City of Carthage, Tunisia
City of Carthage, Tunisia
NEW for 2019

Tunisia & Morocco: From the Phoenicians to the Berbers


15 days From $4,950

March 25 2019

Although near-neighbors and unmistakably North African (albeit with an occasional Mediterranean twist), when it comes to culture and character Tunisia and Morocco share as many differences as resemblances. Both, though, have intricately tangled histories of conquest and colonization – and a rich heritage forged over millennia from epic events and a heady fusion of Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Arab, Berber and European influences.

Embracing northern Tunisia’s major archaeological and historical sites and museums, our study tour includes a full day amid the splendors of ancient Carthage, founded by the Phoenicians in the 9th century BCE and today a World Heritage Site – as is the Roman city of Dougga, also visited. Other tour highlights include the desert city of Kairouan, a holy pilgrimage center renowned for its magnificent Great Mosque and bustling medina, and the National Bardo Museum, a Tunisian heritage landmark.

Bounded by the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the high Atlas Mountains and vast Sahara, Morocco’s dramatic landscapes and often remote kasbahs and ksour are the preserve of a vibrant 6,000-years-old legacy derived from Berber, Arab and European dynasties and cultures. We focus on medieval Islamic Morocco’s colorful Imperial Cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fes and Marrakech (from which Morocco once ruled an area extending from Spain to Timbuktu), as well as the excavations of Volubilis, the Roman Empire outpost at the heart of the ancient Roman-Berber kingdom of Mauretania.

What's included?

  •  Expert Scholar & Tour Manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Local Transport
  •  Entries & Tips

Led by...

Dr Allen Fromherz

Dr Allen Fromherz

is the director of the Middle East Studies Center and Professor of Mediterranean and Middle East History at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Book Now $4,950
Includes deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $985

Tour highlights:

  • Travel back to the 9th century BCE amid the imposing ruins of the Phoenicians’ capital city of Carthage, one of Africa’s most renowned World Heritage Sites
  • Delve into Tunisia’s rich culture and history at the excellent National Bardo Museum, housing the country’s most important antiquities
  • Be entertained in Marrakech by the musicians, jugglers, storytellers and snake charmers of famous Jemaa el Fna square
  • Discover Morocco’s ancient links with Rome at the ruined site of Volubilis, a thriving city 2,000 years ago
  • Enjoy opportunities to trial a host of delicious North African cuisines – and for shopping for handicraft items in ancient souks

Tour details

Dates March 25 2019 - April 8 2019
Duration 15 days
Cost $4,950
Single supplement: $985
Deposit: $1,250 , balance due by December 31 2018
Activity Level Moderate
Tour code A19TUM

Book Now or call 866-740-5130 if you have any questions

March 25 2019: Itinerary

We arrive in Tunis and transfer to our first hotel. We have the rest of the day to relax after our flight, before enjoying our first group dinner together at the start of our 3-night stay.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: El Mouradi Hotel Africa, Tunis

Our first day is spent exploring Tunisia’s great archaeological site of Carthage, at the sea’s edge just to the north-east of the capital, where it survives as a powerful memorial to an ancient city once a focal point of two great empires of antiquity. Founded by the Phoenicians and laid waste in 146 BCE by their Roman enemies (who built upon the resulting ruins), today’s UNESCO World Heritage Site still reveals the vast scale of the original – whose remains, though scattered and often fragmented, offer a rich hunting-ground for the keen archaeologist. Our visit begins at the acropolis of Byrsa Hill, Carthage’s original military center, whose interesting museum showcases the area’s epic history, and also the nearby Phoenicio-Punic houses. Highlights encountered during the day include the Tophet (a Punic burial-ground), ancient Punic harbors and ship-sheds, the Punic fortifications in the “Quartier Magon” and the huge Antonine Baths (at over 40,000 square yards among the Roman Empire’s three largest bath complexes).

