Mayhem in Morocco 2019
A Secret Women's Series Journey
Fascinating culture & cuisine
Incredible, contrasting landscapes
Retail therapy at its best
Small, specialist group departure
Travel with like-minded female travellers
- A shopaholics dream
- 13 days
- Escorted by Jemma Wilson
Capture the essence of Morocco - the colour, history, contrasts and style - on this jam-packed journey through ancient Imperial cities, beneath the spectacular Atlas Mountains and along the Atlantic coastline. In the company of Jemma Wilson of Mai Journeys you will immerse yourself into the country’s exotic spirit visiting artisanal carpet makers, nomadic traders and female designers, sipping mint tea and shopping a labyrinth of souks.
Arriving in Casablanca we travel directly to Rabat before visiting the brilliantly-blue town of Chefchaouen. The UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Fes will then transport us back to medieval times as we stroll through the 1200 year old Medina and explore this eclectic city and its surrounds. We fly south to the fabulous city of Marrakech where the pink-walled Medina, the 'old city', will keep shopaholics and non-shoppers busy for days with it colour, diversity and vibrancy. We will indulge in the diverse cultural influences that have shaped the country, including spending time with the Berber people in the High Atlas Mountains, before rounding out our journey in Essaouira, with it’s Atlantic seafront, artisanal community and fabulous seafood.
Rich with immersion and full of surprises, join Jemma Wilson and a team of exceptionally knowledgeable guides, to immerse yourself in Al Maghrib, the ancient Arabic name for Morocco, meaning "far west where the sun sets."
Welcome to Morocco! On arrival in Casablanca you will be met and privately transferred to Villa Mandarine in Rabat (approx. 1.5hrs)
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, indulge in the spa, take a swim or catch up on some sleep after your long haul flight then join your fellow ’mayhem
makers’ for cocktails in the bar and a Hosted Welcome Dinner.
Explore the city on foot with a guided tour taking in Hassan Tower, Kasbah des Oudayas and the Chellah - a medieval fortified Muslim necropolis located
in the metro area of Rabat. Departing Rabat, we will drive to the village of Chefchaouen, nestled beneath Rif Mountains (approx 4hrs). Founded
in 1471 as a small fortress by Moulay Ali Ben Moussa, a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, Chefchaouen is known as "blue city" for the
brilliantly painted colour of its buildings. On arrival we will check in to Lina Ryad & Spa and then gather on the terrace to watch the sunset.
Today we enjoy a guided walk amongst the dreamy blue-washed walls of Chefchaouen, admiring the architecture and picturesque medina. Lunch (to own account) will be enjoyed in the square before we spend the afternoon further exploring the small winding streets shopping for local handicrafts from Riffi blankets to silver Berber jewellery, lanterns and lamps, and carpets and kaftans.
At the end of the day we will return to Ryad Lina & Spa to admire the beautiful view over the mountains.
Departing after breakfast this morning we will travel by road to Fes stopping en route at the impressive Roman ruins of Volubilis and the town of Meknes.
Meknes was founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids, the city was originallyestablished as a strategic military settlement. It was transformed
by European slave labour in the 17th & 18th century into an impressive example of Spanish / Moorish style, boasting high citadel walls and
imposing entrance gates. The exceptionally well preserved Berber / Roman ruins situated nearby at Volubilis are one of the most famous sites
in Meknes & are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in a fertile valley, the Roman ruins are commonly believed to mark the
site of the ancient capital of the Berber kingdom of Maghreb, stretching from Algeria, west to the Atlantic Ocean and south towards the Atlas Mountains.
On arrival in Fes check in to the beautiful Riad Salam and enjoy drinks on the roof terrace as the sun sets over the skyline.
Today our escorted walking tour will take us along a labyrinth of paths and alleyways transporting us to a time‐gone‐by, finding old mosques amongst stores and markets filled with shoppers, donkeys and people going about their daily routines. Included in the tour will be a visit to Dar Mokri, an 18th century gem of Islamic & Arabic architecture; Zawiya Moulay Idriss II Islamic School; Kairouyine Mosque & University; Souk Attarine ‐ the premier grocery and spice merchant within the Medina; the famous Fes Tannery and the spice & perfume markets. We will observe communal bread ovens and the making of traditional ouarka and trid pastries. We will have the opportunity to sample a vast selection of olives, dates, pastries, fruits and other typically Moroccan flavours found in the depths of the Medina (if you wish). Our tour also allows photo stops at the imposing gate of Bab Boujloud, the splendid fountain at Place Nejjarine, the ancient ramparts and the beautiful entrance to the Royal Palace. Return to Riad Salam for an evening at leisure.
