Magical Morocco

Tour Intro

2014 Rates Listed

We invite you, the inquisitive traveler, to join photographer Karen Gordon Schulman on this special tour of Morocco. We will have a cordial welcome in this country with its irresistible allure and warm hospitality.
Combining the history and natural beauty of this rich and fascinating country with first-person encounters, we will visit native villages, ancient medinas, and craftsmen’s workshops, sharing experiences and sipping mint tea: symbolic of the warm, sincere Moroccan generosity. We will enjoy the sights in vibrant Marrakech and ancient Fes, rug shopping, palace visits, an unforgettable journey into the Sahara on camelback for sunrise, and much more. Hotels are comfortable, as is the private, air-conditioned coach for land transportation. An expert local Moroccan guide will add his unique touch to this extraordinary trip, sharing his insights into and his love of this exotic land. Travel with Karen to the exotic souks, the dramatic Sahara, photographing veiled women, laughing children, and the exquisite scenery.

Photographic artist, writer and educator, Karen Gordon Schulman is based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She majored in education and psychology at Penn State and continued her studies at UCLA in 1979 to shift gears and study fine art and commercial photography. She uses a camera to capture the essence of a place and as a tool in the lifelong process of self-discovery. She is known for her hand colored black and white imagery and eclectic travel photography. Her current passion is exploring the exciting world of ‘iPhoneography.’ In addition to creating art with her own iPhone, Karen leads iPhone and iPad specific photo workshops throughout the year and offers guidance during international photo tours to those who are interested. Since 1985, when Karen created Focus Adventures, she has been offering small group photographic workshops and tours that emphasize using the camera for enrichment of creative spirit and development of personal vision. She has experience working with all ages, from 7 to 70 and beyond, and is dedicated to incorporating trip participants’ personal awareness with once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities. Karen has been working with Strabo Photo Tour Collection since 2000.

"I encourage each person to give themselves permission to make mistakes, permission to create," Karen says. "The more we learn to “see” with our mind, heart, and spirit, the more of an adventure life becomes. I welcome all skill levels and enjoy offering guidance to those with stronger left-or right-brain approaches to photography, to strengthen the other side."

“On a photo tour, I enjoy guiding participants to expand their creativity and/or technical skills, increase their confidence and have fun! Instruction can be as much or as little as they prefer. I look forward to seeing you on one of my tours!” www.focusadventures.com
 

Tour Highlights

• Jemaa el Fna Square and the ancient city and souk of Marrakech
• The striking Kasbahs of Morocco
• Two evenings in the Sahara with a traditional camel ride
• Fortified harbor of Essaouira, with quaint whitewashed buildings and blue doors
• Chefchaouen & The Rif, with quaint blue-washed buildings
• The heart of Morocco, medina of Fes el-Bali
• Unique visits with our expert Moroccan guide

Tour Itinerary

March 19: Depart Home

Depart home on an overnight flight to Casablanca, arriving early morning March 20. If your flight arrives later in the day it will be necessary to spend an additional evening in Casablanca. Contact Strabo to arrange additional evening and transfer. 

March 20: Arrive Casablanca Early Morning

Photo By: Karen Gordon Schulman

Photo Location: Morocco, Sahara

The local guide will meet us upon arrival in Casablanca, and we will board the deluxe, air-conditioned coach. We will have our first photography session outside the King Hassan II Mosque. North of the medina and rising up on a point above the Atlantic Ocean, the mosque is the largest religious monument in the world after Mecca. King Hassan II Mosque, building cost estimated at $750 million, is entirely funded by citizen donations. It was completed in 1993, after 6000 Moroccan craftsmen worked on it day and night for five years. The 200m high minaret of this vast new mosque floats above the skyline of Casablanca, the sun glancing off its façade of pale marble and glazed tile and from the three gilded balls at its summit. The tower is offset from the enormous rectangular twenty-two acre prayer hall; three times the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral. After lunch our group will enjoy a tour, where we will have an opportunity to photograph in one of the world's most famous cities, Casablanca. Overnight GOLDEN TULIP HOTEL. (L, D)

March 21-22: Essaouira

Photo By: Karen Gordon Schulman

Photo Location: Morocco, Essaouira

Driving south, we will travel to El Jadida, where we will photograph the ancient Portuguese fort and cistern. Lunch will be at a lovely oceanfront restaurant with incredible gardens. Our final destination is Essaouira, a charming place of white shops and houses, set against a clear blue sky. Over the centuries it has been home to Phoenicians, Romans, Portuguese, and a large Jewish population. We may have time in the evening for a leisurely stroll through the town or along the colorful harbor. Karen will organize a photography session at dawn, walking to the harbor for sunrise.

