Cultural Tours Handcrafted in Morocco

+44 (0)208 123 7969 (UK)
+212 (0)615 647918 (Morocco)

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Special-interest Morocco Tour

Berber Pottery Making Tour

9 days / 8 nights (* see notes)

Tour Ref:   SV036
Tour start:   Marrakech
Tour end:   Marrakech
Tour type:   Cultural, Desert, Special-interest
Regions:   Imperial Cities (Marrakech), Atlas Mountains, Southern Valleys, Sahara Desert
Available:   OPEN GROUP May 1st-9th 2016. Private groups upon request.

Tour summary

9-day escorted arts holiday in Morocco - touring in 4x4 from Marrakech, over the High Atlas Mountains to the edge of Sahara desert. Holiday includes 3 days pottery making at the famous Tamegroute co-operative of Berber artisans - a local pottery that dates back to the 17th century. You will learn local traditional methods, glazing techniques and make your own bowls or ceramic objects. This cultural tour of South Morocco includes time in Marrakech before heading over the Atlas Mountains via mud-built kasbahs and the fabulous Draa Valley oasis. You stay in hand-picked boutique hotels and traditional riads, with several nights in a luxury guesthouse nestled in an oasis at the edge of the Sahara desert. Your local Berber guides will teach you to use the old-fashioned wheel, decorative techniques and even show you how the clay is made. All materials supplied. Escorted by English-speaking tour assistant. NB Suitable for both amateur and experienced potters/ceramic artists. Not for complete beginners or children aged under 16 yrs.

  Contact us to arrange your tour

Or call us now on +212 (0)615 647918 (Morocco) or +44 (0)208 123 7969 (UK)

Please note: All our Morocco tours can be customised to allow extra days for shorter daily car journeys, extra activities, relaxation days, exploration days etc. We can also adapt tours to connect with different start/end locations in Morocco. Let us know your wishes and we will build your perfect Morocco tour itinerary.

Price: Contact us for a personalised quotation.
Prices will vary according to number of people travelling in vehicle, number of days, time of year, category of accommodation chosen and activities requested.

NB Our Morocco tours are private tours organised upon request.

Day-to-day tour itinerary

Day 1

Marrakech

Arrive Marrakech airport and group transfer to your riad in the old medina. You have the rest of the day free to explore the city depending on arrival time. The old medina of Marrakech is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys, with different neighbourhoods and streets specialising in various arts, crafts and produce. Take time to relax in your traditional riad guesthouse, enjoy the roof terrace and soak up the sounds and smells of Morocco’s favourite city. Your English-speaking tour leader will also join you for dinner.

Stay: traditional riad in the old medina of Marrakech

Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2

Marrakech - High Atlas Mountains- Telouet Kasbah - Ait Benhaddou

Your Morocco cultural adventure takes to the road, with an exhilarating drive across the Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass in 4x4, winding and twisting at high altitudes towards the great South of Morocco. After the highest point of the Mountain Pass, you head off on a minor road to the restored Glaoui Kasbah at Telouet in the Ounila Valley, which has magnificent interiors with mosaic-tiled walls and painted wooden ceilings. You can get inspiration from the geometric coloured decorative patterns.

Early afternoon arrive at world-famous Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, crossing the Oued Mellah, to reach this carefully restored fortified village. The turrets of the earth-built kasbah are carved with typical Berber motifs which you may wish to sketch or photograph for reference during your pottery-making workshop. The Berber architecture, ornamentation, textiles and rich colours of the Kasbah are magnificent and truly reflect the tribal elements of Southern Morocco culture. After lunch and visiting the hilltop kasbah, you then continue to the town of Ouarzazate. You will have time to visit the restored Glaoui Kasbah Taourirt and to visit the Ensemble Artisanale to look at samples of local ceramic wares and research ideas. Dinner and relax in riad guesthouse near Ouarzazate.

