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KANTARA TOURS

SIGNATURE TOUR

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OUR SIGNATURE TOUR

Kantara's Signature Tour is a 12-day adventure for 8 to 15 travelers, offering authentic and memorable experiences throughout Morocco -- from the Imperial cities, to the majestic Atlas Mountains, to the Sahara desert and back again.

On this tour, we experience the complexity and beauty of the country, as well as the warmth and hospitality of Moroccans. From day one, this tour offers guests an unparalleled experience in Morocco that is born out of Alia's many years of travel in the region, and also her familial connections with Moroccans throughout the country. 

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UPCOMING TOURS

February 25 - March 8, 2022

October 15 - 26, 2022

Spring 2023

Fall 2023

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TRAVEL WITH ALIA

With Kantara Tours, Alia curates the best experience for her guests, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse into both rural and urban living, history, and the rich Amazigh cultural heritage.

Throughout the journey, Alia introduces travelers to locals -- friends who are skilled artisans, knowledgeable guides, small business owners, academics, farmers, musicians, artists and more.

She designs these tours by drawing on her many years of experience leading international service-learning trips with Global Works Travel, where she also serves on the Advisory Board. In 2019, she joined Smithsonian Journeys as an expert lecturer on their tours.

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WHERE WE TRAVEL IN MOROCCO

Starting in Marrakech, the Signature Tour is designed to give travelers a taste of all that Morocco has to offer. From the impeccably preserved Imperial cities of Fes, Meknes, and Marrakech, to the vast, rural landscape of the Sahara. This Tour captures both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. Along the way, we meet with local Moroccan weavers, we explore history and tradition with Moroccan guides, and take part in musical and food ceremonies.

ITINERARY AT A GLANCE

SIGNATURE TOUR

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Day 1 - 2:  Marrakech

Day 3 - 5:  High Atlas Mountains

Day 6:  Overnight in Sahara luxury camp

Day 7:  Middle Atlas Mountains

Day 8 - 9:  Fes

Day 10 - 11:  Volubilis and Rabat

Day 12:  Depart from Rabat

KANTARA TOURS GALLERY

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COST

Kantara's 12-day Signature Tour starts at $3300. For those traveling alone, there is an added $500 single occupancy surchage.

Double occupancy rooms may either be arranged with one large bed, or two smaller twin beds.

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

  • Arrival transfer from Marrakech airport

  • Departure transfer to Rabat airport

  • All hotel & admission fees

  • Private, chartered air-conditioned bus

  • Driver, guide, hotel, and restaurant tips

  • All regularly listed meals and snacks for the bus

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:

  • Airfare

  • Trip insurance, required

  • Select lunches and dinners, per itinerary

  • Extras such as hammams and massages

  • Alcohol, beer, wine

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ACCOMMODATIONS

Accommodations are in four- and five-star locations that vary from riads (traditional Moroccan homes with interior gardens or courtyards) in the Medinas (the traditional, walled-in neighborhoods), to auberges (Moroccan style inns), to more contemporary hotels. This way, you leave Morocco with an authentic taste of both the traditional and modern.

 

In the Sahara, we catch the sunset as we ride into our luxury desert camp on camels, just in time for a night under the stars, a delicious tajine meal, and a most peaceful night of sleep.

We make every effort to stay in Moroccan-owned hotels as it runs true to our mission of supporting Moroccan artists, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

SIGNATURE TOUR ITINERARY

On these tours, we start in Marrakech and work our way into the mountains, out to the desert, and back around to Fes and Rabat. Keep reading for more details about our day to day itinerary.