Essaouira (pronounced Esa-weera) is the most popular of the coastal towns, with magnificent beaches and relaxed atmosphere. The fortifications of the old city are a mixture of Portuguese, French, and Berber military architecture, and their massiveness lends a powerful mystique. You’ll find narrow lanes, whitewashed houses with blue painted doors, tranquil squares, pleasant cafes, and artisans in tiny workshops carving away at fragrant thuya wood. We will spend the day exploring this delightful place, with time to absorb the unique flavor of the old town, the harbor, and the friendly people. Essaouira is full of the irresistible angles and picturesque sights that are so attractive to photographers. Overnight RIAD AL MEDINA. (B, L both days)
 

March 23: Marrakech

Photo By: Karen Gordon Schulman

Photo Location: Morocco

After breakfast we will take a picnic lunch with us to enjoy enroute, or we will dine just outside Marrakech, the city of drama. In the afternoon we will have an introduction to the famous Djemaa el-Fna Square, perhaps the greatest open-air spectacle in the world, where one can see the colors and feel the pulse of Morocco. Drift with the smells and sounds of the souks. Marrakech follows the beat of an African drum. This imperial city has been almost continually occupied since Neolithic times, and was once the Berber capital. Traveling back in time 2,000 years, we’ll see snake charmers, magicians, acrobats, and dancers, delighting children and adults alike. Overnight HOTEL ADAM PARK. (B, L) 

March 24-25: Ait Benhaddou - Skoura

Photo By: Karen Gordon Schulman

Photo Location: Morocco, Kasbah

We will stop to visit the exquisite Majorelle Garden. It is part of the former residence of French artist Louis Majorelle, beautifully renovated by the late couturier Yves St. Laurent. In among the floral smorgasbord is what was Majorelle’s deep-blue villa, which is simply breathtaking. Driving south from Marrakech, we will cross the High Atlas Mountains at 7,400 feet, with panoramic views of arid mountains and lush oases shadowing the rivers far below. Given time we will photograph the ruins of an abandoned Kasbah, with unique mosaic tiles, and beautiful arches. Our destination for tonight, a renovated Kasbah hotel provides and ideal location for private photography in the early morning and late afternoon. 

We’ll spend the next day in and around the hotel. There is a small palm grove close by, we can photograph as we take a leisurely walk through the gardens. This afternoon there will be free time, so you can enjoy more photography within walking distance of the hotel or relax amongst the gardens and veranda of Kasbah. KASBAH BEN DAMIETTE. (B, L, D both days)
 

March 26-27: Erfoud - Merzouga

Photo By: Karen Gordon Schulman

Photo Location: Morocco

A drive along the “Valley of the Thousand Kasbahs” will take us through stony desert landscapes with many villages and Kasbahs. Turning off the main road this morning, we will enter the stunning Dades Gorge, filled with unusual red rock formations and fascinating villages and Kasbahs. On the way we may see Berbers tending their camels or sheep, women swathed in dark haik, embroidered with vivid colors, or children playing soccer in a stony desert field. After enjoying a picnic lunch enroute, we will continue to Erfoud, an oasis region at the edge of the Sahara. We will travel by Land Rovers to our Berber tents in the desert. We are invited to enjoy Sudanese music and dance at Khmlia, where we learn about life in the Sahara. A camel ride awaits us at sunset, or sunrise, taking us into Morocco’s only genuine Saharan Erg – a huge, drifting expanse of sand dunes that typify much of the Algerian Sahara. The dunes themselves are fascinating, especially as the sun reaches the horizon and the colors change from pink to gold to red. This will be your most extraordinary and unforgettable desert experience. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit in your overnight bag, as there is a beautiful swimming pool at the hotel. Overnight AUBERGE DU SUD (Accommodations are in typical Berber tents with mattress and blankets, rooms may be available in lodge, these can not be guaranteed nor can a single room). (B, Picnic L, D; B, L, D) 

March 28: Midelt

Photo By: Karen Gordon Schulman

Photo Location: Morocco, Kasbah

After sunrise photography in the Sahara we will have breakfast and return to Erfoud. Your escorts will take into account the interests of the group, and stop for photographic opportunities they feel appropriate and timely. Examples of such locations are the spectacular Ziz Valley, often called the “Grand Canyon of Morocco,” which offers sweeping vistas and landscape photography. Overnight KASBAH TIMNAY (B, L, D)

