Culture & Cuisine
In Support of the University of California
Botanical Garden at Berkeley
April 5-14, 2018
Escorted by Katherine Greenberg
This tour is sold out. If you would like to join the
Waiting List, please click HERE.
Come with us to the exotic city of Marrakech and explore its fascinating medina, palm groves, and
Berber villages in the High Atlas Mountains. Once the capitol of Morocco, the Imperial City of
Marrakech is an exotic oasis with a fascinating culture. We have special invitations to visit private
homes and gardens as well as palaces and monuments dating from the 12th century.
The traditional arts of Morocco include weaving and ceramics, wood working, metal work, and jewelry.
We will visit artisan workshops and see outstanding examples of traditional and contemporary
Moroccan art and design in private homes, museums, and galleries. The allure of Marrakech has long
attracted artists, designers, writers, and collectors.
Moroccan cuisine is also a feature of this special tour. Meals at Jnane Tamsna are a fusion of
Moroccan and European, using organic fruits and vegetables sourced from the estate’s gardens and
orchards. We will also enjoy some of Morocco’s award-winning wines.
Gary Martin, ethno-botanist and Director of the Global Diversity Foundation, and his wife Meryanne
Loum-Martin, a talented designer, will be our hosts. Jnane Tamsna, the private estate created by
Gary and Meryanne in the palm groves of Marrakech, will be our home for this tour. The property
features elegant architecture, extensive gardens, and gracious hospitality in a tranquil setting. Jnane
Tamsna is featured in Gardens of Marrakech by Angelica Gray.
Thursday, April 5: USA to Marrakech, Morocco
Friday, April 6: Arrival in Marrakech (D)
Independent arrivals and transfers to Jnane Tamsna. Enjoy a
refreshing swim or a stroll in the garden. This evening we are
invited to join Meryanne Loum-Martin and Gary Martin for
cocktails, canapés, and dinner in their home.
Saturday, April 7: Jnane Tamsna and Marrakech (BLD)
After breakfast, we will walk through the oasis gardens created by Gary at Jnane Tamsna and explore
with him the khettara water harvesting tradition whose vestiges are still evident in the Palmaraie, the
centuries-old palm groves of Marrakech. Meryanne will show us the art and architectural elements of
Jnane Tamsna. As Angelica Gray wrote in Gardens of Marrakech, “The couple share a passion for
Marrakech and have combined their interests in architecture, design, anthropology, and botany to
make something new, based on the rich cultural history of the region.”
After lunch, we will spend the afternoon getting to know Marrakech with a knowledgeable local guide.
The historic medina of Marrakech, the old walled city dating from the 12th century, is a World Cultural
Heritage Site. Among other historical places, we will visit the 16th century Badi Palace and see the
12th century minbar of the Koutoubia Mosque, the city’s most dominant landmark and a reference of
world Islamic art; the 19th century Bahia Palace, which features a remarkable ryad garden and
Moorish-Andalusian architecture; and Place Jemaa El Fna, the city’s lively main square.
After a visit to the souks in the medina, we return to Jnane Tamsna for drinks and dinner.
Sunday, April 8: Marrakech and La Mamounia (BLD)
After breakfast, we will visit Casa Botanica, the best local plant nursery and perhaps meet its owner
Sadek Tazi, before having lunch at the Kasbah of La Maison Arabe and then visit the private garden
of its owner Fabrizio Ruspoli.
Later we will visit the legendary La Mamounia Hotel and see its lovely gardens, followed by drinks at
the terrace café. There is the option to stay for dinner in one of the hotel’s restaurants (at own
expense) or return to Jnane Tamsna for an early evening rest and dinner..
Monday, April 9: Marrakech and Majorelle Garden (BD)
After breakfast, we have a leisurely morning at Jnane Tamsna, with options (at own expense) for a
camel ride, swim, or massage, before we leave for lunch and a guided tour of the Majorelle Garden
and the Berber Museum. The Majorelle Garden was the former home and garden of the French
painter Jacques Majorelle who came to Marrakech in the 1920s and was enchanted by its people and
culture. He imported plants from all over the world to create a private paradise. The garden was
restored to its original beauty and color by the late Yves St. Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge.
The painter’s studio within the garden is now the Berber Museum, which has an amazing collection of
decorative arts and artifacts. Lunch (at own expense) will be in the Café Bousafsaf of the Majorelle
After lunch we will visit the new Yves Saint Laurent Museum before a jaunt to the Jardin Secret in the
medina. We return to Jnane Tamsna for a late afternoon rest, followed by cocktails and dinner.
Tuesday, April 10: High Atlas Mountains (BLD)
After breakfast, we will head toward the High Atlas
Mountains. Our day-long tour of the Ourika Valley will
begin with a visit to a beautiful private garden, before
going on to the Andre Heller Anima garden. Then we will
stop for lunch at the Dar Taliba girls’ boarding school,
where the Global Diversity Foundation is supporting a
permaculture garden and community seed bank. We end
the excursion with a tour of an aromatic plant garden,
where we can indulge in herbal footbaths.
