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MOROCCO Mystical Days and Arabian Nights

27th Jan - 5th Feb 2021 - 10 DAY TOUR

MOROCCO

Each region of North African Kingdom of Morocco has its own unique charms. From the hustle and bustle and exotic aromas of the medinas to the distant views of the snow-capped High Atlas mountains; from the crumbling Kasbahs to the breathtaking solitude of the Sahara Desert, there is creative inspiration to be found in every corner of this diverse landscape.

If this year's tour is anything to go by we might expect temperatures in the mid to low 20's and soft gentle sunshine.

We have organised a tour that will enable us to experience many sides of this extraordinary country while still retaining our ethos for relaxed, unhurried shooting. There is a diverse selection of accommodation on offer in Morocco - our belief is that we want to be at least as comfortable as we are at home while enjoying the essence of being in a foreign country. Therefore, when we select our riads, our first consideration is comfort and a memorable and authentic experience.

Based on our experience this year, we will once again include all food and wine on the tour. This drastically cuts down the time (and frustration) spent at the end of each meal calculating who owes what. Certainly, the upfront costs, for you, the client, are higher but, we feel, these decisions will help to make the tour relaxed and memorable. Prices and details of the accommodation listed on our website.

Scroll down to see our proposed itinerary.

MARRAKECH

Flying into Marrakech from Gatwick at around 14.00, we would hope to be ready to venture out into the rich and crazy experience of the Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakech as the sun sets.

This famous square is the throbbing heart of Marrakech where fortune tellers, snake charmers, poets, and storytellers come to entertain the crowds. They generate an intoxicating atmosphere whose cultural importance inspired UNESCO to create its “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

All life is here. As the sun sets Berber musicians and Gnaoua dancers begin their nightly performances, acrobats and slapstick comedians start performing all across the square, and clouds of smoke rise up from purveyors of street food as they barbecue their nightly offerings. The sounds and smells are unmistakably exotic, intriguingly unfamiliar and utterly compelling.

SOUK

Marrakech has the largest traditional Berber market in Morocco. We will have time to wander around the narrow streets of the medina, with its vibrant energy and patinated beauty. The soft pink of the stone will give our images a romantic warmth and the reflected light will bathe everything in dreamy rose-tinted hues.

MEDINA

A riot of colour and detail awaits us - the light scatters on the cobblestones creating patterns and shapes.

MAJORELLE GARDENS

Created in 1924 by French landscape painter Jacques Majorelle, it was purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé 1984 to preserve the vision of its original owner and keep it open to the public.

We visit these famous gardens before the crowds arrive in order to enjoy their Moorish charm (with a hint of Art Deco) painted in astonishingly vibrant primary colours, and glowing with an intense cobalt blue.

Covering nearly two and a half acres, collections of cacti, exotic plants and trees are landscaped to emphasize each one’s unique beauty. The delicate sound of trickling water accompanies the birdsong and will doubtless help our creativity flow.

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS

After three days we leave behind the urban hustle of Marrakech and head southeast towards the Sahara Desert......hoping for almond blossom along our route.

The route is spectacular and dramatic - as we drive we will be presented with astonishing views of the snow topped peaks of the Atlas Mountains. We will take to stop at tiny Berber villages Stopping en-route at Boumaine Dades - considered one of the most attractive villages in Morocco. The traditional adobe houses will further enhance the warm colour palette of the images we have been making. The ancient buildings and the humble lives of the villagers will offer us a very different view of life in this ancient land.

Boumalne Dades is famous for its beautiful and charming landscapes, as well as its idyllic gorges where every scene could easily inspire an artistic masterpiece.

We will drive along the Rose Valley and then onto Todra Gorge, a spectacular gash in the hills that surrounds Tinerhir. The cliffs loom above as you approach the mouth of the Todra Gorge. Rising 300m, the honey-colored hues of the sheer face change constantly as the sun moves across the sky. Nomads can often been seen in the gorge. Many deserted Kasbahs, mud brick villages and green oasis, dot the whole area.

The architecture throughout the whole region is artistic - houses are decorated with cultural symbols and the women in Boumalne dress in colourful fabrics.

During our stay we will visit the small villages in the Dades Valley and engage with the families who live here. We will be invited into private homes in the Berber and Bedouin communities where we can make portraits of local people among the spectacular rock formations.

SAHARA

From here were continue deep into the desert where we finish this segment of our journey in 4x4's across the dunes. We arrive to the comforts and luxury of our desert camp where we will be greeted with mint tea and fresh dates or nuts.

The camp is set in a beautiful spot amidst the sand dunes and gives the impression of being alone in the vast African desert while enjoying the comforts of a nomad king.

We will be served a delicious dinner followed by campfire entertainment - listening to the songs and rhythms of the desert as we enjoy music, drums, and singing from our Berber guides.

Chilled wine around the camp fires will certainly help the evenings along. The sights and sounds of the desert at night will surely enchant us as our guides share the secrets of the Sahara.

Nothing compares to star-gazing in the silence and peacefulness of the Sahara. Beneath an indigo sky we will gaze up at the darkness - miles away from civilisation and light pollution - doubtless providing us with many lasting memories.

We sleep in luxury canvas tents - this is glamping in every sense of the word, make no mistake .

We stay at the desert camp for two nights and awake early the next day for sunrise and a leisurely breakfast before heading off to explore the area.

While we are here there will be much to tempt us. Activities available will be a visit to a Berber village, a picnic on the sands, and of course, witnessing the sun as it first peeps over the dunes.

OUARZAZATE

As we depart from our camp we pass through Ouarzazate - known as the gateway to the Sahara. Although Ouarzazate is arguably not the prettiest town in Morocco it provides a useful place to stay en-route to the coast.

Close by, Aït Benhaddou - an ighrem (fortified village) along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech - is now perhaps the most reknowned collection of earthen buildings in the area, being one of the locations where Game of Thrones was filmed. Of course we will find our own ways of interpreting the warm burnished tones and soft shapes.

Also on the agenda is a visit to the Old District Medina - a unique and and largely untouched area near the river bank - we can hope for some personal interaction with local Berber people.

ESSAOUIRA

Our final port of call is the laid back town of Essaouira. Offering us a relaxed seaside vibe, it is undoubtedly popular with tourists, however the quiet, uncommercial side of it can be discovered with little effort. The colour palette is very different - a tapestry of blue and white set against golden sands while the gentle breeze and salty air invigorate our senses.

Inside the blue and white confines of Essaouria's medina, we will see another side of Morocco. A place for men to fish, for lazy afternoon strolls and steaming pots of mint tea to be enjoyed overlooking the ocean.

Essaouira translates as “little picture” from Arabic, and it’s not hard to see why. A painter’s dream location (and by logical extension, a photographer's too), we will capture the unpretentious architecture with the colourful rugs hung up on sun-bleached walls.

A short stroll down to the ocean and we can witness the uplifting sights and sounds of the rolling breakers as they crash along the soft butter-coloured sand.

After a couple of days winding down slowly beside the ocean, we make our leisurely back towards Marrakech for an early evening flight back to London. Further details of price and accommodation are available on our website.

Hope you can join us!

27th Jan - 5th Feb 2021

*Please note the description above is what we have planned - there are many reasons why the itinerary may vary slightly and we may not experience everything exactly as mentioned. ©baileychinnery 2020