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Home-cooked meals and desert camping in Morocco

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Courtesy Virgin Vacations

Instead of just reading “1,001 Arabian Nights,” adventurous travelers can immerse themselves in the exotic culture of Morocco. Virgin Vacations’ new 14-day Moroccan Allure itinerary showcases experiences including dining with locals, camping in the Sahara and discovering the circus atmosphere of Marrakesh.

On April 30, Virgin Vacations introduced this and 16 other Small Group Experiences designed for active and curious groups of 10 to 18 travelers.

“The tours are created to be transformational experiences for adventurous clients who want in-depth opportunities to delve into a country’s culture and natural attractions,” said Nigel Osborne, Virgin Vacations’ president. “Many of the areas explored are off-the-beaten path and places that would be hard to get to on one’s own.

Early in the Moroccan trip, guests explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Volubilis, a preserved and important African outpost of the Roman Empire. Groups also explore Fez on a walking tour. The city is one of the world’s largest car-free urban areas. Its Chouwara Tannery allows visitors to see how leather is cut and dyed using traditional techniques. That evening, a local Fez family will host the group at their home for a traditional Moroccan dinner.

On an excursion into the Sahara Desert, guests will share tea with some locals in a Berber tent before settling into their Sahara camp. With dunes surrounding them, visitors will watch an impressive sunset and listen to traditional music.

Some of the other stops on the itinerary include demonstrations by the Argan Oil Womens Cooperative, ruins of El Badi Palace and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, a fortified city along a former caravan route. In Marrakesh, the tour explores the Djemaa el Fna square, which is known for its colorful acrobats, storytellers and snake charmers.

Groups will end their journey touring the famed Casablanca and its Mohammed V Square, massive Hassan II Mosque and Royal Palace.

For more information, visit www.virgin-vacations.com.

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