This land of dramatic contrasts invites encounters with its ancient ruins and sacred mosques, endless desert and storied mountains, imposing kasbahs and spirited souks. On this 14-day small group tour, limited to 24 travelers, eyes and hearts open to a truly foreign land, an age-old culture, and genuinely hospitable people. Your touring begins in seaside Rabat, the Moroccan capital, where highlights include the Roman site of Chella, the contemporary art museum, and lunch in a private home. Visits to two of the itinerary’s five featured UNESCO sites follow – the imperial city of Meknes and the impressive Roman ruins at Volubilis. During a three-night stay in Fez, Morocco’s oldest imperial city, exploration reveals the fascinating medina’s many treasures, complemented by dinner in a family-run riad. Crossing the Middle Atlas mountains, reach Erfoud, where a tour highlight awaits: a sunset camel excursion to Merzouga’s breathtaking sand dunes on the Sahara’s edge. Experience more spectacular scenery en route to Ouarzazate in the snow-topped High Atlas, including the dramatic Todra Gorge; and journey along the ancient “Route of a Thousand Kasbahs.” En route to Marrakech, visit Ait ben-Haddou village, a UNESCO site made famous in film shoots. Touring in fabled Marrakech includes beautiful Koutoubia Mosque, cobalt blue-accented Majorelle Gardens, the Yves St. Laurent Museum, and a walking tour of the medina that ventures to the city’s heart, Djemaa el Fna Square. Spend a final night in storied Casablanca, where touring includes the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, the French-designed Habous Quarter, and the Royal Palace.
Day 1: Depart U.S. for Casablanca, Morocco
Day 2: Arrive Casablanca/Rabat
Day 3: Rabat
Day 4: Rabat/Meknes/Volubilis/Fez
Day 5: Fez
Day 6: Fez
Day 7: Fez/Midelt/Erfoud
Day 8: Erfoud/Rissani/Merzouga
Day 9: Erfoud/Tinehir/Todra Gorge/Ouarzazate
Day 10: Ouarzazate/Ait ben-Haddou/Marrakech
Day 11: Marrakech
Day 12: Marrakech
Day 13: Marrakech/Casablanca
Day 14: Depart for U.S.
*Itinerary and pricing subject to change up until date of brochure publication*
Diederik (Dirk) Vandewalle (PhD Columbia, 1988) is Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College, former chair of its Asian and Middle Eastern Studies program, and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Amos Tuck School of Business. His research and teaching focus on comparative economic development in Emerging Economies, economic reform in the Arab Gulf states, North Africa, and Asia. He is editor of several books and edited volumes on Libya and North Africa, and is writing a manuscript on the economic emergence and prospects of the Arab Gulf countries, based on research from his most recent Fulbright Regional Research Award in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (2005-2006). He has written numerous articles on economic development issues in the Arab world, and received, in addition to two regional Fulbright research awards, a Social Science Research Council Award for research in Morocco and Yemen. He was political advisor to the first UN Special representatives in Libya in Spring 2011, and field director of the Carter Center's observation team in Libya in 2014. He is on the editorial board of several scholarly publications, and lectures and consults widely in policy and academic settings in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. He has led over a dozen Dartmouth Alumni trips to places like India, China and Tibet, Myanmar, South and western Africa.