Michelle

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Beautiful and interesting country

“We very much enjoyed our time in Morocco.  We found it a beautiful and interesting country.  The riads (guest houses) we stayed in were all comfortable and the service was exceptional.  Being in the center of the medinas gave  us a very different experience than staying in big hotels outside of the city.  We only wished that in Fes we could have explored on our own, without feeling that we would never find our way back.  The cooking class at Café Clock was certainly one of the highlights of the trip.  Chef Souad was great.  She taught us more than just the recipes.  She gave us insights into life in Morocco.  Our driver, Rachid, was also wonderful.  He went out of his way to make our visit a unique and a meaningful one.  We couldn’t have asked for better.  Your service was wonderful.  You answered all our requests and questions.  We would certainly recommend “The Travel Source” to anyone who says they are thinking of visiting Morocco. Thank you for all your help.”
M & J – October 2015


Fantastic time!

“We had a fantastic time in Morocco!  There were so many beautiful places and everything was timed perfectly.  All of us have traveled  extensively, so I would say that the camel ride was the highlight of the trip, it was a very different experience. About that specific day, we were supposed to spend the night at the tents, which looked beautiful on the pictures but the smell was really bad. Luckily, there was a sand storm that evening and they offered to take us to the hotel. We end up doing the sunrise ride and that worked out great. 

I was impressed with all the guides at each different place and how they were always there waiting for us, all very well timed. I must mention that our driver, Chahine, was incredible. Not only was he punctual, friendly, polite and helpful but with a great personality. I can not imagine what it would be like to have some one in the same car with us for seven days that wouldn’t interact with us. He also, became a highlight of the trip. Once again, thank you for setting all of this up for us.”

Adriana – June 2015


Services were outstanding

“The trip was wonderful.  It’s hard to choose a highlight.  One of our daughters chose the Fes medina, the souks in particular, and her fiance the desert.  For me, it was the surprise that the sort of details that I work on each night, figuring out exactly where we will be going the next day – restaurants, parking, how to walk from one place to the next, tickets to reserve etc. turned out to be something that the drivers generally handled for us – Wahid, our driver, talked with us, but he knew how much time things took, how to get from one place to the next etc., recommendations for food etc.. He was very good about stopping at good views, interesting places along the road etc – so more was included than I had expected. Both Wahid and Namir were outstanding hosts/drivers.  The accommodations were all great, each place outstanding in a different way – sometimes for the food, sometimes the hospitality, sometimes the rooms.  The services were outstanding, good communication before and throughout the trip.”
P & J – April 2015


Fantastic from all points of view!!

“I would like to thank you and your team for the organization of our trip.  It was fantastic from all points of view!!! All of us (12 people) enjoyed it enormously!  It was a very well planned trip in terms of time, distance, rest and excursions.  Certainly, the desert in and of itself needs at least another day in order to make some excursions and enjoy it fully.  We will do it another time 🙂  Our driver, Abdelhak, is a great driver and an excellent guide.  Very professional and a nice person too.  All the hotels were interesting, very good and comfortable.  We all think we had a very special trip and will remember it for a long time.  Thank you very much once again for your engagement.”

Natallia – April 2015


Great time

The main part of our visit was Fes.  The Medina is superb. It’s really an eye opener to see such ancient market in this modern world. Weather was a little wet when we visited the Medina but all was good.  Our driver, Hadji was great! He is warm & made us feel very welcome as a family. He shared many things about Morocco & its culture.  Staying in a riad is really an experience of a lifetime. We fell in love with the beauty of the house deco that we are bringing home ideas for our homes! The lanterns, the sofas, the walls, the tiles , etc, etc…Except for having to climb three stories to our rooms which we were not told earlier in the booking, accommodations were good.  Although we had only 3 days in Morocco, we had great time but not enough of Morocco!
RA, March 2015

Lovely Moroccan Landscape

“The whole tour was honestly a highlight. Having a driver and just being able to enjoy the lovely Moroccan landscape (without having to worry about getting lost, missing a train, worry about the language barrier, etc) was awesome. Destination wise my husband & I loved the Sahara Desert.  Ait Benhaddu was very picturesque as well – you can see how they use it for so many movie scenes.  Our driver, Hamid, was very knowledgeable and accommodating. He did a great job keeping us on track so we got to see everything we wanted and also let us stop if there was anything we drove past and wanted to take photographs. He knew all the great places to take photos & suggestions of where to eat. We fondly remember stopping in the valley of the roses for a walk through the rose fields… I’ve never smelled anything that amazing in my life and probably wouldn’t have gotten there without Hamid.  The Travel Source was very patient with all of my questions and tweaking the arrangements to fit our requests.  It is hard trying to schedule your first visit to a new country and The Travel Source made it so much easier; it was like having a friend who lives there to ask advice.”
Bonnie – USA, 2014 

5 Stars

“Our tour was just perfect. The driver and tour guide were wonderful. We got to see everything we wanted.

