Information on tours occurring during the 12th SIOP continental meeting in Africa Marrakech, 2017 April 5- 8
Please go through the brief presentations of tour options in connection with the conference.
If you are interested in any of these tours, kindly contact the conference tour operator, Ariane Tours, or register directly on the online registration page.
All tours will depart and return to Kenzi Farah Hotel
City Tour of Marrakesh
Wednesday, 5th April 2017: 16:00 – 17:30:
Price: 20€ per person
Registration: onsite at the Registration Desk
Historical visit of Marrakesh
5th and 6th April 2017: 09:00- 12:00:
Price: 30 € per person
The Koutoubia Mosque: Located near the Djemaa el Fna, the Koutoubia Mosque is Morocco’s most famous mosque. It was built in the 12th century and is the largest mosque in Marrakesh. It is famed especially for its magnificent minaret, the oldest of the three great Almohad minarets remaining in the world and is considered as a symbol of Marrakesh.
The Bahia Palace: “the Brilliant one” was built during the last quarter of the 19th century so that Ba Ahmed, the chamberlain of the Sultan Alaouites Moulay El-Hassan, could reside therein. On a surface of eight hectares, it shelters nearly 150 parts. Planted patios, cypress, and rare plants complemented by splendid fountains and basins form a true labyrinth.
Ben Youssef Medersa: Founded in the 14th century by the Marinid Sultan Abu al-Hassan and allied to the neighbouring Ben Youssef Mosque. Its 130 student dormitory cells cluster around a courtyard richly carved in cedar, marble, and stucco. The carvings contain no representation of humans or animals as required by Islam and consist entirely of inscriptions and geometric patterns. This madrasa was one of the largest theological colleges in North Africa and may have housed as many as 900 students.
Visit of Souks & Djemaa El Fnaa Square
5th and 6th April 2017: 15:00 – 18:00:
Price: 20 € per person
On your tour of Morocco, explore the colorful souks (open-air markets) of Marrakesh. You will be taken on a shopping trip to explore the colorful souks of Marrakesh. The souk, which is divided into smaller souks according to goods sold resembles a grand labyrinth. It features hand-crafted Moroccan goods such as babouche slippers, works in brass, iron, bronze, and wood, stunning jewelry, kaftans, vibrant carpets, spices, and outstanding pottery. You will also be able to visit the best galleries for leather, antiques and hand crafted gold jewelry. Take home Moroccan artefacts as a reminder of this unforgettable shopping tour in Marrakesh.
The Djemaa el-Fnaa Square, also known as the Jamaa el Fna, is a very exceptional place in the world. Edged along one side by the Marrakesh souk, a traditional North African market catering to both the daily needs of the locals as well as the touristic trade. On the other side, you can see the hotels, wander around the gardens, or relax at one of the cafe terraces located along narrow streets leading into the alleys of the Medina quarter.
During the day, this gigantic place exudes a very lively atmosphere as it is predominantly occupied by water sellers with their traditional leather water-bags and brass cups, juice stalls, and local entertainers such as the popular snake charmers. As the day progresses, more food stalls appear and the square becomes more crowded. Its vibe shifts to provide more enjoyment with the presence of magicians, Chleuh dancing-boys, story-tellers expressing their tales in Berber or Arabic, and peddlers of traditional medicines.
Menara & Majorelle Gardens
5th and 6th April 2017: 09:00 – 12:00
Price: 28 € per person
Menara Gardens – With its backdrop of the Atlas Mountains, it is no surprise that the Menara Gardens are one of the most photographed places in Morocco and also a popular place among locals for picnics. The Menara was laid out in the 12th century by the Almohads. Around 30,000 olive trees are set around a magnificent reflecting pool filled with fish that leap above the surface to the surprise of passing walkers. The well-kept picnic pavilion, the Menzeh, was built much later in 1869. The first-floor’s open balcony offers a wonderful view over the pool and the mountains beyond.
