MOROCCO and TUNISIA
Two North African Countries of Shared and Different Influences
April 21 – May 5, 2018

Tunisian and Moroccan flags

Morocco and Tunisia both have rich histories with some common influences reflected in both countries’ art, education and culture. But shared influences aside, the two countries are quite different!
The Kingdom of Morocco has had a legacy of royal dynasties whose directions for the country and their importance are reflected everywhere one travels in the country. In addition, the large Berber or Tamazight minority has an identity that is being voiced more and more.
Tunisia, who like Morocco, has had the influence of a long French presence, has a smaller population and more homogeneous in nature, well-educated and following the January 2011 Revolution which ousted a long time autocratic president, Tunisia is the Arab world’s first true democracy. The role of women and the high educational level of Tunisians has given the support to the process of democratization, and thus, the freedom of expression is seen throughout the country in a manner that is more reflective of a Mediterranean culture than that of Arab.
Both Morocco and Tunisia remain the only two Arab countries that still have active Jewish communities. Albeit a fraction of the size that was in each country prior to 1948 and the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jewish minorities are free and choose to remain, upholding their pride in the Moroccan and/or Tunisian identity. In addition, both Morocco and Tunisia’s tolerant attitudes also makes them countries where Jewish visitors can feel welcome.

 

This special Morocco and Tunisia tour will provide participants with unique experiences. In addition to traveling through parts of these very different and exotic countries and seeing their rich history, you will have the opportunity to meet many of Morocco and Tunisia’s citizens, learn about their countries’ rich heritage and traditions, but how different the two countries are.

Day 1, Saturday, April 21 – Departure from the US
Departure US gateway for your overnight non-stop flight to Casablanca, arriving the following morning.

Day 2, Sunday, April 22 – Arrival in Casablanca/Rabat
Upon your morning arrival in Casablanca, you will be met by your English speaking Moroccan guide. After leaving the airport we drive approximately one hour to Rabat, the capital of Morocco. where our visit includes the 12th century Hassan Tower. Begun at the end of the 12th century under the direction of Sultan Yacub al Mansour, the intent was that it be the largest minaret in the world, at that time. Due to his death within four years of the start, construction stopped and the tower that remains is approximately half the height that was originally intended. Lunch in Rabat followed by visiting the Oudaya Gardens. Dinner and overnight in Rabat. (B, D)

Walking near the walls of the Kasbah in Rabat

Day 3, Monday, April 23  – Meknes/Fez
After breakfast, we check out of the hotel and depart eastward, with our first stop being the city of Meknes, where we visit the old quarter.

We depart Meknes and make a stop at Volubulis, the oldest and most western Roman site in north Africa. Following our visit to Volubulis, we continue the drive to Fez, a medieval town of exotic landscape and architecture. Dinner and overnight in Fez. (B, L, D)

Day 4, Tuesday, April 24 – Fez
Today is fully devoted to Fez.

You will also have time to walk through the maze of alleyways, a walking tour that is only suitable for hearty and healthy walkers, as the ancient medina is filled with narrow, steep roads that would limit transportation to animal pulled vehicles. Dinner and overnight in Fez. (B, L, D)

Cityscape of Fez

Day 5, Wednesday, April 25 – Fez to Marrakech
This morning, we depart Fez to Marrakech. The drive is through scenic rural landscapes changing from verdant hills to more arid landscapes, arriving to Marrakech by mid-afternoon.

If Fez seemed exotic, Marrakech has its own brand of exotica, very different from that of Fez.

Dinner tonight and a visit to the fabled Djema Fna Djema Fna, the main square in Marrakech. Overnight in Marrakech. (B, L, D)

Day 6, Thursday, April 26 – Marrakech
Today is devoted to touring the sites of Marrakech, including a visit to Bahia Palace, the herbalists in the medina.  There will also be time to walk through the maze of alleyways and shops that make up the medina of Marrakech.

Dinner tonight is independent.

