Culture, Yoga & Art Retreat
June 1-15, 2023
with Gridless Studio & Moroccan Caravan Tours
This special and varied exploration of Morocco will provide a unique opportunity to experience the country’s diverse food, art, and landscapes, and find inspiration through guided yoga and art making experiences.
With expert guidance and exclusive access, participants will delve into this extraordinary nation to soak up its natural beauty and vibrant culture.
Trip highlights include:
• Behind-the-scenes exploration of cultural antiquities unique to Morocco
• Daily all-levels guided yoga practice, art making, and journaling opportunities to capture and absorb the beauty of Morocco
• Exclusive entry into private homes to share unique experience, hands-on cooking lessons, and artisan demonstrations
• Camel trekking through the Sahara Desert
• Plus many surprises!
"This was the most in-depth, personal, behind-the-scenes, and reasonably priced tour of this fascinating country I could have hoped for."
"Addi's guidance and leadership throughout our journey was extraordinary. His depth of knowledge, keen wit, interest in humanity, love of his homeland, positive spirit... made for a deep, rich, and intimate experience."
Morocco’s unique geographical location in North Africa, with shorelines on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe, the Middle East, and the rest of Africa, makes it one of the oldest and most vibrant trading posts in the world. For Romans, Arabs, Imazighen, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and sub-Saharan Africans, it has long been a crossroads for the exchange of food, arts, ideas, and people. It is also a land of intricately designed cities, colorful villages, and stunning landscapes.
This unique tour will give each participant an opportunity to get close to the magic that is Morocco and engage with local people.
Travel to Casablanca
Begin travels today with a flight across the Atlantic to arrive in Casablanca, Morocco no later than 10:30am on the following day. Participants book their own flights.
Casablanca / Fes
Arrive at Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca, meet your tour guide, and transfer to our luxury van for a beautiful drive through vast and diverse landscapes to the ancient city of Fes.
Morning departure for a guided tour to explore one of Morocco’s most historic and important cities - Fes. The visit will take us into the medina (“old city”) to see some of its many sections. Each section specializes in certain types of handmade arts and crafts such as embroidery, weaving, and ceramics, etc.. We will have an opportunity to see artisans making exquisite items using centuries-old traditional techniques. Of special interest are the ancient leather dyeing vats in the heart of the city. We will sample a wide variety of local cuisines for lunch. Along the way we will note repetitive or unique patterns, textures, and designs that play a part in Fes’ identity.
Tonight, we have a special group dinner at a local restaurant specializing in authentic Moroccan cuisine with a show featuring a variety of musicians and dancers representing different areas and ethnic groups. As a special treat, we will enjoy a theatrical presentation of a Moroccan wedding ceremony with our group members participating to get very close to the culture, including dancing for all.
Fes - Volubilis - Midelt
After a yoga treat and breakfast we go visit the Jnan Sbil gardens and have an art painting and sketching session in the gardens to capture some of the scenes of Fes. Afterward, we depart to Volubilis, an ancient Roman site that still preserves its original mosaics. We will enjoy lunch at a nearby holy town before continuing to Midelt, crossing the Cedar Forest.
Midelt - Tafilalet Oasis
Drive south through the Middle Atlas Mountains with their cedar forest and the Ziz Valley to the Tafilalet Oasis/ Plam grove. This ride is beautiful and we will be making stops to explore and do art. Dinner and overnight in Rissani or at a nearby village depending on the group size. Participants make an overnight bag for tomorrow’s camel ride and night in the Sahara camp.
Village Mezguida - Rissani - Sahara (camp overnight)
After a morning yoga session and breakfast, we start our day with a walking tour of the Village of Mezguida, a nearby seventeenth century adobe village. We will then continue to Rissani for a visit, learn about spices and how they are used in Moroccan cuisine, this an opportunity to purchase your authentic spices to take home. We will enjoy lunch and have a presentation on different types of Amazigh (Berber) textiles. In the afternoon, we head out into the Sahara for a camel ride experience and overnight at a nomadic camp in the middle of the golden sand dunes. Dinner with local music. When drumming starts, anyone can join with clapping, dancing and drumming with locals.
