Morocco is a land of large bustling cities, tranquil seaside towns and remote mountain villages. Our photo tour avoids the major cities in favor of smaller, quiet places away from most of the tourists and tourist traps. The port city of Essaouira, the kasbah at Ait BenHaddou and glamping in the Sahara desert will be the highlights of our adventure.
March 20-29, 2019
This is a 10-night, 10-day photo tour (including travel days). Your adventure begins with an overnight flight to Casablanca on March 19—plan to arrive in Casablanca no later than 9 a.m. on March 20. Your adventure ends on March 29 with our flights home. Choose a departing flight that leaves at 7 a.m. or later on March 29.
$7,350 per single, and $12,350 per couple or two people sharing a room. Register below.
This photo tour is open to all. Non-photographer significant others are welcome, but will need to pay full price for the trip.
10, with 2 instructors — 5:1 ratio
Included in price
- nine nights in single accommodations with private bath
- all transportation in Morocco in a comfortable Sprinter van
- transfer from and to the international airport in Casablanca
- transfers between the airport and hotels
- breakfast and dinner beginning with dinner on the first day and ending with breakfast on the last day (unless you have an early flight)
Not included in price
- international flights to and from Casablanca
- breakfast on the first day, and lunches
- tips to driver and guide
- Deposit of $2,350 (singles) or $4,700 (couples) required to reserve your spot at the tour.
- Balance of $5,000 (singles) or $7,650 (couples) due on December 20, 2018.
- You may choose the “Pay in Full” ticket if you desire to pay all at once.
- Last day for a cancellation request is December 19, 2018 (see cancellation and refund policy).
The Tour Experience
This photography tour will feature long days and nights with intense periods of photography. It’s not a workshop—there will be no formal classroom instruction or lectures. There will be an optional image review while in the Sahara, but our main focus will be to photograph through all the days and nights.
This is not to say that it won’t be a learning experience, but the first and foremost goal of this trip is to provide you with a safe, comfortable and organized opportunity to create images of this exotic country. You’ll be working closely with people of varying levels of photographic experience, and we’ll all learn from one another while making friends along the way.
The trip is suited for people of all photographic levels, and the leaders will provide instruction on night and low-light photography techniques in the field, and will share some articles in advance of the trip to get you started. We will be available to work with you one-on-one in the field, offering as much or as little creative and technical advice as you want. Night photography will be a big part of the trip.
Note: This schedule is tentative, as weather, logistics and other factors may nudge us in different directions.
March 19: Air Travel. Depart from home on your overnight flight to Casablanca, arriving no later than 9 a.m. on March 20. If you wish to travel a day early, we can arrange a hotel and transfer from the airport at additional expense.
March 20: Casablanca. Upon arrival in Casablanca, you will be met and transferred by van to your hotel, to check in before touring the Hassan II mosque once everyone has arrived. Dinner will be at a seafood restaurant near the port. (Incl. meals: D)
March 21: Casablanca / Ait-Ben-Haddou. After breakfast we will drive to Ait-Ben-Haddou, a ksar, or fortified village along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech. Along the way we will stop for lunch and enjoy the panoramic views from Tizi-n-Tichka pass through the High Atlas Mountains. Dinner will be served at our hotel, and then we will take a short drive to Ait-Ben-Haddou for night photography around the ksar. (Incl. meals: B, D)
March 22: Ouarzazate / Zagora / M’Hamid. We will set off through the Draa Valley to M’Hamid, in the Sahara Desert. As we approach the desert, we’ll switch to 4x4 vehicles that will take us to the dunes of Mhamid. For the next three nights, we’ll be glamping in Berber Tents under the stars. (Incl. meals: B, D)
March 23 and 24: M’Hamid. We’ll have two full days and three nights relaxing in the dunes of Erg Chegaga in the Sahara desert. The hospitality is extraordinary, the meals are delicious and plentiful, and our accommodations must be experienced to be believed. You will not soon forget your time in the desert. Days can be spent exploring and photographing the dunes, or downloading, editing and reviewing images with Matt and Lance in the communal dining tent (yes, there is electricity). The real reason to be here is for the amazing night skies. We’ll arrive two days after the full moon in order to experience both the moonrise over the dunes with silhouetted Berber men and their camels on the horizon as well as the amazingly dark skies before the moon rises about an hour later each night during our stay. (Incl. meals: B, D)
March 25: M’Hamid / Ouarzazate / Ait Benhaddou. After breakfast we will travel back through the Draa Valley to visit the Ouarzazate Kasbahs and old medina before continuing back to Kasbah Ait-Ben-Haddou area. We will have another opportunity to photograph the extensive kasbahs in the ksar along the river. (Incl. meals: B, D)
March 26: Ait-Ben-Haddou / Essaouira. We will head to the coastal city of Essaouira, a picturesque fishing town on the southwestern coast. With an exquisite beach to the south, Essaouira has become one of Morocco’s most popular coastal towns. An exceptional dinner will be served at a local seafood restaurant. After dinner, we’ll photograph in the medina. (Incl. meals: B, D)
March 27: Essaouira. After a late breakfast we will enjoy a guided tour of the Portuguese fortress and the unique fishing port. Many of the country’s wood carvers and artists make Essaouira their home, and this will be the best place to do your shopping for handicrafts on the trip. At night we’ll photograph the fortress and port that we toured earlier in the day. (Incl. meals: B, D)
March 28: Essaouira / Casablanca. Our last day will find us slowly making our way back to Casablanca. We might stop in El Jdida to see the underground Portuguese cisterns and fortress before continuing on to Casablanca for our final night in Morocco. You will enjoy your last dinner of the trip at Rick’s Café, a convincing recreation of the club from the movie Casablanca. (Incl. meals: B, D)
March 29: Casablanca / Depart. At the appropriate time we will be transported from the hotel directly to the airport for our homeward flights. (Incl. meals: B)
Night Conditions & Opportunities
On this workshop you can expect the following night-sky conditions and nocturnal photography opportunities:
- full moon to quarter moon
- light painting
- city lights
What You Should KNow
Participants must have at least basic photo skills, know their cameras well, and be comfortable shooting RAW in manual mode with a DSLR or mirrorless camera.