Searching design and food magazines, as well as online sources, one finds that Moroccan cuisine and the restaurant scene in Marrakech is hot!!!  Numerous suggestions will be provided, as well as instructions on how to get to the restaurant of your choice. You can also make a return visit to the famous Djema Fna, Morocco’s central square that turns into a circus type atmosphere at night with crowds coming to the market to listen to the variety of local musicians, enjoying the many food stalls and the exotic atmosphere that has carried on for generations in Marrakech, including snake charmers. Overnight in Marrakech. (B, L)

Snake charmers at the Djma el Fna

Day 7, Friday, April 27 – Marrakech/Casablanca
This morning we depart for a return to Casablanca. Upon arrival in Casablanca, we will have the opportunity to tour the city, Morocco’s largest and modern metropolis. Our “Farewell Dinner” will be in a nice setting. Overnight in Casablanca. (B, L, D)

Casablanca's Grande Mosquee Hassan II

 

Day 8, Saturday, April 28 – Casablanca departure/flight to Tunis
This morning you transfer to the airport for your flight to Tunisia,
arriving approximately two hours later.

Since you will already have adjusted to the time zones from having been in Morocco, we take a drive providing an orientation of this beautiful seaside area of Tunis, including a visit to Sidi Bou Said, a village whose architecture and winding streets were influenced by its early Andalusian settlers who came here following their expulsion from Spain at the end of the 15th century.

Enjoy the views and learn something about the history of the region. Then check into your hotel in the Gammarth area of Tunis, with its beautiful views of the bay of Tunis.

For dinner tonight, we drive to La Goulette for dinner to enjoy the atmosphere of this town that once had a large mix of multiple faiths, including fourteen synagogues. Dinner and overnight in Tunis-Gammarth. (B, L, D)

Sidi Bou Said with Andalusian style home, surrounded with bougainvillea

Day 9, Sunday, April 29 – Tunis environs
This morning we begin with Tunisia’s most famous site (though hardly its largest)…Carthage. Today, Carthage, as with Sidi Bous Said, are affluent suburbs of Tunis, Tunisia’s capital.

After touring some of Carthage, we drive to the Bardo Museum, Tunisia’s foremost museum and the home of a world-class mosaic collection.

From the Bardo, we drive into the historic heart of Tunis, where the origins date to the 7th century. There are many shops and alleyways that you will see as we walk with your guide.

Dinner and overnight in Tunis-Gammarth. (B, L, D)

Touring Antonine's Baths at Carthage

Day 10, Monday, April 30 – northwest Tunisia
This morning we depart to the northwest of Tunisia, a region of hills, mountains and rolling farmland, which ultimately became the breadbasket for the Roman Empire.

Beautiful northwest Tunisia scenery

Our first stop will be Testour, a town settled by Andalusian emigres, both Jewish and Muslim who came to Tunisia as a result of their expulsion from Spain at the end of the 15th century. Following Testour, we continue for approximately one hour to the expansive archaeological site of Dougga.

Drive southeast with a late day arrival to Kairouan. Dinner and overnight in Kairouan. (B, L, D)

Roman theater at Dougga

Day 11, Tuesday, May 1  –  Kairouan/El Jem/Sfax
Kairouan is a rather provincial town. However, the city was founded and subsequently developed during early Islamic times, with Kairouan’s Great Mosque, dating from -the 7th century, reputed to be the oldest mosque in Africa. Kairouan’s location along the caravan routes also provided a base for a flourishing crafts industry.

Exterior of the Great Mosque of Kairouan

From Kairouan,  you drive approximately one and a quarter hours southeast to El Jem. Known in Roman times as Thysdrus and noted for its amphitheater, which is similar to the coliseum of Rome. Following your exploration of El Jem and the nearby El Jem Museum.

