Zen and Sophia preparing for the camel trek to our luxury tent overnight
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April 27, 2017
Kipling & Clark
Global Private Travel Snapshot
Greetings friends, clients, and trusted global suppliers!
Morocco is near the top of our list of favorite family cultural travel destinations. Though much of the greater Middle East is politically tenuous with legitimate security concerns, Morocco remains the shining star and perhaps the sole safe and stable destination in all of North Africa. We feel this is an ideal land for a hassle-free, family-friendly, culturally unique, private travel destination.
High Culture/Low Prep Morocco
No visas/no shots
Contrasting landscapes: the Sahara sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, the lush green clover, barley fields and pomegranate tress of the Dades Valley Oasis, the snow covered Atlas Mountains, and the historic cities of Fez and Marrakech
Morocco’s deep, rich culture: the nomadic traditions of the indigenous Berbers, the otherwordly medinas of Fez al Medina and Marrakech dating back 1500 years and its amazing mix of French, Berber, Andalasian food!
High touch luxury accomodations: many including Morocco’s unique Andalasian/Moroccan aesthetics and hospitality.
Many thanks & safe travels,
CEO Kipling & Clark and travNET
Camel trekking near Erg Chebbi
Luxury Desert Tent
Jetstream private aircraft option
Despite the far-flung location (8 hour drive from Fez or Ouarzazate via private guide and driver or a quick, 45 minute flight via private Jetstream 32) of the Erg Chebbi Desert Camp (approx. 300 miles), we feel an Erg Chebbi overnight luxury experience (“glamping”!) is among the most unique highlights of any private tour of Morocco. A 10 km, 4 W-D vehicle drive from Merzouga, this remote camp is surrounded by rolling sand dunes (up to 500 ft. high), offering spectacular sunsets(!) Certainly no roughing it at this camp: each luxury en-suite tent includes wall-to-wall rugs, nice linens/mattress, toilet and sink/hand-held showers. Dinner and breakfast dining is provided with a high-touch Berber style hospitality. Although not inexpensive, a private charter aircraft via Errachidia will save 7.5 hours!
We freely admit that Fez is our favorite city in Morocco. Walking through its ancient Medina is certainly a throwback to a more authentic time, before the advent of mass tourism.
Founded in the 9th Century and home to the oldest university in the world, Fez reached its height in the 13th – 14th Centuries under the Marinids, when it replaced Marrakech as the capital of the kingdom. Considered Morocco’s cultural and spiritual center, the urban fabric and principal monuments in the Medina (madrasas, fondouks, residents, mosques, and fountains) date back from this period, hence its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The juxtaposition of old and new is most compelling here – an example is the locals driving their donkeys and mules while chatting on their mobile phones!
Fez Palais Faraj
Designed by noteworthy Jean Baptiste Barian, specialist in Arab Andalusian architecture, this restored palace is located on the South Hill with breathtaking views of the bustling, historical Medina. All 25 suites include meticulously designed Moroccan textiles and art work. Nice, small spa and outdoor pool. The property’s rooftop restaurant provides panoramic views of Fez that are truly extraordinary – a great place to savor this culturally rich city. Enjoy the artichoke and lamb tagine!
Djemâa el Fna Square
We feel Marrakech to be Morocco’s fun, aesthetically pleasing party city! 5-Star world class hotels/riads, wonderful shopping and dining – Marrakech is widely regarded as the global, jet-setters preferred, destination in Morocco. Once called Morocco City by foreign travelers, Marrakech eventually lent its name to the country itself. Part Berber, part Arab, part African, Marrakech is considered the heartbeat of Morocco, where palaces and monuments of unrivaled refinement sit calmly alongside the snake charmers and Gnaouan drums pulsing constantly from Djemâa el Fna Square – we feel the most exuberant marketplace anywhere in Africa!
Originally opened in 1923, this 210-room Moorish-style iconic luxury hotel recently completed a comprehensive 3-year restoration. Under the guidance of Parisian designer, Jacques Garcia, the detailed, meticulously laid-out renovation was carried out by over 1,000 craftsmen in the property on any given work day. Set amid 17 acres of lush gardens with olive and orange groves, La Mamounia is considered to be Marrakech’s premier luxury hotel among Morocco’s elite. Of special note, Winston Churchill came here to paint, staying at the then grand old La Mamounia and called it, “Simply the nicest place on Earth to spend an afternoon.”
“The Blue City”
Among our favorite stopovers in Morocco, this artsy, blue-washed mountain village of 45,000 is uniquely beautiful, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Rif Mountains. Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 and dominated the merchant route between Tétouan and Fez. The city prospered during the 15th and 17th when the Moriscos (i.e. Muslims converted to Christianity) and Jews arrived, after being expelled from Spain. Chefchaouen was later painted blue by Jewish refugees in the 1930’s fleeing Nazi oppression. In Judaism, blue represents the sky and heavens – the blue colors reminding all to live a life of spiritual awareness. It is also believed that blue acts as an effective mosquito repellent! Interestingly, the adjacent countryside is known for being an abundant source of cannabis, with hashish widely sold in Chefchaouen (!)
Ait Ben Haddou
Ait-Ben-Haddou is noteworthy as a venue of many past and current movie scenes, including those from “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Gladiator,” “The Mummy,” and our current Lynch family HBO favorite, “Game of Thrones”!
Located in the foothills on the southern slopes of the High Atlas in the Province of Ouarzazate, the site of Ait-Ben-Haddou is the most famous ksar (group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls) in the Ounila Valley, and we feel it is quite worthy of its UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site. Inside the defensive walls which are reinforced by angle towers and pierced with a baffle gate, houses crowd together-some modest, others resembling small urban castles with their high angle towers. It is an extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques.
Greetings Fellow Global Teen Travelers!
I just took the practice ACT at Francis W. Parker and am now starting my prep for the real one as well as the SAT. Lots of studying coming up!
Still waiting on an answer about the “One Summer Chicago” internship I applied before. Hope I get it! I would gladly sacrifice Verona and Venice for it.