Day 2: Casablanca – Rabat – Chefchaouen (Breakfast & Dinner)
08h30: After breakfast in the Blue Lagoon, you will meet your driver, and go for the first guided visit inside the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, built during the reign of the late King Hassan II, and it is the North African equivalent of the Statue of Liberty. It is built right on the ocean, and the laser beam from its 200M minaret is visible up to 35Km away. The entire structure covers a total area of 22 000 M2, the prayer hall accommodates 25 000 worshippers, with space for a further 80 000 pilgrims on its esplanade. It has a cultural centre, library, museum & Koranic schools. It was opened to the public since 1994 and the only Mosque where non-Muslims can enter. Its walls are covered with finely sculpture plasterwork and zellige, its granite pillars support capitals & arches decorated with stalactites & carved cedarwood cupolas. This visit is one of your highlights of the tour.
Your driver will take you on an orientation tour of Casablanca, driving along the Corniche, where the Casaouis take their evening stroll. Driving past the Ibn Saud Saudi Foundation, private beaches, hotels and some excellent French & seafood restaurants. He will also point out Rick’s Café, with its memorabilia of the cult movie Casablanca, past the Anfa district then returning to the hustle and bustle of this busy city, via the League of Arab States Park, the Notre Dame de Lourdes church, and the United Nations Square.
Time to leave the economic capital for the official administrative capital of Morocco, the royal city of Rabat. Again, the history is very rich, from the 3rd Century when the Phoenicians settled, then the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Almohades, the Merinides & the Alaouite dynasties. This is the city visited by the world’s heads of state & royalty. You will drive past the Kasbah of the Oudayas, standing on the south bank of the Bou Regreg estuary, with its monumental archway, from the 12th century.
Time to stop for a visit to the Mohamed V Mausoleum, commemorating the sultan who enabled Morocco to achieve its independence. It was built by a Vietnamese architect along the lines of traditional royal necropolises. It is built on a plinth, flight of steps leading up to the koubba, where a gallery-cum-balcony looks on to the impressive burial chamber containing the tombs of the Kings Mohamed V and his son Hassan II. The mausoleum is guarded 24/7 by the royal guard, wearing the flowing red & white burnous, carrying their ceremonial rifles. Opposite, on the same esplanade is the Hassan Tower, or the unfinished mosque, its minaret remarkable for the beauty and simplicity of its latticework decoration.