Exploring the coloseum at El Jem

From El Jem, you drive south to Sfax, Tunisia second largest city. Dinner and overnight in Sfax. (B, L, D)

The fishmarket within the Sfax medina

Day 12, Wednesday, May 2 – Sfax/Jerba
This morning you drive south to the ksour region, a region of semi-arid desert, eventually arriving to the region of Matmata. This region’s crater like topography is dotted with troglodyte dwellings. Its exotic settings provided one of the film locations for the movie, Star Wars. You will have an opportunity to explore some of these dwellings and the region, as well as have lunch in a troglodyte restaurant. From Matmata, you drive to the coast and take a ferry boat to the island of Jerba. Dinner and overnight in Jerba at your seaside resort hotel. (B, D)

Learning about indigenous desert architecture and lifestyle...

Day 13, Thursday, May 3 – Jerba
Your island tour eventually brings you to Houmt Souk, Jerba’s main market town which is Mediterranean in feel, small in scale and a great place for those who had been waiting to go shopping. Many of the jewelers in Houmt Souk are from the Jewish village of Hara Kabira.

Market scene in Houmt Souk, Jerba's main market town

Take your time to shop and enjoy any one of the numerous cafes and restaurants, all of which are in a relatively small walking area.

Today is a special day in Jerba that takes place only once a year. The Jewish festival of Lag B’omer is celebrated in Jerba in the area surrounding the Ghriba synagogue. A rare day when not only Jewish men and women mix in their social setting, but the festival brings visitors from other parts of Tunisia, France and elsewhere celebrating together, both Jews and Muslims are seen sharing in this unusual Jewish Pilgrimage to the island of Jerba.

Inside the Ghriba synagogue during the Jerba pilgrimage

A shuttle will be arranged to return you to your hotel, or, you can easily take a taxi. Dinner and overnight in Jerba. (B, D)

Day 14, Friday, May 4 – Jerba/Tunis
Morning return flight back to Tunis. We will then have a walking tour of the medina, You may then continue on your own exploring, stay with your guide and/or walk back to our hotel. Lunch suggestions to be provided. Your “Farewell” dinner will be in a restored mansion within the Kasbah.  Overnight in Tunis. (B, D)

Within the medina of Tunis

Day 15, Saturday, May 5 – departure
Morning departure back to the US, arriving later the same day. (B)

 

Dining in wonderful venues!

HOTELS 

Morocco

Rabat: Farah Rabat ★★★★★

Fez
: HR’s Palais Medina & Spa ★★★★★

Marrakech: Atlas Medina & Spa ★★★★★

Casablanca: Kenzi Tower Hotel ★★★★★
Tunisia

Tunis: Golden Tulip Carthage ★★★★★

Kairouan: La Kasbah  ★★★★★

Jerba: Radison Blu Ulysse Resert & Thalasso  ★★★★★

Tunis: Mouradi Africa Hotel  ★★★★★

NOTE: Hotel star ratings reflect both Morocco and Tunisia’s Ministries of Tourism ratings and may not be commensurate with international ratings. In our objective opinion, between one to two stars should be deducted to correspond to international rankings. The narrative reviews are those of our own repeated visits and/or based on client feedback.

COST $4,895 Per person based on Double Occupancy.
Single supplement of $950.

INCLUDED

  • All meals as indicated by B, L and D.
  • All touring and entrance fees noted on the itinerary.
  • Air conditioned bus and English speaking Moroccan and Tunisian guides.
  • One way flight from Casablanca to Tunis
  • Deluxe hotels throughout

 

Not included in the package:

  • Gratuities to Moroccan and Tunisian guide and drivers.
  • Transportation from US. to Morocco and Tunis to US
  • All items of a personal nature and additional hotel charges of cleaning, drinks, and alcohol, etc.
  • Visas are not required for US and/or Canadian citizens.
  • Trip cancellation or travel insurance is not included, but STRONGLY ENCOURAGED.

 

TO REGISTER OR FOR INFORMATION

For additional information, contact Iconic Journeys Worldwide at;
info@IconicJourneysWorldwide.com or 888-474-5502.