Day 1 - Arrival: Marrakech


HIGHLIGHTS: Welcome dinner and exploration of Jmaa el Fna Arrive in Marrakech in the morning and get settled into the Riad hotel, close to the Jmaa el Fna. Our first official meeting point will be at dinner that evening. After dinner, we’ll stroll through the Jmaa el Fna square for a quick glimpse into how the marketplace transforms itself and comes alive at night with food stands, musicians, henna artists, storytellers, and spicy ginger tea and dessert stands. Marrakech offers insight into the history of rural to urban migration in Morocco, as well as the Western retelling of the Moroccan aesthetic. Most Moroccans who live here can trace their family history to the rural Atlas mountains and speak some of the Amazigh languages. For guests who plan to arrive early, we suggest they visit the Majorelle Gardens, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, Macaal Museum, or Dar Si Said Museum as we will not have time to visit all of these wonderful places on our tour.

  • What to Expect: City Walking
  • Meals: Dinner
ACCOMMODATIONS: Marrakech riad in the old medina, walking distance from the Jmaa el Fna. This Riad will have a spa where you can book a traditional Moroccan style hammam.




Day 2 - Marrakech


HIGHLIGHTS: Tajine cooking class and guided tour of Marrakech medina Learn to cook traditional Moroccan meals like Tajines and couscous with a local organization that helps disadvantaged women gain work experience by training them in job readiness skills and the preparation of authentic Moroccan food. This is followed up with a guided walking tour around Marrakech’s medina and a visit to Dar el Basha museum. In the evening guests are free to explore Marrakech’s medina on their own; folks can either eat at the pop up restaurants that fill the square every night, or choose to eat in some of the restaurants surrounding the square.

  • What to Expect: City Walking
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
ACCOMMODATIONS: Marrakech riad in the old medina.




Day 3 - Marrakech / Ait Ben Haddou


HIGHLIGHTS: Guided tour of Kasbah in Telouet, sunset in Ait Ben Haddou, traditional lunch along Morocco's famous Tizi n' Techka road. After breakfast, we’ll pass through the gateway to the Atlas Mountains and head to the heartland of the Amazigh people. Along the road, we will stop for a traditional Moroccan lunch, and tour the ancient Kasbah of Telouet where we’ll learn about the Glaoui tribe’s role in shaping Moroccan history. Telouet is an old Glaoui town, about 25km off the winding Tizi N’ Techka road between Marrakech and Ouarzazate, that features one of the most beautiful ancient, tribal Kasbahs. The Glaoui tribe was a well-known nomadic and warring tribe from this region and their Kasbah is replete with fortressed walls, intricate tile-work, and incredible views. That evening we will stay in neighboring town, Ait Ben Haddou, known for its fortresses and, most recently, for many film and TV shows, including Game of Thrones.

  • What to Expect: Up to 5 hours drive, split up between stops; winding roads
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
ACCOMMODATIONS: Traditional hotel in Ait Ben Haddou equipped with pool. This hotel is on the main road of Ait Ben Haddou and is a short walk to the UNESCO world heritage site.




Day 4 - Ait Ben Haddou


HIGHLIGHTS: Visit to local weaving cooperative, lunch with artisans, free time to explore Ait Ben Haddou. In the morning, we will drive to a nearby women’s weaving cooperative that uses natural dyes in their traditional Glaoui/Ait Ouaouzguite weavings. We will eat with local artisans and experience the weaving process from start to finish. This will be followed by a free afternoon to relax by the pool or explore the ancient medina of Ait Ben Haddou and hike through the streets to the top of the old city, which provides the best view of the valley below.

  • What to expect: Short, 30 minute drive to artisan cooperative, moderate hike through cobblestone streets
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
ACCOMMODATIONS: Traditional hotel in Ait Ben Haddou.




Day 5 - Ait Ben Haddou / Boumalne Gorge


HIGHLIGHTS: Hike in Boumalne gorge, travel through Morocco's route of one thousand Kasbahs. We'll drive through Ouarzazate, the heart of Morocco’s film industry, and continue onwards through the Valley of Roses until we arrive at the Boumalne Gorge. We will stop along the way for lunch, to visit an artisan that makes traditional daggers, to experience the Kasbahs along the Route des Milles Kasbahs, and to stretch our legs for a sunset hike upon arrival in Boumalne Gorge.

