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Morocco Sahara Odyssey 2014

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Trip Extensions

Pre-trip: Tangier, Chefchaouen & the Berbers of the Rif

Before you travel to Morocco, venture to the mountainside city of Chefchaouen to witness its striking scenery and meet the Berbers who dwell amidst the Rif’s 6,000 peaks. Then travel to Tangier on Morocco’s northern coast to discover a city that has drawn travelers for centuries—and experience the intoxicating mix of cultures they’ve left behind.

It's Included:
Accommodations for 1 night in Casablanca, 3 nights in Chefchaouen, and 1 night in Tangier
10 meals—5 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 3 dinners (including 1 Home-Hosted Lunch)
5 small group activities
Services of our own resident OAT Trip Leader, who speaks English and the native language
All transfers
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    Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Casablanca.

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    After arriving in Casablanca this morning, we enjoy a Welcome Briefing with our Trip Leader followed by lunch on our own. Then we embark on a tour of Casablanca featuring its elaborate Hassan II Mosque and bustling central market, followed by dinner together at our hotel.

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    We depart this morning for the city of Chefchaouen, known for its distinctive blue-washed buildings perched on the foothills of the Rif Mountains. The name “Chefchaouen” comes from a Berber phrase that means “watch the horns,” a reference to the Tisouka and Megou mountains that rise dramatically above the city like a pair of horns.

    We enjoy lunch en route, and check into our guesthouse this afternoon. Then, enjoy an orientation walk through the narrow streets of the surrounding neighborhood, followed by an illuminating discussion with a local woman on the Mountain Berber culture. Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner together in a local restaurant.

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    After breakfast this morning, we’ll head to Houmar to meet a rural family for a hands-on cooking lesson in the countryside, enjoying the striking scenery of towering mountains and endless pine forests along our drive. Our hosts will tell us about farming in Northern Morocco as we select our ingredients from their garden, and then we’ll join them in the kitchen to prepare a regional, seasonal specialty, like harira, a traditional soup served during the month of Ramadan, or tagine, a slow-cooked savory stew.

    After enjoying the fruits of our labor during a Home-Hosted Lunch with our gracious hosts, we’ll return to Chefchaouen for a walking tour of its medina—a feast for all of our senses, with its lively vendors, sumptuous scents, and distinctive blue-washed buildings—before dinner on our own.

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    Today, you may join our Tetouan Cultural Mix optional tour. We’ll explore the historic medina of Tetouan, including an illuminating stop at the Royal Palace (which the royal family still inhabits). We'll also explore a lively marketplace, then stop at an artisan shop to observe local craftsmen at work. Afterward, we’ll enjoy lunch by the seaside before returning to the city.

    Or, enjoy the day at leisure, and discover Chefchaouen’s hidden corners, bustling markets, and mountain views as you walk its charming cobbled streets on your own. Perhaps you’ll view its beautiful Great Mosque or the gardens of the kasbah, journey downhill to explore the new city, or ascend for a brief hike on the mountainside.

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    This morning, we travel to Tangier, the beautiful light and multicultural spirit of which have drawn such varied artists as Tennessee Williams, the Rolling Stones, and Henri Matisse. People have been living in Tangier since colonists from Carthage settled there in the fifth century BC, and over the years it has traded hands between several kingdoms and empires, and served as refuge for countless cultures.

    After lunch on our own, we’ll experience the lively modern culture of this ancient coastal city during a guided tour.

    Dinner is at our hotel tonight.

    Please note: Your Trip Leader will leave the group after this evening's dinner to meet with other OAT travelers arriving in Casablanca. Travelers on the pre-trip extension will journey to Rabat with the bus driver on the morning of Day 7 and meet up with their Trip Leader again on Day 2 of the main trip.

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    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, we drive overland to Rabat to meet our fellow travelers and begin our Morocco Sahara Odyssey.