Return from camp - Rissani - Tafilalet Oasis
After returning from our camel excursion, we will enjoy downtime by the gardens and the pool. This is another opportunity to do yoga and or art. For lunch, we will have a demonstration and learn how to make a local specialty of stuffed bread baked in the sand, this will be our lunch accompanied with a tasty mint tea, just like the nomads have done it for centuries. The afternoon will be spent exploring other parts of this desert region including a Saharan oasis and gardens, witnessing how locals extract water from the dunes for drinking and irrigation using an ancient underground system called khuttaras. Our day will be topped with a special visit to a local community with Sub-saharan origins to experience their unique spiritual music and chanting. Overnight at our guest house in the Tafilalet Oasis.
Todra Gorge - Dades & Rose valley
Start the day with a yoga session and breakfast before rolling. Today’s ride is full of unique scenes. We will start our day by exploring a nearby seventeenth century adobe village. We will wander through the Todra Gorge (canyon) after passing through a lush valley surrounded by many villages and filled with date palm trees. Then we continue our spectacular ride to go through the Dades valley and end the day in the rose valley to spend the night at a guesthouse with a spectacular panoramic view.
Kalat M’Gouna - Ouarzazate
Today, we will have a special and an amazing experience overlooking the lush valley and kasbahs. We will be introduced to a totally different style of native music and dance unique to this region. Participants will have a chance to join the dance. After lunch we continue west to Ouarzazate. Maybe, a session of yoga or art to open the appetite for dinner.. Overnight in Ouarzazate.
Ouarzazate - Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou - Marrakech
Ouarzazate is a town known for film production. Today we will cross the amazing High Atlas Mountains. The scenery in the mountains is striking and unique, as dozens of Amazigh (Berber) villages accented with terrace gardens can be seen. One of the highlights for today is the world heritage site Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. We will visit a women’s cooperative that specializes in making famous Argan Oil. Overnight in Marrakech.
Yoga stretch, breakfast then go explore Marrakech, including a lush hidden garden (“Le Jardins Secret”), created on the grounds of a historical site. We will visit the 19th century Bahia Palace, and the 11th century Koutoubia Mosque and gardens. We will then enter the lively souks (“markets”) to experience its colors and its smells.
Marrakech - Essaouira
Go on a short drive outside of Marrakech to visit the stunning Anima gardens with endless of flora and sculptures. Lunch on your own at the Garden Cafe. We will take time to do art at the gardens. In the afternoon, we continue our journey westward toward the Atlantic Ocean, to the seaside town of Essaouira for overnight.
Essaouira is an historic small town on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, dating back to the middle ages. Originally named Mogador in the 1500’s. it has been occupied by the Portuguese, Spanish, French. The present day city of Essaouira was built during the mid-18th century by king Mohammed III.
Today we will take a walking tour of the intense markets within the ancient walls of the Essaouira Medina, visiting the fishing port, and a possible hammam (Moroccan bath) experience.
Essaouira - Casablanca
Free time to further explore Essaouira or enjoy a moment on the beach or by the pool. After lunch we drive up to Casablanca for overnight.
We will transfer to the Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca for our return flight.
Join us for this once in a lifetime experience!
$3,650 USD per person
(shared accommodation, add $800 for single accommodation)
✓ 1st class private air-conditioned van/bus transportation during the tour
✓ Multiple garden visits
✓ Delicious hands-on food preparation in the local styles
✓ Charming accommodations as indicated in the itinerary or similar
✓ Admission to historical sites, gardens, and parks during scheduled guided group tours
✓ Visit to a mud (adobe) brick village in southern Morocco
✓ All meals as indicated in the itinerary, excluding all beverages (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
✓ Travel yoga mat and basic art supply kit
✓ First rate tour leaders, professional driver, and licensed tour guides for specialty locations
✓ Many unique surprises!
X Travel Insurance and Personal Health Insurance
X Passport fees and related paperwork
X Private vehicular transfer
X Shopping, massages, hammam visits, liquor, or anything not included in this package
X Excess baggage, telephone, laundry, room service, personal and medical expenses
X Tips for, drivers, guides, porters, and others behind the scenes are distributed fairly by the tour manager throughout the trip as an out of pocket expense. (Tips average $20/day.)
Meet your tour guides and get any questions answered at one of our free upcoming online info sessions!
Thursday, November 10, 2022 • 5-6pm PT • Join via ZOOM
Sunday, December 4, 2022 • 9-10am PT • Join via ZOOM
Can't make an info session? Email us your questions anytime!
Photos by Nancy Brady, used with permission.