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: El Mouradi Hotel Africa, Tunis

After breakfast our day in Tunis takes us first to the Bardo Museum, whose major collection has made it second in importance in Africa only to Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. Housed in a handsome former palace, built by Mhammed Bey in the Italo-Tunisian style in the mid-19th century, it traces the history of Tunisia through a wide spectrum of archaeological exhibits that includes splendid Roman mosaics and beautiful Punic stelae and jewelry. We then fast-forward to the Tunis of today as we wander through the city medina, a vibrant medieval maze of ancient alleys and back streets whose bustling cafés jostle with industrious artisans– and covered souks where you can buy anything from saucepans or spices to slippers or shisha pipes. After lunch we visit the Dar Ben Abdallah Museum, a former 18th century palace in the heart of the medina with a wealth of displays illustrating the public life and traditions of Tunis. Later in the afternoon a short drive takes us to famous Sidi Bou Said for a stroll through the picture-perfect Old Town of this seaside “blue-and-white” Mediterranean village.

All meals included

Hotel: El Mouradi Hotel Africa, Tunis

We travel south-west this morning through the Andalusian-looking town of Testour (established in the 17th century by Muslim and Jewish refugees from the Spanish Inquisition). Our first destination is the hilltop setting of Dougga, UNESCO-listed and for many Africa’s leading Roman archaeological site, thanks to its amazingly complete temples, bathhouses and 3,500-seat theater, still standing in mute tribute to its proud 2nd and 3rd century CE heyday. To these Dougga adds a 2nd century BCE Libyco-Punic mausoleum that vies to be seen as Tunisia’s finest pre-Roman monument. After comprehensive exploration we press on, south-eastwards now, to the desert city and pilgrimage destination of Kairouan, our next base for two nights. Once the Muslim capital of North Africa, ancient Kairouan remains a repository of Islamic culture, with some of Tunisia’s best examples of Islamic architecture, from ornately decorated mosques and tombs to medina alleys lined with colourful homes.

 

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: La Kasbah, Kairouan

On today’s visit to the village of El Jem (formerly Thysdrus), some two hour’s south of the capital, we once again come face to face with the enduring archaeological legacy gifted to Tunisia by the might of Imperial Rome. Here rises the largest Colosseum in North Africa, if not the world – an awesome heritage-listed 3rd century CE amphitheater capable of holding 35,000 spectators – yet built simply from blocks of stone without foundations, its well-preserved free-standing structure supported by a system of arches. Our stay also allows time to call at the notable archaeological museum, exhibiting an exceptional collection of richly-colored Roman mosaics. Later, on our return to Kairouan, we explore the city’s animated souks in the medina before enjoying dinner at our hotel.

All meals included

Hotel: La Kasbah, Kairouan

Our morning focuses upon ancient Kairouan’s rich religious and artistic heritage, visiting the two principal mosques of a city regarded as Africa’s oldest place of Islamic worship. Pride of place goes to the Sidi Okba Mosque, with its imposing minaret and unusual antique-columned prayer room - while the decorative tiling and carved ceilings of the Mosque of the Berber rival those of Granada’s Alhambra. We also stop to view the Aghlabid Basins and the cisterns that showcase the ingenuity of Kairouan’s 9th century hydraulic engineers. Driving on to the Mediterranean coast at Monastir, we enjoy lunch before a visit to the historic Ribat monument, the oldest defensive work built on the North African coast at the time of the Muslim conquest. The final leg of our route back to Tunis is broken by a call at nearby Sousse, whose Archaeological Museum, located within the kasbah of the old city, features the world’s second-largest collection of mosaics after the Tunis Bardo Museum.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: El Mouradi Hotel Africa, Tunis

An easy drive across the Cape Bon peninsula brings us to the coast at Nabeul (ancient Neapoli, a Roman colony built over Punic ruins), where the small but interesting Archaeological Museum has displays of funerary furnishings, mosaic pavements and marble sculptures from the Punic and Roman periods, as well as oil lamps, jewelry and coins. Afterwards we spend time at the ancient fish-processing pools at Nabeul before relaxing over lunch. A short drive along the Mediterranean shore now brings us to the heritage-listed cliffside ruins of the 6th century BCE Punic town of Kerkouane. A once-thriving community, spared from destruction by the invading Romans after it was abandoned, Kerkouane survives as an outstanding example of Phoenicio-Punic structures and city-planning. Our tour of the extensive archaeological site reveals clearly identifiable houses (some with the coloured clay on their facades still visible) and mosaic pavements – while the site museum showcases collections of ceramic art and jewelry.

