SKETCHING OUR WAY THROUGH MOROCCO
Join us for a 14-day guided excursion through the varied cities and landscapes of Morocco. We will visit the exotic cities of Fes and Marrakech, ancient Roman ruins, small town markets, Sahara desert and oasis, and the Atlas Mountains. Our experienced native Moroccan tour guide will show us places and culture rarely found on other tours. Bring your sketchbook for an experience of 'slow looking' through Moroccan cities and countryside. Through sketching we’ll look at architecture, landscapes, agriculture, food, crafts, and Moroccan culture.
Moroccan Caravan, LLC – Cultural Trips to Morocco
Sketching the Landscapes of Morocco
May 13 - 26, 2020
Visit exotic cities of Fes and Marrakech, ancient Roman ruins, small towns and villages, weekly markets, the Sahara Desert and oases, and the High Atlas Mountains. Our expert native Moroccan guide and owner of Moroccan Caravan, LLC, Addi Ouadderrou, along with knowledgeable and frequent Moroccan traveler and landscape architect, Sandra Clinton, will show us places and cultural treasures rarely experienced on other tours. Through daily sketching and touring we will look at architecture, landscapes, agriculture, food, crafts, and Moroccan culture.
This tour is geared toward artists, design professionals, as well as aspiring sketchers who are looking for a unique experience in a beautiful location to further hone your craft of drawing and sketching. As we well know, the value of slowing down to draw and sketch allows us to breathe in the atmosphere of a place, take notes, record visual memories, feelings, and smells in a way that a camera cannot capture. Minor informal direction is available from artist and landscape architect, Jeff Charlesworth, and there will be no formal teaching. This is intended to be a sketch tour opportunity for artists.
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. With expert guidance and exclusive access, participants will delve into this colorful nation to soak up its natural beauty and vibrant culture.
- Explore Morocco, with its ancient and modern cultures and customs – sketching along the way.
- Experience Fes as one of the oldest cities of Morocco, where artists actively create intricate ceramics, embroidery, leather goods, and more.
- Visit historic and modern gardens and learn how they are connected to the land, culture, and history.
- Overnight stays in traditional Moroccan accommodations such as the Hotel Yasmina at the edge of the Sahara Desert https://www.hotelyasminamerzouga.com/ and Riad Zineb in Marrakesh http://www.riadzineb.com/en/
- Stay in a traditional Amazigh home to better understand the culture of an indigenous population who has withstood the test of time.
- Take a camel trek through the dramatic red dunes of the Sahara Desert and sleep under the stars in a nomadic desert camp.
- Ride along the old caravan routes and witness the old kasbahs, valleys, and the scenic Atlas Mountains.
- Join the nightly carnival of fortune-tellers, dancers, and musicians in Marrakech’s lively medina.
- Taste the rich variety of spices, herbs, and delectable Moroccan foods.
- For the best personalized and customized tour, the trip is limited to 14 participants.
Day 1 : May 13 Depart USA to Casablanca/Morocco
Today, travelers fly to Morocco. Passengers book their own flights. Suggest only nonstop service flights to take from the US to Casablanca Morocco are with Royal Air Maroc:
- From Washington DC, Dulles international airport (IAD)
- From New York (JFK)
- From Boston, Logan airport (BOS)
- From Miami (MIA)
- From Montreal (YUL)
Day 2 : May 14 Casablanca - Fes
Arrive at Casablanca airport, meet your tour leader and transfer on a private bus to Fes. (L, D)
Day 3: May 15 Explore Fes
Morning departure for a guided tour to explore one of Morocco’s most historic and important cities - Fes. As we explore, we will have sketching opportunities. We will start with a panoramic view over Fes to a general introduction to Fes. We will then continue into the medina (“old city”) to see different sections. Each section specializes in certain types of handmade arts and crafts, such as ceramics, leather work at the ancient leather dyeing vats at one of the oldest and still operating tanneries, embroidery, weaving and more. We will also visit a very old Medrassa or school. We will have a traditional lunch and sample a wide variety of local cuisines at a beautiful old home turned into a restaurant. Continue our exploring..