  • What to Expect: Up to 4 hours drive, split up between stops, some winding roads, sunset hike
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
ACCOMMODATIONS: Family hotel at the top of the Boumalne gorge.




Day 6 - Boumalne Gorge / Sahara Desert


HIGHLIGHTS: Camel trek, dinner in the dunes, stargazing Early morning optional hike in the Boumalne Gorge for folks who want to take in the scale of the gorge from the river bed. We’ll eat an early lunch before heading to the desert, arriving just in time to catch a sunset camel ride. We’ll spend the evening glamping in the desert under the full night sky; there will be drumming and music around a campfire at night.

  • What to Expect: Optional hike through the Gorge’s riverbed, up to 4 hours drive, one hour camel ride.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
ACCOMMODATIONS: Luxury desert camp with running water, private, en suite showers and bathrooms.




Day 7 - Sahara Desert / Midelt


HIGHLIGHTS: 4x4 ride out of the desert, traditional Moroccan desert lunch Optional early morning wake up to catch sunrise in the dunes, followed by our return to Merzouga, where we will ride out of the dunes by 4x4 and back to civilization. This is a drive day as we make our way back up through the Middle Atlas Mountains. We’ll be staying at a hotel with a pool in the evening to relax a bit, and enjoy a good meal before continuing on to Fes the following morning.

  • What to Expect: Up to 5 hours drive
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
ACCOMMODATIONS: Moroccan-owned country-side hotel with pool and paths that lead to nearby pond.




Day 8 - Midelt / Fes


HIGHLIGHTS: Visit to women's weaving cooperative, lunch with the artisans. We’ll visit another women’s weaving cooperative in the Middle Atlas region and eat lunch with the artisans before continuing on towards Fes, where we’ll check into our hotel. There will be free time in the evening for you to wander through the medina streets, and find a dinner location. Consider booking your dinner at Najat Kanaache’s Nur Restaurant.

  • What to expect: Up to 4 hours drive, split between stops, moderate walking
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
ACCOMMODATIONS: Traditional Moroccan riad in Fes' old medina.




Day 9 - Fes


HIGHLIGHTS: Guided tour of Fes medina, including the Jewish quarter, ramparts, and pottery cooperatives. We'll take a tour of Fes’s old medina and wander through the narrow streets that are a UNESCO world heritage site, en route to the leather tanneries, the Karaouine mosque, and Bouanania Madrassa. Our final meal in Fes will be at Cafe Clock, a restaurant and cultural meeting place near the Bouanania Madrassa. There will be free time in the afternoon for souvenir shopping, and independent exploration of Fes’s ancient medina.

  • What to expect: Heavy walking up and downhill through the Fes medina
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
ACCOMMODATIONS: Traditional Moroccan riad in Fes' old medina.




Day 10 - Fes / Rabat


HIGHLIGHTS: Visit to Volubilis and food market in Meknes. Depart Fes for Rabat and stop at Meknes and Volubilis along the way. Volubilis is an ancient town of well-preserved Roman ruins. The Romans were some of the original colonizers to arrive in Morocco. Once in Rabat, we’ll relax into our final hotel, and have the evening free to explore the city.

  • What to expect: Moderate walking, up to 3 hours drive
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
ACCOMMODATIONS: Modern hotel in Rabat's new city within walking distance of the old medina and a short walk to the beach.




Day 11 - Rabat


HIGHLIGHTS: Visit to Rabat's sights and final dinner. Rabat is both the capital of Morocco and its fourth largest city. We’ll visit the Tour Hassan burial site, Morocco’s recently opened Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as the old Roman and Arab ruins of Chellah, just outside the city walls. The afternoon and evening will be free for walking down on the beach, exploring the Kasbah des Oudayas, or last minute shopping along the Rue des Consuls before gathering together for a final meal.

  • What to expect: Moderate walking
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
ACCOMMODATIONS: Modern hotel in Rabat's new city.