All meals included

Hotel: El Mouradi Hotel Africa, Tunis

Our day is spent travelling as we transfer to Morocco, taking a flight from Tunis to Casablanca (approximately 3 hours). From here we drive the short distance to Rabat and check in at our hotel.

 

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Le Diwan, Rabat - MGallery by Sofitel

A free first morning in Rabat offers an ideal opportunity for relaxation – or for independent exploration of this bright and welcoming capital city, an appealing amalgam of Morocco old and new, enhanced by a coastal location and the palm-lined boulevards of its ‘Ville Nouvelle”. After lunch our program begins with an instructive visit to the long-established Rabat Archaeological Museum. This contains a wealth of artifacts – from prehistoric, Punic and Roman exhibits through to the Islamic era – that chronicle the evolution of Morocco’s rich cultural heritage. Ours to discover next are Rabat’s major Islamic monuments, among them the fortified walls and enormous gateway of the Oudaias Kasbah, built in the 12th century reign of Yacoub el Mansour; the Royal Palace (in the Mechouar square); the graceful marble Mohammed V Mausoleum; Hassan’s Tower (originally the minaret of an unfinished mosque); and the Chellah necropolis, both a Roman ruin and an Islamic burial-ground.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Le Diwan, Rabat - MGallery by Sofitel

On today’s journey 120 miles eastwards into the rugged Moroccan interior we break our journey at the picturesque little holy city of Moulay Idriss. Framed by mountains and perched atop two green hills, this is venerated as the burial place of the founder of Islam in Morocco and is one of the country’s most important pilgrimage sites. We pause next in nearby Meknes, smallest of Morocco’s four Imperial Cities and the former capital. Its ancient walls enclose an attractive Moorish-Spanish flavored scenario of ornamental gates, fortified parapets, palaces, mosques and a vibrant medina. Our exploration embraces the iconic 18th century Bab el Mansour Gate, the Bab Berrima Gate, El Hedim Square at the heart of the medina – and the traditional crafts and textiles on display at Dar Jamai, an ornate 1882 palace set amid lush gardens. From here an hour’s drive brings us to Fes for a 2-night stay.

All meals included

Hotel: Les Mérinides, Fes

Regarded as the intellectual, political and cultural center of the entire country, historic Fes rewards us today with a wealth of fascinating encounters with - and insights into –an animated tableau of Morocco at its most vibrant and engaging. We spend much of the day savoring the atmospheric lanes and alleys of the medieval medina, seemingly with tiled fountains at every corner. We explore both Fez el Bali, the original area, and Fez el Jdid, the later 13th-century section housing the former Jewish quarter. Highlights en route are the Bab Bou Jeloud, the medina’s monumental gateway; the Attarine Madrassa, known for its magnificent tiles; the beautifully restored Fondouk el-Nejjarine (an 18th century roadside inn transformed into a museum); the Bou Inania Madrassa, nearly 700 years old and an architectural masterpiece) and the Dar Batha museum of traditional arts and crafts located in a former royal palace. Later we drive out to the heritage-listed ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis, the best-preserved archaeological site in Morocco, especially remarkable for its superb mosaics and tiles.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Les Mérinides, Fes

Today we take the hour-long morning flight south to our final port-of-call – the ancient Berber city of Marrakech, whose name alone calls up exotic images of a quintessential Morocco of pink palaces, beguiling souks and the snow-capped mountains of the High Atlas. Our hotel check-in completed, there’s time for leisurely independent exploration of the old town’s always-animated medina and, later, the nightly carnival of legendary Djemaa el-Fna square.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Sofitel Marrakech Lounge and Spa

