Morocco trip report

 

Morocco



An American guy once told me that "Morocco is like a combination of the Bible and Hollywood". Close enough.

 

Chefchaouen

One of the stars of instagram, Chefchaouen is also known as the blue city. A very chilled out sprawl of powdery blue streets, friendly people, great for street photography. Close to the city is the Akchour waterfall.


 

Marrakech

Marrakech is one of the most exotic cities in the world, mesmerizing travelers with its open air bazaar, Jemaa el Fnaa, complete with snake charmers, storytellers and jugglers. The city's centuries-old red walls and towering palm trees are set against the picturesque snow capped Atlas mountains. You can wander the souks and medina alleyways to see traditional Moroccan handicrafts, and practice your haggling skills.


 

Route Marrakech => Sahara

The road from Marrakech to the Southern tip of the Moroccan Sahara is known as the "1,000 kasbahs route". Along that route you can see incredible mountain views, oases, beautiful Kasbah architectures, gorges, valleys studded with palmeries, Berber villages, camels and year-round sun.


 

Sahara desert

The Sahara desert is an enchanting place that inspired countless Arabian tales. From the village of Merzouga, you camel trek into the Erg Chebbi dunes. Some of the western ladies claimed the camel ride was more "satisfying" than sitting on a washing machine.. Then you watch the sunset over the dunes and sleep under the stars in a traditional camel-hair tent.


 

Fes

Located in the Middle Atlas, surrounded by olive groves lies the crown jewel of Morocco's imperial cities. Fes was one of the important cultural, scientific and religious capitals in the Islamic world. No Moroccan city has a richer history and cultural heritage than Fes. The old city (medina) and its market (souk) are labyrinthesque with endless streets to get lost in. The luxurious riads where Morocco's elite resided centuries ago are being transformed into boutique hotels. Visit the leather tanneries then grab yourself a tagine.


 

Meknes

A mere 60 km from Fes, Meknes was the capital of Morocco during the 17th century. Meknes has numerous palaces, mosques and madrassas behind its fortified walls, which feature numerous majestic entrances, including the world renowned Bab Mansour. Further out in the outskirts is the Roman archaeological site of Volubilis.


 

Beni Mellal - Khenifra

The Beni Mellal - Khenifra region is in a part of the country's interior that is still very much off the tourist trail. The traditional ways of life are still unchanged.


 

Rabat

The capital city has a certain calm and harmony other big cities lack in Morocco. Rabat, full name Rabat-Salé, is split into two parts separated by the river Bouregreg: Rabat and Salé. Rabat is where the colonial houses and government institutions are, whilst Salé is the home of artisans and was once a haven for pirates who roamed the seas for centuries seizing European ships. Both Rabat and Salé have an inner historical old town called "Medina". Within the two Medinas, you can expect narrow streets full of small shops, artisans, street food, crafts etc all very traditional.. at negotiable prices (haggling is expected). And unlike Marrakesh or Fes, nobody hassles you to buy stuff you don't want.


 

Tbourida horse festival

Also known as fantasia, "tbourida" consists of a group of horse riders, wearing traditional clothes and charging along a straight path at the same speed so as to form a line, at the end of the ride (about two hundred meters) all riders fire in the sky using old gunpowder guns. The difficulty of the performance is synchronization during the acceleration especially during firing so that one single shot is heard. The performance is inspired from historical wartime attacks by Berber warriors. Performances are usually during local seasonal, cultural or religious festivals.


 

Tangiers

Located on the northern most tip of Morocco, Tangiers is known for its Mediterranean culture and cafes. The city is increasingly becoming more cosmopolitan. One of the main sights is the cave of Hercules, a cave where the greek hero allegedly rested during his 12 tasks.


 

Casablanca

Known to all Moroccans as the city with the worse drivers, Casablanca began as a very small port town. In 1912, the french occupation designated it to become the economic capital of Morocco, at the signing of the "French Protectorate" (a euphemism for colonisation & enslavement). This turned Casablanca into the main economic hub of the country and one of the biggest cities in Africa. Nowadays, Casablanca is the embodiment of modern Morocco.


 

Agadir

Along the southern Atlantic coast, Agadir is a resort destination known for its golf courses, wide crescent beach and seaside promenade lined with cafes, restaurants and bars. Agadir's hilltop kasbah was destroyed in a 1960 earthquake, but its original old wall remains standing.


 

Essaouira

Essaouira is a laid-back fishing town. It stayed a well-kept secret until the annual Gnawa world music festival began drawing larger crowds to the city. There's also been a recent influx of predominantly European expats. Head to the medina to watch the fishermen fixing their small boats at the docks and selling their catch.