Your team made this trip a great experience. We definitely will be in touch again with our next trip in your area. 5 Stars to you and your crew.

>Harvey – USA, December 2014


What is a riad?

When people inquire about tours with us we often like to propose that they try staying in a riad for a chance to experience authentic Moroccan hospitality.  Because of this one of the questions we often get asked is, “What is a riad and what is the difference between a riad and a hotel?”

A riad is typically a traditional old house located mainly within the old walled in cities of Morocco. As riads are often located within the walls of the old cities you often must walk a little bit to reach the front door of the guest house.  But, it is well worth the effort.  The word riad comes from Arabic meaning garden. Riads were often built inwardly with the windows and the doors of the rooms opening into a central courtyard that is often open to the sky. This layout offered protection for the wives and children from the eyes of prying neighbors and outsiders. The central courtyard and garden area often has a fountain in the center that helps keep the riad cool in the summer as the breeze blows over the water.  Many riads will also have flowers and citrus trees providing shade and fresh fruit within the central courtyard area.  And sometimes depending on the size of the riad even a small swimming or plunge pool.  Riads are often architectural masterpieces with much care being taken into the tile work on the floors and pillars and intricate moldings along the ceilings. Sometimes the ceilings are made with wood and painted with little flowering designs. 

Riad Zyo poolIn the past most riads were private homes enjoyed exclusively by individual families. Now however because of the cost and upkeep of a riad many have been transformed into unique bed and breakfast style hotels often keeping to the traditional Moroccan décor, but adding in modern amenities found in most 4 and 5 star hotels. 

>Because riads were often at one time old homes each room tends to be laid out differently, but each with its own in suite bathroom.  Moroccan riads are also famous for their narrow and winding staircases which lead to upper rooms and roof top terraces.

As riads are smaller establishments than hotels, usually 6 to 8 rooms total, you often receive more personalized attention by the owner and/or staff at the guest house.  Many will welcome you into the riad with a glass of mint tea and occasionally traditional cookies.  It is also not unusual to be welcomed by the owner or manager of the riad upon your arrival.  All of this makes for a more intimate and personal experience that many travelers have loved over the traditional hotel experience.

Dar Sultan Bedroom 2

Another example of a riad room.


So, if you are looking for a new experience and warm and welcoming staff we would propose you try to stay at a few riads during your visit to Morocco.


Thanks for Everything

“We had a great time in Morocco and we only wonder why it took us over 50 years to return.  Rabat, Fes, Meknes, Marrakech, Ifrane, Cascades d’  Ouzoud, Casablanca and all the villages and country sides in between were definitely worth the trip.  We were somewhat disappointed with Casablanca as we remembered it as a  beautiful city of just over 1 million people that had grown to a  city of over 7 millions, and in the process had lost a lot of its charm.  Our driver, Mohamed El Hassani was always pleasant, and helped keep the chatter going, always willing to make the extra effort to make the trip enjoyable.  Our guide in Fes was good but seemed more interested in his agenda than ours.  However, the guide in Marrakech was very good and flexible.  Michelle and the staff at The Travel Source were so patient, cooperative, and helpful through out the whole process.  THANKS FOR EVERYTHING and happy holidays.” 
Frank – USA, November 2014

Cooking Tour

A delight to the senses our Moroccan Cooking tour will allow you to not only taste but also make some of the world renown Moroccan dishes.  This tour will not only give you a flavor for cooking but also a flavor for Morocco as you get to explore different cities through out your trip like Fes and Marrakech.

Day 1    Casablanca (D)
Upon arriving at the Casablanca International Airport you will meet your driver once you exit the baggage claim area.  Depending on your arrival time you may have a chance to explore some of Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city.  You may choose to have an optional tour of the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world.  Or take a walk along the Corniche (ocean Front Boulevard).  Or maybe walk through the large Arab League Park.  You will get your first taste of some of the flavors of Morocco as you eat dinner out at a local restaurant before retiring to your hotel for the night.

Moroccan Fish

Moroccan Fish.

Day 2    Rabat / Fes (B, L, D) 4 hour drive
After breakfast, you will begin your journey to Fes via Rabat, the capital city and current residence of the King.  Upon arriving in Rabat you will have a chance to visit some of the historical sites such as La Tour Hassan (was going to boast the largest minaret in the world, but was never completed), Kasbah Oudayas (old fortress near the ocean), Mausoleum of Mohammed V, and the outside of the King’s Palace.  After lunch you will continue on to Fes.

Upon arrival in Fes you may set your bags down in your hotel/riad and head off to your first cooking lesson.  Your senses will be awakened as you walk down through the small streets and alleys in the old city of Fes lined with spices, herbs, and fresh fruits and vegetables.  You will have the opportunity to prepare some of Morocco’s finest foods, seasoned with fresh herbs and spices.  You will get to eat your meal for dinner.

