Morocco Photo Tour

Tour Intro

Estimated 2019 rates.

This photo tour itinerary encompasses Marrakech, Fes, Northern Morocco in the blue washed town of Chefchaouen, and also spends two evenings in the Sahara, giving participants more opportunity to capture the pink and purple heud sunsets over the dunes. You can also extend your stay with Richard and Rose and photograph in the lovely coastal town of Essaouira. In Marrakech we will visit the famous Djemaa el-Fna Square, perhaps the greatest open-air spectacle in the world.  Traveling back in time, we'll see snake charmers, musicians, magicians, acrobats, and dancers. Fes is an ancient city, with its spectacular medina - where time seems to have stood still and photographs beckon around every corner.  You will see veiled women and laughing children, donkeys pulling carts, and vendors carrying huge mounds of bread on trays above their heads. 

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. 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. This is an amazing journey.

Tour Highlights

• Jemaa el Fna Square and the ancient city and souk of Marrakech

• Two evenings in the Sahara with a traditional camel ride

• Chefchaouen & The Rif, with quaint blue-washed buildings

• The heart of Morocco, medina of Fes el-Bali

• Unique visits with our expert Moroccan guide

• Coastal Town of Essaouira Extension, with quaint whitewashed buildings, fishing boats, and sunset silhouette of Portuguese Fort

Tour Itinerary

November 4: Depart Home
Mosque Casablanca

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

You will depart on an overnight flight from the U.S. to Casablanca, Morocco. We recommend your arrival to be tomorrow (November 5), by 11AM, in order to take part in the planned events. PLEASE NOTE: Your international airfare will be booked multi-city, Home/CMN and RAK/Home.

November 5: Casablanca
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

You will be transferred from the airport to the hotel upon arrival. Those that arrive in time will have an interior tour at 2PM inside the King Hassan II Mosque. Followed by our first photography session outside the King Hassan II Mosque, in later afternoon, evening light. Enjoy your welcome dinner after the photo shoot.

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. Enjoy your welcome dinner after the photo shoot. Overnight Casablanca. (D)

November 6-7: Chefchaouen
Oranges

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

From Casablanca, arrive late this afternoon in the Rif region of Northern Morocco and the town of Chefchaouen (shef-shau-en), built into 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, 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 local goat cheese is also popular. Pack mules are still led throughout the streets carrying many of the handcrafted 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 countless feet over the 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  CHEFCHAOUEN. (B, D; B)

November 8-9: Fes
Spices

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

After sunrise photography in the mountains, have breakfast and return south to Fes. Your escorts will take into account the interests of the group and stop for photographic opportunities they feel appropriate and timely.

Fes, 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 with 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, tannery vats, 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. Our lodging in Fes are just within the medina walls, providing us with an excellent location for photography. Overnight Fes. (B, L, D; B, L)

November 10-11: Erfoud - Merzouga
Sahara Camels

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

Today our destination is the Sahara where we will have two days to capture the sunset and sunrise over the dunes.  After enjoying lunch en-route, we will continue to Erfoud, an oasis region at the edge of the Sahara. The next day we are invited to enjoy Sudanese music and dance at Khmlia, where we learn about life in the Sahara (participants can take donations of school supplies to the Sudanese school). If we have time this afternoon, we will enjoy our camel ride for sunset photography, or perhaps we will rise early for sunrise. Camels will carry us to the Erg Chebbi, 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. Overnight Erfoud - Merzouga. (Accommodations are in typical Berber tents with mattress and blankets, next to the lodge with bathroom. Comfortable rooms may be available in the lodge, though these cannot be guaranteed - nor can a single room). B, L, D; B, L, D)

November 12: Tinerhir
Rugs Women

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

Traveling today 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. In Tinerhir we will have an opportunity to shop for rich Moroccan rugs, or simply photograph the surroundings. Overnight Tinerhir. (B, picnic L, D)

November 13-14: Skoura
Boy & Girl

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

Turning off the main road this morning, we will drive through a portion of the stunning Dades Gorge, filled with unusual red rock formations and fascinating villages and Kasbahs. A drive along the “Valley of the Thousand Kasbahs” will take us through stony desert landscapes with many villages and Kasbahs (fortified homes). Our destination for tonight, a renovated kasbah hotel provides and ideal location for private photography in the early morning and late afternoon. We will spend the next day in and around the hotel. Overnight Skoura. (B, L, D both days)

November 15: Marrakech
Marrakech Waterbearers

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

Land rovers will meet us in Telouet, where we continue in to the countryside. The Telouet Kasbah is not old, yet it is one of the most important sights of yesterday's Morocco. The story began during the hard winter of 1893, when Sultan Moulay Hassan was stranded here. He and his army of 3,000 were well taken care of by the two brothers Glaoui, Madani and T'Hami. In return of their services, they were given political power of Morocco south of the High Atlas Mountains. The reception room and main halls are the only interiors to be entered, due to the building’s deterioration, yet you can sense the luxury in which its predecessors lived.

