Jewel Tour September 2022

Jewellery tour of Morocco : 12/09/2022 – 24/09/2022

Get to know Morocco, like never before.

A 13 day excursion, exploring the Southern Terra-cotta regions of magnificent Morocco. With a special focus on traditional  jewellery and adornment. Hosted by jewellery expert Sarah Corbett. Assisted by her partner Jim Ross and her daughter Amber Corbett

£4300 per person. (Excludes: travel to and from Morocco and any required Visas or Tests)

A 10% discount is available to those sharing accommodations.

Itinerary:

Day One – Monday September 12th.

Marhaba!

Welcome to Morocco.

Arrivals – You’ll either fly into Marrakech or Casablanca airport. A private transfer from Marrakech airport to your accommodation is included in the tour price. If you require a private transfer from Casablanca airport, then this can be arranged at cost. Just let us know at point of booking your air travel to Morocco.

Getting there – Your journey from the airport to your accommodation will be made easier, with assistance along the way. You’ll be met at arrivals by your personal driver and assisted with your luggage right to the front door of your Marrakech home.

And relax – We will be there to greet you at the guesthouse, at whatever time you should arrive. We will stay in a luxurious, boutique Riad in the heart of the majestic Medina of Marrakech. The ancient walled city is the setting of a million stories, just waiting for us to write our own. 

There’s time to settle into your large room, before meeting the other tour guests for a traditional dinner. As we may all be weary from travels, dinner will be a relaxed affair served on the terrace of our stunning Marrakech riad.

Day Two – Tuesday September 13th.

An educational and cultural experience awaits, as we visit the Berber Museum set within the exotic and iconic Jardin Majorelle. The jewellery showcased in the exhibition here is unparalleled in Morocco. A gentle start to our growing understanding of Morocco’s vast array of rich adornment.

Sarah will explain the symbolism within the jewellery designs from each region.

YSL – French fashion designer Yves St Laurent, along with his patron and life partner Pierre Berge, lovingly restored the 2.5 acre Majorelle Garden after taking on the project in the 1980’s. We have the opportunity to visit the recently established YSL museum, which is dedicated to the artist’s fashion creations. His love of Morocco is evident in the inspiration for his life’s work.

Next Stop Souk – The rest of our day will be reserved for shopping and eating. After a laid back lunch break near the gardens, we will head into the souks to visit a few jewellery shops and see some friendly faces. You’ll start to recognize symbolism from the jewellery in the museum, in the jewellery we find in the souks.

In the late afternoon, we will return to our Riad to rest and refresh before dining at a lovely restaurant in the Medina.

Day Three – Wednesday September 14th.

Today we leave the bustle of the Red city behind and take the dramatic Mountain route towards the Sahara. Our air-conditioned transport has ample space. You can get comfortable, sit back and enjoy the changing scenes and climates. 

We will travel through the steep, dramatic landscapes of the High Atlas Mountain range. You will find mineral and crystal shops along the way and the most stunning views.

Have your cameras ready, as you will want to capture these views to keep forever.

We will stop for lunch in the mountains and arrive in Ait Benhaddidhu by the afternoon.

As we travel further from Marrakech we will see the architecture changing buildings and mountains merge. Eventually we will see the famous fortified villages of southern Morocco, called Ksour or Ksar , these wonderful spaces were once home to whole tribes or families, and made important stopping points along the Saharan trade routes. We will be able to take walks in this beautiful Ksar and see the sunset.

Aït Benhaddou – Aït Benhaddou translates to family of Benhaddou. This historic Ksar once belonged to a wealthy and powerful family, and it sits positioned along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech.

Now a UNESCO world heritage site, it is often used as the backdrop for cinematic works.

We will stay here for two nights.

Day Four – Thursday September 15th.

After another delicious breakfast, we head to Ouarzazate city. This is just a short drive from where we are staying. 

Known as the gateway to the Sahara, it is home to the monumental Taourirt Kasbah. Here we will visit what we call “the strip”, which is really a row of exciting shops belonging to keen traders.

The Ouarzazate Strip – There is  really something for everyone here. We’ve known and done business with most of these traders for decades. It’s a great spot to meander from shop to shop, checking out  a plethora of antique jewels and textiles.