Moroccan Salad

Moroccan Salad

Day 3    Fes (B, D)
After breakfast you will meet your guide to begin your guided visit to the Fes medina, one of the oldest and largest car free cities in the world. You will explore the narrow streets lined with shops selling everything from coffee and spices to Berber carpets and lanterns. Keep your ears open for the men calling out “balak” which means “get out of the way” and it is a good idea to get to the side of the road to let donkeys or carts pass by carrying goods to and from the shops and homes in the old city. Some of the tour highlights will be getting to see the tanneries, potters and outside of the King’s palace. A visit to a Berber pharmacy may also have you taking some of the natural perfumes and fragrances home with you, like the fragrant amber. You may choose to have lunch along the way in a traditional restaurant in the heart of the old city. You will return to your riad at the end of the tour and may enjoy your evening meal in the riad/hotel.

Day 4    Fes Cooking Lesson & Hammam (B, L, D)
After breakfast you will get to have your second cooking experience in Fes. Your cooking class will fill up most of your day. You may begin with a visit to the local market to buy the ingredients you will need for your meal. After purchasing what you will need your chef will take you back to the house/riad where you will begin to learn the art of Fes cooking with a hands on class. After your meal is cooked you will be able to enjoy what you have made for lunch.
With the remaining part of your afternoon you may wish to go to a local hammam (bathhouse) to unwind and relax. Many of the hammams will provide massages or other spa services for a small fee.
Dinner may be taken in one of the local restaurants in the medina or if you are feeling tired of Moroccan food you may wish to visit the new city for an Italian, Asian or Western meal.

Moroccan Bread

Local round bread.

Day 5    Fes / Marrakech (B, D) 8-9 hour drive
Early in the morning you will depart for the famous pink city of Marrakech. The long but beautiful drive will take you into the Middle Atlas Mountains and along the base of the High Atlas Mountains. You will pass through such towns as Ifrane (known for its European style houses and most prestigious university in Morocco), Azrou (known for its weekly souk), and the Cedar Forest (keep your eyes open when driving through the forest to catch a glimpse of the Barbary Apes that like to hang out in the trees)
Upon arrival in Marrakech you may check into your hotel/riad and then depending on how tired you are you may choose to take a walk down to the famous Djemaa el-Fnaa square. This square is a center attraction of Marrakech that comes alive at night with story tellers, musicians, snake charmers and mouth watering barbeque stands. It is well worth a visit. Some of the cafes near the square provide wonderful rooftop views over the square where you can people watch while sipping a cup of mint tea. You will return to your hotel/riad for dinner.

Day 6    Marrakech (B, D)
After breakfast you will meet up with your guide for a guided visit of Marrkech. You will have the opportunity to see such places as the Saadian Tombs, Palace of Bahia, towering Koutoubia Mosque, a landmark for the city, and the square again. After lunch you will get to walk among the shaded paths of the picturesque Majorelle Gardens before finishing the tour with a visit to the souk (market). You may have dinner in the famous Djemaa el-Fnaa square or at a local restaurant.

Day 7    Marrakech Berber Cooking Experience (B, L, D)
After breakfast served in your hotel/riad, you will head out of Marrakech 1.5 hrs to a small Berber village where you will learn to cook as the Berbers do. You will have the opportunity to draw water from the well, learn to bake bread in a traditional clay oven, cook a tagine over a charcoal and wood fire, and take part in a tea making competition all the while getting to talk with and learn about Berber life from your hosts. In the evening you will return to Marrakech to sleep. Dinner will be served in the hotel/riad.

IMG_9231

Delicious Mint Tea.

Day 8    Marrakech / Essaouira (B, D) 2.5 hour drive
After breakfast, you will head to the coastal city of Essaouira. This laid back city famous for its wood carvings and kite surfing has been gaining popularity with locals and tourists alike. With several stunning beaches near by Essaouira is a great place to unwind and relax. After a light lunch you will have the opportunity to take part in your fourth and final cooking lesson. You will learn yet again how to make a delicious Moroccan meal which you will be able to enjoy.

Day 9    Essaouira / Casablanca (B, D) 5 hour drive
After breakfast, you will begin the trip back up north to Casablanca. You may drive up along the beautiful coastal road. You could choose to have lunch in Oualidia, known for its calm bay and bird watching. In the afternoon before reaching Casablanca you could stop off in the Portuguese built city of El Jadida. This city is famous for its underground cistern which has been used in movies such as Othello. You will conclude the long day in Casablanca where you will spend your final night. Dinner will be taken in Rick’s Café, created after the movie, Casablanca, which surprisingly was not filmed in Morocco.

Day 10    Casablanca / Depart (B)
This day you will be taken to the airport for your flight.


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