The Solar Eclipse of 2013 will pass over the west coast of Africa near Libreville, Gabon, one of Africa’s most prosperous cities.
From the port city of Libreville the journey continues to Marrakech, Morocco and through the Atlas Mountains’ pine forests before descending into the valley of ancient Kasbahs and the caravan town of Quarzazate. Explore rocky landscape and food abundant palm oasis. Continuing to Zagora and Erfud which offer illuminated manuscripts on gazelle-skin parchment, the oldest dating from the 13th century and extensive fossil beds and meteorites. Fez, one of the oldest of the Imperial Cities, sparkle with ceramics and the famous blue fez. We invite you to join Astronomy magazine associate editor, Liz Kruesi, on this fascinating journey to Gabon and Morocco in search of an eclipse, Kasbahs, meteorites and dark skies.
Solar Eclipse Itinerary:
Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, October 30/31/November 1, 2013 • Libreville, Gabon
Depart for Gabon and the eclipse. In 1940 Libreville was the focus of the Battle of Gabon. Under the ruling of General Charles de Gaulle, the Free French forces succeeded in liberating Libreville and all of French Equatorial Africa. In 1960, Libreville acquired independence and continued to develop under Democratic rule.
Saturday, November 2, 2013 • Libreville
Enjoy a city tour today reflecting its ethnic past and French influence, which started as a trading station in 1943. You will visit the Saint-Michel Church of Nkembo with its carved wooden pillars, the very African Mont Boue market.
Lecture this afternoon in preparation to tomorrow’s eclipse.
Sunday, November 3, 2013 • Solar Eclipse
The eclipse shadow comes ashore today on Africa’s West Coast. Our 4 x 4 vehicles will take us to the viewing site along the narrow path of the eclipse. Returning to Libreville for dinner.
Monday, November 4, 2013 • Libreville – Casablanca – Marrakech, Morocco
Arrive at Casablanca Mohamed V Airport. You will be welcomed, assisted and transferred to join the group on a sightseeing tour of Casablanca, the business capital of Morocco. See the Hassan II Great Mosque. You are free for lunch. After lunch, depart for Marrakech via Settat for dinner and overnight.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 • Marrakech
Today will be devoted to exploring the city of Marrakech - "The Pearl of the South". Visit the Saadien Tombs - a 14th century necropolis, The Koutoubia Minaret, the Bahia Palace and the Menara Garden. Return to the hotel for lunch. This afternoon explore the souks and the Djemaa El Fna Place. This evening enjoy a traditional Diffa Fantasia dinner "Chez Ali". Overnight in Marrakech.
Kasbah in Aït Ben Haddout
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 • Marrakech – Quarzazate
After breakfast, depart for Ouarzazate via Taddert and the Tiz-in Tichka pass in the heart of the Atlas Mountains. Visit the ancient ruins of the ancient Kasbah at Ait Ben Haddou. We continue to Ouarzazate for dinner and three nights.
Thursday, November 7, 2013 • Quarzazate
After breakfast, tour Ouarzazate and the Kasbahs of Tifoultout and Taourit. Depart for Tinghir via El Kelaa M'gouna and the scenic Dades Valley. This is a good cobalt region with many colorful minerals. After lunch experience the view of the Todra Gorges. Return to Ourzazate for dinner and overnight.
Friday, November 8, 2013 • Quarzazate – Zagora – Quarzazate
After breakfast, depart for Zagora via Agdz and the Draa Valley. Enjoy a tour of Zagora upon arrival. In the afternoon, visit Tamegroute village, famous for its library with a large collection rare and ancient manuscripts. Return to your hotel.
Saturday, November 9, 2013 • Quarzazate • Alnif • Rissani • Erfoud
After breakfast we will get a view of an Almoravid fortress on a nearby mountain then head to see the meteor site at Alnif. Alnif is known for its unique rock carvings and other important archaeological sites and the ruins of the old Jewish Ksar of Achbarou and the ruins of Talmakhtart. It is also known as the “Fossil Capital” for its impressive quantity and quality of fossil beds, and now for its meteorites. We will head to visit the village and Kasbah in Rissani, on the edge of the Erg Chebbi. Erfoud - Kasbah Xaluca.
© Rita Zawaideh
Sunday, November 10, 2013 • Erfoud – Fes
We will travel through fortified villages and the Ziz River valley to Midelt and the mountain ski village of Ifrane, also home to a major internationally recognized university. This morning explore Fes, the oldest of the Imperial Cities, known for its spiritual and educational contributions to Moroccan culture. Visit the Medieval Medina, the religious Islamic universities known as Merdersas, the Karouine Mosque and the Nejjerine Fountain.
Monday, November 11, 2013 • Fes
Today we will visit the Dar Batha Musuem. This Moorish palace dating from the end of the 19th century houses some admirable collections of traditional art from Fes: sculpted wood, wrought iron, sculpted plaster, embroidery, carpets, jewelry and coins. But the museum's centerpiece is to be found in the pottery room. The most beautiful of all Moroccan ceramic objects were made by Fes craftsmen. Specialists in this technique since the 10th century, they invented the famous "fes blue" obtained by the use of cobalt.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 • Fes – Casablanca – Home City
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Mohamed V airport for your flight home.
Sunday/Monday, October 27/28, 2013 • USA - Gabon
After clearing customs and immigration you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 • Libreville – Lopé National Park
Enjoy a city tour of Libreville, reflecting its ethnic past and French influence, which started as a trading station in 1943. You will visit the St. Michel Church of Nkembo with its carved wooden pillars and the Mont Boue market.
Tonight transfer to Owendo Train Station for the train ride to Lopé National Park.
© Palace Travel
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 • Lopé National Park
You will be met at the train station and transported to Lopé Hotel. The Lopé Hotel is located at the foot of Mont Brazza and looks out onto the mighty Ogooue River. After a brief rest you will safari in 4 x 4’s to the savannah where the forest elephants and monkeys can be found. It is mango season and they come to feed on the fruit.
© Palace Travel
Thursday, October 31, 2013 • Lopé National Park – Mikongo Forest
After an early breakfast, you will drive into the Mikongo Forest Camp. From there you will go with experienced guides for a hike in the jungle to track gorillas. You might also see forest elephants, monkeys and antelopes. A picnic lunch will be served in the forest. In the evening, you will return to the Lopé Hotel.
Friday, November 1, 2013 • Lopé National Park – Libreville
An early morning train departure returns you to Libreville to join the eclipse group.