April 25 - May 8, 2023
Optional Essaouira/Hiking Atlas Mts.
Arts, Crafts, Textiles, and Desert Culture
We are just back from a spectacular Spring 2022 tour! Check out our photo journal
Journey deep into a magical country of shifting sands, centuries of history, and a passionate craftspeople. Visit eight UNESCO heritage sites. You won't want to miss this one.
“To visit Morocco is still like turning the pages of some illuminated Persian manuscript all embroidered with bright shapes and subtle lines.” – Edith Wharton
14 Days in depth exploration, optional 3-4 days Essaouira or Atlas Mtns.
Stunning landscapes and unique lifestyles are a given in this endlessly fascinating country.
We will explore fabled royal cities, charming mountain towns, the Sahara Desert, Atlas Mountains, and the chic that is Marrakech. If that isn’t enough, we will go deeper by camping with Berbers in the desert, and meeting and working alongside artisans who craft exquisitely with their hands and hearts. Hands on workshops with women who have found their voice and vocation. With options for branching out later, this trip promises to make your “best-ever” list.
• 8 UNESCO sites
• Intimate exploration of Morocco’s royal walled cities
• Luxury accommodations in 4-5* heritage riads
• Sahara luxury camp stay
• Four hands-on textile workshops with women socio-preneurs including Berber natural dyeing demo
• Zellige and arts and crafts demos
• YSL Majorelle Gardens and Berber Jewellery Museum
• Medina tours with expert guides
• Lecture by professor of Women Studies, Univ. of Meknes
• Route of 1000 Kasbahs
• Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech
Optional: Essaouira/Atlas Mountains trekking
Read about Moroccan "whisky", communal ovens, and the call to heed in a souk.
From our blog Sensational, sensorial Morocco
Accolades: "Having a lovely time in Morocco – especially experiences off the beaten track . . . spectacular! Thank you for introducing me to this trip.” – Susan Brown, Houston. Trip report: click.
"Shila, our fearless leader, you are a dream tour organiser, always attentive, always wanting us to have the best memories. I am still processing all we experienced. Big thanks for the unforgettable adventure. I hope you keep Hicham (as guide) for the next lucky group to his beautiful country. So much to thank you for your spirit of generosity. Your infectious love of travel and curiosity are an inspiration." -- Jessica Bradley, Montreal, Q.C.
Watch Shila's talk on Zellige and 2022 tour info preview.
Explore the walled cities of Fes, Marrakech, Meknes, and Essaouira. We will walk the liveliest alleyways and visit generational artisans in their workshops. Wander in search of painted plates, rugs, or a pair of exquisite earrings. Expert guides . . . but you'll also have plenty of time to explore the ancient echoes on your own.
As we head south past Erfoud, the landscape changes dramatically. Fantastical rock formations cut deep by once mighty rivers are dotted by kasbahs, former Tuareg trade strongholds, which seem to rise straight out from the desert. These astonishing, awe-inspiring vistas will help you understand how travellers fall in love with Morocco.
Foray into the desert
Nothing compares to the romance of striking out "Lawrence style" into the Sahara, on camels* to luxury amidst the dunes. Sip cocktails while the sun sets. Glamp under the desert stars to the thrum of Tuareg rhythms and wake up to a plein-air breakfast as the sun rises. Unforgettable!
Material Culture - Arts and Crafts
Moroccan tile mosaic is called zellige. It will delight your eyes at every turn. Tiny ceramic pieces are moulded and fired, and then painstakingly set into panels that line walls, houses, fountains, tables . . . in fact, anything and everything, The craftsmanship is astonishing. We will visit workshops of zellige as well as pottery, woodworking, and leather.
Amazigh (Berber) rugs
The Amazigh excel at rugs used to line tents in the desert. Over the centuries their work has fuelled the dreams of carpet collectors. We will travel deep into the Sahara to meet and work alongside them, and admire their art. En route, we will stop at verdant palmyras, dramatic rock formations and tiny desert villages
Hands on workshops
Women won greater rights between 2004-14. Since then women entrepreneurs have blossomed to form social co-operatives around textile and culinary arts. We will take in four hands-on workshops in Berber weaving and natural dyeing, Fassi embroidery, and cherry-button making
Pampering in Riads
When each slumber is straight out of the Arabian Nights, only the most enchanting riads will do. Bejewelled with zellige, adorned with fountains and courtyards, you won't want to leave the accommodations we have lined up. A highlight in themselves.
As if Morocco's royal cities and the desert aren't enough of a draw, the food will keep you coming back for more. Fresh produce meets spices in tajines to create tantalising magic for your palate. Shop the souks for your own spice stash to bring home after taking in a cooking class or two in our riads.
Here's a taste
our guests say it best
Combines unparalleled access with social responsibility and cultural sensitivity to achieve everything one could hope for in a specialty group tour: a creatively curated itinerary, meticulous planning, flawless execution and wonderful travel companions.
“Given the chance would I travel with Shila again? Yes. She is a hands on operator, with a sense of humour and is always respectful.
Very accommodating for those would like to pursue special interest and to then rejoin the group.”
In one word, amazing.
Shila provided me an opportunity to experience the treasure that is Morocco: colors, food, history, people, handcrafts, markets, accommodations. I experienced the widest range of Moroccan life. Thank you, Shila, for giving me memories for a lifetime.