Join the 2019 Fulbright Alumni Insight Trip to Morocco!

Spend a journey with fellow Fulbright Alumni across sprawling terrain where mountains meet sand dunes and past meets present. In this mosaic country at the nexus of the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, at least seven languages are spoken. But the word you’ll hear the most is Marhaba—in Arabic, a word of welcome.

About the trip

Total cost: $2,448 (shared room); single rooms available for an additional $427

Dates: March 9 – 17, 2019

Travel partner: Insider Expeditions

Contact: travel@fulbright.org

Registration

Submit your deposit and registration packet by December 3, 2018.

Itinerary

1

Saturday, March 09

  • Arrive in Casablanca this morning and meet our private guide and Fulbright hosts at Mohammed V International Airport.
  • Settle into our coastal Casablanca quarters for the night, the Hôtel Casablanca Le Lido
  • Thalasso and Spa, right on the beach. Take a siesta from the overnight flight, enjoy one of the numerous pools at the hotel, enjoy a walk along the beach, or perhaps enjoy a rejuvenating spa or hammam treatment. Hammam culture is an ancient and integral part of Moroccan life, and we'll learn why water is considered sacred. In a part of the world where family and community are the cornerstone of society, the hammam is deeply rooted in everyday communal life—a setting where people go to socialize, gossip, do business, and even arrange marriages. Your guides will have plenty of suggestions if you wish to explore the neighborhood.
  • In the evening, enjoy a welcome reception with some local Fulbright Scholars and Alumni.
  • Here, the beats get started early and go late. Following the reception, you may prefer to get some rest, or explore the lively night scene and the crashing waves amid wafting African coastal tunes. Besseha!
Meals Included: Welcome Reception

2

Sunday, March 10

  • After breakfast, take a brief overview tour of the famed city of Casablanca, the chief port of Morocco, where we will be granted access to Hassan II Mosque, one of the most important and beautiful structures in the country.
  • Depart for Rabat (a 1.5-hour drive) to discover a display of Moroccan architecture that spans thousands of years and maintains an authentic and often consistent style. There, in Morocco’s capital, we'll enjoy guided exploration of the courtyard (Mechouar) of the Royal Palace, the ruins of Chellah, the Mohammed V Mausoleum, and the Hassan Tower. You’ll also have time to wander the Old Medina or go to a local bathhouse, or hammam.
  • Enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal then nestle down in your bed for a long and deep night's sleep at our cozy riad.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

3

Monday. March 11

  • After a big breakfast in our Rabat riad, enjoy a late morning meet-and-greet with the Fulbright Commission of Morocco. Get to know their experiences in the country and understand the deep history of the Fulbright partnership.
  • After the reception, head on a two-hour drive to Volubilis, an ancient Roman town built and occupied since the 3rd century BC, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander around the abandoned ruins, still dotted with colorful mosaics and glimpses into neighborhood life so many centuries ago. Atop many of the columns, spot black and white storks carefully guarding their nests.
  • After a short drive arrive in Meknes. Take a walking tour of Meknes, the second of the four imperial cities of Morocco that you will visit. See the beautiful architectural sites of El Hdim Square, the medina and the city walls, and the imposing and lavish Bab El Mansour gate—the entrance to the old city. Grab an afternoon snack here on your own as you enjoy some time to wander this wondrous imperial treasure.
  • In the evening, have an opportunity to explore Meknes. More mint tea and on your own dinner awaits you before you head to bed for some well-deserved sleep.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Fulbright Commission Reception

4

Tuesday, March 12

  • After breakfast at our riad with members of a local NGO who are working to preserve the famous market that defines this city, we'll begin to explore one of the most magical medinas on earth.
  • Start at the Royal Palace Gate, wandering through the alleys and small streets with our local guide, who will give us an overview of the expansive maze.
  • Enter the old city, Fes el-Bali, which is also the world’s largest car-free zone (it’s hard to navigate an SUV around 9,400 tiny alleyways). The lofty Blue Gate, known as the Grande Porte Bab Boujeloud, marks the entrance to the inner medina of Fes. If you look back over your shoulder, you'll notice the other side is actually green.
  • Peer through the gates of Al Qaraouine University, the oldest known university in the world, which also has the world’s oldest working library. Learn about the ways its administration and student body have shifted outward and inward over time.
  • Continue towards the world-renowned outdoor leather tanneries, most of which have been operational since the 11th century.
  • Together, we'll visit local tile makers to watch their ancient, traditional art, before trying it on our own.
  • The most magical part of the Fes medina is getting lost within it. We'll make sure everyone knows how to ask for directions back to the Grande Porte, set a time to reconvene, and then let everyone go ahead and get properly lost before you eventually find your way back. You'll encounter markets, mosques, crafts, foods, teas, and countless other discoveries along the way.
Meals Included: Breakfast