As the shops are laid out side by side, we don’t necessarily need to all stick together. Sarah and Amber will never be more than a few metres away if you should need their assistance or advice, but you should feel free to browse at your own pace.

We will eat lunch in the Kasbah here. If anyone is feeling all shopped out, there’s the option to visit the local film museum.

Savour the calm – On our last night in Aït Benhaddidou, we will make a spectacular sunset. 

Day Five – Friday September 16th.

An early start today as we continue further south.

A spectacular trip along the Draa valley is our route today on our way to the Sahara. We are on the original trade route from Timbuktu in Mali, a road steeped in nomadic history.

Deep South – As we move through small towns and villages, be sure to pay attention to variations in traditional attire which are still worn in these regions. Variations may seem subtle at first glance, but each style is very significant to the wearer. Often a garment is indicative of a person’s origin or heritage. 

Amber will share her learned understanding of the different textiles and clothes which are worn by the Amazigh and Harratine peoples of Southern Morocco.

Saharan sands – We will arrive in the Sahara before sunset, where you’ll have the opportunity  to take a guided camel ride over the dunes as they change colour under the setting sun. We will dine under the stars, undisturbed by light pollution and accompanied by the sounds of rhythmic drumming. If you’ve ever wanted to dance in the desert, the time is now!

Day Six – Saturday September 17th.

We will start today with a visit to a Saharan gallery offering some truly spectacular jewellery.

Following our visit to the gallery, we will make our way along the date palmeries visiting a restored Jewish Ksar for lunch along the way. Henna plants are grown here, and visiting this historical village and walking inside allows us to understand some of the aspects of the life lived there over a century ago.

We will reach the small trading post of Agdz by evening, where we will stay overnight beside an ancient palmerie. A beautiful courtyard and pool are the perfect space to relax after our Saharan Adventure.

We will eat in the hotel,s licenced restaurant.

Day Seven – Sunday September 18th.

Our route today takes us through the Siroua region of the Anti Atlas. Jebel Siroua is an old stratovolcano that rises 3,304 meters above sea level.  Of course we won’t reach that summit in our vehicle, but the views along the way are a treat.  Although we will spend much of the day on the road, we will break the journey up with some interesting stops including some sleepy towns with hidden treasure troves !

Saffron – The Siroua region is saffron country. Historically this region was made wealthy by saffron production, which of course means the traditional jewellery of the region was exquisitely made of precious, expensive materials. Sarah will talk more about this along the way, as the passing scenery paints a picture of life as it once was here.

We will have access to locally grown, high-grade saffron from cooperatives. We will stop to visit shopkeepers in sleepy southern villages. Some very unusual pieces of jewellery can be found here. 

By the evening we will reach our destination, the historical walled town of Tarroudant. This town is said to hold mystical powers, which is not a far-fetched idea when you experience the traditional old Médina. This is a taste of how most of Morocco felt 30 years ago. Some very traditional traders and entertainers can often be found in the small town square, they are there for locals to enjoy and trade with, rather than the more visitor-focussed experiences which you find in Marrakech.

Jannah – In Islam, Jannah is the name of the holy paradise garden… heaven.  At our stunning accommodation in Taroudant, you may well feel that you are in paradise! Each of our private bungalows is nestled into a lush tropical garden , with several pools to cool off in.

A Royal Feast – You certainly won’t go hungry in Taroudant. After settling into our spacious accommodations, we will make our way to the patio or conservatory for a  gastronomical delight. 

A meal to remember, with a fusion of European and traditional Moroccan recipes. 

Make sure to save room for dessert!

Day Eight – Monday September 19th.

Breakfast can be enjoyed in the cool morning climate of our garden paradise. Shortly afterwards, we will take a short drive to the sweet, traditional Médina in Tarroudant.  We will see the walls of Tarroudant as we enter the medina.

The Médina here has it’s own unique energy, which feels much less tourist centered than other towns. There are rare, exquisite pieces of adornment tucked away in galleries here, where dealers will show you warm, Southern hospitality.

Relax poolside – Today is an opportunity to take a break for anyone who is feeling all shopped out. The driver is available to take guests back to the hotel to relax, if they wish to participate in just a half day of jewellery shopping.  

