Morocco is a true journey of contrast and discovery. However, with so much to discover, figuring out how to fit everything in can be as stressful as navigating the bazaars of Marrakesh. Fear not, our travel photography itinerary has been carefully compiled to give you the complete Moroccan experience in just 9 days.
- Capture culturally-rich Fes
- Traverse up and down the Atlas Mountains
- Walk the desert dunes of Erg Chebbi
- Discover Morocco’s iconic oasis at Skoura
- Visit the exotic and well-preserved kasbah of Ait Benhaddou
- Wake up to the Saharan sunrise
- Photograph the gardens, mosques, palaces and souqs of Marrakesh
- Explore colourful and lively markets and medinas
Moroccan public transport conveniently connects most major towns with plenty of buses and collective taxis linking everywhere in between. However, if you want to do it in 9 days, we recommend getting a rental car (with or without a driver) for better, quicker access to your destinations.
If you aren’t taking any ‘speciality’ shots e.g. long distance wildlife shots, we highly recommend taking two lenses that will cover almost every angle. Your time is better spent focussing on Morocco and less on what you have to lug around.
In general, you should be careful about taking photos of Moroccans as some feel uncomfortable being photographed. Follow the rules to photographing locals.
Handshakes are followed by lightly touching your heart with your right hand.
Note: Men should wait for Moroccan women to offer handshakes.
Both sexes should dress to cover their shoulders. Outside the cities, where people are more conservative, even above-the knees shorts may be seen as inappropriate.
The left hand is considered unclean as it is used for toilet ‘tasks’. Don’t handle food with your left hand, particularly if eating from a communal dish such as a tajine.
Most mosques in Morocco do not allow non-muslim visitors to enter, however, photos shot from the outside are allowed.
Day 1: Casablanca and Fes
Half a day in Casablanca is plenty of time to get your senses acclimated to the Moroccan way of life. Before continuing on to day two in Fes, stretch your legs and check out:
- Hassan II mosque
The second largest mosque in the world
- The Old Medina
The old city district with Maze-like alleyways and shops
- La Corniche
Casablanca’s beachfront districtDay
Drive to the next stop (without stops): 3-4 hours
Day 2: Fes
Fes is made up of three sections:
- Ville Nouvelle
The French-created modern section with chic cafe-lined avenues.
- Fes el-Bali
The original Medina and one of the largest living medieval cities in the world.
- Fes el-Jdid
In 1976 UNESCO declared Fes el-Bali one of the world’s cultural treasures; the palaces, mosques, medressas and fountains are among the most beautiful in Morocco.
The colours and aromas of the olive and spice stores mixed in with communal bakeries and the mysterious perfume shops are just some of the delights that make this journey through the ancient alleyways a memorable experience.
Chouara tannery is also worth a visit to watch the dying of leathers.
Day 3: Midelt
Wake up to a trip through the Atlas Cedar forest for your opportunity to see panoramic views of the Middle Atlas Mountains, lakes and Berber villages; as well as encounters with nomadic Berber families and Barbary apes if you’re lucky.
With another 4-hour drive still ahead of you, we suggest heading off and making your way to Midelt before dark. Be sure to get some quality shut-eye!
Drive to the next stop: 4 hours
Day 4: Merzouga
An early start is required for the long drive to Erg Chebbi, Merzouga. Pass through the agricultural regions of northern Morocco, the fertile plains in the foothills of the Middle Atlas and the quaint town of Timahdite. Beyond Timahdite lies a completely barren plateau reminiscent of a lunar landscape pitted with small volcanic craters, the largest of which is Sidi Ali, an immense lake bordered by steep cliffs.
From there, continue on past palm-fringed towns to Erfoud, and to the sand dunes at Erg Chebbi. Here, the deep orange-hued dunes of the vast Sahara stretch for miles and present the travel photographer with sights you have to see to believe.
Drive to the next stop: 4-5 hours
Day 5: Todra Gorge
We know you’ve already had a few early rises, but we strongly recommend you rise before dawn to experience the amazing colours of a Saharan sunrise. En route to the spectacular Todra Gorge—a trench of gigantic rock walls that change colour and run through the High Atlas Mountains—visit some of Morocco’s greatest antiquities or the kasbahs of the eastern slopes of the High Atlas (i.e. the market in Rissani).
Drive to the next stop: 3-4 hours
Day 6: Skoura Oasis
Skoura is one of Morocco’s most beautiful oases and offers you a chance to rest your weary feet and enjoy the abundance of unique nature. After you have soaked in all you can of the oasis, make your way to the fortified village of Ait Benhaddou.
Consider stopping over and visiting:
- The Dades Gorge
- Rose Valley
- Jebel Sahro
- Road of a Thousand Kasbahs
Drive to the next stop: 3 hours
Day 7: Ait Benhaddou
Ait Benhaddou, the most exotic and best preserved Kasbah in the entire Atlas area, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco. Used as a set for Game of Thrones, the old earthen structures are also one of Morocco’s World Heritage Sites.
Drive to the next stop: 1 hour
Day 8 & 9: Marrakesh
Leave the arid desert area and cross the High Atlas Mountains to arrive in Marrakesh late in the afternoon. Framed by the snowy heights of the Atlas Mountains and thousand-year-old palm groves, Marrakesh has a profound impact on all that visit it.
To discover the soul of Marrakesh, photograph gardens, mosques, palaces, and souks of the old Medina before reaching the humming centre of Marrakesh: Djemaa el-Fna. The atmosphere of this square is overwhelming with its jumble of food stalls, snake charmers, fortune- and storytellers and the wide variety of people that flock to its attractions.
After you have a well-earned rest, perhaps with some Maghrebi mint tea, be sure to return at night when the square really comes alive.
Make sure you pack the right skills and know-how for your Moroccan adventure. Sign up to our ‘Travel Photography with Richard I’Anson’ course today and learn from one of the world’s most-awarded travel photographers.