Stay: Traditional riad/guesthouse in Ouarzazate

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Day 3

Ouarzazate - Draa Valley - Zagora

The tour continues towards the desert region by twisting through rocky ravines where the Anti-Atlas Mountains collide with the Jbel Saghro. Then you enter into the Draa Valley with its lush oasis of date palms and beautiful, crumbling kasbahs. Many opportunities to see local earthen jugs, tajines and Berber terracotta water-coolers for sale at the roadside. You will also visit inside the Tissergate Museum which houses a collection of traditional household and agricultural implements as well as jewellery, from which you can sketch out design ideas. By lunchtime you arrive in the desert town of Zagora, which is where you will be based for the next few days. Late afternoon you will drive the short distance to visit the pottery collective in Tamegroute and to meet your artisan hosts. Spend the night in Zagora and (hopefully) time to dip into the back-streets of nearby Amzrou, formerly inhabited by Jewish silversmiths.

Stay: 3-star hotel, or 4-star boutique guesthouse in Zagora

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Day 4

Tamegroute pottery making workshop

Shuttle in 4x4 to Tamegroute pottery (30 mins’ drive) early morning to start the holiday workshop. Working with local Berber artisans you will be introduced to local throwing techniques and practice using the pedal-driven wheel. You will have time to throw a few pots of your own using prepared clay. First batch of pots/objects to be finished by evening time to allow for sun-baking the following day. Lunch with local families. Evening return to riad in Zagora for dinner.

Stay: 3-star hotel, or 4-star boutique guesthouse in Zagora

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 5

Tamegroute pottery making workshop

Day to learn decorative techniques on pre-baked ceramic bowls using locally grown henna pigment. You may also wish to help gather and prepare the wood and scrub which is used to stoke the mud-built kilns. Finish shaping your pots/objects made the previous day and prepare for the firing process. These objects are first dried in the sun for at least 24 hours before firing the following/final day. More pots can also be made, coil pots and/or pedal driven wheel. Items to be clearly identified for each potter. Items can be packaged and posted to Europe (at extra cost). Lunch with local families. Afternoon - assisting the potters with whatever tasks are required - glazing, fire stoking, clay preparation. Evening return to riad in Zagora for dinner.

Stay: 3-star hotel, or 4-star boutique guesthouse in Zagora

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 6

Tamegroute pottery making workshop

Today is for application of local glazes to your work. Tamegroute is famous for its distinctive green glaze which varies in shade depending on the heat and the proportions of key elements copper and magnesium. Pots are placed into kilns for firing along with other local products being made for commercial output. The kiln is only fired up when totally full so it may not be before you leave. If other coloured glazes are required this needs to be set up at start of the 3-day workshop.

Say goodbye to potters and leave clear instructions plus pre-addressed packing box for shipping of goods if required.

Farewell lunch with local families. Evening return to your hotel in Zagora for dinner. NB You may opt to take camel trek for around 2hrs to spend your final night and last supper in the nearby dunes, sleeping in a nomad-style desert camp at Erg Nakhil.

Stay: 3-star hotel, or 4-star boutique guesthouse in Zagora

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 7

Zagora - Draa Valley - Ouarzazate - High Atlas Mountains - Marrakech

10.00 a.m. departure from Zagora for return trip to Marrakech in 4x4, stopping for photos, visits to kasbahs and local artisans as required. Lunch en route (not incl). Your cultural desert tour ends in Marrakech by evening time. Evening is free for you to visit Place Jemaa el Fna and grab some dinner in the square or we can arrange to have dinner waiting at the riad (not included). Here you say goodbye to your guide and driver.

Stay: Traditional riad in the old medina of Marrakech

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Day 8

Marrakech

Free day to explore Marrakech at your own pace - we recommend a visit to the Museum of Marrakech, Museum Dar Si Said the Ensemble Artisanale and also into the side markets off the Place Bab Fteuh to discover all manner of bric-a-brac and African artefacts. The deeper into the souks you go, the cheaper prices will get! The group may wish to share a farewell evening meal together in a local restaurant in the medina.

Stay:

Meal plan:

Day 9

Marrakech

After breakfast and goodbyes to your fellow potters you will be transferred to the airport from your riad. You may wish to extend you stay in Marrakech for a few days or alternatively, you can choose to continue your holiday in Morocco with us by adding-on one of our Suggested Morocco Adventure Tour Itineraries.

Stay: N/A

Meal plan: Breakfast

  • Suitable for both amateur and experienced potters/ceramic artists. Not for complete beginners or children aged under 16 yrs.
  • This open group tour is offered ONCE per year, but is available any time between Sept-May departures on request for private group bookings of minimum 4 people (subject to availability).

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