March 29-30: Fes

Photo By: Karen Gordon Schulman

Photo Location: Morocco

After breakfast we begin our drive to Fes. We climb into the Middle Atlas, the moorlands, and granite outcroppings; brooding skies and sheep pastures may remind you of the British Isles. We may have time to stop in the quaint village of Ifrane, where you’ll have to remind yourself you are in Morocco. The French built it in the 1930’s as an alpine resort. Our final destination is Fes, the most completely Islamic medieval city in the world. We will have our first introduction to this vibrant city late this afternoon.

The next day we will enjoy a full-day guided tour of Fes, Morocco’s oldest imperial city and the center of culture and religious learning. Fes is arguably the symbolic heart of Morocco, as all the great dynasties have left their mark on the city; it has, however, retained its Arab identity. The medina, Fes el-Bali, is one of the largest living medieval cities in the world. Its narrow winding alleys and covered bazaars are intricate in their design and are awash of brilliant colors – a veritable assault on the senses as you squeeze past recalcitrant donkeys and submit to the sounds and smells of this jostling city. The dye makers, hills of spices, vats of tanners, and palaces of merchants will beckon us. During a visit to a tannery we can watch the tanners as they work in the varied colors of this land. After lunch in the medina, we’ll continue our explorations, with time to shop for beautiful crafts and caftans.

We return to the beautiful sights and sounds of Fes el-Bali, where we will learn about the different styles and techniques employed in the creation of Moroccan rugs. If we want to make a purchase, we will follow the ancient Moroccan custom of bargaining for our choices, as we sip mint tea. This afternoon we’ll enjoy photographing the winding streets of Fes. Overnight HOTEL RIAD YACOUT (B, L, D; B, L)
 

March 31-1: Chefchaouen

This morning we depart early for the Rif region of Northern Morocco, and the town of Chefchaouen (shef-shau-en), built in to the mountainside. The town was founded in 1492 by Moorish exiles from Spain, often called Chaouen by Moroccans. Chefchaouen was known as the hashish capital of Morocco and has been a favorite haunt of backpackers for years. Hash has been grown, since the fifteenth Century, and is called Kif being the short version of the Arabic word for pleasure. Our accommodations are set in the hillside just above the town, away from the hustle and bustle of the medina, yet walking distance to the areas we will be photographing.

In the medina, people sell all sorts of vegetables and fruits amid the narrow cobbled alleyways of whitewashed walls and blue doors. Chaouen offers many native handicrafts that are not available elsewhere in Morocco, such as wool garments and woven blankets. The goat cheese native to the area is also popular. Pack mules are still lead throughout the streets carrying many of the hand crafted goods and supplies as they have for centuries. The eager merchants are more than willing to discuss their merchandise and engage in the time-honored art of negotiation.

The open-air market is one of the oldest and most charming, with steep, narrow streets, paved with stones that have been polished by the thousands of feet, which have trodden throughout the medina for centuries.  The homes are painted white, azure blue, indigo, and purple and have blue shutters and elaborately decorated doorways. Notice the small squares, ornate fountains and ochre tile. Overnight DAR CHEFCHAOUEN. (B, D; B)

April 2: Chefchaouen - Casablanca

Photo By: Jacque Boehm Steedle

Photo Location: Chechaouen Morocco

This morning we depart early for the Capital City of Rabat. There are areas closed to traffic, making this an ideal location for our last photo opportunity. The Oudaia Kasbah interior is a delightful whitewashed Andalusian village built by refugees, combining winding city streets, public gardens and iridescent blue and white houses. Re-boarding the coach, we’ll arrive in Casablanca in time to freshen up before enjoying a farewell dinner. Overnight GOLDEN TULIP HOTEL. (B, L, D) 

April 3: Casablanca - Home

After an early breakfast, we’ll leave for the airport for the late morning flight home. (B)

Photo Leader

Karen Gordon Schulman
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Karen Gordon Schulman

Photographic artist, writer and educator, Karen Gordon Schulman is based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She majored in education and psychology at Penn State and continued her studies at UCLA in 1979 to shift gears and study fine art and commercial photography. She uses a camera to capture the essence of a place and as a tool in the lifelong process of self-discovery. She is known for her hand colored black and white imagery and eclectic travel photography. Her current passion is exploring the exciting world of ‘iPhoneography.’ In addition to creating art with her own iPhone, Karen leads iPhone and iPad specific photo workshops throughout the year and offers guidance during international photo tours to those who are interested. Since 1985, when Karen created Focus Adventures, she has been offering small group photographic workshops and tours that emphasize using the camera for enrichment of creative spirit and development of personal vision. She has experience working with all ages, from 7 to 70 and beyond, and is dedicated to incorporating trip participants’ personal awareness with once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities. Karen has been working with Strabo Photo Tour Collection since 2000.

