Photo by: Ron Rosenstock
Location: Sahara Morocco
PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Morocco Mystery

  • Check out Ron’s video on YouTube with a brief summary of his Morocco Photo Tours.
  • Jemaa el Fna Square and the ancient city and souk of Marrakech
  • 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
  • Casablanca and Coastal Town of Essaouira Extension, with quaint whitewashed buildings, fishing boats, and sunset silhouette of Portuguese Fort
Region

Africa

Destination

Morocco

Dates

January 17-29, 2021

Duration

12 days

Available Pre-Trip Extension

Pre-Trip Casablanca and Essaouira Extension

$4295

per person, double occupancy*

*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 8 participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 4 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.

Tour Overview

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 and King Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. In Marrakech you will visit the famous Djemaa el-Fna Square,...

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 and King Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. In Marrakech you will visit the famous Djemaa el-Fna Square, perhaps the greatest open-air spectacle in the world.  Traveling back in time, you will 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.

Photo Leader

Ron Rosenstock

Dear Ron,

Thank you for such a fantastic photo tour! I found it was a perfect balance of photo opportunities and learning about Morocco’s culture, people, history and economy. As I’ve been reviewing my photos, I find myself saying, “Wow— we were actually there!” Your evening photo talks were useful and informative— they’ve helped me to become a more relaxed and better photographer.

Regards,
Joanne

— Joanne Shapiro

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. Couldn’t 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

Tour Itinerary

January 17: Home

Depart the next morning for 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 18-19: Marrakech

You will be transferred from the airport to the hotel upon arrival. It is a short drive to the hotel where you will join Ron and others that took part in the extension. Late this afternoon (time to be announced) you will meet everyone in the hotel lobby for a brief introduction and off you go to your first photo shoot, 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.

Traveling back in time 2,000 years, we’ll see snake charmers, magicians, acrobats, and dancers, delighting children and adults alike. Enjoy another day in this imperial city that has been almost continually occupied since Neolithic times, and was once the Berber capital. Capture a glimpse of daily life, as we stroll the narrow streets. Overnight MARRAKECH RIAD. (D; B, L)

 

January 20-21: Skoura

Your destination for the next two evenings is a renovated kasbah hotel, providing an ideal location for private photography in the early morning and late afternoon. The setting is the middle of a palm grove with lush greenness and olive tree branches, the hotel also offers a garden all its own. Skoura provides a respite from the busy medinas of Fez and Marrakech. Ron will provide photography presentations during the middle of the day at the hotel. Overnight KASBAH SKOURA. (B, L, D both days)

January 22-23: Erfoud - Merzouga

Today your destination is the Sahara where you will have two days to capture the sunset and sunrise over the dunes.  After enjoying lunch en-route, continue to Erfoud, an oasis region at the edge of the Sahara. The next day you 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 there is time this afternoon, enjoy your camel ride for sunset photography, or perhaps 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 the lodge or in typical Berber tents with mattress and blankets, which now have their own bathrooms and dining tent) (B, L, D both days)

January 24-25: Fes

After sunrise photography in the desert, have breakfast and drive north 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. Your lodging in Fes are just within the medina walls, providing an excellent location for photography. Overnight FEZ RIAD. (B, D; B, L)

January 26-27: Chefchaouen

From Fez, 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 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

 

January 28: Casablanca

After your last morning photo shoot leave the mountains behind and make your way south towards Casablanca. There will be photo opportunities today in Rabat, either the Chellah or Kasbah Oudaya. Continue on to your accommodations for the evening near the airport, where your driver and local guide will depart. CASABLANCA AIRPORT HOTEL. (B, L)

January 29: Casablanca - Home

The hotel provides breakfast and shuttle you can take to the CMN airport for your flight 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.

 

Pre-Trip Extension

Extension Name

Pre-Trip Casablanca and Essaouira Extension

Price

$695*

Dates

January 15-17, 2021

Duration

2 days

* Based upon minimum of 4 participants. Single room surcharge is $145.

January 15: Home

You will depart on an overnight flight from the U.S. to Casablanca, Morocco. We recommend your arrival to be tomorrow (January 16), 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/RAK and CMN/Home.

January 16: Casablanca

You will be transferred from the airport to the hotel upon arrival. Those that arrive in time will have an interior tour at 2PMinside the King Hassan II Mosque. Followed by additional photography outside the mosque, in later afternoon, evening light. 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. Enjoy your welcome dinner after the photo shoot. Overnight CASABLANCA. (D)

January 17: Essaouira

Depart the next morning for 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 18: Marrakech

Enjoy another morning of photography with Ron at the harbor and all the blue fishing boats. After checking out of the hotel make your way to Marrakech to begin the main portion of the tour. Before reaching your hotel there may be a chance to capture the goats climbing the trees along the highway or stop at the Women’s Argon Oil Cooperative.

Continue on the main itinerary for January 18 (B)