Day 12 - Departure: Rabat or Casablanca


Depart from Rabat or Casablanca airport, or guests may opt to extend their stay. Rabat is a perfect launch point for those who would like to stay in Morocco and continue to explore. As of very recently, thanks to the high speed train, guests can make day trips from Rabat to Tangiers. Folks may venture down to Casablanca and visit the Hassan II mosque, Rick's Cafe, and Africa's first Jewish museum.





 

WHAT OUR GUESTS SAY

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Dave S.

October 2019

“Traveling with Alia is a dream. From the moment we met up in Marrakech I knew I was in good hands, Marrakech felt like I was visiting her home city, she new people everywhere, we would bump into friends she’d me on previous trips as we wandered the Medina. Watching her negotiate and navigate Morocco speaking Berber, Arabic and a little French was truly spectacular.”

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Theresa W.

October 2019

"What a very special experience! I felt like a guest, not a tourist, the warm welcome, the generosity of the women, seeing all aspects of the craft, learning a little about the women, the walk up the hill passing the communal oven were all unforgettable. I appreciated the women allowing Theresa and me to go into the kitchen to try to help a little; the homemade food was among the best we had during the trip."

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Demetra M.

June 2019

"On your trip, when we met Moroccans, I felt I was more than just a tourist, maybe a guest, maybe a friend of a friend. The women in the rug cooperatives clearly felt you were special and treated us that way as well. Their home-cooked meals made me feel like an honored visitor. Their meals were a high point of my Moroccan food experience. I liked feeling that I was contributing to the success of their mission, that our trip fit into some larger picture."

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Mikael K.

February 2020

“Traveling with Alia is a dream. From the moment we met up in Marrakech I knew I was in good hands, Marrakech felt like I was visiting her home city, she knew people everywhere, we would bump into friends she’d met on previous trips as we wandered the Medina. Watching her negotiate and navigate Morocco speaking Berber, Arabic and a little French was truly spectacular.”

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Lynne W.

October 2019

"What a very special experience! I felt like a guest, not a tourist, the warm welcome, the generosity of the women, seeing all aspects of the craft, learning a little about the women, the walk up the hill passing the communal oven were all unforgettable. I appreciated the women allowing Theresa and me to go into the kitchen to try to help a little; the homemade food was among the best we had during the trip."

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Bill B.

October 2019

"On your trip, when we met Moroccans, I felt I was more than just a tourist, maybe a guest, maybe a friend of a friend. The women in the rug cooperatives clearly felt you were special and treated us that way as well. Their home-cooked meals made me feel like an honored visitor. Their meals were a high point of my Moroccan food experience. I liked feeling that I was contributing to the success of their mission, that our trip fit into some larger picture."

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OTHER TYPES OF KANTARA TOURS

The Signature Tour is the standard option, but it's not your only choice. Whether you're looking for travel advice for your upcoming vacation, a custom-curated itinerary, or a business partnership, Alia's got you covered. If you're seeking more input over the itinerary or you have specific travel needs in mind, browse through the options below.

EDUCATIONAL & STUDENT TOURS

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Alia teams up with Global Works Travel to offer educational tours in Morocco to high school and college students. She has worked with Global Works for over 8 years, leading international service-learning trips for students around the world. Together, we tailor the trip itinerary to specific learning outcomes. 

CUSTOM & PRIVATE TOURS

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We'll work with you to custom design a trip around your vision for your trip to Morocco-- the number of people, destinations, activities, tour length, etc. This is ideal for travelers who have already visited certain Moroccan cities and want to explore other regions, or for family tours or smaller groups. 

LOCATION SERVICES

FOR PHOTO/VIDEO CLIENTS

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Rounding out her experience in Morocco, Alia has over five years of on-the-ground location services for film, TV and creative professionals shooting in Morocco. If you are in search of a fixer for an upcoming shoot, reach out for more information and rates.