Transit of Mercury

Transit of Mercury

$1900 / per person
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On November 11, 2019 the planet Mercury will cross the solar disk, the next appointment will be on November 13, 2032. The Garraf Astronomical Observatory (OAG) and Vivencial Tourism (TV), organize a complete trip-expedition that will travel The SW coast of Morocco, from Essaouira to Tarfaya.

In this itinerary we take care to the extreme the observation of the unknown nature of the Atlantic coast of Morocco, the natural parks and the lands of the Anti Atlas. Hundreds of birds have their habitat here, flora and fauna seem to confuse us by diversity. The route of our trip is also the historical past of European colonialism and the current state of this region of Morocco, reaching the first places of commercial settlements of the nineteenth century.

In front of the shores whipped by the wind, the splendid and transparent skies. The trips accompanied by Tófol Tobal, geographer and astronomer of the OAG team, who knows the landscapes of Algeria, Egypt, Libya or Tunisia well. During the trip we will make geographical and astronomical observations, taking advantage of the occasion to introduce them to travel photography. An itinerary full of historical landmarks.

(*) NOT INCLUDED SERVICES: Drinks at dinners, tourist rates in the accommodations that request it. Tips.

12 days & 11 nights

Tour Plan


Day 1 - Barcelona - Marrakech - Essaouria

Flight Barcelona- Marrakech. Upon arrival at the airport, assistance from our drivers and transfer by road to Essaouira. Accommodation and dinner in Riad.

Day 2 - Essaouria

Stay in Essaouira, (old Mogador). Founded by Phoenician settlers in the seventh century BC with the name of Migdol (Atalaya). Whipped by the Atlantic winds, it offers select historical and cultural routes through its medina and the port. The strengths of the 18th century give it a unique aspect. Its gastronomy based on fresh fish is a pleasure for the traveler, always wrapped in hundreds of seagulls that cross the beaches. Essaouira is an explosion of color in its markets, spices, fabrics and crafts will catch us.

Day 3 - Tamri. Aourir National Park. Paradise Valley. Agadir

On the way to Agadir we will explore the stunning natural beauty of this region of the SW, not too usual in the tours of Morocco. From the coast of Tamri, an exceptional place for geological and bird watching, we will enter the Valley of Paradise, an authentic jewel of nature 40km northwest of Agadir, in the High Plains of the Anti-Atlas. An area of beautiful water courses, canyons, rivers and uadis in a context of hundreds of palm trees and oleanders. Lovers of landscape photography will not want to leave it. Considered one of the most beautiful valleys in all of North Africa. The richness of flora and fauna is jealously protected by national and international organizations. Arrival in Agadir at night. We will have dinner at one of the many restaurants on its long promenade. Night in Agadir.

Day 4 - Agadir - Souss Massa National Park

We will leave the mass tourism Agadir, rebuilt after the famous earthquake of 1960 that swept the old city, to continue our route through the most beautiful natural environments of the SW of Morocco. Our destination is the exceptional Souss Massa National Park, more than 33,000 miles from the sea. It is a strategic point for all marine and marine birds, which enjoys international protection. In winter there are ospreys, common porrones and other ducks to hundreds. The colony of Ibis Eremites is its main attraction. In the Ouad Massa, the small village of Sidi R’bat is mythical, since here the legend tells that Jonah was vomited by the whale. Also the Arab conqueror Nafi (S.VII) began his military campaigns. This whole area is a stimulus for the traveler-explorer. Night in Agadir.

Day 5 - Agadir - Ameln - Tafraoute

Today we go to the Anti-Atlas region, the reliefs that border the great mountain range. Tafraoute is nestled in the beautiful valley of the Ameln, dominated by mountains of red granite. The rocky landscape is rich in details and colors that will delight photography. A unique landscape, solitary and little visited that we can explore with great detail. The Anti-Atlas has a great variety of caves, ravines and new places. The imposing Yebel Leks rises to the North to 2,359m altitude. Their skies enjoy extraordinary transparency, which we will use to carry out our astronomy sessions. The region is rich in almond trees, reason that has generated a great agricultural and cultural tradition based on songs and dances of gratitude. The markets are full of high quality local products. Night in Tafraoute or Ameln.

Day 6 - Tafraoute - Tiznit - Sidi Ifni

We march towards the South of the Sus valley and more to the extreme West of the Anti-Atlas. The ancient walled medina of Tiznit awaits us, which surrounds the ancient kasbas gathered in the 19th century. It is the birthplace of the anti-colonial leader Hiba who began his resistance in 1912. It is a good place for a short visit, experiencing the local environment. At 15km N of Sidi-Ifni we will find the coastal jewel of the Natural Arches of Legzira beach. Remember in many aspects the Portuguese Algarve coast. It is a paradise for lovers of surfing and sailing, being very active at the time of vacation. In winter, it dominates the calm, the wind, the murmur of the sea against its reddish and ocher rocks, which the sea is literally eating. This is helped by the colonies of seabirds that frequent it.