Our day will conclude with a special 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 have a presentation of a Moroccan wedding celebration with our group members participating in the ceremony to get very close to the culture, including dancing for all. (B,L,D)
Day 4: May 16 Fes - Volubilis - Midelt
After breakfast, we go to a family home inside the old medina for a special Sufi ceremony, mint tea and Moroccan pastry before we head out of Fes to Volubilis, a Roman site that preserves its original mosaics. We will have a guided visit. After lunch at a small holy town in the nearby slopes, we depart for Midelt via Ifrane and the cedar forest. Today is a great day for sketching ruins, villages, and varied landscapes. (B, L, D)
Day 5: May 17 Midelt - Sahara Desert - Tafilalet palm grove
Drive south through the Ziz Valley to the Tafilalet Oasis/ Palm grove. We will make stops for sketching. In late afternoon, we visit the town of Rissani, a former hub for trans-Saharan trade and visit the local traditional market. These locations present perfect places for quick sketching of architectural elements and people in motion. We will spend the night at a local family home for a unique experience. Tonight, make sure you prepare an overnight bag and don’t forget your bathing suit for May 18 camel trekking and desert camping. (B, L, D)
Day 6: May 18 Sahara Desert - Camel ride and overnight at a Saharan camp
We will explore a seventeenth century adobe village to learn about life in this area, sketch architecture and feel the passage of time. We then go have a delicious regional specialty lunch and a presentation to earn about different textiles of Morocco. In late afternoon, we go on a magical camel ride across the sand dunes for an overnight with dinner and music. Be prepared to join the drumming and dancing circle at our Saharan camp! (B, L, D)
Day 7: May 19 Return from camp, Hassi Lbied Village, Khamlia Village & Mezguida
After returning from our camel excursion, we spend time at an adobe guest house at the foot of the sand dunes. Participants can rest and enjoy time by the pool, also an opportunity for sketching in the dunes or the garden. Lunch will be served then leave to go explore a Saharan oasis and agricultural fields, witness how locals extract water from the dunes for drinking and irrigation of their gardens. We also will visit an adobe pueblo inhabited by a community with sub Saharan origins. (B, L, D)
Day 8: May 20 Todra Gorge and Boumalen Dades Valley
Today’s ride is full of unique scenes, such as the khuttaras, an ancient underground system of irrigation. We will stop for lunch and along the way, we will see Todra Gorge (canyon) after passing through a lush valley surrounded by many villages and filled with date palms. Here will be an opportunity to sketch in the valley of the mountains. Then we continue our spectacular ride to spend the night at a guest house in the Amazigh town of Boumalen in the Dades Valley. (B, L, D)
Day 9: May 21 Kalaa Megouna - Ouarzazate - Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou
We enjoy a leisurely morning, sketch and paint before we head out in the direction of the rose valley. We will be treated to lunch and a special music and dance performance from this area. We will then drive through Ouarzazate, a town known for film production. One of the highlights is the world heritage site Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. Overnight in Ait Ben Haddou. Dramatic sketching opportunities throughout this day! (B, L, D)
Day 10: May 22 Marrakech
Today, we will cross the amazing High Atlas Mountains. The scenery in the mountains is striking and unique, as one can see dozens of Amazigh (Berber) villages accented with terrace gardens built by local villagers. We will make stops for sketching /painting. Also, we will visit a women’s cooperative that specializes in making the famous rich argan oil. Overnight in Marrakech. ( B, L, D)
Day 11: May 23 - Explore Marrakech
We will explore Marrakech, including the 19th century Bahia Palace. The 11th century Koutoubia Mosque and gardens are a must see. These are great sketching sites. We will have lunch then enter the souks (“markets”) to enjoy its colors and its smells. The souks, also, are filled with sketching opportunities. ( B, L, D)
Day 12: May 24 Explore Marrakech
Today, we will go for a 10:30 am visit to the hidden garden (“Jardins Secret”), a garden created on the grounds of a historical site. Spend some time at the gardens for sketching. After, we go explore more of the souks. ( B, L)
Day 13: May 25 Marrakech
Today, Participants can enjoy a free day or go on an optional visit to Anima gardens located in Ourika Valley, 40 minutes south of Marrakech. If anyone is interested in an optional day trip to the coastal town of Essaouira, 3 hours ride each way, we can assist with booking and logistics. Decision for optional activities can be made once we are in Marrakech. (B)
Day 14: May 26 Transfer to Casablanca airport
Transfer to Casablanca airport for those leaving today. (B). Bon Voyage!!
SKETCHING. DO YOU NEED TO BE AN ARTIST TO JOIN THIS TRIP?
You don’t need to be a design professional or an artist to join us. Your skill as a sketcher is not as important as your desire to look carefully and slowly. The object of sketching is not the finished drawing as much as the time soaking up a scene. A prominent European museum recently asked visitors to take fewer photographs and gave them paper and pencils to draw what they see. Sketching engraves a scene in your visual memory far better than taking a photograph.
Sketching may help you look more closely at the people you see, a scene at the market, or the way a date palm tree grows and casts a shadow across a garden. You create your own visual story. And as we share our stories with other travelers we learn what others have seen.
Two recently published books in the Urban Sketching Handbook Series offer ideas on sketching. Consider them for reference but don’t be intimidated by the level of drawings shown.
Working with Color by Shari Blaukopf
101 Sketching Tips by Stephanie Bower.
During our trip we will suggest various graphic techniques to try day to day as well as share what we see and learn. In advance of the trip we’ll offer suggestions on drawing media, paper and sketchbooks to consider.
FEES AND INFORMATION
Price - Sketching the Landscapes of Morocco: $3,400 per person + airfare. Single supplement - $400
Register for tour at www.moroccancaravantours.com using the registration tab at the top of the home page. Please fill page out completely. A $1,000 deposit is required and reserves your space. Final payment is due no later than two months prior to tour start date (3/13/2020). Space is filled on a first come basis.
Included in this tour:
- Group transportation throughout the tour.
- Accommodation in mix of 4-star hotels and charming riads; each has a unique Moroccan style.
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary: B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner.
- Gratuities at restaurants during group meals and for porters at hotels.
- Entrance fees to monuments during scheduled group visits
- 1st class private air-conditioned transportation during the tour.
Not included in this tour:
- All airfare & Visas
- Beverages & Meals not listed in the itinerary
- Any private transfers
- Travel insurance (required) and is the participant’s responsibility to obtain.
- Passport fees and or any paperwork related expenses
- Excess baggage charges
- Telephone, laundry, room service, and any personal expenses
- Medical expenses
- Tips for drivers, guides, and others behind the scenes are handled by the tour leader as out-of-pocket fees throughout the tour and are paid back to him at the end of the tour. The estimated tip contribution per person is $10 - $15 per day.
ARTIST PACKING LIST
- Drawing pads/sketch books of your choice – easy to carry and pack
- Pencils, color pencils, watercolors (small set), ink for washes – any others of your preference
- Folding Stool for longer sketch opportunities
- Satchel for carrying all supplies easel
Group size limited to 14. One inclusive price includes all ground transportation, lodging, and most meals. Further details forthcoming.
For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org