Mar 27 - Apr 14, 2021
19 days
$11,485per person, twin share (land content only). $1,960 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Ben Churcher
Mar 27 - Apr 14, 2021

Tour Leader

Ben Churcher$11,485per person, twin share (land content only). $1,960 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions

Overview

This comprehensive tour brings you the diverse delights of Morocco: from stunning scenery to impressive Islamic architecture, with its intricate stucco, wood carving and colourful tilework, ancient cities, inviting locals and the best of Moroccan cuisine. The tour starts in cosmopolitan Casablanca, and then travels along the Atlantic coast visiting Rabat, Roman Volubilis and bustling Fes, before crossing the Atlas Mountains to the kasbahs and oases of the northern Sahara. Returning to the Atlantic coast, we explore Marrakesh, famous for its vibrant souks and palaces, and Essaouira, a medieval port still nestled inside its walls.

Highlights

  • The bustling and picturesque markets of Fes and Marrakesh
  • Rabat on the river Bou Regreg, a most wonderfully located capital city
  • The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Roman ruins at Volubilis, overlooking rolling plains
  • The Atlas Mountains, home of the Berbers and stands of Cedars of Lebanon
  • Majestic kasbahs and verdant oases on the fringe of the Sahara Desert
  • Peaceful Essaouira on the shores of the Atlantic
  • The spectacular Todra and Dadés gorges
  • Beautiful, secluded towns such as Boumalne Dades, and Ouarzazate, the ‘Gate to the Desert’

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–4: Arrive in Casablanca on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, tour Casablanca’s vast Hassan II Mosque and the Roman city of Chella in Rabat.

Days 5–7: Travel inland, stopping at Meknes and Fes and visiting the Roman ruins of Volubilis.

Days 8–12: Cross over the Atlas Mountains and explore the western edge of the Sahara Desert, including the spectacular scenery of the Todra Gorge.

Days 13–15: Travel to Marrakesh, see the city’s fine Islamic architecture in the museums and madrasas and wander through Jemaa El-Fna.

Days 16–19: Travel to Essaouira, exploring the city and its complex history, then return to Casablanca for our departure.

Start & Finish

The tour begins and ends at our hotel in Casablanca. Emirates has suitable direct flights into and out of Casablanca from most Australian cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

A detailed itinerary for this tour will be available in the coming weeks. To receive a copy of the published itinerary once available, please register your interest below and we will be sure to email you a copy. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 02 9235 0023.


Ben Churcher

An educator and practicing archaeologist, who works both in Jordan and with Aboriginal sites in Australia.

Ben Churcher is an archaeologist who works both in the Near East, as well as with Aboriginal archaeology in Australia. He has a strong personal interest in history and archaeology, primarily of the Muslim world, but not exclusively. Ben holds the position of Field Director at the University of Sydney’s archaeological excavations at Pella in Jordan.

Ben holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Queensland and a Dip. Ed from the University of Sydney. In 1983, Ben received a travelling grant from the Alumni Association at the University of Queensland to participate at the excavations at Pella in Jordan and he has been involved in archaeology ever since.

In between digs, Ben worked as a secondary teacher for five years at both public and private high schools and in 1993 he brought together his love of teaching and archaeology by founding Astarte Resources, a company producing and distributing educational resources specialising in history. While running Astarte Resources, Ben has been involved with adult education lecturing on a range of historical subjects and graduate teaching duties at the University of Canberra in their cultural heritage degree.

Since 2002 Ben has worked extensively in Aboriginal archaeology in Australia, working with a small firm undertaking heritage assessments and management. This work has taken him from western NSW, into the Snowy Mountains and onto the coalfields of the Hunter Valley.

Ben has continued his association with the excavations at Pella in Jordan throughout this time and he has participated in most seasons of excavation at the site. This work has involved excavating most major Near Eastern periods from the prehistoric Natufian period, through to the Islamic period.

Ben is a life member of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation at the University of Sydney and he currently sits on the board of the Foundation.

Ben has also travelled widely beyond the destinations to which he takes tours, has taught English in Japan for six months and has sailed on a dhow to Zanzibar. The consequence of this experience is that Ben is an adept traveller, unfazed by what the world may throw at him, and someone who has managed to amass a lot of information from various places and time periods that he is only too happy to impart.

Ben led his first tour to Jordan and Syria in 1993 and has gone on to take travellers to an eclectic range of countries including Mali, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Iran, Central Asia, China and Mexico. The common thread has been Ben’s interest in global history and the interconnections between both historical periods and cultures. How these interconnections are expressed in architecture, religion and governance is an abiding interest of Ben’s.

We asked Ben, what do you think clients get from travelling with you?

“I feel the people I travel with enjoy the way I can place great sweeps of history into context for them. On tour people often want to know what was happening elsewhere while such and such a building was being constructed. Fortunately I can use the experience I’ve built up over the years to answer such questions and then tie the particular culture we are looking at into the broader picture so that it links with things already known by the people in the group.”

View Bio & Upcoming Tours

Hotels

In order to avoid unnecessary transfers and allow for individual exploration, we select comfortable, centrally-located hotels wherever possible. Where possible, most of the hotels we use are 4-star. We prefer smaller hotels if available, and we are constantly researching and reviewing our choices.

Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 

Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included

Airport Transfers

Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

What is not included in the tour price?

Our tours do not include the following:

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

 

Booking Conditions

You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.

Deposits

A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 60 days before departure: $500*
  • 60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
  • 44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
  • 14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due

*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.

Unused Portions of the tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Travel Insurance

Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.

Passport and Visa

A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.

Will the tour price change?

If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.

Will the itinerary change?

Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.

Final Payment

Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.

Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller. We aim to be fair and reasonable in all our dealings with our clients. We aim to provide full and accurate information about our tours and promptly provide information of any changes or alterations that take place before departure.

Tour Details

Fitness Requirement

Grade Three
i

A Grade 3 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
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Bookings

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Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Jamal Fairbrother 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)
jamal@academytravel.com.au

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