In the evening, Gary will give a talk about Morocco, and we will have dinner at Jnane Tamsna.
Wednesday, April 11: Cooking Class and Souks of Marrakech (BLD)
After breakfast, there will be free time, followed by an introduction to the diversity of culinary and
medicinal plants available in Marrakech. Then we will have a cooking class at Jnane Tamsna using the
garden’s herbs and vegetables, and lunch to measure the success of our efforts.
Late afternoon, we will embark on a deeper tour of the Mellah and souks of the Marrakech medina,
with a focus on herb and spice sellers. We will gain an appreciation of the mixture of spices and herbs
used in many Moroccan dishes. After an evening visit to the Place Jemaa El Fna, we will enjoy drinks
and dinner on the upper terrace of KosyBar, where a Moroccan and Mediterranean fixed menu will be
Thursday, April 12: Moorish Garden and Artisan Workshops (BLD)
After breakfast, we have time for an optional visit of horticultural interest, including the Musee de la
Palmeraie, the Thiemann Cactus Nursery, and perhaps another private garden. We return to Jnane
Tamsna for lunch and then spend an afternoon with Meryanne exploring Moroccan arts and crafts in
the medina. This evening, drinks and dinner will be served at Jnane Tamsna (or Royal Mansour at
Friday, April 13: Museums and Galleries in Marrakech (BD)
After breakfast, we can explore additional monuments, such as the Saadien tombs, visit a
photography museum or art gallery, and stop for lunch at Café Nomad, a trendy restaurant serving
innovative Mediterranean cuisine on a rooftop terrace overlooking the medina.
Some people may wish to lounge around the pool in the morning and enjoy a lunch in the gardens of
Jnane Tamsna. Lunch will be at own expense, wherever chosen.
After a free afternoon with various options, including time for shopping or a siesta, we will enjoy a
special farewell dinner this evening at Jnane Tamsna, with traditional Andalous music.
Saturday, April 14: Marrakech to USA (B)
After breakfast, private transfers to Marrakech airport for return flights. There are a number of
possibilities for those who wish to extend their stay.
Jnane Tamsna and Post-tour Options: The estate features nine acres of gardens, several guest
houses, swimming pools, and a gallery devoted to Moroccan arts and crafts. Optional activities include
yoga, cooking classes, and specialized shopping. Further explorations can be arranged for those who
wish to see more of Morocco after the tour.
Physical Endurance Level: The tour includes a moderate amount of walking, and some of the
places that we’ll be visiting can only be seen on foot. Walking surfaces may be uneven, and
comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Shopping: There will be limited time for shopping during the tour. There is a tradition of bargaining in
the medina. A purchase may involve negotiations over several cups of mint tea.
Cuisine: Moroccan cuisine is a unique blend of Berber, Arabic,
Spanish, and French culinary traditions. Spices are an essential
part of Moroccan cooking, used to enhance the flavors of meats
and vegetables. We will see the amazing displays of Moroccan
spices, olives, and herbs in the medina. According to the season,
meals feature a selection of salads, soups, couscous or tagine,
fragrant bstilla, and delicate pastries served with mint tea.
Tour Escort: is a garden designer and author from California. Katherine first traveled to Morocco
over 30 years ago when her father was working there as an agricultural consultant. She has returned
many times, and this will be her 6th tour to Morocco. Katherine is on the Advisory Board of the UC
Botanical Garden and a past president of the Mediterranean Garden Society, the Pacific Horticulture
Society, and the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. She is the co-author of Growing
California Native Plants, 2nd edition, published by University of California Press, as well as several
Global Diversity Foundation: Director of the Global Diversity Foundation (GDF), has been
involved in conservation and ethno-botanical work for over 30 years. After receiving his PhD from UC
Berkeley, he founded the GDF to help local communities maintain their agricultural, biological, and
cultural heritage through projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Gary will take us to see several of
his projects in the High Atlas Mountains and share his knowledge of Moroccan culture and traditions.
His garden in the palm groves of Marrakech reflects his interest in Mediterranean and Moroccan
plants and their uses.
TOUR LAND COST PER GUEST BASED ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY:
Based on a minimum of 12 guests: $4995 per person for members of the University of California
Botanic Garden. Non-members pay a $50.00 supplement. We suggest non-members join before
registering for the tour.
Single supplement $1098.
• 8 night’s accommodation, all rooms with private bathrooms
• All hotel taxes and service charges
• Breakfast daily/ lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
• Deluxe private transportation and top drivers
• Airport transfers
• Special English speaking local guides
• All sightseeing and entrances as per the itinerary
• Deluxe portfolio of documents
• Escorted by Katherine Greenberg
• Donation of $500 to the University of California Botanic Garden
COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:
• Travel insurance
PASSPORT-- a passport valid at least 6 months beyond trip date is required for this trip.
This tour is sold out.
To view or print the itinerary, click HERE.
To view or print the Terms & Conditions, click HERE.
Sterling Tours, Ltd
2907 Shelter Island Drive Suite #105-262
San Diego, CA 92106 Tel: 619 299-3010 800-976-9497