5

Wednesday, March 13

  • After breakfast, begin to make our way to Merzouga, where we will spend the night dusting off our astronomy under the desert stars.
  • Experience a wonderful panorama view over the old city of Fes from the hilltop of the Merenid Tombs, the crumbling ruins of Moroccan royalty, quietly gazing out over a modernizing landscape.
  • Stop in Ifrane, often referred to as the “Switzerland of Morocco” in its bizarre design as a small alpine village, it seems as out of place as it fits right in.
  • Stop in the cedar forests of Azrou before arriving for lunch in Midelt, a beautiful town halfway to the desert. Over lunch, we’ll meet a group of students at the town's local university and have the chance to talk with them about the Moroccan education system.
  • Arrive at Merzouga, an odd village next to the largest natural underground body of water in Morocco. It serves as a last oasis before entry into the desert.
  • Once we arrive among the dunes, swap our wheels for dromedaries, and ride our camels into the Sahara at sunset.
  • Dine tonight in a tented camp. Over fresh-cooked food, we’ll learn traditional music within a community that has survived in the sands for centuries and learn where the term "Berber" originates.
  • Sleep snuggled between Saharan dunes and under some of the most spectacular and mesmerizing displays of stars. You can choose to sleep inside the semi-permanent tents or right out directly under the stars.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

6

Thursday. March 14

  • Catch sunrise over the Erg Chebbi: glowing, brilliant orange dunes that rise as high as 150 meters.
  • Journey to see the lush valleys of Tourong and Tinjdad as we ride switchbacks through the roads of the Dades Gorge.
  • Take in the massive canyon walls of the Todra Gorge, considered one of the most spectacular canyons in the world, as we continue on through the Atlas Mountains.
  • Arrive at the partially restored 17th Century Kasbah Amridil and the quaint village of Skoura it’s nestled in.
  • Hear local gnawi music from some of the most talented musicians in the world.
  • That evening, enjoy dinner served by the fireplace at the family-run Gite Kasbah La Palmeraie where we'll spend the night between the stucco walls and behind its baby blue doors.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

7

Friday, March 15

  • After breakfast, visit Ait Benhaddou, a majestic and mostly abandoned ancient city. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture, and the city summit offers a 360- degree panorama over the surrounding landscape. Visit with some of the eight families that still live here, last holdouts in this majestic former caravan way station. Have lunch in the adjacent town, offering terrace views out over Ait Benhaddou.
  • Arrive in Marrakech as sunset glints off the city’s orange trees. Here, home will be one of the oldest riads in the middle of the medina. Tonight, converse with a regional scholar to learn more about the religion and politics of the Arab Muslim world.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

8

Saturday, March 16

  • Enjoy a welcome lunch and sample pastille over views of the stunning Jemaa el-Fnaa, a bustling square in the center of the city.
  • The most magical part of the medina is getting lost within it. We’ll start with an overview tour, making sure everyone knows how to ask for directions, and then we’ll get properly lost in the winding streets before making our way home. Encounter endless markets, mosques, crafts, foods, teas, and countless other discoveries along the way.
  • Freshen up for a celebratory rooftop feast.
  • After dinner, meet the snake charmers, magicians, and local artisans that populate Jemaa el-Fnaa square late at night.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

9

Sunday, March 17

  • Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the riad, savoring your final sips of coffee and mint tea.
  • Go for a short wander and last spin around the medina before departing for Casablanca to catch afternoon and evening flights back to the United States.
Meals Included: Breakfast

What's Included

  • All activities, sightseeing, and entry fees listed in the itinerary.
  • All meals listed in the itinerary, including three breakfasts, three lunches, and three dinners. Includes the choice
    of water, soda, coffee or tea at all meals. Includes private rooms during welcome and farewell dinners.
  • Transportation by private, air-conditioned motor coach, as well as transfers for the group as appropriate.
  • Bottled water during all excursions.
  • The services of an exceptional bilingual tour guide as described in the itinerary.
  • The services of a full-time, bilingual Insider Expeditions tour manager.
  • Comprehensive cultural information and reading materials.
  • All gratuities for participants and staff to cover porterage, drivers, wait staff at group meals, guides, and tour
    directors.

What's Not Included

  • Flights to and from Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport (CMN).
  • Local health insurance.
  • Expenses of a purely personal nature (including cab fares, laundry and other personal items, room service
    charges, passport application fees, etc.).
  • Transportation of luggage in excess of weight allowance.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Food and beverage other than that specified in the itinerary.
  • Costs associated with trip interruption or modification due to weather, travel conditions, political/civil
    disputes, medical emergencies or other causes beyond our control.

Please read all the information in our registration packet for terms on cancellations, refunds, and other policies. Note that we highly recommend waiting to purchase flights or finalize other travel plans until after the registration deadline has passed and the trip has been confirmed.

Membership requirements: Please also note that you must be a current member of the Fulbright Association in order to join the tour. If you are not a member, you can click here to join, or if you are a lapsed member, please click here to renew your annual membership. Not a Fulbright alumn? No problem! The Fulbright Association welcomes all supporters of the mission of the Fulbright Program to join as Friends of Fulbright. Tour registrants may also bring one non-member guest. Please indicate who your guest is in your registration materials.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at (202) 775-0725 or e-mail us at travel@fulbright.org.