Day 7 - Sidi Ifni - Cap Draa

Sidi Ifni still retains much of the architectural legacy of what was a Spanish colony, and scene of the last war with Morocco (October 1957 – June 1958) that ended with the independence of the territory. It was a base of the slave trade and later a fish export center. Its busy history is well worth a visit, to know a little about the colonial past of Spain in Africa, shared by France in this region. In summer it is usually enveloped in Atlantic mists, but in winter it looks splendid to the Sun. Numerous foreigners have made Sidi Ifni its favorite place, breathing a unique atmosphere in its squares and restaurants. The Lighthouse is famous, and the ship-shaped house where the Spanish Naval Secretariat lodged are also interesting. Much of the local economy is still fishing. We will also visit the beaches of Cabo Draa, the site of the mouth of one of the most remarkable rivers of Morocco (Uad Draa), which runs eastward at the foot of the southern slope of the Atlas. Night in Tan-Tan.

Day 8 - Tan Tan - Uad Draa - Amtoudi

We now enter the domains of the Southern Desert. The road is impressive for its solitude, emptiness and hard landscape of the hammada (flat and stony desert). Contrary to what one thinks, in Morocco there are only a couple of ergs (deserts of dunes), the rest are regs, deserts of stone. Tan-Tan was a Spanish military enclave, a small fort in the style of the famous film “Beau Geste” (1939) starring Gary Cooper. It was an enclave of nomads. From here the Green March left in 1975, which ended with the end of the Spanish colonial period in Western Sahara. The great beach of Al-Quatia (Tan-Tan Plage) is a peaceful, beautiful and quiet place, whipped by the wind. The English merchant Mackenzie founded a trading post here in the 19th century. The harbor hosts a large sardine fleet and multiple sports boats. We will also dedicate part of the day to visit the extraordinary town of Amtoudi located in the oasis of Id Aïssa. A few families live on palm trees, fig trees, almond trees, apricots, olive trees and orange trees, which are next to small fields of corn and barley next to their home gardens. Its traditional architecture is intact. The first vestiges of occupation date back to 10,000 years ago. A unique experience that no traveler can miss. Night in Tan-Tan.

Day 9 - Tan Tan - Tarfaya

Our march takes us already to idyllic territories, far from the great tourist routes. They house jewels of the history and culture of the Sahara. Between Tan-Tan and Tarfaya. The route is marked by small fishermen’s huts, where we can buy their catches and roast them later. Herds of camels wander far from the eyes of their owners. The hammada extends until it is out of sight. A must stop is Akhfenir, where the national park of southwestern Morocco is located along the Atlantic coast. A good place to eat fish. Here there is the possibility of making a small excursion with a fishing boat that will take us to a nearby island inhabited by colonies of flamingos and other migratory birds. Depending on the time of arrival, we can lose ourselves by the extensive and lonely beaches of Tarfaya. Night in Tarfaya.

Day 10 - Tarfaya

Here are the origins of the first commercial post of the English Mackienze in the Sahara, built on a rock at the foot of the sea. He called it Port Victoria, but it was occupied by the Spaniards and today, there is still a good part of it standing. It is known for La Casa del Mar. You can visit it walking at low tide. Today, Tarfaya is booming, builders and Spanish companies are looking for their share of business, as apart from being an important geopolitical enclave for Morocco, it has good tourist potential. This name is linked to the literary work of Saint-Exupery author of the famous book The Little Prince. The writer spent two years here writing “Correo del Sur”. There is a monument dedicated to him with Breguet-XIV plane model. The Saint Exupéry Museum is very interesting, it tells us the history of the air mail service that he helped to create. Night in Tarfaya.

Day 11 - Tarfaya

This day is focused on monitoring and observing the Mercury Transit ahead of the solar disk, an event that will not be repeated until November 13, 2032. We will give detailed instructions for using the various instruments without risk to our sight. Fans of photography will have special filters to equip their lenses and cameras. After the observation of the Transit (between 12h-18h UT) we will begin the preparations for the long stage of tomorrow, bound for Marrakech. Night in Tarfaya.

Day 12 - Tarfaya - Marrakech - Barcelona

Today we have a long stage of return, which we will do with the best of mind after this trip-expedition, which has had to fill our desires to know an unusual Morocco. The communications areas from the South of Morocco are not very flexible, so in the best conditions, we had to spend 10h through the airports to get to Barcelona. The organizers have preferred to cover 600km by road. We will leave rested in the morning and we will take advantage of the tour to see more, stop and enjoy new landscapes. In this way, we only need to fly the Marrakech-Barcelona route by plane. Better route than the salty ones of eternal waits. We believe that.

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