Continue driving west to Marrakech, the city of drama. In the late afternoon we’ll have our first 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, haggle passionately for carpets, or dine in some of the best restaurants in the country. 

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. Capture a glimpse of daily life, as we stroll the narrow streets. Overnight Marrakech. (B, L)

 

November 16: Marrakech - Home - or on to Essaouira Extension
Buildings

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

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

Tour Extension

November 16-19: Essaouira
Essouira
Photo By: Richard Buchbinder
Photo Location: Morocco

Extension Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 7 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $200 if 4-6 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.

Extension Itinerary

November 16-17: Essaouira
Essouira

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

Those on the extension will depart early this morning with Richard, Rose and your local guide to 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. Surrounded by an abundance of plants is Majorelle's deep-blue villa, which is simply breathtaking. Continue driving west to your final destination in 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 will take time in the evening for a leisurely stroll through the town or along the colorful harbor for early evening photography.

Enjoy another day in Essaouira (pronounced Esa-weera), which 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. Essaouira is full of the irresistible angles and picturesque sights that are so attractive to photographers. Overnight RIAD AL MEDINA. (B, L, D)

November 18: Marrakech
Goats Argon Tree

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Morocco

After breakfast this morning we return to Marrakech, stopping at a woman’s argon production facility. Enjoy additional photography in the Marrakech Souk and perhaps another photo session on the square at sunset, as the vendors and locals come alive. There will be time to freshen up before enjoying a farewell dinner. Overnight RIAD LES YEUX BLEUS. (B, L, D)

November 19: Home
Man

Photo By: Richard Buchbinder

Photo Location: Morocco

You will be transferred to the airport for flights home. (B)

Photo Leader

Richard Buchbinder & Rose Erato
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Richard Buchbinder & Rose Erato

Richard Buchbinder, is an inspired instructor with twenty years of teaching experience. He leads workshops that are fun and effective. Richard has studied with some of today’s most creative photographers, including Freeman Patterson, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Dewitt Jones, Andre Gallant, and Eddie Soloway. While each has had a significant influence on Richard's work, his own vision is reflected in his images, and he strives to share this personal quality with those he teaches. While most of the workshop time will be spent in the field, where nature photography instruction is most effective, there will also be evening sessions to review basic concepts and critique images. The discussion will include the essentials of visual design, to stimulate your creativity and expand your vision. These tours are an opportunity to spend a few days enjoying the beauty of nature while learning about other cultures, their history, and to make better photographs. You will return home with great images and improved photographic techniques.

Rose Erato has enjoyed a career as a photographer, artist and interior designer, expressing her passion for the visual arts.  Her photography is concentrated on capturing artistic images of people, animals and travel.  Rose‘s style and artistic eye are reflected in many of the images that she creates in a variety of software applications.  www.roseerato.com

Together, Richard and Rose present exciting and informative programs.  They will assist you with using your camera to make terrific photographs, and will guide you in the process of finding your own artistic vision.  You will enhance your camera skills, fine tune your creative instincts and have lot’s of fun in the process.

www.richardbuchbinder.com, www.roseerato.com

Richard Buchbinder was an excellent workshop organizer and leader in many ways. He is also a fine, dedicated, and skilled person, with an easy to get along with personality. He continually circulated among the participants, looking through viewfinders as requested, and making suggestions.

B. Lewis

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 7 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $500 if 6 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

My daughter and I joined Rose Erato on a Strabo photo tour of Africa this past June.  We have both traveled internationally on many occasions but never with a tour group.  After traveling with Rose, I can honestly say that this was the best vacation we have ever experienced.  All preparations were set up to make our trip smooth and the lodgings and transportation were exceptional.  Rose was always caring for our needs and went beyond our expectations on comfort and safety.  Her energy and passion for photography were boundless.  She was knowledgeable, helpful, exuberant, and just so much fun.  I can honestly say that any tour I plan in the future will be with Rose.  My daughter now considers Rose as a second mom.  There are no adequate words to describe how highly we both recommend Rose Erato as a tour leader!

R. Capps

Thank you Rose for making our trip so amazing.  We had a wonderful time with you and will always remember the great experience we had with you as our tour leader.  Our photos of Africa are awesome. 

S. & Z. Lankford

Richard Buchbinder was an excellent workshop organizer and leader in many ways. He is also a fine, dedicated, and skilled person, with an easy to get along with personality. He continually circulated among the participants, looking through viewfinders as requested, and making suggestions.

B. Lewis

This was one of the most invigorating trips I’ve been on. Richard was very professional, and assisted us in solving some problems we were having. He works with people quite well, and his knowledge of photography is evident, he also has the ability to pass that knowledge on to others. Richard spent time with each of us, and was always available for questions. The trip was well worth while.

C. Tufts

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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