"I encourage each person to give themselves permission to make mistakes, permission to create," Karen says. "The more we learn to “see” with our mind, heart, and spirit, the more of an adventure life becomes. I welcome all skill levels and enjoy offering guidance to those with stronger left-or right-brain approaches to photography, to strengthen the other side."

“On a photo tour, I enjoy guiding participants to expand their creativity and/or technical skills, increase their confidence and have fun! Instruction can be as much or as little as they prefer. I look forward to seeing you on one of my tours!” 

“For over 30 years I have followed my heart and mind to pick up a camera and use it to reflect on my inner consciousness. Though I am not a Buddhist, nor do I have extensive knowledge of Buddhist teachings, I have been influenced by various Buddhist Masters, including the work of the late Zen Abbot, John Daido Loori, whose photography and teaching about the Zen of Creativity very much resonates with my own work. He believed that there are practices to guide one to a new way of seeing and creating. Through my reading, research, practice and expression, I have learned that the work I do best is with the subjects that I resonate with, and I am happy to share my own practices with trip participants.” 

I always learn so much from Karen, not only photography but new view on life itself. Instruction amount was about right, and Karen makes it known that she is always available for more. We could not have asked for a better guide. She took care of everything before we could even ask.

K. Cochran

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $300 if 6-7 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

Guide Ismail in Morocco

Photo By: Jan Wetzel

Photo Location: Morocco

I had the most wonderful trip of my lifetime. It was fabulous. Karen is an inspiring and gifted teacher and your local guide is amazing. His knowledge and wisdom and heart cannot be overstated. Thank you for planning this fabulous experience. I'm definitely a Strabo fan

J. Wetzel

Karen is inspiring. She works hard and provides plenty of individual attention. She is an excellent teacher. Your local guides are wonderful people and very professional and helpful.

S. Connors

I always learn so much from Karen, not only photography but new view on life itself. Instruction amount was about right, and Karen makes it known that she is always available for more. We could not have asked for a better guide. She took care of everything before we could even ask.

K. Cochran
Abbey Window

Photo By: Sheryl Sparks

Photo Location: Ireland

It is so wonderful to be able to go to such a location for the soul purpose of photography.  The easy and spontaneous adventure that this was makes me want to go on another Focus Adventure Tour.  I was skeptical of the "iPhoneography" lesson but I participated and I can say that maybe it has truly changed my life.  My creativity was certainly heightened and encouraged on this trip.  I am so glad I went.

S.Sparks

Additional Notes

Photographic artist, writer and educator, Karen Gordon Schulman is based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She majored in education and psychology at Penn State and continued her studies at UCLA in 1979 to shift gears and study fine art and commercial photography. She uses a camera to capture the essence of a place and as a tool in the lifelong process of self-discovery. She is known for her hand colored black and white imagery and eclectic travel photography. Her current passion is exploring the exciting world of ‘iPhoneography.’ In addition to creating art with her own iPhone, Karen leads iPhone and iPad specific photo workshops throughout the year and offers guidance during international photo tours to those who are interested. Since 1985, when Karen created Focus Adventures, she has been offering small group photographic workshops and tours that emphasize using the camera for enrichment of creative spirit and development of personal vision. She has experience working with all ages, from 7 to 70 and beyond, and is dedicated to incorporating trip participants’ personal awareness with once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities. Karen has been working with Strabo Photo Tour Collection since 2000.

"I encourage each person to give themselves permission to make mistakes, permission to create," Karen says. "The more we learn to “see” with our mind, heart, and spirit, the more of an adventure life becomes. I welcome all skill levels and enjoy offering guidance to those with stronger left-or right-brain approaches to photography, to strengthen the other side."

“On a photo tour, I enjoy guiding participants to expand their creativity and/or technical skills, increase their confidence and have fun! Instruction can be as much or as little as they prefer. I look forward to seeing you on one of my tours!” www.focusadventures.com

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

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