Photo by: Ron Rosenstock
Location: Sahara Morocco
Morocco Mystery with Ron Rosenstock
- Jemaa el Fna Square and the ancient city and souk of Marrakech
- The striking Kasbah of Telouet
- Two evenings in the Sahara with a traditional camel ride
- The heart of Morocco, medina of Fes el-Bali
- Rif Mountains and the blue washed town of Chefchaouen
- Unique visits with our expert Moroccan guide
- Coastal Town of Essaouira Extension, with quaint whitewashed buildings, fishing boats, and Portuguese Fort silhouetted at sunset.
per person, double occupancy*
All spots are currently taken for this tour.
*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 8 participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 4-7 participants. 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 (subject to availability), or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, there is a single room surcharge of $695.
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 Ron, 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...
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 Ron, 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.
Join accomplished photographer and guide Ron Rosenstock through this special tour of Morocco. Ron is a veteran tour leader, having conducted more than 200 tours to many destinations worldwide. Ron taught photography at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. His published books include his exquisite black and white photographs: The Light of Ireland, Chiostro (Cloister), and Hymn to the Earth; color photographs in Journeys. Ron’s work has been featured in over one hundred exhibitions, both in the U.S. and abroad, and his photographs are to be found in the permanent collections of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Mass., The Polaroid Collection in Cambridge, Mass., and the International Center of Photography in New York City. Ron’s striking, one-of-a-kind photographs can be seen at www.ronrosenstock.com.
At the end of 2018, my husband, Mark, and I went on a 17 day tour to Morocco with Strabo Tours. Led by renowned photographer, Ron Rosenstock, cultural ambassador, Ismail Bourqqadi, and our excellent driver, Yassim, we journeyed by van from King Hussan II’s amazing mosque in Casablanca to the enchanting blue town of Chefchaouen and then the tannery, weaver and pottery workshops of Fes. After traversing the snow capped Atlas Mountains, we slept 2 dreamy nights in desert tents after walking on foot and riding camels in the Merzouga dunes.
Next we travelled through the Land of 1000 Kasbahs, stopping at abandoned, but perfectly preserved shrines; fossilized marble, rug and spice shops; Yves St. Laurent’s Cactus Garden, and the Marrakech Medina with its’ musicians, snake charmers, etc. Lastly, 5 of our band of 7, went on an extended jaunt to the beaches of Essaourra, where Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Cat Stevens used to hang out and saw nearby goats in argon trees.
Needless to say, it was the trip of a lifetime! There was plenty to eat, the lodgings were fantastic (often hidden in fountained courtyards behind busy alleys), but most important were the Moroccan people and places, that anyone would appreciate experiencing, but are especially inspirational to artists. We were the only couple and Mark was the only one without professional photographic equipment, but he took great pictures with his iPhone and we all enjoyed each other’s company. With Ron’s 20+ years taking artists all over the world, no matter where you go with him, you’re bound to have an incredible time. His Ireland trip should be special, because he had a house there for many years and really knows the lay of the land.
— A Dunkelman
Trip was a 10! I think the Sahara was the best. Loved sleeping in berber tents. The photography was gorgeous and many wonderful photo opportunities. Ron always knew where to be when for best photographs. I’ve known him since 1982 when I went to Ireland, and I always wanted to do his Morocco trip after seeing photos and notices on Facebook from him. His energy, enthusiasm and humor was contagious. I liked his photo talks every so often as he wanted us all to see different things and find our own vision. He showed us examples of his work and other photographers that influenced him. Always informative of our daily activities and culture of Morocco. I loved the variety of hotels and lodges.
— A Converse
My recent experience in Morocco was enriched by the kindness and friendliness of its’ people. Never did I feel any concern about being an American in a Muslim country. I was struck by how profound, personal, respectful, and diverse their religious connections are and felt privilegedthat I could meet and be in an Islamic community that is far different from what is portrayed in the news media. Along the way I met and spoke to many Israeli tourists who see Morocco as a “must visit” place to go.
— S.W. Pitlik
Ron was great, not only was he open and knowledgeable as an instructor, but a wonderful person. Couldnt have asked for better.
— N. Taveras
The Town of Chefchaouen was the highlight of the trip, a delightful place. Hope you keep it on your itinerary.It is obvious that Ron loves what he is doing. From start to finish he is helpful, knowledgeable, gets to know everyone and gives extra assistance where needed.
— K. Clarkin
We found the Moroccans to be hospitable and friendly, who are proud of their country and love their King. Our marvelous guide Ismail was about the best we have ever known, and we are experienced travellers. The country is exotic and beautiful – a must see! We felt safe at all times.
— T. & J. Beers
January 17: Home
You will depart on an overnight flight from the U.S. to Casablanca, Morocco. We recommend your arrival to be tomorrow (January 18), by 11AM, in order to take part in the planned events. PLEASE NOTE: If you ARE taking part in the extension your flight will be booked round trip Home/CMN. If you are NOT taking part in the extension your international airfare will be booked multi-city, Home/CMN and RAK/Home.
January 18: Arrive Casablanca Early Morning
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, Overnight Casablanca (D)
January 19-20: Chefchaouen
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)
January 21-22: Fes
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 accommodations in Fes are just within the medina walls, providing us with an excellent location for photography. Overnight Fes. (B, L, D; B, L)
January 23-24: Erfoud - Merzouga
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 AUBURGE DU SUD. (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)
January 25: Tinerhir
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, L, D)
January 26: Skoura
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. Overnight KASBAH SKOURA. (B, L, D)
January 27-28: Marrakech
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 RIAD. (B; B, D)
January 29: Marakech - Home
For those not traveling on the extension you will be transferred to the airport (RAK) for flights home. (B)
January 29-Feb 1 2020
* Based upon minimum of 4 participants. Single room surcharge is $245.
January 29-30: Essaouira
PLEASE NOTE: If you ARE taking part in the extension your flight will be booked round trip Home/CMN. If you are NOT taking part in the extension your international airfare will be booked multi-city, Home/CMN and RAK/Home.
Those on the extension will depart early this morning with Ron 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 ESSAOUIRA. (B, D)
January 31: Casablanca
Enjoy another morning of photography at the fort, the beach, or back at the harbor with all the blue fishing boats. After checking out of the hotel make your way back to Casablanca with photo opportunities along the way. You can have another sunset shoot in Casablanca, or rest, relax, and repack for your flight out tomorrow.
Overnight CASABLANCA. (B)
February 1: Casablanca - Home
You will be transferred to the airport (CMN) for flights home. (B)
Note: This itinerary has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best Morocco has to offer. However, should events arise that are beyond our control, itinerary, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.