This morning we will head to the Weavers Co-operative and the Fes Pottery Co-operative to see traditional Moroccan zellij tile art and the traditionally
glazed white and cobalt blue designs typically featuring motifs and patterns. After lunch (to own account) in a local café the afternoon is at
leisure for you to wander the souk in search of leather jackets, bags and belts, carpets, exotic jewellery and rainbow-coloured babouche slippers.Our
guide is on hand and will happily lead you through the myriad of alleyways if you wish. If you prefer you may wish to return to the riad
for a hammam or to relax on the roof and enjoy the view and absorb the atmosphere as the call to prayer reverberates around the rooftops and minarets
of the city.
A leisurely morning will give you time to relax or do some more shopping with the assistance of a guide before a quick flight takes us to Marrakech.
Landing in the ochre‐coloured city of Marrakech we will be collected and transferred to Riad Les Yeux Bleus where we will stay for the following
Today's walking tour of Marrakech will take in the famous Koutoubia Minaret, one of the masterpieces of Islamic architecture, the 12th century Kasbah (fortress) where we will see the distinctive carved gate Bab Agnaou and the 16th century monument site of the Saadian Tombs. We will be enchanted by the wonderful Hispano‐Mauresque architecture surrounding the burial ground of the royal family and we will explore the mellah (Jewish quarter). Finally we will enter the maze of alleyways and narrow streets that make up the souk. Here sellers oﬀer everything from spice, sandalwood and black soap to clothing, baskets, leather goods, furniture, lanterns, fabrics, pottery and almost anything else you could wish for. We will be guided through the souk and then you will be let loose to explore at leisure. You may wish to dine in Djemma El Fna square or return to the riad for an evening at leisure.
This morning we will drive south from Marrakesh to Imlil, a quaint rural village in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
We will take a walk into a traditional Berber village to encounter traditional village life, with women transporting bundles of sticks and djellaba‐clad men tending their livestock. After tea on the roof of one of the village houses, with panoramic views across the surrounding valleys, we will return to Richard Branson’s renowned Kasbah Tamadot, nestled on the edge of the village of Asni. We will indulge in a long, decadent lunch on the rooftop terrace. After lunch we have time to explore the property before returning to Marrakech where those who have not yet sated their appetite may wish to venture into the souk, or simply relax in the riad.
This morning we explore the world famous Marjorelle Gardens. These colourful gardens surround the equally colourful villa that was once the private
home of painter Jacques Majorelle. Full of cacti, bamboo and other rare and exotic plants, the gardens were lovingly restored by world famous fashion
designer Yves St Laurent, whose dying wish was that his ashes be scattered adjacent to the villa, where he passed so much of his leisure time.
The Marjorelle Gardens are one of the most visited sites in all of Marrakech. Later this morning we will meet a perfumer, under whose tutelage
we will create our own fragrance ‐ exotic and Arabian in nature, think ingredients like musk, patchouli, jasmine and amber. Lunch (to
own account) will be enjoyed at a local restaurant before we pound the pavement between some of Marrakech’s leading boutiques in the ‘new city’
We will transfer to the Atlantic coast this morning - approx. journey of 3hrs - to reach the seaside town of Essaouira where we will spend two nights at Riad Dar L’oussia. Situated on the ramparts of Essaouira's medina Dar l’Oussia lies in close proximity to the souks, beach and ancient fishing port. Once we have checked in we will head out to explore the bustling entrance of the port where fishermen haul in their daily catch and lay it out proudly, just like at an old‐fashioned fishmongers. Here we can select from the incredible display and, once cooked, sit side by side with locals at the wooden tables that line the string of food stalls and enjoy our feast. Prices are fixed, printed on a board and to your own account. After lunch we will then head into the walled medina ‐ a UNESCO World Heritage site of seawalls and imposing ramparts ‐ here we will discover colourful local artworks (Essaouira has long held an attraction for artists) and will have the opportunity to sample traditional Moroccan treats in the local pastry shops before returning to our hotel for overnight.
Some of the world's finest marquetry is created by hand in Essaouira and we will visit a workshop and watch the artists at work, marveling at the beautiful pieces inlaid with everything from ebony to aluminium and even slivers of camel bone. Later this afternoon we will make our way to Madada Mogadar, a former merchant’s home located on the ramparts of Essaouira, oﬀering one of the most outstanding cooking classes in all of Morocco! Our cooking class begins with a trip to the spice market to gather all we need before being initiated into the delights of one of the world’s best cuisines. On the conclusion we will gather in Madada’s oriental lounge for a glass of wine and to savour the fruits of our labour as our final, Farewell Dinner.
Today marks the end of our Mayhem in Morocco journey. Depart Essaouira on our return road journey to Casablanca, arriving in time for our flight home or, pending your choice, onward travels elsewhere.
Thank you for joining us in creating mayhem in Morocco!
- Hosted by Jemma Wilson
- 13 days / 12 nights
- 14 to 26 September 2019
- Begins: Casablanca/Rabat | Ends: Essaouira/Casablanca
- A$7,490 per person twin share. Excludes international flights.
- For further details and a full itinerary please contact us