What You WILL Learn
As this is a photo tour rather than a workshop, the emphasis is getting participants to great locations with great light, and making sure that everyone has the trip of a lifetime. We figure that you don’t travel to Morocco very often, and you wouldn’t want to spend your time in a classroom!
That said, we do encourage you to think about and set goals for the trip.
What would you like to gain from this experience?
- great images?
- lasting memories?
- a break from work-a-day stresses?
- learn some new photography skills?
- see and photograph a moonrise in the Sahara?
- ride a camel?
The instructors will be available for one-on-one guidance in the field as much as time permits. You can pull us aside during quieter moments to check out your images if you’d like.
You are responsible for your airfare to and from Casablanca (CAS). All transportation in-country is included, and will be in our roomy 15-passenger Sprinter van.
Food & Lodging
The tour will be based in three different 4-star hotels and luxury tents while in the Sahara. The trip is inclusive of breakfasts and dinners, beginning with dinner on the first day and ending with breakfast on the last. We will eat well, with breakfast at our hotel each morning, lunch on the road, and dinners in the hotels or fine dining restaurants each night.
Expect temperatures around 60 F during the daytime and about 50 F at night, except in the desert where it can be much warmer during the daytime and in the 30s or 40s at night.
Recommended attire: The best way to prepare is to bring layers, including waterproof and windproof outerwear, a lightweight and medium weight jacket, pants, thermal underwear, a hat and gloves for nights in the desert.
No vigorous activity will be required, but please consider your physical abilities and limitations prior to registering. Most locations will be within easy walking distance of the van, but you should be comfortable carrying your own equipment over sand dunes in the dark. We have designed this trip to minimize time on the road, but due to the distances we need to cover to get to the Sahara, there will be several long days of driving.
Traveling with a small group can be a great experience, provided everyone is respectful and appreciative of one another’s space. We’re on this journey together and keeping this in mind will make everyone’s experience better, should a minor glitch or hiccup occur.
Please read our FAQs section for more information about skill and gear requirements, and other information that pertains to all our tours and workshops.
If you have questions, please contact us—we're happy to talk it over with you.
A Serendipitous Diversion ...
Morocco derailed my naively planned tour of all of Europe.
To my mother’s disbelief, in March 1986 I left home on my first international trip alone, with a backpack and a copy of Europe on $10 a Day. I had planned to spend a day or two in pretty much every country in Europe, believing that such a thing was not only possible, but a good way to see the world. Needless to say, things didn’t quite go as planned—though I did manage to squeak by for a few days on $10 or $15.
After about two weeks in Belgium, England and Spain, I found myself on the ferry to Tangier. Rick Steves had warned me about the hustlers who would do their best to find a way to separate me from my small wad of cash, and also try to keep me in Tangier. He was right, and I quickly teamed with Andy and Roland, two fellow young travelers from England and Germany who were on a similar quest.
The three of us hopped on board a train headed for Rabat, and then on to Casablanca and Marrakech, and eventually down the Atlantic coast to Agadir. It was a new world for each of us, and we traveled together in Morocco for about three weeks, sharing accommodations, meals and memories in the making. So much for seeing all of Europe!
Memories from that trip linger to this day––a shared $3 hotel room painted lemon yellow with a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling, a monkey on my back, and Roland teaching me to ride a motorcycle on the beach in Agadir.
This 2019 trip will be different in so many ways, but I’m looking forward to sharing new memories with you.