on from Ceuta, through the Rif Mountains, we soon arrive at our camp-site in the small village of Moulay Bousselham. We'll be just opposite a beautiful Atlantic lagoon rich in sea life. On the other side a huge sand dune rises up, behind which stretches a 6-mile beach complete with breaking waves. In short, this miniature paradise is the perfect place to rest after our long journey. You'll notice right from the start that you are surrounded on all sides with offers from services (in which a small tip is required). Rather than being suspicious at every offer for help, see if you can develop an intuition for distinguishing between the people who are sincere and those just trying to take advantage.
After two or three days, we'll start off on our long awaited "round trip." Fes, the oldest and liveliest city of Morocco is only four hours from Moulay Bousselham. The first glimpse of the sprawling city walls and jumble of houses and towers is simply enchanting. Without a our guide, we would quickly become lost in the labyrinth of narrow side streets. However, with a little bit of luck we'll find the tanneries and dyeing shops we've been looking for. If you're so inclined, we can stay overnight here. If not, we'll continue on to the nearby royal city of Meknes, where we'll stay at by far and away the most beautiful campsite in all of Morocco. Since Meknes is neither busy or pushy, we'll have the chance to visit the stunning palaces and artistic monuments in the most relaxed manner possible. We'll want to go further south too, so we'll set off in the morning on the road which leads us into the desert...past cedar forests filled with scampering monkeys. We'll stop for lunch in the colorful and vibrant town of Midelt; and then it's off again over the white chain of High Atlas mountains and down past the first kasbahs (old native quarters) to a desert plain. That same afternoon, we'll reach Meski, a small palm forest in a long fertile valley. In the middle of all this is our campsite - small, but with marvelous, cool springs. Jump right in (as long as you don't mind the large fish lounging around in the water).
From Meski, it's possible to organize a desert trip to the famous dunes of Merzouga. But...before doing that, let's travel first to Rissnai, the center of the large oasis Tafilalet. If we're lucky, this will be a Sunday, and that means "market day" (Souk) in Rissani. The market is probably the best in the country, that's to say, without a lot of tourist shops, but with plenty of noise and activity, exotic smells, haggling and bargaining.
After emptying the market of its wares, we'll travel two short hours by bus through the Hammadda. In the distance, you'll be able to see a golden-yellow, flickering image. A fata morgana, perhaps. Probably not. We're now approaching the Erg Chebbi, the largest desert area of Morocco with the famous dunes of Merzouga. We'll pitch our tent at the foot of the highest dunes and make the preparations for our (now legendary) "desert party." Local inhabitants come down from the village and sit around the campfire playing ethnic Berber music on their drums. Naturally, they'll play even better if we ask them to join us in drinking some of the liquid refreshments we've brought!! At five in the morning, we'll start up the sand dune (in complete darkness). It'll take us at least an hour to get to the top, but the fiery morning sky that will greet us on the other side will give us the extra inspiration.
In the afternoon, we'll break camp for our next major destination: the High Atlas. Near Tinerhir, we'll once again leave the main route. High above a palm-lined oasis, on either side of us rise 1,600 foot-high rocky towers: the famous Todra Canyon. We'll spend the night in a comfortable motel at Todra's narrowest point. The next day, the adventure lovers among us can get their money's worth. Using a hired truck, they'll undertake a two-canyon expedition through the 10-mile long canyon, pass through several typical Berber villages and climb a 10,000 foot-high pass with breathtaking views across the Dades Canyon. Here, they'll be able to stuff themselves with figs and apricots!! This breathtaking paradise will certainly leave lasting impressions on everyone. Only late in the evening will they return to the motel.
One spectacular highlight will follow another as we wind our way towards our next destination: Marrakech. We'll leisurely make our way through the old Kasbah route until we reach Quarzazate, filled with delicious food shops. Once again, we'll cross the High Atlas on our way to the film backdrop, Ait Benhaddou. Finally, we reach Marrakech. We could spent hours raving about the splendors of this fascinating city. Better to experience it all yourself. Entertainers, story-tellers, thousands of stalls on the Jemaa El Fna square, freshly squeezed orange juice.... After two or three days, you'll have a very good idea of life here in the "Gateway to the Sahara".
On the other hand, if you'd like to escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, we would like to make you an offer you probably can't refuse. Twenty-five miles to the south you'll find the romantic and fertile Ourika Valley. Here, you'll be able to stroll along rushing streams (and maybe take a quick dip if you want). The Ourika Valley is bordered on the west by the Ouikamede mountains, where any and all ski bums will notice their hearts beating a little faster after getting a look a the 11,000-foot high peaks. For skiers used to the mountains of Colorado or Switzerland, this will be an exciting sensation. And only a couple days ago there was nothing around you but sand!! If there's enough interest, we might just take a two-day climb of the highest mountain in North Africa, the 13,665-foot tall Jebel Toubkal. Of course, we'll have to make a point of going to the gigantic natural stalagmite bridge known as Imin Ifri. In-between the 325-foot high openings among the massive boulders are small streams cascading into cool pools below.
We'll also visit the well-known Cascades d' Ouzoud, which are only an hour away. These waterfalls are 130 feet wide and graced with a spectacular rainbow spanning the entire scene. The only thing left to do is to jump in and swim behind the roaring thunder of water. We'll then have the choice of spending a night at this picturesque spot or traveling two spectacular hours to the Atlantic and the charming fishing village of Essaouira, complete with a brilliant beach and campsite. We'll still have over three days for swimming, relaxing and horseback riding. You'll be able to rent sleek horses and gallop along the endless sandy beach (just like Lawrence of Arabia!). Perhaps you would like to while away the evening in the little harbor, enjoying a delicious Moroccan meal of fried fish. On top of all this, you'll be basking in nonstop sunshine everyday from sunrise to sun set.
In order to avoid culture shock, and to break up a very long voyage, we've arranged the return leg through Central Spain. We'll take some time out for Sevilla, spend a night there, and depart the next morning for Cordoba and Madrid. If you wish, you could catch your plane back to the US from Madrid. If not, you can continue with us, back through "familiar" territory like France, Belgium and Germany, until we reach our final destination of Hamburg or Berlin. You'll have plenty of time to "digest" some of your unforgettable impressions of Morocco.
A word to the wise!!! If you are just looking for a vacation of "rest
and relaxation", you should plan something else! This is a cross-country
tour, and our main goal is to see and experience as much as possible in
the time that we have!!
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