Deep in the dunes of the Sahara, a Blue Man materializes at precisely the right moment with a string of camels for you. In the maze of the Fès medina, your newest djellaba-wearing friend veers you into a one-person-wide alley to bypass a gridlock of donkeys piled high with hammered copper. On a country walk, just as your stomach starts to wonder about lunch, a family opens the door of their home and invites you in for a hearty meal.
It may feel like good luck, as if somebody in Morocco rubs a magic lamp for you just in time, every time. But exploring with Classic Journeys, you quickly discover that you’re actually in the hands of a choreographed caravan of locals who love to surprise you at every turn with exceptional access to their exotic homeland.
To mastermind it all, you’ll have the full-time attention of a local lead guide like Saida. She’s a thoroughly modern Moroccan, but with deep roots in tradition. A respected journalist in an earlier life, Saida broke the veiled ceiling to become one of Morocco’s first female guides many years ago. At the same time, she and her husband raised two children in the labyrinth of Fès. She’s your go-to resource if you want to talk shopping in the souks, international politics or the fine points of living in a centuries-old riad. Saida is fond of saying, “My friends are your friends,” and she’s not shy about proving it.
That kind of kismet happens when you go strolling in the foothills of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Out there, the apple orchards are carpeted in wildflowers. The only other traffic on your trail is a boy leading a donkey — Morocco’s renewable cargo vehicle of choice — loaded with firewood. But remote and rural as the setting is, up ahead Tarik and Badria are on the lookout for you at their home. They make sure the mint tea is hot and ready to pour. If you’re on one of our Family Trips, your kids can hop onto mountain bikes for a spin … and you all sit down together for a lively home-cooked lunch.
Farther afield, caravans heavy with gold used to shelter into the ksar of Rissani, a fortified Berber village. Today, the treasure that awaits you is Ali, a native Berber with a PhD in cultural anthropology and an uncanny talent for bringing history to life. In the shade of date palms that ring the nearby oasis fields, Ali also turns out to be the perfect cultural matchmaker as he introduces you to the farmers and their families.
Even the Sahara — as endless and empty as it looks from your Land Rover — is hospitable beyond what you could ever imagine. At the base of soaring, caramel-colored dunes, that spot of blue you see from a distance is Ibrahim. He’s a Blue Man, from the tribe named for their indigo-dyed clothes, and he’s your man with the camels. They’re ready to carry you on a cinematic ride into the desert. If you want to climb off to surf down one of the dunes, your wish is Ibrahim’s command. Then, just before nightfall, he’ll help you with your dismount at his tribesmen’s luxury tented encampment. Dinner is cooking, the campfires are burning bright, and you settle in for a perfectly orchestrated night under the starriest skies you’ve ever seen.
You’ve never traveled in the care of such a big and friendly entourage at every step. Whether you’re swaying to the snake charmers in Marrakesh, making nice with Barbary apes in a cedar forest or meeting students in their classrooms in Tamzenddirt, you’ll have wonderful, unexpected experiences because you are expected at every turn. To truly see and understand Morocco, it takes a caravan … and ours is ready and waiting for you.