There is a heated pool, as well as a dreamy infinity pool in the gardens of our accommodation, with pool attendant service for drinks or snacks. Not to mention a spa…

Rendez-vous- The evening offers an opportunity for all guests to catch up over dinner and drinks at the poolside. At this point we have usually formed friendships with one another, so this is a special moment under the stars to talk about what we have learned so far, as well as what we are still hoping to find as our journey continues. 

Another fabulous meal this evening, either poolside or in the dining room.

Day Nine – Tuesday September 20th.

Destination Essaouria!

After another relaxed and plentiful breakfast, then we will head west to the coast and along the scenic Atlantic coastal road.  En route we will stop to eat lunch by the sea. 

Sleepy beach town – You’ll feel the atmosphere change as soon as the fresh sea air hits you in Essaouira. As we approach the seafront, the island of Mogador will be visible laying just off the Atlantic coast. Get ready to enjoy  the ultra-relaxed vibes of this musical, surf town. 

We will stay in the Medina quarters of Essaouira, in a charmingly converted school full of history and character.  

The joy of Essaouira, is that we can take our time. The Médina is much smaller than that of other places we have visited, so it takes less time to get around.  

If you have a taste for delicious seafood, then you won’t find anything quite as fresh as the fish on offer in Essaouria. Quite literally from port to plate, the flavors are on a whole new level. 

In the evening we will get together for a delicious meal, with the option to try some  freshly caught fish. Don’t worry though, we will accommodate our guests who prefer their food grown on land! 

Day Ten – Wednesday September 21st.

We will visit some wonderful shops and dealers in Essaouira, with a fine selection of Jewellery, textiles and reference books on offer.

Scala – Essaouira boasts an impressive sea defense called Scala the Kasbah. By order of  Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah, it was built in 1765 by French architect Théodore Cornut. For several years, access to the Scala was prohibited due to restoration work. We are pleased to say that we will be able to visit the Scala together. Both its construction and views are magnificent.

In the evening, we will eat at Sarah’s favourite boutique restaurant in Essaouria. She will encourage you to try the rich chocolate fondant dessert!

Day Eleven – Thursday September 22nd.

Return to Marrakech .
The red city is full of life, so we can soak it all up to our heart’s content. 

Today is a full day of shopping. We will visit friendly traders and jewellery designers of the Médina. 

There is also the option to visit the Secret Garden, Le Jardin Secret is actually two gardens joined by a narrow linking path. The Garden is laid out as it would have been in the sixteenth century following the renovation of Mouassine by the Saadian Sultan Moulay Abdullah. The water which fed this garden was brought by underground channels from the High Atlas mountains.

The Garden offers drinks and snacks and is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the views, history and architecture.

Marrakech is also full of culinary delights, today we will enjoy some of the wonderful array of food on offer.

Day Twelve – Friday September 23rd.

A last full day of shopping in Marrakech.

Time to tie up loose ends, collect commissioned pieces and make those final purchases. Is there something you’ve decided you simply cannot leave without?

We will have a light lunch and the afternoon will be allocated for free time. Perhaps you might want to buy souvenirs, hit the spa for some recuperation or a relaxed stroll around the Ben Youssef Madrasa and the Photography Museum. Our riad has a gorgeous roof terrace to wind down with a good book too.

Day Thirteen – Saturday September 24th.

Our shared adventure draws to a close and we say our farewells.

You’ll have free time before your departure, to spend as you choose. Amber will be available if you should need assistance with practicalities or organization, .

Airport transfers will be available as required, but be sure to advise us in advance as to the time of your flight departure. It is advisable to arrive at Marrakech airport several hours prior.

New Friends, New Jewels – As well as a wealth of knowledge, learning and collectable jewellery – our tours offer something that money can’t buy. We hope that the most valuable reward of your trip, will be the human connections you make.

Each of our tour guests has their own interesting experience, but we all share an interest in the culture of adornment. Many of our tour guests forge lifelong friendships and stay in touch by means of our social media platforms.

Extra nights accommodation can be arranged upon request as can cookery classes, spa days and excursions.
The tour price includes: Airport transfers, Accommodation, breakfasts, , entry to monuments, transport, in house evening meals.
The price does not include : flights, tips, lunches, henna.