The first of our two full days in Marrakech introduces us to the premier historical and cultural locations of this fabled ‘Red City’ whose thousand-year history has left a rich inheritance of Moorish-Andalusian mosques and palaces, amid oasis-like gardens. First on our tour is the largest of these, the great Mosque of Koutoubia, whose lofty minaret is a city landmark. This is followed by the long-hidden 16th century Tombs of the Saadian kings, one of Morocco’s most beautifully crafted resting-places. We then visit the Ben Youssef Madrassa, once an Islamic college for students of the sciences and theology – and with its delicate stucco work and mosaics exemplifying Islamic architecture at its finest. Also on our itinerary are the mysterious ruins of the once-spectacular Al-Badi Palace; the Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts; the Almoravid Qubbah monument dating from the 12th century; and the prestigious Museum of Islamic Art. In the evening our day ends with a special farewell dinner in one of the city’s finest restaurants.

All meals included

Hotel: Sofitel Marrakech Lounge and Spa

The entire day is at leisure for independent enjoyment of the magic of Marrakech. Perhaps allow some time to unwind in the iconic Majorelle Garden. Created by the French Oriental artist, Jacques Majorelle, this is a botanical masterpiece with hundreds of exotic plants - a haven for exotic local bird life – and not to be missed.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Sofitel Marrakech Lounge and Spa

We transfer to the airport for our individual flights home or onward travel.

Meals include: Breakfast

March 25 2019: Additional Info

March 25 2019: Accommodation

Situated in Tunis, on the famous Avenue Habib Bourguiba, Hotel Africa Tunis is a 15-minute drive from Tunis Airport. It offers soundproofed and air-conditioned rooms with panoramic views over the city.

The Hotel Africa Tunis’ restaurant, Kilimandjaro, serves Mediterranean cuisine and guests are invited to enjoy at the Lobby bar. There is also a Brasserie situated on the terrace, which overlooks the Avenue de Tunis.

The Africa has a 24-hour reception and provides free newspapers, currency exchange and a car rental service.

Boasting a central location in Tunisia, Hotel La Kasbah offers a warm and friendly welcome in the heart of Kairouan, a walled town of great historic and spiritual significance.

Hotel La Kasbah features comfortable rooms and suites offering an elegant setting for your business or leisure stay. They feature all the facilities you may expect, including air conditioning and satellite TV. Wi-Fi is available with an extra cost.

For your convenience, La Kasbah features two restaurants serving local specialties and international cuisine. The hotel combines modern parts and ancient areas renovated with your comfort in mind.

The Diwan is located next to the Palais Royal in Rabat city centre, Morocco. This 4-star resort has a hammam and the gourmet restaurant serves traditional Moroccan cuisine.

The hotel offers air-conditioned and soundproofed rooms and suites. Each guest room has satellite TV and free Wi-Fi.

Guests are invited to relax in the XO Bar, and breakfast is prepared every morning.

Perched on the hills of Fez, Les Mérinides hotel invites you to explore the historical wonders of a city full of heritage. It features a terrace with swimming pool and rooms with free WiFi.

The air-conditioned rooms are decorated in light tones using high quality materials, such as glass and wood. They are equipped with amenities including satellite TV and minibar.

The hotel has 3 restaurants. A Moroccan restaurant is located on the third floor, with views of the the Medina and offers a combination of Moroccan and international cuisine served in a refined atmosphere. 

Sofitel Marrakech Lounge and Spa offers luxurious accommodation 900 yards from Jamaâ El Fna Square. It features a spa, 3 swimming pools and 3 restaurants and bars.

The luxury guest rooms and suites at the Sofitel Marrakech offer a private balcony overlooking the mountains or gardens. All are contemporary in style with modern furnishings and some have a separate lounge.

Gourmet, olive oil-inspired and healthy spa dishes are served in the hotel’s several restaurants. L’Orangerie features a terrace overlooking the Atlas Mountains and Darkum bar serves international teas.

Additional facilities include a fitness center and for a supplement, a spa with an indoor pool, hammam and hot tub. The hotel also has Wi-Fi throughout and a 24-hour reception with a currency exchange service.

March 25 2019: Enquiries

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