Majorelle Gardens – Given by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent as a gift to the city of Marrakesh, this botanical garden was created in the 1920s by French artists Jacques and Louis Majorelle. The perfectly manicured garden has pools, giant cacti, bamboo, coconut and banana trees which stand out against the bright-blue wash that covers the villa and garden walls. It is definitely a must to visit the garden and explore the Majorelles’ old studio which now houses Yves Saint Laurent’s collection of local arts and antiques in the Museum of Islamic Art.
Excursion to Ourika Valley
6th and 7th April 2017: 09:00-12:00
Price: 37 € per person
Located 30-70km (19-43 miles) from Marrakesh, the high Atlas Mountains hover tantalizingly. If you don’t have enough time to explore them in great detail, some areas are easily accessible for either a day or overnight excursion. During the very hot summer months, a drive up to the Ourika Valley is a pleasant and popular escape for both locals and visitors alike.
Places of interest for a day’s excursion are the winter ski resort of Oukaïmeden (also a great spring/summer hiking spot) and the riverside village of Setti Fatma, site of one of Morocco’s biggest moussems, which takes place in mid-August. Both villages are only about 70km (43 miles) south of Marrakesh.
Adventurous travelers should consider setting aside a few days to explore the area further as there are opportunities for mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, trekking, and, during the winter months, skiing. Bird-watching around Oukaïmeden can be quite rewarding at the end of spring and during the summer and autumn season.
Excursion to the lake of Lalla Takerkoust (Inclusive lunch)
6th and 7th April 2017: 09:00-15:00
Price: 65 € per person
Located 35km (22 miles) SW of Marrakesh, a short drive from to Amizmiz takes you to the Barrage Lalla Takerkoust dam which was constructed by the French in the 1930s. The dam irrigates the surrounding Haouz plains and generates additional electricity for Marrakesh. Along the lake’s 7km-long shoreline are many options to enjoy jet and water skiing, kayaking, and paddling to a more secluded area located at the far side of the lake where you can have a chance to spot turtles.
Lunch at Villa du Lac – Overlooking the dam of Lalla Takerkoust lake (Barrage Cavagnac) the Villa du Lac guest house lies at the foothills of the Atlas mountains. You will truly enjoy your lunch at this peaceful place surrounded by olive and eucalyptus trees. This guest house will ensure visitors relish a wonderful moment by the pool overlooking the lake and the high Atlas Mountains. The guest house exudes an authentic feel of the country. It also provides a barbecue area, bar, solarium, and a nomad tent on the bathing area by the lake.
Excursion to Asni & Ouirgane (Inclusive lunch)
6 th and 7 th April 2017: 09:00-15:00
Price: 65 € per person
Asni is a Berber village located 75 kms from Marrakesh at an altitude of 1,500 meters. It is dominated by the Djebel Toubkal with the highest summit of Morocco at 4,167 m. You will reach the foothills of a huge 3,000 meter high massif from which soars mount Toukbal. It is also the place of departure for a lot of hiking in the High Atlas. While passing through the valleys and several villages, one can admire the landscapes and the vast countryside covered with green oaks, cypresses and other typical vegetation of the Atlas. Travelers will be able to take a small mountain-pass to arrive at Ouirgane and explore the canyons of the Oued N’Fis. Tuesday is a Berber Souk day (traditional market).
Excursion to Essaouira (Inclusive lunch)
6 th and 7 th April 2017: 09:00-18:00
Price: 80 € per person
Essaouira is generally acclaimed as one of the most enchanting spots along Morocco’s Atlantic coast.
The Essaouira holds this prestige due to the generosity and warmth offered by its inhabitants, its inheritance of treasures both architectural and cultural and most crucially, the liberal atmosphere which so strongly characterises the mood of its streets. Local travelers, tourists, merchants, craftsmen, musicians, and artists of all kinds come to share their work, perspectives, and treasured friendship at the wonderful site.
Its architecture shows a mixture of harmony and diversity stemming from its French, Portuguese, and Berber heritages at different periods. In 2001, UNESCO designated the city of Essaouira as a World Heritage Site, describing it as “an outstanding and well preserved example of a late 18th century European fortified seaport town translated to a North African context”.