Magical Morocco

13-24 February 2020

Join us on a Jewish heritage discovery tour of Morocco, including a trip to the Sahara desert

After the success of our previous Morocco tours, and requests for a return, we’re heading back to Magical Morocco. The story of the Jewish people in Morocco is a lengthy one. Studies of ancient inscriptions show that their existence there stems as far back as the first few centuries, AD, even before the Muslim Arabs arrived. We'll be exploring this rich history, as well as the country's contemporary Jewish culture, on an 11-day trip in February. Discover Fes's Jewish Quarter, enjoy Shabbat dinner at the home of Marrakech locals, ride a camel at sunset across the Sahara, and much more. Please send expressions of interest to tours@jewishrenaissance.org.uk and you will be sent a reservation form. The deposit for the trip is £275 per person, which will not be paid in until the tour is confirmed*.

*Please note that as this trip is planned so far in advance, there may be minor variations in the itinerary, but the dates will remain the same.


Itinerary

Day 1: Thursday 13 February

Arrival at Menara Airport, Marrakech. In the afternoon we'll explore the medina (old town) and souks (markets), including the famous Djemaa El Fna square. We'll then stay at the four-star Ksar Anika Riad hotel, which is situated opposite Cimetière de Bab Ghmat, the Jewish cemetery in the heart of Mellah (Jewish quarter).

Day 2: Friday 14 February

After Breakfast, we'll visit the Saadian Tombs, Koutoubia Mosque – the largest in Marrakech – the 19th-century Bahia Palace and Menara botanical gardens. Then on to Mellah in the afternoon, which is famed for its rabbinical schools. After a bit of free time, we'll enjoy Shabbat dinner at a Jewish home.

Day 3: Saturday 15 February

Leisurely buffet breakfast at the hotel followed by optional Shabbat services at a local synagogue. For the rest of the morning you'll be free to relax or wander round the medina until Shabbat kiddush lunch. Afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 4: Sunday 16 February

Journey to the city of Ouarzazate (pronounced Wa-za-zat), just south of the High Atlas mountains. En route we'll stop at the 500-year-old Dobi Synagogue in Arazane, where a genizah was recently discovered, as well as the village-like Berber town of Taliouine. Dinner will be at our hotel, the five-star Berber Palace, where the cast of Gladiator stayed during filming.

Day 5: Monday 17 February

We head out on the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs en route to Tinghir, passing through Dadès Valley (famous for its roses), before stopping to admire Todgha Gorge. Then on to Erfoud to transfer to Merzouga village, where we'll spend the night and enjoy a vegetarian dinner at the Kasbah Hotel Tombouctou. There will also be a three-hour camel ride at sunset through the Sahara desert, overlooking Algeria.

Day 6: Tuesday 18 February

Departure to Fes via Errachidia, where we'll visit a 150-year-old synagogue, the Ziz Valley and Midelt. We'll pass mountains, cedar woods, Azrou, and the charming ski resort in Ifrane.

Day 7: Wednesday 19 February

Spend the day exploring Fes's mellah and medina. Visit the 17th-century Ibn Danan Synagogue, the former home of Sephardi philosopher Maimonides, Dar al-Makhzen (Royal Palace), a Jewish cemetery and one of Fes's three tanneries. Shabbat services will be followed by a meal at a kosher restaurant. Accommodation will be at the five-star Palais Medina.

Day 8: Thursday 20 February

Morning trip to Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. During the 1950s some 15,000 Jews lived there, but nowadays there are only around 2,000 in the whole of Morocco. However, traces of the community remain, including Meknes' eleven synagogues. We'll also visit the tomb of Rabbi David Benmidan and the gate of Bab El Mansour in El Hedim Square. In the afternoon we'll travel to Morocco's capital, Rabat, where we'll wander the mellah and shrines to various kings.

Day 9: Friday 21 February

Casablanca, our next stop, is home to the largest Jewish community in Morocco. See the Habous Quarter, Mohammed V Square, United Nations Square, the imposing Hassan II Mosque, the street of seven synagogues, the Jewish Museum and the Beth-el Synagogue. Optional Shabbat services, followed by a kosher meal. 

Day 10: Saturday 22 February

Enjoy some free time before heading home. Optional Shabbat morning services will be available, as well as a Shabbat lunch. In the afternoon we'll visit some communal institutions and meet local Jewish residents.

Day 11: Sunday 23 February

Departure transfer to Menara Airport for flight home.


Cost

The cost of this trip, excluding the flight, is £2,595 per person sharing a double or twin room. The single supplement is £995. This cost* includes all accommodation (with porterage and tips), all tours and transfers, professional English-speaking guides, entrance fees to attractions, plus half-board meals and sandwiches on the road (food will be kosher when available or vegetarian with permissible fish options).

The cost does not include: Flights to and from Marrakech, visa, insurance, meals not mentioned in full itinerary, drinks at meals, personal expenses and gratuities.

If you are interested in joining this trip please email tours@jewishrenaissance.org.uk for a booking form or phone us on 020 7794 5254. This is a Jewish Renaissance trip and is limited to subscribers of our magazine. If you are not a subscriber and wish to join the trip, our annual subscriptions start from just £23.99  – click here to subscribe.

*Please note that as this trip is planned so far in advance, there may be minor variations in the itinerary, but the dates will remain the same.

The trip is organised in association with West End Travel.